About Me

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

Monday, March 31, 2008

Mostly-Good Changes, More Classical Parodies, and a Full Schedule, with Breaks for Knitting

Mostly-Good Changes
1. We remain in our current ward and are keeping our bishop.
2. He has two new counselors, because his others have gone to two new wards.
3. Unfortunately, we lost our Relief Society president.
4. My near-date experience of three years ago is now in the ward that I was hoping we wouldn’t get moved into.
5. Our beloved seminary teacher is now in our ward.
6. Brother Sushi did not get moved back into his pre-divorce ward [the same one that we were hoping not to get moved into]; he is now in Firstborn’s ward, which will now meet in our building.
7. And the new ward is south and west of us and meets in Fort Worth, while our ward now extends farther into Cowtown as well. [But I will not remain in this ward when I move; I’ll be too far west for that.]
8. I get to keep my good home teacher until I move.
9. Most of the burrs under my saddle have now been neatly disposed of.
10. Only a few of my close friends got moved into new wards.

More Classical Parodies
This. Or this.

Knitting Progress
I put in a bit over one row on the stealth project [still swatching, no pictures] before the meeting, until I reached Row 7 of the chart and realized that that was precisely where my printer decided to wander off for a chat at the water cooler. So I picked up Anastasia and got several rounds knitted on her.

Laundry
Officially caught up. I hung out at Firstborn’s yesterday after church, wrote a quick note to Lark’s mom, who is still a guest of the state of Texas, put more rounds on the sock, and ate too much good home cooking.

Dinner Group Stuff
I put together my first poll for our dinner group [they made me a moderator about a week ago] and got it successfully posted to the board.

This is going to be a busy week; I think tonight will be the only night that I’m home after work, though I might take a swing by Central Market first.
Monday - Family Home Evening, even if it’s just me
Tuesday - Knit Night
Wednesday - meeting up with my friend Tinks
Thursday - dinner and another walkabout with the dinner group
Friday - the first-Friday dance and dinner beforehand
Saturday - General Conference
Sunday - General Conference

Good times.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

No Pips

What was I up to last night? Well, some of you may know that several years ago, Gladys Knight joined the LDS church. She assembled a 100-voice choir, Saints Unified Voices, and taught white boys [and others] to sing gospel and to *move* while they sing. I have their first CD. It is magnificent.

This weekend she and the SUV are here for four missionary concerts. The premise was that if you have friends who are curious about the church, you could buy tickets quite inexpensively and bring your friends, and if they wanted to know more they could later arrange to speak with the missionaries, and if they did not, they would have had a nice evening out with their friend [you] and Ms. Gladys and heard some lovely, inspiring music.

My friend P had invited two of her friends, and they bailed on her. She put up a post on the dinner group’s board asking if anybody wanted to go [the tickets were all sold, weeks ago]. I posted “Me, me, me, pick me!”, so my friend L and I met P over at her home in BigD [this is beginning to sound a lot like alphabet soup, no?], and we carpooled to the Dallas East stake center. Where we stood in line to enter the meeting house for 45 minutes and were not the only knitters in line.

The capacity of that stake center is 1300, so that’s how many tickets were printed for each performance. I saw no empty seats, but someone on the dinner group board said there were a few at the performance we attended. I did see a lot of discreet eye-wiping among my neighbors.

The choir sang several of my favorites from their first CD. It was the sort of evening that you don’t want to end. Her husband bore witness and gave his conversion story. And then she did the same. You cannot fake that kind of warmth, generosity of spirit, or conviction.

Today we are having the big stake sacrament meeting. The only ward boundaries unaffected by this are my best friend’s ward, the singles ward, and the Spanish ward. All sorts of rumors have been flying. Brother Sushi said at dinner on Friday night that 40% of the active priesthood brethren in our stake are in two wards: his and the one next to mine. And two of the wards barely have enough active brethren to fill the necessary callings [which is why Second Ward was dissolved five years ago]; one of those wards is Firstborn’s.

I don’t expect to leave the meeting feeling as devastated as I did, five years ago, when they dissolved my old ward and threw the children’s father into my new one, just as I was getting settled in. I do expect to see a lot of new faces at church next week. And I am feeling pre-comforted, if you will, by the knowledge that no matter how many faces from the ward before this one are in my new ward, I will only be there a few more weeks before moving out of the stake.

There are a handful people from the old ward who are in the next ward over and knew me when I was Poor Sister Ravelled and still treat me with the faint condescension they accord to women who divorce and/or who have had rebellious children. [Because obviously, their own children are angels.] It gives me opportunities to remember that the church is not a shrine for the perfect but a hospital for the sick or afflicted, even if there is some private disagreement on which of us fits into those categories. If I end up in *that* ward, I will chalk it up to Heaven thinking that it’s time for me to finish forgiving that handful of twits my brothers and sisters.

In the comic-relief department, there are new matches on the Churchboy Dating Service. One turned out to be a guy that I was bold enough to ask out during Leap Year eight years ago, who has politely kept a roomful of people between us ever since. So, no, I don’t think it’s going to be a match.

Maybe another half-inch on Anastasia yesterday; not enough to merit hauling out the camera. And not quite a full pattern repeat on what I think is going to be a happy confluence of yarn, pattern and tweediness with my much-frogged Denim Silk, so no picture there either until I know for sure.

Did everybody else get the email from KnitPicks about their new Gloss laceweight? Cue the Pointer Sisters, because I’m so excited!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Average Courting Frog

Read this. Really made me smile. I told her that I’d dated [and kissed] a few of those myself.

Conversations like the one she described between the two guys on the ferry, are what sustains the friendship between Brother Sushi and me. We talk about his mission to Japan, the people we’ve met who have changed us, what we’ve cooked lately, the sock du jour.

Everything, and nothing. Which was what we talked about last night. And I came home feeling not only fed, but nourished. We ate at a new-to-us chain restaurant. His daughter likes the burgers. We thought the burgers were average, but I notice that we both fell just this short of inhaling our fries. [Yeah, my ankles are a little puffy this morning, but it’s not like anybody looks at them, anyway.]

I had pretty much decided against getting the stackable washer/dryer combo for the duplex, considering that new they run between $800-1200 on average. That’s a lot of sock yarn. But he knows a couple of people who have scratch-and-dent salvage businesses, and he’ll keep an ear to the ground for me. So, that’s promising.

We talked about the feng shui aspects of the new place. When you walk in the front door, you can see straight down the hall into one of the bedrooms. I originally thought that I wanted to have that one for my room; it's on the east side of the house and would get morning light. But I think I want to set it up as my studio, with my spinning wheel framed by the doorway. I think that would be a lovely welcome when I get off the train each night, and when friends come to dinner. My bedroom would be visible only from the hall that connects the kitchen and bathroom. And I think that would give me greater privacy.

I just got off the couch after listening to this week’s KnitPicks podcast. And I have about an inch and a half of knitting above my afterthought heel marking row. Not a lot of knitting got done yesterday.

I took the advice of my Sisters of the Wool and checked on the Robin wheel on Ravelry. Two year wait, and half the cost of my first car, but the deposit to mark my place in line is eminently reasonable. I’ll send him a check in a couple of weeks, and I think I’ll be ordering my Lendrum two weeks later, depending upon the size of my bonus.

A bit of serendipity fell into my lap for this evening’s adventures. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow. It’s time that I found something sensible to eat, to chase the double handful of gingersnaps that I’ve noshed on while reading and posting this morning.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Anastasia Meets the Afterthought Heel

I meticulously reloaded half my stitches back onto the needle and tried Anastasia on for size after inhaling my lunch yesterday. [Chipotle cheddar cheese sliced wafer-thin, atop whole-grain saltine crackers. And a bag of Wildly Cherry M&M’s for dessert. Doesn’t get any better than that!] About 2” shy of my heel, and a perfect fit. I started to use the same toe-up heel flap that I used for the Stripedy Stockings, and after two rounds I decided that I wanted to try an afterthought heel instead.

Happily, there was a bit of the yarn from the Stripedy Stockings in my toolbag, so I tinked back those two rounds and used the brown-grey-black-and-cream as a barely-discernible row, to be picked out in a few days, after I’ve bound off the cuff.

I went to bed at 10:00 last night and slept like a rock. Six and a quarter hours of presumably quiet breathing [except for the Luke-I-am-your-mother whooshing of my CPAP], and no lights on when I awoke an hour ahead of my alarm this morning.

