About Me

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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!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

So, I wilted at 8:10.

And had sufficient brain cells left to rub together, that I figured out it was because I had left the office at 3:15, and my brain [or what was left of it] said, “Hrm, we left work five hours ago; must be 10:00pm. Time to put on the jammies and go night-night.” Yes, I did make it to Knit Night, but I only lasted about an hour.

Work went well. Lots of piddly little projects checked off my list, and bigger ones organized and annotated so that when I get back to the office today I will know where to start and what to finish.

Speaking of starting? I started Willow’s scarf twice and frogged it twice. And I’m OK with that; I’ve grabbed my largest needles and rethought the pattern, and I think I will like the new incarnation just fine. Film at 11.

I finished the left front on the doll sweater and may have figured out how to manage the side gusset vs. the kimono sleeve. Short rows, I think, and a three needle bind-off for the side seam and then Magic Loop to the sleeve hem. I am trying to figure out a way to knit this sweater with an unbroken strand of yarn to make the most of the Noro color changes. [Not to mention the joy of having only two ends to weave in.]

On the drive home from the Bishop’s Storehouse, I remembered the hand-painted, variegated floss I used on a couple of cross-stitch projects several years ago. Yes, they were still wound on bobbins, and I think that a couple of the colors will do nicely for the fancy stitching on the doll skirt.

Obviously, some of these colors will do much better than others. And I may still choose to go with my extensive DMC and Anchor collection, also neatly wound on plastic bobbins. [These are the cheap paper ones that came with the floss-organizing boxes.]

I was in bed at 9:31. And up at 4:41. Seven hours? We should maybe call Ripley’s, or the Guinness people.

Text messages have been flying back and forth between the girls and me. Texts re: filing the claim for Cuprit, with Fourthborn; texts re: the yarn CARE package, which unlike Cuprit arrived safely and on time, to Middlest; texts re: Firstborn and college. She went to the counselor’s office to see about the holdup on her app for graduation in December; they told her she had already graduated and would have the paperwork in about two weeks. When I spoke to her last night, on my way home from the Storehouse, she was filling out paperwork for her scholarship to UTA for spring semester.

Phi Theta Kappa [junior college honor society: one apple fallen not far from the maternal tree] = scholarship. Her goal is to graduate with her BA the same year that Lark graduates from high school.

You can eat an elephant, if you take it one bite at a time. And direction is far more important than speed. She will be my first college graduate; I suspect she will not be the last. Speaking from my own experience, higher education is most valued when it is self-paced, and least-stressful when there are no student loans piling up. I began my AAS on grants, because we were so poor, and finished using part of my inheritance from Mom. [Thank you, America, for two-thirds of my ability to sign.]

I am taking the necktie skirt with me and intentionally driving to the Richland Hills station, because it is close to both JoAnn’s and Hancock’s. There are all sorts of tulle out there for the underskirt, and I want to have that on hand before I start the decorative stitching, because it will strongly influence what colors I should choose.

There are a couple of outfits on one of the doll websites which will fit the Jessica I have on layaway; one is $110(!) and the other is $75(!). I’ll wait while you rub your eyes and clean your glasses. There are elements of both outfits which I admire. One of them is even completely modest [you think you have trouble finding modest clothing for your daughters? a good chunk of the doll world is into goth and Lolita-style, 99% of which just makes me go ewww!]. In human-scale and with a slip rather than a tulle underskirt, it would be completely appropriate to wear to church, and if I still had my pre-baby figure I would do so [even at my advanced age]. Having made a Renaissance-inspired skirt for LittleBit for Halloween one year, I know how to reproduce the skirt. Having made crinolines for bridesmaid dresses, I know how to make the underskirt; it will definitely involve a judicious use of childbirth words. I’ll tell you when to cover and uncover your ears.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

For those of you who are local...

... and will not be watching [or attending] General Conference this weekend, the Lincoln 200 Festival continues at the Fort Worth Public Library. On Saturday morning at 11:00, a Lincoln impersonator will be performing at the Southwest Regional Library. He will perform again at 2:00 with his wife.

This is one of those times when I wish I could clone myself, because I think I would enjoy both performances. However, I will be watching General Conference and taking notes [when I am not knitting].

There has been sewing, chez Ravelled. This is the necktie skirt, assembled but for one seam and awaiting embellishment.

The next step will be to pull out my collection of embroidery floss and work crazy-quilt stitching along each seam line. The reason is twofold: (1) a love of handwork and (2) additional reinforcement of the seams. Here is a regrettably blurry detail shot of the buttonhole stitch “serging” which I worked along the raw edges of each seam.

It was easier and certainly more portable than hauling out my serger, and more than adequate for the gentle use which this skirt will receive, especially once there is the additional layer of embroidery stitches. If I were to make this commercially, I would of course use my serger.

There are two hem facing pieces which I have yet to cut out; each is half the width of the skirt, and curves to fit. And I will probably line the skirt as well, if I can find a tissue-weight silk broadcloth in a compatible color. I may just go with a tulle underskirt. Though it might be fun to have some of my tatted lace peeking out under the hem. One step at a time. I am happier with designing when I relax and let the work flow, rather than trying to force the process.

I will be very surprised to be at Knit Night tonight. I need to drive up to the Bishop’s Storehouse and pick up a food order for one of the lambs at church. If I can take a couple of hours of PT and hit the Storehouse as soon as the doors open, I might be able to do both. Plus, I need to go by my bank and deposit the reimbursement for the food which I bought for the service project last Saturday. [And I need a manicure, and my bangs are in my eyes.]

It was very pleasant to spend a quiet evening at home. I didn’t pick up the doll sweater, preferring to stitch away on the skirt, but I’ve added several rows to the left front this morning. I think it will be a very Norolicious sweater when I’m done. I may need to set the sweater aside for a couple of days, because I have two granddaughters’ birthdays coming up in the next week and a half, and I need to get cracking! I think a scarf for Willow, who is out of state; I have some lovely nobbly fat green yarn that would make a thick, soft scarf for a college girl. And maybe some fingerless gloves for Lark. Willow got fingerless gloves last year, and Lark got the chunky smoke ring scarf from the leftover Silk Garden I used for my sister’s scarf.

Good thing I’m a fast knitter, no?

Monday, September 28, 2009

The bag was gone when I woke up :)

Oops. Thought I posted this before leaving this morning.

I looked at the neighbor’s door when I pulled out for church yesterday. The garbage bag and my note were no longer hanging on the front door. [I did not have time to see if they had simply walked back over and put their bag into my trash bin. I looked this morning; nada.]

In the Little Ironies Department, when I came home from church, they were just parking in front of their duplex. As I walked around to the passenger side to grab my bags, I said hello and got a hello back, with a smile.

Lots of knitting at church. I ripped back most of the swatch from Saturday night; I wasn’t sure if this was going to be another sweater for Cuprit, or possibly for Jessica, or if it is meant to be a roomy haori jacket for Beyla. I think it will depend upon how much yarn is left when I finish the body. That will determine whether I knit side panels, and how long I make the sleeves.

At the moment I have a sweater back, and the right front, and stitches picked up along the front edge; I am now working the left front.

Work per se was good. We had a little excitement just before closing, and I’m not sure what was going on. Smoke coming out of the microwave. We called the building engineer, because there were no flames. It wasn’t the coffeepot, which is surprising. People let the pots boil down to nothing, at least once a month.

I have resigned as one of the PM dishwasher divas. One of the AM divas is stirring the pot, tattling, etc.; yea verily, the PITA factor mounteth up daily. In my email to the office manager, I told her that my children and grandchildren provide all the drama I need.

I tell you what: an English muffin pizza topped with spinach/artichoke dip and a bit of tomato sauce is the perfect antidote to an intermittently-toxic day.

I spoke with the EMS clerk’s supervisor today. As I suspected, his search of the other two PO’s last Friday turned up nothing. It is officially two weeks today since the allegedly failed allegedly notified alleged delivery; the supervisor gave me the number to place a claim, and I texted it to Fourthborn. She is also emailing the manufacturer in Korea to see if the PO sent the box back without authorization.

