About Me

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

Friday, April 30, 2010

8/10ths of a Mile of Laceweight

Look what followed me home on Thursday night:

Courtesy of Brother Sushi, for my birthday. This is 1460 yards of Baruffa Cashwool, 100% extra fine merino. Feels like cashmere. What am I going to make from it? Something decadent and spectacular, but first I’m going to keep it right here on the tray for my printer, where I can grab it every so often and squoosh it. It’s blacker than a bill collector’s heart, so cables and nupps will not show up very well. You could wear this right next to your skin, and all you would feel is warm.

I also bought two little paillettes [spellcheck gives alternatives of palettes, Gillette, Willette, and painkillers; droll!] made of mother-of-pearl, which will become a pair of earrings. Or a pair of Round Tuits.

This was my last day to be a word processor. When I wake up in the morning, I will be a legal secretary. If I do not get up from this chair and head on into my boudoir, when I wake up in the morning I will have QWERTYUIOP reverse-embossed into my forehead.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ladies glow.

As in, “horses sweat, men perspire, ladies glow.” I am loving these early morning workouts! I added 20 minutes on the treadmill yesterday and am finding that a 20 minute amble at 2-3 mph is the perfect way for me to wake up and start moving. Then it's 25-30 minutes on the recumbent bike while reading. [Ah, reading! how I have missed thee!] And I'm out, less than an hour after I walked in, with all sorts of endorphins bubbling and squeaking as they pinball around in my innards.

This morning, whilst on the treadmill, I had the misfortune to be face-to-screen with first, an infomercial for a tool that steams and sterilizes everything in one’s house. That one was merely boring. The next one was for a gizmo that allegedly treats E/D. People, there are no E’s in my household! Functional or dys-. Let me just say that the last six minutes or so of treadmill time seemed far longer than the first fourteen!

I am reading, and enjoying, Sharon Kay Penman’s novel about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. I have just reached the part where Thomas Becket, having been made a priest and then Archbishop of Canterbury almost overnight, has suddenly become religious and handed over his seal as chancellor. Which pleaseth not the king.

I like Eleanor, as written. I like her mother-in-law, Maude, whose musings on the vagaries of aging echo some of my own thoughts. I think both of them would have loved Relief Society and the LDS Church, had it been around when they were. I can just see Eleanor as a Primary president in ward council, explaining to the brethren that parents needed to pick up their children from the nursery promptly after church, or they would be fostered into other royal households or sold into serfdom.

I can imagine Maude telling the Young Women to keep their minds on God and their knees together, and to get every scrap of education they can, because they couldn't, back when she was a girl, and women need to be both smart and wise.

My willful, miscreant ankle, the one that ebbs and flows with the moon, is almost instantly happier now that I am moving around more. I love the new walking shoes. One of the train engineers complimented me on them last night, said they were snazzy and looked very comfortable. He’s right on both counts. I didn’t tell him they were guy shoes and he could probably have a pair just like them if he knew where to shop. I just smiled demurely and thanked him.

Lunch and snacks are packed. Everything I ate yesterday, with the exception of a few gummi bears last night and a handful of red hot jelly beans at work, was healthy. I have no idea what I’m going to wear, once I am out of the shower, but I have half an hour to figure that out. Taking the yarn money that I got for my birthday, to work with me, since I have noodled around so long here at the keyboard that I will need to drive in, and the temple [sigh...] is closed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Brother Stilts’s work is done!

Some kind soul, almost certainly a friend from my ward, finished the temple ordinances on my birthday. I logged in bright and early yesterday to New Family Search to see if he was still waiting, and he was no longer on my list. So I did a search, and there he was: 17 April 2010! At which point I gasped, "Oh!!!" and burst into tears.

One of his parents is still living, and the family is not exactly crazy about the Church [he was a member; I didn’t go behind anyone’s back to complete what he didn’t finish while in mortality], so I think the chances of my getting him sealed to his parents before the Millenium are somewhere between slim and none (or Slim and Nun, as one of the birthday cards I once gave him, had it).

In other news (i.e., Facebook Follies), I got a friend request from the first husband of the first wife of the husband of my first child. In other words, Willow’s dad. Which I accepted. I have Willow’s mom blocked; she is only one of two individuals currently blocked. [The other is some strange dude who contacted me for, shall we say, marital activities; and no, I am not talking about NintendoMan, who both knows the rules and lives them.]

Precious little knitting got done yesterday, but I had a great nap mid-afternoon, and when I woke up the yard was mown and the YardDudes had even moved my trash bin to the side of the house. Yes, I fell asleep while they were mowing the back yard and weed-whacking that side of the house. Now that the babies are grown, I may not sleep long, but I sleep like the dead.

I also did not get any painting done, but I thought about it.

We had a great RS meeting last night: the basics of home canning, taught outside because the gym floor has been refinished, and the fumes were overwhelming. So I may or may not be able to make it through all my church meetings on Sunday; we shall see. We had three priesthood brethren there to provide security and to ride herd on the little kids, whom they kept running and playing games out on the lawn on the north end of the property.

Lots of fun, lots of good questions, and fresh bread with apple butter for dessert, plus a plate of brownies. I woke up late enough from my nap that there wasn’t time to cook anything or run through the drive-in, so I cut a serving of garlic Jack and sliced up a Pink Lady apple.

Had a good workout at the gym yesterday and another today. I’m so glad that I did this for myself. I’m taking strawberries and grapes and carrot sticks to snack on, and a fresh jar of natural peanut butter and two slices of whole-grain bread. Just took a pan of pigs in blankets out of the oven, ate two, and the rest are going into the fridge now that they’ve cooled.

Yes, this is convert zeal, but I am going to thoroughly enjoy it for however long it lasts!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Now it can be told!

When my attorney and I were walking to lunch on Friday, he told me that the office manager had asked him if he thought I were ready to be promoted, and he had told her, “without question, unless you are giving her to somebody else, in which case not a chance”. I roared! And on his written recommendation, which went to Corporate, he said that he thought I had the capacity to become one of the best secretaries in the office. [And added that he (still) preferred not to share me with the other attorneys.]

So I was already flying pretty high when I came home from lunch. The office manager pulled me into her office a little before 4:30, and the managing attorney was sitting in the corner grinning. And I knew something was up. Needless to say, I accomplished nothing of significance from that point until quitting time. And I had to sit on the news all weekend.

They announced my promotion at work yesterday. My work duties will remain the same for the interim: the stuff I do for Attorney #1, all of Attorney #2’s dictation, and scheduling half of Attorney #3’s docket. They will be hiring somebody young and inexpensive for the front desk and moving my friend the receptionist into the back with the rest of us; I am so happy for her, and this will be good for office morale in general. The office manager really loves to be able to promote from within.

We have a secretary going out on maternity leave in a few weeks, and no doubt my duties will be tweaked when that happens. I am excited, and only a little nervous. If I keep doing the things that I know I should be doing in my personal and religious life, Heavenly Father will help me to learn the things I need to know at work, in order to succeed and grow. I could not have gotten this far without His help, and I am so thankful!

The promotion takes effect on the 1st of May, and my raise will hit on the 21st. This is a level adjustment on top of the raise I just got, so in a little less than one month’s time my salary will have increased enormously, at least by my standards. [I will be making what professionals earned in Boise when I was young, but that was a very long time ago. Shortly after the rocks cooled. And as somebody (Casey Stengel? apparently not, but that very last quote about blame is priceless; you’ll have to click through to more quotes) once said, “A million bucks ain’t what it used to be.”]

I contacted the credit union and asked them to pull another $50 per paycheck to throw onto the line of credit. And I am going to factor in a purchase, every other month or so, to complete my year's supply. I think it would be really cool to be obedient with that (finally, totally) about the same time that I am out of debt. And then I could concentrate on hard stuff, like learning to garden, and turning cartwheels.

Had dinner last night with Trainman, my nickel. An upscale taqueria near the hospital district. Ate lightly so that there would be room for the white chocolate crème brulée, which was mighty tasty, but still not as good as Brother Sushi’s.

