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!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Then the drink takes a drink...

You know that old saying, “First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes a man”? I think there must be some sort of ABJD* equivalent. Here I was, knitting away in blissful ignorance, and my child thinks, “I have finally figured out how to connect with Mom in ways that won’t make me break out in hives.” [Poor dear, she is obscenely allergic to wool.]

Some people have visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. Me? I have increasing numbers of *Asian Ball-Jointed Dolls dancing in mine. While washing my latte cup at work [lest you think I have fallen off the wagon and am consuming lattes leftte and rightte, I use mine for cereal, soup, and the occasional vat of hot chocolate], I had a sudden image of how cute it would be to pose a Dream Of Baby like Arie in the cup, as if she were a teacup poodle or had fallen in tush-over-teakettle. Little flailing hands and feet, a froth of hemstitched petticoats (I don’t care much for her default costume, except for the color) and that distinctively astonished expression she wears.

I like all three of the horoscope-inspired babies. I think Libra’s face is my favorite; she reminds me of Middlest when she was little. Give Libra grey eyes and dark brown hair with the merest hint of wave at the ends, and there’s my baby. The little ABJD dolls don’t do much for me as a rule, but I like these three.

However, I don’t think I have the energy to deal with triplets, human or otherwise. Second-sock syndrome is bad enough. Can you imagine sixth-sock syndrome???

I will want to make a trip over to Kay Fabrics in Richardson; they’re the only people I know who stock fine cotton batiste and handkerchief linen, and they have the best local selection of Ultrasuede. I have always wanted to learn the techniques of French hand-sewing; dolly-scale may very well be the way to go. I have that tiny spade-headed seam presser which my sister gave me when I was quilting as madly as I am presently knitting. It would be perfect for pressing hand-rolled hems and entredeux, also for spiffing up rumpled petticoats and the like.

Speaking of quilting, I am thinking that my Cuprit needs a small quilt to welcome her when she arrives. I need to have Middlest ask her friend Jared how high his Beryl can reach; a quilt ought to be at least that long. I have all manner of small bits of fabric leftover from the family quilting frenzy of a few years ago. I could make a Trip Around the World quilt top fairly quickly and tie it off with beads or miniature buttons at the intersections. Or a Rail Fence. Or I could do an Amish-inspired quilt; that would be even faster.

Can you tell that I had lots of time to think and type yesterday? Not much time for knitting or for sewing things together.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Seams, to me



First shoulder is joined, first sleeve set in. It’s raining like mad out there, so Autumn Asters will not be going to work with me today. The KnitPicks Shadow, doubled, is proving an excellent choice for putting this sweater together.

Lots of happy knitting on the scarf yesterday. I may well reach the halfway point today.

Nice chat with Trainman last night. He’s driving in today and tomorrow. I am planning to ride the train today and drive in tomorrow. It was good to catch up. DecoratorDude got on the train, as well, and sat in front of us until I got off at Richland Hills. His kids have gone back home for the rest of the summer. He’s been driving in while they’ve been here.

We are planning an outing to a restaurant north of FW which is owned by an African who couldn’t get a permit for a restaurant per se, so he opened a stop-and-rob that is way more about the food than the gas or the oversize sodas. Allegedly the [Italian???] food is out of this world.

Life is, knock wood, fairly calm at the moment. I would love to squeeze in a day off between two regular days of the week, one that nobody but me knew about, so it wouldn’t discommode anyone. I had a very productive, peaceful day at work yesterday and am hoping for another one like it today; that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t enjoy a day here on the couch with my movies and my knitting. Not to mention dry feet. I could use feet like Soom’s Cass in about half an hour.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Momday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Works for me!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

As Well As Ornamental...

Making myself useful, that is. I try to do it as a matter of principle. It keeps me out of the pool halls, for one thing. It also keeps me from chewing off a paw. Kinda hard to knit with only one paw.

I spent yesterday looking for stuff to do. I paid invoices for a couple of the legal secretaries. I did a little drop-filing. I recorded a few expenses in our expense-tracking system. I drank about half of a non-Cherry Coke in an effort to remain vertical and somewhat coherent. [No snickering from the peanut gallery, if you please.]

I ate way too much pepper-Jack cheese. And nowhere near enough chocolate.

I did a few piddly things for the office manager, who was working remotely. I helped scan the incoming mail. I twitched a lot. And I was the one whose “may I please go home early?” email hit the office manager’s inbox first. So I negotiated with the switchboard operator, who was equally at loose ends. And I left the office at 3:15 after covering the front desk for her break. [I love getting three personal days a year, and the option of converting up to five vacation days into PT.]

I plugged my phone into the car charger and called NailDude. Could he see me around 4:00? He could. So I got the popped-off nail replaced and the others tidied up, went from there to LittleBit’s work to see if she was there [she wasn’t] and on to the bookstore for Knit Night. I stayed while my friends came in, one and two at a time, visited a little, showed Monica how to cable without a cable needle, said goodnight, and headed for home just as things were getting exciting.

It was a good, restful evening filled with people I like and a reasonable amount of solitude. I put a few more rows on my friend Jenifer’s scarf: something like three or four inches total for the day. My eyeball tells me that I am more than halfway through this ball of yarn; I am not particularly interested in walking over to the coffee table and firing up my digital scale to confirm it. I have another partial ball, leftover from Secondborn’s birthday scarf last year, which should be sufficient to make this scarf the perfect length. I think I am just over one-third done. And suddenly, I am enjoying working on it again.

Once it is finished, I will pick up Firstborn’s birthday socks. If I time it right, they will be done about the time my doll arrives from Korea.

I am hoping to have Autumn Asters assembled and its collar embroidered in time for Knit Night next week. I might even have found buttons for it by then, but if not, there is a JoAnn’s not far from the bookstore, or Fourthborn and I can make a field trip to the one by Secondborn’s house, not-coincidentally also near the bead store. I would love to reproduce some of the necklaces in the Sundance catalog in doll scale.

Or there is Benno’s in Dallas [oh please, oh please, don’t make me go to the button store].

This is probably enough nonsense for one post.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Road Less Ravelled

I could have used a day less ravelled. Came back to work to find all sorts of small things I had done wrong the first time [over the past week or so; I must have been sicker and more distracted than I thought] and needed to do over. You may safely assume that crow was the entree at lunchtime.

I was reasonably useful to others, once I had unscrewed the inscrutable, and I have seldom been more glad to hit the door running at 5:00. Drove to Arlington and picked up Fourthborn when she got off work; we headed down to Firstborn’s for the birthday bash. A little pizza, a sliver of ice cream cake, a nice round of hugs, and we took off again a little after 7:00, because I was one tired cookie.

I am still not moderated on a doll site that I am chiefly interested in for patterns and the like. This makes me, shall I say, immoderately cranky. You have to do 40 posts in 25 days before you can access the marketplace, to prove you’re not a spambot. And you can’t do it in one fell swoop, either, it has to have at least the verisimilitude of genuine fascination with the site [not; how many posts can I read where people are having the vapors over the fact that their doll hasn’t shipped? Oh wait, that will be me in a few more weeks, if mine hasn’t.]

Yes, of course I am anticipating my own doll’s arrival, but it is not the chief object upon which I meditate. At least not for the moment.

I bound off the facing on the second front of Autumn Asters as my last conscious act, last night. The double YO seems to have done the trick as far as those buttonholes are concerned. I am not even going to try to get everything pinned out and blocked this morning. I am just going to ease into the day and focus on getting my trash and recycling out to the curb, and myself on the train in good time.

I may or may not be at Knit Night tonight. It will depend on how well things go at work today and on my general energy level. I feel ever so much better than I did at the end of last week, and I won’t have a free night until Saturday unless I take tonight off. And I want to see my friends.

My new PIN number came. I am now free to shop around the country! But for now, I am going to run the tub and run stuff out to the curb and try not to run myself any more Ravelled.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Have you heard the one about...

...the minister, the priest, and the rabbi? Well, last night was even better. Dallas Stake hosted a fireside that turned out to be not just for the singles. This is the information that I received via email through the singles:

The Interfaith Council Meeting sponsored by the Dallas Texas Mission ... will be asking President Smith (Dallas Texas Mission President), a Rabbi, and a Moslem, what the Abrahamic Covenant means to them.

It was superb. We had people of all colors and faiths, including a Sikh gentleman in his distinctive turban. But mostly, we were People of the Book. I can’t wait to tell my Muslim friend when I get to my building this morning. You better believe that I put my name on their mailing list, because next time we are discussing Moses, and we will be meeting in a synagogue.

[Maybe there will be halvah for dessert?]

