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, June 30, 2009

I met my friend’s new puppy last night.

Cute, charming, and no, I don’t want one of my own. Not after the puppy licked hamburger grease off my hands and fingers, licked my arms, and then proceeded to wash herself. I came home and washed my hands and arms before heading to the next place on my list!

I closed 24 files yesterday. The secretaries didn’t bring dump them all on me at once; they’ve been piling up since Wednesday or Thursday of last week, but I was busy entering lawsuits. I have several more files to close today, and one last lawsuit where the answer is due next Monday.

And then I think I will may go sit in the corner and babble quietly to myself.

I remembered to take the trash and the recycling out to the curb last night. And I have already fired off several RS-related emails this morning, in between sneezing fits and scratching the skeeter bite on my thumb.

I did finish the small stealth project right after waking up this morning. And today I am remembering to take my toolbag in my knitting bag. I have some catching-up to do in terms of weaving in ends.

Knit Night tonight. First one, for me, with Middlest gone. And 1BDH is going to take a look at the A/C in Lorelai; it might only be a matter of more coolant.

Monday, June 29, 2009

DVD review(s)

I am going to have to find a earlier copy of The Man Who Came to Dinner. I watched the Nathan Lane version on Saturday night, and while parts of it were immensely witty, the repeated use of the Lord’s name in vain means that I will not be buying a copy of my own. I cannot imagine that a play which was written in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s would have had that sort of language in it; not so soon after Clark Gable uttered the damn heard ’round the world. Perhaps I am being naïve.

I was much happier with Bringing Up Baby, which I watched after church. I loved both Cary Grant and Kate Hepburn, though it is more than a little unnerving to see her playing such a scatterbrained, adoring wimpette.

I got a nice nap yesterday after the movie. Woke up about 15 minutes before my phone rang; it was Secondborn, inviting me over for orange-cherry pancakes and a bit of family fun. When I walked in, BittyBit was wearing an apron over her playclothes. She had been helping her mom in the kitchen. BittyBubba entertained us mightily after dinner, galloping around the living room in his jammies and a cowboy hat, hollering “Yee-hawww!” several times a minute. He is pretty well potty-trained now and kept updating me with “Gram, I pooped!” after each deposit.

We watched the Tivo’d version of one of the dance competition shows. I cannot keep them straight. They both could do with better [i.e., more modest] costuming and less reliance on bump and grind. The distinctions between hip-hop and crunk are lost on me; I much prefer a fully-clothed waltz or the paso doble.

Grandkids are way more entertaining than TV or Jane Austen or Shakespeare.

Not much knitting Saturday or yesterday. A small stealth project at church, but little measurable progress on Autumn Asters since Friday after dinner.

I put in Bee Season after coming home from the kids’ house. There were parts of it I thought were brilliantly done. I did not care for the language when the son and father fought. [You may safely assume that to be Anglophile understatement.] I do not think a man to whom words were so important, would use language like that. And for me the family dynamics and the mental illness were painful to observe.

All three videos go back to the library today.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bring your dog to work day.

[That was Friday.]

One of my favorite attorneys was working remotely, because the rest of that half of the office was getting painted. He sent this to me and his former secretary:

HIM: “Did anyone bring their dog to the office? I have little Charlie here with me in my home office. Should I bring him downtown?”

ME: “Thankfully, I have no dog. Although I once had a fiancé named Charlie. Your dog is probably a more dependable character than my fiancé was.”

HIM: “He is a ‘rescue’. He came with some issues, too.”

ME: “His issues notwithstanding, I suspect he did not bring a peyote bud into your parents’ house.”

I hadn’t thought about Charlie in years; now I remember why.

Signaling a lane change: Leslye asked about the ice cubes. I learned that from my roommate, Shelley, who learned it from her bachelor brother. If you have a clean but wrinkled perma-press shirt [as you would if you brought it home from the laundromat and laid it on top of something clean, where it got covered up with a foot and a half of other somethings-clean] and you toss it into the dryer with an ice cube or two and tumble it at the appropriate temperature until you can no longer hear the ice cube clunking around in the dryer, the combination of moisture and heat will revive the shirt.

Although I can’t say the same for the ice cube.

I unearthed four such shirts when I was picking up my room so I could paint. A few wrinkles shook out when I hung them up, but not enough that I could wear them to work without looking like I had slept in them. So I took them to Secondborn’s and liberated a kid-size cup full of ice cubes and visualized whirled peas. Or at least whirled shirts.

So what did I accomplish yesterday?
1. dropped off stuff at the swap at the stake center
2. took one stuffed animal and two audiobooks home with me
3. did the something for my church calling, about which more later
4. [it did indeed eat up the rest of the morning and a bit of the afternoon]
5. did a quick load at the laundromat
6. paid my library fine ($1.25) and checked out three DVD’s
7. took a nice nap
8. called my second counselor and asked her to conduct
9. [she called people for opening and closing prayers in RS]
10. finished my cheat sheet for the various meetings
11. read my RS lesson, taken from three recent General Conference addresses
12. watched one of the DVD’s, about which more later

I also took the Annie wig to Secondborn’s and visited with her and the kids while my shirts tumbled, but that was not an errand, so it doesn’t go on the list. This morning I:
1. found my copy of Preach My Gospel in order to dredge up:
2. a spiritual thought for my 7:00am meeting
3. thought about reading my Sunday School lesson

Regarding item #3, yesterday: I drove to my bishop’s house down by the stake center, then over to the Bishop’s Storehouse in Carrollton to pick up food orders for two families in our ward, then back to Fort Worth to deliver the orders. Normally, if I were to drive 50+ miles one way and return almost immediately, I would be hearing from my knee. Tenderness, at the very least, but more likely a full-blown I am never going to let you dance again tantrum.

Nada. Only the slightest early-morning stiffness, which a bit of walking will take care of. I did a small thing yesterday, a few hours of my time in order to perform my calling, and I am blessed all out of proportion to the effort expended. I remember thinking, as I got into my car again in Carrollton, Oh man, this is gonna hurt. And it didn’t.

I did pull off the road midway, long enough to get a mango smoothie at the drive-through because I was feeling parched, and I picked up two of those infamous partying tacos once I got back to Fort Worth, and then I did my laundry [with no knitting to keep me company; somebody around here is falling down on the job] and came home and took my nap.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you what I thought of the DVD I watched after my nap last night. But now I need to hop in the tub and figure out my church knitting and get out the door in half an hour. Could get interesting in the next few minutes...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It gets better.

So I drove to my first counselor’s house to pick up some church paperwork that she had handled for me, and there was a text message from Trainman: “We are on the 6:15 train.”

We? LadyZen was able to leave the office before dark-thirty? Woohoo’s all around! I called his cell, and she picked up and confirmed it. Then she handed the phone over to him, and he said, “Sweetie Pie, I’m still holding your doors hostage.”

Sweetie Pie? I looked around, but I was the only person I saw in my car.

They called me when they got into the station at 7:21, and I met them over at Fred’s. Truly a good burger, Francis, and oh those fries! We ate outside, within earshot of the band [also good], and unfortunately plagued with flies. Next time we’ll wait for a table inside.

Trainman remarked that the last time the three of us dined together was back in February, when we ate at Lucile’s with Brother Sushi and DecoratorDude and HisDude, then came back here for dessert. How can this be? As I recall, we grabbed a quick bite before that jazz concert, and of course there was the day-long picnic on the train trip in East Texas. Both, I think, in March. Oh well, not really important for me to be right about this.

[My girls are falling over in shock.]



I have my glass doors for the big bookcase. Or rather, I have the unbroken original door and a fair copy that is only fair. It seems to me that the new pane is just a hair thicker than the old, and perhaps cut a smidgen too long. Or perhaps I do not know exactly the right words to make it fit into the slot. And they didn’t etch a finger-hold into it. It took me perhaps 25 minutes to get the first door into its slot. This involved clearing off a shelf, tipping it up toward the back so it wouldn’t bump the door as I angled it up into the slot on the underside of the top, and sliding it to the right.



Give me credit for figuring out that the back door needed to go in first. I think that was pretty good reasoning at 5:03am! I love this circular motif on the wooden doors. It is echoed by the handles on the armoire that I put on layaway. Speaking of circles...



[Love that orange suit.] So what’s on the agenda today? I need to drop off stuff at the swap at the stake center at 8:30 and leave before I take anything home when it opens at 9:00. I need to do something for my church calling that will take up most of the morning, almost guaranteeing that nothing will come home with me from the swap. I need to read my Sunday School and RS lessons and prepare my cheat sheet for the various meetings I have tomorrow. I need to call people for opening and closing prayers in RS tomorrow. I need to call my second counselor and ask her to conduct tomorrow, since I just realized that tomorrow is not the first Sunday in July, and I am not scheduled to conduct the meeting.

