About Me

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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Roof! Roof! Roof! [Before and After]

We had little spits of rain on and off all day yesterday, but in spite of that the roofers were able to do their job. This is the old roof, a light to medium grey. And the shingles are flat.



This is approximately the same portion of roof with the new shingles. They are noticeably darker in real life, and each shingle is textured. Click to embiggen.



This is the section over the porch. Notice how that one shingle is a little higher than its neighbors?



I’m a knitter. I notice patterns.

Speaking of which, much progress on Juno Regina in the past couple of days. I will have to wind a second ball of yarn in the very near future. I am really enjoying working on her on the train and at work. Breaking up 42” of near-stockinette into 2” increments is an excellent alternative to insanity! I am so spoiled by all the lace knitting of recent months that purling back on alternate rows is not my idea of a Real Good Time.

The Yarn Harlot has inspired me again. She’s just begun Manon, by Norah Gaughan. [I’m never sure how to pronounce Norah’s last name: “gone?” “gowan?” “gaffun?” “go-gun?” “gowgun?” “goggun?”] And I would like to knit Manon, except that it doesn’t come in my size, and I’m not crazy about that garter ridge traversing my abdomen just below “the girls”, and I don’t want to spend $16.95 on the pattern book. So I’m wondering if I could design a peplum that was all-of-a-piece, that was as visually interesting as Norah’s design and required fewer seams. And then attach it to a bodice that was better suited to my own geography.

Oh, and I met a man on the train last night. One of those people with whom you just feel instantly comfortable, and to whom [regrettably] I could have given birth. He is a fellow foodie and is bringing me his recipe for brie en croûte with brown sugar and walnuts. We chatted merrily all the way from Union Station in Dallas to the T&P in Fort Worth. He graduated from the same high school as Firstborn, Fourthborn and LittleBit.

Too old for them, too young for me. And oh by the way, very good looking in that smart man way I prefer. If he had been fifteen years older, I never would have had the nerve to talk to him; I’d have just sat there knitting and feeling shy.

I had to break down and buy an umbrella last night after work. Found a self-opening, self-closing one on sale at Target for $3.24. Big bold red and white stripes. Woohoo!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

“No Roof at the Inn” & Firstborn’s Original Recipe for Texas Skillet

First, the recipe:

1 lb lean ground beef
1 can Rotel (as spicy as you’d like)
1 can drained & rinsed kidney beans (I use light red)
1/2 small pkg of frozen corn (about the equivalent of 2 cans)
1/2 small pkg of frozen green beans (also equal to 2 cans)
chips, salsa, sour cream and cheese

Brown the beef, add Rotel, kidney beans, corn & green beans. Heat until warm through. Place tortilla chips on plate, scoop Texas Skillet over the chips. Sprinkle with cheese and top with sour cream and salsa to taste.

I like to rinse the beans since they are normally packaged in corn syrup. I also prefer to use frozen vegetables over canned since they are fresher and there is less sodium added to the meal.



Notice anything different? Me, neither. The roofers told my friend “tomorrow”, which now, of course, is today. We’ll see.

I had a great time at Knit Night last night. Didn’t stay very long, as my 3:15 wake-up caught up with me, and I found myself dozing over my needles. But over the course of the day, I recaptured all the rows I had frogged on Monday night, and then some.

[Almost]Cozy is taking a little swim, with the timer going so I don’t lose track.



Here she is, stretched out from one corner of the bed to another. And way blurry, I suddenly notice.



I still haven’t invested in modular yoga mat squares; I prefer bending over to pin on the bed, to kneeling on the floor. It’s easier to straighten up, than to stand up. Though I did concede defeat and sacrifice my existing yoga mat to the cause, chiefly because it was only a little wider than the shawl and eliminated the need to measure as I pinned.



I spent about half an hour yesterday morning, threading Peaches and Creme along the edges of the shawl. Because this yarn is so substantial, I didn’t want to use #10 crochet cotton like I sometimes do for my finer pieces. And then I ended up not using it at all when it came time to pin. I just mooshed and smooshed and eyeballed it.

Time to transfer that last picture over to Flickr and thence to Ravelry.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Anti-Bean, and Maybe a New Roof?

Since there has been “whinging” [v., Canadian, see “whining”] from Firstborn about what I’ve done to her recipe, and a request from Tinks for the original recipe, consider this a culinary gauntlet laid gently on the table, so as not to splash pico de gallo on the tablecloth.

Firstborn, please email me your recipe, and I’ll post it here. Obviously I’ve had my way with it and have forgotten what it was like when you first fixed it for me.

Vegetables? Really? I remember corn [which I didn’t have] and green beans [ditto] and red beans. I just throw in what I have in the pantry; the only thing you can count on is at least one form of bean, and the Ro-Tel.

You really did “marry your dad” in terms of male methane production. Too bad we can’t bottle that and use it as an alternative energy source!

[How bad was it with the children’s father? LittleBit’s first sentence was, “Hee hee, Daddy f@rt!” We went through a lot of bottles of Bean-O until we read the caveat that it should not be consumed by those who are allergic to ragweed…]

Secondborn had a question about the Mrs Beeton wrist-warmers that I made for her big sister. Yes, they are partly decorative and intended to peek out from the wrists of a jacket. But they are also practical, especially for people like me whose offices are overly AC’d. I will probably make a pair for myself sometime this fall. And also that pair of Fetching in the deep red. Warm hands = more comfortable typing.

Don’t cry for me, Argentina, but I had to frog back about two inches on Juno Regina. I discovered a decrease on the wrong side of the yarnover. It would have bugged me every time I saw it. I’m just thankful that I found it *now*, instead of three feet down the scarf.

This is what I saw at the end of the driveway when I came home last night.



My friend emailed me back and asked me to take another picture, to make sure she was getting what she had paid for [brand, style, and color]. I went back out at 9-something and got this.



Yay for flashbulbs! If the roofers show up today and transfer these shingles from the ground to the roof, I’ll give you pictures of before and after, tomorrow or Thursday.

When we stopped at one of the stations yesterday, this was lurking outside my window.



Dozens of them, all filled with corn syrup. I felt a little like I was in the first Star Wars movie, surrounded by Darth Vader and his henchmen.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ms. Juno Takes the Morning Train

Nearly-mindless knitting at its best. This is how far I was when I went to bed last night.



She went to church with me yesterday and was a perfect lady. I am looking forward to many happy hours in her company before she becomes persnickety and lacy again.

This is the couch, ready for company last night.



And the coffee table with its accustomed runner, safely covered over with glass. Yes, I found the good stemware yesterday, and I followed through on the inspiration to pick up three gallons of water and put two of them in the fridge on Saturday night. So we had plenty of lovely, cool water to drink.



One of these days I will unearth the good napkins as well.

I love afternoon church. It is conducive to thinking and pondering and puttering. I got so much accomplished yesterday morning before it was time to clean up and head out the door. The couch cleaned off, the coffee table adorned and set for dinner, another corner of the kitchen put to rights. When I left, I was ready to sit still and listen for three hours.

And I had another meeting with the bishop, this time to discuss my new calling. It’s a good one*, and I’m excited. Church etiquette requires that I not divulge it until I've been sustained by the congregation in sacrament [because we uphold one another in our callings by common consent, and if everybody leaps up and says “Ewww, not her” then that would create a problem].