When I went to bed last night ~ reluctantly; I was having so much fun with Anastasia ~ there were four or five rows above my afterthought marker row. Now it’s more like 5/8”. This design is so simple to knit, and so easy to modify, and the pattern it produces just makes me grin. Now that I’ve been knitting socks for a year and a half, and lace for about a year, I wonder why I didn’t try both, sooner.

Knitting is one of the simplest things there is. Two stitches really: knitting [the top of the loop faces away from you in the finished fabric] and purling [the top of the loop faces you]. You get lace by pairing strategically-placed increases and decreases. You get cables by crossing one or more stitches over or under others. You get ribbing by alternating knit stitches and purl stitches. And when you are done muttering *[K7, K2tog, YO, K2tog] repeat from *, you have something that fits your own particular assortment of curves and straightaways, in a color that pleases you, and the pleasure of having learned one or more new techniques in the process, and the knowledge that you will never, ever see the same item coming toward you on the sidewalk on somebody three sizes smaller.

What’s not to love?

I am feeling somewhat less needy this morning. Still looking forward to dining with my favorite samurai tonight, but not feeling quite so testosterone-deprived. It helps to listen to David Reidy. Maybe it’s the accent. Maybe it’s just nice to hear an intelligent man natter on about Things Knitterly. I tried to listen to Cast On last night, but she lost me when the music came on, and the F-word jumped out of the chorus and slapped me in the face. This is my home, and these are my ears. And I am voting with them; I won’t be going back to her podcast. Though I will be knitting Mrs. Beeton in the foreseeable future.

I have to laugh at myself, at least a little. Ten years ago, when I was freshly-divorced and generally cranky, I read women writers and listened to female singers. I had had it up to here with male voices for the time being, whether written or audible. I think it was probably part of the healing process, not to mention that when I divorced the children’s father I no longer had to endure Rush and G. Gordon and a host of other blatherskytes whose political leanings I tend to share, but whose method of delivery is so off-putting [to me, at least] that almost it persuadeth me to become a Democrat.

Gradually, I discovered men who didn’t set my teeth on edge. Men of sound mind and resolute character. Men who respect women and enjoy their company. Men whose counsel I can trust. Now, the CD in my car is as likely to be Ray Charles as Emmylou Harris. It’s a good place to be.

Happy Friday, everybody! It’s payday, chez nous, and my turn to buy dinner, and Anastasia is looking rather pleased with herself.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Les Chaussettes, Elles Sont Fini!

It seemed only appropriate to make the announcement en français, as these are Child’s French Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush.



I like the pattern very much and will almost certainly make a pair for myself, sometime down the road. Mine will be 100% wool. This is a nice yarn, and I think/hope that Middlest will like how these feel, and I prefer 100% natural fibers on my own feet.

[Middlest, honey, do you want me to mail these to you c/o your friend C, or keep them here for your arrival?]



The flowers, alas, are not my own. A friend and colleague received them yesterday at work. I told her that I couldn’t think of anyone who deserved them more. [Well, other than me, of course!] They smell as good as they look, and I learned something. My friend meticulously de-pollinated the star lilies, because their pollen stains everything it touches, and you can’t get it out. Who knew that flowers had a scarlet-letter thing going? [“Stay away from that lily, dear. She’s pretty, but she’s been pollinated. And more than once. And we don’t know by whom.”]

Anastasia is next, and I want to figure out a big-needle project for the knitting equivalent of a weekend tryst. Something that won't get me in trouble financially, morally, or calorically. [Speaking of which, have you tried the Wild Cherry M&M’s?]

Thank you for your kind words yesterday. I went to bed last night around 11:00, again sans LittleBit, and woke up this morning to a glow of light out in the living room, and my first thought was, “The hall light is still on? She didn’t come home last night? I’m going to embroider her a new one.” But there she was at the computer, with freshly-shampooed hair and a lovely smile for her cranky mother. No UIL rehearsal last night; she worked a shift at the restaurant for a friend who has the flu, and stayed to help close for the night.

I think I am going to have to ask Brother Sushi to step way outside his comfort zone and pat my shoulder and say “there, there” while I snivel, tomorrow night. I have two songs alternating in my head: a parody of Tevye’s words, “Would it spoil some vast, eternal plan, if I [had a decent] man?” and “I'm much too young to feel this d@mn old.” What I really, truly want is a good guy of my own, one that I don’t have to send home at the end of dinner. One whose job description includes “there, there” and other forms of comfort.

It’s spring. We just had a full moon. And I suspect that one of my ovaries is still yodeling.

Aughhhhh! I’m going to talk it over with the Man Upstairs while I figure out what to wear to work. And probably for the entire 25 miles there. And possibly on the trip home. I just have to figure out how to word it differently, to get a different outcome than last time. I remember coming home from an attempt to get to the young singles' dance, with a driver who could barely see to drive and nearly got us killed, and falling to my knees in my room and praying, “I want some righteous male attention.” The next day, I was introduced to the children’s father.

I will laugh about this in a week or two, and definitely in a year or two, even if I’m still single. I just don’t feel like laughing now.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Whence this weepiness?

My friend brought her Lendrum spinning wheel to Knit Night, last night, and generously shared it and a nice chunk of BFL roving with me. [Another friend brought hers as well, and we now have two less “spinning virgins” in our group.]

My hands have not forgotten, notwithstanding a hiatus of seventeen years. It was precisely the restorative needed after a busy day at work and entirely too much time spent rambling around inside my head, trying to out-think my feelings.

In many ways, my life is less busy and complicated now that LittleBit is driving. I let myself sleep in until 5:00am on workdays, and she sets her alarm and gets herself up now. We have prayers together, and she heads off to seminary and school and work and UIL rehearsals. I am less tired physically and at something of a loss, emotionally. I miss my kid. On good days, we have maybe 15 minutes of face time. Sometimes we are able to grab half an hour and play catch-up. I have no idea what is going on inside her head, or her heart.

She got home late last night, after UIL rehearsals that ended at 9:00 and time with friends after that. Way later than I think is reasonable for a school night. And I snapped at her, “Just what is so bad about our home that you don’t want to be here?” Which I realize after a reasonably good night’s sleep was really, “I miss you. Don’t you love me anymore?”

I think it’s safe to say that I am smack in the middle of Empty Nest Syndrome, and it feels a lot like the Weaning Blues, and I’m not sure which of us is the one being weaned.

I also realized, as I was turning off lights and semi-tidying the couch after working on Middlest’s sock while listening to “Finding Neverland” [which is not a listening-to movie; much too visual, and I really should watch it again before turning it in tomorrow night], that what all this feels like, is what I felt like days before I met the children’s father. The same restlessness, the same longing for connection, the same skin-hunger that for me is far more devastating than mere unavailable [trying to find a word that will not draw spammers and perverts; we will settle for “partnership”]. My hands are crepey, my neck and shoulders are breaking out, and I am uncharacteristically not-at-home-in-my-skin.

Not only do I miss my kid, but I also miss my water aerobics class. My membership at the Natatorium expired while I was in the middle of the last bout of croupiness, and it made no sense to renew for a year when I will only be here [and driving my car to and from work] for another three months.

I also miss Brother Sushi, but that will be remedied on Friday night when we finally get our monthly dinner. I will get to hear about his family reunion and his new grandchild. He will get to hear about the new friendships I’m building in the dinner group. For which I am now one of the moderators in our Yahoo! group, as of yesterday.

I think maybe the scariest thing about feeling the way that I did, thirty-three years ago, is that I don’t know what it means. Is this just loneliness compounded by spring fever, or is it a portent of another relationship that begins well and ends badly? Do I go out and mingle with people and try new activities and seek a fresh balance between activity and repose, sociability and contemplation? Or should I just stretch out on the couch with my knitting until these waves of emotionality and neediness have stopped rocking my boat?

Yes, I could ask the Man Upstairs, but I’m not all that sure that I’d like the answer. Braack, bock bock bock bock!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

“Sock Madness”, Redefined

You will recall my crowing, yesterday morning, that I was nearly ready to start working on the toes. And I really, truly thought that I was. Until I got to the part where I am supposed to knit even for a few rows before starting the toe increases, and I realized that I really shouldn’t start until I’d read my notes on Ravelry, and then uh-oh, squared, cubed, and blazing on into the fourth dimension, realized that I hadn’t decreased quite enough at the heel gussets and needed to rip back a “hunka hunka burning rows”.

Sigh.

On the other hand, this means more time with a rather nice yarn that I’m not yet sick of. So it’s not all bad.

