About Me

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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dithyrambling

Do you ever get a word stuck crosswise in your head? Sometimes, when I was a little kid, I would sit in my room and say a word over and over and over until it lost all meaning, became a random sound and I could play with volume and intonation. (Sometimes I wonder why my own dear mother did not pinch my head off.)

On Friday night, the word was dithyramb. It danced in and out of my calculations while I was working on my tax return. Finally I just had to pull up a fresh window and google it.

That was before my computer had to be rebooted half a dozen times yesterday. My computer is now de-McAfee’d, and it’s working just fine. And in the unbundling of cords which was necessary in order to schlep the CPU over to Secondborn’s, my speakers appear to have regained their integrity as well. I may now be able to listen to my Aussie boyfriend on Sticks and Strings. I won’t know that until tonight, or maybe later this morning after I put the finishing touches on my talk for church.

My pantry is restocked (my checkbook is weeping softly), and all of the grocery bags are hanging in a lump from the handle to the front door, so I will remember to take them to church today and give them to my friend who crochets them into market bags and other goodies which he sells on eBay or Etsy.

I had one of the Healthy Choice entrees for dinner last night. It might be healthy, but it was definitely not choice: the pasta was flabby, the pesto was insufficiently garlicky, and the blessedly minimal sodium appeared to be concentrated in the three pieces of chicken which enabled them to call it chicken pesto and not the other way around. I might have been a little less cranky about it, had I not been reading Marcella Hazan’s memoir about learning to cook with the miraculous pastas and veggies of her native Italy.

So, again with the meh, and a side order of oy to the veh.

I did, sortof, hear from NintendoMan last night. I popped up a chat window long enough to tell him that the computer was fixed and that I was logging off to work on my talk. Which I did, immediately. When I went back to Facebook before hitting the sack, there was an iHeart waiting for me. [I know: mush.]

OK, time to fire up some potatoes O’Brien and see if what seemed like a brilliant and inspired talk when I went to bed at a quarter to one, makes any sense whatsoever at a quarter to seven. Ordinarily, I have no problem coming up with a talk on an assigned topic and rambling on for as long as they will let me, but this time I am speaking as part of the Relief Society presidency, and it has to mesh nicely with what my counselors will have shared (I am batting cleanup) and put people in an I-can-do-this mood and be reverent and scriptural and not soporific.

Sigh...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Radio Silence

2BDH is working on my computer, which isn’t. I am blogging from Secondborn’s. She is at Firstborn’s.

I should be at the stake High Priests’ social, but I took a nap and slept until five minutes before it was supposed to begin. The theme was family history work; can you sense a little resistance on my part?

I suspect that my ancestors and my ancestresses are tapping their feet at me, on the other side of the veil of mortality. I just want to be tapping my toes. Thankfully, my ward is having a social in two weeks that is purely and simply a social. [A sock hop. I may or may not be teaching people my one and only line dance.] Edification is a lovely thing, but isn’t that what sacrament meeting is for? Sometimes I just want to have fun.

I am fed up with the singles’ dances, with the music, with most if not all of the DJ’s (not a criticism of their character, just a severe lack of appreciation on my part for their musical choices), with the 30-somethings who appear to be taking the program over (and are probably waiting for the geezers and the geezettes to die, so the fun can begin). I did sign up for the next singles’ conference, in March, but mainly because one of the featured speakers is Brother Farrell, who wrote The Peacegiver, and I want to thank him to his face for the peace that his book brought me at a very difficult time in my life.

Otherwise, I have low expectations for the conference. I realize that I will only get out of it what I am willing to put into it, and I am thankful that somebody is willing to make the effort on my behalf, and on behalf of the others in this same leaky boat, but I am just. flat. tired.

I am tired of being single. I am tired of dating. I would love to get to happily-ever-after without having to put in the time to get there (wouldn’t we all, LOL). I am *not* tired of NintendoMan, but he is busy with family drama, and I miss him, which added to the computer issues is not making me any happier with life or myself at the moment.

I think 2BDH is done fixing my computer, which means it is time to publish this and go home. And then to go out and do some grocery shopping to get me through the next two weeks. And reconnect my computer and unfreeze my garden on Fairyland. And put my talk together for church tomorrow. And eat a whale of a lot of chocolate.

Meh.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

“Let There Be Toe”

Crazy morning yesterday. C*r*a*z*y morning! Minimal juice on the cell phone battery, which of course meant that I had two urgent messages from my RS secretary re: compassionate service of a fairly urgent nature. And my Compassionate Service person on the injured-reserve list, and my list of Whoyagonnacall, safely stored in my computer here at home.

This is why Relief Society presidents turn grey.

This is also why Relief Society presidents go hide out in the temple, where there are no cell phones. Which is what I am planning to do (again) tonight. My best friend from way back when the babies were being born, is meeting me there, and we are going to bless a few lives together, and after that I sincerely hope that chocolate will be involved. Preferably in liquid form, with an IV tube.

You would think that, having taken Monday off to play and putter, I would be rested and ready to lick my weight in wildcats. You would be mistaken. I didn’t get back to Fort Worth from Tuesday night’s temple session until after 10:00pm, and it was nearly 11:00 before I was sitting here in front of the computer, ice cream carton in hand. I tried to pick up dinner on the way to my presidency meeting last night, but the customer service at that place was execrable, and I walked out, unfed. I came home after our meeting and made four slices of toast with a cheese stick for intermission, and then I killed the rest of that first pint of ice cream and went to bed. (I did eat a sensible, healthy lunch, so nutrition did happen at some point during the day.)

I came home from the meetinghouse with a slightly irritated nose and throat. I think it may be related to the flooding we had in the building a couple of weeks ago; I am ridiculously sensitive to mold. Am feeling much better this morning but would like to just go back to bed and stay there until it’s time to go to the temple tonight.

I am about halfway up the foot on the current sock. Thus far, it is not arguing with me. (It is a very wise sock.) Nothing to photograph, really, just a plain sock in Noro Kureyon Sock, around and around and around on 00 needles, and I might make it to the heel flap sometime today.

But for now, I am going to nuke a mug of apple juice and follow that with a boiling-hot shower and see if I can poach my nose and throat into submission.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Random Reflections

Stuff I either found, or thought of, at one time or another while I was at work yesterday.

Thought of the Week
Courtesy of my office manager: “Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.” (author unknown) – and I googled that to make sure that the author really is unknown.

$6.12
I was just leaving switchboard when my cell phone went off. It was the office of LittleBit’s gastroenterologist. Or possibly mine. They had returned mail for me, a check for $6.12. How cool is it to deal with people who are determined to get $6.12 that doesn’t belong to them, back to its rightful owner? (Apparently, I overpaid or was overcharged; this would have been two years ago, because it’s been that long since LittleBit’s last endoscopy or my last colonoscopy.)

Coconut(-flavored) M&M’s
Not bad; not bad at all. But they would be better if there were real coconut inside them.

Health club
Two more days, and I can join up. I am really looking forward to this!

Monday off
Since not everybody goes back and reads the comments, or the comments on the comments, I am excerpting as follows:

1B: “No mention of 6.5 – hung out with NintendoMan???”

Moi, sadly: “Alas, no. He is off, doing Important NintendoMan Stuff, which will continue through at least tomorrow [Wednesday] night. We are suffering severe NintendoMan Deprivation Syndrome, chez Ravelled.”