I checked eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon again today. Thankfully, Cuprit is not hanging out there. Oh well, at least I have my knitting to console me. And a white chocolate brownie in the fridge.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Who you calling a [spinach and artichoke] dip?

Much happy shopping yesterday. I love spending other people’s money. [Actually, it was my money, but I’ve already been reimbursed, and really it all belongs to Heaven anyway. I got Heaven (and its earthly manifestation, the church) some good bargains!]

Bread and peanut butter and jelly and sliced ham and mustard (eww!) and margarine (eww, squared!) And while I was at the various stores on my errand from Above, I also purchased a few things, separately, for me. Whole-grain bagels and English muffins, and I bought enough stuff total that I got to take home two bags from the crazy-bargain table, gratis. A bag of round sandwich slices that look like Ritz crackers all bloated with PMS. A package of flour tortillas.

From there I went to Wal-Mart, where I bought the ham. And a couple more items for me. Brought all that stuff home and put it in the fridge, then went to Town Talk and got a gallon of nasty yellow mustard that we used about half of; I don’t know who took it home, but it most certainly did not come back home with me. Not even for compost!

What did I get at Town Talk, for me? A pint of gourmet ginger ice cream; I ate some of it when I came home from the broadcast last night. A pint of almond gelato. Two little tubs of chêvre. A “light” Brie. [Isn’t that oxymoronic?] A few slices of French cheese that I think will make wonderful multicultural quesadillas when paired with the flour tortillas. And the crowning glory? Wensleydale cheese, with blueberries, for less than a dollar!!! That much cheese would have cost me a week’s food budget, had I bought it at Central Market.

Then I drove under the freeway to another Wal-Mart and picked up the last few items, since Town Talk couldn’t beat their prices. Peanut butter, jelly, and the margarine. I brought home a jumbo box of chocolate chip cookie mix, two little bags of slice-and-bake to put into my lunches, and a tub of spinach/artichoke cream cheese.

I came home long enough to slather some cream cheese on a bagel, wash it down with a glass of juice, and reload the car with all the perishables [and my receipts] to take them down to the stake center.

But wait, there’s more! While perusing one of the yarn catalogues that I tried to get to earlier in the week, I found a sock yarn that is 75% bamboo and 25% nylon. I think there is a pair of socks in Fourthborn’s future, but don’t tell her I said so. [I think that much nylon is going to be infuriating to work with, but the bamboo may overrule it, and I’ll knit almost any yarn once.]

I had a little adventure, mid-day.

Dear Neighbor

When I came home from buying groceries, I noticed that my recycling bin had been moved close to the property line between your duplex and mine. Someone had placed a bag of garbage in it. My best guess is that it was somebody from your household; I have returned it to your door. If I am mistaken, please forgive me.

The recycling bins and garbage bins on my side of my duplex are for both halves of my duplex. Surely you have your own? If you do not, please find another means of disposing of your garbage.

Sincerely yours,

I called one of the girls and read that off to her [I was feeling pretty snarky]; she said they would get over it, or maybe they just wouldn’t speak to me. I told her they don’t speak to me now [because we never see each other], and she said “Well, there you go.”

The bag of garbage was still hung on the door when I got home last night. They’re horse people, here for one show or another. I’m not even sure which half of the duplex they’re staying in. It’s just pickups coming and going at odd hours.

At our RS meeting and service projects, the hour and a half for three sessions of sandwich-making [which I supervised] just flew by. I figured that my cranky ankle would be the size of my head this morning, and it’s not. That’s really all the blessing I need for the time I put in. I think the project was a success, though we came up short on sandwiches, and my inner mathematician just won’t pipe down about it. I’m going to give her a nice quick breakfast before heading out the door to pick up my friend for church.

Yes, I know it’s Fast Sunday in our ward because of General Conference next weekend, but all my cells are screaming “Sustenance, wench!” so, no. Not today.

We have presidency meeting after church today, and there is a break-the-fast for the singles tonight. I will make the former but possibly not the latter. I’m feeling a little peopled-out, and severely in need of a nap. [I may cancel the presidency meeting. I only woke up about an hour ago, and sleep is already sounding good to me.]

But there is a sleeve-swatch for another doll sweater sitting here on my desk, and I have Brie in my fridge. So life is good, chez Ravelled.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

400 Sandwiches

This morning I will be gathering the supplies to make them. That’s one-third of the service projects at today’s stake Relief Society meeting before the dinner and broadcast tonight. Four hundred sandwiches for the Presbyterian Night Shelter. We are going to have assembly lines like you would not believe, and all the sisters who attend today will have the opportunity to make sandwiches.

I am really excited about this project. I have been homeless [for about half a day, as long as it took us to drive from the Hill Country to the doorstep of our friends who did not have a home phone, and yes we were strange(rs), and yes they took us in], and I have been hungry, so this is an assignment that is near and dear.

I don’t know what we are doing for Cook’s Childrens Hospital, and I don’t know what we are doing for the church’s Humanitarian Aid project, but I am looking forward to finding out, though I will probably be keeping the sandwiches moving for the duration.

I am very fond of that hospital; when LittleBit had periorbital cellulitis, they spoke to her with such love, respect, and compassion, and they gave her a choice about how she would get her antibiotics. She was maybe six years old. I remember that I was in school, and she had three medicines to take on three different schedules. I wrote it all down on index cards, and we set alarm clocks to go off every two to six hours for about a week.

And now she is all grown up (not blind, nor dead) and making her own decisions. God bless Cooks.

When I called for an update at the post office, the fantabulous EMS clerk was gone for the day, but it is where he went that matters. He went to the other two post offices and searched them for our missing package.

Last night Fourthborn and I hosted a doll mini-meet at the Borders near Central Market. Saw some of the people we met last weekend and met some new ones and some new dolls. We had a nice time, but we were both weary, and she lost a filling yesterday. We left around 8:30, and I took her home by way of the bishop’s house so I could have him sign some food orders that a good brother in our ward will be picking up for three families today.

So, we know what’s on my plate for today. What’s in my bowl for breakfast? A sensible portion of multigrain hot cereal with a little cinnamon and a lot of brown sugar. I am in the mood for cornbread; while I’m picking up things for the service project, I am also going to get a fresh bag of cornmeal. And I have a bag of soup mix that I want to try out. With the weather cooling off a bit, I am finally in the mood to cook again.

I am also in the mood to putter and to nest, so I am hoping that the next couple of weeks will not require much driving. I am going to see if I can avoid driving in to work at all; I don’t have any more dental appointments until November, so I may very well be able to park at the T&P Station and acquire a bushel or two brownie points for being “green”. [Color-coordinated pun intended.]

I will be picking up new items for my food storage and rotating through the older cans and bags. And I will be stash-busting. Made a little more progress on the silk tie skirt yesterday and hope to do more this weekend. Once I have a front panel and a back panel, it may be time to bust out the embroidery floss (and maybe the bead stash) for some crazy-quilt stitching down the seams to hold the seam allowances in place on the wrong side of the skirt. I am buttonhole-stitching the raw edges together as I go. And then I am basting the seam allowances to one side so they will press nicely when I have the two panels done. [Yes, I am one of those sweetly demented souls who is mad for basting. A little less enamored for pressing as I go, but it absolutely makes a project.]

I love this Gütermann silk thread. My sister learned to use silk thread for her appliqué quilts, and it leaves virtually no marks when basting, and of course it feels so good slipping through my fingers as I sew. I can see myself acquiring a few spools a year as the seasons and colors change, and as my projects require it. The turquoise that I bought a year or so ago is lighter than the teal which I bought last month, and the browns are different. Eventually I could have a silken rainbow on my studio wall. That is not an unhappy thought.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Fooferah

Sarah at BlueGarter posted this teaser shot of a sweater she designed for her husband. It’s plum. It’s tweed. It’s cabled. I am smitten!

I’m driving in today, because I’m picking up Fourthborn when she gets off work and bringing her over here to Foat Wuth Ah Luv Yew. We are hosting a doll mini-meet at the Borders by Central Market. I think some of the people we met last Friday will be there, and possibly the ones I met at that first meet in the noisy venue.

