About Me

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Non-Sequitur, Monday, March 30, 2009

Go here. [Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.] That certainly explains a lot! However, I’m not willing to intentionally do what Danae thinks is necessary to become visible; I show up just often enough with all the unintentional things that I do.

@ Fourthborn: you and Fiancé are welcome to come watch Roman Holiday. Or just you, if he’d rather not. It’s a great neighborhood for walking and sketching, and I have popcorn...

@ Kristen: I would much rather have Gregory Peck / Atticus Finch / Joe Bradley than any measly kingdom.

Finished my Advanced Word training yesterday morning and used one of the tricks I picked up, while mailing out letters in the afternoon. I just need to take the Power Point class [chiefly for my own amusement], and then I’m done with the transitional classes on Microsoft 2007.

Sat on the couch last night and watched The Thin Man, and then The Holiday, knitting knitting knitting. I am working the heel flap on the second sock. I was halfway done and realized that the stitch count was off, so frogged back twelve rows and started over.

Time to take the recycling to the curb and myself out to the car. Trainman and LadyZen are both driving in today; they have end-of-the-month craziness at their respective offices. It’s going to be a mighty quiet ride.

Knit Night tonight, and time with Middlest. Can’t wait!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Remember the Stripedy Stockings?

The ones that went on and on and on and on, like Kenny Chesney’s Chris Cagle’s love in that song?



I wore them to church yesterday, because it was so chilly and I only had one knee-high nylon left. Ever since I had that months-long wrestling match with athlete’s foot, commercial stockings get two wearings, period. The first time on the left foot, which was always the healthy foot. The next time on the right foot, which was the cranky foot. Then into the trash. A four-pair box of knee-highs lasts me approximately a week, if I’m feeling girly and want to wear skirts to the office; longer if I’m channeling Kate Hepburn and wear slacks.

Life is too precious to spend washing pantihose or knee-highs. I don’t mind washing my hand-knits, though; the smell of wet wool in small amounts makes me feel all domestic and competent. [And we parents know how rare it is to feel competent, right?]

Anyhow...

I wore the Stripedy Stockings to church yesterday, and they fit impeccably in the foot and ankle, and they curve nicely around my calves, and the K3P2 ribbing is inadequate to keep them up. Short of losing eighty pounds overnight and having them turn into thigh-highs, I think there are three solutions: rip out the picot edging and add another two or three inches in length so the ribbon will strike above the fullest part of my calf; frog them back to tallish socks; run black or dark brown elastic thread through the stitches on the inside and hope that I guess right on how much I need.

But they looked fantastic with my brown plaid skirt, when I wasn’t surreptitiously tugging them up.

I finished the heel on BestFriend’s first sock, which looks like a proper sock and shows no disposition to argue. Then I came home and made a batch of macaroni and cheese and left a message on my home teacher’s phone and put a note on the door in case they didn’t check messages before leaving their house, breaking our appointment for 2:00. I felt as if the Wicked Witch had moved my house overnight, to the corner of Weepy and Exhausted in the heart of Fed-up Acres.

Took another marathon nap, waking fifteen minutes before I needed to be at the potluck and fireside, and feeling disinclined to scurry down to the stake center. A cold glass of milk and some dinner, helped immensely.

Kristen has great things to share, as usual. Check out her quotation on being good [no title for me to link to] and the next one down, on how to raise your energy level.

@Firstborn: yes indeed, I can eat a BigMac. When I was in my mid-20s, I could eat a BigMac, large order of fries, large drink, and then head over to Baskin Robbins for a double-dip cone. My best friend and I did that once a week after Institute choir. And I was about your height and about Secondborn’s circumference. I think there are several factors that jinxed my metabolism: while I have no residual liver damage, that case of hepatitis in 1979 surely didn’t help; my first best friend in Texas was an amazing Southern cook; all those years of fat and starch [i.e., poor people’s food] when I was married to your dad; stress [see factor just mentioned]; and time.

I still have an enormous appetite for food and for life; I have learned to be satisfied in ways that won’t cause trouble. [Plus, I didn’t have enough money in my checking account on Thursday night for a BigMac and fries.]

After dinner last night, I watched all the extra features on my collectors edition of Roman Holiday. Some of you girls will remember my going nutsoid on seeing the costume director in The Incredibles. I don’t remember which of you I saw that with, but she is lovingly modeled on Edith Head, who won eight Oscars for movie costumes. So the mini-documentary with comment by Bob Mackie [no slouch himself, in spite of some of the get-ups he designed for Cher], was an unexpected delight.

Tan, am I imagining things, or is Respighi’s Pines of Rome part of the soundtrack?

Mostly, I knitted. At bedtime I had ten more rounds to go before beginning the gusset increases on the second March Sockdown! sock. And I felt a whole lot more whole and happy than I had felt for much of the day. All in all, a good weekend.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Adventures with Lorelai

Lorelai has joined the list of jailbirds in my family. Here she is at the impound lot, after we bailed her out and before we left for dinner on Thursday night.



How did she get there, you ask? An ambiguous sign. This is the sign that was posted when I walked back to the lot on my lunch hour on Friday. It is most emphatically not the same sign that was there when I parked Lorelai.



I do know what R-E-S-E-R-V-E-D means. If that sign had been posted there on Tuesday morning, I would not have parked in the selfsame spot nor again on Thursday morning. The previous sign said Monthly Parking, with a phone number; there was nothing to indicate that it was not also daily parking.

This is the sign I relied upon, above the box to hold my $6, which faces the small triangular lot where I parked, and not the larger lot behind it.



And yes, now I can see that there are two different phone numbers. Hindsight; gotta love it. I parked in space #21. Why would I not think that that 21 was the one in the 1-199?

Oh, how I wish I had photographed the first sign when I realized that Lorelai was gone. But at that point I could barely remember my name, much less think beyond the next phone call to find out who had taken my car, and why. I called the towing company on the sign immediately above. Their towing company only goes out at night. The dispatcher said I was the second call he had gotten that day about the same parking lot and politely suggested that I call the police. There are rogue towing companies operating in Dallas, and there has been much publicity of late. So that was a definite possibility.

I called the cops, and it took the dispatcher five to seven minutes to find out who had taken my car. Another legitimate towing company, the one used by the parking garage attached to my office building. I called them once when Earl had a dead battery, and they towed him to a nearby Wal-Mart. [Note to new-ish readers: Earl was my Saturn and not the father of my children. He got his name from the Earl’s in the Trunk bumper sticker.]

I called Towing Company #2 and confirmed that they were indeed holding Lorelai prisoner. Then I called Brother Sushi, who was in town, and willing to come, and able to bail her out. At that point I had approximately $6 in my checking account, as it was the day before payday. And this was going to be a cash-only transaction. I walked over to the McDonald’s that is near my office and took up my knitting while he finished a service project for his ward and drove over to BigD.

I was overcome by the french fry fumes and bought a BigMac while I waited, but mostly I knitted.

I was really glad to have Brother Sushi with me to get the car. The impound lot was in a scary neighborhood in East Dallas. I certainly couldn’t have walked there, both because of the distance from downtown and because of the liveliness of the neighborhood.

I also had to borrow gas money to get home. I had been planning to use $5 of that $6 to put gas in the car, but the BigMac had eaten over half of it. While I was tanking Lorelai, a man finished wiping his windshield and lights, smiled nicely, and asked if I would like him to wash mine. A small act of kindness that threatened to make the tear ducts bubble up and flow over. I had a brief suspicion that he was going to be one of those characters who washes half a windshield and offers to break off a wiper if he doesn’t get a tip. But I also knew that Brother Sushi was parked about 15 feet away and would be there in a New York Minute if it got weird.

Mercifully, no drama. Just one of God’s children being kind.

And then Brother Sushi bought me dinner, or rather dessert while he ate dinner. We hugged in the parking lot, and he said, “You know, someday this is going to be funny. Not tonight, but someday.”

“Yeah, not tonight, but someday.”

“Though actually it’s already starting to be a little funny.” And we both snorted a little.

“That’s only because we are exhausted and ate dinner too late.” By then, it was 10:00.