Baby steps, Ms. Ravelled. Baby steps.

What do I hope to do? Find a place for those last two or three books that are still on the floor in the hall. Find new but probably not permanent spots for the boxes that are blocking the hall. Pick up more blue painter’s tape when I take the Annie wig over to Secondborn’s for the kids’ dress-up box, and prep the hall for painting. Fight my way through the clutter I call my studio and bring out the boxes with the framed art. Hang more stuff on the walls in my bedroom. See if the hamper will fit between the pedestal sink and the wall next to the door in the bathroom. Be at the laundromat when it opens at 8:00, and wash at least a load of whites. Figure out where I want to keep the spare bath towels; currently they’re in a basket just inside my studio. [I think the spare sheets would do nicely inside the cupboard portion of the big bookcase in my room.] Finish clearing off the couch. See if Secondborn would let me tumble four perma-press shirts in her dryer with a handful of ice cubes. Somebody didn’t hang them up when they came home from the laundromat, and that same somebody finally got around to throwing out the broken iron while on vacation last week.

Oh, and knit every chance I get. I am not quite in the mood to paint the hall, but I can contemplate it without flinching. I think I will think about it a lot while stretching out on the couch with Autumn Asters. But I don’t think I will actually do anything about it until next weekend at the earliest, when I may also pick up two more horizontal storage boxes: one for the 2008-2010 planner pages and another for out here in the living room, to hold computer paper and the like.

But first, a bit of breakfast, because the wool is calling my name, and I need to keep up my strength.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Little More Progress, Chez Ravelled



I found my level. I found the box with the brads and other picture-hanging paraphernalia. I found a sharp pencil, to mark the wall. I even found the other pillowcase. And I may have found the right shade of brown for the living room walls. I want a warm brown, not too red and definitely not too yellow or green or grey. I won’t buy it until I have the hall painted, because it will need to tone with that.

When I had that great chat with Trainman on Monday, he said he would be taking part of the day off, yesterday, to get things ready for his son’s birthday. He also said he would be checking out the antique store where I’ve found these great values. I asked if he would mind picking up my glass doors while he was there, so I wouldn’t have to wait for my well-woman appointment toward the end of July. [The shop will be closed on the days I will be in town for my daughter’s surgery.]

I discovered a missed call on my phone last night, just before the train pulled into the station. Uncharacteristically, I called him back right then, instead of waiting until I was in my car.

“I’ve got your glass doors, and I’m holding them for ransom. Want to know what the ransom is?”

“Umm, sure.” There may have been a bemused chuckle or two, surely nothing as undignified as a giggle.

“Dinner with me at Fred’s on Friday night.”

“I think I can agree to that. Not sure if I’m driving or taking the train, but we can navigate by cell phone.”

“OK. See you then.”

He is thinking seriously about getting that ten-shelf bookcase I liked but do not have a place for, and putting it in his son’s room. It’s a good height for a little kid now, and it would be just as suitable when his son is grown.

It’s funny: Trainman and I rarely flirt when we see each other, but get us on the phone and often as not the whole tenor of the conversation changes. I know I had that tone of voice most women get when they’re talking to a guy and the moon is full, because I was grinning like a fool when I hung up.

I suspect I was blushing as well. Sometimes I forget what bliss flirting can be.

Must think about something else. I finished the purple tweed Christmas ornament. I put another few rows on Autumn Asters. I made a couple of calls for visiting teaching and visited one of the sisters on my route.

I get to have dinner with Trainman tonight. Uh-oh, I’m grinning again.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What Passes for Normal

I continue to be delighted with my newly-painted bedroom. This morning I unfolded one of my wall quilts, found the rod and three of the four nails to support it, and am presently stymied by the disappearance of my spirit level. I have no doubt that it will reappear in the next few days, but in the meantime I am unwilling to just “eyeball” it. So I will continue to putter, sifting through stacks and layers of all the things I shuffled around while I was painting in there, until the level bubbles up to the surface and victory is mine.

Our presidency meeting went well last night. We hammered out who is presiding over the meetings for the rest of the year, and who is teaching the first lesson each month, and agreed that the music for July will be mainly the patriotic and church-history hymns, and that we will sing Christmas hymns all December. [I lived in a ward once where the music chairman for sacrament meeting, who was also the choir director, had had it up to here with the hymns and carols in the hymnal. It was the first ward I had lived in where we didn’t start singing Silent Night five minutes after the turkey cooled at Thanksgiving.]

And then we worked on the visiting teaching some more. I will go over to the church on Saturday morning and enter all this into the computer, and then we will know where to head when we meet again. And I will have handouts to give the VT Coordinator and the route supervisors, and my counselors, so we will all be on the same page, until it changes again.

Tonight I will bat clean-up on my personal visiting teaching, before my route changes in July.

[I have the closing song from the soundtrack of “You’ve Got Mail” running through my head. Not a bad thing if you like Carole King, and I do.]

A modicum of knitting progress yesterday. Maybe six rows on one of the sleeves; it’s time for another color change. And a couple of rounds on the current miniature sweater for the Christmas tree. Brother Sushi told me that at his family reunion week before last, the wife of one of his cousins was making a sweater out of the softest yarn he had ever touched. He said it was really beautiful. I asked him if the yarn was a little thick and thin, and he said it was. I asked if the colors were mottled, and he said he thought so. I told him that I bet it was Malabrigo. We were headed for dinner at the time, so I didn’t have Autumn Asters with me. [Here are the sleeves, a little over half-finished.]



At work, I got every blessed one of those boxes emptied, and a lot of surplus supplies taken back to the supply room. The previous tenant of this desk had mobility issues, so she kept an exceedingly well-stocked desk. Way more stuff than I need for my own responsibilities; I put it back into circulation. I am not quite done tidying my desk, but it looks a lot better than it did about noon yesterday.

I wonder if I can get those Disney videos transferred into the bottom drawer of the new dresser while the tub fills?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

107°F?????

That’s what the sign said on the drive home. Right before my A/C died. [Though it miraculously resurrected after I’d taken a friend and her daughter home from Enrichment meeting.] I brought my leftovers in and put them in the fridge. Then I made a quick run out to WallyWorld and discovered that Lowe’s was open for another ten minutes.

One 1/4” washer stacked on top of one 5/16” washer. Success!



With apologies for the skewed angle, because I was trying not to include my knee:



Obviously in need of painting or refinishing, but that will have to wait.

Here is my friend Sooz’s new column. Well worth reading, even if you don’t remember Red Skelton.

Wildly busy day at work yesterday, but strangely fulfilling. One team member on vacation; one recovering from an auto accident; one whose prescription gave her debilitating but not life-threatening side effects. Add to this a bushel of lawsuits that needed to be assigned to one lawyer or another. I lassoed and hog-tied the mail in the morning and assigned cases in the afternoon. Thirteen of them, as a matter of fact, and there will be more of them today. Thankfully I have been doing this long enough that I know the drill.

There is something about getting one room organized and spiffed up that seems to spill over into the others. I puttered a little, yesterday and this morning. No major projects, just a few items tended or disposed of, a bit of straightening here, a bit of dusting there. I am taking another installment of family photos back to my desk at work today, as well as my lunch and some healthy snacks. If the teammate who had the reaction to her medicine is still out of pocket, I will be the primary scanning operator.

Presidency meeting tonight. I think Enrichment meeting went very well. I am also thinking of having my leftovers for breakfast today, just to maintain my reputation for eccentricity. And cereal for lunch again. One of my coworkers brought me three huge bananas on Monday. Her kids won’t eat them past a certain stage of greenness, so she brings them to me. And a day or two later, they are just ripe enough for enjoying on my cereal. If there are more bananas than I can eat, the rest of them become smoothies or banana muffins.

Doesn’t take much to make me happy; a perfectly ripe banana, some time for knitting, and a smidgen of puttering.

This is your homework: don’t just have a good day, make it a good day. And if you can help somebody else to have a good day, even better.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Executive Ability

This is that fortune I got a few weeks ago; it’s better than the one I got last week which informed me, “Your perspective will change.”



I think we proved it yesterday. I walked into the office, remembered to go to my new cubicle, figured out how to turn my printer on and reconnect the Dictaphone, and waded through 50+ emails that had accumulated while I was on vacation.

