About Me

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

Monday, August 31, 2009

“A spiritual thought” and sundry forms of progress

One of the blessings of my calling, is that I get to attend correlation meeting with the ward mission leader, the missionaries, the high priest group leader, and the elders quorum president. The focus, not surprisingly, is on missionary work: who are the elders teaching, and how can the auxiliaries help?

We take turns bringing a “spiritual thought” to the meeting and sharing it with the others; typically, something from Preach My Gospel that struck a note with us. [This ensures that at least once a quarter, I spend half an hour frantically skimming Preach My Gospel for something I can share.]

The question that jumped out at me yesterday was, “What effect has [Joseph Smith’s] decision to study and seek had in your life?” This is what I shared:

When Joseph went into the place we now call the Sacred Grove to pray, he only wanted to know which church to join. He did not know that he was a descendant of Joseph in Egypt. He did not know that he would become the prophet of the Restoration. He did not know that he would be tarred and feathered, that his infant son would die that night, that many people would fear and despise him, and that someday he would be martyred for his faith.

He did not know how many people would steadfastly follow the Church as it migrated west, how many would live quiet lives of service and inspiration and faithfulness, how many missionaries would go forth and preach the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He did not know that my cousin would fall in love with a girl from a less-active branch of a prominent LDS family, that my cousin would join the Church and have five children and bring my grandmother into the Church, that Gram would pray me into the Church, that I would meet the children’s father and have five daughters, that the three of them who are married, would marry outside the faith, that two of those three husbands would join the Church when they were ready and would take my daughters to the temple [to be sealed for time and all eternity].

He did not know what it would feel like for me to stand in the celestial room of the temple and watch [Secondborn and 2BDH] walk in, together.

All this, because Joseph studied and prayed.

It was good, very good, to think about these things and to write about them.

I got a lot of knitting in at church yesterday, all the way up to where the gusset increases begin, and a bit more done after my nap. I may finish the gusset increases today.

I also stitched down the rest of the pleats on the hip yoke of the doll skirt; I am planning a French seam and have pinned the raw edges accordingly. There is something about hand-sewing that is so satisfying, especially when there is no deadline for completion of the project.

I sewed a button on one of my blouses, before it fell off. I finished another small mending job that has been hanging about on the back of the couch for several weeks and wove in the dropped stitch that has prevented me from blocking the lace scarf I made for my friend in MO. I will have a picture for you in the next day or so.

@Tan: no infection from the shanking with my knitting-needle. There is a tiny, tiny scab [we are talking 00 needles, after all], and only the slightest bit of bruising; I was expecting a hellacious one. It’s as if my immune system set up an immediate blockade and announced to all passing germs, “Nothing to see here, folks, just keep moving.” The jeans, however, did not survive, but they were at least 5 years old and not worth cutting apart for doll clothing.

All in all, a peaceful, restful Sabbath. And my home teachers came over, bringing brownies as atonement for having had to miss their appointment last Thursday.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Last Twelve Drops

Good essay. Not one of the links I had sent myself from work, but a good jumping-off point. [Too bad I’m too tired to jump.]

I think I managed to savor every drop of joy yesterday. I measured Fourthborn’s doll six ways from Sunday and have saved the measurements to a chart. I also made necklaces, one for her Larxene (pronounced larkSHEEN) and a larger one for my Cuprit. I need to attach clasps to both necklaces, but the hard part is done. I used all but 21 beads from 2.5 packets of Mill Hill 8° beads leftover from MS3. These are the same beads I used for the peplum of Cuprit’s sweater. Depending on the cuff treatment I choose, I may or may not need to buy another packet. But in theory at least, a good example of “use it up”.

Significant progress on Firstborn’s second sock, shown here with its probably-finished mate so nobody can accuse a certain knitter of cheating.

My VT companion and I visited one of the sisters on our route. She also helped me find new homes for four of my seven lamps. There is light at the end of my organizing tunnel; it’s just not coming from any of my lamps.

There may have been ice cream cones when we completed our visiting teaching. I might also have bought a half gallon of OJ and another of low-fat buttermilk. The buttermilk might have been delicious, but I will spare you a photograph of the streaky glass. Instead, I will share this:

I don’t know what you call baseboards when they are tile or carpet instead of wood. This is in the loo on my floor at work, and I was delighted by the tidy job of mitering that somebody took the time to do. So I warned the other occupants that there would be a flash going off, and why, and I took a picture. I don’t care if they think I’m weird. One of the blessings of living to this age is doing pretty much as I please, as long as it does not set me against the commandments or the law of gravity.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I spent a pleasant few minutes puttering in my studio before leaving for work yesterday. Diving into one of the drawers of a rolling cart, pulling out spools of thread and organizing them by color families, finding a couple more rolls of ribbon to add to the dowel that hangs in one bin. I still haven’t found my tatting shuttles, but I think I am getting closer.

Eventually I may want to get a third and possibly a fourth thread rack, so I may sort by fiber and then by color family within that fiber; i.e., all the silk thread together on one rack, all the cotton thread, all the polyester, all the novelty fibers (i.e., shiny rayon stuff meant for machine embroidery, and I have no idea what it’s doing in my stash). I found two more spools of silk thread that I had forgotten about.

I am going to look for more small organizing boxes like the ones which hold my cross-stitch thread, only with longer compartments, to hold elastic, cards of snaps, hooks and eyes, etc. And one to hold bobbins, as my bobbin collection has outgrown the space in the organizer that came with the Bernina I inherited from Mom.

I drove in, because I wanted to go to the temple after work and then on to the dance. [One of our “extra” dances, with my favorite DJ.] On the way to work, I pondered the layout of my studio. The fainting couch, a/k/a The Chastity Bed, takes up space that could be put to better use. It’s time to find it another home. So I sent an email out to the office:

Subject: First Right of Refusal

Some of you know that last year I moved into a lovely old duplex in the Cultural District of Fort Worth. It is charming, and perfect, and small. I took a good, hard look at the room I laughingly call my studio, and I realized that the fainting couch has to go. It is occupying almost an entire wall.

I think I paid $175 at an antique mall in Arlington in December 1997. I do not have the provenance; I am guessing that it is Victorian/Edwardian and possibly mahogany. The weight and the color are right, but I can only recognize knotty pine and oak on sight. It is definitely older than I am. (There’s your straight line, folks!)

One leg is a little loose from finessing it around a corner during one of many moves. It will need to be re-glued. The springs need to be retied; the upholstery fabric is appallingly ugly and torn in one spot. But her bones are good, and if you love to restore old furniture, this might be a match made in Heaven. ([Female Attorney], this sounds like a job for [your hubby]!)

I slept on this couch every night for three years; it is reasonably comfortable but not really meant for daily use, more for the occasional fit of the vapours. (I can’t remember the last time I had a fit of the vapours; probably when I had four teenagers under my roof.)

If you are interested, let me know and I will bring pictures next week.

I had heard nothing by the end of the day, so now I am throwing it open to all y’all (Subsequent Right of Refusal? Codicil? I am running out of impressive legal terminology.) If you want a really cool, really old piece of furniture and have the means or the skills to restore it, not to mention a truck and two strong backs to move it from the back of my studio, down the steps, and out to your truck, let me know. I’ll clear a path.

In the “Fanning, Fanning” Department: We had a visit to our office from a gentleman who works for the parent company. British accent. I called the managing attorney to let her know he was here, and then I told her, “But you can’t have him. I’m going to keep him here and make him read my grocery list to me.”

A Cary Grant sort of voice, very posh but not honking. [@Robi: Muffy and Dodie would definitely approve.] I need to keep a copy of “Jabberwocky” here at the office for the next time he visits. Or possibly the prologue to the “Canterbury Tales”.

[I sent myself more great links, but they will have to wait for another post.] I slept in until 7:17 this morning. Burning daylight, as we say here in Texas.

I have two shirts that are irredeemably stained, which I am going to cannibalize for future doll clothes. [Middlest, I will split the pieces with you and Fourthborn, but I may not get them in the mail until Firstborn’s socks are done and I can send you the leftover yarn as well.] I have been cutting up my clothing as it bites the dust, for about three years now. I feel a little less glum about losing a nice shirt when I know that the usable parts can go for doll clothing and not as cleaning rags or straight into the landfill.

