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!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Drinking [mostly] my breakfast and my lunch.

When I was rolling the trash cart and the recycling cart out to the street yesterday, my neighbor walked across and set the trash cart up at the curb so I wouldn’t have to wrangle both of them. Just simple, ordinary human goodness; a non-random act of kindness. We have probably exchanged less than 200 words in the nearly two years I have lived here, because we seem to be on different schedules, almost in different time zones.

When I got in my car to go to work, I thanked Heaven on my neighbor’s behalf and asked for blessings upon his head. Do you think that maybe Father knew I was a little more tired than usual and could use a smidgen of help: not enough to make me say, “Oh no, no, no, I can handle it myself.” Just enough to let me know that He was mindful of me.

I stopped at Racetrac on the way in and put some gas into the car and got a mug of hot chocolate. Nearly left my keys on the counter at Racetrac after paying for everything, but some kind soul handed them to me.

When I got to work, there were enough people out of the office that I got to use someone’s monthly parking. When I rode up in the elevator, I spoke with the statuesque brunette who rode up with me, after a man in a suit sighed heavily as the doors opened and he stepped out onto his floor to begin his workday.

“Wow, pretty sad when that’s the instinctive reaction to the start of the day.” She nodded and smiled.

I got the report transcribed which I had begun on Monday afternoon, all of my attorney’s dictation, put my mail in the bins to go out at the end of the day, delegated (reluctantly) the mailing of an envelope to one of our clients who spends about half the year out of the country. Because we apparently no longer have an account with that international courier service.

Met Fourthborn at the restaurant across the street from her office and handed over her Christmas stocking. Called the LipDudette, who shares space with my NailDude, but she had no walk-ins until a few minutes before I needed to be at church to open up the building. Maybe I can see her on Saturday, between sessions of General Conference.

Called Secondborn to find out where a DMV is in Fort Worth, in case the one in Arlington was full-as-usual. Ran by the Arlington office, which is blocks from where LittleBit and I used to live, and it was to the gills with tired people, so I just popped my head in and got right back into Lorelai.

When I got to the Fort Worth location, there was a line, but nothing like in Arlington. The clerk’s desk was just inside the door, and she asked if she could help. She looked me up in the system, and my Social Security number is already confirmed; I can renew my license from here at home, and I will do that in just a few minutes.

On the one hand, all of the digging and pitching and shredding of the past few days would appear to have been wasted effort, since I did not need to flourish my SS card in the face of some under-appreciated bureaucrat. On the other hand, I have rid myself of perhaps six cubic feet of outdated paperwork, which I will not have to move someday. There is a 13-gallon trash bag full of shredded minutiae. I know where my birth certificate, SS card, passport, and divorce decrees are. My shredder has had a series of nice aerobic workouts. From a baby shower invitation that predated the move, I gleaned three miniature clothespins (the kind with springs) that are doll-sized, in case I ever want to photograph the girls in scenes of domesticity.

And I have the satisfaction of having set a goal and worked steadily toward it.

I am looking forward to a full day at the job I love. The programming (or other) glitch that has held up the administration of the nuts-and-bolts of our raises and bonuses has been resolved, so later this week I should find out how that will impact my cash flow. Which is good, because whatever raise it turns out to be, becomes effective (I think) beginning the pay period which starts on Saturday and will arrive in my checking account on the 23rd.

Our 2nd Annual Service Auction went well last night. We had plenty of food and a slightly smaller crowd than last year, but a wildly enthusiastic one. I just ate a couple of slices of toast with some of the leftover Gouda and a mug of juice, and in my fridge there is a loaf of homemade banana bread with walnuts and chocolate chips. I am planning to make delivery of the brownies I’ve promised this weekend, probably on Saturday, and then I can take a break from knitting doll things to knit up something for the other bidder.

Today’s blog title comes not from a fall off the sobriety wagon, but from the simple fact that yesterday’s breakfast was that schooner of hot chocolate, with half of a double chocolate muffin leftover from Monday. Followed at break time with a 20-oz Cherry Coke. On the meandering drive which eventually got me home, I ate a bagel and schmear, washed down with almost the last of said Cherry Coke.

I have already done better, nutritionally, today; I mean to keep on in that vein. I have what I hope is a long, productive day ahead of me at work, and from there I am heading up to the temple. We are not having a presidency meeting tonight. Instead, I will serve in the temple and afterward spend time basking in the peace and sanctity of that holy place while praying for answers to the questions at or near the top of my list. No problems, thankfully, or nothing that appears to these mortal eyes as problematic. I just want Heaven’s opinion on a few things, and that is the best place to get a clear answer.

The place where Heaven and earth touch. The place where the Adversary has not one iota of power or influence. The place we sometimes lovingly refer to as “the Lord’s university”.

[And here some of you were thinking, “Wouldn’t that be BYU?”]

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No parking!



And they’re not kidding! This shop is next door to the church bookstore and just about a Heisman trophy winner stone’s throw from the temple.

Well, I have made significant progress in the search for my Social Security card. I found my passport, and I found my birth certificate, both almost exactly where I expected to find them. I have also shredded almost half a box [the kind that copy paper comes in] of old business records. I know several places where my Social Security card is not. And when I find the box that has the smallish organizer that I used when I was first doing MK, I will find my Social Security card.

I think.

[Two hours later.] Found my SS card. In the organizer. In my big suitcase. As Mom would have said, “It’s always in the last place you look.”

The whole evening was a series of small and seemingly unrelated events that in retrospect, were tiny cogs fitting neatly together. A call from Firstborn, needing some information. A call to somebody who had that information. A quiet productive evening at home. Objects found. Marbles lost. I fell into bed a little before midnight, more on the principle of the thing than because I was sleepy. Took me forever to doze off, and I kept waking up. I should have just sat up, grabbed my knitting, and listened to the audiobook until I was drowsy.

I just have to survive work until 12:15, probably fueling the morning on Cherry Coke, and scoot on out the door toward church and home by way of the DMV, with a side trip to give Fourthborn her stocking, then home to slice cheese into bite-size servings and grab my serving trays. Am meeting my cohorts at church at 4:00 to set up the last details.

I am also, suddenly, working on a stealth project. You praying types, please pray that wisdom does a mighty tap-dance on my head, because I will be needing every scrap of inspiration I can beg borrow, or wheedle.

