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!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I think I have a few too many plates spinning, all at once. I used to blog every day. I was faithful at Knit Night. I did my visiting teaching in person, every month. It was a happy little routine, and I liked it.

Life is still wonderful. Love my job, love my calling at church, love the sisters we VT, love to hit that pool in the morning, love that I have my plan to get out of debt, and definitely, absolutely love my kids and my grandkids and my friends.

I am relatively sane and relatively solvent and relatively healthy and heart-deep in stuff I love and enjoy. And my tidy little schedule that worked so well, has been shot to h-e-double-hockey-sticks.

I have no idea what this all means. I think I will go ponder it while walking through shoulder-deep water. [It will almost certainly be safer than my stroll through the Coldwater Creek online outlet yesterday. A new jacket and four new work tops will be joining the lineup sometime next week, all deeply discounted. I had not bought anything girlish since just before my first lunch with NintendoMan last October. And I bet OPI has a nail polish that goes with every blessed one of them. Does. Not. Bear. Thinking.]

Heard this on the radio when I was driving to meet some of the kids, in the deluge on Monday night. Too lazy to grab the coding that makes it open up in a new window. Am off to go soak my head, and sundry other body parts.

Sing it, John!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What I did yesterday (long, rambling)

Yesterday was not as busy as last Saturday, wherein I went to the health club, then to the temple, from there to “Through the Keyhole”, a doll and miniatures shop near the temple, on to the doll work meeting with the local resin heads, reading at the Barnes & Noble at Firewheel [outdoor mall], the singles dance in Richardson, the drive-thru, and home.

Yesterday I went to the health club, timing it so I could try the water aerobics class. I like the teacher, and I like the class. I got to the club sufficiently early that I could spend 25 minutes reading on the recumbent bike and another 20 minutes on the treadmill getting sucked into a medical drama.

Then I ran by the bank and got a roll of quarters (I had already loaded the laundry into Lorelai). Over to see the Nail Dude and get two nails repaired and the others shortened and filled. They were getting long enough that they were prone to popping (one in the temple last Saturday, another ready to fly after a hard week of typing).

Back to Fort Worth, where I replaced the left rear tire, and now Lorelai does not drive like a food processor. The first three tires I replaced this year, were still on warranty; this one, I had to pay for.

Then to the laundromat, then home to hang up stuff and get ready for my dinner date. I am noshing on leftover salmon as we speak. Even the broccoli was tasty. And we know how I feel about broccoli.

I submit that four and a half hours of sitting and eating and talking and laughing is a successful date. I do not feel all fluttery about this guy, and I still have no clue what to call him here on the blog, but I like him. He is comfy, and I think Brother Sushi will like him, and I am hoping to entice him to the dance on Friday where, even if he does not want to spend the evening out on the dance floor with me, I can steer him to the handful of men our age who are not twits. [These would be the two or three who are my friends, as opposed to the ones who chase after the younguns or are otherwise Obby Noxious (like Abby Normal, from Young Frankenstein).]

I am looking for a white skirt for the temple. The one that I like, they only make for the skinny wenches. We are not amused. If you know a source for a pure-white broomstick skirt or something a little more visually interesting, that does not cost $70 (I mean, really!!!)let me know. I have looked at all the usual websites and have a couple of skirts bookmarked, but they don't really speak to me like that first one did.

Cold salmon in the morning is officially delicious. Maybe not quite as good as cold pizza, but still pretty wonderful.

And I slept seven hours. Heels are a bit stiff and tender from all the back kicks and the stretching-out she insisted upon [ironically, so that we would not be stiff and tender today], but mostly I feel as if I had been dancing last night. Amazingly, my arms and shoulders do not ache from all the weird moves she had us doing with the water weights.

Salmon’s finished. Time for juice.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Five things

Cheerfully stolen from Firstborn’s blog. What are five things that have made you:

Happy? It started raining as I pulled into the driveway.

Delighted? I have a date tomorrow night!!!

Grateful? Job/promotion/raise

Totally Stoked? I kept the water-weights fully submerged, every other lap, during my workout.

Thankful? The way the Bitties greeted me at Secondborn’s last Sunday night.

OK, going to bed now. The sooner I’m asleep, the sooner it will be morning, and I can have breakfast with BestFriend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You gotta like a guy who says...