I need to start looking for another Franklin Planner binder on eBay, which is where I found this one; it has just about been loved to death. After I replace it, I am going to take it apart, recycle as much stuff as I can, and reuse the red leather exterior to make a doll jacket if the leather is as thin as I think, or a matched set of Dolly-Vuitton if it’s heavier.

Why not make “use it up, wear it out” as much fun as possible?

And now if you will all kindly excuse me, I am almost done with the toe on Firstborns second sock, and it’s calling my name. And I probably ought to turn on the cell phone.

Friday, August 28, 2009

WYSIWYG (Random Synaptic Firings)

Coral patent leather shoes, very simple and unadorned. I wish I had taken a picture of them as they clicked past me on the train. She was wearing a neutral skirt, a sweater more terra cotta than coral, and these shoes. I don’t remember ever having seen shoes quite this color before. Just yummy.

When I get my resurrected body, with pretty toenails instead of deformed, missing, or diseased ones, I hope that we will have pretty shoes in Heaven. Can you imagine silk stockings spun by resurrected silkworms? They would never, ever get runs in them.

Please tell me that when we go Home, shaving one’s legs will no longer be necessary, either because we do not grow hair on them, or we look at them sternly and it magically falls out below the knees. [No way am I going to ask a ministering angel to wax my calves!] I am also weary of the migration of half my eyebrows down to my chin. If they would be good little lemmings and jump off once they got there, it would not be so bad.

(Just sayin’.)

When I was having one of the attorneys sign the drafts so I could mail them out, I noticed a tip jar on her desk. There was a label on the lid, and another on the side of the jar. This is a local charity that blesses abused children who are going into foster care. Check it out. I’m putting a link in the sidebar; I put my money where my mouth is and sent them a modest donation.

The first sock is done. I bound it off during the train ride home last night. I have loosely looped through the last stitch; I don’t want to make it permanent until I try it on Firstborn’s foot again. But I’ve cast on for her second sock.

Advice from the man on the train [not to be confused with Trainman]. About 15 seconds after I finished the sock, folded it, and put it in my knitting bag, I dozed off. I woke up shortly before my stop. He was sitting across the aisle, and he smiled.

“You are very tired. Busy day. You should not push so hard.”

“Very busy day, yes, but a good one.”

“You should rest sometimes. You keep busy all the time? I watched the sock, so many needles, so many little stitches. Much patience.”

“I raised five girls. That taught me patience.”

I wonder if he knew he was an angel today? I wonder if we ever really know the good we do while we are here on Earth, the handful of words dropped into stillness that reverberate in the soul?

I read two marvelous essays recently, both of which moved me to tears. I hope you will grab the Puffs and sit still for a moment, click on the links, and listen to what you hear in your heart. First, Sooz’s column from Monday. And then Anne Perry’s, which I discovered yesterday.

They tie in well with a quote from the lesson in Relief Society: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” (Mother Teresa). That one made me sniffle on Sunday. There is a difference between good judgment, and being judgmental. I do better some days than others. I remember the temple president in the early years of my marriage, who said as we were assembled in the chapel of the temple, that the most important four-letter word in a marriage is not love. It is kind.

And it’s not just for marriages.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

One of my favorite aromas...

...pasta simmering in the pot. Not as fragrant as basmati rice, perhaps, but comforting nonetheless.

I came home and ate a portion of carrot sticks while waiting for the water to boil. The idea was that I would have some salad, and perhaps I will for breakfast, just because I can. But I ended up having a smaller second helping, and then a wee cup of thirds: mac and cheese with pimiento stirred in.

Major progress on The Sock That Fits [also known as The Sock Made from the Yarn That Was Giving Me Fits]. I really should have been tidying the living room; home teachers are coming tonight, and knitting stuff is everywhere, not to mention doll stuff and stuff to make doll stuff.

I stopped at JoAnn’s after work and scored two half-yard pieces of quarter-inch gingham, another packet of teensy buttons, and a spool of silk thread in a turquoise/teal one or two shades darker than what I had. The gingham will be pinched, basted, and carefully marked once I take it off the doll, to make a pattern sloper that I will then trace onto quarter-inch graph paper, preparatory to adding seam allowances, grainlines, and the like. [All you muggles who aren’t sure which end of the needle to thread, just nod and smile.]

The idea is to find my own niche in the doll world, using my talents to create jewelry or clothing or something (or maybe several somethings) that doll collectors will clamor to buy, that will not take long to make, that will be fun to do, that I won’t get tired of in three weeks or so, and that is unlikely to give me repetitive stress injury.

Nice visit with Trainman on the ride home. He was tired, maybe as tired as I was on Monday. I was less so. Mostly, I listened while he talked, and I knitted and knitted and knitted. That man is better company, tired, than most men I’ve met are, awake. I’m so glad that he and Brother Sushi enjoy one another’s company, and that there’s none of the jockeying for primacy I noticed when the late Brother Stilts helped me move, six years ago, and my ex-boyfriend was also helping. [Eighth grade, with wrinkles. When I want drama, I prefer Jane Austen.]

You have no idea how difficult it was to put the leftover mac and cheese into the fridge, rather than having another bowl.

No idea.

But here it is a brand new day, and I have carefully poured two packets of doll buttons into a wee French canning jar that one of my friends gave me. I am almost done clearing off the couch and tidying the coffee table for when the home teachers come tonight. I swear, there must be an Unhousekeeping Fairy who comes in after I leave for work and messes everything up, just to give me character-building opportunities. I certainly can’t blame it on the kids anymore!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In which virtue and persistence are rewarded.

Some of you have heard part of this already.

I got a response from the online china replacement shop, asking a clarifying question; I will probably get another one today while I’m at work. Selling these four pieces would be the fastest and easiest way to scrounge up doll money for my share of the group order.

Edited to add: I checked my inbox. They made an offer: $5.00 for a piece which they will sell for $100.00. And they’re not currently buying most of the pieces that I want to sell. Does it say *stupid* on my forehead? I respectfully declined their offer. So it looks like (1) the antique mall is next or (2) eBay if that offer is equally unappealing.

I drove in to work yesterday, and after transcribing one report and making myself generally useful at the front desk, I took half a day of vacation and got the heck out of Dodge. I had put the basket of English china into the trunk, just in case the office manager cleared me to take time off, and I headed straight for the antique mall near my house.

In a display case not far from the buying desk, a dealer had three pieces in my china pattern for sale, at prices equal to those of the online stores, if not higher. Encouraging! The owner/buyer for the antique mall said he wished that the display were not quite so near the buying desk, because that dealer charges top dollar, and his pieces don’t necessarily move all that fast.

He asked what I wanted for my pieces. I told him what the online store was charging for the three pieces that I could find prices for. We agreed that he almost certainly wouldn’t be able to sell them for that. Again, he asked what I wanted for them. I countered by asking what he thought he could get for them. He named a figure. It seemed reasonable. He offered me half of that. I took it.

After tithing and the other charitable deductions I am making in order to keep a sense of proportion about this new hobby and to not get all tangled up with having *stuff*, I still have a significant percentage of the purchase price of Beyla, the little hoofie.

I celebrated by doing half of the remaining laundry.

And then I grabbed half a dozen DVD’s and three CD’s that I wouldn’t miss much, and I took them with me to Arlington when I drove over for Knit Night. Plus seven Clover circular needles in various lengths and sizes, because I have replaced them all with better needles. Sold all six DVD’s and one of the CD’s and came home with the Clover circs and another $13.00 in cash.

When I tried Brainless on Princess Firstborn’s dainty foot, it fit as if it had been made for her. Oh yeah. It was! So I have just another two or three inches of leg to knit, and then the cuff, and then I’ll cast on the second sock.

All in all, a most satisfactory day, and one that more than made up for Monday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ms. Ravelled v. the Chibi* Vampire

I knew it was going to be a crazy-busy day, as I would have three tapes waiting for me when I got to work, *and* the receptionist was out for the first day of school, which meant that I was going to be stuck at switchboard. What I did not know was that the scanning operator was also out for the same reason. So when I walked up to the front desk from the elevator to tell the data clerk that we were going to have to be flexible, she raised one eyebrow and said, “Oh, you need to go talk to the office manager! She has a project for the IT person to do today, and she needs you to do the scanning. I’m going to be up here all day, except for when I go get the mail.”