In the meantime, just know that I will not be sitting here in park, no matter how still and quiet I may look.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sharing Time

At church, that’s what we call it when Primary meets together before (or after) breaking up into age-group classes. I’ve been reading. I’d like to share.

Before my meetings yesterday, I did a quick reconnaissance of my studio. Emptied one box. Dragged a storage tub out to the living room. Shredded a bunch of stuff, with more to shred for the next few days so as not to overload the shredder. Beneath all the stuff that either got shredded or tossed into the recycling, I found two Christmas stockings, including yours, Fourthborn; will try to get that to you sometime before next Valentines Day. I think the other one was originally intended for Willow or Lark. So, technically, I am a little ahead of this year’s preparations.

I am hoping to find the envelope with my passport and Social Security card in it. Texas has recently tightened up its process for obtaining or renewing one’s driver license, and mine is due next month. Since I am off tomorrow afternoon and will be driving in, it would be efficient to stop by at the DMV and get that taken care of on my way home, before I put on my RS hat and make myself useful in the last-minute preparations for tomorrow night’s service auction.

While I was rooting around in my studio, I laid hands on a ball of teal silk-blend laceweight yarn; yesterday’s church knitting was the start of my proposed donation to the auction. And was frogged within about 45 minutes of being cast on. I had forgotten what a pain that particular pattern was to get going, though it’s easy once you’ve finished the first repeat.

So far, I like the Neil Gaiman book. I love the voice of the man who is reading it. I listened to the first CD on Saturday night and began the second one when I woke at 12:26 this morning after six hours of sleep. Another one of my sleep-wrecking naps, but I must have needed it.

The new cheeses are so tempting that I want to sit down on the couch with some crackers and my cheese slicer and nosh away until I either can’t walk or my ankles explode from the salt on the crackers. We are talking serious dairyliciousness here!

The cheap, close-out soups that I bought on Saturday are nothing to write home about. [And yet, I am.] The photo on the bucket shows a dark golden broth and what looks like chunks of meat. The reality is dirty-looking water and a few reconstituted mushrooms and no discernible beef flavor. At twice the price of ramen noodles, with less than half of the taste.

Yes, I am praising with faint damns. I wanted to drive over to Braums and rinse out my mouth with a nice chocolate ice cream cone, but it was the Sabbath, so I took a nap instead.

On to more edifying things. Our lesson in Relief Society was from two General Conference addresses: Becoming More Powerful Priesthood Holders and Safety for the Soul. Each of them excellent in their own right, and our stake presidency was once again inspired to have them taught together for our Teaching for Our Times lesson.

I will close with this random thought: one’s cell phone does not make an effective mouse, even if it is resting upon the mouse pad.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Taking a Little Spin

“Blessed are they who go in circles, for they shall be known as wheels.” Yesterday I stepped off the merry-go-round and did only that which was needful.

I went to the battery store: nice people, and they are closed on Sundays, which gives them extra points in this woman’s book. From there I went to the bread thrift store, then doubled back to grab bargains at the la-di-dah grocery. I came home with two cartons each of raspberries and blackberries, a bag of clementines, 16 Easy-Macs in two flavors, eight cans of turkey chili, and something new to try: a 32-oz carton of almond milk. If I like the taste, it might be a sensible addition to my food storage, in lieu of part of the recommended amount of powdered milk.

That grocery store is just around the corner from my branch library, where I checked out two audiobooks: Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys, and Anne Tyler’s The Amateur Marriage, which I might have already read, but I think not.

Thence to The French Knot, a wonderful needlepoint shop which is spitting distance from Lucille’s (home of the exquisite lobster bisque, but I managed to exercise some restraint). I bought a card of the palest peach 4mm Japanese silk ribbon, to lace up the back of Celeste’s skirt. I also special-ordered another hank of handpainted silk ribbon in a slightly larger width (7mm), which I think I will like even better: a rich cream that has been spattered with a color which is on the cusp of terracotta and rose. And which I realized I probably could have done at home. I have silk ribbon (if inaccessible), silk paints, and at least one toothbrush which I could sacrifice for the cause.

On the other hand, I am supporting local business, and that is a good thing, too.

Then I came home and put stuff away, ate a little leftover banana bread, and headed out to the scratch-and-dent grocery store. As I posted on Facebook, 2# of Brie for $3.99, 1.41# of Monterey Jack for $2.81, a nice wedge of Gouda, all for the Relief Society 2nd Annual Service Auction next Tuesday night. And a slightly smaller amount of cheese for chez Ravelled.

My fridge looks amazing. So, for that matter, does the compost pile [or perhaps merely appalling]. For dinner last night I broke out the roasting bags and roasted about 3# of potatoes and a medium bag of baby carrots (1#?) in olive oil and fresh rosemary and sea salt. While it was cooking, I had some graham crackers and milk. I seem to be on a “life is uncertain; eat dessert first” kick. There will be no dearth of vegetables at dinner for the next few days. Heavenly!

Because I now have functional batteries for my camera, here is a hyacinth for the soul:



When I get around to making the blouse from that bit of silk dupioni that I bought while waiting for Jessica to arrive, I’ll show you the finished skirt on Celeste. But her current sweater is absolutely the wrong color to go with the skirt, so you’ll just have to wait.

I knit for an hour or so while listening to Anansi Boys. Thus far, I like it. I picked up the current doll beret, but since it may eventually be sold, it’s not suitable for church knitting. So I need to come up with something else to keep me awake and alert today.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Miracles

I enjoyed this article about miracles when I read it last April. It was a good reminder for me then, and it was a great booster shot for me now. I read it again after posting yesterday, in part to see if the link still worked. Here is one way in which it blessed me: when I got into my car at the train station at the end of the day, I happened to look down and see a pink split ring stitch marker, right where it had fallen off my knitting the other day. Mystery solved. I will wash it off before it goes back into my tool bag, but it’s home, and it seems to be none the worse for wear.

Perhaps the reason I woke at dark-thirty yesterday morning with a wee tickle in my nose that soon erupted into an onslaught of sneezing before ending almost as quickly as it had begun, is so that I would first read the article on the Christmas story, and then the article to which I have linked here. Maybe I needed those two booster shots before heading into work.

Which turned out to be nowhere near as difficult as I had suspected it might be. I’m not one for borrowing trouble, but I went in feeling pretty certain there was going to be a come-to-office-manager meeting, and that I would be getting an exceedingly professional and exquisitely ladylike earful. And perhaps that will happen next week, but what I wound up with was a quietly productive day and no drama.

