About Me

My photo
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!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pictures, at last!

Somebody else I met on Friday night: Ms. PinkLemon, herself! She is the genius behind the Hanami Shawl, MS3 [the mystery stole I made], and various other lovely things. She was wearing a brand-new design she had finished only that morning, in an interesting shape. Something like unto a crescent moon, with a perfectly-conceived ruffle along the convex edge. The free ends kind of swirled and spiraled down. I do not want to think about how many stitches I will have to bind off, on a ruffle whose narrow [i.e., gathered] end is probably six feet long.

I ended up not seeing BestFriend yesterday. When I turned on my cell phone, there was a message from her: work project most of the day with her hubby, and daughter’s prom last night. Her youngest is two years younger than LittleBit but is graduating early and heading off to college shortly. We will get together on BestFriend’s birthday in a couple of weeks, which is WWKIP Day. [World Wide Knit in Public Day.] That was moving day, last year, and by the time I got the truck returned, all the knitters over on the lawn of the Kimbell Museum had gone home.

As it turns out, I will not be attending that trial on Tuesday; it settled just before lunch on Friday. Naturally, that is the best outcome for our client and for the insurance company. Nevertheless, I am still a wee bit disappointed at not getting to see our attorney in action against such an interesting plaintiff. So I will go to the dentist for a cleaning, then dash by the optical shop to have my new frames tweaked; the left bow has apparently decided to lobotomize me, going in from behind my ear so as to keep the element of surprise. And then I will go into work.

Good thing I like my job, huh?

There may have been a falling-down at the Shabby Sheep on Friday. Two skeins of Manos del Uruguay and eight skeins of Malabrigo are sitting in a bag in my living room, avoiding all eye contact and whistling nonchalantly. I placed an order with WEBS yesterday for the rest of the yarn I need to make Autumn Asters. Instead of a fuchsia collar, mine will be dark green; those flowers are really going to pop against that background! And since we calculated I would need five skeins of Malabrigo to replace seven skeins of Manos, and she only had four skeins, I am going to knit the collar first and improvise the hems and button bands as needed. I picked up a skein of medium green to embroider a few leaves here and there; I can always use that for the button bands if necessary.

I will have tons of [most of the] yarn leftover and may succumb to the temptation of making a felted entrelac bag, if I can find nice sturdy leather handles in a color I like.

All that lovely Telemark shall not go to waste. But first I need to get Autumn Asters out of my system by getting it onto ~ and off of ~ my needles. That pattern has been cajoling, whining, and shrieking at me. So I’m doing the knitting equivalent of giving it a cookie before dinner to buy a little peace.

I have discovered a disadvantage to watching and/or listening to movies while knitting. [I’ll wait while my knitting friends grab a chair or a table to steady themselves.] In a musical or dance movie, which is generally what I prefer, or a nice talky chick flick, I can knit away and keep up with both plot and stitch count. But it wasn’t until I watched the special features for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen that I realized Special Agent Sawyer was in fact *Tom* Sawyer, all grown up. Oye. What else have I not noticed in that movie?

Some of my kids are shaking their heads in disbelief that I would watch TLoEG, much less enjoy it, much much less ponder it. Two words: (1) Sean, (2) Connery. That, and the fact that chez Ravelled it is one-half a double feature DVD with a (1), (2) punch. Do you have any idea how much I would pay for an audioBook of Mormon with Sean Connery narrating? Now if there is anybody living who can wrap his mouth around “inasmuch as”, “behooveth”, or “and it came to pass”, it is he. I defy anybody to fall asleep in early morning seminary class if he is reading ... “...smote [insert name of any convenient BoM bad guy], that he died...”

Yea, verily!

Here are the pictures of the Sunrise Circle Jacket that my camera held hostage the other day. A detail of the hem, showing the curve in front.



That funky white diamond near the right edge, is a snippet of bedding that was peeking through. Here is the neck curve.



A little out of focus, and definitely overexposed, but you get the idea. This is the lower hem.



And here you can see how the stitches begin to curve at the underarm.



The right front.



And the cuff.



This morning I added the button loops, but I didn’t have time to mark the placement of the buttons. More photos when that’s all done. But now I need to grab my bags and head out the door to ward council. Yes, I remembered the cheese sticks for between meetings. I’m learning!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friends Old and New

I got an email from my best friend in high school, telling me about next month’s 39-year barbecue for my high school class. There in the list was the name of the boy I had a crush on in 8th and 9th grade. My mom worked for his dad when we were in high school.

So I dropped him a quick note, acknowledging that it is difficult to be the reluctant object of somebody’s affections, and thanking him for his kindness and patience, both of which are in short supply among people that age. I think I made it clear that I was not trying to re-kindle a one-sided flame; I just wanted to say thanks, and no reply necessary.

His parents really did raise him right.

I am now on the mailing list for my graduating class. I have no intention to go to the reunion next year. Yes, I do love to travel; but I look at the cost of a plane ticket and think how much yarn, how many books or dinners with my friends it would buy. And I am already in touch with the one soul from my graduating class of 635 or 653 [it’s been awhile; I don’t remember] whose friendship is still precious to me. Not really appropriate for me to be chums with my high school sweetheart, who is still [miraculously, blessedly, in these flint-hearted times] married to one of my college classmates. We sent one other an email to catch up and seem mutually content to leave it at that.

The temple session yesterday, surrounded with friends from my ward in support of one of our newer members, was sublime. I got a little misty-eyed. It was good to sit in a quiet, holy place after the session and pray.

@ Firstborn: you commented that you would really, really like to move back to Florida after Lark graduates and the 24/7 is over. I do understand that feeling; I thought for awhile that after I got you girls all raised, I would move back to Idaho. That was before I knew about grandchildren.

When you were an infant and we lived in Provo, the folks were 500 miles from my sister and her family, and 400 miles from us. Other than the fact that the three of us were quietly, slowly starving in Provo because of the oversupply of worker bees relative to the number of hives, it was an ideal set-up. I grew up a long day’s drive from my sister, and we visited them two or three times a year. Gram and my aunt and uncle lived two days’ drive away, in Colorado. We saw them every other year, even after the interstate went through.

I have no doubt that you and 1BDH will go [or stay] wherever the Almighty needs you. I totally support that, even while relishing that all five of my girls are presently in Tarrant County. I hope you will be more or less equidistant from your kids, so that you can enjoy them and your grandchildren as much as I enjoy mine.

In knitting news, I went to Benno’s Buttons after work and found the perfect buttons for the Sunrise Circle Jacket. It’s a small but supremely well-stocked shop, and she pulled down box after box until we found buttons that deserved to hang out with my knitting. I will try to have pictures for you tomorrow.

Also in knitting news, I finished a miniature sweater for the Christmas tree. Or somebody’s Christmas tree. So, no pictures, just a couple days of sweet satisfaction knitted up in odd moments. It was an ice-breaker while we were waiting to hear the Harlot, or waiting to get our books signed. Here she is, signing mine; some of you will recognize my Famous Red Bag, making a cameo appearance.



And here we are together. She was up and down like a jill-in-the-box. Who knew that book signings count as an aerobic activity?



Yes, that is my cane you see posing with us. By the end of the evening, I was glad to have it. I had to park on the topmost level of the parking garage and crab-walk down four flights of stairs, and the bookstore was unprepared for the amount of people who showed up. I spent most of the pre-lecture time, all of the lecture time, and most of the post-lecture time, standing. Even after a good five hours of sleep, my left ankle is horribly swollen and my right ankle is still a little poochy. [I will drink lots of water today, some of it with a dash of lemon juice, and when I go to bed tonight, they will be themselves again.]

About the bookstore: lovely, bigger than my ankles, and new. I think the MC said they had only been open for six months. I was standing just about where the picture on their homepage was taken. Very much worth the drive if you are younger than I, and local. I will probably be giving them much of my [online] business. If only to enable them to buy more chairs...

What is this, you ask?



I met Mr. and Mrs. Buffalo Gold last night. I got to touch the yarn before they gave it to the Harlot. That is some seriously yummy yarn you see. The brown is buffalo; the cream is buffalo and bamboo.

I am going to rustle up some breakfast and turn on my cell phone. Today I get to spend some time with BestFriend!

Friday, May 29, 2009

♫We’re off to see The Harlot...♪

That wonderful Harlot of ours, because, because, because, because, because... Because of the wonderful knits ~ and books ~ and blog posts she does! I went to the website of the bookstore which is hosting her. They were bragging discreetly about their meeting space that holds 80 people, and the adjoining space that holds another 80 people. Such innocence!