It was about then that I realized that my leg was stinging. I looked down to see that two or three of the DP’s for Firstborn’s sock were sticking out of my workbag. It wasn’t until I moved the bag away from my leg that I realized one of them was boring into my thigh.

You know that weird calm that comes over you [well, me anyway] when something mildly awful happens? I get this pop-up list that tells me to first do this, then do that, then check off the next thing, until some semblance of normalcy returns. Item #1 was, “I have to get a band-aid on this. And then I’ll go talk to the office manager.” So I reached down and pulled out the DP.

This happened in the short walk between the front desk and my own desk, a journey of maybe 25 feet, taking less than 15 seconds. I asked my friend in the next cubicle if blood made her woozy. She has a son, so, no. She captured the carnage, because of course when something unexpected happens it is going to show up here on the blog.

Yes, my tetanus shot is current.

One of the legal secretaries transcribed one of the tapes for me. The attorney’s regular secretary ended up doing the other two, because while the mail appeared to be under control when the data clerk went for the 9:00 batch and came back empty-handed, everything went to the place that sells handbaskets when I picked up a full bucket of mail at 11:00.

I had a 15 minute lunch, long enough to go down to the deli and bring back chicken salad on a croissant and inhale it. I went up to the front desk at 4:00 when the data clerk went home, and the IT person helped me finish up the last of the mail. She sent out the “Mail is finished.”
email around 4:45, and I sat at switchboard and twitched until I could shut everything down at 5:00.

I caught the bus to the station. Trainman was on the train. I was so weary, and so hungry, that more than once I nearly fell asleep in mid-sentence.

I really should have done laundry last night. Instead I grabbed the bread and the hummus and poured myself a small glass of juice. And when I was tired of that, I got in the car and drove to CVS and bought a pint of BlueBell. Sat on the couch and ate it bite by bite while watching Enchanted. Then I picked up Cuprit’s skirt and stitched down a few more pleats.

One really great thing happened last night. As we were walking up the steps to our cars, I heard recorder music. A guy who’d been on the train was sitting on a bench, presumably waiting for his sweetheart to come get him, and playing lovely slow folk tunes. I pulled my car around and thanked him through my open window, for making a difficult day immeasurably better. I pulled out of the parking lot and wept for weariness, frustration, and joy. And then I sang most of the way home.

I have no idea what I’m going to wear today. Definitely not the white pants, but beyond that your guess is as good as mine.

*Chibi. Because the best explanation for what happened to my leg is that a short, myopic vampire attacked me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pondering, and maybe a little purling

For most of my adult life, I have been relatively poor. I use the word “relatively” advisedly, because much of the poverty came from our choices that (1) I should be a stay at home mom and (2) we should invite five lovely daughters into our family, which effectively guaranteed that we could not afford to have me working outside the home, compounded by (3) the inability of the children’s father to keep a job.

I have learned many things from poverty. One lesson was to how to make a penny do the work of a nickel. Another was how to use my talents to bring extra income into the family. I learned how sweet it can be to sacrifice on behalf of one’s children, if one does not allow resentment to creep in.

I learned some false lessons as well, and I am still struggling with those, the worst perhaps being a sense of entitlement: this is mine, I worked hard for it, and I will share it or not, as I choose. When we lived in Fredericksburg, I knew a couple who had lived through the Great Depression. He was perhaps the most tight-fisted man I have ever met; she was perhaps the most generous, living by the maxim that “if you continually give, you will continually have”. The older I get, the better I understand his attitude. It is based in fear. And the more I want to emulate hers. It is based in love and faith and trust.

My patriarchal blessing states that I will have “enough and to spare”. There have been times when I thought that the Lord’s idea of “to spare” was considerably different from my own. And there have been times of some stability. One of the themes of my marriage was that he wanted to be rich. And I was afraid to be wealthy, afraid that if I were, I would entirely turn my back on the Lord and His children, and in the end be found wanting. It has since occurred to me that if I want to be a righteous steward if and when I am wealthy, it is absolutely necessary to practice that now, when I am still finding my feet financially.

When I added up how much money I had spent at the drive-through last month, it was appalling. It was dribbled away in $2 and $3 increments, a couple of tacos here, a mango smoothie there. So obviously it was “spare” money that I did not miss. When I got my check on the 31st, I made myself put that much into savings, and I divided an equal amount between two favorite charities, where it could do some real good. I have done better this month, both in terms of financial priorities and general health. I have not done so well with my time, but I am learning.

I went to the temple a week ago Saturday and was reminded of the covenants we make. One of my children who is not active in the church, scrimped for three months to save for my birthday gift. I have a pretty fair idea of how little she makes and what proportion of her take-home this gift represents, and how many hours she worked in order to be so generous. I am deeply moved. I think it must be a little like how Father feels when we hand over our tithing when we don’t know how or when all the bills are going to get paid.

I think it is not accidental that I should receive a windfall on the same day that I learned of a friend who has a great and pressing need. When I first opened the envelope, my first thought was, “Oh, I can put this on my layaway.” And a few hours later, it was, “Oh. Now I think I know why the check came.”

It may turn out that my friend finds a ram in the thicket, without my pitching in. But I believe that it is imperative for me to remember my covenants and to be prepared to hand it over cheerfully and without regret or covetousness. And to remember that it is really not “my stuff”.

I wrote the above before church a week ago yesterday, while preparing a spiritual thought to share in ward council. As it turns out, there was no need for me to contribute to the solution of my friend’s financial problem. But I think it was absolutely necessary for me to ponder how I can do a better job of sharing my time, my talents, and yes, sometimes my money to ease the way and bless the lives of those around me. Because none of this is really mine; it is a stewardship, and part of the test of mortality is to help me discover what is really important to me. And the way I will know it and show it, is by how and where and with whom I spend my time, my energy, my talents, my devotion.

I worked a little on Firstborn’s sock after coming home from church and taking a short nap. I have done two and a half pattern repeats on the leg, with two and a half to go before I do the cuff and the binding-off. I think about how far she and I have come, together. She is the child of my youth and abysmal ignorance. She had the mom with two massive breast infections. She had the mom with post-partum depression. She had the mom who came down with hepatitis when she [Firstborn] was not quite one; she endured six weeks of near isolation when I had to literally bump up and downstairs tush-first to take her her bottle and change her diaper, because I did not have the strength to walk up and downstairs, or hold her and play with her.

It is a miracle that she has turned out so well, a real testament to the strength of her spirit and the grace of Heaven. She is currently experiencing some health challenges; nothing life-threatening, thank goodness, but trying, both for her and for her family. And she is battling the current dragon with intelligence and fiery humor, as near as I can tell.

I may not like the yarn I’m working with, but I love the sock pattern, and I love her. When these socks are done, Fourthborn will be the only one of the girls without some tangible, knitted love. This is the year that gets fixed. And then maybe I can figure out how to knit the AutoZone gift card that 1BDH says he wants...

A postscript: I thought I was finished with this post, but that was before my final meeting of the day. The stake operates a ham radio network as part of our emergency preparedness. Stake leadership requested at least one person from each ward’s Relief Society presidency to check in. So I drove to the home of one of the ward members and got the pleasure of hearing voices of friends old and new. And learning a thing or three. I think someday, maybe when I am retired [if I ever retire] or get to take off the RS President hat, I might like to get an operator’s license.

It was interesting, and I got to know four of my ward members a little better. OK, I’m done.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My busy, happy, productive day.

I updated some visiting teaching records at church early in the morning.

I took my creamer, sugar, gravy boat, and the little candy dish to the local china replacement service shop. The large serving pieces are all chipped or worn; plenty good enough for my own use now or to break up for a pique assiette project years down the road. I had printed off the shop’s retail prices for my pattern, and the prices from another replacement service, as talking points.

I came home with all my stuff, because they only purchase complete sets, but she said the best options were the antique mall not far from the house, or Replacements Ltd, online. I have emailed the latter.

On the way to my bank for lunch money and a roll of quarters, I stopped in at the antique mall. The owner buys on Monday through Friday, from 10:00 until 3:00. [I guess he doesn’t want to buy from me.]