If y’all were praying, that might have had something to do with it. At any rate, my thanks.

I wove in the ends on the doll skirt, and I worked the loops for the ribbon, and I am pleased. And then I grabbed the current incarnation of the doll beret and knitted away until I was almost back to the station last night, when I counted stitches and discovered that I had dropped one, four or five rounds back. So there will be a modicum of frogging in the very near future, when my eyes and my hands are speaking a little more clearly to one another; I’ve been up for about five minutes, and my two conscious acts, thus far, have been to pour myself a glass of orange juice and to wake up the computer.

I slept very well last night, though I had a strange dream in which one of my bridesmaids and I were in a charity-run thrift shop, and I found a quilt which my grandmother had made for my hope chest, folded neatly on the end of a bed. In the dream, I had my suspicions that one of the girls had taken it and sold it for gas money, and I was looking around for the one which Gram’s mom and sisters had made when Gram was a little girl. This morning, I suspect that I will find both quilts neatly folded on the end of the fainting couch in my studio and my daughter’s integrity quite intact, thank you very much.

I blame the chicken nuggets I had for dinner last night on the way to pick up my friend to go do our visiting teaching. My stomach feels undisturbed, after the fact, but I’m not so sure about my mind...

So what’s on the agenda today? A trip to the scratch-and-dent grocery store, to see if I can pick up cheese and chips more cheaply than we could get them in bulk at Costco or Sam’s, for refreshments for next Tuesday night’s Relief Society Second Annual Service Auction. Before that, a quick clean-out of the fridge to make room for any bargains I pick up later today.

There are bills which need my attention. There is an exhibition at the Amon Carter Museum which I think I might enjoy. I want to pick up new rechargeable batteries for my camera and get them fired up. A nap is not out of the question. And maybe some progress sorting and pitching in my studio.

I am not going to flog myself to try to get everything done before bedtime. I am hoping to flow from one activity to the next and end my day with visible progress and a sense of peaceful accomplishment. I also want to leave room for serendipity and a soupçon of adventure.

The fridge first, I think, and then the frogging, followed by a sensible breakfast which is not likely to give me weird dreams when I catch those ZZZ’s later today.

Friday, March 26, 2010

As Easter Approaches

I am still cleaning out my inbox and finding notes for blog posts that I meant to put together months and months ago. This article is about the Christmas story and how it ties in with accounts from other cultures, and how the symbolism in the Book of Mormon fits in neatly, and how the temples, ancient and modern, tie it all together. I meant to blog about it around Christmas 2008, and then I earmarked it for Easter 2009, and now I’m going to just hit publish and share it with you.

We wouldn’t have the Easter story if we did not first have the Christmas story. And the Christmas story would be nowhere near as meaningful if it did not point our minds and hearts forward to the Easter story, and to what it can mean in our individual lives.

I grew up in a not-particularly-religious home. Easter was bunnies and eggs and chocolate, and only incidentally about one of the two most important events in Earth’s history. And in our church, all the talks and all the lessons are supposed to encourage us to be mindful of the Savior and to model our lives after His. So for me, Easter Sunday is not all that different from any other Sunday: I go to church, I ponder the Resurrection and the Atonement, I worship, I give thanks, and I gather strength for the week ahead. [Our sacrament hymns (the ones we sing while the bread is being prepared) are, in their own quiet way, Easter hymns and sermons. The tablecloths remind us of Christ: His burial, and the empty tomb.]

Which is not meant to be disrespectful of Easter as it is celebrated by my friends who are truly devout, traditional Christians; those who observe Lent because they want to deepen their discipleship. Our monthly fasts, with their associated and consecrated fast offerings, serve the same purpose: to purify our hearts and minds, to both humble and strengthen us. In a way, each Fast Sunday is a small Lenten season of the heart, and whether we focus on what we are giving up, or on what the Spirit is trying to teach us, is entirely up to us.

I clicked on that link just now, to make sure it was still active, and I reread the article. It served as a spiritual palate-cleanser, much needed after the day I had at work yesterday. Today may prove to be one of the “Oh, Lord, make my words sweet and tender, for I may have to eat them tomorrow” sort of days.

Thank you, Middlest, for listening when I needed to vent a little. I am also thankful for my visiting teacher, who came last night and listened to my Readers Digest version of the earlier rant, and who has promised to pray for me today. I will need to be humble (i.e., teachable), with a side order of assertive.

Could be interesting. If you were inclined to add your prayers to those of my visiting teacher, I would not be inclined to say you nay.

To end on a positive, fiber-y note, I frogged the ruffle on the doll skirt while on the train to work yesterday morning, and I split those stitches as contemplated and split enough of the yarn to work four rounds. It was lighter, with a better drape, as I had suspected. It was also insufficiently ruffled, and I did not have the time or the patience to figure out how many extra stitches it needed to be what I had in mind, so I frogged it again, put the stitches onto my 000 needles, smoothed the yarn into a semblance of normalcy [wasn’t easy] and worked a deep ribbed hem, which is now properly bound off. I put my needles into my toolbag shortly before the train pulled into the station.

For me, knitting really was the new yoga last night.

All that remains is to weave in two ends, work the loops for the ribbon down the yoke in back, and figure out how to embellish the lower skirt front in a manner which does not compete with the ribbon accent in back.

I also need to figure out what I want to knit on the train this morning. But for now, I’m going back to bed.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Remaining Unruffled?

Still no visual for you; I haven’t taken the time to recharge my camera. But yesterday I bound off most of the stitches on the ruffle at the hem of Celeste’s skirt, enough to know that the ruffle as worked, didn’t.

The ruffle on the original skirt [designed on human scale] works for several reasons: the yarn is bamboo, so the fabric is as supple as silk; gearing up two needle sizes to work the ruffle increases that fluidity, so there is no bunching where you double the stitches, only graceful folds, and probably other reasons due to the physics of knitting or the properties of the yarn that are not presently occurring to me at dark-thirty and before breakfast.