I was going to surprise Fourthborn by handing back Nicolai, all measured within an inch of his life, but she reads the blog, so there goes the element of surprise. Though I am still a little surprised, even after having entered the numbers onto my spreadsheet next to Cuprit’s.

I woke about an hour ahead of the alarm, just this side of ravenous. Yay! for cheese puffs at 4:00am! I am now going to wash all that (pseudo?) cheesy goodness off my hands and work on the doll skirt while the tub fills.

That crazy storm a few nights ago, the one that knocked out my power, dragged a cool front through with it. I called time and temperature just before leaving the office, and it was 73°F out there. Tuesday night I turned off the window unit in my room. Wednesday night I turned off the one in the living room. I have the one in my studio still going, in case we have a spike of hot weather, but I went to sleep last night in my favorite flannel nightgown, just for grins. And this morning I turned down the ceiling fan here in the living room, to where it is just moseying around.

They say it’s going to be in the 90’s this weekend. I hope they are wrong. This is perfect weather: sweaters in the morning [though I haven’t] and shirt-sleeves in the afternoon. There may be one small, perfect caramel apple in my future.

Memo to self: (1) grab those three balls of leftover yarn and Middlest’s half of the cannibalized T-shirt; (2) put them in the mail today; (3) figure out the next knitting project, because the half-hour of knitting yesterday was nowhere near enough to ensure good mental health, even though the skirt is fun to work on; (4) we are working switchboard again today.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Guppy Bunting

What your well-costumed tadpole will be wearing this Halloween. Our office manager sent out this link. If I still had bitties chez Ravelled, mine would be ladybugs.

I met my knitting goal yesterday; I finished the last round on the cuff as the train pulled into the T&P Station. And then I had some a lot of cheese puffs washed down with milk as an appetizer while thinking about what I wanted to have for dinner.

There was no time this morning to post a picture of a nearly-complete sock. You’ll just have to be content with this.

I plan to hand them off to Secondborn at the Relief Society broadcast on Saturday night, if she’s there. And in the “Put On Your High-Heeled Sneakers” (and your wig hat on your head) Department?

The guy across the aisle on the train tonight pointed it out to us. I fished out my camera and snapped away, moments before we pulled out of the station.

If this wig is the punchline, then what on earth is the story?

[Still no Cuprit. And no returned phone call from the alleged supervisor. EMS clerk was off today; he will get a call from me tomorrow. But I have another skirt maybe 20% done.]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Breakfast: the most important meal.

Nicolai was more than happy to watch my double-chocolate muffin while I got out my knitting.

The EMS clerk at the PO appears to be every bit as kind, capable, and concerned as Good Supervisor. He returned my call within two hours and said he had one more person to talk with, but wouldn’t be able to do so until late last night. He promised to call me early this morning. I am cautiously optimistic. Fourthborn has tackled the problem from the other end, notifying Soom that Cuprit has gone astray. They will initiate their own trace.

I had almost 70 emails in my inbox at work. Including a couple wondering why I hadn’t done something, and when was I going to do it? Thankfully, it is my week to get the early mail, so I missed a brief but needless [in my opinion] meeting.

And thankfully there was still plenty of time to knit.

The second sock is cast on, and I am ready to roll. I hope to have completed the cuff by the time I go to bed tonight. At any rate, the pair should be done in time for me to hand them off to Secondborn this weekend.

We are moving our presidency meeting to Sundays, so tonight is suspiciously free. I will knit, of course, and I also hope to press the ties I cannibalized over the weekend and attach the freezer paper pattern bits so I may start sewing another skirt for Cuprit [or possibly Jessica; I think the dusty roses and greys would tone well with Jessica’s wig, which is what we used to call Titian].

Later, gators!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday’s Miscellania (Tuesday Edition)

This is a photo from Friday night’s mini-meet. Here we have Fourthborn’s Xavin sidling out of the photo on the left, and Nicolai, and MoMo, with the dress form holding Cuprit’s skirt, and the sweater folded up in its lap. Fourthborn dyed Xavin herself. A big pot of Rit, and dolly bits all strung up to dry. [It was a little unnerving to read that post!]


I probably should decoupage that dress form so it no longer looks like a brazen hussy of a headless doll.

Soom has posted the new monthly doll for October. He’s stunning, and I’m not the least bit tempted. [Which is what I prayed for.] If I am very, very lucky, I will not be Soom’ed again until next April, after I have plunked most of my bonus into my emergency fund and have $600+ in my doll account. It will also depend upon whether my Cuprit arrives safe, sound, and *soon*; turns out that they shipped her to the billing address and not the mailing address, so it was at least partially Soom’s fault after all. And also whether Fourthborn’s Bygg and Beyla, and my Beyla, arrive without complications. Fourthborn may have placed my one and only group order with Soom.

The visit to my wonderful dentist was uneventful. I came home and made a small bowl of mac and cheese, because (a) I was starving and (b) it required little chewing. And then I went to bed to sleep off the last of the local anesthetic. When I lay down and attempted to move that half of my face, I could feel three or four major muscles that had not been numbed, and a whole bunch of littler ones that were not playing along. Made me laugh. But maybe that was another effect of the anesthetic.

This queen gets her new crown in November (prep work) and December (setting). And then it’s back to cleanings every four months.

I have turned the heel on the third incarnation of the second grandson’s first sock. I would have finished it last night, but there was a spectacular storm, and the power went out about 8:00 and didn’t come back until 1:00 this morning. I expect to get lots of happy knitting done on the train this morning.

After my nap, I made another bowl of mac and cheese, also a big pitcher of blueberry smoothie (the frozen bananas that have been lurking in my freezer since Rip Van Winkle’s time, plus a third of a bag of frozen blueberries, and enough orange/pineapple juice to keep the motor from seizing up). Do I know how to live, or what?

It’s back to the salt mines today, but there is Knit Night tonight for sure, and who knows? maybe Cuprit will surprise us? I’m putting my dolly bag in the trunk, just in case; kinda like the little girl whose congregation prayed for rain, but she was the only one who took an umbrella to church.

Monday, September 21, 2009

First, the brownie.

Then the salad. Then the baked [nuked, if you want to get technical] potato. Then the last two slices of bread with the last dabs of raspberry jam from the jar, for dessert. Washed down with the orange juice I didn’t finish at breakfast and a cup of milk. Two fingers inadvertently baptized in my cup while I reached behind myself without looking.

Firstborn shared a new-to-me website: My Life Is Average. I didn’t get much internet time on Saturday, and I completely forgot to check my Bloglines. So there were 200 entries waiting for me at MLIA, alone. Here are my two favorites.

I frogged the baby socks before church. Two reasons: (1) in daylight the contrast yarn for the heels was nowhere near as good a match as it had seemed at dark-thirty the other night; (2) the yarn tones nicely with those two silk ties which I took apart to make a skirt for Cuprit and/or Jessica. I think I will be able to get a cropped vest from it if I go with a deep V or scoop neckline. If I can’t eke out something for the big dolls, I will make a vest for Beyla and set it aside until she arrives next year.

I have been misspelling Nicolai’s name. Je suis désolée.

I rummaged about in my sock yarn stash and came up with the leftovers from my Stripedy Stockings. [Brings to mind the line from the old Irish Spring ads on TV: “Manly, yes. But I like it, too!”] I fired up the needles, put in a movie, and in an hour or so had an inadvertent nap on the couch and an inch of cuff to show for my time. Not feeling the love for this sock in this yarn. Back to the stash I went. I was in the mood for something brilliantly colored but not so bright as to deserve the sobriquet clown barf. And after knitting Cuprit’s teal sweater, I wanted a meatier yarn.

I finally, finally, gravitated to the remnant ball of turquoise and yellow yarn that Micki dyed, which became a pair of socks for LittleBit. It’s a plump fingering yarn and will make a larger sock so the baby can wear it longer. I think I will have enough to do this; I weighed it before starting and got 33.2g. If the first sock weighs more than 16.6g, I am in trouble. But I have finished the first cuff, and I only used 6g, so I think this will be one of those projects where I wind up with half a yard leftover when I put my needles down.