*A good one by my very subjective standards, meaning that I am not the nursery leader. Though if that’s the calling they had extended, I would have accepted, because really it’s not the bishop who extends the call, it’s the Lord, and I already gave Him a lifetime’s worth of no-thank-yous before I joined the church.

Firstborn asked for my modifications on her Texas Skillet recipe. This batch:

1 can garbanzo beans [chickpeas]
1 can Great Northern beans
1 can ranch style beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans, undrained
2 cans Ro-Tel Original
1.5 lbs extra lean ground beef [4% fat], browned with jarred minced garlic to taste.
Sour cream and guacamole to top it off.
Tortilla chips

Equals one very full crock pot, two full-to-the-gills missionaries, and three not-quite-sedated middle-aged Saints. I sent most of the leftovers and all of the leftover chips home with the elders, and a bag of brownies home with everybody, and I still have two meals’ worth in the fridge. Plus the leftover sour cream and guacamole.

I put everything but the stemware to soak in the sink, overnight, and am fixin’ to go in there and wash it up properly.

What a great weekend it was!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

“What do you have in your mouth?”

“Come on, open your mouth, let me see what you have in there. I know you have something in there, open your mouth.”

I thought that Secondborn was talking to BittyBubba. He had been trying to eat the wrapping paper all afternoon. But when I heard, “Mom, LittleBit got her tongue pierced,” that pulled my nose up out of my knitting.

Sigh... I guess if this is the stupidest worst thing she does as a nominal adult, I will eventually heave a huge sigh of relief. But yes, I am disappointed in her choice, particularly because she tells me [fairly often] that she wants to marry in the temple. This is a poor choice for someone who is trying to live a consecrated life. If you claim to believe in modern revelation, and you accept that there are living prophets on the earth, and the most-recently-departed prophet made a public statement that tattoos are inappropriate for Latter-Day Saints, as are body piercings except for one genteel pair of earrings, and your own mother [that would be me] took out her extraneous pairs of earrings at that broadcast to set a good example, then what spirit are you hearkening to? Same one that gets each of us in trouble, every time.

Not to mention the additional wear and tear on tooth enamel from the incessant clanking. [But since she is no longer on my insurance, that is now officially her problem.]

I had had the sense that she was avoiding me. Now I guess I know why.

On to happier subjects: look! knitting progress!



I am on the straightaway on Juno Regina, and I am loving it. Second star on the right, straight on till morning, or at least until I am 42 inches past that last diamond.



Made another double batch of brownies for the ward social last night and brought two-thirds of them home. Which solves the question of what we will be having for dessert tonight. [And possibly lunch today? No, will save them to feed those hungry elders and send some home with them and take a few for my lunches this week.]

Found my Russian linen table runner, neatly folded under the basket on the chair in my bedroom. [The basket where the paint chips used to be, until I found the blue tape.]

Decided that I would take some of my #10 cans and the dilapidated bits of that bookcase and improvise more shelving in the kitchen. I broke down a bunch of cardboard boxes for recycling and got a few more stacks of dishes up off the kitchen floor. It also freed up a few square feet of floor space in my studio and by the front door, where boxes of food storage had been patiently waiting for me to put them someplace where I would see them and rotate them through my pantry.

In order to do all this, I needed to empty several other boxes which were stacked in the kitchen where I wanted to put the new shelves. The last drawer is now filled with cling wrap and foil and that roll of baking parchment and sundry ziplock bags. And the last cabinet is filling fast.



One of the brethren who helped me move in, shook my hand at the social last night and asked, “How is the house coming?”

I said, “A little better every week.”

He shook his head and sighed, “Wish I could say the same for my own house.”

I told him, “You have kids. Little kids. Not happening!” But I bet their house is neater than ours was when my kids were little. You don't need to go to the dictionary to find the definition of disaster; that would be chez moi for much of the past thirty years.

Which is why I am sneaking up on order one or two boxes at a time, so as not to perish from the shock of it all.

BittyBubba appears to love his new washcloths. When I left their house yesterday afternoon, he had one crammed in his mouth and was gnawing away on it.

Which brings me back to the topic of things crammed into the mouth that were not made to be there. Aughhh! Time for more knitting!

Went through all the junk mail that had piled up during the week and recycled most of it and shredded the rest. The store where I got those $1.99 a pound chicken breasts has them on sale again; sounds as if I will be clucking thankfully for another two weeks.

Just remembered that I need to change the address on my drivers license. And on the registration for both cars. The insurance premium on both cars has dropped slightly because of my move, as has the premium on my renter’s insurance. They made an adjustment to next month’s bill.

NonSequitur is positively brilliant today [7/27/2008].

And I found my T-pins [!!!] when I went into my room to liberate the other slant-top basket so I could stash the extra plastic lids that fit opened #10 cans. The container of pins popped open when I tumped the basket out on my bed, which means that I will definitely be dealing with them sometime between now and bedtime.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Connection Issues* and No More Drive-By-Foodings

*Of the non-metaphorical kind.

Not sure what was going on Tuesday night. Might have been a continuation of weird karma from that incident with the soup can, mortality’s way of reminding me that I am oh-so-fallible. But when I was putting things together for the dash out the door on Wednesday morning, I couldn’t find my house keys.

I knew that I had used them to get in. Ordinarily I snap them to the inside of my red tote, but that snap has come apart. Sometimes the male part stays on its post like a good boy, and sometimes it tags along with my key fob. Like a retired husband who follows his wife around the house, fluffing pillows she has just fluffed, emptying wastebaskets, and risking hubbicide.

[I need to put that on my list of things to fix. I wonder if I know anybody who has a snap setter. I used to have one, but it’s one of many items that has disappeared in all those moves.]

Or maybe it was the disorientation from having finished two projects in three days and wondering “what next?”

I think I’ve solved that problem. BittyBubba turns one tomorrow. Something that I found Tuesday night, before realizing that my keys were mislaid, was a cone of Peaches & Crème. I set it out on my typing chair for first thing Wednesday morning. And then I found this:

Yes, I am going over to the dark side. My first “warshrag”. Ann and Kay would be so proud, if they only knew.



It says Don’t Mess with Texas. And then I made another, of my own design.



I also found some cute girly ones to make for BittyBit, after my hands are rested up from wrestling with worsted-weight cotton yarn.

I couldn’t log on at home yesterday morning, and I spent 20 minutes on the phone last night with tech support for my phone company. Power light was on, on my modem; ditto the ethernet and DSL lights. But I couldn’t get an internet connection.

[And tonight it seems to be just fine.]

So what did I do instead? Went into my studio and rummaged through half a dozen bins, looking for my book of remembrance [genealogical records]. Found my blue painter’s tape. Found a dozen or so back issues of Real Simple, which are headed out to the recycling bin. Taped my red and pink paint chips to the wall.



Worked a couple of rows on Juno Regina. Worked some more rows this morning, when I could connect long enough to check my email but not long enough to set up a blog post.

I think I know what color I want to paint the accent wall in my bedroom. Valspar’s “Flower Girl” 1005-1C, from Lowe’s. It won’t be happening anytime soon, but that’s the color that comes closest to “strawberry” that I have found. This is what inspired such thoughts of pinkishness.