One of my attorneys brought me two tapes to transcribe, before I had even had a chance to find the Dictaphone. It was a busy and productive day. And then I came home and did a couple of loads of laundry. I even brought in the two glass doors which have been buckled into the back seat since Thursday, and they are now properly installed in their bookcase.

I did not, however, cook dinner. It was about a thousand degrees outside, and I opted for party tacos from Taco Bueno. [I don’t know why they’re called party tacos; they don’t seem any more festive than the regular ones.] And a mango smoothie from Jack in the Box. I couldn’t get one on the drive home from the dance on Saturday, because the restaurant was shutting down for the night.

Clean clothes. Happy tummy. A soupçon of knitting. And a great visit with Trainman, who is planning an outing with LadyZen and me for Friday night. Both have been working crazy hours. He is thinking either Nonna Tata or Fred’s. I told him I could afford Fred’s but not Nonna Tata, because I’ve put that armoire on layaway. He told me not to worry.

[I could riff on the topic of men who have told me not to worry; instead I will simply say that it’s lovely to have men in my life who can tell me that without throwing me into utter panic.]

When I woke up this morning, I put the new knobs [bought last summer and tossed in the bottom of my toolbox] on the old dresser drawers. Not ready to give you a visual just yet, as two of the screws are about 1/16” too long, and those knobs are a little droopy. I’m thinking that a couple of skinny washers would be easier to find than screws which are infinitesimally shorter. I’m driving in today because of Enrichment tonight. I’ll stop at the big Wally World on the way to work and see what I can find.

But I can show you this:



And this:



I need to move that junk bookcase under the window, out of the way. It holds more videos than I can stash under the TV, and it’s falling apart, so when it’s empty it will become additional shelving to the left of the refrigerator, for organizing my food storage. And I need to find a new place for my drop-leaf table, which has been serving as a sofa table for the past several months. I had pictured that poster propped up on the dresser, and I am pleased to see that my instinct was correct. When I’ve re-purposed the junk bookcase, I’ll move the dresser a few inches to the left.

Time to grab my stuff and scoot on out the door.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day Nine

Yesterday was my last day of vacation. Yes, I am counting every hour, minute, and second of it, even the bits when I was asleep. This has to rank as one of the best vacations yet.

I was a minute late to my 7:00am meeting [missionary committee], but I was the first one parked, by a ten-second margin. Good, productive meeting; I actually got to give somebody else an assignment.



As I was already at church, I was on time to my 7:30 meeting; from there I took a small list of to-do’s. But in between meetings, I politely commandeered the computer in the clerk’s office and updated the visiting teaching statistics and made a few changes in companionships and sisters assigned to same. I have a printout to share with my counselors on Wednesday. And then we will be on to the next round of tweaking.

We sustained my replacement as Visiting Teaching Coordinator in sacrament meeting today. I could feel the weight of that responsibility rise right off my shoulders. I need to inform the two district supervisors who were absent today, and I need to touch base with my new coordinator to train her to input the reports.

We have HFPE [enrichment meeting] on Tuesday, and it looks as if everything is good to go.

I got an email from MovieMom, telling me that she had gotten another copy of a DVD by the makers of Wallace and Gromit, and that it would be its way forthwith. [This one has sheep!!!] Absolutely made my day!

I came home from church, updated responses I’d gathered during Relief Society on May’s visiting teaching toward my next session on the computer, ate the rest of my cereal from breakfast [granola, so no real ookiness to deal with], swigged a mug of juice, turned on my alarm for 5:00am, and went to bed at 2:03pm with my phone turned off. Woke up about 7:00 and got most of the books up off the floor in the hall and onto a shelf. Moved a couple of my small sheep out of their bookcase and into one of the new ones, to give it a dash of personality.



Here is the top of that same bookcase. I am coming to love these colorful magazine holders. The two orange ones hold vintage issues of Knitter’s. The leftmost red one holds recent knitting magazines. The other red one holds beading and tatting magazines and pamphlets. When I was at JoAnn’s on Saturday, I picked up two sheets of flaming yellow cardstock to make custom labels for each magazine holder.

I have a third red one out here in the living room; it holds my crochet and cross-stitch magazines. [I think I will swap it out with the one on the right, as its label holder matches these others; that would be the OCD kicking in.] The horizontal red box holds my planner pages from July 2006 through June 2008. I think the next box will be orange and go atop the red one, to continue the color symmetry. At the pinnacle is a red frame that I picked up at Target several years ago. It is calibrated like a ruler, and that is a severely cropped Georgia O’Keeffe greeting card displayed within.



My father, who built his own shop off their carport, made that recipe box.

I didn’t get everything done that I would have liked, but I accomplished my major goals for the week. I’m ready to go back to work today, and I’m taking some of my personal items back to adorn my new cubicle. Should make for an interesting day.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day Eight

This will be a short post, because I posted fairly late yesterday. It is 2:30am, and I am just winding down from the dance. I have collected the data that my Visiting Teaching route supervisors have provided. If I can bat my eyes and get some computer time tomorrow, I will be able to enter this into the system and maybe get a leg up on the changes we’ve made to the VT routes. Not a lot of them. Not a big fan of new broom sweeps clean; more inclined toward if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I realized, either on the drive home or once I got here, that I’ve made no arrangements for somebody to conduct RS tomorrow. Perhaps I have been a wee bit too much on vacation this past week?

Thank goodness I have the hymns and the conducting form saved on my hard drive.

There were maybe 30-40 people at the dance. But I went. I officially supported the official event for the official program for the singles. When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be the one with the calluses from dancing East Coast Swing in my bare feet.

I danced with Brother Yummy to Chaka Khan’s I Want, and line-danced to Boot-Scootin’ Boogie and tore up the floor with The Good Brother on Shy Best Man. Stopped at Wally World on the way home and picked up milk, juice, and cereal while it was still Saturday night. Ran through the drive-up for a small order of fries and a root beer, so that I could stay awake on the drive home.

My knee feels as if someone had wrenched it off and beaten a rug with it, then put it on backwards. I somehow doubt that three hours of sleep is going to fix that. I have my first meeting in four hours.

Oye. As Brother Garth B sings, I’m much too young to feel this d*** old.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day Seven

One of the blessings of being on vacation is that I may eat when hungry and sleep when tired, with no necessity to radio for backup. Yesterday I ate breakfast a little before 6:00am; it was the leftover Brazilian cheesecake from Thursday night, and it was splendid. Just what I needed to fuel the Painting of the Last Wall, ta-daaa!

When I ran out to the home center on Monday (?) night to pick up the new paint roller, I bought a 9” refill. When I painted the south wall, I discovered that I really should have bought a 6” refill; I had to roll the excess paint off sideways. But at least the roller showed no inclination to leap off the frame. [I take my happiness where I find it.]

I am pleased to report that the bookcases glided easily over the laminate flooring. I was torn between refilling them and painting the last wall. Look at the elegant supports for the shelves in the larger bookcase:



I finished painting the wall [and touching up a couple of spots on the other walls] around 10:00am, at which point I was ready to run the tub and sluice off. But my phone rang; it was a friend who needed to run a quick errand, so I grabbed the baby wipes and made myself marginally presentable if not entirely daisy-fresh.

After I took her home, I dashed over to Arlington, grabbed a quick lunch while waiting to see the NailDude, took those two older-than-she-is issues of Carina to Fourthborn on her lunch hour, and got my glasses adjusted (again).

NailDude asks, “What kind of paint is this on your nails?”

I tell him, “House paint. I just finished painting my bedroom.”

To which he responds, “Thought so. Just checking.”

I had to make another run to the hardware store; I only had three of the four carriage bolts I needed to attach the headboard, and the hex slot appeared to be approximately midway in diameter between my 3mm and 4mm Allen wrenches. [Yes, I know what an Allen wrench is and how to use one. (I just don’t know how the 4mm wrench could not-fit the first three times I tried it and work like a champ after I came home from my expedition.) I also have channellock pliers, because I’m cool like that.]

ACE may allegedly be the place with the helpful hardware man, and both of them truly were, but it doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t have the part I needed. Nor did Home Depot. But I do know where to go when I’m ready to insert shelf clips into the cupboard I got from Brother Stilts, and I know what they are called. [Silly me, I thought “You know those little things that go into the side of a bookcase and hold up the shelves? No, not like that, the kind that look like dowels on one end and tiny shovels on the other? Those. Do you have any?” was perfectly clear.]

Harbor Freight. I should have gone to Harbor Freight. They have everything, including lots of male customers who know how to fix everything except teeth. I bet Harbor Freight has one of these bronze(?) tapered metric carriage bolts with hex slots, 6mm by 3.5 inches.