I’m off today. No major goals; I’m just going to let the Spirit nudge me wherever I need to go. I am dressed to go to the gym, but the keyboard was calling my name. The bits of me that the massage therapist worked on yesterday, are mighty tender this morning. Thankfully, a good workout and a nice poaching in the shower will take care of a lot of that. And I have a great book to read while on the recumbent bike.

Relief Society tonight. Be there or be square! My second counselor even set up a Facebook page for us.

Monday, April 26, 2010

D.C. al Fine.

Which is Italian for go back to the beginning and muddle through until you get to the end. Or, alternatively, another one bites the dust.

Mene mene tekel upharsin. [NintendoMan was weighed in the balance, and found wanting.] As Secondborn remarked after stake conference, he may be temple-worthy, but he is not presently Mom-worthy. Et Maman perd la patience. Which is French for Mom is got fed up.

The good news continues to be, that every No I say, gets me closer to a blessed and eternal Yes.

More good news is that long ago, I took to heart something that I read: when a man says he’s not good enough for you, he is always telling you the truth. And in this case, we have the testimony of three witnesses: NintendoMan, Secondborn, and the whisperings of my own heart.

I am glad that I gave him a second chance. And I am done, and moving on. With no inclination to warble this song. [Also without the crankiness I felt when I kicked Brother Abacus to the curb.] I’m staying friends with this one, if from a distance for awhile. He is truly a good man; he’s just not my good man.

I had been postponing some minor decisions because if we were going to be a couple, they would be unnecessary. Now, at least, I know that I can go ahead and paint the hall, because I won’t need to be looking for a larger house in a year or so. I may tackle the parts with no furniture tomorrow, after an early morning trip to the temple, and then I can move the bookcase and finish up this weekend. (Or not.) And either the living room or my studio, in June.

There was major knitting progress throughout the day, and into the night. I celebrated my freedom by sitting on the bed, listening to the back half of Butterfly, reveling in all that glorious noise, and making up my own translations for what was going on. Try it sometime; it’s more fun than reading Koreanglish on dolly websites!

I set the alarm for 4:00am and trucked on over to the health club. I did not join up to please NintendoMan, or anybody else. I did it to take care of Ms. Ravelled. Another reason to go so early, besides the main one (no competition for the recumbent bicycle and other equipment) is that Bueno is closed at that hour. I had a great workout, and I came home hungry and happy.

Can’t wait to get to the office; one of our committees has arranged for a massage therapist to come this afternoon, and I will be enjoying a half-hour chair massage. I have the cash tucked safely away in my wallet.

There is other good news, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. Do I know how to keep all y’all on the edge of your seats, or what?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Yesterday was a pretty good day.

Filled with mostly happy surprises.

I found a pair of walking shoes that fit, in colors that I like (black and red), at what seems to be the going rate for “a reasonable price”. I could quibble, but if they cost roughly four times what my last pair cost, maybe they will last me for eight years instead of two.

I’m saving the old ones to wear when I work on the Habitat build next month. After which, they will be unceremoniously retired.

When I was driving up to the temple last Thursday night, one of the DART buses had a vinyl skin [in various tones of scarlet] advertising Madama Butterfly, which the Dallas Opera is performing next month. And the tag line, “We’ll have you seeing red”. I thought that might be a nice use for some of my bonus money. So yesterday morning I went online to price tickets, which is when I decided to just buy the CD for now and become familiar with the plot and the arias, and in a few more years, when I am well and truly out of debt, I can spring for one of the good seats and not feel like a Philistine.

I had a 33% off coupon at a big-box bookstore. I spent it on the Maria Callas recording. There are three CD’s: two for the performance, and one which contains the libretto and related materials. I sat on my bed and knitted through the first CD yesterday. I’m reasonably familiar with the story, and I know some of the music. It was interesting to sit there and listen for repeating themes, and to try to figure out what was going on by the flavor and intensity of the music. I’ll listen to the second CD in the same fashion, once I am home from stake conference this afternoon.

I also had a birthday coupon from Coldwater Creek for $10 off a purchase. I found a cute pair of earrings [stars from some kind of shell, embellished with silver inlay] and brought them home for $6 and change. I wore them to the Saturday session of stake conference last night, and to the dance in Arlington afterward.

The themes last night were patience [we are not amused], obedience, having true love and charity in our hearts, and other topics that I needed to hear. I took a lot of notes.

Will slip out the door shortly for the Sunday session, in hope that I am not too late to get a good parking space, and a good seat.

The dance last night was better-than-OK. I’m not crazy about themed dances, and this was an 80’s dance. Had I known, I might have stayed home. But the DJ did a good job of keeping things lively, and he found something I could line dance to, and the treats were yummy.

There is definite good news in one aspect of my life, but it’s still a stealth project for now. There is sad news as well: the Taco Cabana a few miles down the road is either remodeling or is becoming a different restaurant. When I turned into the driveway yesterday afternoon, there were workmen inside and out, hammering and banging and make a dust of things. And not a Cabana Bowl in sight.

And I have Not. Clue. One. what is going on with NintendoMan.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Maybe she’s right.

Middlest commented yesterday: “You’re asking the question too loudly. Ponder it quietly without asking, and the answer will come.”

Except that we are exhorted to ask, to seek, to knock. And I have always struggled with how long to ask: when does it become nagging? And to seek: what if I have my ladder leaning against the wrong wall? And to knock: am I supposed to knock politely, once? to hammer on the door until my knuckles are bruised and bleeding? to search every square inch of door and door frame and adjacent wall for a doorbell?

And then there is the matter of pondering, quietly or otherwise. Pondering thrives upon quiet, chiefly internal quiet, but also a certain measure of external quiet. And the temple is frequently one of the best places for pondering, in those peaceful moments after I have consecrated a few coins of my life ~ my time ~ in service to others. It just wasn’t, Tuesday night, and I felt frustrated and sad. (Last night was better.)

I think. A lot. [I don’t know where I fit on the thinking continuum, compared with others of Heavenly Father’s children. Sometimes I feel as if my brain were a child hopped up on Easter candy, bouncing around the walls of my brainpan.] Back in the Bad Old Days when I cycled in and out of depression, thinking was one of the few things that I did. Some of it productive, much of it not.

I am trying to figure out what is going on with NintendoMan and me. Or if anything is. He’s busy. I’m busy. Our diurnal clocks are several hours apart. And then there is the matter of Guy Standard Time, and Girl Standard Time, wherein if a week goes by without conversation, they are perfectly fine, while we just know that something is wrong.

By the grace of Heaven, I have chipped away at old insecurities over the years, until most days my “baggage” will fit neatly into the small tool bag in which I carry my DP’s, my folding scissors, and my tapestry needles. I can usually subdue them by looking them squarely in the eye and wagging a finger at them. But for some reason, this week they have all ganged up on me, and they are brandishing spare DP’s, and they are shrieking.

Thankfully, this is payday, the really nice payday that I wait once a year for, and retail therapy is an option. I started making a list of needs and wants last night. Among the needs? new walking shoes, additions to my food storage, the health club membership, and a bunch of other things that I can’t remember at the moment. [This is why I write things down.] Among the wants? swim shoes. That way the happy chlorine in the pool at the health club can work its magic on my sore foot, without my sore foot making other people sore.

My attorney is taking me to lunch today, a combination of birthday lunch and Administrative Assistants Week. He told me I could have double portions of anything I want.

Fine. I'll take Sean Connery and Leonardo da Vinci. To go.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Would you believe...

...that I was out, rolling drunks in the park? I didn’t think so.

Yeah, I missed y’all too. But I had set my alarm for 6:00am, and I was determined to be on the train, in order to maximize my knitting time, which gave me roughly half an hour to shower, foof my hair, find something clean to wear, and head out the door. Ergo, no blogging.