There is an appeals process for the towing fee. I’ve already taken the necessary photos and am organizing things in my head. I’ve scanned both sides of the impound receipt and will also make photocopies. I’ll make some phone calls on Monday to see how to get my day in court. And if I get no satisfaction there, I may very well contact the Dallas paper and the TV stations.

I am thankful that the sign has been revised; it will save somebody else a lot of grief.

One final image from the trip last weekend. Lady Zen snapped this of Trainman and me, sitting across the aisle from her on the ride home. Used with permission.



It was colder than a bill collector’s heart outside yesterday; hard to believe that last weekend we were in shirtsleeves.

I had hoped to get my nails done, but the NailDude was out of town. Instead, I took Middlest her completed socks, left an envelope with moola for Brother Sushi, as they go to church with him, and he had to leave at noon, which is about when I hit the ATM at my bank. I met up BestFriend after that, and we sat at Taco Bueno and ate cheap food and caught up. I found the yarn for BittyBit’s sweater, 50% at my LYS which is going out of business.

@ Middlest: yes, those socks are hand-wash only, and don’t even look at them crosswise while they are in the sink. Use a mild detergent, such as Ivory, and just let them soak awhile. Then rinse them gently in water the same temperature until the water runs clear. Do not wring or twist, or you will end up with socks that fit BittyBit or one of your dolls. And then we both will cry.

It is turning out to be a better weekend than I might have expected. I have seen or spoken to all but one daughter, and all but one grandchild. I have resisted the temptation to comfort myself with shopping [the yarn doesn’t count, because it is for a specific project, and Secondborn will reimburse me for the portion that I use; I bought all they had in that dye lot]. BestFriend’s sock fits, and like me she prefers the real sock to the tube sock, which I just frogged back to the end of the toe increases. I am working the heel flap on the first sock, and it will be my church knitting today. And then I think I will come home and work on my March Sockdown! sock for awhile.

Theres a singles’ potluck and fireside tonight. I will almost certainly go to that, once I decide what to take for dessert, and if I am not napping.

Lorelai has stopped twitching. I am nearly there, myself.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Orange is *so* not her color...

Lorelai and I had an adventure last night. We’re both OK, and I need to take more pictures before I can post about it. And it might even be starting to be funny by then.

Let’s just say that Brother Sushi is my hero. [Not that there was ever any doubt of that.]

Lots of knitting between 5:30 and 7:30 last night, only the first bit of it angry knitting; pictures of that tomorrow as well, most likely.

The McDonald’s in downtown Dallas typically plays classical music, to keep out the gangsters and the street people. Last night they were playing Frank Sinatra. I am not a big fan of Frank Sinatra. I almost felt sorry for the gangsters and the street people.

Can’t wait to get on the bus this morning.

Sleep is a very good thing, *and* I am still feeling a wee bit Ravelled.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quick post, then I'm out the door

Came home and made myself some black bean avocado burritos, courtesy of the microwave. Put in Hope Floats and finished the heel flap on the first March Sockdown! sock and cast on 12 stitches for the second toe before calling it a night.

I am nearly done with the toe increases; I will probably finish them on the train this morning. Have planned another quiet evening at home, reading and knitting. Probably mostly knitting.

They fixed part of the problem with the software issuance at work. I can now send and receive email. And we have resurrected my electronic signature. Now they just have to get Document Assembly patched in, and I am good to go.

Speaking of good to go, gotta dash. I am covering switchboard for at least part of the morning, and all day tomorrow.

What’s new in your world?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I love Relief Society!

We had so much fun last night at the RS birthday party. Each of us filled out a questionnaire designed to give us the maximum amount of points possible. Brush your teeth today? 5 points. Attend a baptism in the last year? 5 points. 25 bonus points if it was your own baptism. We bid on everything from babysitting to chocolate cakes, including your car cleaned inside and out, 5 hours of genealogical research assistance, swimming lessons, etc.

I was the auctioneer. My chief qualification was my ability to talk fast and crack bad jokes. At one point, when they asked me who had won something and how much they had bid [it was rather noisy for a group of church ladies] and I didn’t know, I told them, “Hey, you get what you pay for.” [We are a lay church. Everybody from the stake president to the bishop and on down, donates their time.]

I came home tired and happy and full of good food. I ended up driving in to work yesterday, and I brought home the VCR/DVD player.

As I got out of the car, after work but before RS, I managed to stab myself in the leg with one of my lace needles. No blood, or only a very little blood. But for the rest of the evening, my leg wept almost imperceptibly. And by the time I went to bed last night, I had a small crater in my left shin. Maybe the trick to losing weight is not calorie control, increased exercise, or other conventionally accepted means. Maybe I just need to thwack myself repeatedly in the fluffier parts with my knitting bag and let gravity do the rest.

My leg is still deflating this morning, though it has stopped weeping.

I have turned the heel on my sock and am now working an Eye of the Partridge heel flap. I seem to be rapidly running out of yarn. Jitterbug might not be the best yarn for this pattern in terms of yardage, but in terms of stitch definition it is perfect. I might need to stop at the end of the heel flap, work the second sock to this point, and then finish the cuffs. These may end up being anklets, but they will be gorgeous anklets!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Steam Train, and the Mantis

There are two trains which run between Palestine and Rusk. One is diesel; that’s the one we rode on Saturday. The other is a steam train. The trains pass each other once on the outbound trip and again on the return trip. The round-trip ticket for the diesel train is $3 less than the other ticket, which is the first reason we chose it; I also think it’s cooler to be sitting on a diesel train and meet up with the steam train, than it would be to sit on the steam train and see [just one more] diesel train.



I highly recommend this trip if you can easily get to East Texas. Sit as far from the engine as you can manage, particularly on the return trip, unless you like to hear small children cry. Or take the Costco family-size package of earplugs and practice your lip-reading.



Trainman’s father and mine both worked for Union Pacific, though decades apart. Dad learned to count the number of cars on a moving train, first one at a time, then three at a time, then five at a time.



When I am counting stitches in my knitting, I count them in groups of three. I know my 3’s extraordinarily well. Must be hereditary.

Ah, the sight of a man in uniform...



LadyZen or Trainman snapped this on the return trip, while I was standing in line for the loo.



Sunday night or Monday morning, I dreamed that I was still married to the children’s father, and we were still in the old house in Irving. I was tackling a mound of dirty dishes, and there was a ginormous bright green praying mantis at the kitchen sink; must have been six or eight inches long. I spent a good part of that dream trying to catch the mantis; I don’t remember why. And I didn’t catch the symbolism [or the most obvious part of it] until I was editing yesterday’s post. I think Freud and/or Jung would have a field day with that dream.

[I wonder if I need to check up on the children’s father?]

This is the best picture I have of the three of us from Saturday.



Yes, I am wearing my don’t you wish your girlfriend could knit like me? T-shirt. Wouldn’t you?

In knitting news, I am roughly two-thirds done with the heel gusset on the first sock. Loving the yarn of course, and loving the pattern. I spent far too long sitting on the couch this morning with my thoughts and my knitting. Now I need to scoot.

No Knit Night for me, tonight; I am the auctioneer for the service auction at Relief Society. One of those weeks when I wish there were two Tuesdays. Not sure at this point if I will catch the train [barely] or drive in and bring home my new VCR/DVD player. Yes, my anniversary gift is here!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Where’s Trainman?

More pictures from Saturday. This is one view from the gazebo where we ate our lunch.



A neat little red pier-and-beam house.



Somebody’s trading post.



I remarked to LadyZen that we’d found our Christmas trees for later this year.



A magnificent redbud tree. I just held my breath and snapped and hoped for the best.



Last Sunday [a week ago] as I drove to church, I thought about the week that had preceded it: the hopes, the fears, the joys, the disappointments, the gratitude, and I told Him that I didn’t think I was bringing that much to offer Him at sacrament meeting that day, that the best I could do was to give him my uncertainty and my vulnerability. It seems that might have been enough.

On Saturday night while I was sitting in the room with Trainman between tests, there was a lot of peaceful, companionable silence. And some honest communication. He told me why he likes me; he likes the same things about me that I value in myself. [It is nice to get that confirmed.]