But ... I may have found a work-around. This yarn [Hempathy] is just the tiniest bit splitty. I think I can make that work to my advantage by frogging back to the round before the ruffle increases and meticulously splitting those stitches into their component parts. Which will give me 120 stitches in roughly the space of the 60 I had been working; then I could split the yarn as I knit a new ruffle, working one round with one ply and the next round with the other ply. This would give me a lighter, more fluid fabric, with perhaps only the teeniest bit of wonkiness where the yarn splits at the beginning of every two rounds.

It would ensure that the ruffle is the same color as the body of the skirt. It might even be pretty and graceful, as is the ruffle on the skirt as designed. And if after a few rounds I discover that I do not like it, I can frog again, smooth the split strands back into some semblance of a plied yarn, pick up my 000 needles, and work a few rounds of ribbing to finish the bottom of the skirt. Ribbing would also mask most if not all aberrations in the re-plied yarn. It would also solve the problem of the bottom edge of the ruffle curling up, as it currently does, due to the physics of the stockinette stitch.

I may also have come up with a solution to the dearth of attractive skinny ribbon at the fabric store with which to do the lacing-up along the back panel of the skirt. I would not be at all surprised to find that I have a suitable color of silk ribbon lurking in my ribbon-embroidery stash. This first came to mind a few minutes before the alarm went off, when I mused that if I wind up with an unruffled skirt, I could feminize that long, tapered tube by stitching some silk ribbon flowers near the hem in a Coldwater-Creek-esque frenzy. And then I realized that that same silk ribbon would be supple enough to lace through the loops along the back panel and trail gracefully down the back of the skirt.

Which may be motivation enough for me to dive into my studio this weekend and find places for all the stuff I shoved in there when I cleaned out the hall. Or at least winnow out enough things that I can get to the stuff I need, when I want it.

Fourthborn, I think we can take it as a given that I won’t be wanting to attend the dolly work meeting and swap meet on Saturday afternoon. I think I will be going on a group date with Señor Swiffer, Daisy Dustrag and my dear old friends Ben and Jerry.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Half-blind Planaria

I would give you a visual, but my camera is yodeling that the batteries need to be recharged or replaced. They seem to be good for about one shot these days, and woe be unto me if I do not post that shot while it is still fresh.

Anyway, that’s what the doll skirt currently resembles. Click here if you do not remember planaria from your high school biology class. [I liked to suck them up in the pipette and whoosh them out into the water. I am personally responsible for dozens of cases of planaria vertigo in late 1967 or early 1968.]

I call it a half-blind planaria because of the single remaining split stitch marker, which is threaded through the first decrease on the last decrease round. It looks like a googly eye, parked there a little over an inch below where the stitches increase dramatically and the DP’s warp the fabric.

I have finished all the decreases down the thigh and calf, have doubled the stitches to form the ruffle, and have transferred them all to size 0 DP’s (that’s not a possessive; that’s a contraction, for you grammarians out there) and am on my third round of ruffle. A hand-wound sphere smaller than a golf ball, is all that’s left of the first cake of yarn.

This yarn is a joy to knit. The pattern is clever. And I am thankful to be knitting it for a doll, and not for myself or one of my daughters. If this were a human-sized skirt and I had not lengthened it dramatically, I would be soldiering along over 464 stitches at this point, and I would probably be taking my own name in vain.

I had a blast at Knit Night last night. There were only three of us; the local knitting guild had their meeting as well. I folded my tents around 8:30 and went over to Joann’s, where I did not find suitable ribbon for the lacing up the back of the skirt. I also did not find flesh-toned shirring elastic (elastic thread). I shall have to be creative about this. I’m thinking that a trip to The French Knot (a needlepoint shop just up the road) is in order on Saturday. That’s where I found the skinny silk-blend yarn to stitch up my Sunrise Circle Jacket last year. I’m not sure what to do about the elastic situation. Twenty-four years ago I could go to Spindletop in Dallas and buy a rainbow assortment of elastic thread for sweater cuffs and hat ribbing. I bought some in aqua or turquoise and used it when I made the dress of hand-dyed hand-spun wool at a class I took from the Spinners and Weavers Guild, circa 1986.

Poor Fourthborn! She loved the color of that dress, but she didn’t like to wear it. This was, of course, before she realized and could articulate that she is sensitive to wool. [This is the child who, at three or four, could touch fabric and tell silk from faux, and who announced after rubbing a snippet of fabric from some bridesmaid gowns I was making, “It’s pretty, Mommy. It’s pretty, but it’s not rubby.”]

Smart kid.

The April issue of the Ensign arrived at work yesterday. I took it out of the plastic sleeve and put it up in my cubby and completely forgot about it in favor of knitting through lunch. According to the cover, there are several articles on having the courage to marry. I wonder if any of them address the issues of those of us who are single-again? If so, I may be rolling up the magazine and beating some of the brethren about the head and shoulders at the next dance. Meanwhile, I need to finish getting ready for work. I have cereal in my cubby at work, and I could start reading those articles while eating my breakfast this morning.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jots and tittles

@ Sherry: no plans with anybody for Main Street Arts Festival. I would love to ramble about with you. I will probably want to go after work on Friday night, weather permitting. I would say Thursday night, but that’s turned into my temple night. (You’re welcome to join me there as well! Sometimes I meet my friend Robi there, and I think you two would like each other.)

Mount Washmore has been subdued for the moment. No eruptions are likely. Ask me again in two to three weeks.

The doll skirt is nearly finished. I have just worked the last decrease round. Fifteen rounds of plain knitting, and then I double the stitches and go up a needle size (maybe two) and work the ruffle. [Bigger needles = looser fabric; i.e., better drape.] I think the yarn remaining in this first ball will be just enough to finish the main skirt. I tried it on Celeste a few minutes ago, and she looked very sleek and pleased with herself. The skirt was designed to be a little longer than knee-length. I have extended it to what is my favorite length for my own skirts.

I want to see if those buff shoes I bought for Jessica-who-might-have-been-Grace-but-is-now-Fourthborn’s-Eve are the right color. If so, when I am buying doll stuff again (next year, unless a money tree pops up in my back yard), I will order another pair in Celeste’s size.

The timing on this skirt is terrific: tonight our knitting group meets at Borders, and there is a Joann’s in the same shopping center, so I can pick up the ribbon for the lacing in the back and also the shirring elastic for the waistband.

The new Knitty is out. They have done a combined spring/summer issue. Some of the socks are amazing, as are the shawls and stoles.