Behold: the headboard is plausibly attached, and the 7’ ficus is semi-dusted, semi-fluffed, and incarcerated behind it. One day I might even haul out my glue gun and reattach a few leaves.



The wall is nowhere near as bright a pink as it appears here. Just in case you were wondering.

When I left the house this morning, the bookshelves were nearly filled, and I’ve begun to decide what should go atop them. And now that the walls are painted, I can finally start going through the boxes which are in my studio and hanging up all manner of pictures and wall quilts.

Today, thus far, has been a Plan B sort of day. I was planning to go on the ward temple trip, but one of the girls needed a quick favor, so I put on my Superquilter cloak and flew over to her house. I had RSVP’d for a bridal shower this afternoon, but I got home shortly after the shower was to begun, and I was too pooped to pop. I called the hostess, and she handed her phone to our friend, who has several more kids than I do and thankfully agrees that family comes first.

I am going to wrap the wedding present I am taking to tonight’s reception [different friend; I am such a social butterfly!], and then I am going to set the alarm and take a nap. And if nobody at the reception has an overwhelming urge to go to the dance in Richardson, I think I will bag the dance. My knee is a little tender after all the driving I have done this week.

This may have been one of the best vacations ever. My primary goal was to spiff up my boudoir. It is seriously spiffed. I have not been so busy that I need a vacation to rest up from my vacation, but I think for the most part it has been time well spent. A nice mixture of company and solitude, action and rest, friends and family, creativity and sorting/redistributing.

I think it’s going to be awhile before I am ready to paint the living room. Right now I just want to curl up on that bed and sleep for three days! [But I’ll settle for a couple of hours, for now.]

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day Six

So after breakfast, I took a nap and was most thankful to be awakened by a call from Brother Sushi. I told him he had saved me from what had been shaping up to be a rather alarming dream. After some discussion back and forth, we decided that yesterday was a better day to pick up the furniture than today, especially since he had a coupon from Texas de Brazil which included dessert in the price of dinner and was only good Mondays through Thursdays.

As it turned out, we were unable to easily remove the drawers from my new dresser, so the clerk mummified it in packing foam, and they strapped it into the back of Brother Sushi’s truck. Then we picked up the bookcases at the antique store, where [ahem] I may have put an armoire on layaway. [It was smaller than the one I put on layaway last year but changed my mind about; I used the credit balance to buy the bookcase in which my sheep collection resides.] This armoire has labeled shelves, one of which says pyjamas.

Now, how could I possibly resist that? I can hardly wait to stack my own PJ’s on that shelf. There was also a long, low bookcase with nine cubbies that might do very well by the back door in my kitchen, for storing miscellaneous pots and pans, or in my studio, to contain my fabric collection. Brother Sushi was also ogling it, as well as a lovely secretary [the inanimate kind, with four legs] which would fit nicely into his living room. He says the new dresser says “Marco Polo” to him: Near- or Far-Eastern, by way of Italy.

We managed to break one of the glass doors when securing the bookcases. The antiques dealer is getting a new panel made for me, and I’ll pick it up the day that I have my well-woman, if not before. It’s not like my books are going to pitch a fit if they are not kept under glass; they’ve managed pretty well so far, under various living conditions.

I have just about decided not to do the faux finish on my bedroom walls, and to repurpose that paint for my studio. I don’t know if it’s a case of work available expanding to fit the time at hand, or if I am a wee bit too old to relish climbing up and down that stepladder to do the cutting-in, or a plain and simple case of yarn fumes beginning to overcome me. I am rapidly reaching the point where I just want to be done in there so I can move the bookcases in and get the books up off the floor in the hall. And I am missing my knitting.

I am trying to figure out if I can move the bookcases in before shifting the bed to paint the last wall. I know you can’t make a German pancake without breaking an egg or three. I know that in the middle of a creative endeavor, I frequently find vast amounts of chaos and clutter before the ends get woven in. What I want, right this minute [which happens to be 3:33 in the morning], is about a peck of tidiness scattered randomly throughout the house, wherever it would do the most good. Maybe a bushel of tidiness.

Am I going to feel cranky with myself, six months from now, if I leave the walls with only one perfectly lovely coat of paint? It’s a very happy color, and I grin when I see it, just as I do with the coordinating wall I painted last year.

I would sit on the couch and knit my way through the problem-solving, but the couch looks worse than my bed did a couple of days ago, and the dresser is parked between the end of the couch and the TV so that I can move the bookcases when the time is right. I would take a nap, but I woke about 45 minutes ago from nearly seven full hours of sleep, so I don’t think that would work, either.

‘Tis a puzzlement.

In order to close this post on a positive note, I will share with you that Middlest texted me yesterday afternoon; she was safely on terra firma. [And presumably headed to her favorite Mexican food restaurant in Virginia Beach.]

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day Five

So, Monday was a painting and napping day. And Tuesday was a service and socializing day, with a side order of knitting. Wednesday morning I woke up about 4:15 and spent the early morning watching my library DVD’s. I put another couple of inches on the sleeves of Autumn Asters.

About 10:30 I threw on my painting clothes and scooted the bed out into the middle of the room so I could paint the south wall. I figured it would take a couple of hours, and I was not far off. I left the house at 12:45 and drove to Arlington to pick up Middlest so we could take my DVD’s back and pick up some large-print books for her dad, but mostly so she could see him again before she left for FernParts. [i.e., Virginia] I’m not sure why this wall went so much faster than the one I painted on Monday.

We (I) checked out five books for the children’s father. I am putting that receipt on the back of my front door and a note in my planner so the books get turned in [by somebody] by their due date. Had a somewhat bizarre conversation with him, in which he asked if there were any prospects and said that he wanted me to be happy and married, if not to him, then to some good man who deserves me. I told him I was not dating anybody, that there are no immediate prospects, and that as far as I am concerned, it falls under the important/not-urgent quadrant of my life.

I took Middlest over to Melis, where she discovered the bliss that is an aguacate torta. We noticed several sealed plastic bags, half-full of water with a submerged penny in each, suspended from the underside of the roof. Trainman is my local expert on hole-in-the-wall eateries; I followed him to Melis the night the children’s father had the first of his two most recent strokes, back in September. I texted Trainman, asking “Am @ Melis. 3 bags of h2o w water & penny hanging from roof. Any idea why?”

He responded, “Helps keep insects away from customers.”

To which I retorted, “Thanks. Somebody forgot to tell the flies. (Didn't know bugs had OLS. = Oh Look Shiny.)”

[Those pennies were nice and bright.]

Presidency meeting went well last night. One of my counselors was MIA, so I emailed her what we had come up with.

I woke up at 4:15 this morning ~ on purpose ~ so I could take Middlest to the airport. I do try to be there for the comings and goings. She sent the two stitcheries I made for her, and her framing certificate, home with me; I will ship them at a later date. Then I picked up a friend from church, and we went to Ol’ South for breakfast. I needed good company and comfort food.

And now I am home. It’s a hair after 9:00, and I am going to take a nap. My knee is tender from all the driving of the past three days, and I want to sleep off the carbs before throwing on my painting clothes and finishing my room.

I think it’s going to be another great day, especially once Middlest texts me to say that she’s safely in Virginia.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day Four

I have maintained for many years that there is laughter and humor in Heaven. My inbox yesterday was one more proof. There was an email from the new ward mission leader, informing me that our stake president has requested that the ward missionary correlation committee meet half an hour before the 7:30 meetings I am already attending [ward council or the priesthood executive committee, depending upon the week], which take place before our regular block of meetings. My 7:30 meetings have entirely eliminated my propensity to be late for church at 9:00. This new meeting will ensure that I am on time for my 7:30 meetings.

If you look up and see a big Cheshire Cat grin in the sky, this would be why.

Yesterday was a not-so-much-about-the-painting day. I picked up my friend at 8:00, and we grabbed breakfast at Whataburger on the way to the temple. I saw so many friends there: a sister from my very first ward in Texas, several people from my old wards in Arlington, a handful of folks from this ward. [Firstborn, both Brother and Sister ElderlyKayakers were there.] After the temple, we went to lunch at LaMadeleine and sat and talked for two hours. Then we stopped at Entertainmart, where I picked up two movies I’d been wanting, and I took my friend home.

I poured a glass of milk, grabbed my knitting, and put in a DVD: Miss Potter, to be precise. I am generally not fond of Ms. Zellweger’s mannerisms, but she was excellent in this movie. It’s a keeper.