Have asked one of my Sisters of the Wool to please bring her spinning wheel to Knit Night. I think I need a little break...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Is the Peep Catholic?

[With my apologies to any of you who are devout Catholics. I have great respect for that Church, for the way that it kept the cultural and spiritual lights on during the Dark Ages, and for the goodness of many of its members.] I found this link on Mason-Dixon Knitting. This was my favorite, before I gave up and went to bed way too early this morning. Hence the ditziness of my title today. [It’s #25 in the series; I hoped that the link would take you directly to it, but no such luck.]

Thoughts on “The Jane Austen Book Club”: I mostly liked it. The movie is definitely better without the deleted scenes, some of which were just squick.

There is knitting in this movie. There is teaching-of-knitting in this movie. Without giving away plot points, there are lunacy, temptations, marvelous visual cues as to how women communicate with one another [useful for any male reader who wants to understand us as a species], great costumes, and an opening montage that is only rivaled by my memory of the opening sequence of “Local Hero” [another lyrical and wonderfully subversive movie; one of you told me a few months ago that Mark Knopfler did the soundtrack].

That being said, there are a number of “oh please, please do not go there” moments. This is not a movie for children, although I think the love scenes are discreetly handled. This is not a movie I would be comfortable watching with a date, or with my friends from the dinner group. I don’t know if this is a movie that my daughters would enjoy; I know that at least one of them has no patience for the leisurely, meticulously-crafted plots so characteristic of Jane Austen. But I would not be embarrassed to watch this with any of them, or with my best friend, who like me is an Austinophile [is there such a word?]

I was delighted to learn from a quick glance at the screen while listening to the bonus material, that there is a “Jane Austen for Dummies”. Appearing soon on my wishlist for Amazon. And it’s obvious [to me, at least] that one of the things I will be doing when the dust settles after the move, is joyfully re-reading every blessed one of Jane Austin’s books.

When I finished the movie, I had two pattern repeats to go on Middlest’s sock, before the toe decreases. Which means that I should have a picture of the finished pair before bedtime tonight!

And which also means that I will be down to one project on the needles. I will want to do something on larger needles, which might mean Fetching in the red Cashmerino Aran I have been hoarding for over a year since knitting four pairs in green or tweed in late 2006. Or maybe I will unvent something to use up the last of the Smooshy leftover from Mal’s Mitts last December.

I still have no idea what I want to make from the charcoal grey Denim Silk. Happy Monday, everybody!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

In the Economy of Heaven

A happy and blessed Easter to all y’all.

I read this article during a sanity break at work on Friday. She captures beautifully what I think and feel about Easter, 32 years post-baptism.

Speaking of church, Middlest asked when we have our block of meetings. I’ll email you that information, just in case there are any irreligious burglars reading my blog. Plus, after next week that might change, but I’ll go into that later. Suffice it to say that our schedule and Secondborn’s ward schedule are sufficiently offset that I was able to dash over for sacrament meeting in her ward, which they have first in their block of meetings, and then back home for our meetings, where sacrament comes last. [There are two options for how the three meetings in a three-hour block are arranged; it’s my understanding that the stake president decides which arrangement would be best for the wards in his stake.]

Thus killing several birds with one stone: a smidgen of quiet time with my Bitties, a blip on the radar screen of a certain brother, and a mutual-non-acknowledgment-of-existence with the minor politician I dated briefly. Enabling me to be back in our ward for my duet with LittleBit in sacrament meeting, where we reprised the hymn we sang/signed last week in Relief Society.

We were supposed to reprise it last week in sacrament meeting, but one of the speakers ran long. There was much murmuring among the “sistren”, but today I understood why that one brother went over his allotted time last week. The mother of one of our ward members is deaf; she and her husband were visiting from out of state this weekend. Her husband sat in front and interpreted most of the meeting. When LittleBit and I got up to sing/sign “How Great Thou Art”, he got to sit in the front row and relax for a moment. And I had a real, live deaf person to sign for. In the economy of Heaven, there is an elegance and wisdom that surpasses mortal understanding.

The reason that I’ll have to wait until next week to let Middlest know what time we meet for church, is that next Sunday we are having a stake sacrament meeting [something like unto stake conference, with the exception that we will all take the sacrament together, which doesn’t happen at stake conferences]. Why, you ask? Because they are reconstituting Second Ward, which was dissolved five years ago, shortly after LittleBit and I moved into our current ward. The last change threw Fourthborn and her father into our new ward; while I was happy to have her in our ward, as for him, well, I just sat there and sobbed. Audibly. He and I have lived within three miles of each other for the past ten years since the divorce. It has made visitation easy for him; it has not always made church easy for me. Particularly when he was the Gospel Doctrine [adult Sunday School] teacher in the old ward.

So, we know that they will be pulling talent and leadership out of several wards, in order to staff the resurrected Second Ward. And we know that our ward will be affected, because only those wards that will be affected, have been invited to the stake sacrament meeting. And we are invited. And we don't know where the new ward boundaries will be, and we know that two weeks from now, some of us will be attending church in my old building. So it made for a poignant Relief Society birthday party yesterday, as they presented a slide show of all the active sisters in the ward as it now exists. And it made for a tender Sunday School class today, as we don’t know who will be gone next time we meet [including, possibly, our Gospel Doctrine teacher]. And after our duet and the choir Easter program, our dear bishop stood and gave us some heartfelt, encouraging words, at which point I was a soggy mess, particularly when the organist played “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” as postlude music.

So in a bit of comic relief that I hope does not detract too much from the Easter spirit, I offer what my long-ago roommate, Shellz, sent me. I thoroughly enjoyed this. [The background looks like my house did when I had hordes of short people.]

I picked up a couple of movies on my way to the party last night. [Had a blast; flirted not at all; brownies were a real hit.] And I’ve had a short but hopefully not sleep-wrecking nap. So I’ll be off to help Johnny Depp find Neverland, or maybe I'll just hang out with The Jane Austen Book Club. I’ll let you know what I think of both movies, later.

The heel is turned and the gussets complete on Middlest’s second sock. I imagine that more progress will occur during the movie(s).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Most Instructive Evening

I was obviously supposed to be there, judging by the number of obstacles between my desk and the museum. We did get early dismissal from work, but I think I already mentioned that. I had a wonderfully productive day and was nevertheless delighted to shut down the popsicle stand and head out.

Obstacle the First: Card Keys. I have two of them. One for the parking garage, and one for the office suite. I have them clipped together and wear them on the hem of my shirt. Got out to the car, stowed my bags in the trunk, grabbed my knitting in case traffic screeched to a halt, buckled up, and heard a click/clunk as my tags slipped off into The Chaos Beneath The Seats. Drove the car up onto the first parking level, got out my flashlight, put on my emergency flashers and started spelunking. Two of my girlfriends stopped to ask if I was OK. It took me ten full minutes and much reinvestigation to finally locate my cards. Definitely a case of “none so blind as those who cannot see”.

Got back in, buckled up, turned off the flashers, and headed out. Eastbound traffic was at a standstill, but I had clear sailing westbound until out of nowhere there was half of a something [easy chair? box spring?] squarely in front of me, and thankfully nobody in the next lane. I went one way, the car behind me went another, and we both missed it. And almost immediately had to swerve around half of a pallet that was waiting in ambush. Thankfully, it was a bright clear afternoon with good visibility, so no harm done except to my pulse rate.

Pulled off at the credit union and grabbed some cash from the ATM, and got back onto the freeway. Found a parking spot right across the street from the museum, near a crosswalk, and my new friend P waiting for me. We then played “Marco!” with the main body of our friends, who had been stuck in traffic and were still about five miles out. Just before they arrived, a pair of the younger single sisters showed up, so all in all there were seven of us.

The artwork was nothing short of amazing. Reliquaries, old coins, sarcophagi, fragments of old illuminated manuscripts. Those early believers and artisans had an appreciation for how the Old Testament and New Testament connect, that is lost on many modern Christians. We took a guided tour [included in the price of admission] led by a lovely woman who graciously admitted that she was out of her element. She knew a lot about the pieces, but she did not appear to be a student of the Scriptures. I would have loved for some of my friends at church to have led that tour, particularly the one who was the keynote speaker at our conference last weekend.

I bit my tongue a lot last night, and when the tour was over, I went back and read the plaques on the wall and looked at the items at my own pace. I don’t like crowds, and I don’t like canned versions of “what we think happened”. I like facts and artifacts, and I like to think for myself, even if sometimes frequently I draw the wrong conclusions.