Middlest has been keeping secrets from me: she was Cashier of the Month in January, and recently she was awarded a cash bonus at their staff meeting, for exceptional customer service. Way to go, honey, way to go!

In theory, this is the week we hear about any raises/bonuses at work, but our office manager is in meetings for most of the week, so either she will be talking very-very-fast when she’s back at her desk, or it will get postponed until next week.

OK, I’m officially hungry, and it’s time to decide which of all my clean clothes I want to wear today.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Guilty Habit

That would be Franklin Habit, otherwise known as The Panopticon. His blog is one of my guilty pleasures. The man has a mordant wit, an imaginary pet sheep named Dolores who could give Mae West a run for her money (and who has her own pet: a ball of sock yarn named Harry, whom she terrorizes on a regular basis). He knits amazing lace. His skills as a photographer are no less impressive than his writing. And he is easy on the eyes. He is also (a) too young for me and (b) gay.

It is always a happy day when Franklin posts. This is not one of his Dolores posts, but it is pure-dee Franklin, as we say here in Texas.

He will be teaching at DFW Fiber Fest in a couple of weeks. I only found out about it at Knit Night last Tuesday. His photography class is sold out. His lace knitting class is not. However, it is not in the budget this year. [Year after next, if all goes according to plan, I can take a class from him anywhere in the country if I so desire.]

Plus that is the same weekend as Main Street Arts Festival, which is free, and which is where you will find me, knitting needles in hand, chatting up the artists and collecting business cards.

Yesterday was one of the most splendid Sabbaths in recent memory. Breathing was not an issue. Choir practice was pure bliss; I was on key and in full voice! I handed out most of the new VT routes and made appointments for my own teaching. After church I followed the Young Men’s president and his wife (the Young Women’s president) to a nearby nursing home where he and a couple of the young men brought the sacrament to a member who currently cannot come out to church. It was her birthday.

Lots of knitting progress, too. I need to walk 20 steps and try the skirt on Celeste. I think I may be decreasing at too slow a rate and might need to frog back a few inches and try again. Hang on a minute...

Actually, it fits just fine through the hip and thighs. Though I will definitely need to add shirring elastic to the ribbing at the waistline, because it is too large there and the yarn is inelastic (does not pull in sufficiently). She will need different underwear; what she’s wearing is bunching at the hip. The skirt is about an inch above her knees at this point, so I will be making it several inches longer and then finishing with that glorious flounce at the hem.

Four three rounds until the next decreases. But I think I’m sleepy enough to go back to bed now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Who made *me* the expert?

In recent weeks, people [as in more than one person] have been asking me for relationship advice.

Moi?

A couple of weeks ago at the singles conference, a friend took me aside and asked me how to let the guy she has a crush on, know that she does. She had asked a mutual friend, because he is male and would presumably know how another guy would like to be approached, and he told her to ask me. And later at the singles conference, he took me aside and told me the same thing.

I am stunned.

Although I am a little flattered that either of them would think that I know what I am doing in this department, particularly the guy. He knows what a comedy of errors that which we laughingly call my love life is.

The surest way to know which guy in a roomful of guys is the one I am interested in? He will be the one I am not talking to. Because I don’t want to say something irredeemably idiotic and blight myself forever in his eyes.

Besides which, middle-aged single Mormon males are spookier than a herd of broncs in an alfalfa field. They might, just might, be willing to jump the fence in pursuit of a young mare, but they are wary of anyone approaching with a bucket of sweet oats in one hand and a bridle hidden carefully behind her back in the other.



Roy says it better than I do.

When I was noodling around on Facebook yesterday morning before my trip to the temple, another friend popped up a chat window to ask my advice. She is dating a truly fine man and I think just needed a little reassurance, which is what I hope I gave her.

I called another friend on the drive home one night last week, because we had not spoken in far too long and I thought she might be home. She said that she had gotten some very specific dating counsel [from an unmistakeably righteous Source] that she was to do a particular thing, which she didn’t want to do because she was quite content as a single woman, and she had thought, “I need to talk to Ms. Ravelled about this.” She had already followed the counsel which she had received, because she is one of those obedient souls whom I want to be like when I grow up. She didn’t want to grumble; she just wanted to talk through the whole process.

I really hesitate to give people dating advice, because it has been a long and outwardly fruitless experience for me, for the past 12 years. Except that I am peaceful and happy, and I learn something from each attempt, and maybe that’s the whole point? I also hesitate to give dating advice because that does not fall under my stewardship as a Relief Society president, except when I am giving it to myself. Unfortunately, people sometimes think that because one is inspired in certain aspects of one’s life, one is inspired in all aspects of one’s life and thus fitted to instruct them.

As Marian the Librarian’s mama sang, “When a woman has a husband and you’ve got none, why should she take advice from you?” Besides which, it’s not so much the getting as it is the keeping.

I did have a lovely chat with one of the sisters who works in the temple. We know each other from the singles program. She had reached a point where she was utterly tired of being single. She brought the matter up in her prayers. She was given specific counsel and a specific name, somebody she had known for many years who had been recently widowed. They waited a respectful length of time and married. She is wonderfully happy. You can see it in her eyes. She is not young, but she is cherished, and she knows it, which makes her beautiful in the only Eyes that matter.

I realized when I was dating NintendoMan that I have worked through all of my issues, as they say, and I really am ready to make a lasting commitment. In Heaven’s time [on Heaven’s schedule, and not yours or mine], that will be me with the contented air. In the meantime, there are things I can accomplish as a single woman that might be more difficult if I had to take into account another person’s schedule. Or whims.

I am roughly 2/3 done with the doll skirt, and I have not had to say “just let me get to the end of this row.” Not even once. I have also (I think) figured out the spacing for the loops that will hold the ribbon lacing in the back.

But now I need to put on my RS tiara and print off some stuff to take with me to church in a few hours. And figure out what I want for breakfast. And go scrape some snow/ice off Lorelai’s windshield. Yes, we had a snowstorm, in Texas on the first day of spring. (When did they move it from the 21st? When I was a kid, the equinoxes were always observed on the 21st of March and September; now they seem to have become a movable feast, like Easter.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Veddy interesssting!

There was an alleged match on the Churchboy Dating Service which did not make me fall out of my chair in peals of laughter. Or run screaming in horror. His profile reads like that of a functional, literate, reasonably healthy human being of the male persuasion. [I cannot bring myself to use the word normal, because as Brother Sushi and I often commiserate, what is the norm in what we see around us, is not necessarily what we are looking for.]