Knit Night was also terrific. Lots of friends there, old and new, and respectable progress on the re-knitting of one section on the second sleeve; I am nearly caught up to the first one. I intend to catch up that last bit in a few minutes, after breakfast, while watching the last of the special features on the Miss Potter DVD.

I faded right on schedule at 8:45 last night but managed to stay vertical and somewhat coherent until Middlest was ready to leave a few minutes later. One of our friends was crocheting a basket for Ichigo, one of Middlest’s dolls. Of course we couldn’t leave until the basket had two handles!

Middlest made me promise to text her when I got home safely, which I did. And I went to bed shortly thereafter. Today I feel ready [in a phrase the children’s father and his mother both used] to tackle my weight in wildcats. I should be able to get both walls painted so that I can do the faux-finishing tomorrow. I have my presidency meeting tonight with my counselors and secretary and am hoping and praying for no nasty surprises with the weather: we have much tweaking to do with the visiting teaching. And maybe there will be a little nap in the middle of the day.

But now I’m off for some preprandial knitting.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day Three

Here’s what I accomplished yesterday. I found a box full of shelf organizers and tweaked the closet in my bathroom.



I painted the east wall in my bedroom. This is the wall where the bookcases will go, so it was the one which needed to be finished first. This is what it looked like about 4:30pm, after my paint-spattered, fragrant self had returned from the library and the drive-up window at the bank.



Between the library and the bank, I also found myself in the drive-through at Jack in the Box, where an Oreo cookie shake inexplicably materialized in my car. By the time I was home with my deposit receipt, all those carbs were screaming “Naptime!” Unfortunately, this is what the bed looked like.



So I did what any sane woman would have done: I cleared off the bed and took a three and a half hour nap. And then I drove to the home center and bought another roller, because the first one had been worked to death. Before it expired, it leapt repeatedly off the roller frame in lemming-like despondency. [Childbirth words might have been heard in the vicinity.]

When I got home, I nuked leftovers from yesterday, promptly giving my circuit breaker a fit of the vapours. Apparently I am not supposed to enjoy a hot dinner and a cool me at the same time?

And then I curled up on the couch with a DVD from the library, and my knitting, because the websites all concur that I must wait 24 hours before doing the faux-finishing. The knitting stayed in my lap, almost unexamined; this was, after all, The Music Man. I grew up on the Robert Preston version, and I had my doubts about a remake. But Matthew Broderick is very graceful, and by the end of the movie he had won me over. I will always prefer Preston’s deeper voice; however, Broderick is a worthy successor. I could not have imagined anyone other than Shirley Jones as Marian, but much as I love her voice, I find that I prefer Kristin Chenoweth’s warmer tone.

It is now 1:26am, and I am sleepy again. In six and a half hours, I will pick up one of my church girlfriends. We are heading over to spend some time serving in the temple. I plan to base-coat at least one more wall after I get home, and before Knit Night. And then I could faux-finish all three walls tomorrow.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day Two

It occurred to me on the drive home from church, that since I was picking up Fourthborn for the family picnic, I could take her the MDF bookcases and save a trip. Here they are, loaded into the back seat of Lorelai. It took me twenty minutes to empty them; it took ten to wrangle them into the car.



The books are tucked into seldom-used corners of the living room and along the black bookcase in the hall until we pick up the new bookcases at the end of the week. The shoes that normally loiter in my doorway...



...will shortly be back in the closet. There is absolutely no reason why I cannot paint that wall today. If all goes according to plan, this will be a worker-bee day. And I will go to bed tonight in a freshly-painted room, with the headboard firmly attached to the bed and the tree in place behind it and the dust ruffle out of the box it has inhabited for the past year.

We each took our dinner over to Firstborn’s last night. I took two slices of pizza and the brownie bites, which Fourthborn promptly renamed brookies, because they are brownies that look like cookies. Secondborn had also brought brownies, and she had more bananas than she or the Bitties could eat. Two bananas came home with me, and Firstborn kept at least one of them.

I’m not sure whose idea it was, but we had a Fruit-by-the-Foot Race. You unroll the strip of fruit, divide it in half lengthwise, so that everybody has this ribbon that is maybe half an inch wide and three miles long. Place one end between your teeth, and your hands behind your back, and use your teeth and tongue to get that ribbon in your mouth and down the hatch. First one finished, wins, but you have to have it swallowed. BittyBubba got a small wad that he could chew and enjoy. BittyBit got an age-appropriate length so it wouldn’t drag on the carpet, and 1BDH videotaped us.

I did not come in last.

I am thinking it would be a fun activity for Enrichment night. Especially for anyone who might have had a tough day at work and needs a jump-start to reconnect with her sense of play.

In the Scan me up, Scotty! department, 1BDH sent me home with a gently-used scanner and one of the cords I need to connect it; the fire-whatzit cord is now connecting something else to his computer, but there is an excellent chance that 2BDH has a spare fire-whatzit cord. He is the unofficial computer fixit-dude in his ward.

And since Fiancé went with Plan B for his computer, 2BDH still has some linked flat monitors. I am going to talk to him about acquiring two of them and having him attach them, so I can get rid of this enormous ViewSonic which is approximately 18” on a side [which was free to me from one of my sons, and I am still very thankful] and massive as the national debt. When I go back to work next week, I will have split screen monitors. At this point I have no idea how to manage them, but I can learn. It would be neat to have Ravelry up on one monitor and the blog up on another and room for a charging station and a small in-basket on this table.

Painting my boudoir takes precedence. But maybe at the end of the week I can start scanning and shredding paperwork. And maybe in a few weeks, or more likely in a few months, I can pass at least two of my three filing cabinets off to a new home. That’s certainly something to work toward.

Fourthborn, when I was cleaning out those bookcases, I found two vintage Burda pattern magazines [Carina] that somebody gave me around the time you were born. I leafed through them briefly before going to bed last night, and I’ll give them to you next time I see you. Some of the 80’s haute-at-home is amazingly silly. Some of it still looks surprisingly good.

And now if you will kindly excuse me, I’m off to change into my painting clothes and do something about that first wall. It will be mostly covered up with bookcases, so I think it’s the best place for me to practice my faux techniques, once I have the base coat in place.

I love the smell of fresh paint!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day One

Sewed snaps between the buttons on my black linen-blend tunic, thereby eliminating gaposis.



Stitched up the L-shaped tear on my black dancing skirt, where it caught under my rolling chair at work. Embroidered flowers over the mending stitches, using the black rayon floss leftover from my ladybug bell pulls. [It is now apparent that the mending stitches were done with the deepest midnight blue thread. But as this skirt is no more to be subjected to the savage whims of my rolling chair, and as the church dances are gently lit, you and I are the only ones who will know.]



Hung up the thread racks in my studio. Yes, that is an angel bear finial on top of my lamp. I think it is the one with the broken-off foot.



Found a spare dowel and threaded it through two spools of ribbon. There are more spools squirreled away in boxes in my studio. When I find them, they will join their cousins.



No extra charge for the yarn sample card from Brooks Farm Yarns in Lancaster. Amazing yarns. Genius colorways. I meant to buy some at the D/FW Fiber Fest back in April, only I ended up not going. They’re definitely on my list, as is Buffalo Gold, now that I’ve seen and touched it.

I watched Persuasion 1.9 times yesterday. [One cannot have too much Jane Austen.] I also fiddled with Autumn Asters, establishing the beginnings of the sleeve increases before frogging the other sleeve back. I must say, this soft yarn frogs much better than I would have thought. This is the third colorway on this particular section, and the yarn is only a little rumpled.

I took BestFriend to breakfast at Ol’ South. I had the German pancake, of course, and she had bacon, eggs, and toast, with a bite of my pancake before I got started. Good times! I am so thankful she is part of my life; it is all too easy to let friendships slide when ward boundaries change and you no longer see each other at church on Sundays and Wednesday nights.

I did another drive-by fooding of the elders. Yay for Little Caesar’s! They got two pizzas, and I kept one.

And then I came home and freshened up a little and went to a baptism. She has a very tender conversion story, but it’s not mine to tell. As Relief Society president, it is my blessing and privilege to attend the baptism of any adult sister and welcome her to the largest and oldest women’s organization in the world.

Afterward, some of us went across the street to Braum’s. I was not particularly hungry; pizza will do that, even though I had only eaten two slices. But I had a bowl of ice cream, and I sat across the table from a young couple in our ward and got to know them better. What a pleasure to see how much they like, respect, and enjoy one another.