***

I had a wonderful evening at the temple. [I’m not sure it’s possible to have a bad evening at the temple.] I ran by the church bookstore beforehand, and I picked up Bueno on the way home, and I almost made it to Braums before they closed, for that ice cream I’d been craving. So I hit CVS and scored two pints of Blue Bell for $3.

Computer is being wonkier than usual, this morning. I’m going to post this before it crashes again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So, what did I do on my day off?

1. Made pigs in blankets for breakfast.
2. Washed up the dishes and tidied the kitchen.
3. Put a little more mileage on the sock toe.
4. Took a nap.
5. Had an invitation to dinner at Secondborn’s, but...
6. Went with Plan B when a friend in my ward needed a quick favor.
7. Sat at the computer and cleaned out most of my backlog on Bloglines.
8. Laughed ruefully at the lovesick cat mewling underneath my living room window at 10:00p.m.

I know, honey, I know. And it’s not even a full moon.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Candleman’s Book of Mormon Blog

I found the link for this via Dr. Wally. I subscribe to both through Bloglines. It is always interesting to me to read the thoughts of another simple foot-soldier for the Lord.

The first article is a discussion of Mosiah 20 and the apostate priests of wicked King Noah. Candleman makes some trenchant comments upon their choices, and upon the consequences of those choices.

Some might think that the Book of Mormon is dismissive of women, because they are so rarely mentioned as individuals. But a careful reading will reveal that throughout this book of scripture, the Lord's love of women and his insistence upon our being treated with respect and dignity, are a recurring theme.

Jacob, the younger brother of Nephi, served as the Lord's prophet to the Nephite people. He had experienced first-hand the effects of unrighteous dominion in the family, when Laman and Lemuel (the two oldest brothers) wanted to kill their father, and Nephi, for testifying of (and exemplifying) righteousness. After the worthy part of the family separated from the selfish part, they became two great nations in Mesoamerica. And at some time after the separation, worldliness crept in among the Nephites. They wanted gold, and silver, and fine clothing, and concubines, just like the bad guys had.

Jacob called them to task on it. They were breaking the hearts of their wives and children, perhaps in different ways than Laman and Lemuel had broken hearts in the original family, but sin was taking them over. (This is not unlike the scourge of pornography which is blighting many families today. I have at least two friends who have divorced husbands who would not repent.)

After reading Candleman’s comments in that post, I wondered for the first time if perhaps it had not been something of a relief when those unrighteous men left, and the Spirit was free to return to the homes of the ones they had left behind? Yes, there would have been grief, and anger, and confusion. The sons were so disgusted by their fathers’ behavior that they would no longer be called by their fathers’ names, and those sons became a great force for good in later years. [I know a little of what it feels like, to be a rejected or a neglected wife, though thankfully never an abused one, and to arrive by the grace of Heaven to a place of healing, and dignity, and peace.]

I have ached for years at the plight of the 24 Lamanite daughters whom the wicked priests captured and took as wives. There may have still been a spark of good within those men, because when the Lamanite fathers caught up with them, the women pled for the lives of their husbands. I hope that means that the men had been kinder to their new wives than to their original families, and not that the men put their wives between themselves and the fathers, as a living shield. Though that was not an uncommon practice.

I have also thought about the Lamanite queen whose husband was poisoned by Amalickiah, who then married her in order to become king, and later, when he was assassinated, his brother married her. I want to sit down and talk with her sometime about what her life was like.

The Lord delights in the chastity of women. He also delights in the chastity of men and honors those who honor one another in thought, word, and behavior. In the Lord’s church, there is no double standard, no “boys will be boys”. I am immensely thankful for that. It gives me a security in my friendships with men that would otherwise be absent. What a blessing it is to know that NintendoMan sees me because he likes me, and not because he is angling to get me into bed.

Make no mistake: the spark is there, but we are careful to tend the spark by acts of kindness, rather than fan the spark by acts of selfishness that would ultimate destroy us, and possibly our respective families as well.

I highly recommend that second link, above, and not just for my LDS friends. Quoting Dr. Wally, “Anyone who is not irritated with someone at church is either ready to be translated, or isn’t spending enough time at church.” Loved it. Last Thursday night, when I was in the temple, I ran into a man who used to irritate the fire out of me, right after my divorce. Thankfully, I was in the temple, and so I was able to quickly switch stations inside my head and tell myself, “Isn’t it wonderful that he is worthy to be in the temple? And so am I.” Baby steps. And it may have helped that I ran into him on my way out of the temple, after I had been hugged by four friends on the way in and had spent the evening in service to others.

I particularly like Dr. Wally’s 4th point. I have been experiencing that a lot lately, myself. Especially at the end of an evening with NintendoMan, when he wraps me up in a bear hug. It is like he is hugging me on behalf of Heaven.

Some of you come here for the knitting. Behold, let there be toe:



[Sorry, couldn’t resist. We are studying the Old Testament in Gospel Doctrine this year, and yesterday we were comparing the accounts of the Creation in Genesis, Moses, and Abraham. Plato was at least a little bit right: everything was created spiritually before it was manifested materially.] Since finishing Celeste’s sweater late last week, I have been mulling over what I want to work on next. Yes, a sweater for little Faith, but what color, and which yarn? So at the last possible moment before heading to church, I grabbed a ball of the Noro sock yarn and my knitting tool bag. Between my early meeting and the start of Sacrament meeting, I cast on a sock. It may only get worked on at church for the next several weeks, or I may use it as the knitting equivalent of a palate-cleanser. The color is washed-out here; the real sock is like unto a plummy rust with tiny flecks of gold. These are going to be some crazy socks, notwithstanding that they are simple toe-up, heel-flap socks in basic mindless stockinette.

I have the day off, and it is my devout hope to stay in my pajamas and not leave the house all day. I’ll let you know how that goes...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

One

I think my favorite Three Dog Night song will always be “One”, even if I don’t feel that way now. I certainly did in the past.



Y’all know how much I enjoy the Yarn Harlot’s blog. This is her sixth blogiversary post. Grab the tissues, even if you don’t read down into the comments. Because of her Knitters Without Borders initiative, I now send a modest monthly donation to Doctors Without Borders. Comes right out of my account the same day as my car insurance, so there are no surprises. If/when there is a raise later this year, I will bump up my donation a little. It’s not much per month, but it is a pleasing sum over the course of a year.

One of the Great Lies is that one person cannot do much [and so why bother, just go on digging that pit for your neighbor]. One person can accomplish much on his or her own. And when individuals combine their efforts, as inspired, miracles can and do happen. I offer another link for your thoughtful consideration. Perhaps it is not your time to run for Congress or the Senate -- I watched the gracious concession speech last Tuesday night, and the equally gracious victory speech, from NintendoMan’s office chair -- but there is something you can and should be doing right now, beginning with making sure that you are registered to vote.

Ghandi was right: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”



Sing it, Brother Ray!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

RIP, Robert B. Parker

One of my favorite authors died earlier this week. Trainman emailed me at work.

I discovered Robert B. Parker [the Spenser novels, the Jesse Stone series, and the Sunny Randall series] by way of Orson Scott Card, who is my favorite living author. Both of them really like women. Both of them write strong, smart women and show compassion for women who are neither.