Why did I allow myself to sleep in until the decadent hour of 6:00? Because I didn’t get to bed until midnight [not because I had been smooching in the moonlight, because I hadn’t, drat the luck]. I went to the temple after work, but I noodled around enough between work and there that I missed all the early sessions and had to go on the 8:00pm one. I learned two things last night: (1) that session is way too late for an early riser like me and (2) a Big Mac wrap and fries and a non-caffeinated beverage do not provide enough protein, or enough bug juice, to keep me awake at that hour.

Seriously embarrassing.

I learned something else. I can’t hear the whisperings of the Spirit when others are whispering in the celestial room after a session. No matter how quietly and reverently they might be whispering. I really needed some answers Tuesday night, and the other patrons truly were being considerate of the rest of us, and still it was too much interference for where I was, spiritually and emotionally, that night. I walked out into the hallway afterward, and the sealing room was empty, with the draperies open. I stood in front of a window and looked inside longingly and let the tears run down my cheeks. I cried a little more on the drive home, and then I came home and puttered a bit longer and went to bed.

I would suspect PMS, except the M’s have left the building. It is more likely the fact that we will be having stake conference this weekend. I am looking forward to a spiritual feast, and no doubt the Bad’Un would like to interrupt my rejoicings.

I had another peaceful, productive day at work, and much knitting progress throughout the day. This is where I was when I logged onto my computer at 8:30.

This is where I was when I went to bed last night.

I am driving in again today. I am going to the temple again tonight. And unless I get a better offer, I am coming straight home and hoping for an early bedtime but not crossing my fingers.

And sometime today, I am finishing the knitting portion of the tuffet.

[Still no pictures from my kids from the party on Sunday night, tsk, tsk.]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

“Tuesday, Tuesday”

No, somehow I don’t think that would have been a hit for The Mamas & The Papas. [How can that song of theirs be nearly 50 years old?]

Significant knitting progress yesterday. In a little less than an inch of knitting, we have gone from 240 stitches per round, to 190. The next round will lop off another ten stitches. And that shade of gold that made me faintly nauseous when I was making the doll hat? Either I have gotten used to the transition, or it’s worked out a little differently in the skein this time, or the narrowness of the stripe is serving as visual Dramamine.

When I got to my desk yesterday morning, there was a long, skinny box that weighed about as much as a giant Hershey bar. Seriously. I thought, “She sent me a box of bumpy air?” Inside was a folk art doll with purple hair and the functional equivalent of Signature stiletto knitting needles and her own knitting bag, wearing flip-flops. Fourthborn and LittleBit should both be pleased! [I know I am.]

I think she will fit in quite nicely with the resin crew. She only looks soft and squishy. Those knitting needles will fend off all sorts of mischief and mashers. I managed to get her home last night without shanking my leg. Pictures to follow when it’s not dark-thirty outside and I’ve had another night or two of excellent sleep, like I got last night.

Ms. Ravelled is feeling a wee bit less unRavelled this morning.

The first day back at work after vacation can be gruesome. Mine was significantly better than not-bad. Chewed my way through my inbox and filed away most of the scanned mail. Closed two cases. Have two new ones to open. We got a conformed copy of the dismissal order on a third case, but the signature page was truncated; i.e., the judge's signature and that of opposing counsel was cut off from the copy the court sent back to us, so I will probably have to walk over to the court today and ask them to conform another copy.

No lunch with my attorney yesterday; he thought we had agreed on Thursday. I told him that that was when I will be relieving switchboard so the rest of my team can go out for Administrative Professionals Day (sadly, I don't get to double-dip). So, probably Friday. His former secretary says I should make him take me out for my birthday, and again for APD. I say, “Nahhh.”

Time to figure out breakfast and gather up my tote, my knitting bag, my temple bag, and however many of my marbles I can find rolling around on the couch.

Three days until I can sign up at the health club, woohoo!

Happy Tuesday, everybody, with or without a proper theme song for the day...

Monday, April 19, 2010

All Birthday, All the Time

The party was a blast! I brought home one slice of cake (my self-discipline knows no bounds!) and a bushel of great memories.

There will no doubt be pictures later in the week, after the kids email them to me. I was too busy grinning and holding babies. Lots of spontaneous hugs and run-by smoochings from the bigger Bitties. Lots of hugs and great snippets of conversation with the taller people. I hope somebody took a picture of all that food before we dug into it; I know that the cake per se was well-documented.

I need to be brief, because Bishop asked me to do something for one of the sisters in our ward, and I think I will do a better job of it if I do it now, rather than at the end of the work day. Especially since the work day will include lunch out with my attorney.

Thanks, y’all. You’re amazing!

And for those of you who come here for the knitting, enough of that happened while I was on vacation that I think I am almost ready to start the decreases on the doll hassock.

I am hoping to make it onto the train this morning. My right knee is still a little tender from all the driving I have done over the last four days. I almost wish I had taken today off as well, but I love my job and I'm ready to get back to work.

I have no idea what I want to wear today; thankfully, I have options.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Birthday Week Continues

First of all, let me say that birthday-with-Facebook is a whole lot busier than birthdays-before-Facebook. I spent a good chunk of the day sending virtual thank-you notes. Not that I am complaining, mind you; it is lovely to be remembered and celebrated. And there were some great text messages as well.

Fourthborn: Verily forsooth wench, Moose and I wisheth thee a happy birthday.
Me: I thank thee both most graciously and heartily, forsooth!

LittleBit: Hey dangerous tomato happy birthday. Word to my mother
Me: Thank you, my child with the King Cake hair! BTW Trainman will be @ the party tomorrow night.
LittleBit: Whoo we will see you tomorrow

[I knew the only thing that would drag them away from Scarbie today would be a chance to finally meet the elusive Trainman.] Scarbie = Scarborough Faire, the local and most excellent Renaissance festival. This is the time of year when the song of the bagpipe is heard throughout the land, and real men wear kilts, and there are belly dancers and codpieces and sword fights, oh my!

The funeral yesterday was simply beautiful. The chapel was full, ditto the overflow and most of the cultural hall. The music was exquisite. One of my young friends and her friend sang a duet. Lovely.

What? you mean you don’t customarily attend funerals on your birthday? Well, neither do I, and I certainly hope this is not part of the new normal, but I am thankful that I went. Afterward, I saw so many friends from my old ward and stake.

I picked up a pair of black full-soled ballet slippers at the dance shoppe in Arlington. By the time the funeral was over, and I had hugged everybody I wanted to hug, I was ready to go dancing. However, it was nowhere near time to head over to the dance, so I came home and listened to part of the audiobook while my phone charged. And then I went to Lucile’s with an honest to goodness paperback and my knitting. The lobster bisque was calling my name.

I sent NintendoMan a quick email before I left, mostly impressions of the funeral, with a side order of missing-him. I told him that it was probably just as well that he was away on business and I was here, because for the first time in my life, I understand why married couples go home after a funeral and make love. [It has little to do with lust, I think, and is more a reflection on the need for reassurance and connection.]

I just really, really wanted to be held. But there will be lots of hugs today, and good food, and great memories made. I am blessed.

The dance was fun, too. More great visits, more great hugs, decent music to dance to. Although Brother Sushi and a mutual friend ambushed me, just as I was putting on my street shoes to leave, by having the DJ play the Beatles’ birthday song, while I stood in the middle of the dance floor and several of my girlfriends played a ragged game of Ring-Around-the-Rosie around me.

I’ll get you, my pretty. And your little dog too...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me, I Live in a Tree!

I think some of my best days are those where I am, like Nephi, “led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.” Yesterday was one of those golden days. The only item for which I had an informal appointment, was visiting teaching one of our sisters. There were other things that absolutely needed to get done, but there was no specific timeline.

So what did I do?
1. a load of whites at the laundromat
2. returned my audiobooks to the library and checked out another
3. an aguacate torta at Melis for brunch
4. one perfect gingerbread man from The Bluebonnet Bakery
5. a shower where I let the water pound until it was no longer hot enough to poach me
6. visiting teaching with my partner-in-crime
7. taking her to the pharmacy
8. running by the realty to check on rentals for a sister in our ward
9. getting a call from Trainman, who has missed me
10. eating at M&O Burgers with Trainman and catching up on each other’s news
11. coming home and doing RS emails
12. sitting on the bed and listening to half of the first CD in the audiobook
13. going to bed at a sensible hour

A baker’s dozen of Good Stuff.