In knitting news, I added another inch or two on the scarf for my friend, thought a little about the facings on Autumn Asters, and resisted the temptation to think about Firstborn’s socks or doll sweaters. This morning I knitted the left facing, and il me plaît beaucoups [I like it big muches, as one of my girls used to say].

The right facing is protesting like a kid who doesn’t want to get up for early morning seminary. I think this might be the first, and only, design flaw in the pattern. The buttonholes, as viewed from the outside of the sweater, are horizontal: two stitches wide and one stitch high. The buttonholes on the facing are circular, formed by a YO [yarnover]; they are essentially one stitch wide and one stitch high. At this writing, I am about halfway along the purl row that stabilizes the YO’s. I think I will tink back and work a double YO, wherein I wrap the yarn twice around the needle and then drop one of the loops on the next row, to see if that sufficiently enlarges the hole without totally messing up the rest of the facing. It’s either that, or I work the bits between the buttonholes in sections for two rows before rejoining them, which to my way of thinking would be excessively fiddly.

There is fiddly, which I generally don’t mind [i.e., cables, bobbles, nupps], and then there is excessively fiddly [i.e., weaving in at least four more ends when I thought I was done with that nonsense].

My friend Joy asked at Knit Night last week why I hadn’t just knit the sweater in the round, using steeks, and then cut it apart after stabilizing the fabric alongside the to-be-cut edges. If I knit this again, that’s probably what I’ll do. I ain’t afraid of no steeks! But on this sweater, I have followed the pattern almost exactly, and the pattern says work it flat. Sometimes I’m a thinking knitter, and sometimes I am content to be a sheep.

Time to stop typing, gather up my stuff, and start getting ready for work. This is shaping up to be an I’m driving morning, and I can already see that there won’t be time to pin out and block the sweater before I go. Close, but no [bubblegum] cigar.

There is Nutella in my pantry, and there are whole-grain bagels in the fridge. Can life get better?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I’m not buying it...

Or them, actually. Four salad plates and a serving platter, all of them 50% off. My office manager is winnowing her stock at her booth at Canton.



The colors and theme would do so nicely here in my duplex [which is spittin’ distance from the National Cowgirl Museum (no, they do not have any stuffed cowgirls, any more than Girl Scout Cookies are made with real Girl Scouts)]. But there is no room at the inn stable, Joe Bob.

Yesterday was a truly terrific day. I spent a good chunk of it getting to the Storehouse, serving at the Storehouse, and coming home from the Storehouse. They fed us lunch while we were there. All my “fronting” skills, learned while I worked as a stocker at the Container Store one Christmas season, came in handy. We worked with the welfare service missionaries who are assigned to the Storehouse, and the time just flew. I thought my feet and legs would be protesting mightily, but they are whistling “Dixie” this morning.

I did come home tired. I managed to keep myself awake by moving from one small task to the next, and I ran to the grocery store around sundown. I resisted a nap, because the sweater was pinned out on the bed. I didn’t get the facings knitted onto the fronts, so when it was time for bed, I just unpinned everything and told myself I would try again today, or tomorrow morning.

My new debit card came. Did I mention that I got a letter last weekend from my bank, saying that some of their customers’ debit cards had had suspicious activities, and they were issuing new cards to one and all as a precaution. Not a case of some twit(s) overseas hacking into the bank, which happened last year, but elsewhere in the pipeline. So I have had all kinds of money [relatively speaking] sitting in my account, and no convenient way to play with it. The silver lining is that it has kept me well within my budget and out of the drive-through at Taco Bueno. I’m sure my arteries are grateful.

Tomorrow I will notify the companies where my accounts are linked to my debit card. And then I will sit back and wait until the bank mails me my new PIN number.

It suddenly occurs to me to wonder [changing directions suddenly, hang onto something] that I have no idea how I am going to store/display doll clothes when they are not on the doll. Do they make hangers in that size? I had one of those big black trunks that held an [original] Barbie and a laughingly small portion of the clothing I made for mine. I might need to do something macramé-ish involving dowels and pretty cord, because I always did have a fondness for formals. [I will have to see if I can dig up pictures of me with various dates, my senior year. I made three formals and a semi-formal. Hog heaven.]

OK, time for me to do my impression of a grownup and start getting ready for church.

Happy birthday, BittyBubba! I saw them yesterday at the Storehouse; 2BDH was there to pick up a food order for somebody in their ward. How delightful to see them all walking up the sidewalk, and to give them hugs and kisses. BittyBubba read out every letter on my name tag: L-Y-N-N, and grinned at me.

BittyBit seemed a little confused to see me up at the Storehouse, rather than in her living room. Maybe this will prepare her for running into a teacher at the home center or post office. [I remember one summer after third grade, when my teacher brought her small son with her to Dad’s laundromat. I was old enough to understand that teachers did not stay at their desks 24/7, and young enough to still be thoroughly disoriented and shy.]

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happiness is *not* a warm puppy.

Happiness is folding up one’s team-building shirt and leaving it at the office when one goes home early because one is (a) sick and (b) tired and also (c) sick and tired.

After eating my leftovers from Monday night’s dinner with Trainman, I felt infinitesimally better. After finding a nectarine bought who-knows-when and still miraculously in prime condition, and bringing it back to the keyboard to eat between words, I felt as if I might want to live.

  • Happiness is a cold nectarine on a warm afternoon when I have spent all morning playing the Depends game.
  • Happiness is being in my jammies at 1:15 on Pioneer Day and therefore exempt from sack races, taffy-pulling, and having to be polite.
  • Happiness is being thankful that I was sufficiently disorganized that I missed the train and drove to work, so that I did not have to hang around my desk all day waiting for the first train out and pretending to be well.
  • Happiness is a nap.
  • Happiness is voicemail.
  • Happiness is finding Lorelai right where I left her when I went out to the parking lot; maybe Thursday’s disappearance was her, not me.
  • Happiness is stopping at Wal-Mart on the way into work and picking up a tape measure and two boxes of flower-headed pins [which may or may not be rustproof].
  • Happiness is knowing that my knitting would be waiting patiently for me to wake up from my nap.
  • Happiness is my CPAP.
  • Happiness is my rolling chair.
  • Happiness is reassurance from my doctor that the dizziness from the Corn Pad Episode will eventually pass.
  • Happiness is a sweater pinned out for blocking.


You will note that the back, sleeves, and collar are pinned out. I remembered that I hadn’t yet attached the front facings, thankfully before I pinned them out and not afterward. I will take care of that small detail when I get home from the Bishop’s Storehouse this afternoon. I might be sleeping on the couch tonight.

Apologies for the funky color in this photo. Apparently when one has bright pink walls and red or pink towels on the bed, it makes one’s camera twitch.

I think the little yellow flower-headed pins were a good idea. They go into the mattress much more easily than do the T-pins. So glad that I no longer have a waterbed...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Holy Cow!

Better make that “Holy buffalo chips, Batman!” Here is Clara’s review of the door prize I won at Whirled Fibers’ grand opening earlier this month.

Sometimes I just love my inbox. Last night was one of those times. KnitPicks now makes their Gloss [70% merino, 30% silk] in DK and heavy worsted. For you knitting muggles, DK is short for double-knitting, though I have no idea why our British friends dubbed it that. It’s a little bigger than sport yarn and not as big as knitting worsted, which is what I grew up knitting. Heavy worsted is about Aran weight, a little bigger than worsted but smaller than bulky and super-bulky.

To put it in terms more of you can relate to, and guessing wildly since I don’t have the ladies all lined up here in my living room for your viewing pleasure:

Laceweight is Twiggy, or that Olsen twin.
Fingering yarn is Kate Moss or Heidi Klum.
Sport yarn is Sandra Bullock.
DK is Susan Sarandon.
Worsted is Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Aran is Kristin Chenoweth.
Bulky is Marilyn Monroe.
Super-bulky is Mae West.

Each of them lovely in her own way. [Your mileage may vary.]

I have a new iron. I bought it a few minutes after the oh-where-is-my-car adventure. I saw Lorelai when I stepped off the train at Richland Hills, but I was almost immediately swept up into theta-stage, designing a skirt for my doll or more precisely wondering how to tweak a pattern I saw on Knitty a couple of years ago. I walked down to where I usually park, and Lorelai wasn’t there. I looked back up the sidewalk. Multiple vacant spots, but no Lorelai. I walked farther down. No car. I walked back up to where I had stopped. She had not materialized. I was beginning to get worried, because the train had pulled out and nature was calling. [Rather in the mode of Minnie Pearl hollering HOW-DEE!!!] So I walked back up toward the platform, and I found Lorelai cuddling between two big, bad pickup trucks. The hussy!

Whenever something like this happens, I wonder if it signals the new normal. But I seem to have been perfectly lucid for the remainder of the evening, having ice cream with a friend from church, dashing through my email, getting things ready to make this morning’s departure a mite easier.

