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, December 31, 2009

And another year bites the dust!

A pretty good year, at that. A new grandchild, fresh opportunities at work, two sweaters off my needles, increasing order chez Ravelled, and major responsibilities at church. Not to mention the astonishing metamorphosis of an old friendship.

Even the odd smooch here or there; take that any way you like!

So, work today, and lunch with office friends and our attorneys at a country club in BigD [I know!] and early dismissal followed by cookie-baking and oh I do hope a nap, then a quick stop at BestFriend’s party, and on to the dance.

BittyBit’s scarf is roughly 38” long. She’s approximately 41” tall. I think it’s time for a garter-stitch finale and the weaving-in of ends. Now to find a card that says you’re precious and nearly perfect and five whole years old! [How did this happen?]



I zeroed out my inbox yesterday. With my attorney in the office, no less! I popped my head in just before leaving for the day and told him, “My box is empty. Thought I should come check for a pulse!” He is reviewing reams and reams of medical records. This is why we pay him the big bucks, and also why I do not want to be a paralegal when I grow up.

We have our new job assignments for the next little while. Attorney who was out on maternity leave, comes back next week. Secretary who has been on light duty after surgery, is cleared for heavier (if not full) duty. My friend who has enjoyed the freedom of the office for the past couple of months, will once more be shackled to the switchboard. And I am still cross-training as my attorney’s secretary.

We have a secretary retiring at the end of January. Naturally, I am hoping that they will keep me where I am, move my friend to my old word-processing duties, and hire somebody young, cute, and relatively inexpensive for the front desk.

But for today, I am hoping just to stay awake at my desk while completing a review of the presiding-official directory [judges, mediators, etc.] which the office manager requested, and which she needs by close of business. And maybe even the self-assessment which she wanted two weeks ago, and which it is in my best interest to give to her, but which I have been too busy opening cases and firing off letters, to sit down and do.

One of the things I fully intend to do tomorrow, assuming I can get out of bed after dancing tonight, is to get a jump start on my tax return. Last year’s was brutal, with the changeover from head of household to single individual. I think I am getting a small refund this year; I will either toss it into the emergency fund or apply it toward debt reduction. Maybe some of both.



What do you do with a listing Santa, earl-eye in the morning? He just kinda slid over sideways when I picked up Celeste to take her to work the other day.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Knitting, Party of One

We had a bit of weather yesterday. Rain into snow, sleet in some parts of the Metroplex. I drove to Borders anyway and sat down for a good deal of knitting and some discreet people-watching. There was a deaf man who was signing at his laptop. I was careful not to eavesdrop, but it was a lively and apparently happy discussion.

I was the only one from our group who showed up; I stayed for maybe 45 minutes and came on home, watered my virtual garden on Fairyland, knitted some more, and chatted with NintendoMan. Or tried to. The chat screen kept stalling, and finally it started appearing and disappearing and coming up in random spots on the screen. So we gave up on that and talked on the phone for awhile.

I know, shocking!

One of my friends is hosting a small NYE party tomorrow night. I plan to swing by on my way to the dance. And then I plan to dance holes in my stockings. After which I will come home and sleep for a year or two. NintendoMan is working that night, so there will be no kiss at midnight for Ms. Ravelled. Which is not all that different from oh, say, most of the last 12 years, thus eminently survivable.

Maybe I should leave the moostletoe holder up until V-Day, or my birthday?

Tonight after work I will go serve in the temple, road conditions permitting. Yeah, I am a little scattered this morning. That boy discombobulates me like you would not believe...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

BittyBit is Five Today!

And the next time I blink, she will be 16 and dating boys. I have her scarf here in my lap and add a row every few web pages I read.

I went to bed early last night, in large part because I was “peopled out”. There was a flurry of text messages between a dear young friend and me; it is a good thing that I followed that impression to bump my account up to unlimited texts. I have gotten to where I would rather text than talk, in most cases. This is largely due to all the years I spent on switchboard. I would rather save the nice long chats for when I am face-to-face with my friends.

Yesterday was a perfect example: Sherry came downtown on a matter of business, and we went to lunch at Cindi’s, where we inhaled chicken fried steaks and mashed potatoes and gravy and only diverged on what the second vegetable should be. And we talked. And it was good. [No, it was great! I have never come away from time with her, feeling bored and twitchy and wishing I were elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if one of us is having a bad day, or both of us are having bad days, or everything is coming up roses all around.]

Last night I had envisioned a bit of sewing for Celeste, possibly involving the ritual sacrifice of a white sock to make a cami to go under her blouse. Instead, I spent the evening losing badly at Mahjongg Toy Chest because I kept forgetting to pause it when a text came in. Am I glad that I spent the time on my friend? Absolutely! She needed to visit, and I was happy to listen. But by the time we were done, I was no longer in the mood to stay up and wait for NintendoMan to come online so we could chat or maybe talk on the phone.

Memo to the angels-above-us-who-are-silent-notes-taking: Please be advised that I really, truly tried to choose-the-right last night. And it was probably a good thing for me to be in bed at 8:45, all used up in a good cause. But was it really necessary for me to dream about octopi coming to the rescue, and spy wars in drafty barns, or to wake at 2:00 this morning?

I have duly noted BittyBit’s birthday party for Saturday morning, merci beaucoups. January is filling up fast [oh the life of a social butterfly! -- I have at least one something every Saturday, sometimes two]. And I just finished the first half of the yarn on her scarf; it’s roughly two feet long at this point. Secondborn, would you mind measuring her height so I have some sense of how long to make it? Also from shoulder to floor. Thanks!

So glad that I caught the laundry up last Saturday. One less thing to worry about this week.

And now if you will all excuse me, I think I will go cannibalize a sock. And rustle up some breakfast. And maybe catch a nap before the alarm goes off in an hour. Or not.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bugs We Like

As opposed to those we don’t. I give you Still(ish) Life with Ladybug and Bread Crumbs:



Found that little fellow on the cutting board when I went to wash up the dinner dishes. Just parked there, twiddling his feelers, and not the least inclined to fly away home. I nudged him gently a couple of times with my fingernail and got the insect equivalent of one raised eyebrow, “You talkin’ to me?”

Much progress yesterday on what I stubbornly persist in thinking of as BittyBit’s scarf. I would like to take it over there after work tonight, as her birthday is tomorrow, when I’d like to go to Knit Night instead of heading straight for Fort Worth at the end of the day. I’d like to take Celeste to work as well, preferably with an undershirt or cami under her blouse so she can perch on my desk without looking subliminally provocative.

Of course, if Secondborn tells me that BittyBit is having a party on Saturday, that would take a lot of pressure off; I might even have time to whip up a burgundy cashmere blend scarf in case the littlest diva informs me politely that purple is so old-school. She is polite, that one, but incredibly opinionated. I’m sure I don’t know where she gets that from! [Why did that apple fall off the tree and roll right over here to my feet?]

And I am itching to get my hands on the new sock yarn which I bought on Saturday. Those three skeins are hanging out on the back of my couch, just daring me to wind them up and get going.

I wonder what sort of adventures await at my desk today? Time to fluff my hair, put on my shoes, and go find out.

PS. Pottery Barn would like me to know that a lot of their stuff is on sale. Good thing there is no room at the inn. Also a good thing that the cherry-red Manhattan sofa I have been coveting (for what? five years now?) is not one of the items on sale. So easy to be virtuous when there’s no real temptation. Yeah, pretty, also not “me”. Next!

Shoes. Lunch. (Just remembered: Sherry is coming downtown today, woohoo!) Keys. Now.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Good to remember:

10 Things No One Tells You About Marriage. True, so true! I don’t know why the word which is used to sell everything from sports cars to toothpaste is in the coding for this link. A fairly good article, if not as good as the first one.

But enough of worldly advice. These are the two General Conference addresses which are the basis for the fourth-Sunday “Teachings for our Times” lessons in Relief Society and in the Priesthood quorums in our stake today.

I have been thinking a lot, lately, about what love is, and isn’t. How best to love and serve the various people in my life. How to love my kids in a way that feels loving to them. How to love my friends, regardless of my opinions on the choices some of them have made, or are making. How to support someone who is suffering, or give someone space to deal with their struggles, without abandoning them or giving them the feeling that I have. [How not to behave like the man I dated a few years ago, who fled when I needed his support most of all.] How to remember that I cannot be anybody’s savior, not even my own, but that it is OK, because we already have a Savior. How much I long for a rock-steady priesthood holder to preside in my home.

So these two addresses are powerfully comforting, even as they stir up tender feelings and no small amount of frustration with my current situation. They lift me out of my time-bound concerns and remind me of the eternal perspective. And I am blessed.

Also, there is knitting. Some progress on the smoky plum scarf. And three new skeins of sock yarn, courtesy of Brother Sushi, who gave me the wherewithal and a strict injunction to only spend it on yarn. Little did we know that The Shabby Sheep would advertise a four-hour Boxing Day sale, with 30% off on all yarns. My own out-of-pocket? One red cent! I have enough yardage to make a pair of stunningly pink socks, plus a sweater or shrug for Celeste. This is the same Spud & Chloe sock yarn that I gave my sister for Christmas, though hers was green. [20% silk, 80% superwash merino.] And I still have chocolate. Never has eating my feelings been quite so delicious.