What’s on the agenda today, you ask? Well, originally it was an early-ish temple session with my ward, then catching part of Lark’s soccer game, ending with an afternoon session at the temple with Firstborn and Secondborn. But Firstborn has mom-stuff to do, and Secondborn has preparations for Eric’s viewing tonight and/or the official funeral on Monday (Wednesday was a memorial service that was primarily intended for his young friends). I have another funeral to go to this afternoon; I don’t know if I can do the early session at the temple and be back in time for that, and today I think the living might need me more than the dead. I may go to the dance tonight, depending upon how my foot feels, and how tender my knee is. If I do that, I could catch a late afternoon session at the temple and go on to the dance.

My nephew posted “Happy Birthday! Do something special!” on my wall on Facebook. I’m not sure that a funeral was what he had in mind, but it will probably be the most important thing I do today. [It is still better than waiting tables at a friend’s A&W when our business was dying in Fredericksburg. That’s what I did on my 41st birthday.]

You can take it to the bank that there will be knitting, interspersed with everything else.

Thank you, everybody, for being part of my life, whether you are kids or grandkids or church friends or work friends or train friends, or blog friends. You make my life rich and full and immensely interesting.

Friday, April 16, 2010

20! 20! 20!

So, I gave NintendoMan his wake-up call around 9:30 yesterday morning, and we realized that all of his church clothes were at the cleaners and couldn’t be picked up until just before his gig last night. Therefore, no temple date; we will do that another time.

Instead, he had errands in Dallas (picking up balloons for this weekend’s gig), and I had errands in Dallas, so we ran them together. I drove, and I sat in Lorelai and knitted while he was getting his balloons (the former owners of the business smoked like chimneys, so he had me wait out in the car; their daughter runs the business now, and her first item of business was to thoroughly wash down the premises and to order the smokers to take their breaks outside). Then he sat in the car while I transacted some business at my credit union, and by that time we were both ready for lunch.

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue it was. He had shrimp. I had a salmon patty. I blissed out on the macaroni salad. He liked it well enough and prefers his own. (I am that way about lasagna, so it’s not as if he were complaining, merely observing.) I got us most of the way back to Arlington when my right knee started protesting. So I pulled off at an exit and handed over the keys.

Much adjusting of seat and mirrors. He is, after all, considerably taller than I am, and he’s not used to the way I have my side mirrors canted. And after we got that taken care of, he was amazed at how much peppier my car is than his truck. I think his words were, “Whoa, this little baby wants to run!”

“Lorelai is a responsive little wench.” Archly.

He patted her dashboard and promised her she would get to play, a little. And I picked up my knitting and got back to work on the doll hassock. He thought that was funny. Hey, he’s the one who fell asleep while I was driving to the balloon store.

After lunch, we still had some time before he needed to pack for the road trip and get ready for the evening’s gig, so we went to River Legacy Park in north Arlington, found a bench under a big old tree, and watched the joggers and the rollerbladers and the bikers. One guy in camo and a full backpack walked past us, heading left. I thanked him, and he smiled. He returned maybe ten minutes later with twenty more, all of them moving at a dogtrot.

NintendoMan called out, “Hey, do you guys ever wonder ‘what am I gonna wear this morning’?” About half of them cracked up.

He drives smoothly and with confidence. I like that. I did ask him to stop a little further back from the cars in front of us at stoplights (that would be my insurance education training). And we got back to Arlington a little after 3:00, which meant two school zones between the exit and his apartment.

My style is to start slowing down about half a block before the school zone begins, so that there can be no question that Lorelai’s nose is only going 20 when she reaches that white line. His style is to go the speed limit until 50 feet before the school zone begins, brake decisively but not sharply, and enter the school zone at 20. I did not know this. So when we were about 53 feet from that white line, I started squealing, “20! 20! 20!”

I think he was more amused than annoyed.

So we put the balloons into his car, and I walked him to his door, and he said, “I’m not going to kiss you out here.”

I was still grinning when I got back to Fort Worth. I grinned at Braum’s when I picked up a fresh gallon of milk and half a gallon of orange juice and an ice cream cone. I grinned while picking up the handpainted silk ribbon I had special-ordered from The French Knot. I grinned while checking my status on Facebook, and I grinned when I turned off the lights and went to bed, happily worn out from fresh air and sunshine and good food and Nintendo-ness.

I woke up grinning a little before midnight, and here I am online at 1:18am, still grinning. I think the grin and I will head back to the boudoir and knit and listen to my audiobook until normal people are awake.

All the fun the commandments allow. Seems to be working, for me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Je suis en vacances.

I do not know if our French cousins have a word for “staycation”, but that is what I am doing.

I was fifteen minutes late to work yesterday, mostly because of traffic, and I left an hour early to come home and prepare for the memorial service. So I took an hour and a quarter of PT, and then there was the staff meeting which lasted another 2.5 hours; not a lot accomplished yesterday, but all of the most important stuff on my desk.

I very nearly went to lunch with my attorney to celebrate my birthday, but since I had consumed an entire 20-oz Cherry Coke in the course of the meeting, I was not exactly hungry, and he had a deposition beginning around the time I prefer to take my lunch. We are doing that next week, and I offered to let him combine it with the Admin Professional lunch, so he will be off the hook for that, and I can relieve switchboard while the office manager takes the rest of the admin team out. Everybody wins.

I actually got a few things done, and I remembered to set my out of office assistant and my voicemail, and I helped the scanning operator deal with the day’s mail. I don’t know why we get bombarded with mail on the days we have our monthly meeting, but it seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

By the time I got home from work a little after 5:00, my body was screaming for sleep. I had snagged (and warmed) the last of the kolaches from our meeting, for an early dinner on the drive home, and polished off my orange juice as well.

In knitting news, I have the ribbing done on the experimental doll hassock, and all the increase stitches, and a round or three of plain knitting. We are talking 240 stitches on 00 needles. To put that in perspective for you muggles, a typical sock will have from 48 to 72 stitches per round, so we are talking 3+ socks’ worth of stitches [roughly 2.5 hats’ worth of stitches on a human scale, with fatter yarn and needles].

It is interesting to see how that affects the depth of the color shifts for which Noro is so famous. I am stopping every few rounds to count stitches and make sure that I have not dropped one somewhere. Ordinarily, if I have to frog an inch on a sock, that is no big deal to me: maybe 10 rounds x 64 stitches = half an hour’s work to get back to where I was. But at 240 stitches and (I’m guessing, because there is not enough fabric knitted yet to measure it accurately) 15 rounds, well you do the math!

The memorial service for young Eric was lovely and calming and comforting. The entire chapel at the stake center was full, and maybe half of the overflow into the cultural hall (gym). 2BDH was there, and I followed him home to their house later, after having the second half of my temple recommend interview with a member of the stake presidency, who also answered a number of questions I had about the process and paperwork I will need to follow, should I choose at some future time to cancel my sealing to the children’s father and be sealed to somebody else.

I had been under the impression that a sealing cancellation sortof leaves the children floating in ecclesiastical space, but he reassured me on that matter. They cannot ever be sealed to other people than their father and I, because they were born in the covenant of eternal marriage. So they will never have to make the choice to be sealed to their father, or sealed to me and a future spouse. They are just, sealed. Period. End of discussion. And it is up to them whether they choose to live worthy of that sealing.

As I mentioned, the turnout for the memorial service was huge, and Eric’s bishop asked everybody to take a look around and notice all the people whose lives he had touched: fellow members of the swim team, orchestra students, church friends from all over, people he knew from school, their parents. And he encouraged everyone to remember that, and to endeavor to leave a similar impression upon the world. So it was good to come home from Secondborn’s and find this quotation from a latter-day prophet on my friend Kristen’s blog.