They are handing out wristbands. I sure hope I get in to see her! Maybe if I take my cane? My right knee [where I broke my leg line dancing a couple of years ago] has been a little tender from the recent storms and the humidity. Limping slightly would not be much of a stretch, except that this morning my knee feels just fine.

I read a little in la Starmore at lunch yesterday and kept dozing off. Not the fault of the book or the author; I am apparently in when I sits, I falls asleep mode. Just before bedtime, I did manage to stay vertical long enough to print off the pattern for Veronik Avery’s Lace Ribbon Scarf from the Spring 2008 issue of Knitty. I queued it last May and had forgotten how much I liked it until my friend Ruth posted pictures of hers.

Lovely, no?

I had anxiety dreams last night. Nothing awful; just the sort that I have when I am anticipating something that may or may not come off. Falling asleep at my desk at work and waking to find the office dark and the alarm armed. Driving, only to have the idiot lights come on and my car morph suddenly into a bicycle. That kind of thing. No yelling, no screaming, no childbirth words, just one stumbling block after another. And I woke a little over an hour ahead of my alarm, quite relieved not to be at my desk or atop a bike.

One of my attorneys told me about a terrific alterations shop between Benno’s Buttons and the next place on my list. If I don’t find the perfect buttons for the Sunrise Circle Jacket at Benno’s, I’ll probably find them on the wall of buttons at the alterations shop.

“Wall of buttons” does for me what “wall of Koigu” does for some of the rest of you.

Today’s agenda? Drive to work, for the third day this week. Work productively until the receptionist comes back from lunch at 12:30. Go to Benno’s and then the alterations place [just to check it out]. From there, go to the temple; one of the sisters in my ward is going for the first time today, and I want to support her. Head a few miles north to the bookstore, where I hope to find one of the Harlot’s earlier books, because I already have a copy of the one for this tour. Drive home, happily exhausted, with The Eagles blasting in my CD player.

Do I know how to live, or what?

I hear that new scarf calling my name. Before I answer, I need to gather up my bags and fix my lunch. Yes, I charged the batteries in my camera. Yes, I remembered to put them back. Yes, the camera is in my red bag. Will I remember to take it out at the bookstore tonight? Your guess is as good as mine.

[The only thing that could possibly make this day any better, would be to meet Brother Right while standing in line to have my book signed, and find out that he is the high priests’ group leader in his ward, and a lace knitter, and that his stash is twice the size of my own.]

Thursday, May 28, 2009

You'll come a-swatching Matilda with me...

My head is reeling. I made the short-list on Francis’s post about Fort Worth blogs. Take that, Andy Warhol!

I know you really come here for the knitting. And finally, finally, I have pictures. Only they are not very good, and my camera is holding them hostage until I recharge the batteries. What I need, in addition to fresh batteries, is daylight and a flat surface, although I think the jacket would look lovely draped over the honeysuckle. It is already too warm to photograph it draped over *me*.

I swatched yesterday. Loosey-goosey rows on my trusty size 5s. A more stable fabric on my 4s, but then there is the matter of the needle tip whose laminated layers are separating in one spot. I would show you pictures, except see preceding paragraph.

I should have grabbed that issue of Interweave Knits from the slipcase and looked at the gauge before buying all this Telemark, because no matter how optimistic I am, there is no way to knit a sweater whose gauge is 4.5 stitches per inch in stranded knitting and 3.5 stitches per inch on the straightaway [i.e., stockinette] with a single strand of yarn that wants to be knitted at 6 stitches per inch.

Oh boo hoo, boo hoo. <----- [crocodile tears] This means I must take the vintage Starmore out of its shrine ~ my glass-enclosed bookcase ~ and adapt some of her patterns to the yarn at hand and the sweater shape that I want. [Boo hoo!]2

That was a sop to my fellow mathophiles.

It also means that I must seek out a local source of Manos del Uruguay yarns, because while I love Malabrigo and would love to knit up something splendid from all that softness, summer is nearly here, which means sweat perspiration glowing, and I am not a big believer in felt-as-you-go. And I will have to go back to Plan A, which was to acquire the spendy skeins one or two per month [at $13-14 apiece] until I have enough to make the sweater.

Autumn Asters is heading for time-out. I am heading for the tub. And I hope you are all heading into a good day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, no, Wednesday

Re: I Could Never Be Your Woman. MovieMom says that it went straight to video. I think khat song you sent me the link for, is part of the soundtrack. You hear just a snippet of something like it at one point in the movie, if you’re listening carefully.

The Sunrise Circle Jacket is done, unless I decide that I want buttons and button loops. I will check out Benno’s on Friday, but I am leaning more toward just closing it with a pin of some sort.

It fits perfectly without blocking, other than the fact that the sleeve hems come down to my fingertips. I suppose I could ruche the sleeves if I get tired of playing peekaboo.

But wait, there’s more in the Good News department! The city actually picked up my trash and recycling yesterday. I pulled Lorelai out of the driveway, put both cans at the end of the driveway, and took off. When I got home from Knit Night, both cans were on their sides and empty except for a little rainwater.

Our street is still under construction, and there is a gravel pile in front of the duplex. I guess last week the trucks couldn’t get close enough to the curb to pick up the trash.

This article is really long, and really good. Fascinating, even. I found it through a link on Unclutterer. You might enjoy the article even more if you have a mug of milk and some cinnamon graham crackers. And once you’ve read the article, you’ll understand why I’m grinning as I type that.

I started swatching the Autumn Asters cardigan this morning.

And I got the OK to attend closing arguments on the trial I wanted to see. Our attorney thinks it’s going to be a day-and-a-half trial; that day, I’ll go to the dentist in the early morning and then head over to the courtroom.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bits and Pieces

When I was out and about last Saturday, I stopped at a garage sale. I picked up three small red frames and one larger silver-toned frame and a wall basket shaped like a ladybug.

I used one of the frames to preserve that fortune I got shortly after I was called to be Relief Society president. Remind me to show you; it’s hanging out with Betsy, Tacy, and Tib1, on top of the gas fireplace. That poor wall is so very, very vanilla. But I have promised myself that the boudoir gets finished first.

The Sunrise Circle Jacket is nearly done. It’s bound off and halfway sewn together. I looked for buttons at JoAnn’s and Hancock’s; I found something plausible at Joann’s, but they were roughly $5 each, and I think I can do better at Benno’s Buttons in Dallas, both in terms of style and price.

I discovered a small mistake on the right front of the jacket. I don’t think anybody but me, or one of my knitting friends, would notice.2 We will consider it my small, retroactively deliberate imperfection. A design feature, if you will.

I dashed out around 8:00pm and did a single load of laundry. For reasons I do not entirely understand, I can do a load of whites in 45 minutes or less. When I do two or more loads, it takes at least an hour and a half [but then I’m done for several weeks].

Brother Abacus was at the memorial service yesterday. I greeted him, and he said, “I didn’t know you were in this ward. [That’s because you don’t listen, honey.] I’m moving into your ward.” [I knew that, because I do.]

“Yes. I’m the Relief Society president. Proving that Heaven has a great sense of humor.”

“Woah.” Just the smallest spark of fear in his eyes. Hey, God loves me, even if Brother Abacus didn’t and doesn’t. It was a lovely small moment. And I also saw, for another small moment, what it was that attracted me in the first place, neatly filed away under “O” for “Oops”. [Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. No thanks!]

1 If you have ever been a little girl, or you have a little girl, or you have a granddaughter or a niece or a goddaughter who is old enough for chapter books or will sit still long enough to be read to, and you don’t know about Maud Hart Lovelace’s classic books, they came back into fashion after You’ve Got Mail was released [so did Streatfeild’s Shoes series], because she referred to them in the movie. And I just learned that there is a Betsy-Tacy Society. Fourthborn gave me the ten-book series years ago, and I later picked up Emily of Deep Valley and Carney’s House Party on my own. The last five books in the series are being reprinted this fall, but Emily and Carney and Winona’s Pony Cart [which I do not have] are not.