... that it is OK to bring Chutzpah to dinner. I will just tuck her into a corner of my temple bag, where she will make far less bother than oh, say, that sheep key ring of mine.

We are meeting for dinner at a restaurant near the temple. I will also have my knitting with me. He is helping his son photograph a wedding reception that afternoon, and given MST (Mormon Standard Time) may very well be late.

I had a great day at work yesterday. Pretty much zeroed out my inbox, got a jump start on the new batch of vacation letters, and got a mediation scheduled for my other attorney. And progress in scheduling three other activities for him.

We are having our Founders Day celebration at work today. I anticipate lots of eating and not a whole lot of typing this afternoon. We have a rock and roll theme, and since I do not have a band concert shirt, I will wear my dontcha shirt and pretend it has Don Henley or Stevie Nicks on it. I am insufficiently fond of AC/DC to trek to Wally World and shell out my hard-earned cash for one of their t-shirts.

Who knew, back in 1973, that an Aussie metal band would become sufficiently mainstream to have their shirts sold at a big box discount store? Boggles the mind.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cue the Bay City Rollers!

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y - night! (You know you wanna...)

I-I-I-I just can’t wait
I-I-I-I got a date

Heading off to the pool for a little bit of splooshing and a whole lot of pondering. I do my best thinking when I’m in the water. I love being in the pool when most people are sensibly asleep. Yesterday I got an insight into a small something that has been bugging me for awhile. Three small somethings, actually, and I saw how they were interconnected, and maybe today I will start getting hints on how to deal with them. Or maybe I will just spend my splooshing-about time in contemplation of how revelation works in my life.

Yesterday was pretty busy (but not crazy-busy), and each time my thoughts were still, these three things would coalesce, and I would marvel at what I had not seen before.

Last night I wrote him, “I’ll get back to you tomorrow on the eating-in vs. eating-out option. Friday vs. Saturday was the last decision I want to make today.”

It looks as if tonight will be the first of three quiet nights at home. I might be able to start tackling those three small somethings. But I suspect that there will be adventures and honey-do’s popping up like mushrooms after the rain...

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y - night!
I-I-I-I just can’t wait

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just checking in. Still breathing.

Great if busy weekend. Work went well on Friday and again yesterday. Got a $10 coupon from a friend at work, and Trainman and I dined at a foofy restaurant in Dallas last night. Restaurant review to follow, if you will all remind me.

Forgot to set the alarm last night (sedated by too much good food).

New guy and I are negotiating the timing of date #2. In the meantime, squeaky-clean and properly punctuated emails are volleying back and forth like birdies in a Victorian badminton game.

RS tonight. Update tomorrow, if I can find two brain cells to rub together. It is stupefyingly hot out there.

Grabbing the gym bag and getting the heck out of Dodge...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A productive day.

When last we left our intrepid heroine, she was facing a cluttered desk, an overflowing inbox, and an attorney who is used to things flowing out of said inbox nearly as quickly as they flow in.

It was quite the week for meetings. Two-plus hours on Wednesday for the support staff meeting. Another two hours for a secretarial committee meeting on Thursday to discuss workflow, during which I learned at least one thing that will simplify closing files. I may have mentioned this in Friday’s post, but I don’t have time to go back and look.

A third two-hour meeting yesterday (a teleconference with Corporate via speakerphone), from which the office manager released support staff about midway. Have I mentioned how much I appreciate my office manager?

The nice guy from Ad Services (they do the heavy lifting) was in the office to check on things. While he was there, we got the long shelf installed in my cubicle, and he plugged in the light to my short shelf. There was already more ambient light in the new cubicle; now my workspace is lit up like Vegas, and (I think) I noticed a significant increase in comfort. But that may simply have been anticipation for last night’s dinner with my friend Leslye.

Rockfish. Jalapeno cream soup and their delicious side Caesar salad. No room for dessert, just girl talk and lots of laughter.

I came home to a phone call from one of the sisters in our ward, who had an *interesting* request. I’ll bring it up in ward council. Or maybe I’ll get a flash of inspiration while I’m at the temple this morning.