Take “Spenser”, dunk him and give him the Priesthood, and you would just about have my ideal man. Brother Sushi has a lot of Spenser in him. NintendoMan, too; when I was exploring his bookshelves after picking him up from the airport last Saturday [my first time to visit his place], I was amazed at some of his musical tastes.

Change of subject: I am sitting here in my remarkably tidy living room (note that I did not say that it was clean, pristine, or any of those other Girl Scout virtues) at a time when I would much rather be asleep. Last night's dinner dishes are stacked neatly on the coffee table. I should probably take a picture and make this part of a blog post. [This started out as an email to a friend, and as you can see, I have done so, at least in part.] I should probably also get up and start washing dishes. But I think I will slug down a glass of water, or maybe a glass of milk, and try to catch another couple hours of sleep.

Today I am picking up Fourthborn, and possibly Fiancé, to go to a doll meet in a nearby suburb. I will take Celeste (the vampie girl) and Faith (my new hoofie baby) to show them off. Doll people are interesting. In multiple senses. There are a couple of other people in the local group who are LDS. None of us are your basic 1980’s floral dress with white lace collar people. I find it highly amusing that I am probably the most normal person there. Which, some days, is not saying much, you know?

There was a little corner of Zion in my home last night. Brother Sushi and Trainman and LadyZen came over, and we cooked together and gathered around the coffee table. The Spirit was there, and the love was there, and among the four of us there was peace, and comfort, and security. That is how a home ought to feel.

I had originally planned to make lasagna, but changed the menu to breakfast-for-dinner. I had stuff; they brought more stuff, and now the inside of my fridge, already filled with the bread I picked up week before last when I took that day off to clean before hosting presidency meeting while the church building was unavailable, now resembles nothing so much as the local RS president's fridge after the Savior did His loaves-and-fishes thing, if she had had a fridge.

Pictures, soon, I hope. I think I am figuring out the most effective end-run around the current computer problems. But for now, I am going to dive back into my boudoir and thumb-wrestle with the Sandman.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Technical Difficulties

I have suddenly developed issues on the computer at home. Not sure how serious they may be. Will try to bribe 2BDH to check things out and see if a virus has slipped past the ever-vigilant dragon at the portal, which took down a Trojan several days ago.

It is taking McAfee forever to scan, and midway through the job, my screen gives me an "insufficient virtual memory" message. When I click on "OK", my screen freezes. I rebooted three times this morning.

We are not amused.

But Celeste's sweater is nearly complete, and I am heading out for a quiet evening of service at the temple just as soon as I shut down my workstation.

I may be absent from Facebook for awhile.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

“Taffeta, Darling!”

“Young Frankenstein” is one of my guilty pleasures. I like everything about it except for the part where Dr. Frahn-ken-shteen takes the Lord’s name in vain. That part makes me cringe, and I really need to send my geriatric VHS tape to one of those editing companies to have it edited out, or get a new copy on DVD and invest in the filtering gadget which removes F-bombs and other nasty stuff. [Park this paragraph off to the side somewhere; we’ll come back to it.]

NintendoMan and I have had some interesting conversations. The topics are broad, and sometimes we pursue a thought until we have worn it to a raveling. This is all part of the getting-to-know you process. Thirty-five years ago, if I had dated a man as long as I have dated him (which in the eternal scheme of things is not very long, and really, outside my safe and comfortable LDS world is still not very long) and the man had not proposed, said man would be sitting on the curb with the imprint of my foot on his rump. I am delighted and amazed to declare that I have no inclination so to do.

I am discovering the pleasures of taking life slowly. Thus far, neither of us has scared the other one away. This bodes well. We have yet to have a fight. [He says he has already figured out a couple of my hot-buttons. I asked him what they were, and he smiled and said, “Have I pushed them? No, I have not.”]

No, he has not. And he takes particular pleasure in pushing some people’s buttons. I think he must like me, or something. It’s certainly not my cooking. After the leather-omelette episode, I grinned fetchingly and told him that he could be in charge of the eggs from now on. (Let the record show that he was very kind in conveying that he liked his eggs somewhat less al dente, *and* he cleaned his plate. I did point out the sign on the wall which warns that I kiss better than I cook.)



He says that he probably cooks better than he kisses, in which case all hope of regaining my waistline, is toast. [With poached eggs. And Hollandaise. And strawberries dipped in chocolate, on the side.]

Things I did at work, because I was bored. It was a legal holiday, thus only Saturday’s mail to deal with, plus any faxes which straggled in. I went through my “sent” items and deleted everything that was not case-related, then saved the case-related emails to their proper folders. And then I went ripping through my inbox and did the same thing. I printed off roughly two dozen color photos for one of our cases, which ensured that I got plenty of exercise walking back and forth from my desk to the printer in the library to pull the prints and lay them out to finish drying flat.

I ate a small bag of baked potato chips. And a stick of string cheese. And a clementine. And a big juicy apple, dipped in caramel sauce. And my leftover veggies from last week. And a spoonful of natural peanut butter with my lunch, just in case I hadn’t already gotten enough protein. (Note to self: natural peanut butter, on something or with something, and washed down with plenty of milk, is a good thing. Natural peanut butter in a spoon : Nutella in a spoon :: buffalo chips : potato chips.)

BTW, yesterday was my 1,000th post. I should probably have a contest, or something. Winner gets to send me a year’s supply of dark chocolate. [Oh, that’s not the way it works?]

OK, back to “Young Frankenstein”. I am slowly coming to the realization that much of my life has been spent in “taffeta, darling” mode. Remember when you first see Madeline Kahn’s character, and you just want to tell her, “Oh honey, lighten up!”? I can’t really see myself channeling her post-tryst-with-Creature persona, with the Bride of Frankenstein hair and testing for steam on her hip. But laughing all the way up from my toes with NintendoMan is persuading me that there are many ways to be a righteous woman that fit comfortably between those two extremes. And maybe I really haven’t been having all the fun the commandments allow? And maybe there is room for even more fun in my life?

What a concept.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The New Normal

So, 3:00am seems to be the new reveille time around here. I’m not sure whether to be amused, or appalled. [I would far rather be asleep.] Sadly, there will be no trip to the health club this morning, because my free membership has expired. But I will definitely be signing up next payday, and this morning I think I will put on Brother Ray Charles and boogie around the kitchen for 15-20 minutes.

I just had a quick chat with NintendoMan. Middle-aged necessity woke me two hours ahead of the alarm, and then I came out here, and he was online but winding down for the night. I was feeling a little domestic after church and fed him overcooked eggs and hash browns and an English muffin. We sat in my seriously cool chairs by the kitchen window.

So I got to “talk” with my guy a little, and now he is heading off to Dreamland, while I am wondering if I can extort another two hours of sleep.

[Later.] Not a full two hours, but nearly an hour and a half. Brother Ray is going to have to wait until later, though I might take a stroll at lunch if the weather is decent. Time to grab breakfast and my lunch and my knitting, and scoot on out the door.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

[Retroactive title]

Yesterday was one of those days that just got better and better. I woke up about 3:30 [this appears to be the new normal] and puttered around for an hour or so, then went to the gym and had a great workout. Good session on the recumbent bike, greater comfort on the resistance machines, which rock as I stretch, so when my head goes back beyond a certain point, the fear of falling kicks in. I just took things very slowly and told my ears and my brain to hush.