I went to Central Market and spent $6.15 on two loaves of bread, an exceedingly ripe mango, and a couple of Pink Lady apples. I also got flirted with by a boy about BittyBubba’s age, who reached out and said “Hey!”and swatted at my sleeve. His dad apologized, and I told him not to worry, that I seem to be a big deal with toddlers but not so much with guys my own age. The dad said, “Oh, OK, I guess that’s fair then.”

Brother Sushi picked me up, and we met Trainman and LadyZen at the T&P Station to ride up to Chef Point Cafe in Watauga. Our experience was worth repeating. Three of us split the duck appetizer. Just about exactly the right amount of duck meat for me. Three of us had the lobster bisque in a bread bowl; two of us thought the bisque is just a smidgen better at Lucille’s but that the presentation is better at CPC. Brother Sushi had the duck a l’orange; he said it was good but that the appetizer was better. Trainman had either the seafood pasta or the pasta con gamberean di mare: lots of seafood over bowtie pasta. LadyZen had the chicken Florentine, with lots of fresh baby spinach leaves. I definitely want to try that sometime. And I had a side Caesar, because I was attempting to leave room for dessert.

The guys each ordered a bread pudding. LadyZen and I each ordered the “warm rustic apple flaky”, a “sugared crust filled with fresh apples and topped with vanilla ice cream”. We all shared bite-a’s before we dug in. Here is a link to the breakfast menu. Does not the Hot Brown sound like something worth driving for? Trainman said he would join me for breakfast there one Saturday, and I want to go back for lunch sometime and see how the pork chop compares with the one I had at Drew’s.

I even managed to make Brother Sushi blush, but whether it was something I said or something it reminded him of, doesn’t really matter, it was just funny [and now he’ll have to kill us ☺ ].

I came home happy from carbs and fat, laughing, and really needing a nap, even more than I needed to do laundry. I stalled for about an hour and a half, hoping to wake up a little, but finally gave up and went to bed and set the alarm. Naps are good. Naps when I wake up early enough to still get something useful done, are even better. The most critical part of my laundry is dry; I’ll wash the last of it on Monday after work.

Yesterday’s NonSequitur (8/22/09). Spew alert: cover your keyboard! Any male who thinks “score” is an appropriate verb when interacting with females, deserves to get his head bitten off! I laughed far more than is seemly for someone who [now, as opposed to 12 years ago] likes men in general and various men in particular. And who is allegedly trying to behave in a Heavenly manner.

Once I got the kinks worked out of the ribbing on Firstborn’s sock, I added a round here and there throughout the day. I look at the leg on that sock and think that it’s too small to fit an adult, but then I remember that Firstborn’s ankle is not much bigger around than my wrist. I probably shouldn’t knit any more on it until I try it on her; this yarn does not frog well. But I am finally, finally enjoying this sock, and it’s hard to stop.

I like this sock pattern so much that I could finish this sock and its mate and immediately cast on for another pair in a different yarn.

I was so full from lunch (eaten around 2:30) that I had nothing but water until 11:30, when I had a small glass of juice to celebrate clean laundry, damp stuff hung up to finish drying, and getting through all my Bloglines.

Now that is a good lunch!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don’t know much about history...

And the best of it, I have learned from well-written historical novels like Sharon Kay Penman’s. When Brother Sushi and I had dinner last month, he told me he was reading a biography of Genghis Khan, and that it was informative and highly readable. I concur. He brought it to dinner last Friday, and I cracked it open yesterday at lunch.

I don’t remember the last time a book grabbed me by the lapels while I was reading the introduction. [Other than the Book of Mormon, and I had already read Third Nephi and Fourth Nephi and big chunks of Alma at that point.] Reading this book ~ so far, which is not very far ~ is like sitting down with a good friend who knows a lot about a lot of stuff and knows how to tell a story and pull disparate points together to help you see the world in a whole new way. [Kinda like the mutual nattering that goes on at dinner with Brother Sushi.]

Both knitting projects are stalled for a couple of days. I need more measurements in order to work on my Cuprit’s sweater. And I need Firstborn’s foot for about three minutes before I can continue with the leg of the sock, plus I have to figure out if I’ve dropped a stitch or just don’t read well at 5:15am, because my count is not coming out right on the beginning of the ribbing for the leg. I’m hoping it’s the latter and that when I pick up the sock to count stitches, they will all be in their places with bright shining faces.

I have been well and truly SOOM’d. SOOM is the company which makes Cuprit. Cass was the monthly doll for July 28-August 15. Bygg and Beyla are the tinies which are the monthly dolls [singularly, or together] for August 21-September 15. They are unicorn babies, and they are precious! We wants them! Rather, we wants Beyla, and we wouldn’t mind having Bygg, even if he does have grey skin, which suggests that he might be an undead unicorn baby.

Beyla is currently not in the budget, but I am working on a plan. I have two or three pieces of furniture that I don’t really need and which are mostly in the way. I could clean them up and offer them for sale, cheap[ish; not garage-sale cheap, but pretty cheap].

I have a couple of serving pieces in my pink china that are in good condition, and there is a used-china shop down the street or I could offer them on eBay.

I have seven lamps in my studio, six of them in good condition, and nowhere to plug them in. This duplex is charming to the Nth degree and woefully lacking in electrical outlets.

There are probably more VHS tapes I’m ready to get rid of, and maybe a few DVD’s and CD’s as well.

Once I actually have my Cuprit in my hot little hands, I can probably earn enough cash via clothing commissions from other Cuprit owners, to pay for whatever doll might want to come home next. Or to justify buying doll shoes at $25-40 a pair. But I don’t expect to see her until the end of next month or maybe even October, so that doesn’t solve the current dolly angst.

I can hear Firstborn and Secondborn rolling their eyes. Hey, some people I know buy Coach bags. Just sayin’.

I don’t want to take commissions for people-sized sweaters. Been there, done that, 25 years ago. I might knit one occasionally as a gift, but that keeps it F-U-N instead of J-O-B.

I have some knitting needles that I never use [because I now have better ones] that I might be able to sell. I’m going to make an Excel spreadsheet, and every time I get an idea, I’ll write it down. If y’all have any ideas, let me know.

[I drafted all the above before I went to bed last night. This morning I sat down with Firstborn’s sock and the photo in the pattern, and I counted all the stitches, twice. Then I figured out where I’d misread the pattern and re-knitted it. One and a half times. Then I decided that for the leg of the sock, I want the cable at the front of the pattern round and not the back; otherwise, when I get to the end of the sock, I will have one row too much on the last cable, and it will drive me nuts. I know: not a drive, more like a short putt. But it’s fixed.]

Memo to self: do not even think of attempting to knit transition rows/rounds when sleepy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Week of Lunching Dangerously

Oye. I mean, seriously, oye! On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, lunch consisted of ten minutes to inhale something, and then back to the desk or into a meeting, and taking the rest of my lunch hour around 3:30. This week has been crazy: a mandatory class for support staff on Tuesday, during my normal lunch hour. A conference call on Wednesday, also during my normal lunch hour, in the course of which I finished all but two fingers of a 20-oz Cherry Coke [and needed it]. Yesterday was the monthly support staff meeting, but it was in the morning and did not impact lunch other than my inhaling vast quantities of leftover pastries as my lunch and throughout the day. Not large pastries, but the general effect was to keep me off-kilter and a little wired.

I came home, ate a sensible dinner, and was in bed by 9:40 as we did not go visiting teaching. I also did this:

The heel is now officially turned. Isn’t it pretty? Yarnissima creates such pretty sock patterns, and this one is so easy. The sock will now go onto a spare 00 circ until I can get together with Firstborn to make sure it fits. But we are officially one-third done with this project. I will not miss working with this yarn ~ I may have mentioned that once or twice ~ but I will miss thinking about how much I love my daughter as I knit.

At lunch yesterday, the lunch which I took at my regular time even if I did not eat the things I would normally eat, I set up my ringtones on the new phone. Zut alors! no more sitting at the French café. But I found four tones that I think will not drive me crazy, nor anyone who is within earshot if my phone rings, and I picked a wallpaper.

The new phone barely fits into the cell phone slot in my Ubiquitous Red Bag. It goes in, barely, and does not want to come out again. I will either have to find the bag-within-a-bag which came with my tote or another bag [in a non-clashing color] on sale for half price at Franklin Covey and convert the URB into a knitting bag. Though I suppose I could grab the rest of the Malabrigo and make a felted bag large enough to hold my planner, my cell phone, and my bumbershoot, leaving the camera in its slot in the URB.