I know I said last week that the three sweetest words in the English language are “you were right”. I heard three ones I like even better: “I trust you”. And I told him how much it meant to me that he had initiated the friendship. He does not understand why the guys my age in the singles’ program cannot see who I am, when he sees me so clearly. [Yeah, I don’t get that either, but I comfort myself in the fact that his friendship, and Brother Sushi’s, and Brother Karitas’, are answers to prayers, and that the guys who don’t see me, don’t see me because of those same prayers. Doesn’t mean that it’s not crazy-making from time to time, but it also confirms to me that Heaven really is in charge of my life when I don’t get in the way.]

As I drove him home, I commented, “Holy cow, we just had the dreaded define the relationship talk.”

“Yeah, we did.”

“And we’re still friends.”

“Yeah, we are.” I could hear him grinning, over in the passenger seat.

“And nobody’s bleeding. Cool!”

I called Trainman after church to see how he was doing, and he said he was feeling like himself again and no, he didn’t need anything. He was puttering around, doing little things that needed doing, and he would see me after work today.

More answered prayers. Because while he was sitting there with the IV in his arm on Saturday night, I was trying to figure out when I’d have to get up to get him to the station at his usual time this morning, if he was not cleared to drive. I take that “brother’s keeper” stuff pretty seriously, and one of the key players in his office will be out for the next couple of days, so Trainman has to be there.

[This reminds me of something I told my girls years ago, when one of the parental units of one of their friends was forevermore letting those friends (and others who depended upon that person to show up and do something) down because s/he “didn’t feel well”: most of the work that gets done in this world, gets done by people who “don’t feel well” but who show up anyway.]

I took one small load of laundry over to Secondborn’s and washed it while enjoying scrambled eggs with them and the Bitties. [If my clothes mysteriously fell into their washer and then into their dryer and then into the laundry bag, that’s not breaking the Sabbath, right?] Secondborn’s tummy is looking mighty cute.

BittyBit is learning about dressing modestly. [The lessons about pointing and tact are also on the list. *snort*] She has decided that yes, she would like a sweater to go over one of her dresses that is sleeveless, which Secondborn wasn’t crazy about buying in the first place, but it was the most-modest one available.

BittyBit also wasn’t keen on my borrowing her favorite dress until Saturday, to take it to the yarn store for matching purposes. So we measured it, and we measured her, and then I came home and did some searching on Ravelry for a child’s bolero or shrug. I didn’t find anything that screamed knit me, so I will probably just invent something, or severely modify one of those patterns I saw. Once I have the yarn, I will drop all other projects for a few days so I can crank out a wee sweater/shrug/bolero for her.

In knitting news, I managed two or three rows on the Clapotis en Soie while at church. And I put several more rounds on the March Sockdown! sock while watching You’ve Got Mail and getting all verklempt. And a few more after I got home from Secondborn’s.

Where’s Trainman?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Texas State Railroad

This one is going to be picture-heavy. I think I will show the pictures on the ride from Palestine to Rusk today, and the pictures from Rusk back to Palestine tomorrow.



I took 64 pictures yesterday. Does not quite put me into the paparazzi league, but that’s a lot for me, especially when the subject is not yarn! Most of them were taken from the open window of a train that was chugging along at 25mph. I am amazed how many lucky shots I got.

This is Texas. Specifically, the Piney Woods of East Texas. So naturally, there were cows.



Middlest, do you remember when we took that road trip to the hammer dulcimer festival, and you got out of the car to take pictures of the cows, and they all turned and mooned you? Pretty much the same thing happened to Trainman on the way home.

OK, we have pretty well established that I am not Nature Girl, that I do appreciate Heaven’s handiwork but prefer to observe it with a nice layer of glass and air conditioning between it and me. I am still a little amazed at how much fun I had. We rode in the open-air cars, and there was a nice breeze, and the occasional bug or butterfly flitting through the car, and showers of the last dried leaves from fall. But there was no sun beating down on my head, and I felt safe and enclosed, without feeling cooped up.

We all agreed that we were glad not to have chosen the climate-controlled cars, even though they were closer to our coolers and the loo.

The morning light was awe-inspiring. I tried to capture it on film; this one, I think, shows both the motion and the magic.



The white blurs are dogwood blossoms. Here is another one tucked in among the taller trees.



We ate all day. A little coffeecake and some fruit when we got to the station. Then lunch in the gazebo.



Some of you may want to sit down for this next bit. I took my knitting, and I intentionally left it in LadyZen’s trunk for the duration of the train ride. [You knitters OK? Breathe deeply, if necessary.]

And I didn’t miss it. [I’ll wait; go get a paper bag.]

We could not have ordered up a more beautiful day from the Sears catalogue. We ate again when we got back to Rusk, and that’s when things took a turn. Trainman was blindsided with a kidney stone, so LadyZen played ambulance driver and got us back to Fort Worth smoothly and safely. We dropped him at the ER and went back to her place, where we loaded his stuff into my trunk. I went back to the ER [this time with yarn and needles] and waited with him while he had a CT-scan and bloodwork and an IV of anti-nausea medication.

The good news is that it was a small one and will pass. [The other good news is that I had been inspired last Sunday to tell my girlfriends at church that I would probably not be back from the trip in time to take them to the dance last night; they all are comfortable driving during the day but have given it up except for local hops at night.] He was cleared to drive himself home last night. I followed him partway, and his hand was steady on the wheel. I sent LadyZen a text when I got home around midnight with half of a sock foot in my bag.

And now, for those of you who have been waiting so patiently, a shot of the Trainman.



Time for me to hop in the tub and drive like a bat out of Highland Park to get to church. More pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sheep Thrills

Middlest put this on her blog yesterday, because she knew I would like it.



Hooves down, my all-time favorite classical piece. [Now with sheep.] Speaking of which?

Sockdown February 2009

Middlest’s socks are done, and I’ve posted them on Ravelry. This is probably as close to identical as one is likely to get, knitting with Noro.

I stayed up too late last night, finishing the socks and watching / listening to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. So, no brownies this morning: time for Plan B. Which would be the turtle cookies I bought last weekend and popped into the freezer for emergencies. I will pick up carrot sticks on the way to LadyZen’s house, and I bought a small coffeecake at Central last night when I went there with Trainman. [It was cheaper than I could have made one.] I have bagged the idea of deviled eggs. But he picked up fresh basil pesto and a sliced baguette, plus the brie, and I got more of the cheese I love. We will not exactly starve.

Road trip with foodies. Does it get any better than that? Time to clean out the magical red bag while the cookies bake. And grab something to knit.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Objets trouvés

One of the silver linings of sifting through umpteen years’ accumulation of stuff, is that when I am looking for a particular item, I frequently stumble across other things that I didn’t know were missing, or that I have forgotten.

Case in point: I was looking for the spare batteries for my camera, so that I could charge them for the field trip tomorrow. I found the spare kitchen washcloths. I found the broken part of the rocker which my father made, and now I can take it and said rocker to Brother Sushi for repair; he has a lathe.

I found my Eagles CD; it had ducked into a corner of one of the plastic boxes in which I keep yarn and UFO’s. So now I can take it on the trip tomorrow; LadyZen has a 6-CD player in her car. And Trainman has never heard “How Long”. I know: shocking!

I could use about three extra days before the field trip. I need to get my nails done, and that won’t be happening before Tuesday at the earliest, and then only if I drive in. So probably next Thursday, assuming that I haven’t run out of “month” before I run out of money. I’d like to get a haircut; I’m feeling shaggy again. And I would like to spend a couple of days in the kitchen, just baking and puttering.

I am really looking forward to this trip. I had been thinking that my traveling days were pretty much over because of this trick knee, which dictates that I can only drive for about an hour at a stretch, when along come friends who love to travel and can do the driving. Woohoo!

I just realized that while it would be nice to find my spare pair of rechargeable batteries, I have all those batteries I bought with my bonus bucks last year. I don’t want to think of how many of them I may go through tomorrow, but I bought them to use so I might as well rotate them out.

Amazing what comes to mind when I sit still long enough.

I saw my first bluebonnets yesterday, between the station and home. No place to pull over and park to take their portraits. I suppose they have been blooming for weeks now, but I drive about 20% as much as I did this time last year, and they seem to prefer the medians and berms along the freeways. I am hoping for more bluebonnets tomorrow. And dogwood blossoms. [And brownies and deviled eggs and Brie and apples and laughter.]