OK, I’m officially tired and going to bed. Tomorrow I’m getting my nails done, going to BittyBubba’s party, and then to another social at church. And I’ve decided what to fix for the non-drive-by fooding of the elders on Sunday after church: Texas Skillet. Or my take on it, which is more like NewMex-Mex Skillet. I need to pick up sour cream, guacamole, a pound of extra-lean ground beef, restaurant-style tortilla chips, and a disposable pan for the brownies for the ward social.

Night, y’all.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stevie Ray Vaughan at the CVS

I ran in to get some girl stuff on the way to the train station. There was music coming from a boombox that was on display. I asked the clerk if it was a CD, and she told me she was listening to JACK-FM, one of the local stations that plays classic rock with no requests and no repeats. Their motto is “we play what WE like”. Which is usually a little rowdier than I care to listen to, but this morning they were playing the dear, late Mr. Vaughan. To whom I have come a little late in the day.

I remember one Monday night when Family Home Evening was a trip with LittleBit to the local guitar store so she could drool over the bass guitar that she wanted. [And presumably still wants.] I turned her loose in that section of the store and sat, mesmerized, by a TV that was playing an old “Austin City Limits”. And there he was, playing guitar with a passion that I normally associate with flamenco and not the blues.

No pictures today. But I finished BittyBubba’s birthday present on my afternoon break.

I would have posted earlier today, but Yahoo was not cooperating. Since I am officially off the company dollar, as of three minutes ago, I am hitting “publish” now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Fought the Soup, and the Soup Won!

The day started off well. I finished the gussets on the Noro Kimono before breakfast and got one of them half sewn in before I had to go assume the position at switchboard.

One of my attorneys called in to speak with his secretary. She was on another call. He asked to be put into her voicemail. I sent him to his instead and realized it as I heard his voicemail prompt. I was so startled that I didn’t pull him back to switchboard and try again. I just hit “release” and waited for him to call me back. Which he did, laughing. I told him, “Sorry, you didn’t need my help just so you could talk to yourself.”

The morning flew by. We had tons of mail, and the primary scanning operator was out taking care of some family business. So after I opened the mail and pulled all the staples and date-stamped everything, I scanned the smaller bundles until it was time for lunch.

And that is when life got interesting, in the Chinese-curse sense of the word.



I had our new admin snap that photo. She said, “I’m not able to get the whole shirt into the picture.” I told her that was just fine, I wanted a nice zoom-in on the splotches.

This is what happens when the contents of a soup container with a pull-tab decide to play Fourth of July. I was being so careful, too, easing back that lid a bit at a time, exerting just enough force to keep the momentum going. And then I got to that last little section, and blooey! One white shirt with a bad case of tomato pox.

I worked another hour at my desk and then took two hours of PT. The shirt is soaking in OxyClean. If that doesn’t take out all the splotches, I guess I have a new painting shirt. Thankfully it wasn’t a good silk blouse, but I’ve had that shirt for almost three years and managed to keep it looking nice, until yesterday.

After I came home, I finished the Noro Kimono. I even found a button in my stash, so this jacket has cost me 31 days and $12.50 [half of the $25.00 that I paid for this yarn and the burgundy mystery yarn it was knitted with before I frogged it]. It fits beautifully in the shoulders and yoke. I could not be more pleased!

The button is formed of a narrow ribbon, woven herringbone fashion, alternated with a strand of something like unto pearl cotton. The colors are wildly inaccurate, but the detail is pretty good.



And after Knit Night, I went over to Firstborn’s and gave her her birthday present a few hours early.



Behold the stealth project: Mrs Beeton, from Knitty. I used the Schaeffer Anne that was leftover from my moth-eaten Swallowtail, and a partial ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran that I had bought to make yet another green pair of Fetching.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

When I’m Ready for the Lesson

The teacher shows up. Girls, this is one “call to action” that you can’t blame on me. I will be writing that letter I was pondering, and soon.

So, the stealth project for Firstborn’s birthday was finished yesterday. And it looks like I will finish the Noro Kimono sometime today. I am on the home stretch on the gussets. Which will leave me only one project on the needles.

Whatever shall I do?

Tonight is Knit Night. I suspect I’ll come home with a Finished Object and at least the germ of an idea of which two or three or half-dozen projects to start next. Because Juno Regina is simply not commuter knitting. She’ll take pride of place when I’m home, but I need something more automatic for the to-ing and fro-ing.

Happy Tuesday, everybody! I may come home to a new roof tonight!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Just sitting there knitting, and minding my own business

When I realized that I needed to update my food storage inventory in Access. So I did. Renamed some of the items to match the current order sheet at providentliving.org [for family canning like I did with my ward on Saturday]. Updated the expiration dates and will pull a couple of items that should have been rotated by now but are probably still OK. Am also updating my Access to reflect the number of pounds of each basic item that I have in storage, as opposed to the recommended number, so I know just how much I need to do to catch up.

The good brother who coordinated our activity on Saturday commended me when he was ringing up my order. I probably had the smallest order there, and I told him that it was because I’m broke because I’m a single mom, and I have blessings instead of money. [It is going to take me awhile to drop the “mom” part of that label. I won’t ever stop being a mom, thank goodness, but the particular and exquisite challenges of single motherhood would appear -- knock wood -- to be squarely in the rear view mirror.] He said that at least I am doing something to prepare for the future. And I am. It’s slow work, this being obedient.

So, current recommendations are 300 lbs of grain per person per year and 60 lbs of legumes, a two week supply of potable water, and I think the former recommendation of 100 lbs of sugar or honey is still in force. Don’t remember how much oil or powdered milk is necessary. Right now I have 63 lbs of grain and 22 lbs of beans and about 8 lbs of nonfat non-instant milk and 12 lbs of sugar and a whole lot of geriatric honey that needs to be softened up. And about 10 lbs of flour, most of it in #10 cans and some of it in the fridge. So I’m a little more obedient than I thought I was, but I won’t break my arm patting myself on the back.

I think next time I will concentrate on wheat and rice, maybe get a case [six #10 cans] of each. That would give me almost 70 lbs more. And four #10 cans of black beans, if they have them; they were out this time. And then I would have my 60 lbs of dried legumes and could focus elsewhere until the cannery is available to our ward again.

Went to my friend J’s husband’s farewell after church last night. He ships out soon to Iraq. There was a good turnout. I’ve known and liked him since he was a 16 year old kid, and he’s turned into a nice man. Secondborn and 2BDH came and brought the Bitties. Firstborn was there with 1BDH and Lark and one of her friends. And I connected with LittleBit on my way out of town, handed off a deposit slip so she can make her contribution toward the car insurance, met a friend of hers, and sent them over to the party, which had about ten minutes left to run.

When I got home, it was almost dusk. There were dark somethings flitting all over the front lawn. Obviously insects of some sort, and I’m not sure if they were hunting smaller bugs or playing courtship games. They looked a little like drunken helicopters, zipping and wheeling and veering away. They must have decided that I was too big to eat.

Dragonflies, I think. Just really cool. I stood there for a couple of minutes and watched them.