It is much too early in the day to be making decisions. I’m off to make a batch of pigs in blankets, instead.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I succumbed. This is why.

My phone did a face-plant into the gravel driveway last Saturday. Note also the hanging-by-a-thread cover on the recharging port. [I may have sprained it.] Plus, I had grown weary of hitting each button multiple times in order to text, and I refuse to use predictive text. I like being quirky and unpredictable, thank you very much!

Because I am so cheap about upgrading my phone, and do it so rarely, I was able to get a new one for $29.99, which I’m guessing is what the components cost my carrier. I will now have GPS capability, though I might not turn it on: it’s more than a little redundant, as I rarely get lost. But it might prove useful if my mind wanders off into east nowhere. Or the next time I get a flat tire and call one of the boys for help.

It’s red, of course. I almost went for one with a slide-out keyboard, but it only came in black. On this model I had a choice of screaming red or screaming purple or something tastefully bland; I was briefly tempted by the purple but afraid my kids would die of shock. I love my kids and I worked too hard to get them here; why would I intentionally do something to harm them?

When I got home on Monday, there was an email from my cell phone provider, saying that my phone had shipped. They said overnight shipping(!!!), so I thought it might arrive on Tuesday. And technically it did, but it was buried amongst a dozen or so big boxes and wound up in the supply room until our IT person started opening things yesterday morning.

Not only is it red, it is paisley! I stopped off at the store to have my contacts transplanted into the new phone and then to have it activated. [I didn’t want to activate it until I had everybody’s contact information nailed down.] I still haven’t picked out a ring-tone. I really like the one I had, but this phone is a different brand than the old one, so I’m not holding my breath. The old ring-tone made me feel as if I were sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Paris, watching the tourists walk by as I dipped chunks of croissant into a big bowl of hot milk.

OK, maybe not your idea of a Real Good Time, but this is my fantasy life we are talking about.

I was nearly done with the gussets on Brainless when I went to bed last night. Chances are excellent that I will turn the heel before going to bed tonight.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

All kinds of knitting progress.

I’m at the waist on the doll sweater. Waiting on more measurements before I start increasing for the bust and armscye shaping.

Firstborn’s sock has not been neglected, either; I have knitted a little over half of the gusset rounds.

I ended up skipping Knit Night in favor of coming home and knitting before a [relatively] early bedtime.

Tha-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-at’s all, folks!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Polishing Things Off

The last of the rice with veggies.

The last of the tortillas.

A sizeable dent in the hummus.

The last of the orange juice.

The last of the return address labels.

Not the last of the Special Dark chocolate chips. Just a modest portion, rolling itself about agreeably until it had formed an impromptu heart.

Not pictured: the last of the Hawaiian barbecue, but it’s next on the agenda.

Use/eat it up.
Wear it out.
Make it do.
Sit and pout.
Scream and shout.
Do without.

I love it when nothing goes to waste.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I went in to buy HP 1.

I picked up the second Harry Potter movie several months ago, either at Half Price Books or Entertainmart. I was hoping to find HP 1 and 3, preferably for $5.99 or less. No such luck. But Saturday I did come home with The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Enchanted, both of them very reasonably priced. And I have watched them this weekend while ensconced on the couch with my knitting.

I noodled around with waist shaping on the doll sweater yesterday. Today I am taking Brainless to work with me. I like being able to switch back and forth.

Uncle Sam hath befuddled me. You will recall that I came up short on April 15th, because I did not recalculate my withholding sufficiently early last year to allow for the emptying nest. I made arrangements to pay installments. There was a penalty attached for such an arrangement. I paid the penalty. On Saturday I got a check for them, for the amount of the penalty and odd change.

Since when has Uncle Sugar been concerned with the cash flow of the one, except to divert it into pork barrel projects and giving raises to our elected representatives? Before I spend any of this newly-returned money, I will make a discreet phone call or three and see if the left hand knoweth what the right hand doeth. I would really like to plunk this into savings, and I would really really dislike having to unplunk it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Keepin’ it real, keepin’ it honest.

What you are seeing here, is one seriously overexposed sock, with about half an inch to go before the gusset increases begin. Lots of happy knitting progress yesterday.

What you are seeing below, is a mystery. No, I know that it’s my knitting toolbag. No question about that; I use those tools often. The mystery lies in where that smaller tape measure was, when I took virtually everything out of the bag before giving up the hunt and purchasing the new, larger tape measure seen on the right.

I had a great day yesterday: time at the temple, time at Entertainmart, a mango smoothie and tall water on the drive home, a stop at JoAnn’s for some thread and other items that may have fallen into the cart, pizza delivered on time via drive-by fooding to the missionaries, and a quiet evening at home, answering voicemails until my battery died.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Not entirely “Brainless”

I’ve said before how much I enjoy Yarnissima’s designs. “Brainless” is no exception. It’s a free download on Ravelry, and the pattern I’ve chosen to knit up Firstborn’s socks.

[I may have broken a personal record as to how many apostrophes I can cram into a sentence. Yay! for CTRL+V, as I do not like the default one, nor the default quotation marks.]

I was well into my third pattern repeat when I looked at the cabling on the sides and realized my count was off, somewhere. So I frogged back to just above the second cable twist and fixed that. This pattern goes quickly, and once I have worked a few more repeats of the chart, I will no longer have to put a tick-mark down for each completed round. Then it truly will be brainless knitting.

I may have commented on how much I dislike this yarn. Once or twice or eleventeen times. I love the colors. The multistrandedness [my German roots are showing] makes for exceptionally subtle color shifts, and visually it is almost as fun as knitting with Noro, just to see what happens next. I think it will make a supremely wearable sock and be easy to care for. But the softness of the yarn verges on deadness, kind of like alpaca only more so. And the splittiness, oye, the splittiness!

Nevertheless, it is going quickly, and I would not be surprised to begin the Beguine heel gusset later today.

In doll news, I seem to have organized a small meet toward the end of next month. Fourthborn and I may be the only ones there, and I might need to borrow one of her dolls for the occasion if my Cuprit has not arrived, but I am looking forward to meeting others in the local community. I’ll post details closer to the date, and if you are going to be in the area, come by and say hi.

I am learning my way around DoA [like Facebook or Ravelry for BJD doll collectors]. I have posted my statutory number of posts and am now just waiting for sufficient time to elapse before I have access to the marketplace, which is what I really want. I have already reached my limit with the number of O’s followed by M’s and then G’s which I see in sundry posts. Augh! Jane Austen would be horrified.

I have a new restaurant for you: L & L Hawaiian Barbecue on FM 3040 in Lewisville, just west of the Sonic. It’s a chain that started in the Islands, and I had [among other things] undoubtedly the best macaroni salad I have eaten in my life. According to Brother Sushi, in Hawaii macaroni salad gets served with pretty much everything. I could eat this salad three times a day, no problem. The pot-stickers were good, too. I don’t remember the name of the hot sauce, but it’s deep pink, fiery with a sweet aftertaste; I don’t think I will need to wax my lip or my brows for a couple of weeks.

I got the sample plate: teriyaki beef, Korean pork ribs, and teriyaki chicken. The beef was tasty but a little on the dry side; to be fair, we got there late in the day. I have about half of it left for another meal. The pork was garlicky, and is history. Even dealing with the bones, which I don’t like to do, didn’t put me off. The chicken was amazing. I only have any of it left because I had eaten all my pork and half my beef and two pot-stickers and my macaroni salad and all but a few bites of rice. Oh, that rice! I am not much for soy sauce because of the sodium, so I only dribbled a little on one corner, but underneath the mound of rice, where the teriyaki sauce from the chicken had run?


Friday, August 14, 2009

Houston, we have a peplum!

Click to embiggen. I’m setting this aside for a couple of days in order to work on Firstborn’s socks. It will be nice to work on something human-scale again.

My friend Sooz hits another one out of the ballpark! As someone who is a Planner in part of her life and a Winger in the important parts, I can truly relate.