Stay me with clementines, comfort me with superwash, for I am sick of love...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kevin Bacon is 50???

Scroll all the way down to the end of this article. As he so famously said in Footloose, “Jump back!” I found this out how, you ask, since I rarely read a newspaper and do not subscribe to People Magazine? Well, after my post-turkey nap, I decided to wade through all the emails pertaining to knitting. Knitter’s Review led me to Jane Brocket’s book and blog, which led me to that first link.

Oye. Now I really gotta cut footloose! (I’ve subscribed to her blog, by the way. Lovely clear writing, and not only about knitting.)

What’s on my needles? I’m knitting away on a smoky purple scarf that may or may not end up being for BittyBit. Her mother informs me that the current favorite color is red [yes, I’ve blogged about that, I’m getting older, bear with me] and that she has been informed that when said Bitty turns 5, the new favorite color will be white. Good luck with that: I am not knitting anything white for a five-year-old. It took me forever to convince my mother not to give the girls white shirts for birthdays and Christmas, because we had a dirt driveway. The Bitties live in a considerably more urban neighborhood than their mother grew up in, and their parents are much better housekeepers than I ever care to be, so there’s not that issue, but still...

The Bittiest of them all is turning out to be a real charmer. He spent most of the time I was there, grinning and flirting like crazy in the arms of his aunts and cousins. I just wanted to knit, until it was time to eat. Lots to think about at the moment, vacations to plan for next year, what project I want to knit next for myself, the hoodie for Fourthborn’s Fiancé, doll stuff, Christmas stockings for Firstborn’s tribe. I can think a lot of this through while knitting away on the smoky purple scarf.

I think the glazed carrots turned out rather well. (Girls, feedback and/or suggestions are welcome.) I melted half a stick of butter in my cast-iron skillet, got about 2# of them all slippery and sassy, poured something like 3/4 of a carton of leftover chicken stock over them to simmer with about a tablespoon of fennel seeds and a tablespoon and a half of herbes de Provence, then tumped it all into my smaller crockpot to finish cooking through and transport to Secondborn’s. Oh, and a good glug, maybe a cup, of cooking grade maple syrup. They were tender, fragrant, and I don’t have all that many leftovers. I separated the carrots into one container and the jollop into another. I think I will melt down a can of cranberry jelly and mix it together and reduce it to make a glaze for a small sliced ham. This lovely cold weather puts me in the mood to cook.

I also have most of the makings for a pan of lasagna. [I have been encroaching upon the cream cheese and will need to acquire more.] That might happen this weekend, too. And I think there may well be more puttering. There are a couple of boxes in the hall that are just begging to be unpacked, and a small load to take to the thrift store, and if I get really ambitious I may start painting the hall. I would neither hold my breath, nor bet the rent, on the latter.

Mt. Washmore is piling up in my boudoir; seems like I only did that a week ago, though I know it’s been longer. But first, there is breakfast, and while the hash browns at Whataburger are murmuring my name, I think I might be sensible and fix a nice bowl of Cream of Wheat instead. Or I could take the cardboard boxes out to my recycling bin, do my grocery shopping now before Boxing Day madness begins, and hit the laundromat when it opens at 8:00. All of which would necessitate the #10 breakfast at the drive-through, because it would never do to fall asleep with my nose on the agitator, now would it?

Oh, Milo, c’mon c’mon let’s go... [Holy cow, Kenny Loggins is fixin’ to turn 62?!]

[P.S. It also wouldn’t do to log(gins) off without wishing LittleBit a happy 20th. I’m officially out of the teenager business!]

Friday, December 25, 2009

A.D. - Oh, look! Snow! - D.

So, I woke up about 4:40 on Wednesday and was doing fine until around 9:00. Then my body decided we did not want to transcribe dictation anymore. We wanted to take a nap with our nose in the keyboard. To prevent having QWERTY reverse-embossed across my face, I ambled downstairs to the deli and brought back a bottle of Cherry Coke. They were, sadly, all out of IV tubes.



This is what I saw when I stepped out of the elevator on the parking level at work, yesterday afternoon. Two cars: Lorelai (with all my stuff stacked up on her trunk) and the Lone Ranger’s current incarnation of Hi-Ho-Silver.

This is what I saw from the front door about 5:00 last night.



And this.



Snow was flying up, down, and six kinds of sideways. And it was colder than a bill collector’s heart out there. But heart-stoppingly beautiful.

Also beautiful? My friend Francis’s post. Me too, my friend, me too. I believe because of the clear testimony of Christ the Lord which is borne between the covers of The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Christ. How many books do you know, which come with their own promise [Moroni 4:10] that if you read with pure and sincere intent, and pray to know if the contents are true, you will receive your own witness?



It is officially Christmas morning, and I just put the last stitch into the BittyBoys’ stockings. I need to wrap LittleBit’s birthday present so I can take it along for her to open tomorrow. This is my last day to be the mother of a teenager. (What is the sound of one mind, boggled?)

I need to fix something for breakfast. I also need to decide if I am going sweet or savory with the glazed carrots for today’s tribal feast.

As I was climbing into bed last night, my foot nudged a plastic bag containing burgundy cashmere-blend yarn. This is the yarn which was entwined with the Noro Kureopatera that I separated out to make that cropped sweater last year. BittyBit may get a red scarf for her birthday, after all.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

♪♫Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin' ♫♪

I woke up a little before 3:00 [but I went to bed before 10:00, so it’s not as bad as it sounds] and put the finishing touches on Willow’s and Lark’s presents. They are also getting knitted ornaments, as are the Bitties, whose presents are stacked here by the computer desk. Wrapping those will be my next task, after I sluice off and get ready for work.

I celebrated with soft-boiled eggs and toast. I think I will take a tuna-fish sandwich to work, but am not sure what knitting to take. I could work on the baby hat, I suppose, but I am in the mood for something faster. And I need to come up with something for BittyBit’s birthday, which is in a few days. Maybe a big purple scarf from the leftover Malabrigo, which would certainly be soft enough for little-girl cheeks and neck. Last year she was all into orange; this year it’s purple.

No clue what to give LittleBit for her birthday tomorrow, either. Maybe the Ronco Home Tattoo Removal Kit? It slices, it dices, it even makes coleslaw! Maybe I should just go to Racetrac and get myself a hot cocoa and hush. I’m a wee bit cranky this morning; self diagnosis: Santa Deprivation Syndrome. He is up to his ears in elves and toy bags, as all good Santas should be. I have not seen him since the party at Middlest’s, a week ago Monday, though we have chatted and emailed and spoken several times on the phone. He will have Christmas with his tribe, I will have Christmas with mine, and I will be amazed if life slows down sufficiently for either of us that we can see each other before the new year arrives.

So tonight I have planned mischief with some of the single women I know: a trip to see The Princess and the Frog, complete with tiaras (I hope). Because Heaven knows we have each kissed more than our fair share of toads!

Short day at work today, though not as short as last Friday, and jeans/T-shirts/sneakers are the uniform of the day. There is Godiva in my desk at work, if not as much as there was before I typed four out of five depo summaries for one of my old lawyers yesterday, and there are those luscious chocolate-covered macadamia nuts that Brother Sushi brought me back from a recent trip to Hawaii. I will just munch my feelings today and go to bed fat and sassy.

I am taking a friend to the airport in about an hour. I’d better get moving!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sheepie Pops

I want these on my next birthday cake! Too cute! And speaking of cute, lookie here!



No, she is not offering the opening prayer in Relief Society. Fourthborn has loaned me a pair of slacks which are perfectly modest, and a blouse which is imperfectly so. I like the cut of the blouse and will attempt to copy it in a less diaphanous fabric.

I think her name is Celeste. Maybe if you click on the picture to embiggen it, you can see the smirk on Santa’s face. We’ve seen that look around here a lot lately, on one Santa or another.

I am almost done making Christmas presents. I think. Delivered Brother Sushi’s to him last night after a long, rambling and mostly hilarious visit with Firstborn. One that did not come with a checklist. It was lovely to slow down to Human Standard Time instead of Red Queen in Off with Her Head mode. Good visit with Brother Sushi, too, if a shorter one, and then it was back into checklist mode, to run by Fourthborn’s and exchange dolls and doll boxes, then some drive-by knitting (maybe half an hour?) with friends who were amazed to see me so awake at nearly 9:00. Yeah, me too. They asked if I had had some serious caffeine late in the day.

I also came clean as to why I’ve been leaving Knit Night consistently earlier than usual. (That would be to come home and talk to The Boy.)

Yesterday was full of all sorts of surprises, most of them delightful. A box of Godiva from my attorney, and then a walk over to Exceedingly Nice Restaurant for lunch on his dime and some discussion that may help to keep me assigned as his secretary after my friend returns to full duty.

I am starting to feel like a legal secretary, to understand how all the bits come together to provide a good defense for our clients. I like working with him, and I love having the freedom to walk around the office, un-tethered to the switchboard. I will be relieving at switchboard tomorrow, but that’s fine. [Oh, I probably should tell him that.]