Got a little more feedback on Thursday night’s presentation from a woman in my new ward. She grew up in my old stake and is a friend of Secondborn’s. I mentioned that I’d met another for Secondborn’s friends that night, who said that she read my blog. This woman asked, “You taught at Enrichment Meeting last Thursday? What class?” When I told her, she said, “Oh wow, my sister took your class, and she said it was fabulous.”

Whew. I am so relieved. I must have just been overly tired. Two nights of not-much-sleep, and I put a lot of me into that class.

I had to remember to frisk my purse before going to last night’s party. I didn’t want Firstborn to see her present peeking up out of the bag. I am planning on finishing it today and taking it to Knit Night tomorrow night and then over to her house on my way home.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

5-4-3-2-1

I pulled this from Firstborn’s blog.

5 Places you want to visit:
1. France [Paris and Provence; it’s France, ergo it counts as one]
2. Italy
3. New Zealand [some of the best wool in the world!]
4. Tahiti
5. Taos, NM [I want to go back]

4 Things people might not know about you:
1. I want to try the textile program at UNT in Denton, TX.
2. I really want a Harley.
3. My whole family sings well and we love to do it. [Stealing this verbatim from her blog and adding my own “amen”.]
4. I have taken belly dancing lessons. Not so good with the dancing [lack of flexibility]; pretty good with veil work and the zils [finger cymbals].

3 Jobs you have had:
1. Sorting lima beans on a conveyor for BirdsEye.
2. “Concession Mom” at a movie theatre.
3. Office manager for a real estate developer.

2 People that you know will reply:
1. Who?
2. Knows?

1 Your favorite food:
1. Chocolate

In knitting news, I frogged back one of the side panels on the Noro Kimono and re-calibrated the increases to every tenth row. I like it much better, so I frogged back the second side panel before bedtime.

I ended up not going out for the rest of the groceries last night. I have enough milk for today and for tomorrow’s breakfast, and I have my pantry items and the new stuff I bought at Town Talk yesterday. Made up the chicken salad with that last chicken breast and a couple of celery stalks and some golden raisins that had seen better days [they had turned dark like ordinary raisins] and some commercial mayo. A little flat, a little boring; I think I will stir in a smidgen of the wasabi ranch and perk it up a mite.

What? You don’t eat chicken salad sandwiches for breakfast on sunny Sunday mornings?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Busy, happy, productive day



I finished the second sleeve on the Noro Kimono earlier this morning, and now I am knitting up both side panels. Both of these photos are blurry, sorry.



I decided that I wanted a little shaping, so I cast on 15 stitches for the hem, worked my six rows of seed stitch, and then did a lifted increase. I wanted the side edges to be as smooth as possible, so the first and last stitch are stockinette, and the increases go between that stitch and the next one. The stockinette column will disappear in the seams.

I woke up about 5:30, feeling more rested than I have for much of the week. Enjoyed a glass of apple juice while finishing the sleeve and ate bites of granola with strawberry slices between sentences. I have just enough strawberries left for tomorrow’s breakfast.

I also have five geriatric bananas in my fridge. They will become small loaves of banana bread before the day is over. Or possibly banana muffins. I want to pick up a handful of grapes and a small, tart apple to make chicken salad from the last chicken breast that’s in the fridge. And then I do not think I want to eat chicken for a couple of weeks, though one of the Hispanic grocery chains has chicken breasts 5 pounds for $5, which is almost more temptation than I can endure.

I might go there on the way home from the cannery. I’m picking up a sister in the ward. I have no idea who she is, but the RS president gave her my phone number and email address, and she lives about five blocks due south of me. It will be nice to have some company on the drive to the cannery, which is about 30 miles from here.

I’ve pretty much written off tonight’s dance. Have had a flare-up of the athletes foot, and as I like to dance barefoot and have no wish to infect [or gross out] my good brothers and sisters, I think I will keep my cranky foot at home. The other one, which had been starting to show signs of infection, has been clear for about a week, so we nipped that one in the bud, woohoo!

Just decanted the last of the construction waste into a box for Big Trash day and transferred the recycling that was under it into a recycling bin. This was the first batch I tossed into a bin, right after I moved, and I hadn’t yet figured out the color-coding on the bins. [It wasn’t picked up because I had it too close to another bin, and the Trash Dudes are picky. Can’t be too close to a tree, or to another bin.] So I can’t blame the Fixit Dudes for covering my boxes with broken mirror tiles [!] and dead electrical sockets.

Look at the bargains I found at Town Talk!



Mincemeat, 29 oz, $1.99. Minced sun-dried tomatoes in oil, 4 lbs, $3.95. Black truffle flavored oil, 250 ml, $1.00. Organic lemon juice, 16 fl oz, $.99. Wasabi ranch dressing, 8 fl oz, $.50. And two fair-trade chocolate bars, $1.00 each.

The rest of what I got was ordinary stuff at extraordinarily low prices, such as six of those nice Pillsbury pie shells for $5.00.

It is now 7:15pm. I am home from the cannery with twelve #10 cans of stuff with a shelf life of 30 years. If that isn’t a flagrant act of optimism, I don’t know what is.

I ought to go out and get more milk. I think I’ll take a nap, or go to bed early, instead.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Something of a falling-down in the caffeinated soda department

Maybe just a falling-down in general.

I got through two whole weeks without needing or wanting a Cherry Coke. And then I stayed up past midnight on Tuesday night, finding dead relatives [as a friend once said, dead folks are easier to get along with than live ones; I will add, and sometimes more exciting], folding socks from Monday night’s washfest, and waiting for the buzz of finding the girls’ great-grandfather to wear off.

Which is why I found myself rolling into bed at 12:32, with the alarm set for 4:45, knowing that Wednesday would be Cherry Coke Day, in spades. After spilling half of my water bottle on the carpet at my desk [miraculously avoiding my red leather tote, my camera, my cell phone, and my knitting], I picked up a 20-oz bottle during my morning break. And a Hershey Special Dark, just in case.

Wednesday night was not much better. I was tired all day yesterday and polished off the rest of the Cherry Coke and alternated between jitters and grogginess.

I honestly can’t tell you how last night’s presentation went. My best friend told me that she enjoyed it. She is also the sort of woman who cannot tell a lie, so I am somewhat reassured. And another woman I know told me much the same. But I could tell from the faces of others that we were not connecting. I am not ordinarily the sort of woman who beats herself up over things, and so I am going to put this on the shelf for a few days and then talk it over with Heaven when I have caught up on my sleep.

Today is the first payday where the reality of no longer being head of household meets up with long-standing debits for car insurance and renter’s insurance and shakes hands with all the other bills that are waiting for a turn. And I get to go give my perky “Day in the Life” presentation to half of the attorneys and repeat that for the other half, next Friday.

I would rather be home, knitting. I am going nowhere after work tonight, and there may be brownie baking involved. I am hoping to snag some of 2BDH’s time this weekend, to go over my budget and see where we can build in a little more ease.

I also ran into the children’s father’s home teacher before the meeting last night and gave him the Readers Digest version, which I repeated to the Relief Society president during the refreshments portion of the evening. They will put the bishop into the loop. I don’t know if I did the right thing, but something had to be done, and we seem momentarily incapable of getting together for a family council. Girls, please check your email.