Middlest’s second sock is nearly done. It probably would be finished, except I dropped a stitch last night and had to frog back half an inch. So now I am counting stitches every few rounds. I have really, truly enjoyed learning the entrelac technique [even with all the tinking and frogging]. I am going to have a lot more yarn left than I had thought; I could have made the entrelac portion longer. But I think I will pick up another skein while the Shabby Sheep still has this dye lot in stock and make another pair for myself. Then Middlest and I can be twinkies at Knit Night.

In addition to the usual “Dreamless in Dallas” thing that has become the new normal, last night I had a side order of TMJ tossed in for good measure. I woke once and rearranged my pillows, and that seemed to help for awhile. Then I woke again about 2:45 and gave up. I came out here to the living room and picked up my knitting. I can feel my left ankle swelling already because of insufficient sleep.

Wonder if I could catch a half-hour nap before the alarm goes off? I think I will go see. Sleep or no sleep, it’s going to be a great day. Friday, and shopping with Trainman at Central Market after work, and baking, and knitting, and maybe even a little sleep tonight. I wonder if I’ll finish Middlest’s sock today? I need to figure out what my travel knitting is going to be, and I’d prefer not to have to lug along two socks-in-progress.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Zombie Jamboree

The sleeplessness continues; I woke up before 4:00, which is really before 3:00 if you ignore the arbitrariness of Daylight Savings Time. I guess it’s a good thing that I am a knitter. I put in a video and stretched out on the couch to work on the gusset decreases; I may be done with them by the time I leave for the station.

Excellent news at work: my favorite attorney is expecting. This has been a long, painful, and expensive process for them, but their patience has been rewarded. One much-anticipated blessing will join their family in November. They should know if it’s a taco or a burrito by the end of next month, and then I can pick out colors for a Baby Surprise Jacket.

Nice visit with the Trainman last night. We are going to Central Market after work tomorrow to pick up some snacks for the field trip on Saturday. I will be baking some brownies [of course]. Maybe LadyZen and I can nail down a menu on the trip into Dallas this morning.

Work is going well. I am just short of crazy-busy, and our team is working effectively. I did realize with some chagrin yesterday afternoon that I had missed every one of my training sessions for Office 2007, because I’ve been up to my ears in alligators. Thankfully, I can catch other sessions with people who will be getting the rollout later than I will. I go live on the 23rd, but I’ve had some practice already because the computers at switchboard have already been upgraded.

Time to rustle up some breakfast and sneak in another decrease round or two while the tub fills. Hoping for another quiet evening at home with my knitting.

Remind me not to eat anything with beans or onions for the next couple of days. I had a couple of bean and cheese breakfast tacos at the support staff meeting yesterday, entirely forgetting that lunch would be a homemade aguacate torta [with refried black beans and lots of avocado]. Mr. Rogers wants to know, Can you say overkill?

I do not want to spend the entire field trip on Saturday, tooting on the observation deck.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Knit Night never disappoints ~ and frequently astonishes

We weren’t there long, just long enough to say “hi” to everybody and to show off the Sockdown prize yarn and the first entrelac sock. And to bring home 800 yards of precious handspun from Monica. [Blogless? Not finding a link to her blog on our Yahoo! group. Reds and raspberries and lilac; the fibers are superwash merino, tussah silk, and angelina, which gives the yarn a tiny bit of sparkle but not enough to make my teeth hurt.] Yes, there will be pictures. No, they will not be happening today; I just finished the last small triangular gusset that reorients the second entrelac sock for the heel flap. And now I need to scramble so I can make my train.

Daylight Savings Time is still kicking my tush. Most of the people in my office are some degree of middle-aged; all of us are lurching about like the living dead. At Knit Night last night, I went from perky to wilting in about a minute and a half. So thankful for friends who understand, a daughter who is patient about it, and obnoxious classic rock to keep me awake on the drive home.

Must go throw the rest of my lunch together while the tub fills.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stand.



From Romi, via Punkin. And now, from me to you. It’s been a productive morning. Paid some bills, worked on the entrelac sock, thought about what I could wear to work for St. Patrick’s Day. I really should have done laundry last night, but I put in one of the new DVD’s instead, ate a nice plate of leftovers, and knitted.

Tonight is Knit Night. I’m looking forward to a productive day at work, lots of happy knitting on the train, and time with Middlest and friends tonight.

No sense wearing my “kiss me, I’m Irish” pin today, as Trainman is enjoying spring break with his son. [Not to mention the fact that I’m not sure I’d want him to kiss me, even if he were available. There’s a lot to be said for platonic friendship; it’s certainly easier on the nerves than the non-platonic kind.]

Speaking of the non-platonic kind, Secondborn gave me a heads-up the other night. It appears that Brother Abacus is building a new house. In my ward boundaries. Oh fine, just what I wanted: another “growth experience”, wherein I get to exercise grace under pressure. There are a lot of people in my ward who think the man walks on water in his spare time [there might be a few who don’t know me all that well, who think the same about me, LOL]; they have obviously never dated him. He is impeccably honest in his business dealings, and I admire him for that. He does a lot of quiet good in the community, and I admire him for that.

I just would prefer to admire his good qualities from halfway across the stake, not across the aisle in sacrament meeting every week. I am already praying over this, mostly that I behave like a lady and learn whatever it is I am supposed to learn from it. The phrases that pop into my head are along the lines of “don’t borrow trouble” and “if ye are not one, ye are not mine”. Why is it that I am rarely invited to be at peace with people who are easy to get along with? Or who have never broken my heart, accidentally or otherwise?

Oh yeah, it’s that whole building character thing. Maybe what will come from this, is that Brother Abacus and I truly become friends, that I take him off my Not Even If He Was On Fire list, and that each of us becomes a little more Christlike. It could happen; the age of miracles is not past. In the meantime, that muffled shrieking you hear, is probably me.

Wool. I need wool. And maybe a little dark chocolate.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another “match” (not)!

I did a quick flit through my inbox and found another alleged match on the Churchboy Dating Service. Age-appropriate? Check! Other criteria? Reasonably good match. Body type he’s looking for? Slender. Is he slender himself? No! And they call it male logic?

Next!

Far more satisfactory is yesterday’s progress on the second entrelac sock. Not enough to justify grabbing my camera, but gratifying nonetheless.

I took a five-hour nap and woke up feeling marginally more human. So I scrubbed all the small purple potatoes and skinned half a dozen shallots, tumbled them in a bag with olive oil, Hungarian paprika, and herbes de Provence, and baked them for what was intended to be half an hour at 350°F/177°C but ended up being longer, because I was so distracted by the movie that I didn’t hear the timer ring. A little sea salt, a dollop of sour cream leftover from making that rocky road crockpot cake last weekend, and I had the perfect light dinner, with enough left for lunch or dinner tonight or tomorrow.

Never thought the day would come when a kitchen that smells of roasted onions would be a good thing.

Not much going on here this morning. I am almost ready to leave for work, half an hour ahead of schedule. My lunch is on the kitchen counter. I know where my knitting is. The extra cheese plane is on top of my knitting bag, ready to go to the office with me. There will be more cheese and apple and water crackers for lunch today, plus healthy snacks in case I get hungry between meals. I know where my train pass, office card key, employee badge, and keys are. My cell phone is charged. I must have gotten enough sleep last night.

Not much going on here this morning? I fear I have misspoken. What we see here is a flock of small miracles like ducks in a row.

Woohoo!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fauxsythia

Outside the kitchen window of my folks’ house was a huge forsythia bush. Outside the kitchen window of my basement apartment in Provo, was another huge forsythia bush. I used to stand at the sink when I was pregnant with Firstborn, washing up dish after dish and looking out at the fog-blackened stems, the tender green leaves, and the heartbreakingly beautiful blossoms.

I had to make a quick run through Michael’s yesterday, to pick up an inexpensive frame for the Relief Society “flag” that I made. And I saw these.



They were half price, and they followed me home, and I’m keeping them. I also finished the first entrelac sock.