We now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting. Two small Christmas projects to finish, and BittyBit’s birthday gift, and then I can knit a sweater for Celeste while I order and wait for the yarn for Fourthborn’s Fiancé’s hoodie. I haven’t tried the tie skirt on her yet, but she’s enough smaller than Blessing [and way smaller than whatever Fourthborn renames Jessica] that I think there will be no problem. The next dolly arrival should be Beyla, sometime after Valentine’s Day. A satyress, a vampire, and a unicorn walk into a bar. Sounds like the set-up for a good joke and a whole raft of adventures. Although Beyla is going to be so short that she will just walk under the bar.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Driving in today.

I have Jessica’s box ready to go into the trunk. Brother Sushi’s present is wrapped. I have something for my attorney. There is a knitting project underway, and I know what I want to make for Willow and Lark.

Had a really good talk with NintendoMan last night. Just very calm and honest. I really appreciate his forthrightness.

Time to load up the car, take the recycling and trash out to the street, and head into work. Knit Night tonight; I’ll pick up Fourthborn and Fiancé at work, swap dolls, and go on to meet my fellow knitters. Sometime during the evening, I’ll drop by Brother Sushis. I am slipping into check-it-off-the-list mode as we speak.

It will probably be an early night tonight, but I want to spend time with my girlfriends. I am planning an outing for Thursday night. Hilarity shall ensue...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dolly dilemma solved!

I’ve posted this on Facebook already, so for some of you this will be old news. Fourthborn and I have each solved our problem of having a doll we thought we would love, but don’t. She has a DOT Delphine who doesn’t fit the character she had in mind. And Jessica is just too big and heavy for me to hold onto. My hand aches when I wrap it around her waist to pick her up. Fourthborn was going to sell her Delphine and use the money to buy a similar mold in a smaller size. I was thinking of a smaller Iplehouse doll. And I was kinda coveting Delphine and wishing that she would not be going out of the family. While Fourthborn has been playing dress-up with Jessica and wondering how to bring up the subject of some sort of trade.

So at Christmas I will give Fourthborn the alternate hands and feet, plus the shoes, and she will keep Delphine’s outfit which is lovely and well-made but prompted the “Auntie Fourthborn, is that doll dressed modestly?” query from BittyBit at one of the tribal feasts last year. And she will give me a pair of shoes; maybe the tie skirt I made for Jessica will fit Delphine, with a little tweaking. And I will have a new doll, nameless and naked except for a pair of shoes and maybe a spare wig. Oh, and vampy teeth.

No, we will not be calling her Bella.

In non-doll, non-Distraction news, the concert went well at the stake center tonight. I have been reading through some of my Bloglines and catching up on what’s going on with friends and family. Yesterday I got the piecing done on one of the grandson’s Christmas stockings. Had thought to work on the second one this afternoon, but a nap won out over that. I am eating a clementine while typing and keeping one eye on my Facebook tab for a yoohoo! from chat.

Tomorrow night for FHE there will be a caroling opportunity, assuming the hostess is over whatever bug kept her home from church today. And I think, crossing my fingers and toes and maybe even my eyes, I might make it to Knit Night on Tuesday. Will probably go to the temple after work on Wednesday. And I have some mischief planned for Christmas Eve. No, it does not involve the Distraction.

I turned the heel on the second baby sock at church today and am galloping toward the toe. Need to figure out what I will be working on next. Also need to remove the October and November sections from my planner and replace them with January and February. Have I mentioned that I’m just a little Distracted?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It’s always the last place you look.



Please excuse the mess. I was standing in the bathroom, washing my hands, and I turned to look into my studio, when my gaze dropped. There it was! It is now plugged into my sewing machine. I also need a heavy-duty extension cord, because the plug for my machine has three prongs, while the outlet only has two. The power cord is about a foot too short to reach the grounded outlet, and while I am ecstatic at having [most of] what I need to make the boys’ Christmas stockings, I am not enthusiastic enough to rearrange the furniture again. Especially after spending the better part of an hour rummaging through boxes for the footfeed, only to discover that I should have been thinking outside the box. Literally.

I came home last night, finished my eggnog milkshake, and took a three hour nap. Which meant that I was uncharacteristically awake when NintendoMan called, and able to converse somewhat intelligently with him. May I just state for the record how much I like smart men. We talked a little about politics and seem to be somewhat on the same page. He likes a lot of the same talk radio hosts that the children’s father did, but if that’s the most annoying thing about him [so far], I can at least rejoice in the fact that his hearing is way better than that of the children’s father, and [hypothetically] I would have a chance of finding some place in the house where I could escape the voices. I sometimes think that talk radio was as much a means of shutting out the opinions and needs of the female part of the family as it was about becoming aware of stupidities all along the political spectrum. I may be oversensitive on that topic.

The luncheon at work yesterday was delicious, as usual. I partook of it sensibly and was both alert and productive for my last hour of work. It was nice to leave the office at 2:00, pick up a Christmas present that was being held for me [something that one of my co-workers gave the managing attorney for Secret Santa; I called the shop where she found it, about 15 seconds after getting back to my desk], take Jessica/Honor/Grace/Eve? to Fourthborn at work, so she can play with her and put measurements into the spreadsheet, grab the aforementioned milkshake, and come on home.

It’s after midnight. I might be ready to go back to bed for awhile. Or I may unpack one last box before hitting the sack. I think there will be some serious shredding later today, and maybe a few more pictures hung up here or there. I have another drive-by-fooding of the missionaries tonight.

It’s a very good thing that I am used to being on my own, entertaining myself, and just generally staying out of trouble. It is good to be able to say, when NintendoMan asks how my day went, that I accomplished this or that, that I like what I do, and to feel that I bring more than a pair of warm lips to the equation. I am also glad that I started sorting through stuff and finding new homes for things I no longer need, before Heaven decided to [sweetly] complicate my life with this new development. I would hate to be the same shy, clingy person I was when I first married the children’s father. I feel as if, with each box emptied and its contents allocated, I am also setting my emotional house in greater order, making room for new possibilities.

It’s a good place to be.

Friday, December 18, 2009

While looking for the footfeed...

I opened several boxes and found 1.5 pairs of commercial socks plus three handknit pairs. My guest towels. The big brown fleece blanket that I bought when Sooz came to visit. A large cotton blanket. The sheets which fit the inflatable bed. All manner of table linens.

I hung two pictures and one decorative object on the bedroom wall.

Found more sheets for my bed. A couple of T-shirts I had not seen since before the move last year. The sheepie PEZ dispenser that Fourthborn gave me. I ate the PEZ as a reward for being so domestic.

I did not find the footfeed. But I baked the tart.

And then I chatted with my favorite elf until Facebook spazzed, so he called me, and we talked until ridiculously late, but this morning I am rested and peaceful and happy. ♥

I will stop before all y’all go into sugar shock. I am headed into work with the pecan tart and looking forward to a short day, with plenty of time for daydreaming.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Knit Happens!

I finished the cuff on the second baby sock while sitting in the hall at church last night, waiting to speak with Bishop.

Baking tonight for the office luncheon tomorrow.

Heading out the door in hopes of catching the train today. Though if I drive in, I can have hash brown sticks with breakfast, and I am suddenly ravenous.

@Secondborn: feel free to glom any and all of the photos I posted on Facebook last night. If that doesn’t work, I will email them to you in small batches while I am baking, if you remind me. We had some major red-eye going on, but you know how to fix that. At Facebook resolution, it’s not so obvious.

Food review: the Michelina ravioli lunch that I got for $1 at Walmart the other night was worth maybe half that. I counted *six* mushy ravioli. No wonder it was only 250 calories! And the sauce was on the bitter side. Blech! I am taking the chicken alfredo lunch today. I am not hopeful.

@Fourthborn: I made copies of the red-light ticket for your sibling and will try to remember to swing by your work on my way home tonight so she can take care of that. [Making a note to myself to print off an affidavit and get it notarized at work today, to drop off with the original at the police station.]

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Patcwork of Three Mini-Posts with Minimal Editing

Hi, honeys, I’m home!

A Myth Is as Good as a Mile...

So, Leda and the swan is definitely not the image I wanted to convey. [Especially not after googling it and seeing some of the Renaissance art that arose from it, or reading Yeats’ sonnet!] Ewwww!

What I meant to convey was the surprise of finding a friendship that suddenly appears to be on the cusp of becoming more. [It has obviously been way too long since I had my nose in a copy of Bulfinch’s Mythology.]

Yes, it had also been obviously way too long since I had been properly kissed, but that is another subject entirely. And it has been dealt with, in a most satisfactory manner. [My children are gagging, as we speak.]

Knit happened, last Saturday. After two false starts, maybe three, and the strong temptation to haul out my childbirth words, I got 40 stitches onto a minuscule needle and began the cuff to the second sock. As of this writing, the cuff is nearly 3/4 done.

Sundown Fever and the Good Samaritan

I’ve thought about this recently.

Last week I took the belated birthday presents over to Secondborn and 2BDH. They very kindly and generously sent home two meals’ worth of deliciously seasoned pasta because they love me, and they know that my life is crazy-busy, and I don’t always have time to cook. That, my friends, is love in action, and it is the basis for a happy life.