I am much happier with this third sockly incarnation. The yarn is properly sproingy, there is no noticeable striping or pooling, I like the colors individually and collectively, and the yarn seems happy at the prospect of hanging out on my grandson’s tootsies. I may very well finish the first sock before I need to leave for the dentist’s office this morning.

I am taking the whole day off, which means that I will probably be just fine and have a lovely, productive day at home, with no residual pain. [And if not, I can always nap.] Today, amongst all the knitting, I will get my ducks in a row for next Saturday.

Every September, there is a Relief Society broadcast from Salt Lake City. The first one was two months after Firstborn’s arrival, and I remember walking from our basement apartment to the Marriott Center, carrying her in my arms. Thirty-one years later, the broadcast has become a major cultural event, and with the revisions to what we used to call our homemaking meeting several years back and now call HFPE [Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment], the stakes have one or more service projects before dinner, and then the broadcast itself.

We are making lunches for the night shelter, doing something for the children’s hospital, and a third something which entirely eludes me. The only reason that I remember what we are doing for the night shelter, is that I am in charge of getting the supplies to make and wrap 400 sandwiches. 200 PBJ and 200 meat with mustard [because mustard doesn’t spoil, and mayo does].

This is why I spent all day yesterday with my phone off. I was pretty much “peopled out” after fetching the chicken, etc., for Saturday’s singles dinner. I have already deleted all emails pertaining to that activity. And now I need to dig through my inbox and read the ones I’ve been ignoring, pertaining to next Saturday’s activity.

I am reasonably good at slaying dragons; I just prefer to take them on one at a time. Ordinarily we would not have two major undertakings on successive weekends, but our stake hosted the Young Single Adult conference for something like 14 stakes. I hope the guests had as much fun as we worker bees did. I genuinely enjoyed my time serving in the kitchen and schlepping the food.

I wonder where my sword and buckler and flameproof gauntlets have gotten to?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I had so much fun yesterday!

Saw several friends whom I’d not seen in months and months and months. Did the Solomon-and-the-baby thing with maybe 200 packages of conjoined cinnamon rolls. I am not going to want cinnamon rolls for some time to come, maybe as long as it had been since I saw my friends. And one sister in our ward who rode over to the stake center with me, expressed the same opinion regarding little cake donuts smothered in powdered sugar.

We also put about a bajillion cookies into Ziploc sandwich bags two at a time, like the ark, and filled gallon bags with the smaller bags, sealing them up and writing how many smaller bags were inside. We had people cutting up watermelon, and people stirring vats of queso, and people heating hot dogs and putting them into buns and swaddling them in yellow hot dog wrapping paper.

One of the sisters commented that people were still grazing out in the cultural hall [gym, for you non-LDS types]. I looked up from my cookie-bagging and told her that flirting was hungry work.

I picked up the Chinese food in the late afternoon. We got enough food for 300 flirters and flirtees neatly stacked into Lorelai. My car still smells like orange chicken; mmm! I dropped off the food and went over to Secondborn’s to take them a gallon of milk that was handed me out in the parking lot and to pick up my laundry. She sent me home with leftover spaghetti, some salad, a baggie of brownies, and the last of the dinner rolls. Their ward has been bringing dinner over every night since Bittiest was born.

I worked the heel flap for his first sock. Not entirely happy with my yarn choice. The gauge is just a tad off, and the yarn is noticeably slicker. There is definitely not enough of the main yarn to make two whole socks. Sigh; maybe I should forget socks and just whip up a pair of booties? Maybe I should head over to Ravelry and see what I can find?

Fourthborn, I stand corrected. Nikolai is a Glati. But SOOM is at least half a bubble off level, calling the boy Glati and the girl Glot. Enough doll talk. Time to reset my brainpan to Heaven Central Time and hie me to church.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

“I can only make one call a day.”

So, I called the number that Nice Supervisor gave me, and I asked to speak to one of the three guys whose names she also gave me. One of them answered the phone. He had apparently just gotten off the phone with Fiancé, because he was just this shy of rudeness. He said they were checking into it, and that they had Fiancé’s number and would call him. I said that I would like for them to call me, too, and started to give him my number, at which point he uttered the title of this blog post. He also declined to transfer me to the guy who is their Express Mail specialist.

Had fun at the doll meet last night. Food was good, and we met some nice people. I would say about evenly divided between folks my non-doll-daughters would consider normal and those falling under the extremely eclectic banner of “artistic types”. Somebody suggested that we call to see if there is a separate EMS hub, either in Dallas or Fort Worth, where the package might have gone after the allegedly failed delivery. Fourthborn is also going to get in touch with the manufacturer and ask them to trace it from their end.

We went to the third Post Office and found another kind, helpful soul who nevertheless did not have a package for us lurking in the back room. We came home and checked eBay and Craig’s List and Amazon, to see if anybody had recently put one of these dolls up for sale [on the chance that somebody had purloined her from the delivery truck; we are not accusing the letter carrier of malfeasance]. Nada.

The good news is, Fourthborn’s Hati and Skoll arrived safely, and we did the obligatory box opening photos. She has loaned me her Nikolai [a Glot] for measuring and pattern-making purposes. He’s a little goat baby. Pictures to follow, but not today. Today I am being absorbed into the borg that is the regional Young Single Adult Conference. I will be serving breakfast and picking up dinner for others to serve, and then I will swing by Secondborn’s house to pick up the last of my laundry, which I had to leave in the dryer in order to pick up Fourthborn soon enough to get us to that PO before it closed.

Good progress on the baby socks. When I went to bed last night, I was nearly done with the second cuff. I am actually going to put in a lifeline before working the heel flaps and the feet and toes; that way if I run out of yarn before I run out of sock, I can just let-er-rip and do the heel flaps with a plausible contrasting yarn.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Still No Cuprit

But I do know where my Bitties are, and I had such fun with them yesterday! BittyBubba is not exactly pulling his sister’s hair in this photo. It was more that he was stroking it, one strand at a time.

I asked him to lean his head in toward BittyBit’s. This is what the camera saw:

I’m going back for more, today! [No, he is not pushing his sister’s head; he is patting it.]

I have the leg done on the first baby sock; the heel flap is next. I’ve put it on a spare needle, carefully rewound the ball of yarn, and am knitting the second sock to the same point. Not sure if I have enough yarn to make two whole socks, and after Cuprit’s sweater I am hoping to avoid any frogging and tinking for awhile, so I will work back and forth on these socks until they are done. My last conscious act before crashing last night, was to wind a ball of contrasting yarn for the heels and toes if need be.

The kids and I have checked with three [count ’em, three] Post Offices, all of whom claim not to have the box containing my doll and some other goodies that Fourthborn ordered. How can one not-see a box that is 3’ x 1’ x 1’, more or less? [After I was Bittied-out, I picked up Fiancé, who had been on the phone all day, so I wouldn’t have to play “he said, she said”. He opined to the supervisor with whom I spoke on Wednesday night that the supervisor at another post office could not find his (shall we say) derrière even with a map and/or GPS. The good supervisor blinked, but did not contradict him. She also gave me more names and phone numbers to contact today.] I will be heading over that way, anyway, to pick up Fourthborn from work to go to a mini-meet in another suburb.

At this point, Fiancé and I are suspecting one of two scenarios (scenarii?): I fear that some officious bureaucrat has deported Cuprit; he thinks she might have been doll-napped, not by the letter carrier, but by persons unknown who saw the customs form and said “This box is worth how much? Wonder what’s inside.”

So at the mini-meet tonight, I will be the one knitting cute and adorable baby socks. Maybe the restaurant would let me draw a chalk outline of my missing doll on the banquette?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oh Where Is My Cuprit? Oh Where Is My Cuprit? Oh Where Oh Where Oh Where Oh Where Oh Wherrre? Is? My? Cuprit???

I don’t even *like* doughnuts.