So this morning, the day before we celebrate the one of the two most important events in human history, I am glad to be alive, glad to be something of a scriptorian, glad that I don’t have to walk around on marble floors today, glad that I know the Good Brothers and some of the sisters a bit better than I did, glad for the Chinese food that we ate last night, even if my fortune was more generic than most and the cookie was stale.

Our ward is having its annual Relief Society birthday celebration this morning. I’m looking forward to that. And then I will have some puttering time before heading over to Parts East for a game night, where I will probably not play games but just sit and knit and visit.

I am not far from the heel on Middlest’s sock, and I would like to turn that heel and my own before the sun goes down. We shall see. I have some other projects that I want to work on. I did pick up some ribbon for the Stripedy Stockings, and I realized while at the fabric store that one stocking is about an inch shorter than the other. Should not matter once they’re on my legs, as one of my calves is about an inch bigger around than the other. So as long as I match the longer stocking with the larger leg, there should be no Mutt and Jeff effect.

And there is another small project that needs to be checked off the list, plus the laundry to catch up. [Like the poor, always to be with us.]

I’m off to listen to yesterday's KnitPicks podcast and one or two from the Sticks & Strings archive. Happy knitting, everybody, and have lots of fun with your kids and grandkids, if egg-dyeing is on your agenda. Iwas tempted but managed to resist.

[Resist. It's a dyeing joke. Tee hee!]

Oh, and for the record: no flirting whatsoever last night, just lots of good conversation.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Les mots du jour [words of the day]

Pleonasm. Not to be confused with neoplasm. Although both are related to having too much of something. I got a call right about lunchtime from one of my co-workers, who was at a Toastmasters meeting and needed a quick chat with the walking thesaurus [that would be me]. I had never heard of a pleonasm, although it seems that I’ve committed beaucoups of them in my long and wordy life. Dictionary.com came to my rescue, and hers.

I forgot to ask her if she had to use the word in her talk.

And now for something that might seem to be a change of topic, but isn’t. Entirely.

One of Brother Sushi’s sterling qualities is his ability to tell me that I might be wrong without making me livid. An excellent quality in any friend, and all the more delightful when that friend is male. We were meandering from one parking lot to the next, on the night of our monthly dinner some months ago, in search of a restaurant without a 45-minute wait.

I’d been delayed in picking him up after I left the office because LittleBit was having a first date with a guy she’d liked for quite awhile, and I remembered what the kitchen sink had looked like when I’d left in the morning. So instead of driving straight to Brother Sushi’s house as I normally would, I came home and we speed-cleaned the kitchen and tidied the living room.

My mom had done a similar thing for me shortly after I joined the church, when the guy *I* liked called for an impromptu picnic and I had no food in the house and no car and no way to get to the store before he got there. Mom threw some sandwiches together and a couple of apples while I whipped up a batch of brownies. So in helping LittleBit, I rolled that good-karma wheel a notch or two forward.

Where was I?

Driving between one restaurant and another, I used the word “perambulate”, which I felt was a pretty good description of what we were doing: ambling about, except for the fact that we were not on foot. He said, “I don’t think that word means what you think it does.” And instead of getting my seat belt in a twist, I said something like, “OK, tell me more.” And he told me that it meant to patrol the perimeter of an area, in the sense of securing it.

I had a little time at my desk a few days later [translation: I needed to look busy for a few minutes], so I did some sleuthing at dictionary.com. Turns out that we were both right. I was not crazy for having the mental image of strolling around, with or without a perambulator [same root], and he was not wrong about the patrolling aspect.

I love being right. There are things that I love even more, such as chocolate and naps and knitting on the couch listening to a good clean podcast, but being right is pretty far up on the list. And I need to work on that. I remember something one of our church leaders said, several years ago: “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be loved?”

In all honesty, I want both. And over the long haul, I think the Savior is the only one who’s managed that, and certainly not during His earthly life. So why should I expect it in mine?

I am more than halfway down the leg of Middlest’s second sock, and I have just about used up the last of the first ball of yarn. I will probably polish that off today. Possibly before work. The sock will be getting some culture tonight. We are meeting up at the Kimbell Museum for their exhibition of early Christian art, at half price, and then I am most devoutly hoping for food afterward, or at least dessert. Both of the Good Brothers will be there, so there will be excellent conversation and possibly some flirting, and I was delighted to see while reading the posts for our dinner group that another brother who interests me, has joined the group if not tonight’s excursion.

Can you hear me grinning, from where you sit? I have one minute to throw on my clothes, grab my bags, and head out the door. And leftover chicken fried steak waiting for my lunch. This is shaping up to be a very Good Friday, indeed!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Accent? We don’t have no stinkin’ accent!

[Two of my beloved children did this test.] What can I say? My mother was an Oklahoma girl, and my father was a Colorado boy. Neither of them had discernible accents.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland

Boston

North Central

The Inland North

Philadelphia

The South

The Northeast

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I remember when a Kiwi whom I dated briefly in my misspent youth, told me that I had a “lovely drawl”. I informed him indignantly that I had no accent, he was the one who talked funny. Though I must admit that thirty-two years later, it is obvious that I’ve spent a few decades in Texas since kicking that one to the curb. Just ask me to say “boots”. Two syllables, minimum.

And crayons are “crenz”, but then they always have been.

Signaling for an abrupt change of direction. Don’t want you to fall out of the car.

But first, another link. I remember a friend in one of my old wards. She had several books about anger on her bookshelf, and I remember thinking why on earth anybody would want to study anger. That was before I had five kids and a failing marriage, all crammed like Disney’s genie into “itty bitty living space”. I sometimes wonder if I had gotten angry about the children’s father’s repeated bouts of unemployment, instead of being patient and supportive and getting depressed, if we could have short-circuited the cycles and salvaged our marriage. Something to discuss with him when we are both on the other side of mortality and can see clearly all the forces and influences that were playing into our situation.

I particularly appreciated the comment in this article about the purpose of relationships. Something I’ve been thinking about since the conference last weekend. The singles’ program in the church has never been intended as a matchmaking service. The purpose is to provide opportunities for friendship and learning and support. To keep us connected to life in general, if not one person in particular.

Last weekend’s conference was one of the best I have attended, in ten years of being single. Almost the perfect confluence of inspiration and activity, conversation and nourishment. I may have remarked earlier this week that it has been a long time since I felt so rested and refreshed; I know that I’ve thought it more than once. And yet, that comes with a price. In order to make it through some days, I have a carefully-acquired patina composed of “I think I can, I think I can”, “hand over the chocolate and nobody gets hurt”, and “don’t mess with my cubs”, to name a few.

And all of that got chipped away during the course of the weekend. What remains are the feelings that I typically bring home with me from service in the Lord’s temple: tenderness, vulnerability, and an increased sense of trust.

LittleBit just woke up to get a drink of water. We had a lovely conversation on several topics that have been much on my mind recently. I am much reassured on her behalf, and on the state of our relationship as mother and daughter. And now I have two minutes in which to bathe, wash my hair, and figure out what I am wearing to work.

Where is that patina now that I need it?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Atmospherics

Another draft rescued [?] from the list, embellished and updated. The next paragraph was written on a Wednesday at 10:20am, back in May 2007 when it was raining like crazy.

“It is darker than the inside of a hat out there. Ordinarily I can look out the glass double doors at the front of our suite, across the atrium, through the opposite suite, and see a glass-clad skyscraper. When it’s snowing, I can see bits of white falling against a deep turquoise background. Today it is raining so hard that it looks as if the far windows have been painted Prussian blue. The trim around the far window in the opposite suite glows a warm cream against the mahogany that frames the interior window.”

We had another day like that yesterday. Because of the glass roof above our atrium, I can watch the play of light across the atrium-facing walls of the opposite suite. At one point the storm was so intense that the creamy white wall was washed in ochre and teal.

We were threatened with sideways rain on Monday. At least downtown, that did not materialize, though it was quite windy all day. I walked over to the tunnels after driving in, because I had forgotten to spray my hair before leaving the house. [There’s a pharmacy one level below the Bank of America building.] I was windblown and elated by the time I got back to my building with my hairspray.

When I pulled out of the parking garage last night, it was raining, mixed with sleet or possibly light hail. Mostly there was just a lot of rain as I drove to Knit Night.

Building maintenance came up to our office several times to put up their paraphernalia that collects rainwater leaking down from the roof. One of the perils of having one’s office in an historical building with a flat roof is that it is never entirely patched. And we are on the top floor, though there is a small penthouse suite above us, where another company has their office.