The laundromat will be open in about another hour. I am not in the mood to tackle all of Mount Washmore (I am, after all on vacation), but I will do a load of whites, and by the time I get home, NintendoMan may be up and about. I’ve joked before that it is as if he and I lived in different time zones, because he is an entertainer while I have a day job.

It will be interesting to spend time together in the middle of the day, when most people are at work, and neither of us is fighting sleep.

Time to figure out what I want for breakfast. I am hoping for L&L Hawaiian Barbecue for lunch.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Mostly I have my RS president hat on today. And a memorial service tonight for that young man. And another death on Monday that affects my flock of sisters, and two really good visiting teachers who reported a third thing back to me that Bishop and I are going to have to deal with, and I was up too late talking with NintendoMan, and I ate dinner at the place where I forgot my debit card last week and they let me write a check (just to say thank-you in a tangible way), and I sat there too long so the Distribution Center was closed by the time I got to the temple, and I had to wash out some things by hand and they are not quite dry, and I need to leave in 15 minutes, and I have no idea what I want to eat for breakfast, and Lorelai is running on empty, and I do not know if I will get the second half of my temple recommend interview tonight because I think everybody will be at the memorial service (which the non-four-year-old parts of me understand is way more important than anything else which will be going on in my stake tonight).

This post has been brought to you by the letter T, for tired, and by a grant from the Cherry Coke Foundation, which supports exhausted twitterpated single mother Relief Society presidents throughout the known world.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


My friend Alison writes as beautifully as she knits, which is saying a lot. She is also passionate about peregrine falcons.

In the two-plus years I have known her, she has weathered challenges that would have felled a lesser woman. I think that if she were to have a totem, the peregrine (and its miraculous comeback from near-extinction) would be hers.

She recently posted a link to a YouTube showing a peregrine nest, with a breeding pair, one hatched chick, and other eggs in the process of hatching. I took four minutes to watch that video, and it was a lovely start to my day.

I am thankful that in the animal kingdom there are birds and beasts which mate for life, rising above appetite and natural selection, demonstrating loyalty and tenderness and affection. Thank you, my friend, for the Parable of the Peregrine.

I am humbled, awed, amazed at how stubbornly life clings to life. Much of Creation patiently and persistently continues to do just as the Creator instructed when He said, “Let there be...” Some would say that this is because only mankind was given the agency to ponder and to choose whether to obey.

I am laughing ruefully at one manifestation of this principle in my own flesh. I spent some time, a good bit of comfort, and a modest amount of cash on Saturday to have my unruly eyebrows tamed, the menopausal moustache uprooted, and the vagrant eyebrows on my chin begone.

By Sunday night, I could feel the first prickling of unrepentant facial hair, and it was off to the loo for a tryst with the tweezers. There is one little guy who is probably visible only to me, and on Monday morning was too short to be nabbed.

Call me old-fashioned if you will. I prefer facial hair on my menfolk. Not on myself. This is a case where the glass had better not be half-full.

I can accept that The Girls and my tush have both headed south. I view with more relief than regret, the prospect of not getting pregnant should there be a honeymoon in my future. [Been there, done that, have the stretchmarks.]

But notwithstanding the fact that I will be working until the end of my days, I would rather be pushing hot fresh French bread at the grocery store, than working as the bearded lady in the circus. Even if I would get to wear sequins before dinner.

[Postscript: I nabbed that one little vagrant eyebrow after dinner last night. Tweezers 1, Bearded Lady 0. Yeehaws all around!]

NintendoMan is back from his business trip. I will be going to the temple tonight after work and am hoping to be more than marginally effective while at my desk today.

A family in Secondborn’s ward could use your prayers. Their son, a high school senior, came home for lunch and surprised two or more home invaders. 2BDH has served as one of his youth leaders. My kids are devastated. The most recent information I have from our stake’s email tree, is that the family is keeping him on life support for a day or two so that he may be an organ donor.

Life is precious. And sometimes life is fragile. If you love somebody, tell them, and hug them if you get the chance.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The feet of the duck, underwater

Some of you seem to think that I am this wise and serene lady, unruffled and gliding along on a lake that is mirror-calm. Yes, that is a part of who I am, and I am always happy when she shows up, but I don’t think I will ever get over being surprised when she does. I think if she showed up more often, I would be closer to being the woman that Heaven has in mind for me to be. Or maybe if I let her have her say more often, when she does show up.

She gets a lot of competition. There is a four-year-old inside of me, the part that wants ice cream, and wants it five minutes ago, and what do you mean you are out of German chocolate? It has been more than half a century since I was four, so I don’t remember if I liked being four, or not. I do remember that I did not particularly enjoy the years when each of my girls was four, though I loved them none the less for their fourness.

Seven was hard for me, too. I was seven when I got chicken pox, and the hard measles, with a high, high fever, and I had to sit in the dark and they wouldn’t let me read, and I found out later that Mom was afraid I would get measles encephalitis. Seven is a transitional year for Primary kids (I was not one); it is the year before we baptize our children, and it must be difficult to find oneself struggling more and more with temptation as one approaches the age of accountability.

All I remember is that I had a seven-year-old and a two-year-old, twice, and I was sliding into that dark tunnel which became eight years of episodic depression, and it was Not Fun. If I could have a do-over, I would have gotten good and mad at the children’s father for not being able to figure out how to keep a job, ten years sooner than I did, and maybe he would have gotten his act to gether, and maybe he would not have had the strokes, and maybe I would not be sitting here on the cusp of 60, trying to make up my mind whether to fall in love for what I most devoutly hope is the final time.

Eleven wasn’t much fun. I wasn’t visibly starting to develop, but there was just enough new me to be uncomfortable doing jumping jacks or side straddle hops, whatever you want to call them. [Not more than a thimbleful of cranky skin on either side of mid-line, and they didn’t really make training bras that size, but that was all that I needed for about the next six years, and then whomp! Zero to underwire in one long hot summer.] Eleven is another transitional year for church kids; it’s the year before they go into Young Women or Young Men. I had my last baby when Firstborn was 11, just at the age when she was old enough to be embarrassed that her parents were Still Doing That. At their ages. Ewww!

I don’t even want to talk about the fourteen-year-old. She won’t hang up her clothes, and she doesn’t think she should have to do the dishes, and all she wants to do is wear cute clothes and kiss boys. Thankfully, thankfully nobody wanted her when I was fourteen, or I would have fifty bajillion kids by now, one or two by each of the cute lead singers in all the bands I liked, not to mention the creepier guys I had crushes on at school (because the good guys I had crushes on, to all appearances had their minds on their grades). I was fourteen when I got the hard measles again, a medical rarity, and strep throat for the first time, and a particularly nasty case of the flu that altered my biochemistry in such a way that I am forevermore exiled from NeverTootsLand.

It was so hard not to laugh when one daughter or the other would cry, “You just don’t understand!” Because oh honey, I most certainly did. The four-year-old, and the seven-year-old, and the eleven-year-old, and the fourteen-year-old are all still very much a part of me. They have been joined by others: the twenty-three-year-old divorcée and the forty-five-year-old divorcée, and the fifty-four-year-old who got her heart broken, and the one who turns fifty-eight next Saturday and thinks that maybe she has finally gotten it right.

Maybe. And is trying to get the fourteen-year-old to just please hush and let her think. You see la la la, silver wake following the duck in the pond, and a fine looking drake preening on the bank. I feel my feet paddling like ninety, stirring up all sorts of memories under the surface, and maybe there is a carp lurking in the depths, just waiting to grab one webbed foot and have me for lunch.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blind Contour Drawing

Blind contour drawing would probably not have sounded quite so weird, or so alarming, had I not just finished reading Murr’s account of the disposal of a dead giraffe at a zoo in New Mexico. The next post I read was Woolgathering’s latest from her sketchbook.

Maybe leftover lobster fettucine would have been a better choice for breakfast yesterday; instead, I ate an individual Bundt cake one of my friends had given me, washed down with a mug of milk, followed by a nap in which I was wandering around inside my dream house again, apparently married, but to someone who was not there to help me unpack the moving van.