Yesterday was the first day, all week, where I felt truly productive. As I said, it’s been quite the week: moving cubicles, three long meetings, and then all the other things they pay me [quite nicely, in my humble opinion] to do. Before I left, I was able to get my rogues’ gallery of pictures up on the long shelf. I made three separate trips to the mail room yesterday. I am nearly finished typing a supplemental discovery report to Claims that I have been chewing away at since Wednesday. Possibly Tuesday. Lots of dates. Lots of other statistics. And my nails are just *that much* too long for efficient typing.

I’ll go see NailDude again on Monday or next Thursday (Tuesday night we have a watermelon seed spitting contest in RS; he’s closed on Wednesdays).

Time to grab my gym bag and start enjoying all the activities I have mapped out for today.

Friday, June 18, 2010


That’s how much of my debt I have paid off since January 15. I have spent the past hour playing with my Excel spreadsheet, to the detriment of my pool-splooshing. I am now going to grab my gym bag and remedy that.

Driving in today, because I have dinner with a girlfriend tonight. Which reminds me that I need to pull that coupon from my inbox. (Rockfish: their jalapeno cream soup is calling my name.)

We have another meeting at work today. I am half sick of meetings, said the Lady of Shalott. [On the other hand, I learned a couple of interesting shortcuts yesterday that will simplify and speed up closing a file.]

But I got tapes, they’re multiplyin’
And I’m losin’ control
From the verbiage they’re supplying
Simply stupifyin’!

So I better type fast
[and here the parody breaks down, with apologies to Danny and Sandy]
Anybody want to help finish that chorus?

Happy Friday, y’all!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Because Everybody Needs A Little “Chutzpah”

Meet mine. She is a FairyLand pukiFée Ante, and she is 15.5 cm or 6+ inches tall. They make her in LittleFée size, too: 25cm, or a smidgen under 10 inches tall [about an inch shorter than Faith); however, this is the one I’ve wanted since I saw one at that mini-meet which Fourthborn and I organized at the Borders near my house, back when I was stitching up the skirt that I thought was going to fit my Jessica (now Fourthborn’s Eve) and turned out to be too small for Blessing, but which fits Celeste perfectly].

For scale.

After I took her to the church bookstore to show her off. I started teasing out one of her sausage curls. Here she is, standing in a flower bed at the temple.

So yes, I now have four dolls. [Hey, it could be forty cats. “Odd” is relative. (There’s your straight line.)]

I came home from the temple and spent the better part of an hour combing out something like two dozen sausage curls. She now looks as if she had a hair-tutu on her head. Fourthborn teased me about being afraid to play with Jessica’s/Eve’s wig before we traded dolls. I think we can safely say that I am over that. But you are going to have to wait to see that evidence. Chutzpah now looks like the small, determined force of nature which she is.

And I am heading out for my morning splash.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pride goeth before a commute?

So, I was feeling pretty good about myself when I went to bed. I really, really hadn’t wanted to catch up the laundry, but I bribed myself with a second trip to the pool instead of the celebratory lap which takes in the drive-thru at Braum’s.

Got Mt. Washmore whittled down to molehill size

Took my old swimsuit out for one last spin (we are talking Major Spandex Breakdown here, to the point where I almost felt like a Rudi Gernreich model in the rear)

Discreetly and unceremoniously dumped it in the trash when I got out of the shower at the health club

Hung everything up here at home (I remembered to take hangers to the laundromat!!!)

Set the alarm for an hour later than usual

Checked Facebook

Worked on tomorrow’s blog draft

Toasted an English muffin to console myself for not getting the ice cream cone that I wanted

Went to bed.

Woke up to light, birdsong, and that sinking uh-oh feeling.

Needless to say, I’m driving in today. Might as well wear a skirt and go to the temple afterward. Maybe I will take pictures of the new doll, who is supposed to arrive at work today if the package tracking information is correct, sitting in the flowerbeds on the temple grounds.

Monday, June 14, 2010

First, go read this:

My friend Francis had a lovely post yesterday. It was waiting for me when I got up from my nap, from which I awoke feeling significantly less unRavelled.

I suspect, from the way that he writes, that my workouts in the pool fall under the category of appropriately wasted time. When I am on the treadmill or the recumbent bike or the weight circuit, it is about reps and time and levels of difficulty. When I am in the water, it is far more about the sheer joy of moving my body.