This evening we are getting together at or near Firstborn’s house for a farewell picnic for Middlest. I had promised to make brownies, but when I got to my neighborhood Wal-Mart after the baptism and the ice cream, I discovered that that particular store was no longer carrying the four-packs of brownie mix. So I went over to the refrigerated section and picked up two packages of Brownie Bites. I took the second half of the first package out of the oven about 15 minutes ago. [I think I will save the second package to bake up and nibble on during the coming week.]

I need to leave for church in an hour, and I need to go read my Relief Society lesson. And I probably ought to grab some breakfast while I’m at it, as well as toss a couple of cheese sticks into my bag for between meetings. And grab my cell phone from the charger.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Let the staycation begin...

We had another rainstorm last night. It was supposed to be a really big one, and there were lightning flashes all around Fort Worth, but all I got here was some wind when I came home from a brief outing, and a few fat raindrops. The sky had that funny pinky-bronze color I associate with trouble, out toward Granbury; I haven’t checked the news to see how they fared.

Firstborn and Lark were at Girls’ Camp this week. I wonder if our girls will return with webbed feet?

I woke at 3:25 or so. What kind of vacation is that? I thought the point of vacation, or staycation, was to do things you don’t ordinarily do. Which in my case, I would prefer to be a combination of spring cleaning, faux-finishing, and home decorating. Sleeping when I’m tired, eating when I’m hungry, finding new homes for some possessions and making room for three new pieces of furniture to contain others.

[Mostly the two new bookcases that are coming in to replace two (and possibly three) small MDF ones that I’ve had since the children’s father and I separated households; Fourthborn, two of those are still serviceable. You and Fiancé have first right of refusal. I will take the third one apart and add more shelving for my food storage, next to the fridge.]

Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do.
A. Run about?
B. Whine and pout?
C. Scream and shout?
D. Curse your gout?
E. Smite the lout?
F. Be devout?

[Don’t you just love multiple-choice questions? Aren’t they way better than story problems in math?]

I will breakfast with BestFriend this morning; today is her birthday, and she is having a big birthday lunch with her family. I think we will go to Ol’ South for German pancakes, on my nickel. Notwithstanding I am on vacation/staycation, today is shaping up to be crazy-busy. A nice, calm breakfast would get the day headed in the right direction for both of us. I am doing another drive-by fooding of the missionaries tonight, and there is a baptism after that.

I have no idea what I am going to fix [or buy] for the elders, but I do know that I will be more prudent at the grocery store if I go there with a comfortably full stomach.

I picked up two new DVD’s last night. A replacement disk for the first LOTR movie. 1BDH got the jam off the one I bought back in April, but the jam was covering up multiple scratches [or perhaps caused them in the first place?]. And of course I didn’t notice the jam until after the return period had expired. This was back when I didn’t examine used DVD’s before handing over my debit card. The other movie is Persuasion, with Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds; he plays the charming businessman who falls in love with Miss Pettigrew.

In researching how to pronounce his name [KEER-an], I think I found the name for the doll that Fourthborn has ordered for me, but you’re just going to have to wait until she gets here. Someday, when I grow up, I think I would like to learn Gaelic.

While I am still [vaguely] on the topic of movies, let me add my thumbs-up for UP. Middlest and I caught the 3:45 showing yesterday and found ourselves weeping at the same parts, hooting and hollering in unison, and just generally enjoying the experience. We went to the regular version, not the 3D; I was a little afraid of sensory overload. Take tissues. And be prepared for some great discussion afterwards, unless of course you go by yourself, in which case people will just think you’re on a cell phone in hands-free mode.

I don’t know about you, but I have not entirely adjusted to the reality of people walking around with earbuds, talking to their invisible friends. It’s a lot harder to separate the normals from the eccentrics than it used to be. [Says the woman who is carrying on a conversation with her keyboard.]

I really ought to go tackle the kitchen sink. I would much rather just go back to sleep. I think I will, and set the alarm for 6:30 and then get up and do my impression of a responsible adult.

I am, after all, on vacation.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dry run (not exactly).

I nearly had a Mary Poppins moment yesterday. Let me splain, Lucy.

After waking at 3:15am, when the thunder was louder than my CPAP and I was suddenly awake, with no hope of getting back to sleep before bedtime, I knitted and tinked, tinked and knitted until it was time to throw everything into various bags and get ready for work.

And of course I went into theta-mode [flow, or creativity mode, with no sense of the passage of time] while sitting in the tub, which meant I had the mixed blessing of driving myself to work because I dried off too late to make the train. The rain had abated, and the driveway had firmed up considerably. I got myself and my stuff into the car; I was nearly two blocks from the house when the sky opened up again.

Spit, spit, spit. Splat, splat, splat. Pummel, pummel, pummel. I think visibility ran anywhere from 25 feet to 50 yards. It was a long, slow crawl to Dallas, but thankfully most of my fellow commuters were in a civilized frame of mind. I was only three minutes late.

We had enough people out on vacation that I got to park beneath our building and keep my tootsies dry. I was nowhere near as lucky when I did the early mail run. I borrowed a friend’s bumbershoot because it was huge and reinforced. My little $3.50 number would have turned itself inside out in a Noo Yawk minute. By the time I got the meter fed, I was wet to the knees. By the time I was back in the car, my jeans were wet to the hips and my shirt was soaked from the hem to my shoulder blades.

I had worn my cheapie tennis shoes because my feet and ankles were swollen from lack of sleep. I had also worn my new black jeans, the ones that are too big, and folded up the hems. But I had brought a pair of clogs to the office, and I had an old pair of denim leggings and fresh skivvies in a large-ish zippered bag [like a travel makeup bag] that I keep in my desk for Girl Emergencies.

I did not, however, have a dry shirt or another pair of socks. I will remedy that oversight when I take the restocked bag back to the office after my vacation.

The wind was blowing sideways and fiercely when I got out of the car at the Post Office. I could have folded up the hems until they were knee high, and those jeans would still have been soaked through. But I felt a lot better after changing out of [most of] my wet stuff, even if I had to be barefoot inside my clogs.

I stayed awake on the drive home by fantasizing about a bowl of lobster bisque at Lucille’s and some of their good bread. And once I got to Fort Worth, I made that fantasy a reality. Then I came home and hung up the wet stuff and put in August Rush and knitted well past the point where I was supposed to start the sleeve increases.

It is now 10:27 as I write, and I have been up for 19 hours and change. I am going to measure the overenthusiastic sleeve and put in split ring markers where the increases should have gone, and then I am heading off to bed. I might write more in the morning. I am definitely not fixing that sleeve until I’ve gotten whatever sleep may come.

Chapter Two: I woke again around 3:30 but made myself go back to sleep. Should have just gotten up, as I dreamed of plumbing problems [structural, not personal]. I’m out the door in about half an hour.

They’re unplugging my computer and phone at 1:00. I’m hoping to have the rest of my desk packed by then so I can take some PT and just leave. When I get back to the office a week from Monday, all my stuff will be in boxes, and I will be approximately four cubicles to the east of where I now sit. I will miss sitting across a cubicle wall from my best friend at work, and I am not looking forward to sitting just outside the office manager’s office. She is a truly decent human being, and a good boss, and she is a little bitty woman with a great big voice. [I can hear her calling for our IT specialist when I’m at my current location. She’s not a screamer or a yeller; she’s just loud.]

Loud makes me crazy. Seriously. It’s like getting slapped in the face. Or having a four-year-old make the same dratted noise, or say the same dratted word, over and over and over. Heaven only knows what transcribing dictation is going to be like, and one of the attorneys a few doors down from her has an intermittently Technicolor vocabulary.

I’m going to be in the auditory splash zone. I may have to save up for some of those noise-canceling headphones. And I am going to have to move some psychic buttons, because the phrase hostile work environment keeps popping up in my mind...

Must go knit for a minute or two and calm myself down.

If I do get to take off as soon as I’d like, I am thinking UP with Middlest.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On Things Regretted

Kristen commented on not having bought a dresser she liked, and regretting it ever since.

Some of you are old enough to remember when the Thonet [bentwood, cane-bottomed] rocker was a Really. Big. Thing. [Not literally; it was rather skinny, but it fit my nearly nonexistent tush like a pair of Dingo jeans.] I wanted one. [Actually, I wanted both, but I never bought either.] I wanted the chair when I was married to FirstHubby, and he declined. A new one cost around $100, and I was earning about $350 a month, to put it in perspective and not to make it seem as if he were being unreasonable.