In cleaning up my favorites on the computer yesterday, I noticed a folder entitled Homework Help. It is now, um, history. [As is the Red Hat Society, which I deleted with significantly less giggling.]

Speaking of giggling, does anybody else find this funny?

I joined the Church when Cabernet Sauvignon was the red of choice (and the only wine I ever really liked). So I have no personal experience with Merlot. I wonder: if this bag came in a livelier shade, would they call it Scarlet Letter?

I had fun yesterday. Got my hair cut, nails filled, brows waxed and topiaried into relative submission. Had a burger and the Smash Sweet Potato Fries at Smashburger. Took a reminder call from the elders and picked up a ginormous hoagie, tub of tater salad, and two pints of fro-yo for this month’s drive-by fooding. Also a Color Stick (like a Sharpie filled with nail polish) and more garbage bags. Did my own manicure, because I didn’t like any of the colors that NailDude had. Don’t like what was in the Color Stick all that much better, but it was certainly easy to apply, even for somebody who hasn’t painted her own nails in at least 12 years.

Also found some wooden circles that might do for the hassock base, and some short wooden candlesticks that approximate Queen Anne table legs. All in all, a productive day with some much-needed primping. Unfortunately, I spent the money I had earmarked to maybe actually buy that print I have been wanting for two years, on personal maintenance, and I wore myself out driving around, so in the end I nuked some leftovers and went to bed early, in lieu of going to the Arts Festival.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Give me the simple life?

Monthly dinner with Brother Sushi last night: Maggiano’s, at NorthPark in BigD. Yes, it’s a chain, but the food was so good. Go anyway!

We had the caprese, of course, because it’s such a good way to start a meal, and the Margherita flatbread [picture a pizza that has been run over by a Hummer]. Both were delicious. The cheese on the caprese was grilled, the basil was very fresh, and the oil not excessive. He had the chicken saltimbocca with a side of spaghetti. I had the lobster fettucine. We were both ravenous, and neither of us could finish our plates, especially since we both wanted dessert. They have a dessert sampler; the crême brulée was good, almost as good as the one he makes. Almost. He’s not crazy about cheesecake, so my opinion is the one that counts: tasty, a nice balance between sweet and tart. I have his leftovers in the fridge. And my own. Best biscotti I have ever eaten, rich and dense; it comes with the chocolate zucotto cake. The apple crostada was excellent. We are going back, and we agreed that next time we are just going to get salads and head straight for dessert. There is really no need for me to cook this weekend. I think I will be having lobster fettucine for breakfast, to properly inaugurate Birthday Week.

I could have done without all the Frank Sinatra, much preferring the sensual, delicious bossa nova at Texas de Brazil here in Cowtown. But if you are a fan of Old Blue Eyes, you’ll be in heaven.

I am almost done with yet another doll hat, and I am contemplating knitting a tuffet or hassock for Blessing with the yarn that’s left, if I can find a pre-cut wooden circle for the base and something suitable for the feet at the craft store while I’m out and about today. This yarn would tone nicely with the skirt and sweater I made her, and she does look a tad uncomfortable sitting on top of the foofy dresser with Faith in her lap and her legs sticking straight out in front of her. Heaven knows that I have enough craft paint in my studio; I would have no problem matching one or more of the colors in the Noro when it comes time to seal and paint the wood.

Main Street Arts Festival today. Can’t wait!

Friday, April 09, 2010


[No, not an excessively expensive automobile with an overly loud stereo system.] For those of you who don’t click on the links in my posts, it is the courting embrace of certain amphibians, one in which actual mating does not occur. Their equivalent of holding hands at the movies.

One of the little things I miss about marriage, is curling up at the end of the day, back to back, and drifting off to sleep. Knowing that he quite literally had my back, and I, his. Had a nice brief chat with NintendoMan after I got home from the temple last night. We were both very tired, so it was not our normal typo-studded rambling conversation.

I miss him. Not in the suffocating “poor me, if I don’t see him today I will just curl up and die” way of my youth, but miss him I do. And after my groggy prayer last night, as I drifted off to sleep, I wished that it were he occupying the fallow side of the bed, and not the pile of unfolded laundry that I now need to sort through, to figure out what I am wearing to work today.

Dinner with Brother Sushi tonight, and time with BestFriend at the Main Street Arts Festival tomorrow, and it’s payday. Neither knitting project is bickering with me at the moment. So, the glass is way more than half full, and it doesn’t snore.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A post in search of a title

My friend Alison, on hope and peace and Easter and resurrection. I figured that I owed you one, after my whinging yesterday. (To my non-Anglophile children: it is too a word; you can ask my friend Chas.)

My e-statement from the credit union arrived on Monday. I have decided that it is more helpful to rejoice in debt reduction overall and to not fuss at myself because my progress in paying down my line of credit is not as fast as I would like. I am still $1260.60 less in debt than I was on the 15th of January, and that is a good thing.

I checked with them, and yes, I can send them extra payments on principal only. I plan to do that with part of my bonus, and again on the 13th and 26th paydays, when nothing comes out of my check toward debt reduction. At the end of the year, that will give me roughly the same effect as if I had paid an additional $100.00 per month on my line of credit. I have increased the amount each paycheck, effective the 23rd, but not as much as I would have wished. But as I so often tell others, direction is more important than speed.

I also went into my 401K and tweaked the amounts that went into each bucket. And I moved funds out of the lowest-performing fund and into the other buckets. I am keeping the amount of that contribution the same, at least until I am out of debt, but increasing what goes into my Roth 401K. I would be crazy not to contribute at least the amount which the company will match, into my regular 401K, and I would be crazy not to hedge that fund (which contains by far the largest share of my savings for retirement) with a Roth, where I pay taxes now but not when I withdraw them.

I now have almost a two-year supply in my 401K, and in a year and a half I could touch it without penalty. However, I am planning to live to be 100, and I am not planning to retire anytime soon, so I had better be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove when it comes to my retirement nest egg. The loss on my balanced fund wiped out my gain on bonds for the first quarter of the year, whereas my 2025 fund had an astronomical return, and my 2030 fund had one only slightly less. Do I expect that to last, or be typical? No. But I am willing to risk half or more of the balance in my balanced fund for the next quarter, and possibly through the end of the year. Not enough money to cry over if I am wrong.

I also played with various worksheets and calculators yesterday, to see how changing one factor or another would affect the funds I would have if and when I ever retire. I really do not expect to do so. I have too much fun at work, where my contributions are measurable and mostly appreciated, as opposed to the real stuff of life, which is service to friends and family. The results there are less immediately tangible, but the blessings are out of this world!

I am learning much of patience and persistence while treating this errant foot. I learned, among other things, that while it is effective to sand my damp foot with a washrag when I get out of the shower, to remove dead skin from old lesions, if I do the same with a new one, it breeds all over my toes like mushrooms after the rain. Where I had one, I now have three or four, and I can feel bumps where others will appear in the next couple of days. My impatience has set me back at least a week, possibly longer.

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

I’m All Made of Hinges So Everything Bends

Except, not necessarily. One of the joys of middle age is figuring out which twinges are temporary, and which are part of the “new normal”. When sitting here at the computer on Saturday afternoon, I stopped and rolled my head gently. And discovered that when I dropped my head as far forward as it would go, there was a pull down the right side of my back that ended with an “owie” about level with the sacral dimple. And that if I ran my hand back there, I could feel a thin cord which felt as if it had been distinctly over-twisted when plying. That the twinge was worse if I slumped, and better if I sat up like a proper Victorian matron.

The twinge is still here, on Tuesday morning. One more reason to look forward to that gym membership.

I commented to one of my friends last week that sometimes I think the only way I will ever get enough sleep, is if I marry NintendoMan.* Not that he is soporific; far from it. And not entirely because of the natural physiological progression which is marital intimacy. (Ahem.) But it occurred to me several weeks ago, after we decided to take a break and before that breach was repaired, that I have not been truly relaxed in many, many years.

I think part of this comes with responsible single parenthood. I think it may be due to that fine line we walk between being watchful and being sensitive to the Spirit. It is exhausting, and a palpable burden, and thankfully it is one that Heaven is willing to help us bear, if we allow it. I would also welcome some resident, earthly, help.