Yes, I keep an eye on the clock. Yes, I keep track of the number of laps that I do, but I play with how that is done. Sometimes I use deaf counting (i.e., one-handed) as I splash to and fro. Sometimes I will alternate laps minus the hand weights with laps where I try to keep said weights submerged as long as possible. At the end of eight laps I stop and do ballet extensions midway down the lane, but that is more a different way to move my body than it is a strict regimen.

In Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series, he speaks of how being creative (whether it is a simple fragile basket twisted together from blades of grass, or something more permanent) helps to keep the Unmaker at bay. I know that is true with every fiber [most likely a silk and merino blend, though possibly cashmere] of my being.

Knitting is a way for me to be passionate and not get myself into trouble. Should I ever remarry in this life, there might be significantly less knitting, or the medium of expression might shift to cross-stitch or watercolor or calligraphy or voice lessons. Just as modern revelation declares that everything is spiritual unto the Lord (Doctrine and Covenants 29:34-35), I am happy making stuff. And learning stuff.

I am also happy to know that there is a dance waiting for me at the end of this week. But right now, I am happy knowing that approximately twenty minutes from now, I will be neck-deep in chlorinated water, counting my blessings.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America

BestFriend gave me this book several years ago. It survived at least two moves and languished on a bookshelf until I started working on the recumbent bike. I finished reading it at home last night. Brother Sushi gets first dibs, after I write down the titles of some of the other books the author cited. It really helped me put more of the pieces of my life in place. Beautifully written, and as I blogged awhile ago, now I understand why I prefer certain types of men to others.

Girls, let me know if you want to read this when he is done. It would give you a good feel for my parents, and my mother’s parents, your aunt S, among others. There’s that Svenska strain coming down through your father’s mother’s side; I have no idea how that blends in or complicates things for you.

Slept like a rock (again) last night. Seven hours Friday night, six hours last night in spite of a 1.5 hour nap after the service project. I have my notes for my PPI with the bishop this morning. I have read my RS lesson. I may even have time to take a squint at the Sunday School lesson while eating breakfast, if I can figure out what I want for breakfast.

Remember my posting about the key chain that goes “baaaaah”? It surprised me again on Friday night, as I was shoving my tote bag into the locker at the temple. I hope that the “angels above us [who] are silent notes taking” (Hymns, #237) got a good snicker. I was torn between mortification and helpless if quiet laughter. Remind me to throw that part of my keys into Lorelai’s trunk when I go back later this week.

Time to start getting ready. Since I am now swimming six days a week, it is weird to shower here at home. At this rate, a bottle of shampoo will last me a year. Which means that I now have a year’s supply of shampoo and am just that bit more obedient.

I will take personal progress anywhere and everywhere that I find it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Old shoe.

Having read that book [see sidebar] about clothing and textiles, naturally enough I found this article fascinating.

If you scroll down into it, you will discover that an even older shoe [made of fiber, not leather] was found in Missouri, where Latter-Day Saints believe the Garden of Eden was located. I suspect that Mother Eve threw it at Father Adam in a fit of wifely pique. Or maybe the Missouri shoe was attached to the back of a cart after somebody got hitched? Post-Edenic charivari?

Or maybe they just threw it at Shrödinger’s cat? Which I first discovered through Fourthborn’s post. Which led my bleary mind to Google the topic and find this. And which does not explain the presence of cat hair on my favorite T-shirt. (Heaven, and I, know why.)

It has been quite the week. If I could just live in the pool at the health club, I think I would be perfectly content. Work is going well. I don’t think I took formal breaks from Wednesday on, but I was productively busy, even if the items on my to-do list kept multiplying like lemmings. We had a good RS presidency meeting on Wednesday night. I went to the temple twice, on Tuesday night and last night. Communication has been pleasant, and steady, with the new guy.

But. A service project for which I was responsible, got off on the wrong foot, though it seems to have ended well. I inadvertently hurt somebody’s feelings. I held the feet of [at least] one of my daughters to the fire. I called Brother Sushi on my way to work yesterday and left him a message asking him to leave one on my phone, telling me that I’m a good mom. When I left the message, I didn’t want to actually talk with him, because I was pretty sure I would start crying. He called me back several hours later, after a handful of small things had gone right at work and I was starting to feel somewhat successful as a human being once more, and I reflexively picked up. He told me I am a great mom.