Then I came home and had a light second breakfast [Eggs McMommy; remember those?], which I ate in the car on the way to the church for carpooling to the temple. Except that nobody showed up before my Nervous-Meter kicked in, so I drove over on my own. Some have referred to the temple as the Lord’s University (not to be confused with BYU), and I noticed details about my surroundings when I was sitting in a quiet, holy place after serving in the session, which led to some thoughts, which led to other thoughts.

I learn something new about my relation to God, or my relation to others, any time I go, if I am sufficiently alert and well-rested and prepared. And always, always, some of that Heavenly peace follows me home and lights up the days that follow.

Then I went to Fourthborn’s and watched her put the finishing details on Faith’s body blushing and faceup, restring her with the unicorn bits, and adjust the fit of the wig, which came miles too big even though we ordered the proper size. She was almost done when I checked the time on my phone and gasped, because it was fifteen minutes later than the time I had had in mind to leave for the airport to pick up NintendoMan. So I lit out like a scalded dog and made it to the parking garage a few minutes before his flight came in.

I was sitting by the baggage claim [oh, how I miss the days when you could welcome people home as they walked out the gate]. No NintendoMan. No baggage. Thank goodness for cell phones. I called him: “I’m at baggage claim XYZ.”

“I’m at baggage claim ABC.” Sometime between Friday night and yesterday afternoon, they had switched gates, and of course I had not been home to double-check, so I just went with what I had written in my planner.

I picked him up, two terminals away, and thanks to the wonder which is the TollTag, we barely had to slow down to exit the airport. We had dinner at his favorite hamburger joint, and then I took him home, where I sat in the chair at his desk, and he sat in his recliner, and we talked for hours, and when it was time for me to leave, we caught up on hugs, et al.

And today is Sunday, which is already my favorite day of the week because of church and naps and time with family or friends, and is now even better because there is no competition from his job or mine. So there is a pretty good chance that I will get to see him again today when we are done with our respective meetings.

This does not displease me.

I called Fourthborn when I left his house last night, to see if she were home so I could pick up Faith, but she was off with a friend who also participated in our group order, so, no. I will most likely pick up Faith on Tuesday, when I am in town for Knit Night.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The problem with eating healthy stuff?

If you’ve been eating normal-people food, i.e., cheap/fast/easy, and you start sending down veggies and more veggies and whole grains? Your cells get a little confused. Like, “What are we supposed to do with this? The nuclei keep telling us it’s good for us, but it doesn’t taste right! Are you trying to kill us?”

And if you throw exercise into the mix? Whoa, dude! You get hungry faster. And you want more veggies. And your cells start marching around with little picket signs and hollering “One! Two! Three! Four! We don’t want these greens no more!”

So, yeah, it’s been a little crazier than usual, what with mitochondrial mutiny and nuking dinner in a dark kitchen and ending up with way too many albino vegetables.

Plus, there has been a dearth of smooching, which is crazy-making all by itself, but my fiendish plot involves a smooch or twelve at the intensely public, ferociously well-lighted airport when I pick up NintendoMan. Heaven only knows what his fiendish plot involves, but I hope that it includes at least a little hand-holding. [He’s a boy; of course he has a fiendish plot. This is why we like boys.]

I forgot that when you drink something using a straw, you tend to drink it faster. So when I started to wilt, mid-afternoon, and hauled out the 20-oz bottle of Cherry Coke which would ordinarily last me two days or more, and I poured it over ice in my insulated mug, all of a sudden I was talkingreallyfast.

Try to act surprised.

It is now 9:12pm, and the Cherry Coke has finally worn off, and I am going to bed, so that I may get up at dark-thirty and go play at the health club before tomorrow morning’s ward temple trip. There’s a dance tomorrow night, but jury is out on whether I will be going. It will depend upon my general energy level, whether I want to spare the gas, and if I am reasonably sure I will like the music. I will probably hit Fourthborn’s sometime during the day, as Faith’s eyes and wig arrived today, and the faceup and hoofie blushing may be done.

There were no culinary surprises at dinner tonight. Woohoos! all around.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Singing the albino vegetable blues

The little microwave cups of triple-cheese mac-and-cheese that cook in 3.5 minutes? Good. The little containers of frozen veggies that also cook in 3.5 minutes? Could go either way. The trees-and-cheese (broccoli) is pretty good. Opening up a package that you thought was trees-and-cheese, only to find albino trees (cauliflower)? Bad.

However, if you nuke the first cup and stir in the powdered cheese that comes with it and let it set up while nuking the narsty albino vegetables, and then you stir said narsty albino veggies into the mac and cheese? Not bad.

There has been a rash of lightbulbs-burning-out, chez Ravelled. I was able to stand on the couch (ooh, scary, and a little wobbly) and tighten up two of them. I also managed to unscrew one bulb out of its ferrule, or whatever you call the business end of a light bulb; if it were a pencil, it would be a ferrule. This lightbulb was just ferAL.

I wasn’t that lucky in the kitchen. Three bulbs, all of them bona-fide-edly burnt out. [I’m tired, and the muscles I worked at dark-thirty this morning are starting to yodel at me, and my guy is halfway across the country. I can too make up words if I want.]

The bulbs that I bought several months ago, have normal-bulb-sized business ends, while the ceiling fans all call for itty-bitty business ends, plus my porch light burnt out sometime yesterday. Which suggests to me that it is time for a little field trip. But probably not tonight.

I have had, thus far, two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables, three if you count the tomato sauce on the lasagna at lunch. I am nuking one of those nice steamer bags of mixed vegetables; vegetables will shortly be leading the pack. I bought all sorts of whole-grain goodness at the bread thrift store yesterday.

Oh rats! In the dark, I grabbed the wrong bag of steamers. More cauliflower in this mix. That hardly seems fair. Maybe I will eat them first and get them out of the way so I can enjoy the carrots and broccoli?

It is almost 8:00, and I am going to bed. Which probably portends waking up sometime between 1:00 and 3:00, all slept out, but a girl can dream, can’t she? (She just can’t sleep, not around here, or not for long.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In Which Your Intrepid Heroine Has Further Adventures

Yesterday began well. It is a pleasure to wake minutes before the alarm goes off, so that I am awake and alert without having to hear that infernal electronic bleating. (As opposed to waking hours before the alarm goes off, so that I am vertical when I would much rather be horizontal.)

I went to the health club and gently started nudging my body toward greater flexibility and endurance. A friend at work asked if this is because of NintendoMan, and while I will not deny that he plays into the equation, it is more a matter of having wanted for quite some time to be more physically active, with greater range of motion, and fewer aches and creaks, but having no idea how to shoehorn it into my schedule, or whether I could afford one of the round-the-clock fitness centers.

And it turns out that I can, and they have a few classes I would like to take; if I wake in the middle of the night, Facebook and writing and knitting are no longer my only options.

I celebrated, naturally enough, with a hot chocolate from Racetrac on the way to the grocery store for more apples and carrot sticks and bags of microwave-steamable veggies. And then I came home and took a shower with my new shower cap and headed out the door to work.