The jacket that I ordered on closeout from an online outlet at 70% off, arrived safely yesterday afternoon. I took it down to my trunk during my break. It’s brown suede, embroidered and beaded, and utterly scrumptious. I’ll try to post a picture of it in the next few days. Am hoping that the weather will be right to wear it to work on Friday, for the museum outing after work. The skirt that I ordered at the same time, was sold out in my size.

Good progress on Middlest’s second sock yesterday. I have four and a half repeats above the ribbing, out of the eleven I’ll need before starting the heel. And I very much enjoy this pattern. I will probably make it again, for me, but in 100% wool. The Pace is a pleasure to knit, and I think she will be very comfortable in these socks.

Time to go read today’s Non Sequitur and work the AARP puzzles, then rustle up some breakfast and head out the door. Happy Wednesday, everybody!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

S C A T T E R G O R I E S

Because the knitting is just plugging along and I’m still pondering ideas and impressions from the singles’ conference last weekend, I am resurrecting old drafts. I saw this meme on Jerry’s blog, last August:

SCATTERGORIES ... and it’s harder than it looks! Here are the rules:

* Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the questions.
* They MUST be real places, names, things ... NOTHING made up!
* If you can’t think of anything, skip it.
* You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question.
* If your name happens to start with the same letter as mine, sorry, but you can’t use my answers!

My name: Lynn

1. Famous Singer/Band: Loreena McKennitt, Lena Horne, Lotte Lenya
2. Four letter word: Love
3. Street: Lovers Lane [lived in a place we called La Casa Cucaracha on Lovers Lane, ten years ago]
4. Color: Lilac
5. Gifts/Presents: Lingerie [not that I would know! I would deck anyone who gave me some, probably including any future husband!]
6. Vehicle: Lotus, Lamborghini
7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: Lorgnettes
8. Boy Name: Lester
9. Girl Name: Lolita
10. Movie Title: Labyrinth
11. Drink: Lemonade
12. Occupation: Lawyer
13. Celebrity: Lorna Luft, Lorenzo Lamas, Lionel Richie, Larry King, Liberace, Lyle Lovett
14. Magazine: Ladybug
15. U.S. City: Lewisville, TX
16. Pro Sports Teams: Lakers [nobody is more surprised than I am that I could come up with this one]
17. Fruit: Lemon
18. Reason for Being Late for Work: Libido [long ago, in a galaxy far, far away]
19. Something You Throw Away: Litter
20. Things You Shout: Look out!
21. Cartoon Character: Lois Lane

I added another nine rounds to Middlest’s socks yesterday. It took me the better part of an hour to figure out where I’d gone wrong on the round that transitions between the ribbing and the pattern proper.

Stopped at Central Market near downtown Dallas after work last night and picked up all sorts of goodies. Three kinds of cheese [Wensleydale with cranberries, chipotle cheddar, and Kerrygold] a loaf of batard bread [why on earth would our French cousins call this “b@st@rd bread”; it tastes perfectly legitimate to me], an individual quiche that I tried to eat only half of and failed utterly, two links of turkey and sundried tomato sausage, and one perfect little semi-boned quail.

We will blame that last on No Reservations, which I rented two weeks ago and followed last night with Mostly Martha. I like both versions, while agreeing that the German original is more subtle. I love the music in both, and jazz is ordinarily my least-favorite genre, other than rap.

I remember whining in an earlier post about the impossibility of buying a single stalk of celery, when all I ever need is a recipe’s worth. I found a way around that yesterday: the salad bar at Central Market, where I picked up maybe a stalk and a half, already washed and chopped. Waldorf salad, here we come! I also bought varieties of apple and potato. Love my job and am so not in the mood to go into work. I just want to stay home and putter in the kitchen and listen to Andrea Bocelli.

I think it’s safe to say that spring is in the air, chez nous!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Competition and Contentment

Competition. It’s the American way. And it’s a battlefield upon which I fight with frequency, reluctance, and great melting scoops of ambiguity. It’s woven into corporate life like metallic threads in pin-striped fabric: distinctive, a little flashy, and likely to turn your skin green upon extensive contact.

I had a blast in Sock Wars 2006, where I learned that I could turn out a pair of sport-weight socks in two or three days. My second pair of socks, ever, took 10% of the time that my first pair required, and I lost much of my fear of failure in that process. And I made a couple of new friends and provided endless amusement for the muggles at work.

MUGGLE: “Please explain to me how this thing works. It sounds awfully complicated.”

ME: “OK, think of it as paintball, with socks. When you get your socks, you’re out of the game.”

That was a good-enough explanation for them, the knitting equivalent of “because I’m the mommy, that’s why”, although any of you who read this *and* play paintball [I don’t, but LittleBit has] will know that the metaphor breaks down faster than you can accidentally frog an inch of lace.

It is an excellent thing to strive for goals. I believe that we are meant to stretch and grow, to become the people that God needs for us to be, in order to bless our families and our communities. I do not believe that striving for its own sake is necessarily a good thing. It is altogether too easy to overemphasize or obsess about one small part of life [cost accounting, material success, or the latest fad diet] instead of aiming for balance [studying and application of eternal principles, peaceful family life, or a sound mind in a sound body].

All of which I will be pondering as I scramble during the next thirteen minutes, in order to leave the apartment on time. I’ve been thinking almost non-stop since I woke up this morning. It’s time to get moving.

I had a terrific weekend: a fine balance of thought, study, discussion, and motion. It has been a long time since I felt this relaxed in body or refreshed in spirit. I’m ready to get back to work on Middlest’s sock and about ready to turn the heel on my own.

It’s spring break for a lot of us. I’ll be at the office. LittleBit is picking up TexMex for the elders and dropping it off, later today, and she has booked herself solid, all week. There are opportunities for dance lessons, which I may or may not take. And on Friday there is a cultural outing with my dinner group, an exhibit of early Christian art at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth. And, I hope, some time with the Bitties and their parents, and my other kids. I got to pat the grandpuppy yesterday; LittleBit took her to the park with a friend but brought her over here first, so I got some puppy kisses. [Not on the face, so I was fine with that. Baby slobber is one thing; puppy slobber is quite another.]

Focus, Lynn! Out the door in six minutes, now. Reminding myself to grab one of the green shirts for St. Paddy’s Day. Top o’the mornin’, all y’all!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

So. Much. Fun.

I had three really great conversations ~ with guys, no less! ~ yesterday. The kind of conversations that women have all the time, where Important Stuff is discussed, and the bonds of friendship are strengthened. Two of the guys in our dinner group, plus the guy that my kids have wanted me to meet. And of course, multiple conversations with various ladies. The workshops were thoughtful and useful, the speakers were inspired, the food was way better than adequate [and there was plenty of it], and the DJ really knew his stuff.

I also knitted halfway up the foot on my sock. I love this pattern. There has been no frogging since I got the stitch count right, and minimal tinking. See?



LittleBit is singing in church today, and I am signing while she warbles. And tonight I will be singing with the choir at the fireside. We had a 45 minute choir practice yesterday, and it was delicious to have my voice back.

Here is a close-up of Anastasia. The spiral pattern will be reversed on the other sock.



The guy my kids wanted me to meet, says that I will love my new ward. They rearranged stake boundaries a year or so ago, and he lost his good home teacher to this other ward. He says there are lots of great people in the ward, and that they need more. I, um, finessed my seating at dinner last night so that I was midway between him and my friend Brother Yummy. What did we talk about? The Bitties, mostly. He is nearly as enchanted with my grandkids as I am. [Speaks well for his intelligence and common sense, no?]

This is where we are on the second French Sock for Middlest. I will get back to it shortly, but after two mile-long stockings in greys and browns, I needed to run a little color through my hands.



My friend who owns the duplex left me a VM yesterday, regarding our flooring options. I need to get back to her. I was originally thinking carpeting, but she suggested laminate, and I had been wondering about the feasibility of something easier to dance on than wall-to-wall. So it sounds like we are both on the same page. Plus, a Swiffer is cheaper than a new vacuum.

Time to rustle up some breakfast and start getting ready for church. Wonder if I will make it up to the heel on Anastasia before bedtime?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Loyalty -- i.e. the Girlfriend Rule -- and Forgiveness, and the Dance Last Night

This is a post that I’ve been sitting on for about a year. With some editing and an update, I think I’m finally ready to share.