But I certainly ate my share of them yesterday. Displacement eating. It seemed marginally healthier than standing on top of my desk [because I would have had to stand on the rolling chair to get up on top of my desk, and that just seemed like the Pillsbury Bake-Off Recipe of the Year for disaster] and announcing to the office that I was really, really tired of working and just wanted to go over to the Post Office in Arlington and demand to know where in the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks my Cuprit is.

[And I am *way* more patient than is my beloved Fourthborn. She was spazzing, too.]

In the last few minutes of work, I caught up on Mason-Dixon Knitting. I caught up with Crazy Aunt Purl. I perused Wendyknits’ current projects. I willed the clock to move faster. I ached to pick up my sewing. And then I drove to Arlington, where the Post Office in question has extended hours. I spoke with a clerk. She went into the back office and returned to tell me that her supervisor was making a call for me, armed with the tracking number. Truly lovely people in that office; they understand good customer service.

We still don’t know precisely where Cuprit is, other than not-on-her-way-back-to-Korea. I’m off through Monday. [Tomorrow and Friday will be spent with Secondborn’s tribe.] Fourthborn’s Fiancé is also off tomorrow. We’re smart people; we’ll figure it out.

And in the meantime I took Larxene home and hugged my kid (silver lining: I get to see her at least twice this week) and drove home by way of JoAnn’s, where they had a sale on Gütermann thread: buy two, get one free. I came home with another spool of silk, one of buttonhole twist that I think might be good for tatted necklaces, and the right shade of mossy green thread for hand-stitching the waistband on Cuprit’s skirt. All that remains is to sew on the snaps.

I’m thinking that eventually I want to make a lace-trimmed slip for under this skirt, to get the same effect that I do with my own grey tweed skirt. I did not find any nice quality narrow lace in the right shade of off-white. I might need to create my own. Thankfully, I have book after book of crochet patterns as well as knitting patterns and that dratted MIA tatting shuttle. I bet I can come up with something!

And now, I’m off to Secondborn’s to play with help with the Bitties!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Frogged to a nubbin and started re-knitting the stealth project I began at church on Sunday. I’m liking it better in its current incarnation. Remind me to make notes in case it turns out really, really well.

If I read the tracking page correctly, Cuprit is at the post office in Arlington, which suggests that she will show up at Fourthborn’s work sometime today. Tuesday is Fourthborn’s busiest day, and ordinarily it would be the best day of the week for me, for Cuprit to arrive, because I would be in Arlington for Knit Night.

But Wednesdays are for missionary transfers, and we have a new convert who wants to be baptized by a missionary who is transferring tomorrow, so we are having a baptism tonight. I am representing for the Relief Society (and also giving the closing prayer).

I am expecting text messages to fly back and forth between Fourthborn and me, all day. I suspect that we will be seeing each other tomorrow.

Dinner last night was fabulous: Lebanese. Restaurant review to follow. Lunch today may be equally succulent: some place called Greens is catering a working lunch. I’ve ordered the warm goat cheese and pear salad. I am more than happy to be adventurous with my food if somebody else is footing the bill!

New train schedule started yesterday. Gotta run!

Cuprit is loitering in a pool hall somewhere.

Or possibly rolling drunks in the park. [She is still at the post office. They say they attempted delivery. Fourthborn says that nobody from the post office delivered anything yesterday, much less a longed-for goat-footed shepherdess.] We are hoping that she arrives at Fourthborn’s office sometime today; to that end, I am driving in, the better to pick up Fourthborn and Fiancé after work and to return Larxene after her extended visit.

Have you seen brooklyntweed’s latest post? EZ is the reason I knit with confidence. She is on my short-list of “people to hunt up after I’m gone”.

Random thought: I have major chunks of the soundtrack from Stranger than Fiction running in the back of my mind. Maybe because that was the most recent movie I listened to while working on Cuprit’s sweater? I played it once in English, and most of the special features, and about half of it in French. Zut alors!

Yesterday was beyond crazy-busy. I drank an entire 20-oz. bottle of Cherry Coke [ordinarily one will last me two or three days] and popped open a 12-oz. can to pour into the empty bottle. I was up at 2:45, back in bed at 4:15 (secret Relief Society mission; if I told you, we’d have to baptize you!), up again at 5:00. I was blessed to be reasonably effective at work, but oh honey! so weary. Did not plan my wardrobe well ~ just went with what was clean and reasonably color-coordinated ~ and found myself at the baptism in a nice pair of slacks, instead of the dress or skirt I would have felt ever so much better in.

We had a good turn-out. The Spirit was much in evidence. One more lamb welcomed into the fold of God.

I even had sufficient presence of mind to make a few phone calls for church, once I got home, but it was pretty much all about eating Monday’s leftovers, cold as a bill collector’s heart, except for the rice, and toddling off to bed.

Cuprit’s skirt is still unfinished. I had asked for today off, to go with tomorrow and Friday to play with the Bitties, but we have our monthly staff meeting, so that was negatori, Ghost Writer (Rider? my kids always said it so fast that I had not a clue). I guess I will be sewing at work today. I’m driving in, the better to pick up Fourthborn and Fiancé and hand back Larxene and bring Cuprit home, assuming the weather cooperates and we get her face-up done. [Oh wait; I said that already. I told you I was tired!]

I just want to stay home and sleep and sew. And then go pick my kids up and have a nice family night, and eat too much ice cream and go to bed in a fat- and sugar-induced state of bliss.

I tumped the water out of the two planters when I got home from the baptism last night. I hope the grass is happy. I wasn’t sure I’d have enough oomph to do it, but I did.

Following is the text of an email I sent out to the office yesterday. Two of us run the office dishwasher at the end of the workday. Two more unload it in the morning.

Subject: A plea from your Dishwasher Divas (afternoon division)

Preceded by an apology. I was supposed to run the beast yesterday afternoon; I got involved in a project and forgot, so I ran it this morning.

When I volunteered to be a Dishwasher Diva, it was my understanding that our duties involved putting detergent into the machine and starting it but did not include loading the dishwasher. It is dismaying to see a sink full of dirty dishes when I go into the break room. I suspect that [other afternoon Diva] feels much the same, but she is far too genteel to tell you. ☺

If you would like to have your dishes washed by the machine, please put them into the machine. If you would prefer to wash them yourself, please oh please do so and then put them away.

I did load the machine this morning, because I couldn’t stand the mess in the sink. If you catch me loading the machine again, you may reasonably expect that Elijah and Elisha will immediately swoop down out of the sky in that golden chariot and whisk me off to Heaven.

[Somebody should probably start an office pool on that outcome…]

I have way more fun than is probably allowed at work. Truly can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead in WordProcessingdom today!

Monday, September 14, 2009

An Hundredfold...

OK, first of all I never get to spend that amount of time with BestFriend, and we did, and it was just wonderful from beginning to end. She drove us up to Chef Point Cafe [yes, this was my third consecutive Saturday, and our waitress from when I was there last week with Trainman remembered me and asked, “Where is he?”], where BestFriend had something with chicken and linguine and a sauce that looked suspiciously similar to what got poured over my incredibly delicious Hot Brown last week, and I had the Monte Cristo. Or rather, I had half of my Monte Cristo, and all of the french fries because they were almost obscenely delicious, and the half of the half of my Monte Cristo for breakfast yesterday and the rest for lunch after church; not quite as crisp as Saturday but every bit as tasty.

And then we went to both Half Price Books to see if she could score extra copies of “A Tale of Two Cities” for the academic decathlon at her school later this year, and from there to the bead store, where three vials followed me home because I could not find another vial of the green mixed beads that I bought last time, nor could I find one containing only the iridescent beads I wanted to use for the 18 buttons on Cuprit’s sweater.

I tried to take pictures but only got pretty, shiny blurs.

And then we nipped over to Secondborn’s house to meet my Bittiest grandchild. He was sleeping. With permission, I scooped him up and talked nonsense to him. This is one seriously mellow child! We passed him back and forth for quite awhile, with nary a peep. He only thought about muttering something as I was tucking him back in bed, but I sang him a few bars of foolishness, and he grinned just a little and zonked back out.