Where I promptly got stuck behind an accident, and at 8:29 I was calling the office to tell them that I would not be at my desk 15 or so miles away, at 8:30. I had just eased past the wreckers and was accelerating cautiously when my left front tire blew. Thankfully, I was going maybe 20-30 mph, so there was no question of losing control. I just signaled and pulled over and rolled slowly on the rim to the nearest gas station.

There was a man walking out the door to his car, and I asked him politely if he had time to put on my donut tire, and he did. Called his work, uttered a string of rapid-fire non-English into his cell phone, and had me on my way in five minutes or less. I went to a different outlet of the tire store I use and discovered that (1) they are far less busy than the other one [there was a bright young man with a clipboard at my door before I was completely unbuckled] and (2) my tires were still under warranty, so I was out only another 20 minutes of my time and $20.00 to renew my warranty.

I drove into work singing “How Great Thou Art” with joy and gratitude and abandon.

So much to be thankful for: the warranty, where I was on the freeway when the tire blew, my speed, the fact that it was no longer 15°F outside, the amazing coincidence [not!] of a gentleman walking out of the gas station with two strong hands and a willing heart, that it was not 5:00am outside the health club, lots of things.

Work went well. I plowed steadily through my inbox, got the day’s mail read and dates calendared, noted on the daily mail sheet that I had printed off the dismissal order and release on a case we are closing and would draft the cover letter to the court today (which garnered me a “Good work! Thanks!” from my attorney in his own comments). I actually got the letters written and mailed before leaving the office, in spite of working switchboard from 4:00 until closing.

Firstborn came and joined us at Knit Night. Mostly she and I sat off slightly to one side and talked, but we also played well with others. She enjoys beautiful knits (of which there were plenty last night) but has no wish to produce them herself. [I converted her to the joys of the handknitted sock last year, bwa ha ha ha ha!]

And then at 9:00 she went home, and I went to meet NintendoMan at a restaurant that keeps late hours. We talked until after midnight. Yeah, me. The woman who is ordinarily craving sleep at 8:30. I had the option of staying up that late because I am taking PT today to tidy the house. It is clean enough for the boyfriend, who knew me when my family lived in a shabby apartment and the house was full of kids and their friends and their stuff, but not clean enough to be having a RS presidency meeting in my living room. It may never again be as clean for them as I intend for it to be tonight, but at least we are setting off on the right foot.

There will also be excursions to the laundromat, to the bread thrift store, and to the health club. And there will be frequent breaks for knitting.

I had so much fun with TheBoy last night! He has amazing stories to tell, and I’m not sure which I enjoy more: the stories per se, or his voice and facial expressions as he tells them. We covered a lot of ground last night. College adventures. The kids we are not worried about. The kids whose choices are breaking our hearts. The proper way to celebrate birthdays. Rigor mortis.

And I am rapidly becoming a fan of the late-night, or all-night restaurant. It’s public, it’s well-lighted, it’s climate-controlled, we can be near but still maintain a proper physical distance, and there is time to get to know one another better. And when we reach the point that we absolutely, positively, need to go to our respective homes and get some sleep, there is that minute or two at the door of my car for sweet and appropriate exchange of affection.

He flies out to U-tahr tomorrow for his son’s wedding on Friday. He is granting me the pleasure and privilege of picking him up at the airport on Saturday. I had wanted to ask if I could, but felt a little shy about it, and we just kindof stumbled into the realization that it would make both of us very happy if it happened.

You married folks? you know, or should know, that it is the small daily kindnesses that keep love alive. [Do something nice today for the one you love.]

Monday, January 11, 2010

Places I have been.

A bit of insomnia this morning. I went to bed at 9:30 last night and woke three hours later. So I have been plowing through my Bloglines and decided to sift through drafts here and see what I could share.

Candleman’s Book of Mormon blog. He is a frequent commenter on Dr. Wally’s blog. Just an ordinary foot-soldier in the army of the Lord, like you, like me.

Vicki Pahnke Taylor’s article on Meridian.

Scott Proctor’s photo essay on Richard Kirkland.

Did I share this link on financial infidelity?

I am paying a little visit to the doctor this morning. Vanity, pure and simple, if of a lesser degree than that which drives people to Botox themselves. I am having some skin tags removed. I do not know what causes them, but like the man on the stair (who wasn’t there), Oh how I wish they would go away. Wishing just hasn’t done the trick, so I’m calling in the cavalry.

I wasn’t sure that I would remember to go to the doctor’s office this morning, in spite of having put it into my planner, so last night I opened up a past-its-prime circular bandage and stuck it to the bathroom mirror, so that when I woke up and staggered into the loo, I would see it and go oh yeah, detour this morning. Because I drove so much on Saturday, and was so tired when I got home, that I only had enough gas in Lorelai to make it to the stake center for church yesterday, and back home, and I most devoutly hope, to the gas station this morning. My idiot light came on half a block from home. And Tank the Car, Ma’am is currently looping on my internal soundtrack. [To the uninitiated, it would sound like the ride of the Valkyries, or maybe just Kill da Wabbit.]

I’m going back to bed and hoping to wrestle the Sandman, two falls out of three. Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sleep: gotta love it!

So, I was in bed before 7:00 last night and awake again, a bit before 3:00. I have watered my plants on Fairyland, responded to various comments on Facebook, played Beach Sudoku on the AARP website, and polished off the last of the pigs-in-blankets. My right hand still bears bore (there is a nap under my belt, since I began this post) the imprint of the air tube on my CPAP, a sure sign that I am slightly dehydrated (unlike the floors in our meetinghouse, where a pipe burst yesterday).

There is a pot of soup in the fridge, leftover from the meal I took to a recuperating sister in our ward. I expect to do a lot of cooking today. And maybe I will get the Christmas stuff put away, though I’m not holding my breath on that one.

I have the figures for interest earned in 2009 and just plugged the last one into my tax return. Now I only have to wait for my W-2. There will be a refund, albeit a small one, which tells me that I did a good job tweaking my withholding. No sense letting Uncle Sugar play with my money for free, as I did when the kids were little and we used the refund to buy big-ticket items like my first spinning wheel [because with all the unemployment, etc., there really was no way for us to save up on our own]. And no pain like last year, when I got pinched severely in the demotion from head of household status. Oye!

Fourthborn has set up a group order, which includes a wig for Faith and some skivvies for her big sisters. I think those orders ship fairly quickly. Middlest tells me she has made undies for Faith, and that package should arrive soon, as well. I also have sections of cannibalized T-shirts to send to her; Fourthborn, will you have anything to add to that package?

I don’t remember touching my knitting once, yesterday; it really was a crazy-busy day. I think there will be a good deal of knitting today, while stuff cooks. That would be a pleasant reward for all the tidying that needs to go on here, Sabbath or not. With our building out of commission for awhile, our RS presidency meeting may very well be taking place in my living room on Wednesday night. I would very much like not to have to apologize for the state of my house.

But first, I am going to use all this unaccustomed free time [because we are only having sacrament meeting today, down at the stake center] to sit on my messy couch and read my RS lesson and my Sunday School lesson and eat a couple of clementines and revel in the peace and quiet. NintendoMan may be coming over tonight when he finishes his home teaching (a man who honors his priesthood by doing what he is expected to do, well before the end of the month, and who truly cares about the families over whom he has stewardship; imagine that!). I would not call our time together “quiet”; typically he has me in stitches. Though one of the nicest developments in recent weeks, is the joy I feel at sitting on my couch, holding hands and talking about everything and nothing.