The second one is cast on, and I would have made more progress before bedtime had I not been watching You’ve Got Mail, which I picked up at Half Price Books with several other DVD’s. Probably my favorite Meg Ryan movie, before I got mad at her for dumping Dennis Quaid. [I stopped liking Harrison Ford about the same time, after his own bout of middle-aged-crazy.]

I had so much fun with Middlest and Fourthborn and one of their friends, and all the dolls, yesterday. The park was cold and wet, so we went to the Cheesecake Factory. My salad was just about perfect; I tried the plum vinaigrette this time and really liked it. My soup was so-so. I don’t know if that was because the vinaigrette was so memorable, or if the soup was intrinsically bland. And pink[ish]. Chicken soup, especially a cream soup, should not be pink. Or ish.

Our waiter was charming. Maybe a little older than Lark; probably not as old as Willow.

Did not sleep well last night. Woke up about when the alarm would have awakened me ~ I don’t set it on Sunday mornings ~ because I realized that I had my head tilted too far back, and the CPAP wasn’t nagging me. Which meant that I dozed off three or four times [that I noticed] during sacrament meeting. I handed my tithing envelope to the bishop and told him I was coming home to take a nap, and why.

Made myself a turkey sandwich and had a bit of dessert, in case it was blood sugar and not oxygen deprivation that was making me groggy. And now I am heading back to bed, to sleep, perchance to breathe...

Have a blessed and peaceful Sabbath, everybody. See you in the morning.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Zeke’s and Socks and Groceries [Oh My!]

Zeke’s is a local institution which serves allegedly authentic British fish and chips. I would have to make a trip to Old Blighty in order to tell you how authentic my dinner was. But my taste buds are happy to report that dinner last night was delicious. Brother Sushi and I each enjoyed a two-piece dinner, which comes with two deep-fried whales, two vegetables and a handful of pups.

Pups are hush puppies, frequently amorphous blobs of fried cornbread batter but in this case small cylinders about the diameter of a taquito [please don’t make me explain what a taquito is, at least not before breakfast], or roughly the length of my thumb and the girth of my little finger.

Vegetables are something which are theoretically good for you, but in this case were battered and fried. To perfection. I had the fried mushrooms [at Trainman’s recommendation], and the french fries. Amazing. It is a real art to fry potatoes in such a manner that they come out hot and salty on the outside, dry and mealy on the inside, and greasy nowhere.

The fish is Icelandic cod, about half a cubit long, approximately the size of an average hank of sock yarn. And there were two of them. The tartar sauce was unlike anything I’ve ever had before: thick and pale yellow and robust, without being overbearing.

Zeke’s is now officially on my list of places to eat about once a quarter or so. Why? Well, when I was discussing fried foods with Trainman last night, I said that I ate fried foods as little as possible, because I have good blood pressure and good cholesterol and would like to keep it that way. He countered that he has high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and fried anything is his favorite food. [He would probably love that episode of Gilmore Girls where Jackson deep-fries Sukie’s organic turkey. And the side dishes. And the lawn chairs.]

So now I have one deep-fried whale in my fridge, half a dozen french fries, one lone pup, and the last three or four mushrooms. I will pick the batter off the fish and enjoy it later today or possibly tomorrow.

OK, in knitting news, the entrelac sock is stalled until I can try it on Middlest’s foot, so I cast on the March Sockdown sock, which is Interlocking Leaves from the Fall 2008 Knitty. I am using the baby-poop-green Jitterbug in my stash and have completed the first five or six rounds of pattern. I like that there is something happening on every round, and so far I am liking the pattern. Maybe tomorrow I will have enough done that it’s worth a picture.

And I know that I’ve promised you a picture of the new turquoise Chelsea Silk alongside what I already had. But today is supposedly going to be cold and rainy. So no pictures today, and no links in the paragraph above, or to Zeke’s.

I had a serious falling-down at Central Market before dinner last night. Brother Sushi needed to pick up a few things, and I got paid yesterday, so I kindof had my way with the produce department. And the seafood area [had a coupon for $10 off with a $40 purchase, easy-peasy]. And the butcher shop. And the cheeses. I almost bought one of those purple cauliflower. Almost. I think next time I am in the mood for a $4 vegetable, I will, and I’ll give 3/4 of it to Brother Sushi, who actually likes cauliflower.

Saw a new hybrid vegetable last night, priced like an HDTV. A cross between asparagus and broccoli. I might have to try that sometime.

Bought another three slices of applewood-smoked bacon and tossed them into the freezer. Someday soon I will frizzle it up and will know to pay a little more attention than I did last time.

Breakfast beckons. Today is the doll meet with Middlest, Fourthborn and Fiancé. Which may end up as a nice chat chez the latter two, if the weatherman knows what he’s talking about. And I need to whip up a flag for our Relief Society for tonight’s activity at church, and bake two dozen cookies for same. Oh, and I’m signed up to feed the missionaries, but that will be covered by the ward dinner. At any rate, I’d better get moving.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It fits (I think)

So I slept until the alarm yesterday, for the second day in a row. The house was toasty; I turned the fireplace down to the pilot light and watched/listened to the rest of The Devil Wears Prada. And then I slipped the needles out of the entrelac swatch and tried it on.

Let me just say that trying on a sock full of live stitches is a whole lot less scary if the sock is entrelac, because if it starts running, it can only go twelve rows. The ribbing was comfortable: snug but not binding, and the little rectangles hugged my ankle and smiled at me. So for my feet, the formula will be 84 stitches down to 66 for the entrelac portion. It will be interesting to see if the heel fits. But for now I have frogged it back to nothing, so I can finish the first pair of socks. And then I can go buy more yarn.

I know, sad, right?



That is what the sock looks like on Secondborn’s dainty foot. If this were her sock, it would be time to start the toe decreases. Can’t wait until tomorrow to try it on Middlest and see how much longer [if any] it would have to be, to be long enough for her.

This is Lark with Firstborn, who is doing her impression of a DeadHead guerrilla.



And this is that sheep I saw in the shop window late the other night, when I didn’t have my camera with me.



Reminds me of the Big!Sheep! from Muppet Classic Theater.

The package with my vintage Chelsea Silk arrived safely in yesterday’s mail. I’ll give you a dye lot comparison sometime this weekend.

So I have hugged three of my girls and three of my grandkids so far this week. I also got to pat Secondborn’s tummy. [She says this one is a little firecracker.] I’ll see Fourthborn at the doll meet tomorrow morning. Wonder what my chances are of seeing LittleBit as well?

Probably somewhere between Slim and nun.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Restaurant + Actual Knitting Progress

So, LadyZen and Trainman and I each had our own customized, monogrammed version of the Day from Hades. We are all still staggering under the stupidity which is Daylight Savings Time. And likely to continue staggering for another week or so until our diurnal clocks reset themselves.

We took turns giving the Reader’s Digest version of our experiences. Then I grinned at Trainman and said, “You need chicken fried steak. Massey’s?” He countered with, “Anybody in the mood for some great fried rice?” The three of us went to Tokyo Cafe, just down the road from me a mile or so. I had a cup of miso soup, which I learned to like during that brief bout of insanity with Brother Abacus. Lovely stuff, and I don’t even like tofu. And then we split an appetizer of salmon sushi in a cilantro sauce. Also tasty, very mellow and smooth, though mine did not want to cooperate with my chopsticks [it was rather like trying to diaper a recalcitrant toddler] and I had to persuade it with my fork [which I assure you I never had to resort to with my children]. And then I ate what was simply the best fried rice of my life. I can tell within a bite or two if something is so salty that I will wake at 2:00am with my eyeballs on fire because of the sodium content. This was just good, and I cannot wait to eat the rest of it for lunch! But I will.

So now that we have established that the entrelac sock is not-mine, I have picked it up and am galloping joyfully toward the toe again. I want to try it on Middlest again this weekend, and I’d also like to try it on Secondborn; I think it will be a little too big, but maybe not quite as much too big as on Firstborn. They both have feet that are smaller than mine were, back in the day.

Il pleut des chats, et des chiens, et des petits poissons. [It is raining cats and dogs and little fishes.] I had to relight the fireplace. I put in The Devil Wears Prada and grabbed my knitting. Bliss!