Tonight is the monthly dinner with Brother Sushi. His turn to buy, and we are heading up to Lewisville or Carrollton to a Hawaiian barbecue joint. Which reminds me of a snippet of conversation overheard earlier this week. A stunning brunette on the elevator was talking on her cell phone, explaining to the party on the other end that there is a difference between grilling and barbecuing. I hadn’t pondered that before. Grilling = high heat = steaks. Barbecue = slow heat = ribs or chicken or brisket.

Must go get ready for work. Patting the peplum on Cuprit’s sweater before putting it back into the bag for later. I need to PM somebody and get a couple more measurements before proceeding.

When this sweater is done and Firstborn’s socks are finished, I will be ready for another fat-yarn project. Maybe a felted bag from the leftover Malabrigo?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

To sleep, perchance...

Yesterday was weird. Even on the Ms. Ravelled scale of weirdness. I had my appointment for deep cleaning of half my teeth. They had a temp; she was good. It went well. [I did make some jottings while I was (briefly) at work but forgot to mail them home. It will be interesting to see if they are as witty as they seemed at the time.]

I showed up at work a little before noon and gave the receptionist her lunch break. Nearly finished opening the 11:00 mail. Anesthetic was starting to wear off, and I was starting to feel achy from before they had put the dental block thingie on the right side to hold my mouth open when the effort to do so on my own was starting to make me feel TMJish. So nice to be able to relax, bite down, and not have to think about keeping my teeth accessible.

My dentist’s staff was pretty amazed that I was planning to go into work after all that. [They were also pretty impressed to see and handle Autumn Asters; several of them are knitters.] I figured, no big deal. And halfway through her lunch hour, I was wishing she were back already. Just wanted my mommy, and to come home and put on my PJ’s and take a nice long nap.

So I signed out at 1:00 and drove home and ate soft stuff and took that nap, setting the alarm so I wouldn’t miss presidency meeting. Which went well, and then I took myself to Ol’ South for one of those German pancakes, and it tasted funny, but I think that was because I took three Advil yesterday: one at 2:30, one at 7:00, and the last at 11:00.

I never take that stuff. Never need to; I had to buy a fresh bottle. And transfer a smidgen of money over from savings before bedtime, just to make sure I had everything covered.

Life is good, but no real knitting yesterday, and I did not get the scarf pinned out before leaving for the dentist’s. [Nor will it be happening today; tune in tomorrow.]

I went back to bed at 12:15 this morning. And now I’m up again and feeling human, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Between the nap yesterday afternoon and the sleep last night, I think I got enough rest. There is the merest hint of tenderness in my right jaw and ear. The bottle of Advil is in my red bag in case I need it later today, but I don’t expect that I will.

When we do the other half of my mouth, I am definitely taking the whole day off. And then we get to schedule [and budget for] the replacement of one of my crowns. When I am tempted to feel poor-poor-pitiful-me, I remember that my parents were smokers, and by the time they were my age they both had full dentures. [The only advantage I can see to that scenario is no further need to floss.]

I am hoping for lots more knitting today, beginning now while the tub fills...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Let he who is without Zin among you...

Please cast the first corkscrew. This is the bottle which LadyZen gave me in March. It has a real cork. [Philistine that I am, I was assuming a cap that came unscrewed.] I have not needed a corkscrew in thirty-four years.

But I have it on good authority that I have executive ability; remember the fortune cookie fortune which I framed? I figured something out.

Pictured here with the biography of Marcella Hazan which I found on sale for $4.98.

Well, I thought I had solved the problem. I got the corkscrew in just fine. I have drilled all the way through to China, as a matter of fact, but I don’t have strength to pull the cork.

Where is Monica when I need her? Oh, yeah. Home, sleeping, or maybe getting ready for work. And Trainman is probably stepping off the TRE as we speak; he is usually at his desk by 6:15.


I even tried pulling the corkscrew out carefully and dribbling a cupful out through the mangled cork. No dice. I guess I had better cancel my enrollment in sommelier school.

But wait. I think it budged. [At least ten minutes later...] Success!

Now you are sitting there, wondering why a good teetotaler like me needs a glass of virgin white Zinfandel at 6:01am.

Lace blocking, my dears. Lace blocking. Rebecca brought her blocking wires to Knit Night.

And after taking a sip of my hard-won Zin, me no like. Into the crockpot this will go, with a quart or two of chicken stock and who-knows-what else. It shall not be wasted. It shall also not be tasted, except as condiment.

Trying to remember why I liked wine, back in the day. [But at least I got to use the blog title, which like the wine has been parked since March.]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

“You have a feather in your hair.” *snort*

This is what one of my attorneys said as a bunch of us lined up for a photo op behind the table of goodies we are sending to two soldiers the office has adopted.

I may have had the feather in my hair, but he is the one who was tickled. What can I say? Cheap pillow that really needs to be retired. I rarely grab the mirror and check out my head in back, otherwise I might have seen it. No guarantees. Sometimes I think my eyes wake up long after my stomach and related organs do.

I’ve gotten Firstborn’s sock re-knitted to the point where it was when I hollered, “Aughh!” and frogged it back to a nubbin. I’ve redone the increases, made my peace with M1L and M1R and have to concede that they make for a sturdier-looking toe. But I think I will always prefer my simple lacy YO increases, even if they are incompatible with all the KTBL [knit through back loop] on this sock.

Yarnissima is a sock-designing genius, and while I’m still not crazy about the feel of the yarn [and can’t imagine a good reason to buy more of it] these socks will nevertheless be enjoyable to make because of the deceptive simplicity of her design. Not to mention how fond I am of the eventual recipient. I think they will feel good on Firstborn’s feet, and I think I will garner all sorts of good-mommy karma if I stop whining and just shut up and knit.

[Yes, BittyBit, I know we don’t say ‘shut up’. I’m saying it to myself, and as far as I know, you can’t read. (Yet.)]

While I am in snarky-mode, I’ll share a change I made to my profile on the Churchboy Dating Service:

One parting shot: My weight fluctuates. If you’re not interested in getting to know me when I’m plump, I’m not interested in getting to know you when I’m skinny. (The bishop didn’t ask me my dress size when he called me to leadership in my ward.)

Wouldn’t it be a hoot if I went to one of the local doll meets and found a guy who is age-appropriate, godly, competent, and harbors a secret longing to know more about the Church and to use his pickup truck to help people move, every Saturday? And likes to build doll furniture?

Frankly, I think my chances are better of that happening, than of meeting Brother Right at one of the dances. A fireside, maybe; guys who go to those tend to have a greater grasp on implementing church doctrine in their personal lives. But almost certainly not at one of the dances. The odds, as I’ve said before, are not good. And the goods are odd.

Trainman and DecoratorDude and I put our pointy little heads together on the train and are planning an outing to the Italian restaurant in Watauga later this month. Brother Sushi can make it; we’re waiting to hear back from LadyZen. Trainman and I plastered her driver’s-side window with sticky notes when we got to the station tonight. She was still burning the midnight debits.

Must. Go. Knit.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Making Tracks

For months and months, the south track at Richland Hills Station has been unusable, i.e., nonexistent. As I zipped across the footbridge to catch the train on Friday, I noticed there were new concrete ties, and workers had begun to replace the rails. I made a mental note to snap a few pictures when I got off the train after work.

This is the view as I stood on the bridge and pointed the camera eastward. I like the play of light and shadow on the concrete. This is a longer view.

No, that is not an incoming train. Those cars are parked way across the road.

You can see that they have not begun to replace the ties on the northern track. I suppose that will come next.

Speaking of making tracks, here are swatches for Cuprit’s welcome-home sweater. I whipped these out while waiting for the frogged yarn on Firstborn’s socks to relax.

I managed to mislay my HiyaHiya’s at the welcome-home party for BestFriend’s son-in-law. I let his mom know, because there were all sorts of pint-size lobotomists running about. She called me about an hour after I’d gotten home. Somebody had found them and put them on top of a bookcase. I’ll pick them up at her house when I’m in town for Knit Night tomorrow.

I guess we should call them Bye-aBye-a needles. [Cue the Backside Boys; I miss Emily Gilmore!]