I date rarely, but I do date. I am not high-maintenance in terms of wanting a man who is handsome, degreed, and wealthy, but I am resolute in expecting integrity, consideration, and competence. I expect that from all my friends, and I am rarely disappointed. My posse, Brother Sushi, Brother Karitas, and the late Brother Stilts, as well as a handful of other good men, provide the yardstick by which I measure all potential romances.

I love how we are just *there* for one another. This is true of my friendships with other women, as well. I was talking about this with a friend who annulled her first marriage because her husband shot at her. One of her bridesmaids (!) married him on the rebound and when that marriage broke up couldn’t understand why my friend didn’t want to pick up the friendship where they’d left it.

I totally get that. She broke the Girlfriend Rule: when your girlfriend finds out that the man she’s been dating [or married to] is a toad, you do not jump into the lily pond and eat flies with him. There is no man worth losing a friendship over. Well, maybe Sean Connery, but other than that, no.

We were talking in church the other day [this would be roughly a year ago] about when the Martin Handcart Company was stranded 700 miles from the Salt Lake Valley, late in the year, and their food had run out. The brethren left General Conference to round up wagons and horses and provisions. The sisters formed circles, facing outward, and took turns standing within the circle and divesting themselves of flannel petticoats to send to the refugees. That is what womanhood and sisterhood is all about.

Maybe I was too cryptic about why I stopped dating Brother Abacus, but I learned [last March] to my astonishment that one of my girlfriends was dating him, knowing something of how he treated me, and knowing that he treated other women shabbily as well.

A reliable source told me then that there may have been 10-15 of us, just locally, that he played, including a dear, tenderhearted friend of mine. I sometimes fantasized that we should all get together with a nice assortment of cream pies and *smite* him. A reasonably nonviolent middle-aged version of “John Tucker Must Die”.

The more I think about dating, the more I like my knitting.

Last April we had one of our semi-annaual General Conference broadcasts from SLC. And one of the themes was forgiveness. One of the Brethren spoke reverently of the devastation to that Amish community in the fall of 2006, and how there was grief but no anger, that they have individually and collectively internalized the Savior’s commandment to love one another and forgive one another, that they have extended love and mercy and forgiveness to the family of the man who killed five of their precious daughters and wounded five others.

That is the depth of holiness of living to which I aspire, and of which I fall so lamentably short. I still get hurt, and I still want justice now rather than in God’s time and way. I don’t take it into my own hands, but I still often wish that I could. I find it relatively easy to forgive those who offend me, and I find it extremely difficult to forgive anyone who wounds one of my children, or somebody else’s children.

Updates. Brother Abacus is not coming to the dances anymore. I don’t know if enough of us called him on his bad behavior, or if he found greener pastures elsewhere, or if he decided to do the gentlemanly thing and properly grieve his late wife and stop taking his pain and anger out on the rest of us.

And as for my former friend, she met someone online a few months ago and is engaged to be married to a man who has been married six or seven times, and whose divorce is not-quite-final. There are two words beginning with A that occur to me. The first is aneurism; the second is adultery. I know her well enough to be sure that she is not permitting improprieties of a physical nature. But I would not have believed that she is so desperate for male companionship. Does she not realize that if he is willing to make a commitment with her before he is legally and morally free to do so, then he is likely to do the same with the next woman?

Nobody seems to be willing to say to her “are you NUTS?” Including me. I was within 15 minutes of the time I had decided to leave, when she arrived at the dance last night. I don’t want to be rude to her. [There are times when “I wish you all the happiness you deserve” is a real slam.] And she is so oblivious that there’s a real chance she would come over and try to give me a hug.

So not happening!

I tried to explain this last year to a dear friend who is a devout Christian but of a different denomination. It’s hard to explain the nuances of LDS culture in general, not to mention the additional complications of singleness as an active middle-aged Latter-Day Saint. There are just not that many guys out there who are active and dating. Not in Texas, at any rate. The ones who are, have their pick of women, from the ones my age on down to the fertile ones. And some of the guys are gentlemen, and others are predatory. I never once had to play slap-hands with Brother Abacus; nevertheless his behavior was hurtful and inappropriate, and while he rarely comes to mind anymore, “pie” still seems like a good idea when he does.

With guys so few and far between, if you’re going to date, you’re likely going to date somebody that your girlfriends have also dated or are also dating. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I certainly thought nothing of it when I was in the singles’ branch after joining the church in my 20’s. But when the man in question has behaved badly, even if technically no commandments were broken, and you know that he has treated one of your friends badly, what does it say about you if you date him? [“OK, I know he was a jerk to these other 25 women, but he won’t treat me that way?”]

Another case in point. I have an ex-boyfriend whom I started dating two and a half years after my divorce was final. Ergo, not a rebound relationship. And he treated me well [not in the buy-me-loot sense, but in the speak-the-truth-in-kindness sense]. And he treated my kids well. I knew that he was seeing others, and I had no problem with it. I met him through one of my friends. And all that I remember her saying about him, when I asked her if she minded if I dated him, was that he wasn’t to her taste. Later, after I broke up with him, she gave me chapter and verse. I did not put it all together beforehand; otherwise, I never would have dated him. Not because there was anything amiss in his behavior toward me, but because other women have had problems with him. And specifically because my friend had problems with him.

He called me a few weeks ago, to ask if we could have dinner and catch up on life. I told him that I was incredibly busy with LittleBit’s senior year and a planned move after that, and to please call me in July. But when he does, I need to find a way to tell him that because of what I have learned about him, I don’t want to see or talk to him again. And why.

I think what still frosts me about the behavior of this other girlfriend is that when he asked her out, she said, “Aren’t you dating Lynn?” and he said that it had all been amicably resolved. But she did not ask me.

Boyfriends and husbands seem to come and go. Girlfriends are forever.

The dance last night was fun. Mostly. The music started out awful and got better. I heard from one of the stake reps that the surveys we submitted have been specific and helpful; they’ll be discussed in a meeting with the local church leaders sometime today. The refreshments were varied and tasty. Particularly the brownies. I had to keep going back for more, to make sure that my senses were not deceiving me.

Brother Sushi is out of town this weekend for a family reunion, and one of the Brothers Good was MIA. I sent him a non-flirty email telling him just what he had missed.

I danced about as much as I wanted to last night. The first dance on Friday is always fun, but the second dance on Saturday is always better, because we’ve all spent the day together in workshops and over two meals and possibly in service projects.

My “dontcha” shirt arrived at the office yesterday, so I wore it last night. And got several rounds done on Anastasia, then came home and tried it on and realized that I needed to frog it back to 66 stitches, because it was too big.

I need to grab some dinner for the missionaries and take it to the ward breakfast and then head over to the singles’ conference.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm a Corvette!

I'm a Chevrolet Corvette!




You're a classic - powerful, athletic, and competitive. You're all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Athletic? Moi? The two physical things that I’m best at, are giving birth and dancing. I’m glad to see that at least they got the color right!

Here’s another timewaster fun activity; I found this after a Sister of the Wool posted a couple of links for world’s fastest knitter on our group’s board.

Middle-Aged Lunacy Department
I got another “match” on the Churchboy Dating Service. A guy a few years older than me who lives within 100 miles of me and wants to marry somebody 20-30 years younger than me, because he has no kids, and he wants kids.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think it’s admirable when a man wants to have children and is willing to help rear them. And I suspect that there’s little difference in the pain a childless man feels, as compared to that felt by a childless woman in a church that emphasizes building a Christ-centered family. The very best place for children to grow up is in a home where both parents *want* to be parents.

But please explain to me why a healthy 25 year old woman would want to marry a 60 year old man and have babies with him, knowing that chances are he will not live to see them graduate from high school?

A good start on Anastasia yesterday. People at work kept commenting, “Nice blue sock.” And I kept smiling back and saying, “Not blue, turquoise. Turquoise doesn’t count.” I did have to tink back a couple of rounds while talking to my friend Sister Salsa on the phone. I got a spare yarn-over in there at one of the decreases; you could have driven a truck through it. I have three more increase rounds on the toe, and then I get to figure out how I want to modify the spiraling eyelet pattern. I think I will go with 72 stitches per round, as opposed to the 60 that [I think] the pattern specifies. I like the fabric much better, worked on 00’s as opposed to the 0’s of my first two attempts with this yarn. And I have emailed the dyer via eBay to see if she has yardage information so I can update Ravelry.

OK, I’m going to pull up an archived Sticks and String [thank you, Tan!] podcast and go over to the couch for half an hour. I’ve worked the AARP interactive Sudoku and the medium-difficulty jigsaw. I think I am finally getting used to the new format for their games.