Now? It would require a far larger percentage of my monthly salary, and I would not be able to sit comfortably. It is probably just as well that I never had one; it would have been left behind in one of our many moves, along with my hope chest, the gros point rug I stitched when I left FirstHubby, and sundry other artifacts. But still, when I see one, there is a part of me which murmers, How lovely.

Dingo jeans had a seam up the back of each leg that met in an arched yoke across the rump. It implied a bit of gluteal curve for those of us who had none. They were out of fashion by the time I could afford a pair, and the hepatitis I had shortly before Firstborn’s birthday may be one cause of my subsequent weight gain. A decorative seam where I sit is no longer my idea of good design.

I have been having such fun with Trainman this week. He got on the train Monday looking like nerd warmed over. BeadWoman had already snagged the seat next to me, so he sat in the next one up. I leaned forward and asked, “Massey’s?” He grinned.

So there was chicken fried steak for dinner that night, and coconut pie for dessert; he had the custard pie [think flan in a crust, with loads of cinnamon sugar baked on top]. Good conversation, much laughter, and a big hug in the parking lot.

We were sitting in adjacent left-turn lanes, waiting for our arrows, when I rolled down my window and said, “We’ve got to stop meeting like this. People are getting suspicious.” He roared.

I turned my attention back to the traffic light. He honked. When I looked over, he whipped off his tie, unbuttoned the top button of his shirt, and flashed a bit of collarbone. My turn to roar.

I giggled all the way home. No, it’s not romance. But it sure is fun.

We laughed again on the trip home last night. Said he, “I wondered what you’d do if I flashed some skin. I thought you might swoon.”

“And then you thought, Oh dear, if she swoons, somebody is going to have to give her mouth-to-mouth, and it’s not gonna be me!

I was lucky enough to get in my car last night before the storm broke. As I passed by the train station, the wind nearly blew me into the next lane. I had to sit in my car for ten minutes or so until there were a few seconds of relative calm. I still had to hang up my shirt in the shower and wipe down my shoes and the red bag. I called my counselors and the RS secretary and said, “No presidency meeting tonight, obviously.”

Bishop phoned from the church [he is a better man than I am, Gunga Din] to discuss a couple of callings. I conferred via cell phone with my counselors, and we reached consensus. So maybe next Sunday we will sustain the new sister in my old calling, and another teacher for the Sunday lessons in Relief Society.

The storm woke me again about 3:15 this morning. I have been sitting in my bed, knitting, for most of this time. Frogged half a dozen rows on one of the sleeves, knitted the ribbing for the back so I could free up that ball of yarn, and am about ready to jump back in there and do the same with the other sleeve.

I would much prefer not even to leave the house today. The driveway was a lake when I got home, and it cannot be any better after all the rain overnight. I have milk. I have juice. I have mini-bagels and an unopened carton of cream cheese in the fridge. I have one last snack bag of leftover brownies from Sunday night. I have my knitting. What more could I ask?

[Other than another two hours of sleep crammed into the next 15 minutes; that would be good.]

The knitting is all froggy and croaking, so no pictures today, sorry. But mostly it’s gorgeous.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I forgot all the good blog post titles.

Last night at Knit Night was livelier than usual, and my friend Jeri commented that I would be taking home many potential blog post titles. I’m sure they’re in here somewhere, but I suspect they’re all covered up with yarn, just like my couch.

I took an hour of comp time and half an hour of PT and skidded out of the office at 3:30 yesterday, heading straight for the little antique shop I like so well. I confirmed with the shop owner that Brother Sushi and I would be there the end of next week to pick up the bookcase that’s paid for. I also paid 60% down on another bookcase, which I’ll pay off when we pick up the first one. [As a repeat customer, I now get a 20% discount on all purchases.] This new one is very plain, wooden shelves and sliding glass doors, quietly crafted of mahogany; another antique from Scotland, as is the first. Fourthborn and Fiancé get first right of refusal on my MDF bookcases as each is emptied. I get real furniture for a price I can afford, and something beautiful is safe from the rubbish heap for another generation or two.

But wait, there’s more! I went to Pier One to look at the dresser I want. Still on closeout at 50% off. I asked if they would mind calling the store which is over here by me, which I knew was being closed, because the close-out stores have been offering an additional 20% off. Sadly, she told me that it was now officially closed. We looked in the computer to see how many dressers were still in stock at the distribution center, hoping it was something like 100.

Nine. “And you probably want a new one, right?”

I just laughed and told her I was doing shabby chic before it was chic, and that I certainly didn’t mind a ding or two. She said, “Well then, let’s go check it out, and if it’s acceptable in your eyes, I’ll give you another 15% off.”

After a cursory examination, I whipped out that debit card so fast it even made my head spin! Brother Sushi and I are both off work the end of next week, so we will be loading the case for the dresser, plus the two bookcases, into his truck, and I’m thinking we will put the drawers in my car, both for protection and to lighten the load a little. [Add glass panels to the fronts of four drawers, plus the top, and we are talking some serious avoirdupois-ness.] I might also see if the 14-year-old half of my home teachers is available for some heavy lifting, once we get back here.

I’m not sure if the dresser is going into my boudoir or into a corner of the living room. My French Parapluie-Revel poster would look fantastic hanging over it. And that might be a good place for the charging station I want to get soon. I’ll have to think about it. Wall outlets come two to a room, and I might just put that sideways on the TV stand, plugged into the second power strip since not everything is actually *on* at once. I have a healthy respect for my circuit breakers!

While I was in Arlington, I took back the defective DVD [Secondhand Lions, in the last scene, wouldn’t you know it?]; when I got home from Knit Night, I put in the DVD and watched that whole last scene, which was scratched in several places on the first one I bought. I also picked up August Rush, which Fiancé recommended and I totally loved. Snagged that for $5.99, and we opened up four copies before finding a used one in mint condition.

I’m learning.

Not much knitting yesterday, since I drove into work. I expect to have more progress to show you next time. But as I woke half an hour ahead of the alarm, I think I will go curl up on the couch for some power-knitting.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Heresy!

Words fail me.



Well, maybe not entirely. Here’s where I stopped on the sleeve last night.



I am learning a little about photography. It would seem that photographing tone-on-tone makes the contrasts more visible, though these colors are still a bit washed out. That soft cantaloupe you see is a much brighter orange, and that yellow is chartreuse. The darker greens are fairly accurate, though.

My girls might know why this street sign caught my eye.



[Mom’s baby sister; last Thursday would have been her 94th birthday.]

And now if you will all kindly excuse me, there is a contrast row to work while the tub fills...

Monday, June 08, 2009

Colorwork

I had forgotten just how addictive Fair Isle knitting is. Yesterday I finished the collar [yes, I went ahead and did the three needle bind-off; I can always unpick it later] and cast on for the sleeves. When I came home from the potluck and fireside, I spent an hour or so winding all the yarn into cakes.



This morning I woke about an hour ahead of my alarm, and I thought to myself, “I’ll just sit here and work the first row and then work on my budget and pay a few bills.”

[All the knitters are picking themselves up off the floor. They know better.]



I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to sleep. If Sean Connery were sitting in the rocking chair, reading to me from the Harlot’s new book or one of Franklin’s essays, I would tell him, “Hush, dear, I’m trying to follow the chart.”



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

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Açai of relief

While I was at Wally World the other night, picking up (1) milk, (2) jeans that are too large, and (3) some of my beloved cherry-pomegranate yogurt, I also picked up (4) a carton of blueberry-açai yogurt. Rather tasty. I like the cherry-pomegranate better, even if it doesn’t inspire bad puns. [At least, it doesn’t inspire me to come up with bad puns.]

I am home from church and have inhaled a cheese stick and a carton of yogurt. I am now ready to make a sandwich and eat it at a pace which permits tasting and savoring.

It wasn’t until I was about five minutes into Twelfth Night that I realized I had never read the play or seen it performed. The photography, costumes, and acting are all superb, and I didn’t have the volume adjusted properly during those first five minutes, so I am going to have to watch it again this afternoon [oh poor me, Shakespeare on two successive days, whatever shall I do?] and catch more of the bits that I missed yesterday. I have watched A Midsummer Night’s Dream so many times that I think I catch everything a non-English-major could reasonably be expected to get. I am looking forward to becoming intimately acquainted with Twelfth Night.

When I left for church this morning, I was halfway through the final pattern repeat on the right collar. I’m thinking less than half an hour’s work will get it to the point where I can unscrew the needle tips and screw on the end protectors. And then I can cast on the sleeves...