My babies are all grown and doing reasonably to exceptionally well. Still, on any given day, you could bounce quarters off my trapezius muscles. Sitting here quietly with my hands in my lap, I can feel the insertion at the shoulders, and it is tight. My neck is tight. My scalp is tight. It goes without saying that my back is tight (though I see that I have already said it).

I am the living, breathing embodiment of Uptight. If you were to grab your copy of your favorite medical dictionary and look up the definition, you would find: Uptight (adj.) in full-body lock-down; see Ms. Ravelled.

I am past the point where my friend who does two- and three-hour Swedish massages can help me. I am approaching the point where my Shiatsu practitioner could break me apart but not put me back together again. I need to spend about an hour standing in the shower with an endless supply of hot water, and another hour on the recumbent bike, and another hour doing laps with the kickboard at the pool, followed by a short sit in the steam room. At which point I could go into the yoga room and sit with my feet up the wall for half an hour or more.

It takes about half a day at work, or several hours after I wake, for me to be able to walk without stiffness. [Not excruciating pain; just stiffness. But it is noticeable.] This is not arthritis; this is me, trying to do too much under my own steam, and not relying sufficiently on the arm of Heaven.

*(Or, I suppose, somebody else on down the road.}

But there is good news, too. I was gobsmacked (love that word!) to get a comment from my friend Alyeen, who once upon a time lived in the same ward, and has kids the age of my youngest three (and more after that). Hey, kid, I friended you over on FB. How on earth did you find my blog?!!! Oh, now I see: through Middlest. And Secondborn. And several other denizens of that ward. Anyway: woohoo!

And there has been knitting, and an exchange of emails with NintendoMan overnight. It has been a crazy week. I should probably go eat a slice of banana bread.

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Screwtape Commode

My new blog-friend, Murr, has (or had) a Devil Toilet.

The commode here in the duplex is subject to Random Acts of Flushing, and every so often the bolts that hold the seat on, shimmy out of their moorings and kamikaze onto the floor. Sometimes singly, sometimes in stereo. I have been too tired this week to reinstate them, which necessitates precise placement of the seat ~ both seats, actually: the commode’s, and my own ~ before ascending the throne, and no hiccups once I am seated. (Thankfully, the other half of the duplex is presently unoccupied.) I guess this means that I have a Screwtape Toilet, whereas Murr had The Real Deal.

General Conference was superb, possibly even more than usual. I don’t know if I was more prepared or more receptive or what, but I had specific impressions as to what to do next in several aspects of my life. While none of those impressions was you should marry NintendoMan, I have enough confidence in what I received, that if and when the time comes to make that decision, I believe I will have enough information, and enough inspiration, to make the right choice.

NintendoMan was able to catch part of the last session of Conference yesterday afternoon while off on his business trip. I’m glad that it was sufficiently important to him, that he found a way to make it happen. I miss the days when there was a righteous priesthood holder in my home. I miss knowing that the head of my house is committed to following the Savior, and obedient to correct principles.

Yes, I am the current head of my house and yes, I am committed to following the Savior and yes, I try to be obedient, even when inconvenient. You know what I mean.

So today it’s all about putting inspiration into action.

I think I found a winner of a design in my stitch dictionary yesterday. I have about three inches of scarf worked, and I think I am going to like it very much. It’s a simple four-row pattern, already memorized, and I’m looking forward to some prime knitting time today. Not sure at this point if it is going to be for a door prize at my high school reunion later this year, or to fulfill my service auction obligation.

I knit, therefore I am.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

I think you are going to be getting a fairly secular post today. I’ve shared links to a lot of things that would make you think, or make you cry, or both, in recent posts. I took a lot of notes during both sessions of General Conference yesterday and am anticipating more of the same later today. Can’t wait for next month’s issue of the Ensign to come out with the addresses transcribed into written form (they will be available later this week on lds.org).

I am loving this audiobook (Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman). He has some interesting things to say about family dynamics, personal integrity and accountability, and the importance of considering carefully the consequences of what you think you want to wish for.

I got past the visual nausea stage on the most recent doll hat and finished it late last night, or possibly early this morning. With a few more color transitions, it became marginally more attractive to me, though it is still my least-favorite of the hats I have made. I realized while I was midway through the decreases that if I had chosen paired decreases (which miter) instead of single decreases (which spiral), I could have knitted up a Noro pincushion or a pouf (footstool) for one of the dolls.

Which led me to the word tuffet, and this page. You might want to take some motion sickness medicine before attempting to read it, though the picture is rather nice. I think the description must have been written by the people who do the English translations for some of the doll websites I visit.

Anyway. I could probably knit one of these a little larger and felt it, then line it and stuff it and fasten it to a wooden base with bun feet, to wind up with something you might find in your Pottery Barn catalogue if you were approximately two feet tall.

I have, reluctantly, unsubscribed from the PB emails. (The PB catalogue has been one of my guilty pleasures since I came to work for the law firm; one of the lawyers used to leave her old catalogues in the break room.) I do not quite covet that cherry red leather Manhattan couch. I cannot afford it, but I could save for it after I am out of debt.

That would still not solve the problem of where to put said couch. It was one thing to fantasize about owning it, when I was living in an apartment and hoping to buy a (bigger) house someday. But now that I am quite content in a tiny duplex, and I have a perfectly good hand-me-down couch that may last as long as I do, there is just no good sense in daydreaming about long naps on that couch, with a flokati rug under the coffee table, and a box of Godiva chocolate covered cherries (the only ones I like) on the coffee table, and a fire in the fireplace, and Sean Connery reading aloud from one of my cookbooks at the kitchen table.

Today is also NintendoMan’s birthday. He has had some fairly disappointing birthdays in his lifetime. So yesterday I emailed him to ask what would constitute a good birthday, and to please keep it G-rated, which he did. I now have some notes and ideas for next year’s birthday, though I still have no idea what to do about this year’s.

I have always loved those years when my own birthday fell on Easter. I did not grow up having a party with guests every year, though there was always a family celebration. Two years ago the girls threw a great party for me; I had so much fun that I told them they had four years to plan the next party, for when I turn 60.

There are still bits of cheese and copious amounts of banana bread in the fridge. I think it’s time to make a dent in both. I was good when I ran to the store last night for brownie mix (to fulfill one of my service projects) and did not succumb to the blandishments of the last few, forlorn chocolate bunnies, so there will be no bunny-ear-biting for Ms. Ravelled today.

Happy Easter, everybody! Happy Birthday, NintendoMan (who does not, as yet, have blog privileges, so I guess that makes this a virtual virtual birthday greeting).

Saturday, April 03, 2010

A New Blackberry

[Several, actually; sorry, I just couldn’t resist.] Sometimes a Blackberry is just breakfast. I had these over spoon sized shredded wheat when I got to work yesterday, and they were splendid! This morning I will have raspberries. Life is good.

Had another productive day at work. Finished the rough draft of one of the projects which is on my PRT this year. Good Friday is a slow day for law in Dallas County. Most of the plaintiff attorney firms are closed, either because they are religious or because they are out chasing ambulances. And the courts were closed. So there were virtually no interruptions.

Not feeling the love on this particular doll hat; it's one of those rare Noro color transitions that makes me visually queasy. I fell asleep mid-CD in self defense last night, woke up enough to turn off my boombox and set up my CPAP, and was asleep just before sundown.

Which meant, of course, that this middle-aged body woke me about 1:30. So I went onto Facebook and watered my plants in Fairyland, which I play for a handful of minutes each day (just enough to keep my virtual garden from dying; I refrain from posting my dubious successes as status updates).

Lo! and behold! NintendoMan was also online, and we got to chat for a few minutes before he had to crash for the night. So this day is already starting out well.

Did I mention my wry amusement at some of the topics in the April Ensign? There are several articles on marriage, more particularly on having the courage to marry. When the magazine arrived at work week before last, I savored the personal irony (NintendoMan and I were observing radio silence while he sorted out some family issues), and I read the articles anyway.