2 My mother would have said, “You wouldn’t notice it on a galloping horse.”

Very glad to go back to work today. Work is where I go to rest...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Today, a Sabbath of sorts

Sunday night, late:
I came home from the eight-hour spiritual feast that was ward conference, so tired that I was coughing and verging on asthma. So tired that all I wanted was to curl up on the couch and have a good cry. I knew that once I had eaten something light and taken a nap, I would be fine. Yay! for the orange juice I bought on Saturday night, and the last of the potato salad. I went right to bed, hoping for a short nap, and slept for five hours.

And now, at 10:17 on Sunday night, I am once again vertical and snacking on more juice and the last of the Greek chicken salad on sourdough bread. My body is rested, my spirits are refreshed, and I am ready to pick up my knitting and watch something Sabbath-appropriate, which chez Ravelled would mean Sense and Sensibility, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or Fiddler on the Roof. I am gradually acquiring more movies of that sort, films that maintain my respect and reverence for God, family, and principle.

I love the film adaptation of Lord of the Rings. It is visually beautiful and morally exalting. And it is a little too noisy ~ for me ~ for the Sabbath, though I certainly wouldn’t criticize anyone who chooses to watch it on Sundays or whenever they observe their own Sabbath.

I had planned to spend tomorrow on the couch, knitting in hand and movies in the DVD player. Between meetings at church, I realized that I could perform a very small act of service by taking one of my friends who no longer drives, to the fabric store. I could enjoy her company, browse the patterns, possibly pick up buttons for the Sunrise Circle Jacket, and still spend most of the day on the couch.

But the man who was my first home teacher in this ward, passed away on Saturday morning, and I spent part of that day at the hospital with his family, running an errand for them, and heading over to Dallas for our pre-conference temple session. We will be having a memorial service for him, appropriately enough, on Memorial Day. His graveside service, which will be handled by the VA, will be later in the week.

By my computer, it is 1:42am. I have just finished the purl bump row on the right front of the jacket. I am only a little hungry, but powerfully thirsty. [Because knitting is such thirsty business!] I think I hear the carrot sticks calling my name...

Monday morning, somewhat later:
I went to bed at 3:36am, halfway through the fourth row of the hem on the jacket. I woke up three hours later, more or less, and finished the row. Then I took a squint at the placement of decreases on row three and realized that I had begun them in the wrong spot. Out came the fourth row, and about two-thirds of row three, which is now redone. After a bit of breakfast and a quick bath, I will pick up where I left off.

I hope to have the ribbing well underway on Autumn Asters by the time I go to bed tonight.

Thank a veteran today, if you get a chance, and pray for our troops. [Hi, Josh, we love you!]

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Inviting God into Your Linen Closet

Dr. Wally had this to say about the healing power of the Savior.

I can remember my pre-Christian life well enough that I can relate to the woman’s wish not to have her life complicated any more than it already was. I remember thinking, “I have messed up my life astoundingly, under my own power. What if I let the Omnipotent into my life, and He magnifies that irrevocably?”

But He did not; over the past 34 years, we have worked together to clean out one linen closet after another, sometimes only one shelf at a time. Time is something He has plenty of, and Infinite patience. I keep finding more messy closets. He keeps showing up to help.



That is what my coffee table looked like at 8:40 yesterday morning. You may see it and think that no self-respecting Relief Society president would have a coffee table that looked like that. Yes, the clutter is a little unnerving, even to me, but all that stuff is love made manifest. The roving that Micki gave me.



The laceweight that Monica spun for me.



Miles and miles of pencil roving that Rebecca gave me.



The Bath and Body Works sampler that our Primary president gave me at my first ward council meeting in this ward, earlier this month.



The cone of Sugar & Creme that somebody [Grace, I think] gave me, which morphs into the occasional washcloth.



The magazines that my lawyer friends send home with me, which eventually get read and passed around or recycled.



My M-day rose, which has obviously seen better days.



Do you know what happens when you put things away? Well, the table looks like this, which while not the norm chez Ravelled is not intrinsically a bad thing.



And your knitting, thinking it is the end of the world as we know it, picks a fight with you. I got off track with my stitch count sometime during the last quarter of I Could Never Be Your Woman. I tinked that row at least three times. I spent a good two hours fixing that row. And when I went to bed last night, I went to bed with that row half-tinked and my eyes nearly crossed. It is finally, knock wood, knitted into submission. There are seven rows left until the purl-bump row.

Time for me to hop in the tub, scurry over to the chapel, and begin a day-long series of meetings. No nap for the weary, today!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The best wedding cake topper *ever*

Naturally, my camera was out in my trunk.

Picture, if you will, a bride. A groom. The bride has her right hand lifted triumphantly. In her palm sits a small green frog. The groom, standing several inches away, has frog feet.

The day was full of other delightful surprises as well. As I left the Post Office with the early mail, I nodded and smiled at the police officer who was standing by the door to allow the patrons in and keep the homeless people out. He smiled back and said [are you sitting down? you should be!]

“And how is your pretty self today?”

My pretty self was uncharacteristically speechless, because I was remembering the conversation I had had with two attorneys at lunch earlier in the week, when one of them said that men of color tend to have a fine appreciation for women with some meat on their bones. And I had concurred, remarking that I am generally invisible to men of the vanilla persuasion, and not invisible to Latino and mocha men. [Although it has been awhile since anybody hollered ♫Ay chiquilene♫ or however the heck it’s spelled, but I still get that look from time to time.]

So yes, I pretty much floated out of the Post Office and down the sidewalk to the car. I am still grinning. I was probably grinning in my sleep.

I am definitely grinning at the progress on the Sunrise Circle Jacket. 91 rows done, out of the 103 needed before the purl ridge. I am taking a little break before heading out with the laundry and to get my glasses adjusted. [The left bow digs into my head, just a little, right behind my ear. I would like to keep that ear; I’ve grown rather attached to it.] And I am ready for breakfast.

After the wedding reception in/near Richardson last night, I stopped by the Entertainmart which is a mile or two north of the Dallas Temple. Everybody and his dog was there, or perhaps it’s better to say every mom and her stroller. But I did manage to find a copy of I Could Never Be Your Woman, The Mask of Zorro, and Time Bandits. I stayed up until after 1:00 this morning, watching The Mask of Zorro. Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and the ever-lovely Señor Banderas. What’s not to like?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Are we there yet?

I’ve put two and two together, and I’ve looked in the back of the book to check my answer, but I might not be getting four.

BusDude [not sure at this point if he will need/earn another name] was on the bus again yesterday; he smiled and greeted me by name. That’s the first two.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I staggered and almost fell, just before getting on the bus? And a man in line behind me reached out to steady me and asked if I was all right? That’s the second two.

I am suddenly wondering if ThatDude and BusDude are one and the same. That might explain why he spoke to me this week, when I had no idea who he was. He might have been thinking, “Oh, wow, it’s LurchLady.”

What, you don’t make up names for people, inside your head?

When I went to bed last night, I had completed 65 rows on the right front; 38 rows remain until the purling ridge. Also when I went to bed last night, I wasn’t sure if I would be driving in today or riding the train. The managing attorney is closing up shop an hour early, to help us get a jump start on holiday traffic. Which is lovely, and I’m thankful, but it keeps me off the same train as Trainman, unless I want to hang around the train station for nearly an hour and a half.

And there is the wedding reception graduation ceremony for my friends at 7:00. It is in far northeast Dallas, almost on the cusp of Richardson. I could go hang out at one of the bookstores between work and there, maybe nosh on a Greek chicken salad sandwich to take the edge off.

On the other hand [too much Fiddler on the Roof lately], I had some of the Greek chicken salad last night while listening to Stranger than Fiction and knitting. My ankles are a little unhappy with me this morning. It might be a day for a simple PBJ. And I wonder: how do they know that the chicken is (was) Greek? Did it run around drinking ouzo and clucking “opa!” before it became salad?

I am glad that this is going to be a long weekend, that we will have the focused intensity of ward conference this weekend and then Monday off to let our bodies catch up with our spirits. I am having a really great week, spiritually and emotionally, and my body would like a long walk and a longer nap. Though I actually slept until the alarm went off; that may be the first time this week.

I guess I will see how long I take in the tub and how long it takes me to find something I want to wear, and let that determine if I ride the train and just come home and put in a movie and knit, or drive in and go wish my friends well tonight. Tune in tomorrow...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza...

You may recall the musically-challenged classmate of Fourthborn’s, who thought the line in the Elton John song was “Buh buh buh Benny has Tourette’s”. Same classmate also came up with today’s title, offered here for your musical pleasure.