People who just jump into bed together, miss out on so much.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Do unto others, and then cut out…

This went out, yesterday morning, “Several of us wanted to order lunch and have it delivered so we didn't have to venture out into the arctic weather. Attached is the link to the menu from [restaurant]. If you are interested, please let me know what you want to order and I need to have your money with tax no later than 10:00 am.”

I responded, “Just a thought, inspired (I hope) by the Golden Rule: it's not-OK for us to go out and get lunch today because it's so cold, but it's OK for somebody else to have to come out in the cold to bring us our lunch?”

Her reply? “Yes because it is their job, right?”

And I said, “Strictly speaking, yes, it is their job, and they are people who get cold just like we do. Maybe I'm overly sensitive to this because [the children’s father] delivered pizzas the summer before he went to chiropractic school. I used to read [a certain author’s] lifestyle books but got ticked at her when she said that when the weather was crummy, she ordered in pizza so she and her hubby wouldn’t get cold and wet, when one of the ‘things’ she was noted for was that we should be kind to, and considerate of, others. ... [Quirks: it's what makes me interesting, right?]”

It just smacks of elitism to me. We are cooler than they are, so they can run about in the awful weather, while we sit here in warmth and comfort, and tip them.

I might have been poor a little too long. I’m sure one could argue that if we do not call out for pizza, they don’t get the business, and they don’t get the tips they need. Maybe I should be the kind of rich person who has a porte-cochere and a coat rack just inside the door, and when the pizza dude shows up, I hand him a prodigious tip and a new coat for every member of his family.

I had a three-hour meeting this morning, up at the Bishop’s Storehouse in Carrollton. Welfare Services training for ward leadership: well-organized, insightful, and beautifully presented. Then we came back and I spent the afternoon running around like the proverbial headless chicken.

It is now 6:37pm by my computer. I wrote NintendoMan; “I need a two-minute cry, a one-hour shiatsu massage (or a three-hour Swedish massage), and a nap. [You don’t need to fix anything. I just need to vent, and by the time you get this and read this, I will probable be just fine again.]”

I am done taking care of others for a little while. I am going to log off and take care of Ms. Ravelled. See y’all in the morning.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Drowning in Dollies

Blessing is sitting patiently and elegantly on top of the dresser in her skirt and sweater. She has a book, so she’s not bored.

Celeste is reclining languidly on the couch, waiting for her sweater. The sleeves are done, and just about exactly what I had had in mind. The body, however, is a puzzlement. I cast on the right number of stitches; that’s not the problem. The problem, ladies and gentlemen, is pooling. I’m not crazy about it in my socks. I’m even less happy with it when it pops up in doll clothing. So at the moment I am doing some glorified swatching. I have the proper number of stitches on my needles and have worked half an inch or so of exceedingly boring [both visually and knittingly] stockinette above the garter stitch hem. Now I am going to try some slipstitch patterns to break up the colors and see if I like that any better. Another option would be to knit alternate rows from opposite ends of the ball of yarn, which could eliminate the pooling entirely or magnify it exceedingly.

And then there is the new doll, Faith (my SOOM Beyla), who arrived at Fourthborn’s office yesterday without fanfare, drama, or indeed any warning whatsoever. I stayed up till almost midnight, making and remaking a skirt for her, so she was not entirely naked when I went to bed, but the gathering at the waist is too bulky and needs tweaking. I just cannibalized my favorite yellow T-shirt, which is almost exactly the right shade of yellow to pick up the pale yellow thread in the plaid. I think the next project will either be one of those T-shirt dresses that were so popular when the girls were little (where you attach a deep ruffle to a T-shirt to turn it into a dress), or a knit shirt and a jumper.

Dinner tonight with Brother Sushi, and I’m looking forward to that. But now it’s time to bundle up and go scrape off the windshield. I am not walking from the station to the bus stop and then from the bus stop to the office this morning. It’s 16°F (-9°C) out there, and it does not say stupid on my forehead! (Boy, is it nice to have options.)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Modicum of Weather

It is colder than a bill collector’s heart out there. 23°F (-5°C). Work is delayed until 11:00am. I am typing here by the fire, with two completed sleeves parked on a pair of DP’s. I squished them side-by-side then measured the circumference: 48 stitches total, and somewhere between 16.5 and 17cm; Celeste’s bust is 24cm.

I’ve cast on 72 stitches for a cardigan, allowing two stitches for a chain selvage and 2x2 ribbing that begins and ends K2. Now I need to brave my chilly studio and hunt up the 000 circ (done) so that I may work about two inches of ribbing through her midriff. I might do an inch or so of stockinette for a simple peplum first; I can always frog back and start over. I like peplums [pepla???], though I’ve only ever been brave enough to wear one blouse that had one. I think that was the summer before Middlest was conceived, when I was still relatively slim.

Dang. Time to yoke the oxen to the cart and head on into Dodge. My insulated mug is sitting on my desk at work. I do believe I will make a slight detour to Racetrac and acquire a second mug. They are perfect for reconstituting a package of ramen noodles, because of the slidey-opening that serves as a strainer/colander. We have a hot-water tap on the coffeemaker at work. I had a latte cup full of potato soup for breakfast.

I just checked the Weather Line for work. We are definitely open for business. [Mumble mumble growl snarl.] I would so much rather stay home and play on Facebook today.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

“By the presence of a pool table in your community.”

With apologies to Professor Harold Hill, I wish I had room for a pool table chez Ravelled. There was one offered for sale in our employee-to-employee classifieds, and it had a red felt top. Sadly, there really, truly is no room at the inn. [I know at least two guys with pickup trucks who like me well enough to lug it here, (or half of it here, each) if there were.]

In other news, the second sleeve on the doll sweater is nearly complete. It would be done, and I would probably be halfway up the waist ribbing on the sweater body, if I had gotten myself out of the house soon enough to catch the train this morning. But I made a virtue of necessity and tossed a skirt and my dressiest pair of clogs into the back seat, and after work I drove up to the temple, one full day ahead of schedule.



Work went fairly well today. I transcribed a tape for one of the other attorneys. [I am so spoiled since I started working for my attorney.] I may have to transcribe another one tomorrow. Builds character, right?

Dinner last night with NintendoMan. We must have sat there for two full hours, laughing and talking and occasionally holding hands. When I showed up [late] at Knit Night, they looked at me and grinned, and one of my friends remarked that I was glowing.

Have I mentioned that I like the man?

It’s nearly 10:00pm, and I think I can finish the sleeve before falling asleep here in my chair. I know that I’m being uncharacteristically silent, but he got most of my day’s allotment of words last night, and probably a fair number of today’s.

I may have solved part of the mystery with the recurring athletes foot. I have been battling it, off and on, for roughly a year and a half. I was fine today until I switched to my knee-high hose and the nicest pair of clogs. And now I have a lesion forming on one of my feet. I have been washing my hose in a lingerie bag in hot water at the laundromat, and drying them on at least the perma-press cycle, hoping that that would be enough to sterilize them. Apparently not. I threw this pair into the trash after coming home from the temple, and I think I will just invest in a whole new batch of hose. In the meantime, I have so much Nystatin on the itchy spot that my foot and toe look leprous!