This is a link to one of Larry Barkdull’s articles on Meridian. He expresses so well what I have been trying to say over the last few weeks, about stuff and stewardship and “camels vs. the eye of a needle”, etc.

OK, time to put on my shoes and grab my bumbershoot and swim out to the car. I think it rained all night. I wonder if my planters runneth over?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Still Life with Doll and Sweater.

And here we have the lovely Larxene modeling her cousin’s (?) sweater.

She needs to be restrung, so she doesn’t want to stand up or sit on a table. Here is a close-up of the waist, peplum, and I-cord drawstring.

And one of the neckline. I’m really pleased with how well that neckband fits.

Because this is Texas, land of the Nieman Marcus Christmas Catalogue, here’s a shot with the necklace I made for Larxene. It’s not fastened in back, just draped around her neck because I was tired of messing with the wig.

She was willing to let me drape her over the back of the chair as if she were dropping water balloons onto the floor. I think the gathering at the waist will be more graceful when this sweater is on Cuprit, who is several centimeters taller and a bit fuller in both waist and bosom.

I am excessively pleased with that peplum.

We got a lot of rain this weekend. Yesterday morning there was maybe an inch and a half of water in my planters. This is what it looked like when I came home from church this afternoon:

It’s even more full now; the water is the length of my hand from the top of the planter [about 6.5 inches], and the planter comes up to my knee. So maybe 18” of water inside, though I’m sure that we didn’t get 18” of rain over the course of the weekend. There are snails and slugs crawling all over the porch and the steps ~ I am not going back out there with my tape measure to be properly scientific.

Sorry for the late post. After I snapped this last picture [but before I did the I-cord belt for the sweater], my camera started whooping that the batteries needed recharging. So I put in a movie and cast three stitches onto my trusty 00 DP and soldiered away for about 60cm. There are beaded doodads on each end of the belt. I’m not patient enough to figure out how to get a good picture of them for you.

Instead, I’m going to put Larxene’s necklace into a Ziploc snack bag and put her jacket back on her and swaddle her into the duffel bag with the sweater to show off at Knit Night on Tuesday. I may or may not work on Cuprit’s skirt tonight. I am definitely going to make myself a tuna fish sandwich and grab the human-size scarf which I began at church today.

Fourthborn PM’d me that Cuprit is sitting at U.S. Customs. She is tracking the shipment with her customary attention to detail. [Which leaves me free to finish sweaters, eat sandwiches, and attempt to stay awake for another hour and a half until it is officially my bedtime.]

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Yesterday ended well!

It began well, too, but there were bits in the middle where I was gritting my teeth and thinking childbirth words.

Fourthborn texted me right after I got to work: ♥ we have our shipping notice on Cuprit ♥. She should be here by Thursday, and if the weather cooperates, we should have her faceup (makeup; I am slowly learning the lingo) and body blushing (not necessarily blushing, but subtle accents to knees, etc.) done shortly after opening the box. I have seen Cuprit’s back from other folks’ box-opening pictures. Her shoulder blades are amazing! I wonder if she will have sacral dimples, too? [I forgot to look, before.]

I may very well have my own doll with me when (Fourthborn and?) I go meet the local doll collectors at Le Peep next Friday night.

As you can see, I have finished the raglan decreases on her sweater. That hole is at the underarm and will be grafted together after I have completed the button bands. The white markers show where the buttons (6° beads) will go. I have strung them onto yarn and will spit-splice that strand to my working thread, once I get the rest of the beads. Yes; I had eight beads of this type left and will need to buy another tube of mixed green beads to get enough to finish the sweater.

This is what I get for making those two necklaces before completing the sweater, but it doesn’t exactly break my heart to have to hit the bead store this afternoon. I’ll do that on the way home from visiting the Bittiest member of the tribe. [No rumblies in my tumblies since Thursday afternoon, so it must have been excitement over the new baby rather than a pathogen.]

I will probably also stop at JoAnn’s with the mostly-done sweater and the skirt fabric and pick up a quarter-yard of coordinating silk duppionni to make a blouse to go under the sweater. If I like working with the fabric, I’ll pick up more to make a blouse for me.

I sent off my second layaway payment on Jessica and will give Fourthborn the second payment on Beyla, next payday. And I have $45 in savings for Arie, for next year. Eventually I want to have a couple grand in my doll fund, so that when SOOM comes out with a monthly doll that calls my name, I won’t have to do layaway. I am going to be just fine while paying off these two layaways, *and* I don’t want to do this again.

A note on picking up stitches for the button bands: since I slipped the first stitch on each row, it was easy to pick up the stitches. I have found from experience that if I pick up four stitches for every three slipped stitches, and if I work a garter stitch band, the tension works out perfectly, and I do not have to spend half an hour tweaking a ribbing pattern. I just slip the first stitch on each row and knit until the band is deep enough, and then I bind off.

How do I pick up that fourth stitch? Well, most of the stitches are picked up under both loops of the slipped stitch; i.e., slipped selvage stitch is on one side of the picked-up stitch, and body of sweater is on the other side. It makes for a very neat finish. For the fourth stitch, I bring up a loop between the two halves of the selvage stitch. It is slightly noticeable from the front of the fabric, but because it occurs regularly, it looks like a design feature [which it is] instead of a mistake.

If I am doing a V-neck sweater, then I pick up along one front, across the neck, and down the other front. Garter stitch is amazingly flexible, so even though you really could use a few more stitches where the V ends at the front and a few less stitches around the back of the neck, everything shifts a little, and the band is tidy and looks like you knew what you were doing.

Time to get dressed and have a bite to tide me over until BestFriend and I go up to Chef Point to see if she likes the lobster bisque there as well as she does at Lucille’s.

I had the jalapeno cream soup at Rockfish with Brother Sushi last night and a small side Caesar salad. And for dessert I just knitted and scribbled while we talked and waited for the rain to abate, so we wouldn’t have to swim out to our cars. Thankfully, he is not the type to get upset when I say “Hang on a sec. I need to count stitches and then write it down.” He said it was kinda cool to watch me design something and transcribe it into symbols that make sense to me [if not to him] so I can create a pattern that might be worth offering for sale, someday.

I am also having dinner out with one of the sisters I visit teach, tonight, and three meals out in 24 hours will equal way too much salt for this middle-aged body. I foresee a lot of semi-bland home cooking for the rest of the weekend and into next week, plus gallons and gallons of water down the hatch, to keep my ankles from emulating blowfish.

But I needed to spend time with all three of them, and this is how the timing worked out.

Oh, and I need to make cookies and freeze them for next weekend’s young single adult conference. Food, friends, family, and knitting, with a side order of cooking; does it get any better than that?

Friday, September 11, 2009

That’s two, two little sleeves, bwa ha ha ha ha!

Another productive day with sticks and string. [It looks rather like a startled rabbit at this point.]

Notwithstanding a major, minor distraction. BittyBit’s and BittyBubba’s brother arrived about the time I was logging onto my workstation. Secondborn called me as they were on their way home with the newest Bitty, shortly before lunch.

No, I do not have pictures yet. I had some RS stuff to do after work last night, and I had had a few rumblies in the tumblies mid-afternoon, so I called them and said I would see them once I knew I was not contagious.

He didn’t want to come on his due date. He didn’t want to come on Labor Day. He didn’t want to come on 09/09/09. And thankfully he didn’t come today, as he would have had to share a birthday with The Pond Life Formerly Known as Son-in-Law.

Although he would certainly have redeemed the day.

I will share birth stats once Secondborn makes the official announcement. Mother and baby doing fine. And I will take some time off next week, once I’m done with mandatory meetings and sundry other obligations at work.

Dinner tonight with Brother Sushi, on my nickel. And in a very few minutes, the second layaway payment on Jessica. I also need to sit down with my 2mm graph paper and work out the raglan decreases for the yoke of Cuprit’s sweater and the neck shaping.

It’s a beautiful day in my neighborhood!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

That’s one, one little sleeve, bwa ha ha ha ha!

That is the picture I wanted to upload yesterday, when Blogger was not cooperating. This is where I was when I went to bed last night.