I was crazy-busy again yesterday. Four tapes, or five reports, from one of my attorneys, and one report from another. I did not take my morning or afternoon breaks; instead, I took half of my lunch at 12:30 to run down and inhale a free hamburger from the barbecue which building management was putting on for the tenants. I took the second half of my lunch at 3:30, with my knitting, in the break room.

I was physically tired but mentally invigorated.

I think we had a good presidency meeting last night. We assigned a [very] few sisters to new companionships, found visiting teachers for some of the others, and basically got our toes wet. We have lots to do before the program is running the way I think/hope it should run, but I don’t want to be all new broom sweeps clean.

I was in bed by 10:15, with 46 rows done on the Sunrise Circle Jacket. I put 4 more rows onto the front before packing to leave for work today. And now I am out the door. Have a great day, everybody!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Not the Norm

I drove in to the Richland Hills Station yesterday, in preparation for Knit Night. As I was standing on the platform, a respectable-looking man walked up to me, smiled, and greeted me as if we were old friends. Old, perhaps; friends? that remains to be seen. I didn’t know him from Adam.

I was wearing my seriously-cool shades, and I lifted them off my face and smiled to take the edge off my words. “I wonder if I am the person you think I am.” Wow! I have learned to speak ReliefSocietese! Because what I was thinking was, Who are you, and why are you talking to me, because I don’t know you. Are you one of those strangers my mother warned me about?

Says he, “You ride the bus with Joy and Carol, right?”

Say I, cautiously, “Yes, I do.”

Says he, “I ride the same bus in the morning.”

And we introduced ourselves and shook hands. And then the train came, and I sat down with LadyZen, and he sat across the aisle and up one, facing me.

Weird. Not him, necessarily, but the situation. He must not have gotten the memo stating that all middle-aged men must immediately drop their briefcases and run in the opposite direction when they see me.

Further progress on the Sunrise Circle Jacket yesterday, and much hilarity at Knit Night. I plunked my bags down on a chair and ran down the hall, muttering something like “Pass the bag with the yarn around so you can see what I got in the mail.” When I returned, most of them had quietly taken one of the balls and were waiting for me to notice.

Which, surprisingly enough, I did. And then they passed them back to me. I think the only one who didn’t participate was Middlest, who didn’t quite see the humor in it. She is wonderfully protective of her mother.

And she is moving back to Virginia this summer to help her friend whose hubby is being deployed. I got a little teary-eyed as I took her home last night. I have had and am having such fun with her, and I am going to miss her enormously when she goes.

We only stayed for a bit at Knit Night so as to spend some time at Fourthborn’s; I met her new doll last night.

And now if I do not stop writing and finish my cereal and hop in the tub, I will absolutely have to drive into work today, and I am not in the mood.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Whew!

My girls know that I don’t think the phone should ring after 9:00pm. Traditionally, I have not made calls after 9:00pm. And more than one teenager has been politely handed his or her head for calling our house after 9:00pm.

Last night I made a bunch of calls after 9:00pm. One of the members in our congregation is in the hospital. Various family members need to get fed, taken or picked up from school and activities, etc. Enter the Relief Society; this is one of the reasons that we exist.

May I just say that I love the sisters in my ward? I looked around the chapel in sacrament meeting on Sunday, and I realized that suddenly I could put a lot more names to faces, and more to the point, I am beginning to know who they are.

They are, without exception, magnificent and precious.

In knitting news, I just completed the 28th row on the right front, after the raglan decreases begin. There are now [barely] more stitches that make up the front, than make up the sleeve. Seventy-five rows until the purl-bump that marks the hem fold for the front and neck.

The yarn came for my next sweater. I don’t think I have enough arms to take it to Knit Night along with my red bag, my knitting bag, and the bag that holds my Relief Society stuff; the latter three will all be trotting along to work with me.

I love Franklin’s book. It was part of my order. I sat in the break room at lunch and laughed and chortled and snorted. Best-friend-at-work was beginning to think I had lost my mind. She said she had never heard me laugh so much, or so loudly.

Maybe I should keep that book in my Relief Society bag?

Busy day ahead, crazy week. Life is good!

@ Sherry: both dates are good for me. Let’s be greedy and claim both of them.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What an amazing weekend!

It felt as if it had lasted a whole week, so much got done. When I went to bed last night, I was so tired that I did the shut-down-restart routine that I do on my workstation at the office, except that my finger slipped and I locked down my computer. And then I couldn’t remember the master password. Thankfully, a hard shut-down solved that problem, though I’m sure my hard drive isn’t happy with me.

Oye.

In non-technical news, i.e., knitting news, I opted to watch the first half of Fiddler on the Roof yesterday after church, and I added ten rows onto the Sunrise Circle Jacket. I thought it was particularly apropos during Tzeitel’s wedding, as the family was singing “Sunrise, Sunset”.

Yeah, I’m just that sentimental. I love that movie, for the glorious music, for the costuming and the dancing, for the fact that it was the movie I saw on my first date with FirstHubby. He sat on my right, I sat on his left, and I cried all through the movie, but only from my left eye. So there I was, sniffling and weeping on the half of my face he couldn’t see, and dry-eyed at first glance. Now there is a foreshadowing and a metaphor for that marriage.

The focus this week [I think, as I sit here at the computer where life is calm and peaceful] is going to be on visiting teaching. I’ve got sisters who are willing to serve and plenty more who need service. I think I will be able to go to the laundromat tonight and wash two or three smallish loads before it all piles up and overwhelms me. And my visiting teacher is coming over Thursday night.

I learned at the dance on Saturday night that there is a monthly dance at the Southside Preservation Hall, not far from our chapel. One of my friends went there this month, instead of the church dance in Lewisville, and she didn’t stop dancing from the time she walked in the door until the dance ended at midnight. I am thinking seriously of going in June. I felt so good when I went to bed on Saturday night. And surprisingly, I had no trouble hauling myself out of bed yesterday. Auntie Mame may have needed a little Christmas, right this very minute, but what Ms. Ravelled needs is a whole lot more dancing, in a safe venue.

And that would be someplace I could take LadyZen. And maybe even Trainman.

Ack! I just took a hard look at my desk, and somebody needs to take ten minutes and clear it off. I really do need to talk to the housekeeper, because she is letting things slide dreadfully! I hope that I am not required to lead-by-example in terms of housework. Definitely not something I want to bring up in my private prayers, as I fear for the answer.

The knitting beckons. I must obey.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

“All Is Well in Zion”

I promised all y’all a translation, or an explanation of why this phrase is so funny to some Latter-Day Saints and makes others exceedingly nervous. Here is the scriptural reference. I rarely use the phrase without a generous dash of irony. In a sense, it relates back to that article I referred to a few days ago [or maybe only think I did] about living inside one’s dreams vs. living in the real world. For many active Latter-Day Saints, a sincere profession that all is well in Zion, is an invitation for lightning to strike, or the other shoe to drop.

[But before I do, and before I forget. @ Francis: I tried to go to Fred’s on Friday night, before I ended up at Lucile’s. Found it easily, and the parking lot was crammed, and I was in no mood to deal with crowds. I’m taking a week of stay-cation in June, and I’ll get over there for lunch midweek and report back to you.]

And this is why it applied to the conversation with Trainman last Monday. Even though I was mostly-OK with his decision to sit elsewhere, there was that niggling concern that maybe he was choosing to back off on the friendship because I have suddenly acquired a demanding new calling which will place major restrictions on the amount of time I can spend in company with him and LadyZen. Granted, it didn’t seem consistent with what I had experienced of his personality and character, but it was a minuscule burr on the border of my saddle blanket. [And we know who plants those burrs: the Father of Lies.]

So it was a relief to talk to Trainman last week and clear the air a little. The reason he hadn’t sat with me was because another acquaintance had grabbed the seat next to me, and the only seat conveniently nearby was one that ran parallel to the side of the car. He knew that those seats are more uncomfortable than most.

I told him that I had been a little ticked for about 3.5 seconds, to which he replied with a grin, “Oh, yeah. I knew that.” And I grinned back sheepishly and said, “You know me well.”

And yay! I was not mistaken about his character.

On to other topics. Neat, weird stuff is happening at church. I sat in the chapel before sacrament meeting and could name most of the sisters as they came in and took a seat. One of the sisters I wrote last week, was there; no idea if it was coincidental or in response; let’s just call it fortuitous and see what happens next week.