Hey, Middlest, the new Knitty is up. I’ve added four or five new projects to my queu on Ravelry.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Heimlich Remover

One of the things I love best about my family, is how much we laugh when we are together. Middlest and I faded pretty quickly at Knit Night. When I took her home, Firstborn was home from class [she is finishing up her associates’ degree]. She and Lark were dogpiling on 1BDH, and I’m not sure who was having the most fun.

He plays hockey, so dogpiling is simply a rowdy form of affection in that house, whereas when the girls were growing up it meant that somebody would get put in the penalty box, and somebody else would be getting a butterfly bandage. Dogpiles make me a little jumpy, out of habit. But I do recognize the difference between hilarity and hysteria, and I love the warmth I feel when I am in their home.

Speaking of warmth, I am inhaling the last of those excessively healthy English muffins as we speak. I am all for whole grains and dietary fiber; I also want happy tastebuds. I will not be buying more of these muffins, though I generally like anything that company bakes.

Still speaking of warmth, after turning off the alarm this morning ~ let me repeat that: after turning off the alarm this morning [I slept until it went off, for the first time in over a week] ~ I next turned off the window units and the fans overhead. Another cold front has moved through, and it is 43°F/6°C out there. Raining cats and dogs and little fishes, with side order of lightning and thunder. There must have been a lightning stroke close to here, because the house shook and a magazine and mini tart pan leaped off the kitchen counter.

They had both been looking a little depressed...

The entrelac sock swatch is nearly long enough for me to try it on and get some sense of gauge. The first sock is a pretty good fit for Middlest, and she loves it. So I guess it’s supposed to be hers. Firstborn would need a medium or a small. I hope to get to Secondborn’s tonight or tomorrow for her to try it on.

Looks as if I will be picking up at least one more ball in this colorway. I think the current swatch may be a little too big for me; I may need to try again with ten repeats instead of the original nine or the present eleven. I am getting all kinds of crazy entrelac experience with this project, and if I finish the first sock for Middlest and cast on its mate, I still have a chance of completing the February sock challenge. Everybody oohed and aahed over the first sock at Knit Night last night. I think the Entrelac Fairy has smacked several of them upside the head.

I guess I had better explain the title of this post before I log off and start foofing. Firstborn and I were sitting on Lark’s bed last night, and Middlest was sitting on the floor. I think all that estrogen had chased 1BDH out into the safety of the living room. You would never guess that Lark is not Firstborn’s I-have-the-stretch-marks child; she swallows her consonants just like Firstborn did at that age, and I have lost my secret agent decoder ring. [Along with my cell phone, my train pass, my key card for the office, and most of my marbles.]

Lark was telling a story about when she was younger and had choked on a piece of steak, and Willow had saved her. Only she called it the Heimlich Remover. We were not laughing with her. We were laughing at her.

And at another point, the three of them spontaneously burst into song. [Which, as Middlest is fond of pointing out, is far better than spontaneously bursting into flames.] One more reason I’m reluctant to have them meet Trainman and vice versa. But then he does love musicals, so maybe it would be all right. Maybe in his world [as in mine] it is perfectly normal for people to start singing and tapdancing around the room.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sacrifice: compost for the heart

I read this article on MovieMom’s blog. Why do parents love their kids so much? Because we sacrifice in order to bless them. We moms give up sleep, firm bosoms, tight tummies and a fair chunk of our marbles, when we raise kids. Dads give up car keys, full heads of hair, nights out with the boys, for nights up with a teething, wailing chip off the old block. We learn to clean up all manner of unholy messes, to make the world safer for the tiny people we love.

Is it worth it? [Are they worth it?] Absolutely!

How wonderful that a school district has found a way to teach the lessons that kids need to learn, using a currency that they understand, working their way up from pennies to nickels to dimes to dollars. [I do hope that this is a truly voluntary program; forced altruism is interchangeable with socialism in my book.]

Seriously cool.

I came home last night and nuked a potato, cut a few slices off that pork tenderloin, and heated up some leftover corn and carrots. Finished the decreases at the end of the ribbing for the entrelac sock swatch and got the foundation triangles all on the needles, miraculously with very little ripping back and [as I recall] absolutely no childbirth words this time around. I also finished the second trip through Pushing Daisies and tossed in the Gere/JLo watered-down version of Shall We Dance? I really do need to get my own copy of the original, Japanese version.

Favorite frame in the movie last night? When John has come to the department store to dance with his wife, and there is a shot of his middle-aged hand clasping hers. Hands that have lived, thank you very much. Hands that have learned a lot about mutual service and respect in 19 years of marriage.

Memo to self: when I join the train folk for movie night at LadyZen’s, take a fresh box of Puffs along with the ginormous bags of Redenbacher. Trainman loves The Thin Man; I of course will bring a dance movie.

Life is feeling a little out of balance, chez Ravelled. I thoroughly enjoy all time spent with Trainman et al. I also miss my friends in the church singles’ program, and I miss my kids and grandkids. Time for a little tweaking. I am so thankful that tonight is Knit Night, and I will get to see 40% of my kids and a little less than 25% of my grandkids.

Have I mentioned that BittyBubba is going to be a big bubba?

And this Friday is the monthly dinner with Brother Sushi, when we will sit and eat and talk and listen. I’m leaning strongly toward the drive-through window at Zeke’s and some allegedly authentic British fish and chips. And I’m leaning solidly against my good friend and brother. My metaphorical dance card is filling up quickly for the month. And I need to make sure that I schedule in enough time spent loving and serving the people I know best.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Knitting Progress, of a Sort

I looked more carefully and found the link to that dresser I liked.

@Firstborn: I would love to attend the opera with you [or any of you girls]. There are only three performances of Carmen available; one is on Sunday, so that’s out. Another is during the singles conference, so that’s out, and the last one is on a Friday, but that’s the Friday I have dinner with Brother Sushi, so no Carmen for me this year. La Cenerentola = Cinderella; I’m not as familiar with it, but Saturday May 9th looks plausible from here. And I love Rossini.

He [Trainman, not the late Signor Rossini] has expressed interest in meeting you; from the stories I tell, he’s pretty sure he would like you. And I’m reasonably sure you would like him; Brother Sushi did. Nevertheless, I am not at all sure that I want to have family with me if/when I go to the opera with Trainman and LadyZen. I feel protective of you kids; I feel protective of him; and I feel protective to the nth of myself.

It’s that whole “when worlds collide” bit. Doesn’t necessarily make sense; doesn’t necessarily need to. Six months from now it might not be an issue [I do try not to have “issues”. ]



But right now the idea tends to make me want to sit in the corner of my couch and eat an entire bag of Oreos.

I broke off the stalled entrelac sock and carefully wound up that end of the yarn and inserted it into the center of the ball. Then I cast on from the other end of the ball, with more stitches, to see if I can guess a proper fit. I am not calling this sock #2; I am calling it a swatch. Sock #1 is still available for try-on, and maybe everybody who might be a better candidate to wear it will be healthy this week.

I have also completed the first column of dropped stitches on the Clapotis en Soie and am almost ready for the second. Part of me would just love to stay home and knit all day, but that’s not the part of me which rides the train home in the evening.

I made the Rocky Road Crockpot Cake for the singles’ potluck last night. They inhaled it. I brought home a nearly-empty crockpot: two sensible servings into storage containers, and the last bits into a bowl for dessert during a rerun of Pushing Daisies last night. Yes, I am nearly done with a second viewing. I also watched All About Eve while dessert baked, yesterday afternoon.

I wonder how old Bette Davis was when she played Margo Channing, who spazzed at being 40-something and cast in younger roles. And is it just me, or is this video weirder than most?

I think this entire post might be...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Springing Forward

They followed me home...



The empty nest is no longer empty. These little guys are why I generally stay out of Pier One. I also found but did not buy a red leather chair [next to last item on that page] that would look spiffy in my bedroom, a matching footstool [last item on that page] that might come home with me if it’s still there in seven weeks, and a hand-painted dresser which nearly made me swoon. Can’t find a picture of the dresser, but it’s elaborately painted, and there is glass over the drawer fronts and on top.



Girls, when I die just bury me under the closest Pier One, and I promise not to haunt you!