If I were still a drinking woman, this would probably be a night for it.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

I'm OK. And I had a wee adventure.

To repeat: I’m OK. And I had a wee adventure.

So, I got up, sluiced off, ate a little breakfast, went over to Racetrac to tank Lorelai and to get a mug of hot chocolate. While driving over there, and while tanking the car, I noticed that my left upper arm was tender. Not a sharp, stabbing pain, just something not-right. And I had had some recent heart-flutteriness at a time when I was not kissing a certain jolly old elf. And my fingers have been tingly a little more often than usual. [For years, they have wanted to go to sleep if I do a lot of needlework before I eat breakfast, especially if my hands are above heart-level; once I refuel, they’re fine.]

Since I was driving in to work, I decided to take a little detour by my PCP’s office and ask for a blood pressure check. When her nurse was weighing me [that number almost gave me heart failure, in and of itself], my doctor asked what was up, and when I told her the symptoms she said, “Let’s check you in and run a quick EKG, just to be on the safe side.” Which they did.

Blood pressure is normal [well, 128/80 is high for me, but I was feeling a little anxious]. EKG is stellar as always. No headaches, chest tightness, shortness of breath. Could be stress. Could be I’m holding my arm differently when I drive. Could be the last 5 pounds. Am going to make a couple of infinitesimal changes in my diet that, over time, should increase my already good general level of health.

Today I am taking my hour of comp time for the hour that I worked last Thursday after everybody else had gone home. I got my nails done last night. There will be knitting, but I may be AWOL for much of Knit Night. Between his schedule and mine, there are now only two nights a week when NintendoMan and I can see one another. I will not give up my chick time, because I need to spend time in the company of other knitters, particularly those as nice as my Knit Night friends. I will have my cake, and I will eat it, too, but it may lean more toward petits fours than cupcakes!

He has a job. He’s good at it. He loves what he does. We have both been praying for his bookings to pick up rapidly after the Christmas rush. [This is normally a relatively slow period for him.] I would have to be an ingrate and a nincompoop to complain because he’s working several nights a week. I like to think that I am neither.

I would show you the first sleeve for Celeste’s sweater, but at the moment it resembles nothing so much as an item suitable for warming the second brain of one of the Seven Dwarves. And this is, for the most part, a squeaky-clean blog. So, no visual until there is a second sleeve, and a sweater body connecting them. I have about 15% of the second sleeve done. And no idea whatsoever what the sweater body should look like.

A recent exchange:
HIM: I will have to call you later, Drama is brewing and I am in the middle of it.
ME: instant, or decaf?
HIM: Insanity
ME: oh, my favorite flavor

Well, maybe not my favorite flavor (that would be chocolate). Silly me, I thought that drama only brewed in families with herds and flocks of daughters. In our house, when the girls were teenagers and the moon was full, it was triple-strength espresso with dynamite sprinkled on top, instead of cinnamon.



One final random factoid. That little guy apparently shared the shower with me yesterday. [Click to embiggen; he had fangs as well as a stinger! We will call him Count Waspula.] I discovered him carefully traversing the steamy ceiling, almost visibly shaking the droplets off his tiny feet. It slowed him down enough that I was able to whack him with the flyswatter. Good thing I don’t wear my glasses in the shower; I’d have had a hissyfit of major proportions.



Mmm. Chocolate...

Monday, January 04, 2010

Subversive Virginity

A link to this article was in the footnotes to a recent General Conference address. I was rummaging around at lds.org for a spiritual thought for our welfare meeting.

@ Kristen: Kim’s email address is in the left-hand column of her homepage, right under her picture. At least that’s where it shows up when I click on the link. I am getting so used to the Facebook chat window jumping all over the screen when I talk with NintendoMan, that nothing much surprises me anymore.

Ten hours at church yesterday, more or less, give or take. By the time I got home from the fireside, I just wanted to kick off my shoes and put on my jammies and talk to TheBoy. Which, thankfully I did, a nice comfy conversation punctuated only by his coughing.

I was sensible at the potluck last night. A bowl of soup, a couple of my friend Ruth’s excellent cheese biscuits, an ordinary roll with the real butter which I provided, a small rice krispie treat, and a narrow[ish] slice of pecan pie. Of course, if you feed a herd of 40-somethings all the carbs they could wish, the inevitable result is drowsiness. And about halfway through the mission president’s address, I was glad to have my knitting, and to be sitting next to his wife. (See ten hours at church yesterday, above.)

So, back in the saddle again today. It is going to be weird to have a full week at work, after two short weeks in succession. Good thing I like my job!

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I do set a goal or two. One of this year’s is to serve in the temple weekly. I need that mid-week spiritual booster shot; the spark which I have been seeking is very much present in this friendship between NintendoMan and me. We are each committed to Heaven’s standards for interpersonal behavior. Regular temple attendance, as limiting touch to that which is respectful and reverent, will ensure that we continue to honor ourselves, one another, and our respective covenants with the Lord.

There is fire which purifies, and fire which destroys. By carefully and prayerfully avoiding the latter, we open up the possibility of the former.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

More on the topic of intimacy. With a side order of yarn.

I like Laura Brotherson’s columns on Meridian. I also liked this article by a different counselor. Much application to all sorts of relationships, marital or no. [I am just fiercely determined that if there is a next time, I do everything I can to get it right and keep it right.]

For my friend Kristen: DearDaisyCottage. One of the loveliest blogs I know.

Tola, was it you who recommended The Corpse Bride? I scored a copy at Half Price Books last night, for $6.48. Now to either finish connecting the new DVD/VHS player, or concede defeat and hook up the one I know how to program and run, or really concede defeat and ask one of my guys to do this for me.

Major stash enhancement yesterday. Secondborn and 2BDH threw yarn money at me for Christmas; who am I to argue? I was planning to spend most of it at The Shabby Sheep with the 10% discount I get on my first purchase in January, but Whirled Fibers has a two-day, 25% off sale that ends today, for those of you who keep a different Sabbath than I do.

So here are the three skeins of Spud & Chloe Fine Sock that I bought last weekend.



Two new skeins of Noro Kureyon Sock.



Two balls of Panda Silk, almost certainly destined for a doll sweater.



A hank of PacaPeds, an alpaca-blend yarn spun in Peru which combines every green I coveted three years ago. And finally, finally, a skein of Madeleine Tosh’s Tosh Sock which revisits my color obsessions of both 2007 and 2008.



This ought to keep me out of the pool halls for awhile. Just entering it all in my stash on Ravelry will take up the better part of half an hour!

Remember that vagrant ladybug in my kitchen? He/she/it was joined by accomplices yesterday, all three of them persistently trying to mate with the lights on the ceiling fan. I don’t know if their mission was successful, but two of the lights are out this morning.



Those two dots on the upper right light are the survivors. The little guy below died with his boots on.



I got to see NintendoMan at his best yesterday, entertaining a living room full of five-year-olds at BittyBit’s birthday party. He is just amazing, all personal prejudice aside. And afterward, I got to walk him to his car, and we talked for a little before he left for the next gig. There was, sadly, no smooching, because his dearly beloved grandchildren gave him a cold for Christmas. So we just held hands wistfully. [And then I went back into Secondborn’s house and carefully washed my hands. I may be a romantic, but I am an exceedingly practical one.]