We have this agreement, wherein we do not lie to one another. [I asked him if I could get that notarized, and he said he would be happy to notarize it, in blood. I don’t think he was talking about his blood, or mine. He wouldn’t, really, but he made me laugh.]

It helped. And the day continued to get better. Middlest called me at lunch to tell me that she had made the last payment on my birthday present, which shipped today and should be at my office early next week.

The first sock for my friend M, fits almost perfectly. It’s a little too long, but I know several ways to fix that. I am going to reheat some of the pesto chicken for dinner, and then I think I will grab my old swimsuit (the new one is still damp, as is this morning’s towel) and go back to the health club. I’m not actually going to swim, and it isn’t the ocean, so I think there is small danger of being swept away by the undertow...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

In which your intrepid heroine goes on a date!

Nice guy. Very nice guy. Very tall nice guy (6’4”). We met about 7:00 at the bookstore, then walked down the sidewalk and had Panda Express for dinner and told each other stories for two hours.

The day began well: I realized that my swimsuit is on life support, and I did a little online browsing, but the styles I liked at the price I liked, were temporarily out of stock. So I grabbed my gym bag and my planner, and off I went to Wally World, thinking I would get one of their $16 specials, which is plenty good enough since I will probably need a new size every two or three months anyway. And there it was on the rack: cherry red, halter neck, sarong hem, and $32.

Like the seagulls said: “Mine!” “Mine!” “Mine!” [I felt like Dorothy Lamour during my workout the past two days.]

Came home, fixed lunch, fixed my hair, put everything in the car, remembering to get my cell phone out of the front pocket of the gym bag. Got about *this* far from the entrance to the parking garage at work when I realized that I had forgotten to bring a pair of clogs to switch into once the driving was over.

Sneakers, even nice ones like mine, are not office-appropriate. I confessed my omission to the office manager and asked her if she wanted me to turn around and go home and get my shoes. At which point Attorney A remonstrated, because there was a tape-and-a-half of dictation that needed to go out yesterday. Office manager said I could go on my lunch hour. So I did.

I started typing at 8:30, took a couple of comfort breaks and worked pretty much straight through until 2:15, stopping to run downstairs and bring up a fresh bottle of Cherry Coke. I leaped in the car, drove home like a bat out of Houston, grabbed the margherita flatbread from Friday night’s dinner and nuked it, then ate it on the bat-out-of-Highland-Park return trip. Got into the office at 4:00, just in time to send out my mail and whip up all the paperwork for closing another case. I did the electronic absence thing, and the office manager came up to my desk and asked, “When did you take your lunch?” At 2:15. “If I’d known you were going to eat that late, I’d have told you to just forget about it.” All very well and good, but I had no way of knowing it was going to take me five+ hours to transcribe that report.

And you guys know me; I am the queen of coloring inside the lines.

When I started this post, it was 11:30 last night. I was not twitterpated; I was also not ready to to go sleep.

I fueled most of the day on Cherry Coke and Hot Tamales. With orange chicken for dinner. It is menus like this which probably gave rise to the belief in fire-breathing dragons.

Just sayin’.

Today went much more smoothly. I might have been able to catch my train, but I was in no mood to rush. So I tanked the car, and since I was wearing a dress, decided I would head to the temple after work.

Good decision. On the way home, I grabbed an ice cream cone, then decided to see where one of the roads dead-ended, because I knew it didn’t just run straight into the Trinity River. I found out. I also found a place where I could buy a used Porsche, another place that makes custom boots, an Army-Navy store, and a BBQ that looks promising.

I am not sure if I am more blessed, or more tired, but I promise you that I am a whole lot of both. It is hotter than the hinges of That Proverbial Place outside [and it’s only June]. I would like to put on my old swimsuit and dash over to the pool at the gym and literally chill out. But I need to sleep more than I need to be cool. So I am going to pour myself another glass of water, get my nest situated, and see if I can sleep through the night.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

This is what I will be teaching in RS today.