The way the Churchboy Dating Service announced his interest is this: “Click Alert! Somebody clicked Yes on your profile.” And in the body of the email, there was a picture of a 53 year old guy, and a 23 year old guy, one of whom thinks we might be a match. So I logged on, read his profile, thought “doesn’t sound like an axe murderer,” and shot off this response, “Please tell me it was you, and not the 23 year old they showed me, who thinks we might be a match.”

So, we shall see. He’s allegedly a widower. I haven’t had very good look with widowers. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the one widower I dated since divorcing the children’s father, had issues equal to or greater than those of the divorced men I have dated.

Also, he does not live in Texas, and I don’t want to leave Texas, but maybe he has sufficient faith to move the house in which he lives, and his presumably adult son’s, to within 100 miles of North Texas. I think I could deal with a man who was ready to move Heaven and earth to be with me.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting. I am within five rounds of the halfway point on the length of the doll skirt. It still looks like a slightly warped tube, but I am about ready to end the panel at the top and back, and to work another decrease round. I think I am going to taper this skirt more than the pattern calls for, because it’s not as if Celeste is going to be wearing this to vacuum the living room. She just has to look pretty in it. So a hobble skirt would be just fine.

I have about half an hour in which to decide if I am going to be obedient and go on the ward temple trip this morning, when Mount Washmore is looming. And it’s cold again. And it’s raining. And I just want to stay home and do nothing except wash a few dishes and sit on the couch and knit.

Wahhh! OK, I’m done. Last night I reprinted the paperwork to finish the ordinances for my last uncle and for Brother Stilts. I’m going to take it with me and hope that enough brethren show up to do their work for them today.

Later, gators.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Four more rounds.

Four more rounds, and then I start the decrease rounds on the doll skirt. Another inch and a half after that, and I will be done with the decorative panel on the back, and then it’s just plain knitting and occasional decreases until I reach the hem, where I will masochistically double the stitches and knit a ruffle.

I took my two hours yesterday afternoon. Went up to the credit union and pulled out some cash, stopped at the Plano location of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue (Lewisville location, owned by different folks, closed a few months ago) just for some of their macaroni salad, almost instantly carbed-out and decided not to go to the temple last night, but to come home and go straight to bed.

Missed the worst of the congestion on Highway 121 and detoured through Arlington, first to deposit the cash in my account so I can pay an extra bill, then by the office where Fourthborn and Fiancé work. (LittleBit is now working for the same company, but in a different office; at Fourthborn’s suggestion, I waved to her purse in Fourthborn’s drawer.)

Seeing them gave me a second wind, so I ran by NailDude’s and did some much-needed personal maintenance. And got a bit of entertainment: he always has the TV on, and he/we were watching a sequel to High Noon in which the talents of several actors were utterly wasted. I got to see Pernell Roberts (the dangerously handsome Cartwright son from Bonanza) be a rogue sheriff, Lee Majors not-be Gary Cooper, and David Carradine grin sheepishly. I don’t know who the blonde was who had the Grace Kelly role; she was lovely and impeccably costumed, and whoever wrote her dialogue should be severely beaten with an editor’s red pencil.

And as I was nearing home, I thought, “I want an ice cream cone. There is a Braums across the street from the chapel. If I go finish entering the visiting teaching into our computer while the other ward is having their activities, I will be safe in the building, and I can reward myself with a cone when I’m done.”

So I did, then proofread the changes to see if any of the people I had assigned were on our do not contact list; two were, and I unassigned them. (In every ward of the church, there are people who do not want to come to church, do not want to participate in the ordinances and blessings of activities in the church, but for one reason or another do not want to leave the church and have their names removed from the membership rolls. Part of my job is to make sure that we do not bug them. And once in awhile, somebody who got mad, or got offended, has a change of heart and comes back to church. Much rejoicing when that happens.)

I was standing in the check-out line at Braums, with half a gallon of orange juice in one hand and my planner in the other, waiting to order my ice cream cone, when there was a quiet “boo!” and a lean into my shoulder on the right, from the husband of my secretary, and the two young-adult sons of another friend on the left. I had a nice chat with the three of them while I waited. Good guys, all.

I am looking at my couch, which is looking more like a junk mail repository than an article of furniture, and at the pile-up of bags and baggage at the end of it. My visiting teacher is coming over tonight. It’s a good thing she’s coming to see me, and not my house. Tomorrow will be the third consecutive Saturday in which I spend the morning doing church stuff. I do have quarters to do laundry when I’m done with more eternal matters. And I need to get over to Secondborn’s to see the recent changes inside and out, and I’d better hurry, because they have a buyer for it.

Quick, somebody, hand me a spare day that nobody else knows about, OK?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pillage, *then* burn!

This post, #1066, is in honor of William the Conqueror (also known as William the B-----d, according to Sharon Kay Penman) but titled more in the spirit of anonymous and not particularly bright ruffians, because I remember a cartoon where a big guy in a Viking helmet was leading a class and making one of his students write on the board:

“Pillage, then burn.”
“Pillage, then burn.”
“Pillage, then burn.”
(etc.)

Murr gave me my first laugh of the day, yesterday. This will probably be funnier to women than to men. (To my children who skim-and-run when they read my posts: definitely worth your time, but not with a mouthful of milk.)

I commented on her blog that this begs for a T-shirt. Just not sure that I have enough brain cells to rub together, to come up with the punchline.

I had the first half of my temple recommend renewal interview last night. I sat and waited while the regularly scheduled appointments ran their course, and it was after 10:00 by the time I walked into Bishop’s office. Thankfully, I had my knitting with me, and more out in the car if I finished that project, so I was fine, and I got to visit with several friends that I don’t see often enough, or get enough time on Sundays to visit with. So it was a really great evening, if an extraordinarily long one.

And then I came home, and NintendoMan was online, and we chatted a bit until Facebook froze on us, so we talked until I had to plug my phone in, and we talked a couple minutes more after I got it plugged in (just in the nick of time), but we were both too tired to flirt. Yep, the bane of middle-aged romance is not disapproving children but the need for sleep.

He will not be home on my birthday, either; he has a gig, and (strangely) I am fine with that. He will be in town on one of the days I am taking off before my birthday, and I’m going to get my bid in for some, umm, face time. [Take that any way you like.]