I know that it looks a little like a camisole and a shoulder strap, but if you click to embiggen, you will see the scraps of silk thread running through the armscye stitches on both the body and the sleeve. After I have created and joined the second sleeve, and worked a few rows of raglan shaping above that, I will Kitchener both underarm seams into submission.

I had the second sleeve cast on and a few rounds worked. But sleep overcame me, so I did my impression of a sensible adult and went to bed.

I am using EZ’s “percentage system”, as learned in The Sweater Workshop by Jacqueline Fee. And I am contemplating a cuff inspired by a blouse that I thought I could photograph for you, but which apparently left the building [like Elvis] in the last closet-thinning. Oh well, that’s why they make Paint.

[I am inordinately proud of this visual aid, created on four hours of sleep and before breakfast!] Click to embiggen, unless your eyes are ridiculously young.

Picture a tube of a sleeve, with a buttonhole going through both layers quite near the fold. To snug up the cuff, you simply fold the edge back and button the sleeve. What I am contemplating for the cuff of the sweater, since Cuprit cannot make a fist as a toddler would, is a loop coming out of the fold, reinforced with buttonhole stitch in matching silk thread, which would slip over a large glass bead sewn on where the button would go.

We’ll see if that works. I’ve already put nearly an inch on the sleeve since waking up this morning. But now I am heading back to bed to see if I can sneak in another hour of sleep before the alarm goes off at 5:00.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Time to pick out the Christmas gift

Which one, you ask? The one from the company to me.

2008 - Hand-powered emergency radio
2007 - Collapsible fishing pole
2006 - Two-person tent
2005 - Calphalon pot
2004 - Calphalon pot
2003 - Cordless drill
2002 - Travel organizers [for toiletries and jewelry]
2001 - Sun shelter/canopy thingie

I get things that would be useful, on which I have no desire to spend my hard-earned cash. Generally things for emergency preparedness.

What did I order this year? Well, I got really excited when I saw the laser level. I loved using Brother Sushi’s when I did the Wall Words in the dining room of the penultimate apartment. It would be nice to have one of my own, in case I get the sudden urge to hang pictures at 3:00am.

And I couldn’t remember if I’d gotten the emergency radio last year or had chosen the square griddle; I had to wait until I was home and could peek into my 72-hour kit. So I made an executive decision and chose the compressor, considering how often I’ve had flat tires lately. Trainman suggested, months ago, that I get one. He keeps one in his trunk. And in a couple of months, so will I.

I think that 1BDH would have been a lot more enthusiastic about that bit of news if I had not just handed him my car key and told him I thought I’d picked up another nail.

I reached the armscye on Cuprit’s sweater at Knit Night. Ran through the underarm stitches with a snippet of silk thread and parked the rest of the stitches on my 000 needle so I could get cracking on the sleeves. It’s almost time to wind another ball of the Gloss Lace.

Firstborn seemed very happy with her socks. I am happy that they fit so well, and I will be happy to pass the rest of the yarn on to Middlest for dolly knitting.

It is weird, truly deeply strange, to only have one project on my needles.

Secondborn has informed the next grandchild that since he declined to be born on his due date or on Labor Day, it would be all right with her if he made his appearance on 09/09/09. Maybe I should knit him a second sock?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

More Links!

Before I forget, LadyZen has a fundraiser for the American Heart Association next Saturday. This links to her donation page.

I think I might want to see this movie, after Movie Mom’s review. I bet Brother Sushi will.

Are you prepared? September is National Preparedness Month.

Yesterday was a lovely calm quiet day. I reworked the body of Cuprit’s sweater [twice], because after putting in the row of eyelets at the waist and getting nearly to the armscye, it occurred to me to count the number of eyelets. If you’re planning on threading something through a row of eyelets, and you want the ends of the something to wind up on the same side of the fabric, you need an even number of eyelets.


But I am nearly back to where I was when I thought to count, and I’ll blow past that point while riding the train this morning.

The knitting bag is packed. Firstborn’s socks are safely tucked inside, along with the other two needles I am using for Cuprit’s sweater. I have my lunch, a fresh box of cereal to stow in my cubicle at work, and the raisins which need to be used up. I have my camera. I have Rebecca’s blocking wires. I might even have most of my marbles!

All that remains is to arm the alarm, schlepp this stuff out to the car, schlepp the recycling and trash out to the street, and head for the station. Fourthborn, I am not planning to drive in until Friday, if then, so I will leave Larxene here in the safety and cool of the house.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Pride goeth before a frog.

For you muggles who just tuned in, to “frog” is to yank the needles out of your work and pull until you get back to your mistake [“rip it, rip it”] and to “tink” is to undo the stitches one at a time [T-I-N-K = K-N-I-T, backwards]. This is the purple tweed yarn that started out as a somewhat skritchy scarf. I think it wants to be a pair of bulky socks when it grows up.

Here’s where I was when I realized I had overdone the shaping on Cuprit’s sweater. It might make more sense visually if you click to embiggen.

I used some of what I learned making the Sunrise Circle Jacket, and it was a great learning experience, and I still have oodles of time before Cuprit ships. I got a great shot of the revised sweater when I came home from church; unfortunately I had scribbled people’s phone numbers on the lower half of this page when I woke up from my nap on Saturday, and those numbers were all too visible in the photo. So you’ll just have to wait awhile.

Here is a shot of Larxene [Fourthborn’s doll] sitting on a shelf at work last Friday, looking supremely bored. She might have been sulking because I wouldn’t let her help me transcribe dictation.

Or maybe because I wouldn’t share my lunch: BLT on croissant.

A little blurry, perhaps, but it didn’t affect the taste.

You might be wondering what was going on with the pumpkins, et al, this weekend. Well, it has been feeling fall-ish in the mornings, and I wanted to swap out some of the decorative items. That was the impetus. And as I looked at everything, and how little space there is to display it here in the duplex [as opposed to two apartments ago, when LittleBit and I had 1080 glorious square feet to sprawl out in], I knew it was time to pare the collection. I’m keeping this, because it was made by a neighbor of ours in the little town where I spent my first eight years. I cannot imagine how long it took her to stick on all the 3D bits.

And I’m keeping this, because I made it and because I like it. Fall is my favorite season. I always feel as if I were coming home, as the world cools off in autumn.

Mincemeat pies, hot chocolate, caramel apples, the smell of burning leaves or people’s fireplaces. Needing a sweater in the morning. Potato-leek soup in the crockpot to greet me when I get home at night.

I took the empty orange and black storage container, bought on sale after Halloween one year, and refilled it with the contents of a laundry bag that has been lurking in my closet for at least two years: all my stash yarn from Brother Stilts, who was as impressive with the crochet hook as he was with East Coast Swing. He crocheted a blanket for his king-size bed, and his work was every bit as meticulous as my own.

What? Somebody’s going to tell a guy who’s 6’5” and 275 lbs. of pure gristle that crocheting is a sissy thing to do? I don’t think so!

I just realized that the snow globe bit fits into what I thought was a tea light holder. I was going to pitch out the base, but now I think I’ll keep it as a prop for dolly pictures. The next time my hot glue gun bubbles to the surface, I’ll put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Feels like fall.

I opened up the big orange and black storage bin to see what was inside. All sorts of pumpkin-y goodness! I made one of these little cans for each of the girls when we lived in Fredericksburg. Shown here with a candle shaped like candy corn and a tiny snowglobe [candy corn globe?].

There’s a little more stuff that will go on the fancy dresser over in the corner or onto the drop-leaf table, but I haven’t gotten there yet. I asked Secondborn if she wanted any of the rest of it, and she declined, so I took it to church and begged the sisters to take it off my hands. Bless them, they or their kids did.

And now if you will all kindly, excuse me, I’m going to take a nap.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

What’s on my plate today?

First, literally, there is breakfast with Trainman. He is picking me up in two and a half hours. [I just need to figure out how to do five hours’ housework between now and then.] I am going to try the Hot Brown at Chef Point Cafe.

I am hoping to pick up the clasps for the two necklaces I made last Saturday, while I am out and about.