Today’s semi-random thought, because it wouldn’t be my blog without one. Does anybody besides me remember the old Norm Crosby routine, where he was giving his mangled version of the plot of La Bohème? I think he said it was really violent, like Romeo and Juliet, and everybody dies, particularly after Lab-O stabs Heem. And I want to go see an opera because???

Maybe I should have called that a Semiramide thought.

I made it to the 20% point on the Clapotis en Soie, while watching the entire first season of Pushing Daisies [borrowed from the library and due back in a week. I love it that Emerson is a knitter, albeit a closet knitter. And I am thankful that Olive is turning into a woman of character, instead of a punchline. (No, I hadn’t seen it before. I’m the one who writes and reads and knits instead of watching TV, the one who just got her DVD player connected properly to the TV after living in this duplex for nine months.)] It’s time to turn the second corner on the Clapotis and start dropping stitches.

Yes, intentionally.



This little guy seems to think that dropped stitches are no big deal.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Finished Object + Concert Review

The Lumpy Bumpy Scarf is done.



I had to tink back a row in order to bind it off and have enough left to finish the fringe. So it’s a little wabi-sabi in terms of stripe width, but that’s probably good for me. Builds character.

My Sockdown prize yarn came in yesterday’s mail. 60% merino, 30% bamboo, 10% nylon; my fingers cannot feel the nylon in there, so I think this will be a pleasure to knit up. The dyer was right: I absolutely love the color(s)! He is Creek Yarn on Ravelry, and here’s a link to his Etsy shop.

There was a message waiting for me from the Raveler with the yarn I wanted. My check arrived yesterday, and she will be sending the box via UPS today. Which means I had better finish more projects so that I am not drowning in fibery goodness.

I was sensible at dinner last night and had the black bean burger (light salt, hold the onions and pickle, just in case I went to the dance afterward) and a virgin strawberry mango margarita. Dessert and beverage all in one. Enough food to convince my stomach that my throat had not been cut, but not so much that I fell asleep at the concert.

We got a little lost between the restaurant and the concert hall. Trainman, I am pleased to report, did not become ruffled or cranky; he consulted with us, and he stopped to ask for directions. We arrived a very few minutes late and slipped in between songs.

I like the venue. We ended up with front-row seats in the upper balcony, and I did not have to climb a bajillion stairs to get there; they have a capacious and supremely quiet elevator. The seats are comfortable, the sight line was good, and the hall was so small that I did not get vertigo when I stood for the ovation at the end of the concert.

[That upper balcony at the Bass Hall induces moderate anxiety, but not as much as the raking at the Omni Theater. I have to turn my back to the screen and crab-walk to my seat at the Omni, brailling along with my hand on the back of the seats in front of me. Brother Sushi finds this hilarious; but then he likes to jump out of perfectly good airplanes, so his perspective is a little skewed. (I’m not a total chicken; I practically get nosebleeds when I’m on horseback, but that doesn’t stop me from riding when I get the chance.)]

Sandra Kaye and Arlington Jones were the soloists. His parents were there, and his wife and child. At a little over an hour and a half, plus one encore, the concert length was just-right. The conductor was a hoot; he really knows how to work the audience. My only quibble is that sometimes the orchestra [band? not sure where one ends and the other begins] overpowered the soloists, but never for long. Une quibblette, if you will.

I love how friends expand my life. I am more a blues girl than a jazz girl, but last night I heard music I very much enjoyed and wouldn’t have thought I liked. What’s that sound? Oh nothing much, just a handful of expectations rattling around inside my brainpan.

We got back to the park-and-ride about 10:00 last night. I was relaxed and sleepy, and I needed to move my body. So I announced that I was heading up to the dance. Trainman said not him, he was headed home to bed. And of course LadyZen, who is married, was headed home as well. I had just made the irrevocable choice to get onto the freeway when I discovered that there was Trouble in River City. I spent 15 or 20 minutes on the on-ramp, waiting to reach the next exit and head for home because all northbound lanes were clogged and there were emergency vehicles snaking around them. Sometimes I really do know when I’m beaten.

I called Trainman, who was still on his way home, and told him what was up. We chatted for a couple of minutes, and then I wished him good night and a pleasant weekend. He commented that he had noticed that I listen to music the way he does: with my eyes closed. Well yes! There are times when sight is superfluous. [I don’t kiss with my eyes open, either, but blessed if I’m going to tell him that.]

Not sure what-all I will be doing today. I slept until nearly 5:00 this morning. I’ve put in a call to BestFriend; I want to show her the progress on her sock, have her try it on, and just have some chick time. I think my books are due at the library. I may see if I can finish the increases on the Clapotis en Soie; I feel like dealing with something fiddly. For a little while, anyway, if not all day. I think there will probably be some cooking. I am feeling nourished and restless and unaccountably domestic. Maybe I will finally get my bedroom painted? It’s certainly promising to be warm enough outside that I could paint successfully, inside.

He thinks the three of us should go see an opera. Heading over to the local websites to see if anybody is doing Carmen or Butterfly this year. [Do I really want to let this guy see me cry?]

Friday, March 06, 2009

English, she is such a funny language.

When I was transcribing dictation yesterday, my attorney had named various body parts that were X-rayed and may or may not have been injured in the accident, per the plaintiff’s medical records. To ensure that the plaintiff remains unidentifiable, I have replaced the names of the various body parts in the medical record with random body parts. I now give you what I heard through the earphones: “the colon elbow semicolon earlobe semicolon navel semicolon”, ad infinitum.

It was at the second or third body part he named, that I realized he was speaking of the grammatical colon and not the biological one. Maybe you had to be there, but I thought it was funny, and a good joke on me!

Tonight is the concert with Trainman and LadyZen. They will pick me up in front of my office building, and we will grab a quick dinner. Concert begins at 7:30. Depending upon how long it lasts, and how sleepy I am, I might even be able to swing by the singles’ dance afterward.

We had a lot of wind yesterday. Just about perfect weather for kite flying, but by the time I was done with an errand after leaving the train station, it was too dark. I came home and heated up some of the tortilla soup I had made earlier this week, and then I drove over to the shopping center that has Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Barnes & Noble, where I walked around and looked at all the pretties but didn’t buy anything. I just wanted to get a little exercise in a safe environment.

Pottery Barn qualifies as a safe environment only because I cannot afford the $2800 sofa I have been drooling over for two or three years. I steadfastly refused to buy the bronze leather pillow cover, which is more in my price range. It would look gorgeous on my couch. But then, so would Alan Rickman...

I turned off the fireplace last night; the window units in my room and the living room are both set at 77°F/25°C, and the ceiling fans are spinning merrily.

I woke an hour ahead of my alarm [again] so am roasting the pork tenderloin as we speak. Have knitted a little on BestFriend’s bed sock and am about ready to curl up on the couch with the Lumpy Bumpy Scarf, which is nearing completion.

I wonder if my Sockdown prize will come in the mail today?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

A Series of Unfortunate Events?

Maybe. Or maybe a metaphor for the next bit of my life.

So, Friday I left my cell phone in the company car at work. Tuesday morning, I slipped my train pass [which is also my bus pass] into my coat pocket, and then a few minutes later slipped my office passkey into the same pocket, dislodging my train pass. LadyZen found it after I left the train and handed it to me as I charged back up the stairs after following a prompting to put my hand into my pocket and discovering it was gone. [My train pass, not my hand or my pocket.]

LadyZen and Trainman both left me voicemails while I was at Knit Night on Tuesday night, messages which I only discovered yesterday when I fired up the cell phone for the drive into work, messages which informed me that my office passkey had somersaulted out of my bag, and LadyZen would give it to me on the train yesterday morning. The train that I was not on. So I parked my car, schlepped my stuff up to the office, and hotfooted it over to the train station. I got there a couple of minutes before the train came in. Yay for LadyZen!

I was meditating on the walk back to the office. [I did not get on the bus with my friends, because I had left my train pass at my desk, naturally.] I seem to be developing a positive talent for losing things. I wonder if I would be any more successful at losing oh, say, umpteen pounds?

I took an hour and a half of PT yesterday afternoon and headed straight for the little antique store. I told my office manager that I wanted to go shopping. She was all for that! But I was not in the mood for Coldwater Creek, oh no: I was in the mood for a new bookcase. Found one, put it on layaway, and was astounded to learn that repeat customers get a significant discount on all future purchases.