On the other hand, I am nearly done with the second sleeve on the Noro Kimono. [And a young woman in one of the classes asked, “Are you Secondborn’s mom? I read your blog!”] Much happy knitting last night, in the classes that I was not teaching. Maybe I would feel that my own presentation went better if I had talked to them over my knitting?

Oh well, it’s over, and I gave it what I hope was my best shot. I’m going to pop some popcorn while the tub fills, and then I’m going to drive like a bat out of Houston for the park and ride and let somebody else be in charge for awhile.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Noro Kimono Second Sleeve

Almost half done. I just wound the last ball of yarn.

Not much knitting last night, as I printed off my notes and some quotations to be read aloud by the students. Tonight I am teaching at the Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment meeting in my old stake. I am about ready to load up the car. If you are local, the meeting begins at 6:30pm. I am teaching at 8:30, which is almost past my bedtime.

I think I have completed the genealogical information on my aunt; thanks, Secondborn!

Have just joined the Noro group on Ravelry and posted a query about the Kureopatora yarn, hoping that somebody has a skein or two of this colorway in her stash.

Brain is fried: insufficient sleep, two nights running. Could get interesting...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Girls, I found your great-grandfather’s Swedish name!

Your dad did the temple work for his father the day after he went to the temple for himself. I would have to log back in to find out when he did the work for your Grandma B’s father, whom we only knew by his American name.

Somebody entered his Swedish name into the system. Tonight I was playing, and I connected the dots. And got a little sniffly, even though technically speaking I suppose I am no longer part of that family, at least from the world’s point of view. You girls still are, and we’ll sort out all the technical and ecclesiastical details in the Millenium, or in the eternities.

If you go to the new family research website and enter your membership number and confirmation date [Firstborn and Secondborn, I know both your stakes are “live” with the new program], and link to me if you’re not already, then follow it back through your dad's mom, you’ll find a different name than we had in your dad’s book of remembrance. I didn’t follow it back to see how far it goes; I was too busy following my dad’s paternal line back to 1660!

My book of remembrance is still packed in a box; if one of you has a death date for my Aunt M, please email it to me. Her temple work is yet to be done, and her son is dead. And we have ward temple night this Friday night, so I might be able to get it done this week, if you can help me out with that detail.

I entered some husbandly names for two of you and will let y’all flesh in the details. Also put in names and dates for the Bitties. Secondborn, I put down the same county for both of them, because the second birthing center is in a town with two counties, and the way that you tell is by the area code.

I know this might as well be Sanskrit for the non-LDS among you. If you want an explanation, I’ll be happy to give you the Gospel According to Lynn or refer you to official websites.

OK, something now for the knitters. I bound off the first sleeve on the train yesterday morning and stitched it up halfway.



And at lunch I measured myself [discreetly, with my back to the door] and then the fronts and back of the Noro Kimono, to determine how wide the side gussets needed to be. Here’s the first one, at the point where I ran out of yarn as the train pulled into the station last night. As you can see, I’m roughly halfway to the armscye.



I have one ball left and one unwound skein. Should be just enough to finish the job.

I got so caught up in genealogy that I almost forgot to run to the store that had carrot sticks for $.98 a pound, and strawberries for $1.47. So out I went at 10:14 like a crazy woman, between two rain showers. I got a good deal on half a gallon of milk, too. Since I had that one gallon that went sour before I could finish it, I’ve been choosing to spend more per ounce and get it a half gallon at a time.

Happy would-have-been-your 103rd birthday, Dad!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Caught up? Really?

No, not with the housework. With reading my Bloglines. I have deleted about a third of the ones I was reading, saving just my favorites. Others may go in the future [I don’t have to decide today]. When I got home from work last night, it was an easy matter to go through the new ones that had popped up during the day.

I think the days of looking at my Bloglines and seeing 322 posts waiting to be read, are past.

I am also caught up on the laundry. When the home teachers came on Sunday night, I asked if either of them knew of a good, clean, safe laundromat nearby. The single one did, and gave me clear directions. And now I don’t have to tilt at that particular windmill for another three weeks or so. Woohoo!

And I’m about 2/3 done with the stealth project for Firstborn’s birthday.

Weird, weird dream night before last. I dreamed I was having a clear-the-air conversation with Brother Abacus, in which he told me that I had broken his heart and that he really, really missed me. [This is how we know it was a dream, because I am probably the last woman on earth he would want to have a heart-to-heart with.]

Now, I had another dream recently where I was talking with my [late] mother about my budget and fiscal responsibility in general, and she offered to help me plan things out. That was only a one-weird dream, not a two-weird one. If she were here, we could conceivably have that conversation. I think the real reason she showed up was to remind me to get back to work on my family history research.

I have no idea why Brother Abacus showed up behind my eyeballs. I haven’t spoken to him in a year and a half. I saw him briefly the last time I visited Secondborn’s ward a few months back, but we studiously ignored one another.

I set my alarm 15 minutes earlier, yesterday and today, to work on family history. I can see that I will also need to set a timer so that I don’t go over. [I should probably find another time to do it.] I was able to create a record for the children’s father. I didn’t find anything for him in the church records online. I wonder if he’s asked to have his name removed from the records of the church? I don’t see how that can be, because he’s still carried on the membership roll in my old ward, and he still has home teachers. His parents are listed; I’ll connect them tomorrow.

I wonder if I can string 54 beads while the bathtub fills? I may have to wait until I get to work, for that, because I need to leave early enough to set out the garbage and the recycling, and to tank the car.

Lots of progress on the Noro Kimono yesterday; I’m almost at a decision point in terms of the length of the sleeves.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bending the Sabbath Again -- And A Birthday!

First I needed to replace the batteries in my digital scale, so I could tell how much yarn was left for the stealth project. Out into the kitchen I went, opening boxes until I found the AAA batteries. Whew! It looks like I will not run out of yarn before I run out of project.

Then I realized that with LittleBit invited for after church/work to help me polish off Friday night’s leftover pasta, I needed to find the stainless that I bought on eBay shortly before moving. Eating with silver or gold-plated flatware gives her a stomach-ache. She’s not the only one of the girls who is sensitive to metals.



So, more boxes. As Mom would have said, it was in the last place I looked. I emptied a dozen boxes, all told. And peeked inside several more. And worked up quite an appetite.

When Brother Sushi was here, he pointed out a good place to hang a pot rack and maybe one of those magnetic knife racks. He also suggested moving the fridge farther to the left, to where the back door will just clear it, and opening up more space between the fridge and the window, where my nice table stands. He pointed out that it’s a good-sized kitchen, just awkwardly arranged and with insufficient storage for the 21st century.

Another good archived post from Unclutterer. I particularly enjoyed the story about everybody putting on the overalls and having a family portrait made. I guess all the girls and grandkids could line up for a photo op with my sheep collection?

I have been organizing my digital photos by month, because the default naming system was driving me buggy. And eventually I will have everything in my life documented, archived, etc., to make life easier for the executors of my estate.

There will still be tons and tons of stuff, but it ought to be easier to manage.

LittleBit called me after church. She was low on gas and didn’t want to break the Sabbath by filling her tank; she will call me tonight when she has her schedule so we can plan another time to get together.