I reached the underarm on the right sleeve of the Sunrise Circle Jacket during Sunday School today. I am only 103 [!!!] rows from the fold for the facing, and then I can block the pieces and sew them together. I picked up a skein of 50/50 silk and wool, tightly spun and plied like DMC Tapestry Wool but finer in grist. [The pattern specifies DMC Tapestry Wool; it is unavailable locally.] Gorgeous stuff; almost it persuadeth me to make a lumbar pillow for the couch.

I also saw a hand-painted needlepoint canvas that is calling my name. I brought home the specifications so they can order another if this one is gone when I have the money saved. Some things just insist that they need to come home with me. I told the pillow, “Yes dear, but not yet.”

I bought two black resin planters at Costco when I was there with Firstborn yesterday. I need to drill holes in the bottom of them, fill them with gravel and potting soil, and plant something. Obviously not today. Today, I am just trying to stay awake until 4:00 so I can call one of the sisters at church and pick her brain about something. And then at 6:00 I will finish up our visiting teaching for the month.

I am also thinking of making a stealth visit to a sister who just moved into the ward. Toward that end, I am making cookies to take along. @ Firstborn: if you want me to bake you cookies, move into my ward! That may be your only option for awhile.

Note to self: two cheese sticks and a banana are insufficient fuel for four and a half hours of meetings. But half a small package of whole-wheat tortellini makes a nice lunch, especially if there are cookies and milk for dessert!

Oh! Oh! Oh! The dance last night was actually a lot of fun. There were only eight [8] men in attendance, so I mostly danced in a circle with my sisters, but the DJ knew his stuff. [Not Brother Sushi, who was DJing his niece’s wedding reception, nor the pro who DJed the dances at the conference last month, nor the guy who sulks when he is not the DJ. Somebody else, with a good playlist, except he did not have Ray Charles’s “Let Me Take Over”.]

Did you know that you can dance a respectable East Coast Swing to Ray Charles’s “You are My Sunshine”??? I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed under my own steam this morning, but I felt terrific, and there was no whoosh in my head when I lay down last night. Maybe two hours of dancing raised my BP enough that it showed up on my radar?

Knitting. That’s what we do around here. Gonna go knit, and maybe watch Stranger than Fiction again. Did you notice how Ana’s home is decorated? Lots of warm reds and golds; that’s probably why I noticed that needlepoint canvas yesterday.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Mostly Wonderful Day

Work was amazing. Work was delightful. The ride into work on the train was peaceful and productive. Lots of happy stitches marching along in rows of subtly alternating colors. Breakfast was good, largely because it was pigs in blankets that I made the other night and brought from home. Followed by leftover cookies. Lots of leftover cookies, washed down with pineapple orange juice that I likewise brought from home. And cereal with a ginormous perfectly ripe sliced banana on top, with milk that I [surprise!] also brought from home. And piles filed and electronic filing accomplished, and one report out to claims and a pleading cobbled together from the formatting of an earlier pleading and the text of an email. One of those days when it was easy to smile all day, knowing that the day was going well, and I work with wonderful people, and I was being more than marginally useful, and I would get to go home and watch LOTR and knit until I couldn’t keep my eyes open one moment longer.

You are waiting for the shoe to drop, right?

So I am on the train, and LadyZen joins me, and a nice couple plunks down in the bench ahead of us, and Trainman gets on at the last possible moment but there is no room at the inn, Mary, so he goes down to the landing level where I used to sit, and he parks his carcass. And LadyZen and I start catching up on the past two days.

And the couple in front of us start to kiss.

I didn’t think there was anything that could possibly annoy me more than people shouting into a cell phone, or iPods with music so loud that I could sing along.

You learn something new every day. And what I learned last night is that that man delights in that woman, that he cherishes her, and that I had to put my knitting away because there was noplace to look and not see them, and I wanted to scream and throw things. And maybe poke them with my circs a little to get them to stop.

These were not the fiery, inexpert kisses of my teenage years. Oh no; that I could have borne. He was kissing her the way I would want to be kissed, and he was old enough that had I been the lucky recipient, my LeTourneau Meter would have been blissfully silent. He was Latino and gorgeous, and it is So. Not. Fair.

I took myself to Luciles for a nice bowl of lobster bisque and some of their heavenly rolls and butter. When the going gets tough, the tough eat lobster. I put the spoon down between bites, and I tasted every morsel, and by the time the soup was history, I was far less fragile.

I knew it was no night for romantic comedies. Praise be for LOTR! Heroism and sacrifice and noble music. Lots of explosions. After three hours and 20 minutes, I felt like myself again.

And now it is nearly 1:00am. I am shutting down the popsicle stand and heading off to bed. I will feel much, much better when the sun comes up and I have some breakfast and start checking items off the list.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Cookies Were a Hit!

So my time was well-spent. And the staff meeting was shorter than usual; she typically runs a tight ship, though the last couple of meetings I attended went considerably past my attention span. This one, as meetings go, was painless.

When I got back to my desk there was a tape from one of my attorneys. And earlier in the day, I did my first tape from lawyer #3. I stayed busy all day but not crazy-busy. Not much knitting, because I drove in; I hope to make significantly more progress on the sleeve during my morning and evening commutes.

Tonight there is nothing on the books. I am anticipating a quiet evening on the couch with my knitting and the third installment of Lord of the Rings.

Tomorrow is shaping up nicely: I will get my new glasses when the optical shop opens at 9:00; I have a nail appointment at 10:45; Firstborn and I are having dessert together sometime around the middle of the day. I have another drive-by-fooding of the elders in the early evening, and sometime during the afternoon I hope to get over to The French Knot to pick up a few skeins of tapestry wool for the seaming-together of the Sunrise Circle Jacket, which should happen in the next couple of weeks, possibly as early as next weekend if this front goes as quickly as the left front did. [Though next weekend is going to be somewhat hectic, as I have a wedding reception for two graduates of the singles’ program on Friday night and ward conference on Saturday and Sunday.]

Oh, I just remembered that there is that pesky dance in Richardson tomorrow night. I’ll take my knitting...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Baby Steps

Got the visiting teaching information entered after work last night. Visited with the bishop about the needs and personalities of some of the less-active sisters. Visited with a couple of the stalwart sisters in the hall, between other activities. Oh, what noble spirits these women have!

And yes, there was knitting progress as well. When I went to bed, I had completed 4 of the 8 paired increases on the right sleeve. No knitting this morning, so far, because I ran to the store for milk and juice and cheese sticks and more cookies to bake for the staff meeting.

Most of the cookies for this afternoon’s support staff meeting are baked and cooled and bagged and ready to go. The others are in the oven and will come out shortly.

I had a quietly, steadily productive day at work and am looking forward to more of the same today.

I also have ants in my kitchen. Big ones, with steak knives and parachutes and possibly a grenade or two.

Am waiting with the best imitation of patience I can muster, for the yarn I ordered last week to arrive, along with Franklin’s book.

I got a few cards sent out to the less-active sisters. I even remembered to turn in my receipts, but I did not remember to wait for the reimbursement check.

If this post is reading more like Hemingway than Macaulay or Maugham, it is because the vast majority of it was written last night, when I was running on fumes. I bought dinner a hair or two before 7:00pm; I did not get around to eating dinner until after I got home at 9:00.

Fresh chocolate chip cookies and a good night’s sleep will cure just about anything. A run to the grocery store at 5:30, with the top of the car damp from an overnight shower of rain, just about guarantees that this will be another splendid day. I love the rain!

I was putting away the yogurt while the oven heated, when I discovered the remnant of last night’s sandwich, which will go to work with me for lunch today unless I eat it for breakfast. I am driving in today. I don’t want to wrangle all that food onto the train and off again. Much simpler, if not so restful, to park across the street from the office. I will miss a good chunk of knitting time this morning, but I will have lots of lovely quiet inside the car, in which to pray and meditate and rejoice. I leave you with this.



Create. [Maybe by driving in today, I will encourage my yarn to arrive in today’s mail?]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Get Thee Behind Me, Facebook!

[Sorry, I couldn’t resist.] I know how I am. I remember how I was when I got the first computer and internet at home. I remember when I was a board leader on ParentSoup. I remember when I had hope of finding Brother Right through first one, and then another Churchboy Dating Service [the second one ate the first one in a merger]. I remember my first few days on Ravelry, poking around and signing up for groups.