MovieMom had a link to a slide show of ten movies which celebrate marriage. I’ve seen some of those movies; others I haven’t and won’t, because of their topic or their rating. One of the slides has a line from “When Harry Met Sally” that I really liked, something about when you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you can’t wait for the rest of your life to begin.

So, this post begins with pillaging and ends with love. Those are the big two, the ones in which all is allegedly fair. The kids are plotting mischief around the time of my birthday. [Given the guest list, there might be some of both that night.] Can’t wait!

The Luck of the Irish

I found this video through Knitters Review (on whose forum I also found my Knit Night friends).



Very clever!

What is an Etsy shop, you ask? I think the simplest explanation is that you can buy and sell anything on eBay, but Etsy is a marketplace for handcrafted goods. Our friend the gifted woodworker has a link to an Etsy shop on his blog; so does his beloved wife, where she sells handknit items.

I am not sure if I want to knit up an inventory of doll clothing and periodically list it on Etsy, or if I want to sell PDF's of my knitwear designs. Possibly both. I am reasonably sure that I do not want to take commissions for my work, having done that in the past. Inventory + listing means that I can work at a comfortable pace and not over-promise. The idea is to reduce my overall stress level, not increase it.

I don't know if you girls remember one particularly horrible week when your father was in school. It was when we were eating oatmeal two and three times a day, just to get full, and I was sewing 20-hour days because we needed the cash so badly. Not looking for a repeat of that! Thankfully, my cash flow has improved significantly since those thrilling days of yesteryear, and I am looking for reasonable ways to speed up the payoff of my debt, not desperately working for my daily bread.

I remember when I was sewing uniforms for the local girls’ choir, and one of my customers was the Relief Society president in our ward. I called to tell her that her girls’ uniforms were done, and she said something like, “Great! I’ll swing by tomorrow and pick them up.” At which point I swallowed my pride and told her, “I need you to come get them today. That’s our dinner tonight.” She came within the hour, bringing cash, paying me extra (which embarrassed me to no end), and bringing a bag of groceries.

I am so thankful for the job I love, for regular income and enough to live on, for my 401K contributions and my emergency fund and my efforts toward having a year’s supply of necessities. I am thankful to live in relative dignity, and not in genteel poverty. I have had enough of the latter to last a lifetime, but I have learned valuable lessons from it, and I hope that I am more compassionate because of it than I would have been inclined to be, otherwise.

That luck of the Irish? I won 2 hours off during our support staff meeting yesterday. The blessings just keep rolling in...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We’re baking, we’re baking...

Support staff meeting this morning, and I volunteered last month. Which means, of course, that I am not in a baking mood, so I cheated. Two boxes of Krusteaz Cranberry Orange Supreme Muffin Mix, a cup of orange marmalade, and a disposable pan. The other volunteer is picking up breakfast tacos from Taco Cabana; nobody is likely to starve.

I drove in yesterday, went to the church bookstore after work and picked up the much-delayed February Ensign, then went to Knit Night for a little while. Got a call during the day from a member of the elders quorum, and another one last night from my secretary (my secretary, tee hee!), informing me that a move within our ward has turned out to be somewhat more complicated than we had anticipated, and we would need more volunteers today.

Back and forth via cell phone with my first counselor, some calls down the ward list once I got home, and more numbers pasted into a Word document to take to work with me today, for yet more calls (because at that point it was too late in the evening). Also a couple of Facebook emails to people whose cell phone numbers may have changed.

Measurable progress on the doll skirt yesterday, and some lovely compliments on it at Knit Night, but it would not make sense to a muggle if I showed you a picture at this point, so you’ll just have to trust me.

I have no idea what I’m wearing for St. Patrick’s Day. All my trusty green stuff is in the wash. No, I did not go do laundry last night. I had a move in the mire, as it were.

Firstborn and Lark are safely home from a whirlwind visit to Alabama to visit Willow.

And I guess that’s all the news that’s fit to print, so I’ll post this and go water my plants in Fairyland. [Stupid bonsai that has me stuck on this level for three weeks. But I’m not bitter.]

We now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Hatter, but not Mad

Another wee hat completed on the train last night, the skirt well underway, and a fourth hat cast on. A day to make a knitter pleased, indeed.

After dinner I grabbed the shopping list I had printed off from the grocery stores specials and went cherry-picking. I left all those metaphorical “cherries” right in the store. Naturally enough, since it was the day before the special ends, there were only two boxes of strawberries left at buy one, get one free. Neither one of which particularly impressed me. Which disinclined me to take advantage of the specials on bagged salads or my favorite brand of beans. I also priced the Texmati rice, and while not outrageous, it was more than I was in the mood to spend, so I put my cart back and came home.

Oh well, I got some fresh air and a bit of exercise.

I have written up the pattern for the doll beret. The ribbing is nearly done on beret #3. I have fired off a query to the state Comptroller’s office regarding sales tax. If I do end up opening an Etsy shop, I want to make sure that I am compliant with all the laws of the land (Articles of Faith #12).

It’s raining outside, or it was when I woke up about an hour ago. Nice gentle splashy sounds: a really great way to wake up.

Hard to believe that I was so sick, this time last week. It is lovely, just lovely, to be well and to feel well.

OK, I’m officially hungry. I’m going to nuke some pancakes and pack my lunch and get ready to scoot out the door. Y’all be good, and remember who you are...

Monday, March 15, 2010

One of the great things about blogging...

...at least for us creative types, is the occasional glimpse into another artist/artisan’s creative process. Anne Hanson designs amazing scarves and shawls. Her blog, knitspot, remains one of my favorites. In this post she solves a problem: what do you do when you need 40 yards of yarn to finish a project? And the yarn you are using is handspun, and you have used up every last strand of the fiber that went into it? Here’s how.

Graham crackers. I love them. Plain, honey, cinnamon, it makes no difference. Give me a mug of milk and a sleeve of crackers, and five decades slip away. Yes, I dunk them; don’t you? There is an art in how long to leave them in the milk, before they mudslide into the bottom of your mug and you have to go find a spoon. And never mind the two full crackers = one serving nonsense. If you don’t eat enough to wake you in the middle of the night for a sprint down the hall, there’s no sense even starting.