“Our spirit and our body are combined in such a way that our body becomes an instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character.” ~ President Boyd K. Packer, quoted by Elder Bednar, June 2010 “Ensign” article “Things As They Really Are” (on pp.17 and 18)

“The adversary attempts to influence us both to misuse our physical bodies and to minimize the importance of our bodies. These two methods of attack are important for us to recognize and to repel.” ~ Elder David A. Bednar, ibid (p.18; the article runs from p. 16 through p. 25, and I do not recall ever reading such a long article in the “Ensign” in my 35 years in the church; every blessed word of it is important.)

I would insert a link, but this is the current issue, and the link at lds.org did not work when I tried it.

Misusing our physical bodies:
Violating the law of chastity
Using drugs and addictive substances
Disfiguring or defacing ourselves
Worshiping the false idol of body image (our own or others)

Minimizing the importance of our physical bodies:
Extreme sports
Digital distractions (video and online gaming)
Disconnecting gradually and physically from things as they really are (acting as if we were still in our premortal unembodied state.)
Substituting virtual reality for personal fidelity (role-playing games, social media, cybersex)
The illusion of anonymity (personal attacks, illegal downloads)

Questions to ask:
“1. Does the use of various technologies and media invite or impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?”
“2. Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve in meaningful ways?”

This has been much on my mind. After last month’s PPI [personal priesthood interview] with Bishop, I was impressed/inspired that I needed to cease playing the one and only Facebook game that I played (your mileage may vary; I am the RS president in my ward, and it is especially important that *I* use my time wisely).

The exercise program is part of my endeavor to live the Word of Wisdom (our health code) more fully. As one of my friends said back in 1976, “How can I expect to ‘run and not be weary ... walk and not faint’ if I am not exercising appropriately?”

One of the many reasons my marriage fell apart is that he immersed himself in talk radio and video games. We needed him, and we could not get a word in edgewise. One of the reasons that NintendoMan and I did not work out, is that he spends an enormous [dare I say inordinate?] amount of time playing Facebook games. I base my opinion on his status updates that pop up on my wall.

I am also concerned about some of the games that he plays. Here comes the Gospel According to Ms. Ravelled: I think “Mafia Wars” and related games are inappropriate for anyone who is “trying to be like Jesus”. I think games which are based on “taking out” the bad guys are not much better than those where you “win” by committing rape or murder.

I am also concerned about children who have Facebook profiles before the age of 13. When I had dinner with Brother Sushi on Friday night, he mentioned that he had a friend suggestion of a child whom I know, and while *he* would be safe for her to friend, he does not know how he got that suggestion, and it might be going to others I know who are perhaps not so benevolent.

I also wonder how parents who allow their children to be on Facebook prematurely are going to insist that they not attend the youth dances until they are 14 or date until they are 16 (our church’s standards).

I am feeling particularly Old-Testament-ish today. The children’s father used to call me the Family Pharisee, much concerned with jots and tittles and less susceptible to the spirit of the law. I submit that if I do not pay attention to the letter of the law, I will not be as obedient as I should, and therefore I will risk missing the promptings of the Spirit when perhaps I need them most.

So, how to ensure that I color inside the lines? Read the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, every day. Ponder what I read. Bear testimony of what I learn. Put the promptings I receive into action.

Offered in love and humility, with my testimony that the principles of which Elder Bednar speaks, are true.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The year of eating dangerously

Lunch yesterday at Mama’s Daughters, a diner just west of downtown Dallas that has three other locations. I ate all of my salad (nice variety of greens), half of my potatoes and brown gravy, about a third of my candied yams (quite possibly the best I have eaten), and maybe a quarter of my roast beef in (more) brown gravy. I have at least two meals left. Took my six-pack-size cooler to work with me, and after work I filled it halfway with ice and then put in the clamshell of leftovers so everything would stay cool and safe in the trunk while I ate dinner with Brother Sushi.

We dined at Maggiano’s, where we ate two months ago. We toyed with the idea of having only appetizers and desserts, but ended up splitting an order of tomato caprese and having individual margherita flatbreads. I ate every bit of my half of the caprese, maybe a third of my flatbread, which they immediately boxed up for me. And then it was on to our entrées. I don’t remember what he ate, but it looked good. I had the chicken pesto linguine, and it was even better than the lobster alfredo that I had last time. I ate maybe a tithe of it, and the rest is boxed up in two containers. I also have Brother Sushi’s leftover spaghetti, as he doesn’t like leftover pasta, and I have no such scruples. And I snagged the second chunk of Italian bread (for dipping) but was too tired to wrap it up when I got home last night, so it is probably well and truly dried out this morning. I suppose I could make French toast with it...