At this time, with my responsibilities, I don’t think I have time for Facebook. And I’m already in contact with the one person from high school that I have any interest at all in staying in touch with. [My 9th grade English teacher is probably rolling over in her grave at the construction of that last sentence. “Up with which I will not put,” as Winston Churchill reputedly said.]

Maybe after I’m released from this calling? Which is not likely to be anytime soon. I picked up three notebooks on closeout at the office supply store on my way to Knit Night, and four pencil bags: one for my current notebook and one for each of the others, which will go to the visiting teaching route supervisors.

Tonight I’m meeting with the stake RS president for training. Tomorrow night my companion and I see two of the sisters whom we visit teach. We’ll/I’ll catch the last one on Sunday.

The twice-frogged right sleeve on the Sunrise Circle Jacket appears to be behaving itself; I am nearly ready for the third pair of increases. Knit Night last night was even better than usual. Middlest and I grabbed dinner at Sonic [I love half-price hamburger night!] and dessert at *bucks, where the group meets on alternate Tuesdays. She played USO Lady and entertained the troops with snatches of song and plenty of snappy patter. We howled! I knitted away and fondled the yarn and roving that she and others dyed at our friend’s house last weekend.

I am out of milk. Time to throw on my jeans and dash over to WallyWorld for that and some cream cheese and a small bunch of bananas. And I think another box of those 100-calorie snack packs, and more carrot sticks.

[It followed me home. Can I keep it?]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

3x = Charm?

So yesterday when I woke up, I compared the beginning of the right sleeve to the cuff of the finished left sleeve and realized that I had started the second color on the wrong edge. I frogged back and started over. Then, when I was nearly to the station in Dallas, I took a good squint at my knitting needle, which suddenly seemed positively obese. I pulled out my needle gauge. Sure enough; I was still using the size 6 needle I had used for casting-on, instead of the size five needle I had used for the back and the left sleeve/front.

Ribbit.

And in other false steps, I nearly took a header between the train and the bus. I didn’t twist my ankle. I’m not sure exactly what happened, if I had a woozy spell [I generally notice that whoosh which is more seen than heard] or if I stepped wrong on the pavement, but I staggered for half a dozen steps like a sailor in port, dropping my red bag upright on the sidewalk and managing to stay somewhat vertical myself. The guy behind me reached out to steady me, but I had my hand on the door to the bus at that point, reached down for my bag, and shakily climbed the steps.

Let me tell you, that put my heartbeat well into the aerobic range for a couple of minutes! I was a bit too rattled to knit but otherwise unharmed, and there was no repeat of the excitement during the day at work.

What do you do with a loopy mommy?
What do you do with a loopy mommy?
What do you do with a loopy mommy, earl-eye in the morning?

Put her on the bus and watch her redden,
Put her on the bus and watch her redden,
Put her on the bus and watch her redden, earl-eye in the morning.

This sister writes beautifully; this essay is on the real vs. the imagined. She has written great chunks of my life, there.

Trainman and I had breakfast-for-dinner at Ol’ South last night. We tried to have burgers at Fred’s, first, but they are closed on Mondays. Then I went on to the bookstore and browsed five knitting magazines, none of which came home with me. And he went home to bed; he hadn’t slept in two days.

Got an explanation for why he walked on by, that day last week. All is well in Zion. [My LDS family and friends are snickering now, and I don’t have time to explain to the rest of you; forgive me, and remind me.]

I seem to be back on track with the Sunrise Circle Jacket. Taking the completed left sleeve and front with me to Knit Night tonight, for show and tell.

I printed several photos from the train trip in East Texas in March, onto the special canvas I bought at the art supply store a few weeks ago. Showed them to Trainman last night, and he nodded politely at one [which is the one I thought LadyZen would probably like] and went “Ohhh...” at the one of the boats and the pond, so that’s the one I sent home with him.

When I got home from dinner and browsing, I updated my PCStitch program and tried to convert that image for cross-stitch. I have in mind four versions of the picture: one on watercolor paper, one on canvas, one on glossy photo paper, and the fourth cross-stitched on the finest linen I can find, all matted and framed alike, and hung together in a cluster. For the fourth one, I may have to settle for printing one on vellum and one on transparency and slicing and weaving them. Or something.

Must go knit while the tub fills.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday with the Tribe

Relief Society went well; this was the week each month when we have opening exercises with the Young Women. They handled that and led us in the Young Women’s theme and went to their classroom. And then one of my counselors conducted the rest of our meeting. I made a brief plug for the dance next Saturday and said that if anybody had an overwhelming urge to go, there would be room in my car. [Hrmm, guess that means I’m going, right?]

In Sunday School, I made some comment, and the teacher grinned and said, “Great answer; they should call you to be Relief Society president, or something.” Much laughter.

To which I replied “Shh! Shh! Shh!”, with my finger to my lips. More laughter.

I came home and ate the chicken Caesar salad I brought home from the store Saturday night and put the chips by the front door. Then I put in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and finished the left front of the Sunrise Circle Jacket.

I wasn’t as woozy when I went to bed Saturday night as I’d been the night before. I was a little sleepier than usual during church, in spite of a decent night’s sleep. The wooz-factor last night was incrementally less, as well. Crazy whooshing inside my head for a few seconds, and then the room righted itself. Good thing I was lying down, no? Since it took about a week of using the topical corn remover for these symptoms to manifest, I am hoping that they will be gone by the end of this week. Please, oh please let this not be the new normal...

I knitted the first couple of inches on the right sleeve at Firstborn’s last night but frogged back to the first row again this morning. I just finished the turning row at the cuff, my yarns are properly oriented at the end of the row, and I am ready to gallop up to the underarm. Time to pack my lunch and figure out what I am going to wear today.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy M-day.

Most of you know my take on this Sunday, straight out of the Old Testament: “Obedience is better than sacrifice, and to hearken, than the fat of rams.” [It’s what the prophet Samuel said to Saul when the king got tired of waiting and performed the sacrifice himself, without authority.] I think parents ought to get way more respect from society-at-large than we do. I also think that taking Mom out to dinner on Sunday, which forces somebody else’s kids to work on the Sabbath, is one of those “close, but no cigar” things. I also think that giving Mom loot once a year does not make up for disrespecting her the other 364 days.

Lark left me a message on my cell phone yesterday: did I want to come to dinner today? This would be a dinner at Firstborn’s house, a dinner I do not have to cook or clean up after, a dinner I just get to show up for, bearing the bag of chips and tub of guac that I picked up when I went grocery shopping last night.

Looking forward to it, dears, looking forward to it.

Here is a link to The Harlot’s post on the intransigence of the hand-knitted sweater. Down near the bottom, that’s where if you listen closely, you will hear me shrieking “amen”!

And another, to the Panopticon’s series of limericks about knitters and knitting. I ordered his book on Thursday night, and there was an email confirmation waiting for me when I woke yesterday.

I also ordered the yarn to make this. It won’t be as subtle as if I used Manos or Malabrigo, but I love Telemark, and I only had to change a few of the colors. This is the yarn I used in LittleBit’s Celtic Icon Jacket and in Bestfriend’s socks. Is this sweater “me”, or what?

I thought this would amuse you:



I guess that makes it official! Because we all know that fortune cookies never lie.

When I went to bed last night, I had just completed the purl-bump for the turning row of the front hem facing. And also marked where the decreases should go on the next row. It was difficult to keep my count straight, what with ents pitching rocks at orcs, and Aragorn singing
“Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind?”

As I prepare to leave for ward council, I am midway through the hem facing. The sweater is too big to take for church knitting. And the third baby sock is perilously near its heel flap. So once again I find myself pondering what I should take in my bag.

And hoping that in this ward, they hand out chocolate for Mothers’ Day, in lieu of potted plants.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Dazed and Corn-fused

Had an interesting discussion with Brother Sushi on the way home from the restaurant last night. Told him that I was treating my corns with OTC topical salicylic acid, and that the past two nights when I lay down, I was suddenly dizzy, also at Supercuts while getting up from the shampoo sink. Could they be related? He thought they might. This link appears to agree. So off came the corn pad, and I wonder how long it will take for my body to return to normal. Or what passes for normal these days. And I wonder what I can use to get rid of the last of the corn on my left pinky toe, as well as the big one on the sole of my foot, which does not appear to be a plantar wart [BTDT, had one frozen off when I was 20].

Patch, patch, patch.