So, at bedtime, I had 193 stitches cast on my trusty 00 circ for the peplum of a sweater that is only halfway envisioned. I decided that the 5-stitch-wide knit sections should be 4 stitches wide, and the gores should start out 7 stitches wide. The gauge on 000 needles for the section above the gores, is 4 stitches per cm. The gauge on the knit part of the peplum is just a smidgen looser. Which is why I needed those 0000’s, although I might even need to gear down to 00000’s. But first I will do a single knit row using my 000 circ, and then I will put it aside until I get my Hiya/Bye-a’s back.

Oh, and there are beads along the cast-on edge, to go with the ones you can just barely see on the second swatch, up at the top of the gores. These are beads leftover from MS3, on the yarn leftover from Secondborn’s birthday scarf.

Take my hand, I’m a glutton for punishment. [With apologies to Tony Bennett, and Kismet.]

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Cannibalistic me...

To my great astonishment yesterday, I found myself eating M&M’s imprinted with my best friend’s face. Her hubby ordered several bags of them for her birthday earlier this year, and I got one. The only thing better than sitting on the couch, knitting and watching Persuasion, is sitting and knitting and watching with an open bag of M&M’s.

The Lace Ribbon Scarf is done. More pictures to follow after it’s properly blocked. That’s two, two finished objects this week, bwa ha ha ha ha! [And I have frogged M. le Clapotis. Swatching for new project will commence later this week.]

How sad is it that I was so antsy to finish this scarf that I did very little puttering yesterday? Behold, one happy couch.

And one happy bathroom sink.

As you can see, I still haven’t painted the bathroom. Firstborn’s socks are next on the agenda.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to frog 250 yards of laceweight silk? You can’t go more than five inches without one stitch hanging onto its neighbor like a reluctant kindergartner on the first day of school: “No Mommy, no Mommy, don’t make me gooooo!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

“In Case You Are Arrested”

That’s what I thought the subject line of the email said. But it said, “In Case You Are Interested”. Which I was not. [Not arrested, either. (Neither?)] I really do have new glasses. Maybe I should clean them.

I managed to stay somewhat busy at work. Bills to pay for a couple of secretaries, one deposition summary to transcribe. Oodles of scanning when I was up at the front desk. Rather more time for daydreaming than I would have liked. Not that I have anything against daydreaming; I just think I shouldn’t necessarily get paid for it.

I skipped the dance last night. Came home and nibbled some dinner: waffles as soon as I got home and took off my shoes, a nuked potato with wasabi ranch a couple of hours later, a cup of pudding sometime after that, all washed down with milk or juice or water. Mostly I stretched out on the couch and knitted and watched August Rush and cried. Not the kind of tears that mean trouble, the kind that are a response to truth and beauty, wherever found.

Every time I watch that movie, I give thanks that Fourthborn’s Fiancé told me I would probably like it. And that Brother Sushi told me about Entertainmart and their discount table.

I had hoped to finish my friend’s scarf before going to bed, but I didn’t quite make it. When I turned out the lights, I had a ball of yarn about the size of a double-yolk extra-large egg and two happily weary hands. I’ve added a few more rows this morning, and I just spread the scarf out on my bed to measure it. Something like 51 inches long, unblocked. I think I have just enough yarn left to do half a pattern repeat and then the few rows of garter stitch at the end. This yarn is 70% merino and 30% silk; it will grow somewhat when I wet-block it. So I should be done with the actual knitting before BestFriend gets here, and if I remember to ask to borrow Rebecca’s blocking wires, I can block it next Wednesday morning before leaving for work.

This is looking like the week of Finished Objects. Which leaves me with three UFO’s:
  1. My second Clapotis, from the Claudia Handpainted Silk I bought for my birthday last year. It has been sitting in timeout for several months.
  2. Firstborn’s birthday socks, which are next up for finishing.
  3. The Anatomically Correct toe-up socks, which have been languishing even longer than Clapotis Deux.
I need to make some time to tidy up around here. The couch is looking sad again. I can and will fix that before BestFriend gets here. And then there is the bag with leftover Malabrigo, the basket with leftover Chelsea Silk from the Sunrise Circle Jacket and a previous incarnation, and the bag of Telemark which I bought to make Autumn Asters without [much] considering grist and gauge.

I also need to put together my gift for tonight’s wedding reception. I am so glad that I bought those candle holders on clearance at Pier One a year or two ago. I sat down when I brought them home and took off all the price tags and popped in a votive candle and wrapped the tissue around them again. They are in a drawer in one of my plastic organizers in the studio, and they are dwindling to a precious few. When I get an invitation, I grab one of them, embellish them, put them into a gift bag with a card, and off I go to eat cake.

If you are getting married and I’m invited, you are getting a nice candle in a pretty holder, with a card that bears my well-thought-out sentiments. I promise not to eat too much cake. Should I marry again in this life, we are not having a reception. We are having a dance and a sheet cake and some punch. Brother Sushi will be the DJ, and it will rock, and nobody needs to bring anything but hugs and their dancing shoes.

As some of my children will be happy to tell you, I. Do. Not. Need. More. Stuff. That doesn’t seem to stop me from acquiring it, though I’ve managed to slow the influx considerably.

In doll news, they have started shipping Cuprit. The first one arrived at its new home the day before yesterday. [I may have mentioned this in yesterday’s post. Or not.] I PM’d the owner last night, asking if she would mind taking specific measurements that are not on Soom’s website. She said she would be happy to do so. I am toying with the idea of frogging Clapotis Deux and knitting a sweater or tunic for my Cuprit. Fourthborn is keeping the default costume, most of which is not to my taste. And I do not want to post pictures of a doll in her birthday suit. There are way too many “cheesecake” shots on the manufacturers’ websites as it is.

I think some of the people who collect these dolls are decidedly strange, rather like stereotypical comic book fans. I aim to remain firmly grounded in reality, while having fun with my daughters and our [growing] resin tribe.

Middlest came up with what we both think is a great idea. Remember the child’s rocking chair I bought at the estate sale which BestFriend’s daughter hosted? The one like the rocker that Dad made for Firstborn? Middlest thinks it is just about exactly the right scale for Cuprit [who will have a different name when she gets here; I have one picked out that is deeply symbolic of what she means to me, but I need to see if it fits her]. She is just over two feet tall, with very long legs. It might give her a safe place to perch while I am at work. And it’s wide enough for two dolls her size to sit. I’ve seen one who looks a lot like Firstborn and LittleBit. I might be saving for her, as well as my Arie.

Breakfast. Breakfast, and then knitting.

Friday, August 07, 2009

“As soon as I take my dad’s phone out of the rice.”

I hear the funniest things at work.

One of my attorneys has an elderly father, and what he thinks happened, is that his dad had the cell phone in his pocket, leaned forward, and it fell into the commode. So my attorney dried off the phone, took out the batteries, and put the damp phone into a container of uncooked rice for several days.

[His wife’s cell phone took a bath a few years ago, and they did this, and it dried out and has worked fine ever since.]

Remind me to pass up any invitations for stir-fry at their home.

Much knitting on the eternal teal scarf yesterday. And pictures of the first Cuprit [that we know of, on DoA] which shipped. Even bald, without makeup, and in the be-nudies, she’s ever so much prettier than the default photos on Soom’s website. She has a killer mouth: Angelina Jolie better look to her laurels!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Little Knitter Who Could

Here is the collar spread out in all its glory.

The left lapel.

The collar back.

That’s all I have for you this morning. I came home from Fourthborn’s last night and spent 20 minutes waiting for a large red wasp-like flying insect to light on the wall long enough and low enough for me to smack it into oblivion with my flyswatter and flush the remains. I couldn’t tell if it was one of the ones that is harmless but loud, or one of the aggressive ones. It was inside. I was taking no chances. [Or prisoners.]

Once I had that little detail taken care of, I put Runaway Bride into the player and listened to it while finishing the embroidery. When I was done, it was 12:30. This time I reset the alarm for 6:00am. My tub is full. My bag is packed, including or should I say especially the scarf, with the spare partial ball of yarn.

I discovered a small mistake on the scarf, about eight inches from where I am. No, I am not frogging back. I will embroider it shut, or something.

I am outta here in about seven minutes. Bishop gave me some homework last night. Which means no knitting on the couch tonight. But I think there might be a celebratory chocolate muffin when I get to work today.

Autumn Asters, c’est fini!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Most instructive, as Spock would say.