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Cheese, please!

I was very happy to read this yesterday. It made my grocery shopping ever so much easier! I ran amok at the grocery store. Well, amok for me, but probably not for all y’all. And as I begin this post [late on Friday night], there is a pan full of twice-baked potatoes in the oven for the second baking.

[It is now Saturday morning. Very early Saturday morning.] I am feeding the elders tonight. Whether they get half of those potatoes, or half a pan of lasagna, or something else entirely, remains to be seen.

I had a bad case of the fidgets yesterday. So I napped. A lot. And I baked. (Quite a bit.) I did not, however, eat my feelings, preferring to pour them into the keyboard. And I did not indulge in retail therapy, preferring to pick up my knitting and make some progress on the sweater which began as Jessica’s/Grace’s/Eve’s and will now be Celeste’s. The skirt fits her like a charm, and more to the point, it suits her.

I was afraid the colors would be too subdued for her personality, which appears to be at least as feisty as my own. I do need to tweak the underskirt a bit, however. It is just that much too long. But now I can use my sewing machine to shorten it at the top in a matter of minutes.

I caught up on all my Bloglines. NonSequitur is excessively funny these days. Joe (the dad) and Victoria (the sister of Brenda, who ran the bait shop and had a crush on him a year or so ago) appear to be smitten with one another. She is doing her darnedest to run the show. I have no delusions that I am running the show with NintendoMan. And we are both far more wary than Joe in the comic strip. I am not sure if this is a case of life imitating art, or the other way around, but I am enjoying it [both the comic strip, and my own adventures in Datingland].

I browsed the November issue of Gourmet (again). I ate half of the leftover glazed carrots. I cut a reasonable portion off the rotisserie chicken and tumped the rest of it into the crockpot, where it has simmered overnight. Soon I will go into the kitchen and decant it into the colander over my stockpot. And while the meat cools sufficiently for me to pick it off the bones, I will peel the rest of the potatoes, rinse and slice the leeks, and prepare a ginormous batch of leek and potato soup.

The chicken will become pot pie, chicken salad for sandwiches, and extra protein in my ramen. (I can usually get half a dozen meals, sometimes more, from a rotisserie chicken.)

While I was out, I found suitable birthday cards for the Bitties. Sadly, they do not make cards for people in my situation. Maybe I should come up with a new line: Middle-Aged Crazy. Or Flirting with the Oldies. Or something. It is truly (if wonderfully) weird to be thinking about holding hands, at our age.

I realized one day last week that I have no idea what normal male behavior is. My girlfriends assure me there is no such thing, while my guyfriends [if I were to ask them] would counter that they make perfect sense, while it is we who are difficult to understand. FirstHubby was probably fairly normal, but that was long ago in a galaxy far away, and I was more than half a bubble off level at the time. The children’s father, even when he was healthy, was not a normal male. I do not say that in a critical sense; he was a thoroughly delightful human being and a dear companion who fit into none of the convenient stereotypes of masculinity that prevailed when I was younger.

Most days I have no idea what to make of NintendoMan. He is refreshingly candid; I am coming to trust that he means what he says. [I might appreciate this less were it not for the last man I dated, who was careful not to lie to me and also careful not to give a hint of what he was thinking or feeling.] He makes me laugh; he makes me think, and boy howdy, does he make me blush!

Which is not to imply that he says or does anything untoward; it’s just that when his forthrightness collides with my painstakingly-découpaged layers of neo-Victorian respectability, hilarity is the natural but disconcerting result. It appears to be doing wonders for my complexion.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Good Question! And Happy New Year, Everybody!

I just woke up. It is, by my computer’s clock, 1:41am on the first day of a new decade. And I am awake (barely) after 4.5 hours of sleep. My phone is charged, my typing fingers are ready to roll, and all the rest of you have just gone to bed after welcoming in the allegorical kid-in-diapers with champagne, smooching, or [in a show of reckless daring] full-fat milk.

There is a text on my cell phone from Firstborn: So why am I spending New Years with NintendoMan & you’re not here? I almost texted her back, until I realized that she was probably somewhere on the continuum between kissing her hubby goodnight and easing into that first round of REM time.

But it’s a good question. I woke at 3:00 yesterday morning. Unlike the rest of my office, I did not leave at 4:00, because the powers-that-be forgot to ask Corporate to shut down our phones an hour early. I might have ingested something that I am mildly allergic to while dining at the country club [more on that, later], because mid-afternoon my ankles broke out in hives while I was sitting at switchboard.

I walked out of the office at 5:05 and made my usual pre-drive trip down the hall for a pit stop. I pressed the elevator button to go down to the parking level, then realized that I did not remember having set the lock for the front door to our suite. After arming the alarm. So I walked over to the front door, wiggled it discreetly, and trudged back down the hall and into our suite, triggering the alarm. Walked 3/4 of the way around our suite to the front desk, locked the door, walked back, reset the alarm, checked out with building security and informed them that the alarm which had just gone off in our suite, was me.

Drove up the ramp from the parking garage to find the streets wet, the temperature dropping, and myself suddenly bone-weary. I did not want to go home, bake two sets of treats, drive through what I suspected could turn into freezing rain, and dodge drunks. So I called BestFriend and told her I was opting for home and an early bedtime. And then I called Brother Sushi and told him I was bypassing the dance as well, and to please give my excuses to anyone who cared.

I don’t know: staying up for 22 hours straight and driving for 125 miles, more or less, after work? It just didn’t seem like a Real Good Time to me. So I grabbed dinner from Panda Express, ate it, brushed my teeth, and was in bed a little after 8:30.

...OK, I’m officially happy now. Just spent half an hour or so chatting with NintendoMan through the wonders of modern technology. [And I’ve woven in the ends on BittyBit’s scarf.] He will be entertaining at her birthday party tomorrow. Which was way sooner than I had expected to see him, because both of us have stuff going on at church this weekend...

So I didn’t entirely miss him for New Year’s, and the year has begun as I hope for it to go on. Now I can contemplate the next knitting project, which I think will involve replicating this



[borrowed from Fourthborn] as a sweater-vest. The epaulets will be easy enough to replicate, and I think I can imply the piping along the seams by using a twisted knit stitch.



This would probably be as good a time as any to tell you about yesterday’s lunch. Our table was in a corner, looking out over the 18th hole. The ceiling was way up there. The room was still decorated for Christmas. There was a doorman. I could hear the Tab Choir warbling The Hallelujah Chorus overhead as we finished our lunch.

I could so be a rich girl. I had a ham-and-Brie sandwich, no doubt fried in butter made from the milk of cows stabled just off-site, cows with golden collars and platinum cowbells. A generous cup of berries smothered in whipped cream and generously sprinkled with cinnamon. A side Caesar salad with a tissue-paper-thin crouton of baguette kissed with Parmesan and then toasted gently.

Foodie heaven. Three of our party were golfers. There were stories. My other friend loves to be in the great outdoors. Me? I could have cheerfully turned my chair toward the window and spent the afternoon sitting and knitting, looking up occasionally to watch the squirrels chase each other up and down the trees, or sitting by the fireside near the foyer.

It’s now officially morning. [I went back to bed for a little nap.] Birds are singing outside the front window. The fireplace is humming merrily. So, my friends, am I.