I was hoping to be able to say, “Behold Autumn Asters pinned out on my bed.” But my tape measure is still AWOL, and I probably need more T-pins. So I will be heading to Jo-Ann’s or Hobby Lobby after the stake Pioneer Day activity tonight. To which I will be late, because I am going to ride the train and have a nice visit with Trainman and some happy knitting, which I will need, because:

[cue the Music of Doom] I was not able to get to the laundromat to wash the infernal team-building shirt for work today. I may just pull it out of the hamper and swipe it with a damp washcloth where the banana ricocheted. Or I may wear something else and smile peacefully at the office manager. Either way, I will not be wearing that shirt on the train this morning. Or this evening. I will wear a nice blouse if the shirt absolutely has to go through the washer, or my dontcha shirt if the washcloth works.

It’s not like I have time to go to the laundromat every week. Or that I’m a 16-year-old parochial school student who has to wear a uniform or be expelled. Maybe it is time for some exquisitely civil disobedience.

Remind me to examine my forehead while washing my face: does it suddenly say Gandhi?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

*Well* nourished.

Take a look at this. This is the sort of thing I want to do for my doll: French hand-sewing or the feel of it, meticulously finished seams, oodles and oodles of details. This is like the best of the J. Peterman catalogue, scaled down to doll-size. And then take a look at this; yes, $237 for a ball gown, and just look at the workmanship. No, I wouldn’t buy it; that would pretty much pay for Arie or one of the goat-baby girls.

I finished knitting Autumn Asters while at the doctor’s office yesterday. Well, I do need to pick up the facings for the button band, but that shouldn’t take long at all.

What a delightful day, once I got to eat! The digital mammogram is considerably more comfortable than the previous ones I’ve had. And then I ran over to the bookstore and flipped through seven new knitting magazines, purchasing the summer issues of Verena and Knitter’s. I had my well-woman [no bone scan this time], and it looks as though I have officially achieved the ’Pause that refreshes. I say, give it another year to be sure and then bring on Brother Right. As my late mother-in-law used to say, “Trust in Allah. Trust in Allah, but keep your camel tied.”

After the poking and stabbing and nuking, I was ravenous. So I called Brother Sushi to see if he was at work or taking a day off [you don’t ask, you don’t get]. He was home and amazed that I had slipped my leash. We met up at Rockfish for some of their excellent cream of jalapeno soup. I had the lump crab salad, with every intention of eating only half of it and saving the rest for another meal.

Oops. I pretty much inhaled that salad. We sat and talked for a couple of hours, and then I drove over to Firstborn’s and hung out with her for about an hour and used her cellphone to call the IRS for a payoff on my 2008 taxes; I still haven’t received my coupons for that. I had to use her phone because mine cut me off halfway through voicemailhell, twice.

And then I drove over to Cheesecake Factory, had dessert and a lovely visit with Leslye, came home, fetched my RS notebook from the clerk’s office at church, and bought a dozen celebratory chocolate chip cookies at Braum’s to take to our presidency meeting. We don’t ordinarily have refreshments, but I wanted to share my delight at no longer being a stockholder in Fruitful & Multiply, Inc.

We had a good, productive meeting. Various VT companionships created or tweaked. What a lovely, joyful day!

Last but not least, happy birthday, Firstborn! I showed her Yarnissima’s Brainless sock pattern. She gave me the thumbs-up on it. I have frogged the purple ragg sock back to just before the end of the toe increases. Life is good!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Daughter, the Enabler

So I woke up to an email from Fourthborn, with links to commercially-made clothing for the doll she is giving me, and a request for input. Which I gave her, in detail. I really like the faces on the Dollmore dolls; they seem to be happier than a lot of the dolls I’ve seen on other sites. I also saw a red Victorian fainting couch [pictured with a custom doll which sells for $1300 ~ no, girls, I have not lost my mind; I want the couch, not the doll! If I won’t spend $325 on yarn for a sweater for me, rest assured that I am not going to spend over a thousand dollars on a toy!]. I did see another doll that I liked, which was far more reasonably priced. If she is still available when I get my bonus next year, I would consider getting her.

One of the Dollmore males, approximately 80cm high, actually has the little moons painted on his fingernails. His face didn’t do all that much for me [I was always way more into Barbie than Ken], but his hands were exquisitely fashioned. Now if they ever make a doll that looks like Sean Connery in his prime, I’m a gone goose, but the male dolls just aren’t masculine enough to suit me. I’m not fond of SNAGs [Sensitive New Age Guys] in real life; blessed if I’m going to pay $500+ for one that has to be dusted!

I am taking my body in for its yearly tune-up this morning and consoling myself with cheesecake and a visit with Leslye this afternoon. The mammography center has gone digital; it’s supposed to be considerably more comfortable. I have to do a return-and-report with my friends at work tomorrow.

Knit Night last night was wonderfully relaxing. I am within two inches of the last of the colorwork on the right front of Autumn Asters, and then a quick gallop to the top in the dark green. I will probably get that done before leaving for the mammo and bloodwork and bone scan, oh my! Had a good discussion with Monica last night about wet-blocking vs. steam-blocking the Malabrigo, and we came to the conclusion that steam-blocking will be better. Which means that I need to add “buy new iron” to today’s honey-do list.

I have enough KnitPicks Shadow leftover from MS3 to do the stitching-up, and probably enough to make a sweater or tunic for my doll. I was so pleased to learn last year that it is not only appropriate but sensible to stitch up one’s sweaters in a skinnier yarn than the sweater parts, to reduce bulk at the seams. The Sunrise Circle Jacket is [I think] the first project where I actually did it. Shadow is a lovely, smooth yarn, and I think a double strand will be just about perfect.

Must knit, must knit, to drown out the rumblings of my stomach. Mammo is at 8:00; well-woman is at 10:00. I’ve been up for an hour and a half, and my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut. But there will be cheesecake and good conversation this afternoon, and I’m about to guzzle as much water as I can hold, while the tub fills...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nourished.

I drank at least a pint of Cherry Coke yesterday. Yes, I’d gone to bed at 1:30, where I tossed and turned for an hour before getting up and finishing the left front on Autumn Asters. I went back to bed at 4:00 and dreamed that I was knitting. And then I got up at 5:00 and slogged through the day on the dregs of last Friday’s Cherry Coke and about half of a fresh 20-oz bottle, plus a little real food to keep things interesting.

Only in Texas would the weather be as it was when I got off the train yesterday. Just the finest mist coming down from a mostly-sunny sky.

As we rounded the south corner of the train station toward the bus stand, the mist increased in size and intensity. When the bus dropped us off a block from the office, my scalp was getting a fat raindrop roughly every ten seconds. It was not a good hair day, but it was a good day nonetheless. I was remarkably productive at work, and I spent an hour or so putting together the semi-annual self evaluation for my performance review and emailing it to the office manager.

More good stuff:
1. Trainman was on the same train.
2. Both of us were wearing pale yellow shirts; we were almost twinkies.
3. I had arrived at the station early enough to park under the freeway, so my car was deliciously cool when I got back.
4. We tried to eat at Nonna Tata, but they were closed. So we ate at Benito’s.
5. I have a ton of leftovers, enough for dinner tonight or tomorrow.
6. After dinner we went back to the station so I could pick up Lorelai, but also to meet LadyZen as she got off her train and give her hugs.
7. I am about an inch above the beginning of the armscye shaping, as we speak.
8. I was in bed by 9:30 last night.
9. I slept like a rock.

I should have allowed one less row between buttonholes while tweaking the front to allow for five buttons instead of four. I had to fudge the top buttonhole a mite, but the collar should make that less obvious.

I am torn between driving in so I could bring home the ergonomic keyboard one of my friends no longer needs on his home computer ~ it is definitely bigger than a breadbox, as the saying goes, and will not fit into my knitting bag ~ and riding the train so I can savor those two extra hours of knitting. Finish-itis is upon me, to the point where eating and sleeping are becoming a nuisance. Though strangely, I didn’t [much] miss my knitting while eating Mexican food with Trainman last night, but we had some catching-up to do after his week on vacation.

When I went to bed last night, I was seriously contemplating skipping Knit Night tonight in favor of coming home and going straight to bed. The jury’s still out on that one. I need my chicks-with-sticks time, and this respiratory yuck is sapping my energy. Trainman was honking, too. I am mostly coughing and hacking. The office manager called out mid-afternoon, “Lynn, is that you? Are you all right?”