For several weeks, I have not been in the mood to cook. I grab something here, something there, in part because I seem to be living in my car. I try to make relatively healthy choices. I decided to tot up everything I had spent on fast food for the month of July. And then to consider putting an equal amount into savings and as a donation to one or more of my favorite non-church charities.

Why? Several reasons. Enlightened self-interest, for one. I think I would feel better physically if I spent some of that money on healthy snacks so I can graze all day if need be, guilt-free. [There is a nectarine on my desk, as we speak. Was. I should have put it into a paper bag to ripen; I left it one day too long inside the plastic bag. Eww.]

Another point: if I can “afford” to eat that money, I should also be able to afford to save that money.

Third point: I think that money could be put to far better use. The $164.46 that I spent, which does not include sit-down dinners with friends, would buy feed 22 kids for a month OR provide 10 months of clean water for 40 refugees OR five surgical kits through Doctors Without Borders OR buy four goats OR half a cow OR 320 chickens through Rising Star Outreach.

So I logged on to Rising Star and sent them two virtual goats. I like goats; I try really hard to be a good, obedient sheep, but in my heart of hearts I am a goat. And I transferred $164.46 into savings. And I logged on to DWB/MSF and sent them $85.00.

[I have resisted doing my impersonation of a grownup, i.e., paying my bills, but I have them all together, and I’ll do that in a minute. You financial types will be pleased to know that I have barely even glanced at a drive-through since forking over all that cash, though I am contemplating turning over the money I’ve been tempted to spend but haven’t, next payday. If I don’t practice generosity now, while things are still a little tight as I pay off debt, how can I expect to be generous when I am debt-free and solvent?]

And then ~ THEN ~ I went online and almost bought Arie, but I just could not make myself turn loose of all that cash for a doll, all at once. It was the shipping, mostly, but Trainman assures me that that is the going rate for overnight shipping for overseas, and Middlest and Fourthborn tell me that the shipping on larger dolls is even higher. So I put half the money into savings, and when it’s all saved up with some to spare I’ll put on my SuperGem-sized p@nties [on my fingers, you goosies!] and make PayPal very happy.

This was in the neighbor’s yard when I had dinner at my friends’ home on Monday night. I think it is clever, attractive, and a good use of vertical space.

In knitting news, no progress whatsoever on the embroidery on Autumn Asters yesterday, but oodles and oodles of progress on the lace scarf for my friend who moved to Missouri. And I am nearly to the end of the first ball of yarn and I know where the partial ball is that is leftover from Secondborn’s birthday scarf.

I did a load of laundry last night. [Is it sad that that is news?] No Knit Night, just straight to the laundromat from the train station and be done with it. There’s more to do, but it’s not critical. Yet. Tomorrow night will be just fine. I think that tonight I will come home and put my feet up and not-have-meetings and let yard after yard of lovely soft wool glide between my fingers.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Washerwoman Formerly Known As Bridget

There has been a series of articles over the past couple of years about a sign in Boise that is iconic, to say the least. This is the most recent one, inspired by this one, to which my sister and I objected politely but firmly.

OK, she wrote the polite letters. I wrote the testy ones. [Good sis, bad sis? It worked for us!]

Dad would probably roll over in his grave if he knew that Maytag washers were sullying the premises. Oh, how he loved his Speed Queens!

Girls, Tempa is FirstHubby’s mom. His folks and mine were friends when I played with jacks and he was just one of those stinky boys who lived across the street from the laundromat. I don’t think he and I met until I was 20.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Samwise Gamgee

It occurs to me, after watching The Fellowship of the Ring, that Gandalf is not the only Christ-figure in LOTR. And that Sam is a nearly perfect example of Christian forbearance and forgiveness. Frodo wavers, under duress. Sam never does. He keeps his promise to Gandalf to keep Frodo safe, inasmuch as it is in his power, despite weariness and slander and heartbreak. He is like a [short, hairy-toed] stripling warrior from the Book of Mormon.

Sam is Everyman, serving the best he knows how. Like you. Like me. Knowing that he serves a cause far greater than himself. Knowing that it may cost him his life. And finding within himself a nobility and courage that are all the more profoundly moving for being wrapped up in such a seemingly ordinary and insignificant package.

Remember who you are.

And Whose.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

I’m not the only one. (Random thoughts.)

[Just like your friendly local RS president] Brooklyntweed has been burning the candle at both ends. Yes, I will probably be buying his book. He has an amazing eye for beauty.

Speaking of an amazing eye for beauty, this blog is consistently delightful. And yes, I am the Lynn who commented on her post. I think Robi or Shiela might be the only ones who have seen that dress. Shiela, it’s the one I made for my first date with Doug, the midi in various shades of mysterious green, that I wore with my orange belt. Robi, I may still have had that dress after Secondborn arrived, but I blame your good cooking [though not you] for setting my feet on the path of zaftigness! I think I gave it to one of the skinny wenches in our ward when I was pregnant with Middlest. Or maybe it just went to Goodwill.

I found this on Unclutterer’s archives. It would be a good addition to one’s emergency preparedness stuff, and it’s red!

Yesterday was a little weird. I was drowsy after breakfast, so I went back to bed for “just a little nap” and woke up after 1:00 from a dream where I was discreetly but enthusiastically kissing someone I know. [No need to blush, Brother Sushi, it wasn’t you. ☺] I have no idea where that came from. I hope it wasn’t something I ate!

So, no romantic comedies for Ms. Ravelled whilst sewing the final seams of Autumn Asters. And no laundry in the cool of the day. I threw the laundry bag in the back of the car with the thought of doing a load of wash after the baptism. Um, no. Maybe Monday after work.

Natural peanut butter. I started eating it about a year and a half ago. I’ve known for decades that it was better for me. And I also knew that it wouldn’t fly with the girls. The PITA factor with a new jar is truly annoying. And since it has no preservatives [at my age, I need all the preservatives I can get!], you have to keep it in the fridge. But I keep a small jar in the fridge here at home, and another small jar in the fridge at work, and it makes for a satisfying snack or lunch, washed down with a mug or two of milk. Particularly since I can now get whole-grain saltines at Wally World prices.

I think I am finally starting to like the taste. I was that way about freshly-grated nutmeg, too. When you grow up on the stuff in the tiny can with the shaker top, fresh nutmeg can be Whoa, Nellie! [And Whole Foods has a little disclaimer that says pregnant women should not eat fresh nutmeg, in case you didn’t know. There’s your public service announcement for the day.]

Memo to self: in future, avoid most if not all sweaters which have collars. Seaming up sleeves and sides, where the right sides come together, is a piece of cake. Seaming the right side of the collar to the wrong side of the sweater body, and remembering to do that from the inside of the sweater so the seam will be covered by the collar when the sweater is worn, is a royal pain.

Memo to friends and family: do not ask how many tries it took to get this right; I was ever so slightly distracted by Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn. Ordinarily I would prefer Orlando Bloom, as in the Pirates trilogy; in LOTR his integrity in the role of Legolas was all I could see. Not even a blip on the testosterone meter. Sorry, I guess ElvesRNotUs. At least not the male ones. I keep wanting to tell Elrond, “Honey, you need to be eating more than that elvish flatbread; you look like David Bowie in Labyrinth! Get some meat on those bones!”

Maybe I have lived in Texas too long. I like men who are dark [or silver, or nicely bald] and solidly built and not excessively tall. They don’t need to be any taller than, well, fold your arms as if you were a Latter-Day Saint in prayer. Now raise those elbows three to six inches above shoulder level, as if you were kissing somebody goodnight.

About that tall. That way nobody gets a neck-ache.

The baptism. The baptism was great. Very well attended; the Relief Society room was about three-quarters full. He had some non-LDS friends who showed up to support him. Afterward, we teased him that now we had to start dragging him to the singles’ dances, and that it didn’t matter whether he could dance; if he can’t, he has plenty of company. He raised one eyebrow and grinned, “Well, maybe I can dance.” I told him in that case we really needed him at the dances!

Mr. Rogers wants to know if you can say frog in a blender?

We have buttons. I took the mostly-stitched-up Autumn Asters along for the ride when I went to the baptism. And then I drove down to Jo-Ann’s, where I spent 20 minutes looking at buttons and pushing them through buttonholes. For once, there were a lot of definite-maybes that almost made the cut.

Next up? Embroidering the collar, and then all we need is the return of cold weather.