Here is the current incarnation of the living room, panning from left to right:



There’s a couch under there. Trust me!



And finally.



Today is Middlest’s birthday; a whole quarter century! Happy birthday, honey!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Best-laid Plans

After purging a few more numbers from my cell phone yesterday morning, I called Best Friend. Who had a sore throat. And as my immune system is already fighting off a mysterious case of athlete’s foot [how can I have that if I’m one of the least-athletic people I know?], I told her “Let’s reschedule.”

So I worked the Sudoku on the AARP website. And I did the dishes. And then I boiled up the last of the eggs. A man on the train told me about Sprouts, which is something like a cross between Whole Foods and a farmers market; they carry local eggs. But the nearest one is in Southlake, which puts those particular free-range eggs just out of range.

So later this week I will go to Central Market, where I’ve bought them in the past. I do want to go check out Sprouts, but it will have to be as part of a yarn crawl or quilt shop hop, or maybe as a slight detour on the way to the next Lewisville dance. The market is open until 10:00pm, so that could work.

Meanwhile, there is the one in BigD, which is not too far from the office. I could catch the train super early, take a bus to the farmers market, take another one back to the office, and put a “hands off!” sticky-note on my stuff and another one on my monitor to remind me to take the food home at the end of the day. Maybe the Dallas farmers market will have some of that sweet potato pappardelle?

Or I could just use the list that a friend has given me of good places to visit that are closer to home. There is a farmers market maybe five miles to the west of me. [Maybe less.] And near that is a craft shop and a large secondhand book store.

While we are still on the topic of food: I am amazed how long a loaf of bread lasts when it’s just me here to eat it. Thank goodness I keep mine in the fridge; it may go stale, but it doesn’t get moldy. I ate the last mini-bagel, purchased before the move, for breakfast yesterday morning, and I have yet to finish the millet bread that I bought that first week I was here in the duplex. I have to toast it to [ahem!] even out the crispiness, but it’s still fit to eat and definitely a good workout for my teeth and gums.

Which reminds me that Brother Brigham was partial to whole-grain bread that had been baked in the fire until it had a crust about half an inch thick. That’s a little too al dente for my own taste, but as they say, it’s differences of opinion that make horse races.

He also said that if you want to send your husband to an early grave, feed him baking powder biscuits. Death by Bisquick? Sorry, Brother Brigham. No jury of working women would convict me! Although I haven’t bought Bisquick in years; too much sodium to be healthy for me.

And now, something for those readers who thought this was a knitting blog. Much progress on a stealth project that may or may not end up as Firstborn’s birthday gift. They say you should give people things that would please you. And I’ve been wanting one of these for about a year and a half. So if she doesn’t like it at all, I’ll gladly take it back for my own. And if she likes the design but not the color, I’ll make her another.

So, no pictures, not until after my blogiversary, which coincides with her 30th birthday.

Back to the topic of food. You may recall that last weekend I scored chicken breasts for $1.99 a pound. And that I threw them into the crock pot early in the week, and a day or so later put the stock back into the crock pot with some frozen vegetables and a large potato, to make a batch of soup. That wily tater gobbled up all of the salt, and the resulting soup was flat and a little bleh.

I was hungry after all that knitting yesterday afternoon, and I decided to see if I could perk up the soup and still have a healthy meal. I opened a can of Ro-Tel and put half of it in the pot, with a quart mason jar of soup, and one of the chicken breasts, chopped up. And a smidge of cinnamon. I must be needing something in the way of micro-nutrients, because suddenly I want cinnamon on or in everything. Weird.

I am pleased to report that half a can of Ro-Tel is apparently just what the Soup Doctor ordered, because it was mighty tasty. And I followed it with a couple of smallish slices of millet bread, toasted, and the merest whisper of butter. And there is plenty for after church today. And after work tomorrow. Not to mention the other quart of bleh that is waiting in the fridge to be perked.

OK, OK, something other than food. I have decided to set up some rewards, most likely small shopping splurges, for each reasonable milestone on my journey to debt-free living. Probably not yarn; I have enough in my stash to last me two or three years at the current rate. Maybe books and music that are on my Amazon wish list.

And another non-food item. I got a call from the bishop’s wife yesterday, inviting me to attend the family history [genealogical research] class that begins today. I told her that while I would prefer to stay in the Gospel Doctrine class, I’ve been sensing that it’s time to get back into genealogy. So her call was almost certainly inspired, and yes, I will be attending the class. I think there are ancestors who want to be found, and I’ve been wondering recently if the temple work has been done for my favorite aunt, who died a couple of years ago.

One of the things I like about going to church and reading the scriptures [or in my case, listening to them on CD while driving] and praying, is that every so often my mind calms down enough that I can hear or feel the Spirit. That happened in church last Sunday. I was thinking about the children’s father and how rapidly his health is deteriorating. And I was thinking about the girls and their relationships [or not] with him. And mine, which is in the latter category; I haven’t spoken to him since Christmas.

He is diabetic and non-compliant; i.e., he should be taking insulin and is not. He has had neuropathy in his feet for at least 15 years, and now it’s in his hands as well. He has had macular degeneration in one eye for that long or longer, but now probably both eyes. He cannot walk a straight line; the police brought him home a few weeks ago when he was out walking to try to find work. He doesn’t eat properly. He doesn’t remember to take the dog outside. And he still wants to drive.

I used to be angry with him. Heaven knows there was plenty to be angry about, once I stopped burying it in depression and started to deal with it. But with time and prayer and distance and a good amount of counseling with a truly inspired counselor, I have pretty much forgiven him for his sins of omission against me. I am still chewing on his sins of omission against our children. That old mama bear that is deep inside most mothers, the one that growls “don’t mess with my cubs”, she hasn’t forgotten. Or forgiven. [Thankfully, I don't have to forgive him for predatory behavior, just passive-aggression and chronic unemployment and a few other things.]

I was thinking about him in church last week, wondering why he is still hanging onto life when his mind is gone and his heart is absent. I’m sure that LittleBit prays often for him to be healed and happy and here, so he can walk her down the aisle when she finds someone worthy. I know a little something about the power in a child’s prayer; Secondborn is the child who prayed her younger sisters here, particularly LittleBit.

It’s hard to know how to pray for him, what is the best thing to ask on his behalf. For years it was Tevye’s prayer for the Tsar, “God bless and keep the Tsar -- far from [me]”. But the realities of visitation made that impossible. Until I moved last month, for the past ten years we have lived within three miles of one another, and since last September, within a hundred yards.

I was talking about this with Brother Sushi on Friday night. He is diabetic, and he monitors himself very carefully. He says the big three killers of diabetics are heart attacks, stroke, and gangrene. And that with the rapid deterioration the girls are witnessing, one of the three is almost inevitable, it’s just a question of which, and when.

So there are a couple of things I am pondering. One is the idea that maybe he is still here so that those of us who have the most to forgive him for, will have plenty of opportunity to do so. Maybe we are holding him back by our reluctance, even more than LittleBit is holding him here by her faith. I was thinking about one child who has grieved so deeply over him that in part she has shut down emotionally. I see something of how that affects her relationships with the other men in her life. I know how it continues to affect my relationships with the men in mine, and my relationship with God, though I can also feel God’s healing power in my life. And I think that God is working underground in hers.