I need to prepare my lesson for Relief Society tomorrow; it’s my turn to teach.

I may be going visiting teaching with one of the sisters in my ward. Her companion is recovering from surgery.

I would like to finish the Cuprit’s skirt; that may be a project for tomorrow after church. We are still waiting on our shipping notice, but I want to be prepared when she arrives. I also need to make her a pair of undies and a slip so she won’t be going commando under all the finery. One more reason to find my tatting shuttle: I would [eventually] like to make lace trim for her slip. I have three yards of turquoise silk broadcloth that I bought 20+ years ago to make a blouse, but haven’t. I would like to use that up. I think I will probably need to wait until she’s here to make a matching camisole to go under the sweater.

I frogged a plum tweed scarf I had begun months ago from Reynolds Whiskey, because the yarn is not soft enough to wear around my neck. It has relaxed a lot in the last 24 hours, but I think I’ll need to wait a few more days before I can think of knitting it up again into a pair of boot socks or couch socks. This house gets quite chilly in the winter.

My thoughts are bouncing around like drops of water on a hot skillet, and I just looked at the time.

I found links to metric graph paper online yesterday. I will print off a few pages and graph out the shaping for the back and fronts of Cuprit’s sweater. But first I need to knit a row or two, to calm down a little.

Secondborn posted recently that she has reached the “exploding ankles” phase of pregnancy. My grandson is due soon; Firstborn is keeping the kids for much of the weekend to give Secondborn her last chance to rest up for the next several months.

Could be an interesting weekend!

Friday, September 04, 2009

And sometimes you catch a break.

Way less mail at the early pickup. I was half-fuming on the drive over and while standing in line. And then the clerk handed me a bundle about the size I am used to, and I asked him to thank our new mail dude for taking it easy, because “he almost killed me yesterday.”

While there, I mailed off my friend’s scarf to the wilds of Missouri. She says they are starting to feel the slightest chill in the air, so my timing is good.

Our office is doing something really cool for the holidays. We have set a goal to contribute four cans a week, per person, to the North Texas Food Bank in time for Thanksgiving. We are hoping they will need a Mack truck to haul everything away. I’m going to grab some cans from my pantry and take them in today, to contribute next week. [I am driving in for the doll meet-up; Brother Sushi tells me that the dance has been canceled.] A little guerrilla gifting never hurt anyone!

In the spirit of giving, are you an organ donor? I read two editorials in the Dallas Morning News while at lunch yesterday, only one of which I could find online.

Some of you knew my friend Brother Stilts. He died in an auto accident two years ago next month, and he was an organ donor, as generous in death as he had been in life: two people got corneas, a burn victim got new skin, and I know there were others whom he blessed.

If you live in Texas, it’s now easy to sign up to donate your innards when you no longer need them. [Girls, you don’t need to worry about somebody having to ask your permission when I kick. I’m in the registry. It’s automatic.]

If you’re in Texas, click on the link and then click on “Sign Me Up Today”. Takes maybe two minutes. If you don’t live in Texas, click here and follow the links to your home state.

My friend LadyZen is doing a fundraiser for the American Heart Association on the 15th. I’ll post that information tomorrow, because you are probably thinking enough of the doing-unto-others, where is the knitting?

I am now down to one project on the needles. Inconceivable!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I have excellent taste.

This confirms it: at $1,199.00, I no longer feel bad about falling in love with (and eventually buying) a chest of drawers that originally retailed for merely $500.00.

[No, I will not be buying this chair. I have no place to put one. But it sure is pretty!]

OK, I am now officially cranky. Why? Because it’s my week to go get the early mail, and we have a new delivery dude for the late-morning mail, and an earlier time. What this means, in practical terms, is that I drove to the PO and lugged a 40-lb bucket of mail down the PO steps, over to the pool car, unlocked the car, unlocked the back door, put the bucket on the back seat, put my knitting in the passenger seat in case I got lucky with the traffic lights and had lots of red ones on the way back to the office [I did not, and I discovered a dropped stitch], pulled into the parking space, backed up, centered the car a little better, got the mail out of the back seat, locked the car, unlocked the car because the back door was ajar and the car was beeping at me, relocked the car, lugged the 40-lb bucket out of the garage and up the stairs to the parking level of the building (which is nearly a full flight up from the garage) and to the elevator, up seven floors and through the extremely heavy safety glass doors of our suite, and up onto the counter at switchboard.

I was hot. I was sweaty. I was breathing hard. And I did not even have a spate of kisses with Sean Connery or somebody equally yummy to account for it.

But I did have 40 lbs of mail to sort through, open, and remove the staples from. Oh, and the scanning operator, the person who goes down and gets the later mail? She came back with four pieces of fresh non-junk mail.

[This is the point where my kids all snicker and remind me exactly how many times I told them that life isn’t fair.]

And then I looked over and saw that the fax machine was spazzing because it was out of paper. No wonder. Some bozo sent us a 200+ page motion. What? They’ll take over a third of their client’s settlement, if there is one, and they couldn’t afford postage? The scanning operator was about as impressed as I was.

[OK, I feel better now. Sometimes I just have to write a situation out, and then I can begin to see the humor in it, or at least get a bit of perspective.]

In the Good news department: lovely, lovely chat with Trainman on the ride home. He loaned me Robert B. Parker’s first published piece of young-adult fiction. Nice, quick read, which I did before going to bed last night. And breakfast with him [Trainman, not Robert B. Parker ~ Mrs. Parker might object] on Saturday morning; he’ll pick me up at 7:30. And a doll meet followed by a dance, tomorrow night.

Oh goodness, what have we here?

Good thing I have other knitting in my bag for when this is finished, which might be today.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Brainless Sock on Brainy Child

Brainless Sock on Brainy Child

I went to Firstborn’s house after Knit Night. She learned that putting on a handknit sock is a little different from putting on an ordinary sock. First you bring it up to the heel. Then you think to yourself, “Oh dear, this will never go over my heel.” Then you wait about two heartbeats and pull it over your heel and up your ankle. And then you grin.

Yeah, me too, about three years ago.

Where am I on this sock’s mate? A quarter of the way up the leg. And much reassured to see that the binding-off does not need tweaking. I just need to secure and weave in the end and figure out what the next knitting project will be, because I have one crazy case of finish-itis.

I asked Fourthborn’s Fiancé if he would rather have a scarf for himself or a sweater for one of his ABJD’s as his birthday present this year. He asked, very humbly, if I would be willing to knit him a hoodie rather like the one I made for LittleBit, only not as heavy and possibly not as textured. Something to wear around the house, not something to stave off tornadoes and blizzards and grizzly bears.

Absolutely! He understands that there will be no yarn-buying chez Ravelled until the dolls in layaway are paid off in November. But in the meantime I need a fairly mindless project to keep my hands busy at church. Time to surf my queue on Ravelry.

Edited to add: I only thought I was a quarter of the way up the leg. Looking at it with fresh eyes this morning, I realized that I had forgotten to start the ribbing. No ribbing = no give = no sock up over the heel. Oye! Caramba!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

About as big as an emu’s egg.

A sock-and-a-third into this ball of yarn, that’s how much I have left. It will be interesting to see what’s left when the pair is done.

How many of you were surprised to find that I had an emu’s egg tucked away? [Raise your hands! Oh. Fewer than I thought.] I looked at the ball of yarn at lunchtime yesterday and thought, “That’s about the size of the emu egg my friend gave me for my birthday one year. I wonder if it’s still in the under-bed box where I last saw it.”

It was. There were three under-bed boxes; naturally enough, it was in the third one. In theory, it reads faith in Gaelic. It could very well read “green eggs and ham” for all I know. [At least we know where the green eggs would come from, right?] The carving has faded considerably over the years. When she first gave it to me, it was Blue Bell Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream green.

I popped Twelfth Night into the DVD player and stretched my legs out on the couch, to see how far I could get on the gusset increases before I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. [Five rows from here. I finished the increases this morning.]

I’ll leave you with you with a shot of the blocked Lace Ribbon Scarf.

It goes to Knit Night tonight, and into the mail tomorrow.