I need to get a fresh batch of storage ware and put all of this into individual portions and chuck some of it into the freezer. I know I have at least a week’s worth of food stacked up in my fridge. I will only need to get fresh milk and some fruits and veggies. Mindless evening refueling at its absolute best.

We just laughed and groaned when our waiter asked if we wanted dessert. But I’m rather proud of myself, because I paid attention to portion sizes and ate the healthy stuff first.

Tonight it will be Tex-Mex at Nelda’s with my friend Jody. Before I started working out, I could only eat half of my dinner there. I’m guessing now it will be more like a third. Two more meals...

No knitting yesterday, because I got to work and realized I’d left a needle at home (I am working these socks on DP’s rather than Magic Loop technique). I will remedy that today.

But first, I need to grab the gym bag and get moving. Today should be another lovely extended workout (treadmill, recumbent bike, weight circuit, and pool); a small batch of laundry, my hair, my nails, maybe connection with my friend Lauren to relieve her of the vintage knitting needles she offered. Then dinner with Jody.

I also need to assemble the ideas that have been rattling around in my head, because it’s my turn to teach RS tomorrow. All of which will keep me from spazzing about Monday night until, one hopes, Monday morning.

Be good, y’all, and remember who you are...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Sorry! That bleating you hear is my purse!

I’m pretty good about turning off my cell phone, or turning it down, when I’m on the train. But last night I felt more than a little silly when my keychain got squished by my planner and started “baah”ing repeatedly. Downright sheepish, in fact.

Great workout this morning. Birds were going nuts when I came home. (See status on Facebook?) I am clean and dressed and have my lunch and my cell phone and my keys and a reasonable portion of my marbles. Time to head on out the door.

Firstborn called me at work yesterday, picked me up at Centreport Station, fed me at Fuzzy’s Tacos [thanks, Francis!], and perched me on the edge of the tub while she cleaned and polished the master bath. She doesn’t like housework any more than I do, and she likes company when she does it. So I go, sometimes, and sit and visit with her and watch her work.

Sadly, it does not work in reverse. I’m sure she’d be willing, but the Good Housekeeping Fairy generally smacks me upside the head in the wee small hours of the morning, when sensible people (which, most of the time, describes most of my children) are sensibly asleep.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Book of Ruth

We have two teachers who alternate Sundays, teaching Gospel Doctrine (the adult Sunday School class). This year we are studying the Old Testament. Sunday we studied the Book of Ruth. We also dipped a toe into 1 Samuel.

The teacher drew a classic diagram which he called “the Ben Franklin Close.” (Something that salesmen use to persuade reluctant customers.) It consists of a long vertical line and a short crossbar at the top. The left column is entitled “Gain.” The right column is entitled “Lose.”

We talked about all the things that Ruth lost by moving from Moab, back to Bethlehem with Naomi. She lost her birth family. She lost security or support. She lost the immediate prospect of remarriage. I opined that she may have lost her native language, and certainly her culture. We had a list of about ten things on that side of the diagram, and I wish I had started writing sooner, because some of the comments were very subtle and profound.

Then we talked about what she had gained by following Naomi. She got love, from Naomi and later from Boaz. She got respect from the new community, because they knew how she treated Naomi. She got [some degree of the priesthood in her home, in my opinion, and] a righteous husband. She got posterity. She got a Book named after her. She married into the royal lineage of Israel. She was a foremother of the Savior.

The teacher asked those of us who were adult converts to raise our hands. He then asked if we did not feel a little of what Ruth had felt, in giving up the familiar; if we had not experienced some of what she had experienced in stepping forward with faith. And then he pointed at me.

I’m the RS president; I’m an easy target.

I remarked that while I hadn’t had to give up my family, as some people have had to do, my relationship to them has never been quite the same. Which is when the waterworks started. I sat there scribbling down what I could from the blackboard until he erased it and moved on in the lesson, and I wondered if my children knew the sacrifices I have made for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I never missed a meal, growing up. I had clean clothing and adequate healthcare. If love was not much spoken in my home, it was quietly demonstrated every day. We all read voraciously. I was encouraged to develop my talents. I made poor choices and was allowed to learn from them.