When I got there, I was very much in checking-things-off-the-list mode. Birthdays? Check! Presents? Check! Hugs for the kids and the grandkids? Check! Off to the next task? Check! And I felt bad [i.e., cranky with myself and more than a little guilty], because part of me very much wanted to stay and visit, and part of me was afraid that if I sat, I would fall asleep [and maybe drop my grandson] and not get everything checked off my list. And let’s be completely honest here, there was also the distinct possibility of some sweet conversation with Brother Complication, but I wasn’t ready to divulge that at the time.

“Sundown Fever” is what my dad called the behavior I manifested, the summer I was 20. I would come home from lunch, be too tired for dinner, go straight to bed. But let a man call, and I was suddenly awake and ready to go in 15 minutes or less. I have been leaving Knit Night early, in part because I truly was tired, but also because of Brother Complication, a/k/a NintendoMan, whose schedule is several hours out of sync with my own. Hence the talking till 11:30, chatting till midnight, etc., leaving me wide awake at 1:00am and sleeping in until 6:00. I’ve told him that he is seriously cutting into my knitting time. [And my REM time, and my reading time, and my blogging time.] Remember in the first Rocky movie, when Burgess Meredith told him, “Women weaken legs.”??? Men weaken schedules. Do I want to go back to my emotionally tidy, quiet life of a few weeks ago? Not on your daguerrotype! I just want enough time every day to do all the things I want to do. Oh yeah, also the ones I need to do.

Narrowly Evading the Spiked Punchbowl

Building management hosted their annual Christmas party for the tenants. I look forward to this every year, for the potstickers filled with cream cheese and crabmeat. This year they were filled with chicken or something else that was bland, innocuous, and presumably cheaper. None of the sweet/tart, velvety lushness which is cream cheese. The orange chicken was better-than-OK [sorry, not as good as Panda Express] and cut into chunks that were too big for a ladylike bite. One chunk assassinated my plastic fork. It was really sad, especially since my thumb ricocheted and got baptized in orange sauce.

No, you can’t take me anywhere.

My attorney was in trial, so I caught up my desk. I brought Honor/Jessica to work and looked over at her from time to time. She’s lovely, every bit as beautiful as she was on the website. And I am just not feeling the love. [It’s not her; it’s me.] Blessing touches my heart every time I see her. Honor/Jessica just looks like every other pretty resin girl her size; she no longer reminds me of Firstborn and LittleBit. I may very well end up selling her at the end of January, when I can transact business in DoA’s Marketplace.

OK, that’s it for now. I have some good pictures of last night’s Santafest at Secondborn’s house, but first I need to recharge the batteries in my phone before I can share them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My name is Leda. There is this swan…

He has been hanging about my neighborhood for awhile. I think his intentions are honorable...

Great fun at the doll meet-up last night. No, I did not take pictures. I was hungry, and I wanted to visit. One of the other women is LDS; she remarked on seeing me at the singles’ conference last month. She collects porcelain dolls and so is not on Den of Angels; her daughter collects ball-jointed dolls. Blessing behaved nicely at the meet-up and did not kick any of the other dolls with her hooves. Fourthborn’s MoMo sat in her lap, looking suspiciously angelic.

Trainman picked me up for breakfast yesterday [no, he is not the swan who has been hanging about, though he is one of my wingmen (ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom)].

Still looking for the foot-feed for my sewing machine. I will bend the Sabbath ever so slightly and dig through more boxes after church. I really do not want to have to make two stockings entirely by hand!

As you can tell, I am still a little sleep-deprived, thus word-deprived. But now it’s time to put on my shoes and my lipstick and go pick up my friend for church.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I feel like me again. Mostly.

My life, already scheduled to the hilt, has been sent careening by the introduction of a New Complication. Not an unwelcome one, but one that causes me to feel as if I were at day one of plate-spinning school [old greeting card that I bought for somebody but never sent, and found recently while puttering]. There are phone calls and emails and chats, oh my!

This is playing hob with my knitting and blogging; last night was the first time in a week that I got to bed before midnight. I dropped off the cookies for the ward party at my home teacher’s house, skipped the party entirely, and hit the hay at 7:47 , waking a little after 2:00. I am now heading into my studio to steal some sewing time. There are two precious little boys who need Christmas stockings, and the Internet is blessedly quiet; I’m going to make the most of it.

The silence in certain quarters re: yesterday’s post, is deafening. Perhaps they are staging an intervention? Just remember, ladies, whose idea it was for me to go on Facebook...

[Actually, apparently, Whose idea. I can hear the chortling in Heaven as we speak. I think it’s time for a little chat.]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Baked cookies for tonight’s ward party.

Fourthborn, the dress fits her well; thank you so much! Pictures this weekend?

Did not spend much time on Facebook last night. Spent it under the moostletoe, instead.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Distracted.

And about to be late for work. Stupid Facebook!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

If it’s Tuesday, this must be Knit Night (not!)

It is 6:10am; do you know where your mother is? The answer to that musical question is found in the third segment of the old folk song, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” I am in the kitchen, baking cookies for tonight’s Relief Society Christmas party/dinner. [Dinah, like Middlest’s ex, is AWOL.] And we are taking advantage of Mother Nature’s icebox by cooling the fresh cookies, on parchment, on the cookie sheet, out on top of the window unit that keeps the living room bearable in August.

Obviously, I am driving in today. The cookies and the two cans of cranberries will spend the day in the trunk.

Last night was the first in several in which I did not wake at 2:00am with screaming ankles. My friend who is a retired nurse has diagnosed hives from the iodine in all the salt I have consumed since Thanksgiving. I suspect that there is also a metaphorical component, something which is bugging me just under the surface of my life, and when I solve the metaphor, the hives will magically clear up.

I could, of course, be wrong. That happens fairly often.

And now I am out the door...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

[New] Mooning about...

An alternate voice. I liked New Moon somewhat better than Twilight. I like Jacob and Alice better than most of the other characters, because even though he is a werewolf and she is a vampire, both seem to have a solid grasp on reality.

I have been that wimpy, obsessed woman, yearning and mooning over the man who was just out of my reach, which is maybe why I feel so impatient with Bella. Ack, honey, just get through calculus, figure out what you want to study in college, other than how to become undead as painlessly as possible, bring something to your marriage besides nubility and wistfulness.

As my mother once explained to me, marital intimacy is for grownups. [I could have used a little more exposition on why that is; I tried to give more context to my girls than I had received. And may I hasten to add: being physically intimate does not, per se, confer adulthood. In case any of you are laboring under that misapprehension.]

A good marriage has a healthy amount of physical intimacy: hugs, kisses, backrubs, and the mommy-and-daddy stuff. But first and foremost there should be spiritual intimacy, and emotional intimacy, and a meeting of the minds. And all this needs to be kept in balance. Passion alone does not a good marriage make, even when the passion is mutual and endures over time. Spiritual connection exalts the physical relationship and sanctifies discourse, but a marriage without appropriate physical contact may be insufficient inoculation against temptation.

And I think this is one reason why online relationships can go so badly, so quickly, even when it is not adulterous for the parties to be in communication. It is all too easy for the emotional and the intellectual aspects to override the spiritual, and with no physical presence [body language is such an effective reality check] to ground the relationship, people fall in love with a fantasy compounded of words and emoticons and are disappointed when they attempt to impose their fantasy what-if on the corporeal what-is.

Which of course assumes that both parties are behaving with perfect integrity. If one or both are predatory, all bets are off.

I puttered a lot on Saturday. I think about stuff when my hands are busy.

I have been absolutely stunned by music this weekend. Coming home from the yarn shop on Friday night, I heard somebody [Josh Groban?] singing “O Holy Night”, and it was a good thing I was only a couple of blocks from home, because it completely undid me. I was signing bits and pieces of it while driving one-handed, and the Spirit overcame me during the second verse: tears, sobs, and a sudden inability to sing along. Happened again tonight during the First Presidency’s Christmas broadcast. The Tabernacle Choir sang “For Unto Us a Child is Born”, and I lost it. And the closing hymn was “Silent Night”; when we joined the Choir for the third verse, I had to sign because I was weeping.

I would blame this on hormones, but we are officially done with that, remember? I think this is directly connected to my attempts to obey the prompting to “open your heart” which I received [repeatedly] at stake conference two weeks ago.

It’s been a long day, and I’m going to bed now. Night, y’all.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Thankful for my computer, and my printer.

Can you imagine how delighted the old prophets would have been, to sit down at a keyboard and type the revelations of God, then send them out via the Internet? Instead of inscribing them on parchment, or writing them on metal plates in Egyptian shorthand?

I learned to type on a manual typewriter, and if you were to sit on my couch and listen to me type, you could hear it in my touch. Bangety-bang, clackety-clack. Sometimes I almost miss reaching up for the return lever. I remember when IBM brought out their Selectric typewriters, with the little metal ball that rotated, and the tape that engaged when you hit the backspace key and lifted each mistake off the page. [My children are going whaaaat????]

I remember the MagA, where a page and a half of information was stored on a thick magnetic Hollerith-sized card. Made statistical typing at an accounting firm into a [relative] piece of cake, and my typing speed soared to approximately 120wpm because I could go back and fix things later. I went to MagA training in 1976 and was expected to train the rest of the typing pool. IBM had figured out that the learning curve was approximately six weeks. I had it in three days, by the grace of Heaven. Our entire typing pool was up and running on the new system in a couple of weeks, although we only had one of the $10K MagA machines and had to take turns using it.