Can’t wait for the dance tonight.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wunnis Ponnis Time

Long, long ago, in a family far, far away, there was a dear little girl who mis-heard the phrase “once upon a time” and was overheard telling her baby sister, “Wunnis ponnis time, there was a ...”

Funny, the things that come back to you at odd moments. Firstborn at barely-two, standing by the window, looking for her Papa to come home, and telling me, “Winnie-Pooh Daddy home tuck honey.” Reminding me of my promise, “We will go swimming in the pool when Daddy comes home in the truck, honey.”

I think I know what the next project will be. These socks in this yarn:



LotusBlossom’s Harbor, bought on eBay early last year. Which was half a sock ...



... last June and then frogged. My blog posts back then tell me that this wants to be knitted up on 00’s or 000’s. It is a very fine fingering weight, and 0’s just make too airy a fabric.

Remember when I was gathering things for family preparedness? I need to do a bit more of that; pick up a rolling cart for LittleBit’s 72-hour kit. I never quite got around to that, last year. And I’d like her to be prepared when she moves into a place of her own. And likewise hand off Fourthborn’s and Fiance’s kits to them.

I thought I had found the yarn for Fur Sure. Ordered it, got the confirmation, and came home to an email saying “sorry, we have two less skeins than we thought we did; do you want what we have?” No, thank you. If all else fails I will get my hands on some Welsh pencil roving and spin my own darn yarn. Or just use multiple strands smooshed together; depends upon how impatient I am at that point.

Do any of you have a source for cakes of Welsh pencil roving? I’m thinking moorit, rather than grey or brown; there’s a definite red undertone to my opossum fur.

In the “Everybody Sitting Down?” department, there was an email waiting for me when I woke up this morning. From one of the guys in the dinner group. Asking if I were feeling better after last weekend. And if I were well enough to attend the singles’ conference that begins tonight and continues through the weekend. Which I am now, suddenly, looking forward to with a bit more enthusiasm.

I’ve printed off the pattern for Anastasia and cast on 13 stitches for the Wendy II toe that is my current favorite.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Benign.

Perhaps the loveliest word in the English language.

When I fired up my cell phone on the drive home last night, there was a message from my doctor’s office. Please call them. And of course, they were closed for the day. And didn’t open until 9:00 this morning.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown accustomed to receiving good news via snail mail and bad news on the phone. So I put on my game face and went on to Knit Night and said not word one; nor to LittleBit at family prayer this morning; she is our Queen of the Panic Attack. I didn’t call Brother Sushi and ask him to yell at Heaven on my behalf. I did do a lot of thinking, on the drive to work, and maybe a little sniffling.

I have maintained for years that if I ever got cancer, I didn’t want chemotherapy or radiation. I would just quietly put my life in order and enjoy whatever time was left with my family. And I found myself thinking, “But I’m not done dancing, and there is maybe a guy I wouldn’t mind kissing. I sure hope I’m not done kissing. I really liked it. OK, if it’s bad news, then I want my sons-in-law and Brother Sushi and my good home teacher to give me a blessing. And I sure hope that You don’t tell me that I need to have chemo because I need that experience to round out my life.”

And I have other thoughts on the subject, but it is nearly midnight, and I just finished the Stripedy Socks and two viewings of Dan in Real Life [OK movie, soundtrack intrusive], and I am going to bed.

“Benign” is a mighty fine way to end the day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Open Letter to Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster

My Dear Monster:

Please examine your neck and see if one of your bolts is missing. I found one in my tire on Monday morning. I think that if you roared nicely, the guys at the tire store would gladly give it back to you.

Very truly yours,
Ms. Ravelled


[OK, I just have to rave about the service that I get at Discount Tire Center. I have been doing business with them for years, and their courtesy is matched only by their competence. I remarked on this to the day manager at my gas station, and she said that they came into her store all the time and were always polite and friendly. We agreed on how nice it is to do business with a company that is respectful to women. She also mentioned that she gets good service at Pep Boys, as do I. Here are two corporations in good-old-boy businesses who understand that middle-aged women have clout and acumen, and that we reward fair dealing with loyalty and good word-of-mouth.]

Now, what can we do about the fashion industry?

Monday, March 10, 2008

One Word Meme, Email Link, and Finished Object

Found this on Crumpet’s blog. She was my assassin in the first Sock Wars.

1. Where is your mobile phone? desk
2. Your significant other? imaginary
3. Your hair? spiky
4. Your mother? Heaven
5. Your father? likewise
6. Favorite thing? dancing
7. Dream last night? maybe
8. Favorite drink? milk
9. Your dream/goal? exaltation
10. Room you’re in? chilly
11. Your ex? which?
12. Your fear? falling
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? cottage
14. Where were you last night? home
15. What you’re not? boring
16. Muffins? homemade
17. One of your wish list items? books
18. Where you grew up? Idaho
19. The last thing you did? breakfast
20. What are you wearing? jammies
21. Your TV? hand-me-down
22. Your pet? none
23. Your computer? hand-me-down
24. Your life? peaceful
25. Your mood? content
26. Missing someone? Middlest
27. Your car? Lancer
28. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
29. Favorite store? bookstore
30. Your summer? ahead
31. Like someone? many
32. Your favorite color? red
33. When is the last time you laughed? Saturday

In other news, I could almost taste the oatmeal cookies yesterday. Ditto the horseradish in the leftover mashed potatoes [of which there are a plethora]. And in a variation upon SuburbanCorrespondent’s request, I’ve added an email link at the top of the left sidebar on my main page. I was nervous about clicking “show email” on my profile page. But apparently I can just show the email there, too, without advertising “This woman has vintage knitting and quilting books; please come steal them.” So I’ve done that, too; you now have options. If not necessarily Options.

And in major knitting news, here we have a heel:



And a gusset:



And [are you sitting down?] a toe:



I did a modified three-needle bind-off on this sock. Fed the loop end of my Magic Loop neatly down into the wrong side of the sock. Manhandled the points down, dropping a stitch in the process. Was in the middle of watching No Reservations with LittleBit and thus not inclined to get up, pause the movie, and walk back to my room to fetch another 2.0mm needle. So I grabbed one of my smaller crochet hooks and improvised. Loop through a pair of stitches, loop through the next pair, pass first loop over second, etc. Cheap, fast and easy. [Unlike me.]

Second sock is cast on, with four rounds of ribbing done before I could not keep my eyes open One. Moment. Longer. And I added the better part of ten rounds to the ribbing on the Stripedy Stockings. The tender spot on my finger is nearly healed; I foresee much progress on both socks today, when what they pay me to do is not getting in the way.

I would like to spend another day at home, resting, but Monday is our craziest day in terms of the mail, and I would be missed. I’d rather be missed for my other sterling qualities, not for my ability to sort and open the mail and remove the staples preparatory to scanning.

One downside to having not left the apartment all weekend, is that we are now out of milk, fruit juice, granola, potatoes, and you name it. I would bundle up and go, but it is raining cats, dogs, and little fishes out there. I hear it splashing down on the patio. Great encouragement for my suggestible kidneys, but not what I want to take my recently-croupy self out into.

Where is the Amazing Kreskin when I need him? Or Uri Geller? “Uri, honey, please stop bending spoons for a minute and teleport a gallon of 2% into the fridge, would you?”

This is when having a husband to send out into the rain, would be handy. Even if it’s not for pickles and ice cream.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Don'tcha?

I had another little falling-down, after baking oatmeal cranberry pecan cookies and whipping up horseradish mashed potatoes from scratch. Must have been the fumes from the horseradish. Two huge Yukon Gold potatoes, a bit of dried rosemary thrown in for interest, and some sea salt. Mashed up with half a stick of butter and nearly two cups of milk and almost a quarter-cup of creamed horseradish and do you think I could taste anything?

No-o-o-o-o. The cookies tasted like cardboard, and the mashed potatoes tasted bland. Almost enough to make me drive back to the office and fetch the Samoas. [But not quite.] So after listening to #39 of the KnitPicks podcast and the opening moments of #55 of Sticks and String, I sidled over to Knitty and clicked on their CafePress shop and checked out their sizes. I would rather have my shirt be too large than too tight. When I get too small to wear it in public [Heaven and water aerobics willing] I can always use it as a sleep shirt. I tried to make myself buy a $64!!! pair of pajamas that were marked down 30% on the way home from work Friday night, but I kept thinking how much yarn that would buy.