“I’ll live.” At the moment that is more mission statement or pure wishing, than reality. I don’t feel as stuporous as I did last Friday, but I am still only functioning on about two and a half cylinders this morning. I need to buy more Puffs. And maybe while I am in Arlington tomorrow for the annual physical exams, I will stop off at the Chinese herbalist and pick up a fresh bottle of ba nguyen.

When we are going to be out of the office, we are supposed to notify our team, in writing, two days in advance. This is what I sent out yesterday:

I will be out all day Wednesday for my annual physical. I will be back on Thursday, unless I cough during my EKG and they send me over for a stress test and I get the same incredibly handsome tech I had the last time that happened, in which case I may be calling you from the Chapel of the Chimes.

[Just wanted to see if any of you actually read these.]

Sometime this week I need to wash that infernal team-building T-shirt; I got banana on it last Friday. [Oh man, when stuff like that makes it into a draft, I know it’s time to hit publish and go do something else.] Mmm, knitting...

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Am My Sister’s [Ruler’s] Keeper.

I don’t know why this has survived so many moves, when most of my family mementos have not.



I wonder if it was once the bland beige of new rulers at the office supply store, before decades of handling brought it to this lovely warm brown?

I downloaded KnitPicks’ free Classic Lines Cardigan pattern Saturday night. It will be waiting in the queue until I finish a few dozen other projects. I like it as designed. And I think it might be a good way to use up the Alpaca Cloud that I regret buying, as the accent yarn in place of the Shimmer. The pattern requires two hanks of accent yarn; I have three. But the golden question is, do I use the Shadow, which I already know that I love, or do I go with Gloss Lace in a compatible color? I really want to work something up in the new Gloss Lace “Kiss” colorway. It’s a very sassy pink. Maybe I will have to make two of these: one in hot pinks using the Shimmer as accent, and one that is closely-toned in greens. I could tweak the shaping on one of them so I could have a similar fabric but not two essentially identical sweaters.

Stop just a minute and go read my friend Alison’s post. I’ll wait. You need it for background on what I’m about to post next; otherwise I am going to sound like the Pharisee announcing her righteousness on the street corner (Luke 18:11) while the widow casts her mite into the temple treasury. (Mark 12:42-43)

Thursday I drove in to work. On the way home I stopped at Taco Cabana, where I usually get a chicken fajita quesadilla. Light, tasty, and eminently affordable. But Thursday night I found myself ordering two burritos and being dismayed when they were huge and rather floppy. Too much food for the appetite I had, and too messy to eat while finishing the drive home. I pulled up to the light and saw a man with a sign that proclaimed “hungry”. I handed him the bag with a smile as he blessed me and said that Taco Cabana was his favorite.

I share this not so that you will think I am some wonderful, ethereally perfect creature. We know better. What I want to share is what Alison shared, the joy of being in the right place at the right time to do the small thing that matters only to perhaps one other person, and to Heaven.

I fell in love after church on Sunday. I stayed behind in case the bishop needed to talk with me, and when I came out of his office there was a woman sitting in one of the chairs. She was visiting her daughter in the other ward, and she has lived in San Antonio for many years and knows our friends from the Fredericksburg ward. She was born in eastern Europe and is probably about my sister’s age. Her English is flawless and enchantingly accented, and she has served twice as Relief Society president. [She told me that a woman who was very kind to me when we lived in Fredericksburg, has served as the stake Relief Society president in that stake; I am not in the least surprised.] And I think I must have known this sister well before we came to Earth, because there was that sense of coming home as we spoke.

She told me how much she had loved serving her ward in her calling, and that the thing she missed most was knowing, often without words, how the sisters were doing. I am coming to understand exactly what she was talking about. I spent Sunday School out in the hall, talking to sisters who were not comfortable being in class. And just before Relief Society began, I caught one of them trying to slip quietly out the door, and I put my arm around her shoulder with a “We need you in class” and a smile, herding her into the Relief Society room. She gave me a sheepish grin.

[Perhaps I will be able to get them into Gospel Doctrine class next week; I miss it when I’m not there.] I am still feeling my way in this calling. Bishop needed to correct me on something a few days ago, but he did it gently and privately. I may have put my foot in it again, today, but at least it was a different (possible) mistake. Like Anne of Green Gables, I do try not to make the same one twice.

My days and nights were all turned around this weekend. This comes of spending Saturday on the couch, knitting and listening to movies, except when I dashed out to do the drive-by fooding of the elders. It was nearly 3:00 when I got home from church, and I ate a little something and went to bed and slept for four hours. I set the alarm last week and got a decent nap without disrupting my sleep pattern. I really should have done that yesterday as well. Now it is 1:22am, and the alarm will go off in three and a half hours. Part of me wants another nap, and part of me wants to stay up and finish the left front of Autumn Asters. I am done with the armscye shaping and have (I think) four or five decreases left on the V-neck before doing the shoulder shaping.

This is madness; I think the sister’s keeper, needs a keeper.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Yesterday was brutal.

I started this post at work yesterday, between phone calls and incoming faxes.

You know how I always say that it’s better to have a headache than to be a headache? I may have changed my mind. It feels like there is an elephant sitting between my right nostril and my right eye. An elephant with the hiccups. An increasingly unhappy elephant who is contemplating the example of Lizzie Borden while casting about for the nearest axe.

I am most devoutly hopeful that the elephant’s name is not “Sinus Infection”.

I am probably allergic to this team-building T-shirt. I am definitely not allergic to the concept of team-building. I am rather fond of my team, in fact of all the teams that I am on: the admin team, the support staff team, the Relief Society team, the women of a certain age team, the mom team, the Gram team, the type like the wind team, the wearer of ridiculous T-shirts so as not to incur the wrath of the person who bought it team.

Later in the afternoon, maybe around 3:00, it dawned on me that I was feeling significantly better. [Dad would have laughed and called it Sundown Fever.] And I decided that maybe the elephant behind my face might be named “Resentment”. Yes, I woke up with significant congestion; yes, it got worse during the day. I have been speaking with my 1-900 voice for the past several days, the one that makes plaintiff lawyers become civil [a little lawyerly pun there; we practice civil law, and some plaintiff attorneys forget that]. But I really, really did not want to be up there answering the phone, and there was nobody else to do it. I felt stuporous and slow for most of the day.

I was thinking at one point that I would need to call the elders to tell them there would be no drive-by fooding tonight, and call my counselors to ask them to handle Relief Society tomorrow, and call the bishop to tell him I would be MIA. And just stay in my jammies all weekend and drink chicken stock and hot lemonade and try to get myself properly oxygenated. I was even thinking of canceling dinner with Brother Sushi last night. That’s how bad I felt. But we were both in the mood for spicy food [and I thought it would help me feel better], so I picked him up and we went to Nelda’s. He tried a different combo; it looked nice, but I couldn’t smell it. I tweaked my usual enchilada plate, going for two rather than three [so I could have dessert] and having them substitute salsa verde for the crema sauce on my spinach enchilada. I always have a sour cream chicken enchilada; theirs are superb.

The first bite of salsa verde just about took the roof off my mouth, but after a couple more bites everything went pleasantly numb and tingly. And I was able to taste most of my dinner, and dessert? Oh. Amazing.

I am a flan fan. This was, bar none, the best I have ever tasted. I think they used pure cream to make it, and it took me at least half an hour to eat it, listening to Brother Sushi’s stories [always as good as the food] and nodding and smiling. He said he could watch the relaxation slide down my face as I ate. Dinner de-stressed me from the hairline to about my eyes. That first bite of flan dropped the line about an inch. And I could feel it from within.

I was so chilled when I dropped him off that I didn’t have the oomph to get out of the car and hug him goodnight. So I popped my hand out the window, and we bumped fists. I just b-a-r-e-l-y made it home awake. Came in and put on my jammies and skimmed my inbox and was in bed by 10:00.

Life is looking a lot better this morning. I woke a hair before 5:00, and I can mostly breathe. I think a mug of broth is called for, and I think horseradish potatoes are not out of the question for later today. I just want things I can taste.

I have already watched Shall We Dance and put two inches, the first bit of waist shaping, and another buttonhole on the sweater fronts. I have eaten a clementine, and I think I will make a pan of pigs in blankets while it’s still relatively cool outside. I can always have a bowl of cereal for lunch, or I can pick up a bowl of orange chicken and an egg roll with Chinese mustard if I go out to get more paint-stirring sticks and a couple of organizing boxes.

I am toying with the idea of painting half the hall today, all the bits that are visible from the living room and the wall with the bathroom door in it. And then next weekend, or maybe tomorrow after church, I could paint the bookcase wall.

I got up on the bed yesterday before work and tightened the light bulbs in the ceiling fan. I was down to one that functioned consistently; the others had loosened enough that they might as well not have been there. Now my room is so bright that I see a few spots I missed while painting last month.