All this is apropos of what? I am teaching the lesson in Relief Society tomorrow. I went to the Church’s website, printed off a copy of the First Presidency’s message for December, and am now headed to the couch to mark it up and pray over which portions to emphasize in my lesson. If I do any handouts, I will copy the talk into Word and separate it into sections or wordstrips.

What would have taken me hours of hand-lettering or calligraphy [because I am primarily a visual learner, and all about the visual aids] is now accomplished in a matter of minutes. Which leaves me more time for prayer and ponder-ish-ness, as one of my kids might say.

Yes, there will be knitting today. Knit happens on a regular basis, chez Ravelled. But first there will be reading, and breakfast, and writing, before the mundane kicks in. And I am pretty excited about that.

Friday, December 04, 2009

I am *so* driving in today!

If the weather cooperates, I will head to Whirled Fibers after work, then to a doll meet with Blessing, then to the dance. And if the weather is yucky, I will head home to my fireplace and my couch and my knitting.

I learned to drive in Idaho. I know how to drive in the snow which they are teasing us, might happen.

Middlest’s divorce may be final. This would be a good thing. [May the mother of her STBX’s child plague him all the days of his life.] And may Heaven smile upon that poor, unsuspecting baby, who asked for none of this. Bad news is, said child should have been my grandchild; good news is, I do not have to share him/her (don’t even know if the baby is a girl or a boy) with the Wicked Witch of South Texas, and LaBimba will have her as a MIL.

OK, I’m done. I will make sure to stop at Racetrac on my way to work and pick up a jumbo hot chocolate to wash the bad taste out of my mouth.

The Legwarmies [on Ravelry] went to their new home yesterday. Proud mama was delighted; I told her to not let another of the young mamas in our office see her leave with them, because other mama had been seriously coveting them at lunchtime.

Knitting booties with the leftovers but suddenly ready to be done with this yarn for awhile. I need to get with Fourthborn’s Fiancé and work out pattern, color, and yarn for the hoodie he wants. And after that is Secondborn’s birthday scarf and something for BittyBit [probably a gift card to the bookstore; that’s what BittyBubba got for his birthday, and it takes the knitting pressure off].

I posted this on Facebook last night, but for those of you who are resisting its siren call:



Don’t stand under the Moostletoe with anyone else but me, no no no!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I should be sitting in front of the fireplace.

Preferably with a small spoon and a large jar of Nutella. And maybe Diana Krall murmuring in the background. And somebody sitting on the other end of the couch, rubbing almond oil into my poor, neglected tootsies.

[I keep telling all y’all, my fantasies are pure as the driven snow. I probably don’t want to know about yours.]

I actually managed to get out of the house early enough to ride the train. Did not have much to say, here on the blog, and little that required my attention on Facebook. Dropped a glove on my way into the station but discovered it when I put my bag down on the bench to look for my pass. And thankfully, I was enough ahead of schedule that I had time to go back and find it face down on top of a puddle, and to board the train a good five minutes before departure. By the time we reached the second station, it had begun to snow: big, fat lazy flakes taking their own sweet time, somersaulting, leapfrogging over one another. Every time we stopped, it was the same story.

(It reminded me of the time we were at CiCi’s Pizza and unbeknownst to me, the lid was loose on the Parmesan cheese; suddenly I was having a little pizza with my cheese. The girls still laugh about that, and on those rare occasions when we go out for pizza together, they always check the container before passing it to me. Good times!)

Another good night’s sleep. My visiting teacher came last night, and we had our usual great visit. I went to bed a little after 10:00 and woke at 4:27, so at least six hours of thumb-wrestling with the Sandman.

I took torso measurements on my new doll, and Fourthborn is going to make a tunic for her from a handkerchief or bandanna, so I can at least take her out of the box. I have what I think is a great idea for a photo-shoot with both dolls, but it requires both of them to be fully and chastely dressed.

In knitting news, I finished the addition to the second baby legging, have cast on for a bootie, and am halfway down the cuff on that. I may very well finish the cuff on the train this morning, and if not then, on the ride home tonight.

In exchanging emails with Fourthborn, I realized that I had not even thought to check SOOM’S website for the current monthly doll. Nope, not even tempted, although there were a couple of details on her costume that I thought were interesting and would be easy enough to replicate. So I am waiting for Beyla to arrive sometime between Valentine’s Day and my birthday, and then I will probably delete SOOM from my bookmarks. Raising five girls provided a lifetime’s worth of drama, and I feel no need to [literally] import more.

I just do not see my life as a maternal Star Wars trilogy cycle, with the current period titled Mom Wars: The Resin Years.

A belated happy birthday to 2BDH; I called him on Monday in case yesterday got hectic, which it did.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Sleep is a lovely and under-appreciated thing.

I skipped Knit Night entirely. Took half an hour of PT after miraculously zeroing out my desk at work, something that is not likely to occur again before the Second Coming, beat most of the traffic, grabbed a burger and some tots [mmm, tots!] at Sonic, and came home.

I was too tired to extract the new doll from her box. Too sleepy to putter around the house. I played a bit on Facebook, returned some messages, and was in bed well before 9:00pm. Woke a little after 3:00 this morning, feeling fit as a fiddle [if not necessarily ready for love].

So, a little tweaking of my work responsibilities yesterday. The secretary who had hand surgery is back on light duty; she takes over switchboard today. The previous switchboard operator comes into the back and takes over some of my word processing duties. I continue as temporary legal secretary for roughly the next three months, until our friend is released by her doctor to full duty.

I think my attorney is back in trial today; they were picking a jury yesterday afternoon. My mentor was sick yesterday, so I was able to let the non-urgent stuff slide and finish paying bills, transcribe a couple of tapes for another attorney, etc., while struggling to stay awake.

I love having my fireplace on, and my hands are already starting to dry out because of it. I had to slather them with lotion yesterday.

A small disappointment in the doll-clothing department. As I posted on Facebook, I tried to dress the new doll this morning and discovered that I had miscalculated her waist measurement when designing the skirt. It will not clear her hips. So she is back in the box, because if you think naked Barbies are disturbing [and I always did, a little], you would not believe the glorious pulchritude of this doll. We are not turning my living room into Hefnerland.

If Fourthborn likes the skirt, it will probably fit one of her smaller dolls. I do not think it will clear Blessing’s hooves, though I haven’t tried that yet, besides which I think I want to keep her in cool colors like teal, grey, smoky plum, et al, the better to coordinate with her dark aqua / pale teal hooves.

[You guys don’t mind if I mumble to myself, do you?]

I am hoping to find more ties in the same colors at the thrift store, because they are perfect for [name??]’s hair and skin tone. And I am resisting the temptation to start saving for a smaller doll who could wear the skirt; I am crazy about these big girls. I think the skirt will be miles too long for my Beyla, although I could remove the casing at the waist and shorten it from the top. There’s a thought. Can you tell that I really do not want to let go of this skirt?

I will have to try it on Fourthborn’s Nikolai, who is already wearing a pouty expression and thus should not be uncharacteristically irked at having to impersonate a dressmaker’s dummy.

The outfit I admired at the Iplehouse website is roughly 20% off. I am tempted, and it would solve the problem of NDS [naked doll syndrome]. I wonder how awful the postage would be? [$22, that’s how awful. Fourthborn, if it’s still available when you order your JID’s, I might like to piggyback. Or I may just wait until my bonus hits and order a whole raft of shoes and boots and other things that I can’t easily duplicate.]

I need to replace some items in my own closet, first.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

You are very, very sleepy...

Yes, I am. Plan A was to come home and do laundry last night. It was quickly replaced by Plan B, which was to come home and make a blouse for Jessica (to be renamed when I can rub two brain cells together).

I picked up Fourthborn and Fiancé when they got home from work, but we skipped the formal box-opening photos. I need to take some measurements for Fourthborn; she wants to make a blouse or tunic for Jessica from a handkerchief or bandanna.

Plan C came into effect when I got home and found an impromptu dinner invitation from a friend. Followed by a quick visit to Firstborn’s to deliver an gag gift and a challenge.

Silly quiz on Facebook has determined that I am Winnie the Pooh. I demur! I sent the quiz off to a bunch of friends and family, with the comment that I feel more like the love child of Kanga and Tigger. Maternal, nurturing, and bouncing off the wall. Just not bouncing very high (yet) this morning. A slice of pumpkin pie might help take care of that, especially if I can stop off at Racetrac for a tall hot chocolate.

I may pass on Knit Night tonight. Don’t want to, but somebody needs to catch up the laundry around here, and I seem to be the most likely candidate.

I called the PO yesterday as soon as they were open and spoke to our Express Mail guy, who reassured me that Jessica had spent the weekend safely locked up in the mailroom of our building. Which would explain why building security had no record of her arrival; she slipped in quietly with the rest of the mail.

She’s home, and safe, with all of her fingers (20) and toes (20). I ordered an alternate pair of hands, and she came wearing her flat feet and with a pair of high heeled feet. The wig is gorgeous and very long. I haven’t had a chance to try it on her yet. She came with her eyeballs installed, and her faceup is perfect.

I am happy. I am reasonably well-fed. And I am going to be mainlining Cherry Coke today.