He had to work late, so Five Guys was out, as it’s half an hour [or more] away in Southlake. We both needed to refuel, quickly and locally, so we tried the new(ish) Ryan’s over by Hobby Lobby in Arlington. Buffet, inexpensive [yes, I know that’s oxymoronic], lots of home-cooking standards presented simply and well. I went back for seconds on the glazed carrots. I’m thankful that I have learned how to eat sensibly at a buffet restaurant: ridiculously small portions of whatever I like, knowing that I can go back for more if there’s room at the inn. I had a dietitian’s idea of a portion of the apple cobbler, and about two bites of carrot cake, and called it a night.

I have pigs in blankets nearly ready to come out of the oven, and then I need to pack my bags to head over to the food storage and emergency preparedness open house that our stake is hosting today. And it just occurred to me that the person who is staffing our ward’s booth, is the penultimate RS president, and that if I take my note cards and my lists of sisters, I can get a good idea of who’s who and what they might need, without having to call another presidency meeting.

Bwa ha ha ha ha!

[I have index cards with a graph-paper grid on the back, and a new package of glue sticks, and removable tabby-clippie-things to tag the cards of the sisters who are pregnant, and a bajillion dollars’ worth of forever stamps at the old rate. Let the organizing begin!]

I also have about 20 rows to go, before knitting the turning ridge for the hem on the left front of my Sunrise Circle Jacket.

I bought nice big black snaps to sew between the buttons on my black linen blend duster. I wore it to work on Thursday and was reminded while on the train into Dallas why I hadn’t been wearing it. Gaposis. Major gaposis. I spent more time tugging the front opening of the duster into submission than I did knitting. And the first thing I did once I got to the office was to grab my emergency sewing kit and strategically insert a safety pin.

The pigs in blankets are particularly good this morning. Wish you were here!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Legal Disclaimer

@ Linda: Welcome to Chez Ravelled! No, I am not a lawyer; I don’t even play one on television! My sister is a retired paralegal in remission. I took 1.5 paralegal classes at a community college 21 years ago, but Dad was dying, and the children’s father was in chiropractic school, and Firstborn was a newly-minted teenager, and I was about to become pregnant with LittleBit. If they had given me one of those tests where you tally up points for every stressful experience in the year then-past, I would have been Dead Mom Walking! I decided that an extra $10K a year over what an ordinary secretary would make [back then], was not enough money to put up with lawyers. Obviously, I knew no lawyers like the ones I work with now.

I am an admin [goo goo ga choo!]; technically half a step up from receptionist, but not quite cool enough to be a legal secretary, though two of my secretaries are handing over their lesser duties as fast as we can manage it. The office manager asked for a progress report yesterday; the secretary she asked has told her I can take anything she throws at me, and I told her more, please! I transcribe dictation for two attorneys and am about ready to take on a third dictator [grin] and file the electronic (scanned) mail for four lawyers, not just two.

I aim to be so good at what I do, and so indispensable where I am, that the office manager cannot in good conscience put me back on switchboard for longer than strictly necessary to bring the current receptionist up to speed. [She is smart, and she is good, and people like her, but I don’t think she will ever be quite as fast as I am blessed to be.] I think when the OM rotates me back to switchboard, there is going to be a hue and cry from three of the legal secretaries, who collectively serve four attorneys. And I am hoping there will be additional pressure from the managing attorney to keep me off switchboard.

I want the receptionist to prosper; she is my friend. And I love the freedom I now have to move about the office, after working switchboard for 9-plus years. I would like to see her in my current position, and me as a full-fledged legal secretary, and somebody young and ambitious and exquisitely patient at the switchboard.

OK, on to the knitting news you came for. I think if I were starting this sweater over, I would do a provisional cast-on, just below the underarm on the sleeves, and work the raglan decreases and curved fronts just as the pattern is written. And then I would unzip those sleeve stitches and knit down to the cuffs.

I like the shaping of the front, very much. Kate Gilbert is brilliant. The increases are cleverly staggered [as is this knitter, from time to time], so what you get is a lovely smooth arc and not a series of pie wedges.

I think it might be fun to design a Fair Isle front, with pie wedges. I have one of those wedge-shaped rulers for doing funky strip-pieced quilts, and it might be fun to figure out how often you would have to increase or decrease to approximate that same slope for each segment of a virtual circle. Alice Starmore duking it out with Ms. Ravelled, as it were.

Maybe I just need to eat some chocolate and go lie down until the insanity passes.

It’s Friday, and payday [I love it that they pay me to show up at the office and like what I do and relish my coworkers], and there is dinner with Brother Sushi tonight. I put four more rows on the Sunrise Circle Jacket after waking this morning, which means that I should be leaving now, but the tub is only filling, and my hair is yet unfoofed. I do believe I will be driving in.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Brownie Points?

I commented to one of my coworkers, after we had left the funeral home, that I thought we should all get brownie points for not pinching off the officiator’s head. I have never been to a service that was so lacking in comfort. And three times [*three times*] he said the name of their living child, instead of the one we were there to honor. [Not sure that is the right verb, but you know what I mean.] Audible collective gasp. The father stepped forward and quietly corrected him the second time, and he did apologize, but I think he was just flat out of his element.

Another of my coworkers told me, as we hugged outside, that she was going to tell her family that they were not to use this officiator, and that if they did she would come back and haunt them.

I found out yesterday that there was a third death in the office last week; one of our attorneys lost her aunt the same morning that we learned we had lost this little one.

Happier news. I ate my leftovers from Monday night, after getting home last night and before leaving for the church and my presidency meeting. I love it when food does not go to waste, although that meal will definitely go to waist!

All the paperwork that I hole-punched yesterday morning is now somewhere in my notebook. I need more dividers. Not many, but a few more. And I need to pick up index cards, and more note cards and stamps. First item of business is a personal note introducing myself to each of the sisters in the ward. All 138 of them, 51 of whom do not have visiting teachers.

Oye. Good thing I’m not dating anybody, right? I’m going to be one busy girl this weekend.

Still more visible progress on the Sunrise Circle Jacket. I have started marking where the increases should go, using split markers so that I can hook them into the fabric on the work-even rows. I am nearly to the end of the generic increase section and will start today on the portion that is just for my size.

I think the sleeves are going to be too long, unless they squinch up and stretch sideways during blocking. I may be unpicking the cast-on edge, frogging carefully, and knitting a new fold line and hem from the top down. I think there is no danger of running out of yarn.

And now if you will all excuse me, I am going to rustle up some breakfast and knit a row while the tub fills.

This coming weekend is the one where the dulcimer festival is scheduled; last time I checked the website, it was still on. There is also a lot of rain forecast, and I am leery of going to a large outdoor activity. Mayfest was canceled in downtown Cowtown last weekend because of the risk of swine flu; the health department for Tarrant County canceled all public outdoor activities. The dulcimer festival is in a different county, but I have a pregnant daughter and a responsibility to my ward and no wish to be Typhoid Ravelled.

There will, however, be dinner tomorrow night with Brother Sushi, venue to be determined. My friend Francis has a couple of interesting places listed on his blog, and I’ve printed off directions to one of them.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Gremlin in the Fridge?

From an email I sent out to the office yesterday:

I put a bottle of milk (in a juice bottle with a black lid) into the fridge, after having my bowl of cereal this morning. When I went to grab the bottle on my break, I found it empty and in the trash, and a puddle of milk and some damp kim-wipes around the bottom of the fridge.

I wiped up the milk. (Old habits die hard.) But I am curious. Did my bottle of milk yell “yeehaw” and then execute a perfect swan dive out onto the floor? Was it looking a little depressed? Was a large cat with opposable thumbs spotted in the kitchen?

I do love a good mystery, but not when it involves something I was hoping to eat or drink.

Ms. Ravelled (a/k/a Dairy-less in Dallas)

Nobody fessed up, although one of my friends offered to share her milk with me.

In other news, Knit Night was everything I could have wished. Good visits with Middlest on both the “to” and “fro” portions, excellent sandwiches for dinner, visible progress on the Sunrise Circle Jacket, and I managed to stay alert until nearly 9:00!

One of our friends is in the same ward as Middlest and Firstborn and is a former RS president. She gave me excellent ideas on how to organize the information and how to keep track of the needs of all the sisters. I’ve asked her to shoot me an email as a refresher. [Just realized that I’ve deleted an email she sent me months ago; I wonder if I have her addy in my planner?]

I managed to skim through a relevant portion of the handbook for auxiliary leaders, once I got home.