In the meantime I plan on wearing the new T-shirt to the next Dallas dance. Because it says “Don’t you wish your girlfriend could knit like me?” And if not to the dance, then certainly to one of the dinner group outings. They are getting used to me, to the knitting which leaps out of my bag when I stand up and which threatens to trip or hogtie one or another of them. We did a lot of sock-chasing, the day we traipsed all over the Bishop Arts District.

I stole “borrowed” this picture from Secondborn’s blog. She says that BittyBit likes to pin him down, but that they *both* seem happier cuddling this way.



Secondborn also says that he is standing alongside the couch and that his face lights up every time his big sister enters the room. Moments like this are what I loved most about having my own little blessings.

I am on the home stretch of Middlest’s first sock. Three pattern repeats until I get to the toes, although I may need to omit one or two of them, depending upon how deep the toes are supposed to be. Her feet are exactly an inch shorter than mine. Might be a good idea to read that part of the pattern about now.

For all my fine talk of dashing about and buying hangers yesterday, I never once left the house. So, no laundry done, and it’s reaching the point where I had better dedicate some time to it. I did putter, but it was all done in my kitchen: running the dishwasher, hand-washing things that wouldn’t fit or shouldn’t go in there, and cooking off and on all day. I watched my third DVD, Amazing Grace, and it’s a keeper. This is one of those movies where I started crying in the opening credits and sniffled all the way through. So by all means rent it if you haven’t seen it. And make sure that you have plenty of tissues close by.

I am undecided about whether to attend church later this morning. I feel so much better than I have for days, though I am still a little congested, and my lips and nose are still severely chapped. Yesterday morning I thought to put a little lip balm on the affected parts, and more before I went to bed last night, and lotion all over my crocodile hands, and I still look like death warmed over. It was so good not to have to talk much yesterday, though I had a nice chat with Secondborn [who wondered if Ratatouille might be too old for BittyBit, especially with the hair-pulling, and I confirmed that; better to wait until she is less of a mimic] and a very brief one with Middlest, during which I had her measure her feet, since they are still several states away.

I think it might be best to stay home again today, pamper myself with a long hot bath, and avoid talking if at all possible. There is no earthly way that I will be any good at choir practice today. I doubt if I could sing well enough to fall into the “joyful noise” category.

Making a mental note to leave the house early enough tomorrow morning that I can swing by the store and get more hangers on the drive to work. The urge to spiff and tidy is still upon me. Must be due to the thought of spring, and the sap rising, and all that.

My baby girl graduates in three months. How can this be?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Uh-Oh, Reprised!

Brigham Young is quoted as saying that what he feared most for the Latter-Day Saints, was that that they would become wealthy. [And presumably prideful, haughty, uncharitable, self-sufficient, etc.] My fortune cookie last night told me, “You will spend many years in comfort and material wealth”. Should I be worried?

Actually, being wealthy is one of my secret fears. I have no aversion to being solvent, and I know that there are righteous people who use their wealth to bless others. I think that one of the reasons my second marriage failed is that the children’s father desperately wanted to be wealthy, and I desperately wanted to be blessed. I think we were working at cross-purposes, that we had our respective ladders leaning against neighboring walls, and that the place where the ladders met was where our beautiful, precious children were born. He came to the church by way of traditional Christianity and then Hinduism; his family has a long tradition of seeking the light. I came to the church through lack of a religious tradition and and what I didn’t know then was a deep spiritual hunger.

He has gone back to his seeking, and I still have a death-grip on my own ladder, for this is what makes life sweet to me. I see him there in the distance, and he seems lost, but perhaps he is only taking a longer road Home. I wonder sometimes how he could turn away from the covenants that he made, forget the things that he knew. He used to be so privately impatient with apostates and wonder why they didn’t just ask to have their names removed from the membership records. And yet he makes no move to do so, for himself, even though he now attends a church whose doctrines he used to laugh at, calling it The Church of What’s Happening Now. [We both loved Flip Wilson for his sassy goodness.]

Funny the things you think about when your body’s sick and you’d rather be sleeping, or dancing.

I pretty much ate all day, yesterday. A Whataburger combo for breakfast: nice greasy hash brown sticks [it really doesn’t get better than that] with a sausage sandwich and a tiny box of OJ. I love how spicy their sausage is. I wanted something I could taste. And way too many Thin Mints while burrowing down through the paperwork that filled my in-box this week. Not because I was craving chocolate, but because I was craving mint. A can of turkey chili and some saltines for lunch, which made for a mad dash to the loo after locking the office at the end of the day. Chili is probably not the best choice for someone who had a colonoscopy two days earlier and whose innards were as pure as Eden before the Fall, LOL. And a sudden craving for orange chicken for dinner. Again, something I could taste. I picked up an order of orange chicken with fried rice for LittleBit, who was at work, and mandarin chicken [hoping it was fiery, and being sadly mistaken, though it was truly delicious] with steamed rice for me.

We will not even mention the Samoas that I ate while entering minor prove-ups into the system.

I am thinking mashed potatoes with plenty of horseradish, sometime today. Not as caloric as yesterday’s fare, but wonderfully satisfying.

I ate the second fortune cookie, the one meant for LittleBit. Not sure I like that fortune any better, “Forge ahead with your new ideas.” What new ideas? It was nearly midnight when I ate that cookie, and my body was screaming for sleep. My head was full of sludge; there was no room for new ideas. Only the old, old one: go to bed, Lynn, the stocking will be here in the morning. 17 rounds so far on the ribbing; when I went to bed, I was a third of the way up to the eyelet round.

I liked Becoming Jane. Old-fashioned duty, feisty women, failed romances. My life, with quill pens and better costuming. Grownupitude is being able to see beyond the whim of the moment to the consequences of that choice, and choosing wisely, or choosing to live with the consequences. I used to pray, often, for God to send me Mr. Ravelled #3, or to send me to him. And one day I realized that I might be asking God to call some good woman Home, or to accelerate the breakup of a marriage. Y’all think that I’m this amazingly patient, saintly woman [my kids know better], whereas it’s more that I’m a big chicken.

I mean, really. Would you like to have to explain to some dear sister that the reason she didn’t get to finish that row [well of course his late wife would be a knitter; we hope that he is, too] is because you wanted a date for Saturday night, a year from now? I didn’t think so. Or explain to your new beloved that the reason she ran off with the Fuller Brush man [do they still have those?] is because you were tired of living like a nun?

Braaaack! Bock! Bock! Bock! Bock!

It is now Saturday morning, and I am amazingly well-rested, and breathing more easily. I’ve put a few rounds onto the Stripedy Stocking, enough that my pushing finger on my left hand is tender, and think I will go back to Middlest’s sock for awhile. With two brown socks on my needles, I am starting to crave some color. Will try to resist the temptation to wind up some of my Jitterbug Velvet and cast on Belvedere, or to go back to the turquoise yarn that I frogged several months ago.

Someday when I have a fresh manicure and my hands are properly hydrated and look like the hands of a middle-aged woman and not like those of a crone, I will have Secondborn film how I knit. I’m not speedy like the Harlot or combination like Annie. I just English away until I’m done. I can do Continental, and it’s great for two-color knitting, but I taught myself English when I was eight, and it’s what I always go back to.

Dance with the one what brung ya, as we say here in Texas.

Still, for all the fiddling that goes with knitting English style, I do manage to get a fair number of projects done. As I list new ones on Ravelry and go back to document old ones, they are beginning to add up. I think one of the next ones has got to be that Fur Sure jacket by Heather Lodinsky that I’ve queued. The vintage opossum collar that I bought on eBay [probably older than I am, and that’s saying something] is languishing in a box when it ought to be keeping my neck warm. At less than three stitches per inch, I could be done just in time for the first wave of hot weather next month.

I am in a puttery mood today, always a good sign. I think I will bundle up and go buy more hangers for the closet, and pick up a couple rolls of quarters to do laundry. Yes, I could do it for free at Firstborn’s, and the company would be better than at the laundromat, but I get it done way faster if not cheaper. No matter how many loads or how long it's been, I’m done in less than two hours. Even though I sort everything twice. First by color, for the washing; then by dryer heat.

I priced stacking washer/dryers for the duplex, when I was bored after they sent us home early on Thursday afternoon, and oye! not cheap!! but there’s a scratch-and-dent place just down the road. Maybe they will have one when I truly need it.

I think baking might happen today. Maybe I should just go stretch out on the couch with Middlest’s socks until the urge passes?