Monday, November 30, 2009

*Weird* dream

So, it’s 12:47am [well, it was when I started this], and I am awake, having crashed at around 6:30 last night. And having recently awakened from a dream in which I was in a really cool thrift store, or maybe an antique mall, getting ready to buy two big baskets full of my stainless pattern.

Just to be clear about this, I do not need any more knives, forks, or spoons. I have enough flatware, even though I went through my silverware drawer and pulled out all or most of the gold-plated pieces that have seen better days. Those pieces will go out with the recycling this week [assuming I remember, and that there is room in the bin after the paper purging that went on a few days ago].

The Legwarmies [free pattern on Ravelry, also available at NeverNotKnitting] are done.* I finished knitting them in church yesterday, even to the sewn cast-off. I don’t think I have quite enough yarn left in this first ball to get a pair of booties, but maybe enough for a pair of wee mitts to go over the baby’s hands, and I think I have some ribbon in a compatible shade, if I wanted to knit in eyelets above the ribbing.

*Not done. I was ready to weave in the ends on the second Legwarmie, when I had the thought to put them side by side and see how the self-striping pattern measured up. That’s when I discovered that I had omitted ten rounds of stockinette [basic boring knitting, for you muggles] on this second one. So while the tub filled this morning I laboriously picked out the sewn cast-off, and I am ready to rejoin the yarn and really, truly finish them.

Mumble mumble rassenfrassen.

Time to load everything into the car and head into BigD. Today I hope to locate Jessica and end the dolly drama. I also need to talk to the DA’s office about something [no, I’m not in trouble, nor are any of my kids or their kids] and figure out a wee mystery over on Facebook. Sounds like enough to keep me out of the pool halls for one more day.

Oh, and then there is Mount Washmore tonight. But there was pumpkin pie for breakfast, and there will be knitting interspersed throughout my day, so I cannot truly complain.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

So, what did I do yesterday?

  • Found the batting for the Christmas stockings, and the backing for one.
  • Emptied seven boxes of their contents, looking for the rest of that batch of Christmas fabric.
  • Broke down said boxes and took them out to the recycling bin, because having them between me and the door was just the tiniest bit claustrophobia-inducing.
  • Climbed up and down the step-ladder enough times that it nearly qualified as aerobic activity.
  • Finished reading New Moon.
  • Found the fabric I was looking for in box #8, along with my redwork embroidery patterns.
  • Tackled Mount Washmore.
  • Instead of doing the laundry, made a mad dash into Dallas to see if I could find out why delivery failed on my Jessica.
  • Came home only a little wiser, without my doll.
  • Ate my feelings. Thank you, Ben. Thank you, Jerry.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A riddle, wrapped around an enigma

I sat down yesterday with two remotes, four AAA batteries, two sets of instruction books, and a modicum of patience. My mission? to connect the DVD/VCR player to the TV (check!) and be able to watch some of my older movies.

I don’t know if it’s a problem with the TV per se ~ I haven’t upgraded to HDTV, since I don’t watch TV ~ or with the code. I can turn the TV on, using the universal remote, but I can’t get to the screen where I can program my DVD/VCR player.

So I will nibble away at that today. I may need to work through every blessed one of the TV program codes until I find the one that gives me the magic screen. I am a reasonably logical person. I would like to figure this out on my own, without calling in the reinforcements [i.e., my sons-in-law or my grandchildren]. And I would like to do it before Monday night, because I have pitched the box and packing materials that came with the DVD/VCR player, into the recycling bin, and I would like to dump in the rest of my recycling [from the dismantling of Mt. Ravelled] and have it all blessedly, safely gone. I do not want to have to beat a strategic retreat and hook up the old DVD player again.

Thankfully, it’s not like I don’t have other things I can do. I’m 232 pages into New Moon, as of this writing. (I still want to smack Bella, often, but that’s another issue.) I’m approaching the halfway mark on the second baby legging. I would like to have those done by Monday, with maybe an accompanying hat, booties, and mitts. Hey, I have a rich fantasy life like lots of other folks, but my fantasies are family-appropriate and involve sticks and string...

Had a great visit with BestFriend yesterday and a lovely bowl of lobster bisque. Today I will be doing another drive-by fooding of the missionaries. And climbing Mt. Laundry, with or without a Sherpa.

But first, I’m off to water my garden on Facebook, eat some cold pizza, flirt with an underage werewolf, and rejoice in the fact that Jessica is no longer in purdah at customs.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Abstaining from the Black Friday madness.

Franklin Habit is a clever knitter, brilliant photographer, and a crackerjack writer into the bargain. Here is his most recent blog post. Think of Dolores as Mae West, with hooves.

As proof that there really has been housework [of a sort] going on chez Ravelled, I offer these two photographs in evidence. The top left photograph was taken by FirstHubby when he was living back East. He gave it to my when we met (after 26 years) on the trip I took for my 50th birthday. It’s a polo match, taken using infrared??, and he also gave me a used polo ball. Why? because Dad played polo in the Wyoming National Guard in the 1930’s, before his unit was motorized and sent off to fight in WWII. I have Dad’s polo mallet hanging in the hall and will give you a visual after I paint the hall [i.e., sometime between now and the Second Coming; we make haste slowly around here].



This is the lower half of the same wall. The photo by the light switch is one of the ones I was talking about earlier, as is the one above the framed mannequin. The doily was made by my Gram [Mom’s mom, and the reason I am Gram to my own grandchildren], in the 1950’s or 1960’s. She couldn’t read a crochet pattern, but she could look at something and copy it impeccably. My favorite aunt had it mounted on black velvet and framed, and she gave it to me one year for Christmas. Its a miracle that it has survived our many moves; most of my family heirlooms got left behind or destroyed, one place or another.



Those grubby little baby shoes that you see dangling from the pink peg rack? Mine.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

“Goodbye, Sweetlips.”

I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately; might be part of the whole Thanksgiving spirit. Found my high school graduation portrait. Found my yearbook with the incriminating inscription. Last night while puttering in my studio, I hung up pictures of Dad that FirstHubby’s dad took on a fishing trip, probably to Billingsley Creek near Hagerman, Idaho. That was Dad’s favorite fishing hole, and it’s where Mom and my sister scattered his ashes almost 20 years ago.

I’ve spent a good chunk of the morning in the studio, deconstructing Mt. Ravelled [the accretion of stuff on top of what was formerly the kitchen table and is now allegedly my work table]. I would give you a visual, but my camera informed me that the batteries needed charging.

I am finding all sorts of things in the process: the box that my old phone came in, with its accompanying manuals and plastic tray, all now comfortably ensconced in a bag for recycling. Four unfinished wooden footstools, and I cannot for the life of me remember which two of the girls has a completed footstool, or if I gave one to a granddaughter.

The paper bag of buttons that once belonged to my friend Candayce’s mother, which are now artfully arranged in a soup bowl that I was going to take to the thrift shop which supports the women’s shelter. The paper bag itself has gone into my drawer that holds gift bags, etc.

Three orphaned socks, one of which is black with green shamrocks. Two old pairs of spectacles, at least one of which could be doing good somewhere else. A spool of tigertail wire (nylon coated miniature wire cable) for jewelry making.

The skein of grey silk/cashmere laceweight yarn that my friend Jo in Ireland sent me when I sent her some Texas pralines, which yarn Secondborn might find suitable for this year’s [belated] birthday scarf.

Last night I scooted the armoire into my studio. It is serving as an end-cap to my work table and looking mighty handsome in the process. I have stowed the padded, zippered bag that Blessing came in, which holds her human feet and calves, inside it. I can sit on the “throne” and look through the hall into my studio, across the table, and see the far wall. This fills me with a ridiculous amount of satisfaction and joy.

Brief segue: I love to decorate. I don’t need expensive things to make my place feel like home. I have lived with hand-me-downs for decades and been perfectly content. [I was doing shabby chic long before it was chic.] I bought my first new chairs ~ other than the wooden folding chairs from World Market; I am talking real furniture here ~ in September 2007, the painted dresser last year, and three bookcases plus the armoire this year.

My biggest challenge is that I have many interests, and I rotate through them on a regular basis, so it makes no sense for me to give away all my scrapbooking supplies, because it will come up in the rotation again, and knitting will take a back seat for awhile; it’s the same with quilting, decorative painting, silk painting, noodling around with watercolors, etc.

The urge to create is not a tidy passion, but it is a demanding one. I would like to be able to keep my living room company-ready. At the moment, the coffee table looks like an explosion in an elven sweatshop: jewelry stuff, cups full of watercolor pencils, beads out the wazoo, the scanner I have yet to hook up, which will eventually enable me to get rid of two file cabinets. The gorgeous huge Mikasa bowl that is piled with balls of yarn, knitting needles, Jessica’s skirt and underskirt and belt, the blush pink silk for her blouse, her half-completed sweater. There is a stack of magazines I want to get to (ha!).

Organizing a room, for me, is a bit like working a jigsaw puzzle. I have to find all the pieces for the perimeter first. That was the massive shoving-around-of-furniture which took place a few weeks ago and reduced the visual clutter at least in terms of what I can see from here at my desk. Getting pictures and decorative items out of the boxes and drawers in which I had stowed them, and hanging them up last night, was like adding another two or three rounds of puzzle pieces onto the edges.