I am incredibly hungry now and I want to knit. Decisions, decisions.

Friday, July 17, 2009

If you’re looking for brilliance today...

... you might want to head on over to the next blog. It is not yet 6:30, the tub is filling, and I am ready for the weekend.

My new VT companion and I went out visiting for the first time last night. New sister in the ward, married, two sweet little kids. Upstairs. Possibly the longest flight of stairs I have climbed in a decade, but well worth the climb. The kids were shy at first; she’s 3, he will be 2 in a couple of months. When she was ready, she walked up to me, wrapped her arms around me, and laid her head against my chest. He followed suit before the end of the visit. Those kids are so smart! They figured out that I am a hugging-grandma and that my companion is a playing-aunt. She’s the one who ended up with all the toys in her lap. We were both very happy with that arrangement.

Afterward, I took my companion home, and I threw the laundry into the back seat of Lorelai. On the way home, I stopped for a late dinner of party tacos and strawberry smoothie, then went to bed. I left the folding and putting-away for this morning.

And of course, this morning I realized that my very clean new bras were still very damp, because they had spent the night in the hamper underneath my linen tunic, which also doesn’t go into the dryer. All are now hanging from the shower rod. Thankfully, I had not yet thrown out the painting bra [the one with the dead underwire, the one that I wear when I’m washing the good ones], and thankfully today is the day that we wear our black T-shirts to work in a display of Customer Service Initiative solidarity. So any discrepancies in the workings of gravity upon this middle-aged body will be somewhat camouflaged.

I hope.

That’s it, guys. I have just spent the past hour doing the folding and stowing that I was too pooped to do last night, and the tub is full, and I have about a ten minute window if I want to make the train from T&P Station. I will be sitting at switchboard all day. So I am already looking forward to 5:00 and the train ride home and the postponed dinner tonight with Brother Sushi.

There are plenty of things I am thankful for, but at the moment my brain doesn’t want to talk to my hands. I sure hope this changes by the time I pull my knitting out of my bag!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yarnfidelity

The lust you feel when you open the catalogue and see a new colorway in a favorite yarn. No matter that you already have four projects on your needles. There is no known antidote. Even flagellating yourself with a rolled-up budget spreadsheet only takes the fever down a notch or two.

My solution is to keep the catalogue on my reading shelf in the loo, far away from the keyboard, the phone, and the debit card.

Today would have been Dad’s 104th birthday. He died 19 years ago last month. I wonder if there is birthday cake in Heaven, a brief celebration to mark a life well-lived, in the midst of all he is doing to build the Kingdom and bless this family from the other side of the veil. Middlest shared with me, when we were talking quietly one night, some of the things he did for her when she was a small child, after his passing. They are her stories, and they are sacred, so I will not share them here. But I know by the witness of the Spirit that they are true, and not idle fancies or vain imaginings.

We are all connected, and we remain connected by bonds of love even after we leave this earth, and the sealing powers which are exercised in the temple are the welding links between the generations and will continue throughout the eternities.

Some of you came here for the knitting. I am looking at the fallow end of the couch.



In five ten fifteen minutes it will not look like this. [I forgot to allow for shredding time.] The grocery store fliers will be in the recycling totes. The dry-cleaning will be ready to go out the door. The magazines I’ve read will go into my give-away pile, and the ones I’ve yet to read will go onto that shelf in the loo. The RS stuff will be back in its tote. Why all this flurry of domesticity? Because I strongly suspect that my tape measure is buried under there, and I need to gauge the depth of the armscye to know if it is time to bind off for the shoulder on the back of Autumn Asters.

Well, I was wrong about the tape measure. It wasn’t on the couch. I pulled up all the tuckings-in on the slipcover. Nada. I suppose the next item on the list is to get down on my hands and knees with a flashlight and see if it is under the couch.

But the flashlight is out in the car. [I do know where the car is!] And thankfully, I also know where the ruler is that belonged to my sister when she was a girl; it tells me that I need to work two more rows before I can begin binding off the shoulders.

And some people think that knitting is boring... This morning I have had mystery, archaeology, and recycling, all before breakfast!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Oh, My Darlings: Clementines!



Love them. I was talking with a friend last night. We both like oranges, but neither of us likes all the fuss and peeling to get to the good stuff. With clementines, there’s very little bother. A bit of skin, hardly any stringy bits to peel off, and only the occasional seed. Breakfast yesterday was two slices of pizza in the car and two clementines once I’d gotten to work. Lunch was a bowl of granola with a sliced banana. I will probably do the same again today.

I took that hour of comp time yesterday and got my nails done before heading over to Knit Night. I hit the bookstore a little before 6:00, walking in right after Monica and her daughter to see Rebecca and hers. Thanks to the grace of my young friend, I got one of the soft chairs and a promise of assistance if I couldn’t climb up out of it under my own steam at the end of the evening.

I’d grabbed a small mango smoothie on the way to the NailDude’s, so around 7:30 my stomach was saying, “Hey, that was all very well and good, but what about dinner?” Before I left the bookstore, I called Middlest on my cell phone, and sixteen of us sang “Happy Birthday to You” in at least a dozen keys.

I have nine more rows of colorwork before I begin the solid bit at the top of the back, and I will probably begin the shoulder and neck shaping while on the train this morning. I just finished weaving in last night’s ends. I don’t like doing that on the train; I’d rather do it at lunch, when I have that nice long table to support the fabric, or while sitting on the couch here at home.

I almost called 1BDH last night to tease him, “It’s Tuesday night, and surprise! No flats!”

I have a modicum of church work to do tonight. No presidency meeting this week. And then maybe I can catch up my laundry? We are rapidly approaching critical mass, chez Ravelled.

Work, praise be, is going well. Over the past two days I have sent out over 80 vacation letters for two attorneys. I have three letters to send out today, and a tape to transcribe, and a few invoices to pay for my favorite legal secretary. But first, there is more cold pizza in the fridge, to enjoy while the tub fills...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Time Management Theory

I remarked to a friend recently that I am hard-pressed to understand how the two prior RS presidents found time to date. It just does not compute! Now knitting? Knitting adds up.

I was going to show you a progress shot; the shaping on the back is about half-finished. But I thought I’d show you this instead. They followed me home. Four little tiles, complete with black ribbons with which to hang them. I’m not sure where they are going to end up. Maybe in the hall where Dad’s polo mallet is hanging now. My office manager has a booth out at the flea market in Canton, TX; she was selling these half price. You can’t read it here, but the background on each tile is white writing on ecru, all en français. Zut alors, how could I resist?



Last but certainly not least? Happy birthday, Middlest!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Foot + Mouth = Repentance

I used to tell the girls when they were little that there was no use lying to me, because either I would figure it out by the look in their eyes, or if it was really critical, the Spirit would tell me directly. I told them that the Holy Spirit was a tattletale, which might not be the most reverent way of expressing it but is certainly within His job description.

[Yes, I am quite aware that there is plenty of stuff that I do not know about what they got into, but either it was relatively minor and I would have blown it up all out of proportion, or it was essential to their exercise of agency and therefore between God and them, or maybe it was necessary for my mental health not to know.]

One of the least-fun aspects of mortality is when the Spirit tells me that I have hurt or offended a friend, and I need to go apologize. I took one such friend aside yesterday and did just that. She asked me how I knew, if somebody had said something to me, and I told her no, that the Spirit told me and that I was sorry and that I wished it were easier for me to hear the Spirit say, “Oh, no no no! Don’t say that!” than it is for me to hear Him say, “You hurt her feelings. Go apologize.”

I am still very much a work in progress. I get frustrated with myself when the progress is so slow. Knitting progress is considerably easier to measure. Behold!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Sweetly Busy and Productive Day

Any day that includes service in the temple is by definition a good day. After attending my friend’s wedding, I stayed behind while they left to take pictures and finish preparations for the reception [there was a funeral on Friday night in their meetinghouse, and it ran long, so they didn’t get everything set up that night as planned]. I did some ordinance work, stopped at JITB long enough to grab a large mango smoothie and a tall water, then ran my own errands.



A little blurry, but the big red box holds my printer paper. I’m thinking of getting another one to hold manuals, labels, and ink cartridges. The smaller red box holds bills to be paid. If that doesn’t prove to be an effective way to corral all the incoming paper, I’ll use this box for something else. I have printed off pretty labels but have yet to trim and insert them. Both boxes were on sale, another plus. I almost have my desk cleared off. Almost.

And I think that when I take apart that broken cheapie white bookcase, I will ask 1BDH or Brother Sushi to trim the shelves to fit that tower bookcase. [From my field trip to various hardware stores and home centers in search of metal ones, I already know where to get more white plastic shelf brackets.] It would be cool to customize cubby heights to fit the various containers I’ve accumulated.