And the other thing is a growing conviction that I need to write him a letter of forgiveness. It cannot be all-inclusive at this time, but I can at least make a start. Oye. One of the ways that I can identify inspiration in my own life, is when I am prompted to do something that is good, that the natural me does not want to do. Like going to the family history class. Or this.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

First Dinner Guest at the Duplex



Here is my oh so shabby chic coffee table, with the glass top I had made for it a few years back, but without the taupe and rose damask runner that normally goes between the table and the glass. The big bowl is something that I picked up at Big Lots for three or four dollars. I have another just like it. Perfect for ginormous bowls of pasta, or floating candles at a dinner party, or corralling multiple bottles of vitamins and herbs. The other one is slight cracked [not unlike its owner] so doesn’t get trotted out for food duty. They go perfectly with some bowls that I bought at Pier One about ten years ago: same hand-painted border but with an additional heart border. Only four of those bowls survive, and I wash them carefully.

I brought out the good silverware. And yes, those are plastic cups that you see; I still have no idea which box contains my good stemware. The white ramekins hold grape tomatoes, sliced in half, because I only had seven of them. The little heart-shaped bowls hold our brownies for dessert; I bought those bowls when Brother Sushi said to me several years ago, “Garden Ridge is having a special on something I think you might like, and I have never gone shopping there. Want to go exploring with me?”

I didn’t care for most of the Red Hat dishes that were on sale, which were what had prompted him to call, though I did buy a package of four napkin rings. But I brought home twelve earthenware bowls shaped like poppies, and twelve of these small hearts, to go with the Waverly plates I had just bought on close-out at Target for $10. [Yes, Waverly plates at less than a dollar apiece. I know!] Suffice it to say that even with Garden Ridge prices, what I spent on the big bowls and the small ones more than canceled out any savings on the plates which inspired their purchase.

And that was before I started buying the gold-leafed chargers at Pier One, one or two a month until I had service for twelve. Obscenely expensive in this woman’s book, but they sure do dress up a table.

Brother Sushi brought the pasta he had picked up at the Farmers Market in Dallas. Also his chunk of parmegiano-reggiano and grater, because I told him I’m not buying more of the good stuff until I use the last bit of the cheap stuff that’s in my fridge. The pasta came bundled in red and white checked gift paper. Yes, I should have photographed it first, before cooking it and tossing the paper into the recycling. But we were starving, and that took precedence.

When I got home from work last night, I put the big pot on to simmer and dug out my cast iron skillet. Heated some extra-virgin olive oil and a couple tablespoons of butter in it, tossed in my red pepper [which was just past its prime, so it wouldn’t cooperate with the mandoline; I had to cut it up old school] and some bottled minced garlic and mooshed that around for awhile, then added two of my previously cooked chicken breasts and the tiniest pinch of cinnamon. I toyed with the idea of a splash of lemon juice, but lemon is not his favorite and it is one of mine, and I was afraid I’d overdo it and spoil the sauce.

I didn’t even time the pasta, just gave it a stir and cut off a piece to taste it and then gave it another minute or so.

Food review: this is pasta like Neiman Marcus is a department store. Nutty, earthy, herbal, all sorts of subtle things going on. Just amazing. Here is a link to Pappardelle’s website. We had the tomato basil fettucine. I would like to try their sweet potato pappardelle; they suggest topping it with browned butter, a bit of brown sugar, and caramelized walnuts. I would substitute pecans, of course.

Mr. DeMille, our dinner is ready for its close-up!



And after a few bites he said that it might do with a splash of lemon after all. Mmm, so good!

In knitting news, I have about two inches worked on the first sleeve, and I’m rather pleased. I used my split-ring markers to mark the first row on each side of the shoulder seam and then every fourth row until I was halfway down the sides.



I figured that picking up three stitches per four rows would give me a grist that I liked, and I guessed right. I picked up a total of 80 stitches, 40 on each side of the shoulder seam, because the pattern is a multiple of six stitches plus two.



Here is a closer look. I worked three rows of seed stitch, to echo the six rows at the hem, because I wanted a firmer foundation for the sleeves than just plunging into the pattern would have given me. Plus, I didn’t want the picked-up edge to be visible through the first row of yarnovers. I plan on finishing the sleeves, however long they end up, with six rows of seed stitch before binding off.

Time to turn on my phone, because Best Friend is coming over later today. I also need to catch up my laundry. Not to mention wash up the dishes from last night.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Noro Back Is Done!

I was nearly done with the shoulder shaping when I realized that some of the pattern was off. So I frogged back to the point where I had done the first decrease on each side, and then I placed markers every four stitches and one in the center. I had hoped to finish it last night before bed, but I was just too groggy and didn’t want to have to frog again.

Here is the first shoulder seam.



I tried a single-crochet join first, but the double stitches were a wee bit too prominent for my taste. This discreet whip-stitch blends in nicely, I think. The other shoulder is sewn as well, and I just need to try this on and decide how wide my sleeves should be. I hope to get the first sleeve picked up while riding the train this morning.

This was in the parking lot by my car the other night. Is there anything more forlorn than a lost binkie?



Brother Sushi is coming for dinner. I said I just wanted to fix some pasta, and he has a package that he wants to try, so I’ll give you the menu later. I think we will just scooch the wicker chairs over to the coffee table and see how that goes. I have no idea where my Russian linen runner is, so we’ll definitely be shabby-chic tonight.

And if all goes according to plan, Best Friend will be dropping by tomorrow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Yesterday was one of those days at work, at least for the first hour or so. My fax machine, the only incoming fax machine, decided to go on the fritz. Noisily. We think there is a roller going out. It sounds like a threshing machine that is trying to give birth. Regular rhythmic clackings, punctuated by deep mechanical moans. We called in a repair ticket, but in the meantime it is raucous, distracting, and irritating in the extreme.

The new admin whom I am training, is wonderful. We worked together side by side yesterday morning. She ran my scanner and answered the phones. I dealt with the incoming mail. She tells me that I need an assistant. I told her that when I left the claims office to come to work for house counsel, it took three support staff to do what I had been doing.

And by the grace of Heaven, most days I make it look easy, but I don’t do crowding well, and I don’t like lots of auditory input; I get quite enough of that at switchboard, thank you. And yesterday there were all sorts of good friends and coworkers who needed me, stat.

So from the moment I walked up to my desk until I went into the conference room to say this is my life, I wasn’t enjoying said life very much. But it got better. The presentation went well, and applause is nearly as refreshing as the Twix bar that one of my chocoholic friends brought me shortly after I got to work. Which I inhaled as soon as decently possible.

We got through the mail, we got through the lunch hour, and then I went back into the bowels of the office and worked at the data clerk’s desk. And I am nearly caught up on entering lawsuits, and I hope there are no further bureaucratic dramas waiting for me today.

When I checked my messages on the way home, there was a voicemail from Angeluna, telling me that there is now a Wednesday meeting of some of the Knit Night bunch at the bookstore next to Central Market. Would I like to join them? I would, and I did. I got the shoulder decreases started on the Noro Kimono, which was much admired. And I met some new people, and I pooped out about a quarter to nine and came home.