I joined the Church. Mom and Dad came to my baptism, to support me, and made it very clear that while they supported me in my choice, and expected me to become a good member of the Church, they would not be following me into the waters of baptism, would in fact not set foot in an LDS church again. [It occurs to me to wonder, now, what it must have been like for Mom, whose mother joined in 1966 and effectively prayed me into the Church in spite of myself, and whose daughter joined nine years later. I will ask her someday.]

Slowly, gradually, my life became one of increasing spiritual growth and unrelenting material poverty. We were able to buy a tiny house, but the combination of usurious interest rates (14.25% on the primary mortgage, 20.36% on the second mortgage) and repeated bouts of unemployment on the part of the children’s father, effectively stopped our progress.

My kids were the ones with the shaggy bangs and the mismatched hand-me-downs and the burning intelligence which puts the lie to so many assumptions and statistics about families in poverty. For all the things we were not able to give them (music lessons, enrichment activities), we at least have passed on our love of reading. And some of the girls have inherited their father’s former tenderheartedness (the strokes have taken away virtually everything recognizable as the man I loved).

So, on the Lose side, we have a measure of personal dignity, financial prosperity, more than a few of my marbles, my figure, a twenty-year marriage, college educations for my children, the bewilderment of my [blessedly non-meddling] birth family at my persistence in remaining in a marriage that was so obviously not working, and a certain reserve on their part because they weren’t sure how to help without enabling.

But on the Gain side, an abiding faith and trust in Heaven’s timing, patience, compassion, empathy, unshakable testimony that God is real and that He knows me intimately and wants what is best for me, the quiet thrill of watching my debt depart a little more every month, hope, appreciation for the Atonement, willingness to serve, and last but certainly not least, five beautiful, precious, feisty daughters instead of the more socially acceptable two. Speaking of which, Firstborn is in here somewhere:

Sunday the chapel was filled. The grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins by the dozens came to support one of the youth speakers. In a perfect world, that is much as it should be. Am I cranky because that was not my experience, and is not necessarily the experience my children are giving one another? No.

As I look back on nearly 35 years of life in the church, there are few things that I would change. [I would have gotten feisty with the children’s father instead of eating my anger and letting it turn into depression. Not nasty. Just feisty.] I would still have had more children than I technically could afford. I was amused at the CNN broadcast that was playing as I dressed at the gym the other morning, on how much it costs to raise a child, and the wisdom of saving up and making sure that you are financially ready before you go into the fruitful-and-multiply business.

Having a family is somewhat like paying tithing. You don’t do it because you can afford it. You do it because you have faith that it will all work out. [Having said that, I am well aware of families who birth irresponsibly because the government or the Church will help take care of them, and I’m sure that there are people who think that my tribe falls into that category, but I submit that they are wrong.]

Would I do this all again? In a heartbeat.

And speaking of heartbeats, I have a date next Monday night. You can just about bet the rent that I will be a spazz most of that day. Let’s hope that I do not have to enter a scheduling order into the system and that work keeps me too busy to think.

So, I emailed his kids on DoA, and she wrote back giving not merely permission, but encouragement, from the both of them. Seems that after I met the son, they’ve been trying to figure out how to get Dad and me introduced.

@Alison: I have no idea if those are mayflower leaves. They looked tropical to me, and they ranged in size from almost-dinner-plate to salad plate. I did not see any flowers amongst them, May or otherwise.

I am thoroughly enjoying the history book about the Scots-Irish in America. What I read on the recumbent bike yesterday, was how that character shaped the Confederate Army and life in the South after the Civil War. Seemed appropriate reading for Memorial Day. And I am seriously contemplating reading another history book (or twelve) when I’m done with this one.

I never read history books. I suspect that my ancestors are trying to finagle me back into doing family history research, or maybe they just want to help me understand who they were. And by extension, who I am. As I’ve read this book, I have had one aha! moment after another, when I suddenly realized why I do something the way I do, why I am so drawn to certain men, why bagpipe music stirs my soul, why my loyalties manifest in a particular, and frequently exasperating, fashion.