When I went to the Container Store, I looked for more of the inexpensive leather-covered bookends like I bought last month, but they were out. Still available online, and I am wishing that I had bought some of the green ones for Fourthborn when I had the chance, because the only three remaining options are cranberry, chocolate, and black. Perfect for me, not so much for her. [Green is her red.]

Just to prove that there has been actual knitting progress chez Ravelled, here is a beauty shot of the back of Autumn Asters.



Going back to the topic of my friend’s wedding, it wasn’t as difficult to be there as I had feared. A little tender, a little wistful maybe. Thankfully C., also single, also a Relief Society president, was sitting next to me, and we are both at a peaceful place on the topic of remarriage and on the status of our eternal connection with our respective children. Those promises and blessings which come as part of the covenants we make are sure and powerful. As long as we remain faithful and honor our covenants, the children we have borne are still sealed to us.

The reception was great fun. I sat between C. and another C. [Girls, do you remember Dane’s two best friends in high school? Their moms.] The first C’s three daughters also sat at our table, with the spouses of the two who are married. Much laughter. Uproarious laughter. Eye-wiping laughter.

And great cake. I had a smallish slice of each.

Time for me to figure out how to sluice off, read two lessons, eat breakfast, and get out the door in one hour. First meeting is at 7:00am, and I’m picking up a friend on the way to church. Good times. Truly, truly good times. I am so blessed...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

106°F?

That’s what the guy on the train said it was around 6:00 last night. That is not what I call progress, people! [i.e., not much of a decrease from the 107°F we had a couple of weeks ago.] And we still haven’t made it to August; I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, probably before the summer week is out: Texas in August is as close to Hell as I ever hope to come.

But in exchange for our ridiculously hot summers [if I wanted temperatures worthy of Death Valley (96°F there at 7:49pm, 117°F for the high; 100°F here at 7:40pm, 104°F for the high; 98°F in Dallas at 7:52pm, 103°F for the high ~ I rest my case!), I would be living in Death Valley], we have bluebonnets in the spring, chicken fried steak, and some of the nicest folks you would ever want to meet.

Right now they’re some of the hottest, sweatiest people you would ever want to meet, present company included, though I cooled down quickly after getting home last night. I have temporarily given up walking from the office building to the train station; I snag a bus and count myself blessed. Once the mercury dips to the low 90’s and stays there, I’ll resume my good habit. I do love to walk, and four blocks is just long enough to help me begin making the switch from work-life to home-life or church-life.

I have 7” worked on the back of Autumn Asters; I am 2” from the beginning of the armscye. At the moment, my yarn is not arguing with me. At the moment, the stitches flow sweetly, one after another, and my biggest problem is making myself stop knitting long enough to bathe and eat. It’s a nice problem to have, except maybe unless you have to be within six feet of me!

Don’t worry; I have a tub drawn, and I will hop in as soon as I publish this post. I am heading over to the temple for the wedding of one of my friends. When I get back to Fort Worth, I will wrap their present for the reception tonight, and I will head over to the nursing home [again] to pick up the books I forgot to pick up on Thursday, and to pay the fine on my card. I cannot believe that after eleven years of being divorced, I have incurred a late fee for books that he is reading. [Not his fault in the slightest; he let Firstborn know on Wednesday that the books needed to go back.] But still. I think this batch I delivered on Thursday may well be the last one; I know that I am my brother’s keeper. I get that. And I know that he is still my brother, if no longer my sweetheart. But I think that all I owe him at this point is civility, and gratitude for the children we brought into the world. I do not think that I need to be taking a rotation in getting him books from the library.

Girls, that thunk you just heard was me, laying the foundation for a boundary.

I think it’s going to be an interesting day. I believe in marriage, particularly in marriage for the eternities, though some of you may find that ironic in the extreme. And I am happy to support my friend, who has had far worse luck with men than I have had; her last husband was definitely a keeper, but he died instantly in a head-on collision about ten years ago. Nevertheless, weddings make me un peu triste.

It’s not about me. It’s not about me. It’s not about me. Repeat as necessary.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Back to the salt mines.

Yesterday was better in every department. Firstborn was moving around more freely, with minimal pain. She spent most of the day on the couch and let me fetch and carry for her. Her appetite was good ~ so was mine ☺ ~ we snacked on healthy stuff, drank plenty of water, and watched movies.

It was so good to see her best friend from middle school, when we lived in Fredericksburg. They are passing through on their way to a new post in Alabama, and Ping’s hubby can help Firstborn deal with the VA to tweak the children’s father’s benefits now that he is in the nursing home, because he has been dealing with the VA for his own father. [Ping is what LittleBit called her as a toddler, back when Firstborn was YaYa.] I like their girls very much, and their little boy is just precious; he’s about BittyBit’s age. I sat at the table with him while he finished his sandwich before they all went to the zoo, and I sang about the old woman who swallowed a fly.

He was wearing a shirt with a green alien head on it. When he put it on, I wise-cracked that it looked like a couple of guys I had dated. So during lunch he looks up at me and says, “Tell me about those two aliens you dated.”

Between the warbling and the metaphors, I have probably scarred him for life.

Minimal progress on Firstborn’s sock. I switched to my 00 circ for the try-on, and my gauge is subtly more airy. I think I will frog it half an inch and put it back on the DP’s. I love the color shifts, and the yarn is relatively cool to work with in this heat. There is none of that nasty plastic feel that I sometimes pick up with nylon-infused sock yarns. It’s not splitty, and it makes a nice, even fabric. But I think that when the Madeleine Tosh comes in at the new shop, I will be all ToWHO?sies. I discovered yesterday while putting the project on my Ravelry projects page that I have been misspelling the name of this yarn. It’s not Tofootsies; it’s TOFUtsies.

The meeting last night went well, and I don’t know what to think; she didn’t seem like somebody who needed to be told to put on her big-girl panties and deal with her situation. She seemed to be coping perfectly well, and I was so tired that I may have missed something important. It will be good to counsel with the bishop about this.

How tired was I? Enough that when I came home last night, I fell asleep watching Shaun the Sheep. So I did the unthinkable; I went to bed and slept for six and a half hours.

Tonight would ordinarily be the night that I have dinner with Brother Sushi, but he has an alumni organization activity, so we have rescheduled for next Friday. I think I will just come home and put in a movie and have a bowl of cereal and go to bed early. I can already tell that this is likely to be a Cherry Coke kind of day. And I have a wedding to attend tomorrow morning at 10:00.

Or maybe I can have dinner with Trainman before he goes on vacation.

Leslye, sorry I missed you last night. I was the best candidate to go to the library and get some books for the children’s father. I was able to drop them off in his room while he had stepped out, so I didn’t actually have to talk with him. Four big thick novels, girls, and they’re due back on the 30th. Not one of them a romance as he requested: two historical novels about the founding fathers, one I had never heard of by Charlotte Bronte, and something by James Patterson.

Maybe one of you girls can explain to him why I will never, ever, knowingly pick up a romance novel for him. [I gave them up long ago, for myself.] I would really rather not be in this part of the loop at all, but maybe it is building character and I just don’t know it. You might want to tell him that if he mentions the word romance again in my presence, I am likely to empty both metaphorical barrels into him and then beat him with the metaphorical gun-stock. Which might send his 102-year-old roommate into cardiac arrest.

As Mammy Yokum used to say, “I has spoken.”

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Comforting the afflicted, and vice versa.

Everything came out all right. [Except some of the words from my mouth when I was at the chapel last night; details to follow.] Firstborn sailed through her surgery and came out talking, according to her recovery room nurse. 1BDH nipped out to pick up her prescriptions, and I stood guard. When he came back, I ran a couple of errands and went over to their house to wait. Lark and I had watched most of Penelope by the time they arrived. I had seen a preview on one of the DVD’s I bought recently.

I am leaving soon to make sure she doesn’t overdo it today. She is on all kinds of meds, some of which tend to make one feel bulletproof. I will be there to catch the bullets with my teeth, if necessary.

I started her socks yesterday afternoon. Multiple times. But the toe increases are galloping along, and I am reasonably pleased with the yarn. I am knitting the Tofootsies on 00 DP’s. I may or may not switch over to my circs to finish the job. For myself I prefer a fatter, sproingier yarn, but for her first pair of handknit socks this may prove an excellent choice.

I had one of those situations last night that makes RS presidents want to tear out their hair. A sister who at the moment has no fixed residence and wanted a food order from the Bishop’s Storehouse. Yesterday. Or preferably the day before. She is temporarily living with a parent in another ward. She was not happy with me when I told her [upon instructions from our bishop] that his hands were tied, and that she needed to contact the bishop in the ward where she now resides. I am new at this. I was perhaps less than graceful in telling her. But she was sitting two chairs away from me in the hall outside the bishop’s office when I told one of his counselors about my daughter’s surgery and about the children’s father’s situation and my eyes started leaking.