And while I have been puttering, I have been thinking, pulling out memories and dusting them off. Had a lively and amusing conversation with a friend earlier this week, on the topic of kissing. Perhaps the most memorable one was when I married FirstHubby. I may have blogged about it. Old boyfriend came to the wedding, fortified with a bit of dutch courage to see me marry another. Came reeling through the receiving line, took me by the shoulders, kissed me thoroughly, grinned, and said, “Goodbye, Sweetlips.”

Best. Exit. Line. Ever.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

Got notification that my Jessica has shipped. She will arrive at the office on Friday or Saturday, which means I will be driving into Dallas to pick her up. I can’t imagine leaving her to shiver all weekend in the security guard’s booth.

We get to wear jeans and T-shirts and sneakers to work today. I am wearing my don’t you wish your girlfriend could knit like me? shirt. Yesterday was the first day that I actually felt like a legal secretary. I have a new lawsuit to open up when I get to work this morning, but thankfully the answer isn’t due until early December. I chewed through my inboxes yesterday, both the paper one on my desk and my Outlook, and there is a better-than-even chance that I will have time to pay invoices this afternoon. Thankfully, my attorney is one of the handful with check-signing privileges, and he will be in the office today; this may be my opportunity to make him as busy as he’s been keeping me all week!

I woke up at 3:20, which is actually OK because I went to bed so early last night. I have already been scurrying about, doing Relief Society stuff. Feeling so very thankful for the opportunities to serve.

Got my EOB for the new crown, and there is no danger of losing any remaining funds in my medical expense reimbursement account; I was a little afraid that this would be the first year I might have overpaid into the fund, but no fear.

Time to grab my lunch and my knitting and ease on down the road. I’m driving in, because we are probably going to shut down the office an hour early today. There will certainly be no shortage of available [paid-for] parking slots because of all the coworkers who are taking the day off.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Even less to report today.

  • Knit night tonight. Bound off part 1 of the current knitting project but have yet to cast on part 2.
  • Spent too long emailing a friend this morning and have to drive in again today.
  • The armoire is gorgeous. When I get home tonight, I will check it for a secret door to Narnia.
  • I almost know most of what I am doing in my current incarnation as a legal secretary.
  • Boys should come with instruction manuals. Brother Sushi and I had this discussion over dinner last night. Silly man, he thinks that women should come with instruction manuals, whereas we are ever so easy to understand, and it is men who are complicated.
  • If I do not walk out of the door in 45 seconds, there will be h-e-double-hockey-sticks to pay.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Not much to report today.

Another lovely, quiet, peaceful, blessed Sabbath. A new friendship, because I sang in the choir. She’s the alto who sat next to me, and we just clicked. She’s on Facebook, and we sent leisurely emails back and forth all evening (once I awoke from my nap).

Great nap. Splendid nap. Even the East German judges would have given it a 9.5.

Looking forward to work today. Brother Sushi is off today, and he’s picking up my armoire at the antique store and bringing it here, and then we are having our December dinner a couple of weeks early, at Texas de Brazil.

Knitting project is going well. I will finish part 1 sometime today and hope to get a good start on part 2.

Am heading to work by way of the dentist’s office; I popped out my temporary crown while flossing. My fault entirely: I chew my food on the right side, but I chew ice on the left, and there ya go!

LittleBit has a cell phone again. I have really missed her random voicemails and text messages.

There are leftovers in the fridge at work. No need to pack a lunch today.

I think I will grab a cinnamon roll from Kolache Man, since I’ll be in Arlington. And maybe flirt a little, not so much as you’d notice. OK, I’m outta here!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Trust and fear

HappySimple, on the subject of trust.

While I remember: Brother Sushi and I did not go to Cavalli’s for dinner on Friday night. He got home late enough that we felt it wiser to grab something closer to home(s). So that will be another dinner for another day.

We talk about all sorts of things. He shared that he had prayed over something that was bugging him, and the answer he got was gentle, humorous, and quite specific in its ambiguity. He and I are both the sort of people who like to have everything sorted tidily into boxes. None of this messy spillover from one part of life into the next, just calm quiet orderly progression from Point A to Point B. With the occasional rest stop for a dish of crême brulée.

I had one of those moments myself, last night. Just sitting there minding my own business in the Saturday session of stake conference when three words popped out of somebody’s talk as if they had been bolded or italicized or surrounded by neon lights. And the same three words popped up in the next talk, and the one after that, and by the time our dear stake president uttered them, I was wishing I had a box of Puffs up there in the choir seats with me.

Got it. OK. I will.

Not ready to share what those three words were, except to say that they relate remarkably well to one of the topics of discussion on Friday night, and that if Brother Sushi had been sitting in the congregation last night, he would have been raising an eyebrow at me and stifling laughter. [As soon as the phone I thought I charged last night, finishes charging, he may expect a text message.]

And of course, this is what I get for telling him somewhat smugly, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

I’m off to stow half a box of Puffs in the Ubiquitous Red Bag.

(The new knitting project is going well.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Very pleased to report...

  1. Dreams for the past two nights have been insignificant and unmemorable. I am much relieved!
  2. Another great dinner/discussion with Brother Sushi. So thankful to count him as one of my “aquired brothers”.
  3. The back seam on my sister’s cowl went together with minimal argument yesterday.
  4. Leek and potato soup at 4:30am makes an excellent insomniac bachelorette breakfast.
  5. Brother Sushi is willing to pick up the antique armoire that I paid off in August. Unless I find the door to Narnia in the back of said armoire, this is almost certainly the last piece of furniture I can fit into the duplex.
  6. I woke up at 3:45 or so; I’m going back for a wee nap.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dinner with Brother Sushi tonight!

Postponed from last Friday because of the singles’ conference. The plan is to try that pizza place which Francis recommended. I’ll get back to you.

Deliciously crazy-busy day at work yesterday. I opened two new cases for my attorney, did a little research, asked some questions, learned a lot. We have two where the answer is due on Monday.

Found my high school yearbook (senior year) with the two-page inscription from my then-fiancé. Very sweet and tender; it took me back 40 years. (And also raised my daughters’ eyebrows when they found it about 15 years ago. Some of you will understand why we preferred to borrow his mother’s dowdy 1963 Rambler to go to the drive-in, rather than his father’s shiny new Buick.)

I have all but the back seam done on my sister’s braided cowl. I think I will do that before adding the beads. It’s pinned, but one end is all compact because of the first cable cross three rows up from the cast-on stitches, while the other is all loosey-goosey from being bound off. There is a high probability that the seam is not going to be pretty. I’m feeling a little twitchy over that.

I woke early (2:46 this morning) because of the rainstorm. I would really just like to crawl back in bed and sleep until dinnertime. Somehow I don’t see that happening. And in the next hour and a half, I also need to figure out what knitting project is next. Woe be unto me if I leave the house with insufficient knitting opportunities.

I think it’s going to be another Cherry Coke day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

♥ Carrot Sticks and Knitting Progress ♥

I think pre-scrubbed and trimmed carrots are the best thing since sliced bread. I am taking a 2-lb bag of them to work for our luncheon today.

I have two strips sewn together for my sister’s cowl and have begun adding the third. Will take those with me on the train. I am actually riding the train, first time in about ten days. I will add the beads once I get to the office, to further secure each join and add just a little bling! to the cowl.

I have really enjoyed working on this project. I would make it again, maybe in Jojoland Cashmere? I think it would also be good in the teal Gloss Lace.

Very sleepy this morning. Even if I was only pregnant in my dream last night, it flat wore me out.

I brought home my PB, jelly and salad dressing from the fridge at work, to make room for all the party food that will go in there today. Lunch is at 1:00, and we are playing games all afternoon. Guess that means I had better get the new suit entered for my attorney before the festivities begin, right?

Nutella. A nice spoonful of Nutella would help me figure out what I want to eat for breakfast.

Sorry, guys, I’m a little distracted this morning.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The horse which is called Charles.

Nasty little beast. I woke up at deep-dark-thirty this morning (a little before 3:00), as I had gone to bed early last night (9:45, yes I know that sounds late to those of you who have seen me wilt at 8:03 at Knit Night). I was lying there, minding my own business, thinking about what a nice day off I had yesterday, how much I got accomplished chez Ravelled, the conversations I had enjoyed, etc., and I felt that funny pre-cramp I sometimes get. The one that says, “No fast moves, and don’t even think about pointing your toe.”

So I lay there awhile longer and ruminated, and then I rolled onto my side, and oh holy cow! Do you have any idea how hard it is to turn off a CPAP when your hand has suddenly gone to sleep and your leg is shrieking childbirth words?

I’m up, I’m up. I’ve had a bowl of granola with a muscular-sanity-restoring banana sliced up into it, and my calf is only a little tender.

I nearly finished the last strip on my sister’s cowl. I’m about to put in a movie and head over to the couch. I may end up frogging the first two strips and redoing them at this narrower width. I think I have two and a half repeats to go, and I either just-will or just-won’t have enough yarn to get there without frogging.

And that’s my excitement for the day!

Blessing is going to work with me. My work-friends want to meet her, as do some of my friends at Knit Night. She is all dressed up and ready to go, unlike me. I have time; couch and knitting, here I come!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Almost caught up on sleep.