I know where my best skirt is. I know where my clean knee-high hose are. I am going to spit-splice another ball onto the Sunrise Circle Jacket, and then while the tub fills, I am going to grab all my RS stuff and see if the former RS president’s method of organizing is congruent with how my brain works. The bishop suggested that I organize according to the threefold mission of the Church: (1) proclaim the gospel; (2) perfect the Saints; and (3) redeem the dead. He said that that would help me delegate to my counselors and other assistants.

Work yesterday went really well. I got a lot of little piddly things checked off the list and went home feeling as if I had been productive.

I rode the early train home last night. Trainman had sequestered himself in the back of the car with his headphones, the last two times. He is certainly not the only reason I take the later train home, but LadyZen has been working horrific hours, and I decided that I would rather take an earlier train that is easier to board and would give me an extra half hour to get to Middlest’s and get us fed before Knit Night. For the past two weeks, the going-home train has been one of the old silver bullets, and the steps are steep and difficult to climb. I really, really dislike that train, although I am glad that the seats are easier on LadyZen’s back.

Thankfully, I was not surrounded by 20-something pottymouths. That has been a problem [for me, at least] on that train in the past.

OK, time to start stowing things in bags and getting ready for work and the memorial service this afternoon and possibly a visit with one of the sisters in the ward between then and the presidency meeting tonight.

The good sister at Knit Night last night said that RS president was her favorite calling. I can see that. I love the feel of cobwebs blowing out of my brain!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Ramping Up

I made a lot of progress on the Sunrise Circle Jacket yesterday. The front section is curving nicely, as it is meant to. The raglan shaping is properly slanted. I count stitches religiously, every other row. To do otherwise would be to court disaster. I have no time for courtship!

I just switched out the cables on my KnitPicks circs. I probably should have gone with the next size up from the one I was using and switched again when it got full, and maybe I will do that when I knit the right half. That bag is packed and ready to go. My lunch bag is packed. I just need to figure out what I am wearing to work today. I need to save my best skirt for tomorrow afternoon [the memorial service for my friend’s baby]. I have no official Relief Society business to do, today, so I am thinking blue jeans with my favorite denim jacket, and a snazzy scarf.

Knit Night tonight, and quality time with Middlest and friends. I need to sit down one night this week and organize my Relief Society notebook. The one that Firstborn and Lark want to bedazzle [sp?]. Right now there are piles of papers on my couch, and they are beginning to interfere with my knitting!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Fasting

I’ve told you that in our church, we fast once a month and donate the value of the meals we miss, to the blessing of the poor. I have been on the receiving end of other people’s fast offerings; truly a blessing and a privilege to know that the lights would remain on, or there would be gas to run the stove and heat the baths, because several somebodies sacrificed their comfort and their means in order that we and others like us [the poor and/or the needy] might have our needs met.

When the missionaries taught me about fasting, I remember that it made no sense to me, but I wanted to be obedient. And I soon learned to love its refining influence. I never got the headaches or wooziness some people get when they fast. This continued for a little over two years, until I became pregnant with Firstborn. For me, pregnancy and fasting, or pregnancy and nursing, didn’t mix. And I was pregnant or nursing or both, or trying to get pregnant, for most of the next eleven and a half years.

After LittleBit was weaned, I tried to resume the practice, with varying degrees of success. And a few years ago, I was on first one medicine, and then a second, both of which needed to be taken once or twice daily, with food. Very frustrating, as I wanted the peace and strength which come to me from fasting.

Our good stake president visited our ward two weeks ago and invited us to dedicate our fast this month to personal spiritual growth. And I said to myself, well, I guess that means I had better try fasting again. I have been off both of those medicines for several months now, and I could think of no reason not to fast, except perhaps inertia.

We had our monthly singles’ break-the-fast potluck last night, but our regular fireside was superseded by one for all adults in the stake. We heard from the new CES coordinator [Church Education System, over seminary for the high school students and institute for the college students]. He is filling the position of my friend who passed away last year, and he gives new meaning to the phrase dynamic speaker.

We are supposed to fast for two meals and then give the value of the food we would have consumed, to the blessing of the poor and needy. In reality, I was only able to manage one meal, but it was a good 15 hours since dinner on Saturday night, and a step firmly back in the right direction, and I felt the difference.

And I had my first RS emergency last night after the fireside, but we handled it. My compassionate service leader is also single, and she was standing a few feet away when I learned of the problem. We counseled together; I came home and did a little research in the ward phone directory and made a few phone calls, and then a flurry of emails to let people know it was covered.

I handed over the baby socks after sacrament meeting yesterday. Big sister immediately commandeered them and wanted to put them on. Cute, funny, and oh so human!

I am back at work on the Sunrise Circle Jacket this morning. I have another pair of baby socks on the needles; that was my default knitting project yesterday. I have no doubt that I will turn around, and another young sister in the ward will be giving us another baby to love. I need to stock up on cards, or sit down and make a bunch [in all my free time].

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Brother Sushi’s Tie is Famous!

When I logged onto Ravelry, there was a message waiting for me.

Request to feature your photo: We’d like to feature your photo on the Ravelry page for A Silk Tie by Knit Picks Design Team.

That link might not work for you. I just cut-and-pasted it from their email. I find it amazing that somebody would want to feature one of my photographs, because photography is probably my smallest, least-developed talent, unless you count housekeeping. You could have knocked me over with a ball of sock yarn!

Brother Sushi's Tie

Jen @ The Cottage Nest is one of five bloggers participating in BH&G’s 48-Hour Challenge. Good luck!

The baby socks are done. These are Baby Socks by Bianca Boonstra of LittleBlueClipperDesigns, downloaded for free from Ravelry. The only modification I made, was to rotate the cuff by one stitch on the 40th round, so the ribbing on the instep would read K1, [P2, K2, P2...], K1. I like symmetry.

Baby Socks - Rhett

BittyBit’s sweater is also done. Two finished objects in one glorious day! This is Reid, by Brooke T. Higgins from the Spring 2006 issue of Knitty.

BittyBit in 'Reid'

One of my friends at church, and her husband, have a simple and visually pleasing container garden. I ran by there after the memorial service [the church one, not the one for my friend at work] and snapped these.



And some onions.



Mystery plants. At least a mystery to me.



I have half an hour before I should leave for my first meeting of the day. I need to figure out today’s church knitting. Am back at work on the Sunrise Circle Jacket, but the increases and decreases require more attention than I ought to give them while at church. It would be nowhere near so complicated if I were not combining the original design features with alternate rows of two colors while modifying the decrease pattern on the raglan sleeves.

Perhaps a pair of mindless stockinette socks? Or maybe a Christmas ornament? Aughhh!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Last night, and today

Last night I:
Finished sewing together BittyBit’s sweater. All that remains is the crocheted edging on the cuffs and all the way around the body. Finished the cuff, the heel flap, the heel turning, and the picking-up-of-stitches on the baby sock. This morning I finished the heel and am about halfway down the foot. Listened to “Shall We Dance” and watched occasionally, while accomplishing the first two items. As ever, when I watch a dance movie I want to get up and dance. I toyed briefly with the idea of getting in Lorelai and heading out to the singles’ dance. Very briefly; less time than it would have taken me to stand up and pirouette and sit back down.

Dorothy was right; there’s no place like home, Toto, no place like home. With or without a pair of ruby slippers.

After work on Thursday night and before going to the hospital to visit my friend, I stopped in at The Shabby Sheep, hoping to find orphan skeins of Claudia Handpainted to make more baby socks. I found five that I liked. Not showing you any of them, as some may end up in the vicinity of Bitty feet.

Random foodie observation: Yoplait now has a cherry-pomegranate blend. Seriously yummy. Now appearing in a refrigerator near you.

The Yarn Harlot is coming to Texas! And when I yeehaw’ed in her comments, she wrote me back! I have no idea what the rest of you will be doing on May 29, but if all goes according to plan, my camera, my knitting and I will be in a bookstore in Plano. I’ve requested two hours of PT that afternoon, so as to beat the northbound traffic and have plenty of time to browse before sitting down.

I think I should take my Knitty shirt to work that day and change into it when I leave the office.

What’s on the agenda today?
Memorial service
Dessert with Fourthborn; I almost never get one-on-one time with her, and she hates the phone even more than I do
Haircut
Finishing the baby sock [probably before the memorial service]
Crocheted edging on BittyBit’s sweater?
Nap?
Studying my Sunday School lesson?
Buying more yogurt