I have a new AC unit in my bedroom, very quiet and energy efficient, and I slept like a rock last night. And now if I do not hit publish and get in the tub, I will be driving myself to work for the third time this week, which will not get my day off to a happy start. I sat there on I-30 with two wrecks between me and the office [not grammatically correct, I know, but geographically correct, so stet (let it stand)], thankful that I know alternate routes, and wishing I were on the train.

I realized while running the tub this morning and putting another row on Juno Regina, that I will need to figure out where to stop the shoulder decreases on the Noro, or I will end up with a weird triangular flappy collar spilling down the back. One of the perils of design-as-you-go.

The Etsy goodie that I found for Middlest should arrive chez elle in time for her birthday, woohoo! Now to figure out what to do for Firstborn and BittyBubba. Now those are “problems” I don’t mind finding the solutions for!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wednesday? How can this be?

I thought that I would have a picture of a finished back on the Noro Kimono to show you, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open quite long enough. I will probably begin the shoulder decreases while on the train this morning.

Work was busy but not crazy-busy, and the new admin I am helping to train, was able to take a big chunk out of the scanning in my inbox so that I could sit in the back of the office and enter new lawsuits. There will probably be more of that today.

I loved being able to get up from my desk and go to the copier, go to the ladies’ room, go ask a question, go take somebody the paperwork for their newly-assigned suit.

Knit Night was great [as usual]. Love those ladies!

Today we have our support staff meeting, and I will be the star of our new “day in the life” vignette. How to condense 56 years of living into five to ten minutes? I'll be doing this again next week for the lawyers and the paralegals in their staff meeting.

Gee, some days it really is all about me!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The same knife you used to put butter on your ear

I was really tired when I read this archived post on unclutterer. And it struck me funny. And if I hadn’t laughed, it would’ve struck me again.



Here we are, good to go on a Tuesday morning. Teeny-tiny bag of trash; that’s it for the week. Copy-paper box of recycling; not the first to go out to my recycling bins. Black bag with knitting. Red bag with planner, camera, cell phone, etc. Breakfast is in the fridge at work, leftover from yesterday. Lunch will be peanut butter on crackers, a nectarine, and some carrot sticks, washed down with the bottle of milk that’s tucked into the knitting bag.

I added a row to Juno Regina last night. I would have added more, but I count stitches rather than insert lifelines, and I had to fiddle until I got the pattern and the stitch count right. I did a purl row while the tub filled this morning. [How long does it take for my big old tub to fill? 89 stitches.] And a row of pattern after that, just to prove I could.

I know what I’m going to wear this morning. Now it's just a matter of sluicing off, foofing my hair, and heading out the door.

Tonight is Knit Night. I’m hoping to make it. I’m also training a second backup at work, and when I got home last night, I just wanted to eat a bite of dinner and go to bed. You don’t know all the little things that you do every day, without thinking, until you teach somebody else to do it. Thankfully, she’s bright and funny and seems to be kind and good, so the time flies by.

Monday, July 07, 2008

She knits. She mutters. She knits some more.

While it gives me great satisfaction to have one wall organized in the living room, if I turn around and look at the opposite wall,



with the couch and the coffee table and the rocker and the two gorgeous chairs that I do not regret buying, even though I’m not sure where they should go,



and the TV and its stand, and half a dozen remaining boxes, I’m not sure what to do next. As of Saturday night the sofa table [which is too tall for the sofa] that I labored and procrastinated over for nine months, was serving as a room divider by the door.



So I started on my studio. I put the sofa table along this wall,



with my rolling carts high-centered over the bottom shelf. When I start unpacking the rest of the boxes in the studio, there is just enough room between the lower stacks of drawers to stack all my plastic shoe boxes full of craft supplies, where they won’t tump over. Woohoo!



And I put my filing cabinets between these windows, at least until I pay off and pick up that Scottish cupboard.



The closet in my studio needs to stay fairly empty until the nice men have gone up through it into the attic and put down the radiant barrier. I could store a lot of boxes in that closet, at least until I get the rest of the room organized. In the meantime I have stowed maybe a dozen boxes, so that the workers still have room to climb up through the trapdoor.

Thankfully, it doesn’t all have to be done right this very moment. But I made enough progress over the weekend that the unmade progress is starting to get to me. Finish-itis is a lovely thing in a knitting project. Not so much when it creeps into one’s struggles at housekeeping.

Middlest’s birthday is looming over me like Snoopy’s impression of a vulture over his dogfood dish, and I have no idea what to do for her. The move has consumed much of the past couple of months, and she ought to get something really fun, since she will be officially a quarter-century old on Bastille Day. Something small and not exorbitantly expensive to move, for when she comes back to Texas.

Another random housekeeping thought: it would be a good idea to take my under-bed storage boxes and tuck them under the fainting couch, where I used to keep them three apartments ago. Then I could hang my nice wool coat in my nice cedar closet and put the rest of my linens safely away.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

This Late Score Just In: Order 6, Chaos 1

I spent six minutes picking staples out of the cardboard backing of this bookcase when I woke up yesterday. Then I spent two hours waiting until it was late enough that I wouldn’t disturb the neighbors with my staple gun, although I know it’s a much quieter tool than a hammer. [I spent those hours puttering, so I wasn’t exactly bored.] Now this is a very quiet tool.



The Keydriver, made by Micrin Tool Company right here in Fort Worth, Texas! I couldn’t find a link for the company or the tool. It would be a shame if something as useful as this were no longer available. As you can see, I keep it with my keys. I got it at Elliott Hardware in Dallas back in 1996 when I won a gift package from one of the radio stations. Once in awhile it gets used to tighten a screw, but mostly it opens boxes for me or functions as a petite but effective crowbar.

Here is the first bookcase, newly stabilized and in place. Score one for Order!



And here is the computer in its new home. Order scores again! I brought the shredder out from my studio and plugged it in under the table.



So now the mail comes in the front door, junk mail goes immediately into the recycling box [to be emptied later into the bin outside], sensitive stuff goes into the shredder, and we’re done. An ecological free throw by Order!

I do have one small dilemma. When we lived in the apartment, I just put the shredded bits into the bag with the regular garbage. Now that I live in a more enlightened city, I didn’t want shredded bits flying about when they emptied the recycling bin. So I will have to spring for plastic bags to hold the shredded bits, which seems wasteful to me. At least in the short run.

This is the last cheapie bookcase, all jostled to pieces in the back seat of Lorelai. It reminds me of those articles in Ladies’ Home Journal that I used to read as a kid, “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” It looks like Chaos just scored. The refs are conferring over in the corner.



The VHS tapes are once again stowed in their door racks. Point #4 for Order! I found half a box of tapes that are LittleBit’s. I drove back to Arlington to get my hair cut, and I took my quilt rack to Firstborn. LittleBit met me at Supercuts and got her stuff.

And finally, my dining room table is where it belongs. That’s five brilliant shots for Order. [Where is The Count when I need him? Bwa! ha! ha!]



Six, if you count the fact that I have put my bookcase full of pretty stuff back where the computer desk was.



Now I just need to reshuffle all the boxes that I moved in order to get it there. Chaos is snickering from the bench.