Woke about 15 minutes ahead of the alarm I meant to set [for the usual time], feeling far more at home in this tabernacle of clay. Not a trace of stiffness in my right ankle, and only minimal swelling in the left. No aches, throbs, or twinges, just the happy rumblings of a tummy that wants breakfast.

I can hear the wind in the trees outside, and according to Yahoo! Weather, it’s 48°F (9°C) out there, with an expected high of 56°F (13°C). Sweater weather, which makes this knitter happy indeed.

Blessing is still perched on the couch, waiting for her close-up, Mr. DeMille. I have that fake pumpkin which ought to be about the right height for a hassock, and a smaller ceramic one that would be a good size for her to hold. I wonder if there are still any small, ornamental pumpkins at the grocery store, or if they have all been replaced with candy canes?

Looking at the table by the front door, I am not feeling the love for having Mehitabel there. Her feather boa is stirring in the breeze from the ceiling fan, which is on again. She just looks messy, instead of charmingly quirky as she did two weeks ago when I moved things around. Must be time to move them around again; good thing I have the day off, no?

I had planned a day of no-phones and minimal online presence, in favor of puttering. Laundry has once more reached critical mass, and I need to pick up some fresh fruit and maybe the makings of a pot of potato leek soup. It’s been way too long since I made a pan of cornbread. I ate hardly anything yesterday: too bogged down from the food at the singles’ conference, so a PBJ for breakfast (washed down with milk), a turkey sandwich for lunch (with a nap for dessert), and a bowl of ramen noodles smothered in almost the last of the red sauce for dinner after choir practice. Random cups of juice throughout my waking hours. That’s it.

I want to make something today which will use up the last of the red sauce, maybe my chili that I thin with a can of Ro-Tel? Dumping the opened can into the bottle and shaking it up, would get those last bits of sauce out, for frugality’s sake. And maybe a pan of cornbread to go with, and then the potato soup for supper tonight.

Choir practice went well. I love that music! We are also singing a hymn at the Saturday night adult meeting of stake conference. Singing in the choir = soft seats and a good view of the speaker, and it ensures that I get to the stake center early enough to get a parking spot.

The local doll group has been most gracious in making me feel welcome. Not sure when I will be able to meet up with them next, but they are excited to see Blessing (my Cuprit), and I am eager to show her off. She will be going to work with me tomorrow so that my friends there, and those at Knit Night, can meet her. Fourthborn did an amazing job with her faceup. She is just lovely! [And maybe I will have pictures for you tomorrow or the next day, weather and light permitting.]

Time for breakfast and then a nice lazy soak in the tub before I start checking items off my list. I love long weekends!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Maybe I should just have waited?

I’m sure I would have lots more to post about, after the Primary sacrament meeting presentation later this morning. We have a small ward and a minuscule Primary; today is their big day, when they get to share what they have learned this year via song and sound bites.

The girls used to carefully not-look at me, because I would be gazing up at my beautiful children, surrounded by everybody else’s beautiful children, and I would be crying as they sang or spoke their piece.

Before the keynote speaker at the singles’ conference last night, three sisters [in the Church sense] who are sisters [in the genetic sense] treated us to three or four hymns sung gospel-style. I had goosebumps all over, and I was so glad to be able to go up to them after the meeting and shake their hands and thank them. I told them my mama had raised me on Mahalia Jackson. [I wish that Trainman had been there; he would have loved the music, too.] One of the best renditions of How Great Thou Art that I have ever heard.

Sleep is a lovely thing. I came home with seriously unhappy ankles from a day of sitting in meetings but am feeling considerably better this morning. I want to drink about a gallon and a half of water with just a sploosh of lemon juice in it, and then go back to bed, but that will have to wait until after church. I had scheduled a presidency meeting for after church, but one of my counselors is out of town for a wedding, so I think we will just reschedule for next week. Especially since I can’t remember why I wanted to meet with them. [Probably something to do with visiting teaching; like the poor, it is something we will always have with us...]

Fourthborn did the faceup on Blessing before the next round of humidity rolled through. I’m taking the day off that I won, tomorrow, and while a good chunk of the day will be filled with banalities such as laundry and housework [ugh! but at least I have a house, right?], I am hoping for decent weather and good light so I can take a bunch of pictures, maybe at the Botanical Garden?

We stopped at Fourthborn’s on the way home last night and picked up Blessing and her spare feet and legs. Right now she is nestled into a corner of the couch, looking slightly stunned to be here. But gorgeous, simply gorgeous. When Beyla gets here next February or so, I want to sit down and watch Fourthborn do her faceup.

I’m so glad that she got here first. I hope I get several more days to play with her and sew for her before Jessica gets here.

I finished the third braided strip for my sister’s cowl while at the singles’ conference yesterday [and about 25% of the fourth and final strip]. I need to weigh it on my digital scale and see how close my calculations were in terms of yarn saved by making it three stitches narrower than the first two strips. I either just-will or just-won’t have enough yarn to get the whole cowl out of one skein. I may very well be done with the knitting by the time I am done with church meetings today.

So glad that that is the only drama which is going on in my life at the moment.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Singing the Garth Brooks song this morning...

The one whose chorus goes “I’m much too young to feel this ... old”; I am definitely feeling like the “worn-out tape of Chris LeDoux”, but last night was worth it! I think it has probably been not since the last singles’ conference that I had so much fun at a dance. My feet are achy, my ankles are swollen, and my eyes are barely open.

My friend Christine (sadly, blogless) will be here in a smidgen over an hour, and I have no idea what I want for breakfast; another three hours of sleep would be nice but are off the menu here at the Ravelled Café.

@Firstborn: no, Blessing is not daughter #6. You do not have to share your room or your toys with her, nor will she steal your shoes. [Or your husband.] She will probably always have her sheepie-queen ice hooves on, the better to boot some sense into my sheep collection.

@Secondborn: no, Blessing is not the Jessica sculpt, which I ordered and paid for myself. Blessing is the Cuprit limited-edition which Fourthborn ordered for me in April and finished paying off in July. I anticipate no such delivery drama(s) with Jessica, because I ordered her from a different doll company. [Ahem. Where was I?] Koreanglish is very much a part of their emails to me, but they seem to have their act together as a business.

@Firstborn: I make no guarantees about the safety of your shoe collection re: Jessica. Good thing for you that her shoes are only a couple of inches long. I suspect her love of fashion will equal or exceed your own, though I think her taste will run toward vintage Chanel and Oscar de la Renta. Though you might want to lock up your Ann Taylor.

@Kristen: thank you! I am mighty pleased with that sweater. The next one should fit perfectly, because I can fit as I go.

@gw: thanks! It has felt a bit like pregnancy: anticipation, queasiness, worry, and due dates that came and went.

OK, this is the part where I ransack my closet full of nothing-to-wear. I am done buying dolls for awhile [but not done saving for them]; it’s time to open up the Coldwater Creek catalogue and try things on and make note of the SKU numbers I like for when they hit the online outlet at 70% off.

Hoping to bring you lots of good stories from today’s lectures and workshops.

Friday, November 13, 2009

“Caoimhe”?



Pronounced KEE-va, or KWEE-va or KWEE-veh, meaning “gentle, beautiful, precious.” That’s who I thought she was. I wanted something Gaelic and meaningful, and I just could not wrap my fingers around the typing of it; I am not a native speaker of Gaelic, though I have a bajillion ancestors who were.

What to call her, instead? I thought of “Allégresse”, which is French for “elation.” As in, je suis rempli d’allégresse. (I am elated, literally filled with elation, or my cup runneth over.) I thought of that poem on the mosaic panel alongside the tracks at Dallas Union Station: nous bénirons le Créateur (we bless -- or praise -- the Creator). “Bénisse”?

I wanted a name full of love, and joy, and gratitude. One that reflected my love for my daughter and my amazement at the generosity, sacrifice, and consecration wrapped up in her gift. And one that I could type without thinking, or hint of pretentiousness.

And then, like all good things, it quietly slipped into my mind.

“Blessing”. Her name is Blessing.



And she’s home.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An IV tube and a can of Hershey’s syrup, please!

Work was crazy-busy yesterday. Not bad, just intense. With more of the same on my plate for today. My attorney was out of the office but will be doing trial prep. Thankfully, it won’t impact my work flow much, if at all.

I had five tapes to do for one of my other attorneys for a huge mediation this afternoon. I finished three of them and am about 80% done with the other, and the last one should be relatively short. It is so, so helpful that I am not having to be up front at switchboard. I can’t believe how much more I am getting done in a day.

Had my first working meeting with our new bishop last night, counseling at first over confidential stuff that he needed to know, and then he brought in one of his new counselors in the bishopric, and we did some planning together. Long, long night, but let me bear testimony that when you are doing the Lord’s work, He gives you the strength and energy that you need. I spent a good chunk of the evening in my car, ferrying people to and fro before my meeting, and ordinarily my limit for driving is about an hour before my right knee starts to whimper. No pain whatsoever. None. Not last night, when I was in the middle of it, and none this morning.

Singles’ conference this weekend, beginning with a temple session tonight. Am hoping to finish Uncle Kenny’s work, and also Brother Stilts’. I am really looking forward to the peace and serenity that flows through me when I am sitting in the House of the Lord. [I am also hoping to be able to stay awake; I am very much in when I sits, I falls asleep mode.]