She did not get snarky with me. She was actually quite civil. She also made it abundantly clear that she was not going to contact the other bishop, the one who could help her.

Oye. To the veh.

And tonight I am making a visit to another sister, during which I will probably have to tell her in my newly-acquired Relief Societese to put on her big-girl panties and just deal. I remarked to Heaven this morning, or possibly just to the ceiling, that I was beginning to understand why the Savior occasionally got on a boat and headed for the other side of the lake. [And I’ve only been doing this for two and a half months. The one thing that is certain, is that by the time I can do this calling well, I will be released and called to serve in another growth opportunity.]

I’m OK, really. I will be fine once my kid is not walking around holding a pillow to her tummy and I have eaten my weight in chocolate. I got a head start last night. As well as almost a full seven hours of sleep.

More progress on the sock since I got here to Firstborn’s. Still increasing. And increasing. And increasing. But I think we are almost to the point where I can try it on her dainty little foot. I am so glad that she has small feet; she’s the only one in this tribe who does.

I’m off to do my impression of a good mommy. Wish me luck!

In which we have more adventures.

It is getting to be a regular Tuesday night thing. I walk out of Knit Night. My right front tire is low, or in the case of last night, flatter than a flitter. I hie meself to Firstborn’s, and 1BDH fixes my flat.

But in between the oh-dear-ing and the hie-ing, there was a cop.



With permission, Monica got a picture from the rear, as he didn’t want his face on my blog. Pity. It was such a nice face. While he was putting his gloves back in his trunk, I signed to Monica’s daughter, “Cute!!!”

She of course cracked up and turned around to translate for the group. When I looked back seconds later, they were all giving a big thumbs-up.

Random factoid: at 4:56 this morning, the time was 4:56 7/8/09. And will be again at 4:56pm, if you don’t observe military time.

Edifying quotation [sent out by the office manager, who never ceases to amaze me: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit.” (Aristotle)

Random factoid the second: I met Lark’s boyfriend last night. Looks you right in the eye, and a good firm handshake.

I got that far in drafting this post before the drowsies overtook me. I am heading out shortly for Firstborn’s surgery. Leslye, I will bring that slipcase that needs to be handed on; not sure if I will get by your place today or tomorrow. First I need to refill Lorelai’s tank, and my own. So glad that Whataburger is right next to the Shell station!

Knit Night sisters, I will try to post results of her surgery on the board when I am at Firstborn’s later this morning; failing that, I will text Monica and see if she can post on my behalf. Prayers and positive thoughts, y’all. I am astounded at what they can do laparoscopically these days: pull your left big toe out through your eyebrow! Or something like that.

Yes, I have my knitting. Three bags full... What I am lacking at the moment is chocolate, but I know how to fix that.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Getting a Grip

I finished the first sleeve before bedtime last night and just finished the second one.



I will weave in the last of the ends once I get to work this morning. I suspect my fellow commuters would be happier if I were not wielding a bodkin in their general vicinity! I cast on the ribbing for the back section several weeks ago, and it’s waiting for me in my knitting bag. Once I have those stitches on the larger needle for the body, I will probably go ahead and work the ribbing for both fronts and set them aside until later.

Our vacationers are back from Florida. This is what they brought me...



...a cute gator mug filled with salt-water taffy. [You may safely assume that the taffy is history.] And I am pleased to report that by the end of the day, my desktop was ship-shape. I have a whale of a lot of work to crank out today, before I am off for two days to watch over my daughter as she recovers from surgery. I hope there is room in my knitting bag for my Wonder Woman cape. I think I might need it.



That sign hangs on the door to my office manager’s office. Several times last Thursday I was tempted to walk fifteen steps and take it off the doorknob and beat myself with it. [Or anybody else who was within range.] Yesterday went a whole lot better. I am hoping that today is better still. I think our team will be fully-staffed today; that would certainly make it easier to get all my items crossed off my list.

Time to figure out what I’m wearing to work today and what I want to eat for breakfast. I have peanut butter and crackers and the last of the carrot sticks in my lunch bag in the fridge at work. I wasn’t very hungry yesterday; I came home and had a bowl of cereal with strawberries while I watched Time Bandits for my Family Night activity.

Knit Night tonight, with neat stuff for show and tell. And I’m hoping for a nice chat on the train with Trainman; the office manager sent our IT wizard and me home 45 minutes early yesterday because we had both worked through lunch on Thursday. I texted Trainman to tell him I was on the 4:35. He texted back to say that he was jealous and would see me tonight.

It was a little weird to be home so early, but also nice to have that extra hour for knitting and relaxing.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Forgiveness and Permission and Tiptoeing through the Tulips

Here is the situation: my friend Brother Stilts joined the church a number of years ago. He died a year and a half ago, without having gone to the temple to complete his covenants with the Lord. If baptism is the first ordinance that opens the way to spending the eternities in the presence of the Father and the Son [and it is], then the image that comes to mind is of him standing in the spirit world with one foot stuck in the door and one foot stomping about in the petunias.

I wasn’t sure how to go about getting the rest of his work done, as he was a dear friend but not a blood relative. And his living family is not LDS and is in fact outspokenly anti. I talked with one of the family history specialists in our ward, who referred me to somebody with deeper and broader knowledge.

I recently had the opportunity to speak to that individual, who said that the Church used to have a specific policy in cases like this, but now it is perhaps better to just go with the Spirit. At which point I started weeping. The surest way for me to know that I am inspired about something, is when my tear ducts start tingling and then overflowing.

So I came home and printed up the paperwork to take to the temple to get his work done. If he had been a friend who was not LDS at all, I would have contacted his family for permission to do the work. But since he was already a Latter-Day Saint, it didn’t seem to make any sense to contact them and almost certainly have them turn me down.

I am not a big advocate of It is easier to get forgiveness than permission. I hated it when the childrens father said it to me. I hated it when the kids grew up and said it to me. It makes my inner Pharisee [jots and tittles, jots and tittles, never mind the Spirit of the law, stick to the letter of it] positively cross-eyed with frustration. And now I am second-guessing myself.

But I can’t deny the way I felt when I made the decision to just do it. I am quite sure that Brother Stilts will find a way of letting me know if he’s unhappy that I’m doing this. I hope I will be privileged to find out that this is exactly what he wanted done. And I’m hoping that this will not mean he gets a heavenly reassignment. Every so often I get the impression that he is watching over LittleBit and me. I would hate to lose that. But I want him to have the flexibility to serve wherever the Lord needs him.

Potluck went well last night. Fireside was interesting and inspiring. We had a decent turnout, considering it was the tail end of a holiday weekend. And we had a good turnout of the marrieds in our ward to come serve dinner and clean up. I need to write some thank-you notes...

Not much knitting yesterday. None at church; I had a stupor of thought when I looked at the pattern before church started, and I was too busy from the time that welfare meeting began until we said our last amen at the end of Relief Society. But I did put a few rows on my friend’s teal lace scarf while waiting to pick up one of my friends.

Some foreshadowing:



That child’s sock blocker is the first antique I bought, back in the early 1980s. It has survived every move in the last 25+ years. I bought it at Addison’s Inkwell when I was working there one day a week and pregnant with Middlest. Never dreamed that one day I would be knitting socks. And liking it!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Seen Hereabouts

I have been meaning to take a picture of this tree for months. It’s near my friend Jill’s house.



And this porch is just a few blocks from my own. It’s especially pretty when lit up at night. That is a terra cotta dog, and not the real thing. I had to look twice, myself.



Fourthborn says my doll is paid for and should ship within the next two months. As I am famous [infamous?] for not delivering birthday gifts on time, i.e., buying/making ahead of need, wrapping, putting in a safe place, and finding it three years later, this timing on her part is no biggie.

When LittleBit was still little, I bought a LambChop puppet for her, wrapped it, found it I think in time for her eleventh birthday. [Correct me if I am wrong.] I have part of Fourthborn’s this-year present here at the house. I just looked for it, and found it within a minute and a half. Whether the same holds true in October, is anybody’s guess.

I liked Spidey1. I thought the casting was excellent. Tobey Maguire makes a more convincing high school senior than Travolta did as Vinnie Barbarino on Welcome Back, Kotter. The DVD came with a bonus disk, and I listened to most of that. I don’t always watch the bonus tracks, but sometimes they make good background noise for knitting. Of which there was a lot. The sleaves are nearly finished.

I also watched Spidey2 and liked it. Both of them excellent fairy tales, full of choices, consequences, and accountability. I liked that Doc Ock chose not to die a monster. [I have minimal faith in deathbed repentance, but that’s a discussion for another day.]