I tossed some of the purple tweed yarn leftover from the first socks I made for LittleBit, into my bag for church knitting and ended up not knitting at all. I bought two tubes of mixed beads when I was out running errands yesterday, in case I want to embellish some of the Christmas ornaments. One vial aquas through purples, and the other everything from chartreuse to deep murky greens. Gorgeous, the both of them.

But all I want to do right now, is nap. So I think I will. But maybe I’ll have that sandwich first.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Chicken Salad, Twice.

Yesterday turned out to be a Comfort Food sort of day. None of which comfort was actually cooked by me. I grabbed a sausage sandwich and hash brown sticks on my drive in. Turns out, I really needed that fortification. We had tons and tons of mail to deal with, and an attorney who is only marginally one of my regulars, wanted vacation letters sent out before the end of the day. [Major family event coming up, which according to his secretary he says he only found out about three days ago.] Had I been back at my own desk, I could have gotten them knocked out before lunch, especially with a shortcut that she showed me, but I was also fielding the phones, dealing with the fax machine, and serving as traffic control up at the front desk.

Good thing we shut down the popsicle stand at 4:00 yesterday; for the last two hours of the day I was having to deliberately put a smile on my face before picking up the receiver, each time the phone rang. And I was not much in the mood to deal with people.

So I got in the car and headed up to the Store Which Sells Expensive Planner Refills, where I got a 20% discount on the next year’s planning pages and declined to pay $38 plus change [before discount] on binders and slipcases to contain the past two years’ pages, which are currently piled in an uneasy alliance atop one of my many bookcases. I will head over to the Container Store later this morning and find a box that looks spiffy and costs much less and will hold everything from mid-2006 until the present. Does anybody here need two burgundy binders and slipcases, classic size, bought in less frugal times?

If not, I have a small dilemma. There is a woman in my old stake whom I knew slightly, and I know that she uses the same planning system. And I ran into her at the singles’ conference in April, so I have her contact information. She is a good, kind woman, *and* all my instincts tell me she is high need, which is why I have never pursued the friendship. [I have five daughters and 4.5 grandchildren to provide my Minimum Daily Adult Requirement of excitement, and I have a ward full of people over whose needs I have some degree of stewardship.]

Any ideas for a tactful way to give her the binders and slipcases without also giving her the impression that I want to renew the acquaintance?

[See, I’m delegating! Or trying to. Or at least counseling...]

My dontcha shirt was a real hit at work. I wasn’t sure if the office manager would like it. She laughed. She hooted. She nearly wiped her eyes, and then she sent all the women in the office over to the front desk to read my shirt.

I’m always happy to provide a little comic relief, especially for a day like yesterday.

I have yet more good news, also in the sartorial department. There is only one thing I dislike as much as shopping for a new swimsuit, and that is shopping for bras. [Guys, feel free to put your hands over your eyes and say la-la-la, I can’t hear you until I’m done.] I went to the store when I bought the last batch, because I blew out an underwire a couple of weeks ago and had been walking about in a somewhat jerry-rigged state ever since.

Ladies, if it’s been longer than six months since you were fitted, you’re probably wearing the wrong size. I was.

Was that discreet enough?

OK, on to the topic of dancing. I had choices last night. There was the monthly singles’ dance in Lewisville Stake, but I wanted to check out the dance at the Southside Preservation Hall here in Fort Worth. It’s just a few blocks from our chapel. One of my friends went to last month’s dance and boogied from the moment she walked in the door at 8:00 until the dance ended at midnight. [And she didn’t have to stay and help put the chairs and tables away, either.]

I checked out the website, and admission is $12.50. I realize that the money goes to keep the Preservation Hall, preserved. And I love old buildings, that one in particular. It’s a decommissioned church which is now a community center. I suppose it has in the strictest sense been desecrated, in that it is no longer consecrated as a house of worship, but it is still serving God’s children, so decommissioned seems by far the better term, although I probably could have just gone with former and been done with it.

Where was I?

Here is where responsible citizenship collided head-on with frugality. I understand that old churches need lots of money for roofs and plumbing and paint and the like. I understand that live musicians like to get paid [dead musicians don’t seem to care one way or another]. And I know that $12.50 is less than a movie and popcorn would cost me nowadays.

And I balked at paying $12.50 to maybe dance when I could dance for free at the church dance.

So I took that $12.50 and bought three DVD’s after driving from the shop in Coppell where I was fitted for new bras, to Arlington where the proper size in the proper color was actually in stock.

I prayed to find at least one movie that was Sabbath-appropriate. I hope I found it in Twelfth Night [1999 version with Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Kingsley]. I also picked up Hitch, which I rented and enjoyed a couple of years ago, and Secondhand Lions [at, I think, Brother Sushi’s recommendation].

The office was really warm yesterday, so much so that the office manager loaned me her desktop fan for a few hours, until she needed it herself. I didn’t want a hot lunch, when I was already warm and the ice machine is unplugged for the break room’s renovations this weekend. I got a chicken salad sandwich and baked potato chips from the deli downstairs. Her food is always good, always seasoned with love.

After picking up my planner refill, I stopped at Corner Bakery and got another sandwich. The only one that sounded appealing which didn’t contain something I dislike or am allergic to, was [surprise!] chicken salad. With chips that were tasty and definitely not baked. I washed it down with plenty of water and got more for the road, so this morning neither my kidneys nor my ankles are mad at me.

I threw all my bags on the couch, peeled the security tape off the DVD cases, and was in bed by 9:30.

In knitting news, the rest of my yarn came from WEBS. And I am nearly done with the right collar. I foresee a lot of ball-winding today, and maybe I will get the left collar done as well. I think I may wait to join the halves until I confirm with my friends at Knit Night. Which means that when I go to bed tonight, I may have started on the sleeves...

But first, there is the small matter of breakfast.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Gotta run...

I’m driving in today, because the office remodeling starts in earnest tonight, and the managing attorney is closing the office an hour early.

I’m in the middle of the fifth pattern repeat on the right collar of Autumn Asters. I ♥ Malabrigo! I would marry it if I could. I think I will insert a third short-row repeat between what is supposed to be the last repeat and the grafting-together at mid-back. I also think I will do a three-needle bind-off instead of the grafting, since it’s all going to be smothered in embroidery anyway.

We get to wear shorts today, and non-obscene Tshirts. I am wearing my “dontcha” shirt: “Don’t you wish your girlfriend could knit like me?” from Knitty. And I ran out at 9:30 last night to Wally World and picked up a new pair of jeans for the occasion, because I do not do shorts.

I am now heading out to de-hyphenate myself. Be careful out there! And remember who you are...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Miracle, and a Prologue

I was standing at my friend’s desk, visiting briefly, when the call came in.

“Yes, that would be Lynn. She’s standing right here,” and handed me the phone.

“Lynn, this is Plaintiff Attorney. We’ve spoken in the past, and I’m not sure why I’m calling you, but there have been some interesting things going on in my life the past two weeks, and because you’re who you are, I knew you would understand.”

This is where the prologue comes in.

Maybe a year ago, he was in our office to depose our client. Somebody was running late: court reporter, videographer, possibly our client, possibly his. Before the deposition began, and with the door closed to the conference room which adjoins the front office, he began to play some sort of pre-recorded media, in which a booming male voice dropped F-bombs.

We know how much I hate the F-bomb.

Our attorney, who is a very quiet, very gentle bear of a Christian, was not in that room. When he came up from the back part of the office [he was not in his office, or I would have called him there], I asked him to please deal with it. He did. The barrage ceased, and Plaintiff Attorney came out of the office, walked up to me, and apologized profusely and sincerely.

I think our attorney had told him that I was LDS and deeply religious. He spoke with me again after the deposition, reiterating his apology and telling me that once upon a time he and his wife had been LDS, that each had served a mission in their youth, but that they were now attending another church.

In subsequent visits to the office, he has remained cordial and professional.

I will not share the details of yesterday’s conversation; this is, after all, his miracle, and his wife’s. Suffice it to say that in the past two weeks Heaven has been stirring the pot in subtle ways, and he is suddenly finding himself back at sacrament meeting, two weeks in a row, when he has not attended in twenty years.

He asked me to pray for them.

Non-coincidentally, I have a good friend in his ward, somebody I met through the dinner group. I am putting her in the loop, and I have quietly asked the two attorneys in our office whom he has grievously offended to also pray for him.

One short phone call; at least four lives potentially blessed, and I am once again awestruck at how small moments may bring great things to pass.

No miracles in the knitting department, just quiet steady progress on the Lace Ribbon Scarf and one ball of Malabrigo hand-wound last night to start the collar for Autumn Asters. I do believe I will cast on while the tub fills.