Then I came home, cooked a single portion of fettucine and swaddled it in red sauce, no cheese. And then? then I put on my sneakers and my yoga pants and took a little stroll. [What tickles me most about the whole perambulation is that I was 99% certain of where my yoga pants and sports bra and walking shoes were.]

Baby steps.

A hair under 1.5 miles of baby steps.

And then, of course, I was powerfully thirsty. So I drank a pint of water and got in the car to drive the route I had walked, because I needed tell you how far I had gone. And the pedometer was here at home. [Thus far, the pattern holds.]

And then I drove on to WalMart for more milk, where I also picked up a small salad and some canned tuna and a few other things.

I will now answer the question that is on at least five minds: was I able to roll out of bed this morning under my own steam, or did I have to call the paramedics?

I’m typing, aren’t I? Woke up an hour ahead of my alarm after almost six full hours of sleep, and I feel terrific! I think I might walk from the station to the office this morning, instead of taking the bus. [Or maybe not; I stood up and walked to the couch to get the scarf for the photograph below, and my hips did not want to play.] And I just ate ~ enjoyed might be a stretch ~ a whole-grain English muffin with extra flax and omega-whatzits and a whisper of butter and raspberry jam, washed down with some low-fat buttermilk.

Did I mention that when I got my healthy sub on Tuesday night, I had them cut that foot-long into thirds instead of halves? The bread was a bit soggy at lunch yesterday, but not obnoxiously so. I’ll have the rest of the sandwich today. The white [green] grapes I bought on Monday night were a little blah; I think I’ll stick with the red seedless ones from here on out. But I will dutifully take more blah grapes to work today, and I’ll eat them before I eat the things I like better [we call that the broccoli principle, chez Ravelled]. Speaking of that vegetable, which I eat because it is good for me and to prove that I am a grownup: Firstborn, did you know it also comes in purple? It probably still tastes like dirty feet, but it’s really pretty.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting. Here is a beauty shot of the Lumpy Bumpy Scarf in progress.



The color? “Pansy”.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Ms. Ravelled’s Greasy Spoon

There is applewood bacon frizzling away on the stove. Next up will be hash browns. I have rinsed off the grapes I will be taking for part of my lunch [and very nearly cremated the bacon while doing so, but at least I wasn’t burning up a pan while surfing the Net]. Maybe I’d better not invite y’all over for breakfast: the bacon is a little too well-done, and the potatoes are frying in slightly burnt bacon grease and a little too much butter. Thank goodness for strainers and paper towels! I think I will skip the scrambled eggs this morning. I think they would come out tattletale grey. I am still learning how to cook in the cast-iron skillet. This is one of those meals I will have to chalk up to experience.

I will just have to rinse the taste of burnt bacon out of my mouth with some of those nice blackberries. Though I will have to say that the much-blotted hash browns taste a whole lot better than the bacon; they are almost on the cusp of plausible.

Middlest called me at work yesterday, sounding like death warmed over; some sort of stomach bug. So I went to Knit Night alone, and it wasn’t the same without her. I didn’t go over to Firstborn’s, since she was in class until I was ready to come home and go to bed.

I actually stayed at Knit Night until 8:49. That has to be some kind of record for a non-Middlest night! In other knitting news, I cast on the Lumpy Bumpy Scarf on the train yesterday morning, and it’s now about four inches wide. I am fringing it as I go, leaving tails as I change colors, and using my crochet hook to add other bits in between that. Love the yarn, love the simplicity of the pattern, love the instant gratification.

I found a new home for my Mini Mochi yarn; rumor has it that she is spinning up some laceweight that has my name all over it. And I’ve found a home for that partial ball of black Telemark leftover from LittleBit’s hoodie and Fiancé’s birthday socks.

Tonight I will be stretched out on the couch, listening to an audiobook and knitting happily while roasting that pork tenderloin. With any luck, I’ll be home tomorrow night as well. Looks like LadyZen can go to the concert with Trainman and me on Friday night, and we have picked a Saturday for the daytrip to East Texas to view the dogwoods and ride on the steam train.

I am going to have to hustle if I want to make the 6:59 this morning.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Good New and More Good News, and Hey, Even More Good News!

Found my cell phone jelly-side-down on the seat of the pool car which I drove to the Post Office last week. And even though the phone had been on all weekend, since I hadn’t actually been on the phone, there was still juice in the battery. What a relief to know that some 13-year-old was not using it to buy or sell recreational chemicals or purloined electronics.

It gets better. I logged onto Ravelry before heading in to work. There was an email. I thought, Good, maybe it’s the woman with the yarn. Better than that! I have [again] won a skein of sock yarn through Sock Knitters Anonymous. This one is merino and bamboo. I’ll give you details when I have the yarn in my hot little hands, which may be as soon as the end of the week. Or you can go to the post with the January Sockdown winners. Not sure what color I’m getting; I saw three I really liked and told him “surprise me”. When I got home from work, he had emailed me back, saying that he had found the perfect color for me. [I’m guessing that he took a stroll through my stash, or maybe through recent blog posts, to see what I like.]

His was not the only email waiting for me. I heard back from the woman with the yarn. It’s still available. I am mailing a check today. Woohoo! Soon I’ll be able to get back to work on the Sunrise Circle Jacket, which has been sitting in timeout for a few months.

I was relating the first two bits of good news to Trainman as we pulled out of the station, and he said, “OK, I’m hoping that you will be able to give me some good news. What are you doing Friday night?”

There is a free blues concert that night in a concert hall in one of the suburbs. Guess who will not be going to the singles’ dance? [Go to a dance where I may not actually get to dance with a guy unless I ask him, or spend a couple of hours listening to consistently better music [unless Brother Sushi is the DJ] with a guy who treats me the way that all men should treat all women? That, my friends, is a D-U-H.] No, this is not a date; he will also be inviting LadyZen. I am perfectly fine with that.

We are also tossing around the idea of a day trip to East Texas this spring to see the dogwoods and to ride the steam train out of Rusk. The word “picnic” [but not in the William Holden sense] has been mentioned more than once.

@Firstborn: yes, it’s a little weird to be batting the comments back and forth from your blog to mine. Hope to see you tonight when I pick up Middlest. Wash your foot, please! [Middlest, the same goes for you.]

I cast on a plain toe-up sock with the Mini Mochi. I’ll admit that I was seduced by the colors. It is soft and pretty, but I like my yarn a lot more tightly-wound. [Girls, behold the straight line: run with it!] Let me just say that it does not frog well. And it has a penchant for coming untwisted and spinning little bits of itself off into dust bunnies. Yes, it was better than not-knitting on the train yesterday, but only just barely.

I think it is probably a good yarn for somebody else; in my hands it is careening toward craptacularity. I think this yarn may ought to will go home with somebody at Knit Night tonight. I think if I knit much more of it, people will be surprised at the variety and pungency of my childbirth words. [Rassenfrassen, veeblefester, harbensobersack.]

I went to Central Market last night. Three slices of applewood smoked bacon, two chicken cherry pecan sausages, two maple blueberry pork sausages, a mostly-free marinated pork tenderloin, one of the mini chocolate mousse cakes, more of the Wensleydale with cranberries, a boule, leeks, a new variety of apple as well as my favorite Pink Lady’s, a bag of pumpkin granola, two small cartons of blackberries, some water crackers, an Italian pastry called sfogliatelle [looks like a scallop shell but dusted with powdered sugar; I think I will just eat mine in the tub this morning and save on laundry], the smallest round I could find of P’tit Pyrénées [a cheese, 50% cow’s milk and 50% sheep’s milk]. Oh, and of course some hummus.

Thank you and bless you, LadyZen and Trainman. [Between their generosity and my coupon for a free(ish; $8.49 off the price with a $40 purchase) pork tenderloin, I spent less than $30 in Central Market last night.]

My friend Micki has solved the conundrum of which Cookie A sock pattern to pick for March Sockdown.

I just wound up three balls of yarn. And the recycling and trash went out to the curb last night. It is already shaping up to be a spectacularly wonderful day!