I stayed home until around 9:00pm, when I dashed out for a quick snack and to mail off a couple of bills and watch the fireworks. A lovely, restful, productive day; just what the NotDocOck ordered.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Fun at the Yarn Shop

Yesterday was one amazing day. Here you have the ribbon cutting at Whirled Fibers, done inside because this is Texas, and the store faces west, and the door handle was already getting warm.



I won the first door prize! The grand prize [the Namaste bag, which is every bit as lovely as Monica said] will be given away at the final drawing today. I am not disappointed, however; not in the least.



Enough Buffalo Gold Lux laceweight to make a cowl. I squealed. I shrieked. I very nearly jumped up and down. I did the Sandra Bullock thing with my hands. There were also tiny hanks of Harrisville Tweeds, and an “I speak Knitty” button in the bag. The skein is cinched with a strap of buffalo hide, and one of the other knitters commented that it would make an excellent napkin ring.

Those are not my HiyaHiya needles in the back. I did come home with three sets: 4-aughts, 5-aughts, and 6-aughts, very reasonably priced and lovely to behold. [Middlest, honey, these will be perfect for doll clothes.]

I bought a ball of Tofootsies in a lilac ragg, to make birthday socks for Firstborn. Some of the sisters at Knit Night really love this yarn, and I am looking forward to working with it. She has seen the yarn and spent a fair bit of time smooshing it while we chatted. I figure that I’ll cast on while she is in surgery next week and work on it while I’m at her house. Just a pair of simple, basic socks because the yarn is busy. She has the smallest feet of all my girls, so I might get one sock done while I’m there. Maybe a sock and a half. We’ll see.

1BDH found the nail in Lorelai’s tire and plugged it. He topped off her refrigerant, which was low, and there is either an electrical or mechanical problem that he doesn’t have the equipment to find. The earliest I can take it in to the dealership is on the 31st, which is one of those lovely third-paychecks and gives me lots more take-home. But I think I will try to tough it out until my bonus next spring and stock up on bottled water to carry with me. I have other fish to fry with that extra money.

I may very well change my mind by the 31st.

On my way out of town, I followed this Jeep. I was able to decipher most of the banner across the windshield, upside down and inside-out, but not all of it. He pulled into a parking lot, and I followed him and waited until he was out of the car to take this:



I took some of the ribbon I bought on the way home Friday night and bundled up my 2008-2009 planner pages and put them in the new, labeled box. I cut the ribbon for the current years pages while I was at it; the rest of the roll is now on that dowel in my studio. I also made a new label for the misspelled magazine holder and created one for the new [purple] one which will hold my cooking magazines and go in the hall, with my cookbooks and culinary mysteries. The empty binder and slipcase are by the front door, for the next time I am in Arlington; I think I will take Leslye up on her kind offer to get them to their new home.

And then I curled up on the couch and got reacquainted with Runaway Bride. Not one scrap of knitting while it was on, though I got two hours of knitting in at the shop in the morning, and another half hour or so at Firstborn’s while 1BDH worked on the car. So I am feeling a little more balanced this morning.

We are 1 for 2 on the stealth church visits. She was pleasant, almost cordial as we chatted briefly on the porch. My companion used to be her visiting teacher, several years ago, and never was able to make it into the house. But the sister said that next weekend would be a better time to visit, as she had company. We are encouraged, and we will be back next weekend. Nobody answered at the other house, but we will try again after church tomorrow.

My goal for today is to not leave the house and to not get out of my jammies. I might nip out when it’s time for the fireworks. I haven’t gone down the block to watch this year, not even once, though I’ve certainly heard them. I just want to putter and knit and watch movies and eat cold cereal.

I’ll let you know how that goes.

And before I forget, a happy 4th of July to my readers here in the States.

Friday, July 03, 2009

She putters. She sleeps. She only thinks about knitting.

Yesterday was one of those days from the warm place, and I do not mean Houston. But I got everything done that was urgent and most of the stuff that was truly important, some of which was both.

I went to the temple, visited with a friend while she waited for another friend to prepare for one of the sessions, served briefly, sat again in the foyer [out beyond the recommend desk, where the comfy couches are] and read most of the fifth chapter of Alma, then sat there with my head down as if I were reading and thought about things and prayed a little and waited for the sun to get further down the sky.

We shut down the office at 4:00. I didn’t really get lunch, though I nuked my leftover fried rice and nibbled it while transcribing three tapes. So I didn’t have the energy or the stamina to go on a session; it didn’t help that I had had some Cherry Coke midway through the first tape, just to keep going, and it fizzled out of my bloodstream pretty quickly once I got to the temple.

I left about a quarter to six and headed up to Entertainmart, where they were having a sale: 3 for $9. I brought home the first two Spiderman movies, neither of which I’ve seen, and Runaway Bride, which I loved when it came out. Fourthborn and Fiancé are probably both picking themselves up off the floor about now. Both of them are mad for Spiderman, and I’ve always been meh. Maybe the Cherry Coke made me do it?

This is what I did when I got home.



Labels for my magazine holders, 14pt kellsround boldface on linen-textured card stock in my favorite shade of yellow. And this one misspelled. [I’ll be fixing that; I told you it was a rough day!] For symmetry’s sake, I did end up swapping out holders with the one in the living room that holds my cross stitch magazines and leaflets. And I’ve made labels for the box that holds my archived planner pages and the one I’ll buy later today to hold last year’s and this year’s.

The dragon is one I bought at Scarborough Faire. And no, her name is not Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, or Thyme. I suppose I ought to put her in the cabinet with my sheep, but she seems quite content to be hanging out with Georgia O’Keeffe on top of this bookcase. I’ve found it prudent not to bicker with dragons...

I don’t think I knit a single stitch yesterday, though I did wash two pairs of socks and block the stealth project. I think I was in bed by 10:30. Woke up at 3:14 for a drink of water and went right back to sleep and got up for good at 6:46. There will definitely be knitting on the agenda today.

I will also be there for the ribbon-cutting at Whirled Fibers in Duncanville. Middlest’s birthday present was given to her back in March, when I finished the February socks for Sock Knitters Anonymous. I have something in mind for Firstborn, and I am hoping to find the perfect yarn at this new shop owned by Monica’s friend. The only man-made fiber in that store is the nylon in some of the sock yarn. Fiber snob heaven! I can’t wait!

The yarn shop is very near a shop that carries designer samples, where I bought my black wool skirt several years ago, and which also carries trays and trays of buttons used by local designers on their wares.

Yarn and buttons. Be still, my heart!

I am also going to get my glasses frames tweaked [again] and have 1BDH check out the A/C and tires on Lorelai. Tonight my VT companion and I are making a couple of stealth visits to sisters. We just show up on their doorsteps and see if they’re still breathing, if they need anything, and if they have even the slightest interest in coming back to church. [Sometime between now and dinner, I will be needing to get in touch with my inner Steel Magnolia.

I want to hang up a few pictures today, but mostly I plan to knit. And maybe tomorrow I will have a pretty purple Namaste knitting bag to show you; it’s one of the door prizes.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Heaven really *is* in the details!

Yesterday morning, I was trying to find where I’d put my T-pins when I moved everything out of my bedroom in order to paint. I have a small project that needs to be blocked so I can enclose it in Middlest’s birthday card.

I was bewailing this in an email to a friend.

Oh, this is too funny. I just spent five or ten minutes rummaging in boxes that are stacked in the hall. I looked to my left midway through [that] paragraph and saw where the little box of pins had slipped sideways between two Spacemakers that hold knitting needles.

Behold:



OK, technically that’s between a Spacemaker and the tin that holds my ribbon art bonbons. What a great way to start my day! And the day just got better and better.

Anne Perry’s latest column on Meridian reminded me that I used to wonder the same thing. What if I went through my whole life, thinking I was serving Him, and I found out at the end of it that I hadn’t, and that I didn’t recognize His voice?

Things that made me feel happy yesterday:
  • The two lights at my work station are now connected to a power source, instead of a dead wall. Let there be light!
  • I finished closing all the files for June.
  • I sent out all the client survey letters for one of my attorneys and prepared them for the other.
  • Another inch on each sweater sleeve.
  • A good meeting with my new Visiting Teaching Coordinator
As we speak, there are two pairs of socks [and the stealth project] soaking in Eucalan. In less than ten minutes, the timer will go off, the socks et al will drain for a bit, and I will get ready for work. I am driving in again today, because I am heading straight for the temple after work. A few hours spent in that peaceful, quiet, holy place will reset my internal clock to Heaven Standard Time.

[And tomorrow there will be a new yarn shop to explore...]