When we met at the diner the other night, I had that issue with me, mostly so I could re-read it at lunch that day, and not in the spirit of rolling it up and beating him about the head and shoulders with it. To my amazement, he took the magazine and read one of the articles, and then we discussed it.

The man never ceases to surprise me.

So what’s on my plate for the day? Banana bread, at the moment, but not for much longer. And then I think I will go back to bed and try to finish that CD and knit until the visual queasiness passes. General Conference broadcasts at 11:00 and 3:00, our time. A batch of brownies to take to my friend Saint Amy of the Banana Bread (we won each other's stuff at the service auction last Tuesday). A modicum of grocery shopping.

I would also like some quality time with my Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries, to see if I can come up with a design for a knitted-something to contribute to the door prizes for my high school reunion this fall.

I am not doing very well with following through on my decision to take up the recorder again, possibly because when I decided, it was in the hope that it would speed my recovery from the respiratory issues I was having at the time. Those issues are more or less resolved. When I was rummaging around in storage buckets last weekend, trying to find my SS card, I found the book of sheet music. Lots of relatively simple pieces in there. Maybe I will make time to tootle around a little.

And I am starting to see the foothills of Mount Washmore.

The problem with weekends, is that there is too much end and not enough week. I don’t know about you, but I could use a three-day weekend, every week. Maybe then I would feel as if I were accomplishing more?

I might spend half an hour finding new homes for the few items that are left in the last bucket I searched when I found my SS card. And who knows, I might even tackle another bucket or two, and I am feeling the urge to go through everything in my closet and sort it into various piles, preparatory to the mandatory shopping which will take place three Saturdays from today, because I need a few replacement pieces for some of my classics/basics.


Time for a change of direction. Three new articles to share with you, and then I need to either go do something, or take a nap. Grab your box of tissues. And please read this one with the spirit of Lent in your heart. It moved me to tears. Next, one from my friend Sooz. I saved the best for last. This is Easter, a time of repentance, renewal, and reconciliation. We all fall short of the glory of Heaven. This one is for all of us.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Details. Sortof. And a fortune cookie.

One of my children texted me to suggest that yesterday’s post was so discreet as to be positively cryptic. Sorry; that can happen when five hours of sleep collide with a brain that has been marinating in Cherry Coke for two days.

Let he who is without synapses among you cast the first stone.

Oh, wait, that would be me.

Monday I got that call from Firstborn, needing some information. NintendoMan was whom I called to get that information. He sounded delighted to hear from me. I was on the train, the one we call the Silver Bullet. It is old and noisy (not unlike NintendoMan himself, or me when I’m with my girlfriends).

I could barely hear him, and I told him that if he were online when I finished the minutiae awaiting at home, I would pull up a chat window if he liked. He did, so I did, and we chatted for maybe half an hour, and then things got a little weird. OK, a lot weird, but not the kind of weird which requires call-blocking or a visit with one’s bishop. So I asked him to call, because typing wasn’t fast enough; we talked for another half hour or so.

[I suspect I’m being cryptic again, but that’s all you’re going to get.]

As I stated in Tuesday’s post, I fell into bed a little before midnight, but I didn’t sleep well because there was too much information to process. So I was a zombie on Tuesday morning, and a zombie at church that night, and a zombie most of Wednesday, at least until I got to the temple, where I was mostly awake and mostly alert.

[Amazing how quickly I woke up once I got to the all-night restaurant and waited for him to join me from the gig he had just finished.]

So in my less zombified moments, I have been wiping cryogenic fluid off of my heart and picking off the bits of packing peanuts in which it has been resting for the past month and a half (at least) and trying to figure out (A) what *I* want to do next and (B) what NintendoMan wants to do next and (C) what Heaven wants us to do next, individually and/or collectively.

What I can tell you, is this. He had missed me. He had been thinking for several days that he wanted to call and discuss a few things. So Firstborn, looks like you were the Non-Stupid-Cupid in this scenario, for which (at least for the moment) I thank you.

We are discussing those things he wanted to talk about. I asked a lot of questions Wednesday night. His responses were sufficiently detailed and rang of truth. I wish that I had been a little more present when he was holding me before I got into my car, but my brain was going ping ping ping, and I couldn’t get it to hush. I don’t exactly want a do-over on that extended hug, because there was nothing wrong with it. I just want another one like it, plus a quiet head, so I can relax into it and appreciate it.

By the time you read this, he will be off on a business trip until shortly before my birthday, and probably off the e-map, and up to his ears in gigs and barbecued ribs. I think this is not a bad thing. I really, really need to sleep. And I am glad to have the opportunity to enjoy General Conference this weekend without distraction.

As I reach this part of this draft, it is nearly 8:00pm, and I can barely keep my eyes open. I am turning off the phone and turning on my CPAP. Maybe I'll add more tomorrow.

* * *

This would be that tomorrow. I went to my room, but I did not immediately go to sleep. I finished listening to the CD I had started on Tuesday night after Relief Society, and then I listened to another, and I knitted. I finished the doll hat I had been working on and completed the ribbing and increases on a new one. I am playing with sizes, and I am still loving how the color transitions of the Noro Kureyon Sock create the impression of Fair Isle with none of the fiddling and none of the bulk.

I slept well last night. Or at least I think I did. It has warmed up sufficiently that the fireplace did not run, and I am running the ceiling fan on low or medium in any room in which I am sitting. I slept under a thin, faux-thermal cotton blanket last night, and I woke a little before the alarm would have gone off.

I am feeling somewhat calmer today, somewhat more rested, and a bit more settled in my mind. Driving in, because we are closing the office an hour early, and because half the office will be out, so there will be no question of whether somebody’s monthly parking will be available. I am about to fix a plate with cheese and some of that banana bread, and go sit on my bed and listen to another CD and knit awhile.

So where is this going? I don’t know. But eventually I’ll find out. On the one hand, both of us are the sort who mostly like to know exactly where we are going, how to get there, and how long it will take. And, in my case, if hot chocolate is available along the way. On the other hand, in my spiritual life I have gotten fairly good at moving along in what feels like the right direction and being flexible enough to head in another when Heaven says, “Enough of that; time for some of this.”

Neither of us is interested in a dawdling courtship; nor do we want to jump in thoughtlessly and reap misery. We both want and deserve a good fit and a happy, peaceful marriage, and we both want to make a choice that is pleasing unto Heaven and will bless the families we would bring with us into that marriage.

“Patient” is not the word which comes to mind when you think of either of us. But it seems to be the right tool for the present.

I stopped at Panda Express on the way home, because I did not have the energy to pour myself a bowl of cereal for dinner. My fortune reads: “Step-by-step you will ascend the stairway to success.”

Hold that thought.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April Fools!

[Only, not!] The office manager administered my raise yesterday. I had been told to expect a modest one, and a modest bonus, but once again the world’s idea of modesty and my own are not congruent. I am immensely pleased, and thankful all the way down to my bones.

Had a great day at work yesterday, over and above that happy news. One of my friends told me, quietly, that another secretary had told the office manager how pleased she is with the things I do to back her up. This is not somebody I back up on a regular basis, and really I do very little to help her out; this is a classic case of bread being cast on the waters and coming back an hundredfold.

Truly, I am blessed all out of proportion to my eager and occasionally misfiring efforts.

I was up too late last night. Again. Had a lovely session at the temple, with time and space to pray and ponder over a few things afterward. I may go back tonight for my becoming-a-regular-thing Thursday night service. It is certain that (since I had to reset the alarm for 6:00 this morning) I will not be on the train, and I might as well make a virtue out of necessity.

With the raise, it will be easier to succeed at my goal of being out of debt by the end of next year. I will also have money for the health club membership I have been craving since my free trial in January.

On the way home from the temple last night, I stopped at an all-night restaurant and ate fries while NintendoMan ate dinner. And we talked for almost two hours. When he walked me to my car, he wrapped his arms around me and just held me.

And, as the prophet says in Genesis 1:3-4, it was good.