I may have figured out a church knitting project. I grabbed the untouched ball of Hempathy and my bag of DP’s and guesstimated 72 stitches for the waistband of a doll skirt. I've worked five rounds of K1P1 ribbing, which in a non-wool yarn is not particularly springy. And I’ve learned that my wrist is about 1cm larger than Celeste’s waist, which will be handy for fittings when she’s at home and I’m away. The increase from my wrist to my thumb also approximates the curve from her waist to her hip. I will probably need to thread shirring elastic through the ribbing to perfect the fit. But I am going to tackle Intolerable Cruelty, which I think is witty and just on the cusp of bad taste for a human, but OK for a doll. And the large size requires three times as many stitches as I have cast on, so if I take those numbers and divide by three, both lengthwise and crosswise, I ought to get a pretty good fit on Celeste.

@ Anonymous a/k/a Sandie: I didn’t say the first pancakes tasted “meh”. They just always look bland, and a little lumpy. [No dogs, chez Ravelled. No cats, either, as one of my girls is allergic. Just me, myself, and I, and the occasional “meh” pancake.] Just had a plate of re-warmed pancakes, every bit as tasty as the ones I had yesterday and nowhere near as much work.

Lots of lovely sleep yesterday. The nap after church was pure bliss. And then I puttered for several hours and went back to bed. No idea what I want to wear today, and no idea what sort of weather is forecast. Nor have I decided what I want to have for lunch. Doing a spot of VT after our friends have their dinner and Family Home Evening, as she works retail and has a crazy schedule.

I think tomorrow night I may be skipping Knit Night to catch up on the rest of the laundry.

I could drive in every day this week because of all the folks who will be out for spring break (and thus their parking spots will be available). But I just want to hop on the train and knit for that hour each way and let somebody else be in charge.

Good news on the breathing front: I was hardly bothered in our meetinghouse yesterday. And only the merest hint of a tickle in my throat this morning. I really, truly am getting over this stuff, and I am so thankful!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sproing!

That would be me, springing forward after a good night’s sleep. Thus begins the two- to three-week period of adjustment which is the onset of DST.

As I posted on Facebook, I am so thankful that I do not have to explain DST to a small herd of dairy goats, whose udders ran on a schedule all their own. And who let me [and the neighbors] know if I was one minute later than they thought I should be.

In the spirit of leveraging technology, I just discovered the shopping list feature which accompanies the online weekly specials at a grocery store to which I have a reward card. I opted to read the text-only version, which is neatly categorized, and in half the time it takes me to browse through the print version that arrives in my mailbox weekly, I had compiled and printed a list of three items to take to the store after work tomorrow. I cherry-pick at that store, buying items only when their specials are less than what I would spend at my regular grocery store, or if I need something they carry which is not carried elsewhere. [Which reminds me that I am out of Texmati rice; I need to scribble that on the list as well.]

I have dutifully clicked on the pink button for donating mammograms, which is a nice way to begin the day. Can’t quite decide what I want for breakfast this morning; it’s good to have so many options.

I was talking with my friend Jill about incremental progress on our respective financial goals. I am nearing the end of the first quarter of strict budgeting, and I am looking forward to getting the quarterly statement from my credit union early next month, showing how much I’ve paid off and what remains to be paid. I have an spreadsheet here at home to track my progress.

I can feel myself reaching that point where I tell myself I’ve been good for a very long time, and I deserve a splurge. And bonus time is fast approaching, which tends to knock a hole in my financial self-discipline because all of a sudden there is money!!! that does not have to go for rent or utilities or gasoline or comestibles. It is the time of year when the song of the eBay is heard throughout the land: come away, my love [and bring your PayPal with you].

I think it just might be different this year. She has way more self-discipline than I do, and I am hoping to learn from her good example. One of the things that she does, and I think I want to follow this example, is to put up beans in quart jars for an instant dinner. X amount of dried beans, Y amount of boiling water on top of them, pressure canned for Z minutes. Much cheaper than the canned beans that I love [which are on the shopping list for tomorrow night], and all I would need would be a pan of cornbread to have a complete protein. Plus, the jars are reusable, while the cans need to be recycled. Cheap, fast, and easy. Unlike me.

I did do one small splurge yesterday. I bought a small bottle of pancake mix, the kind where you add water, shake, and pour. Generic, of course. So this morning I have spent half an hour or so frying up pancakes in real butter, since the first ones in each batch are always meh until you get the temperature right. I will wrap up the ones I don’t eat, which will be the vast majority of them, and save them for later in the week. And I will wash and save the container for the next batch.

Mmm, breakfast is was ready, in a small lake of real, grade B maple syrup, which I prefer to the gourmet stuff. And it was good. I will definitely do this again, and soon.

I am going to have to get creative with the church knitting today, as the yarn I wanted to use, needs to be wound into a ball, and my ball-winder is on the far side of the studio with about 15 boxes between me and it, and the needles I would need are midway, inside the armoire which I cant get into because of those same boxes.

And I am going to have to get moving, because I have a meeting with Bishop in about an hour and a half.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Old Mother Hubbard

Ms. Hubbard is sitting in the corner with young master Horner. They are eating malted milk balls, having polished off the Christmas Pie, the leftover microwave veggies, the bowl of cereal that got poured just before we discovered that the milk went sour.

One of my friends at work was eating malted milk balls at her desk the past couple of days. I picked up a carton when I nipped into CVS to get some knee-highs to wear with my skirt at leadership training this morning. I have portioned them out into snack bags, to toss into my lunch over the next couple of weeks. (The malted milk balls, not the knee highs; I don’t think those would be very tasty.)

The cupboards are full. The fridge is full, and not just of malted milk balls. We had a medium turnout for the meeting, so those of us who were there got to play Ruth-and-Naomi and glean the table. I came home with two slices of zucchini bread (the only thing that humble vegetable is good for, and I’m only in the mood for it a couple of times a year) and about half of the leftover cantaloupe chunks, some water biscuits and cheese slices.

I also bought printer paper and have replaced my missing pen with a handful of cheap stick pens, gotten more paper towels and my favorite brand of facial tissues, stocked up on bread at the bread thrift store, brought home another gallon of distilled water for my CPAP.

When we walked out of the stake center, my friend noticed that the right rear tire was low. We pulled out my compressor. Didn’t work. Called Secondborn; 2BDH was just pulling in their driveway from helping a friend with computer issues. They live minutes away from the stake center, and he was there to help us in a jiffy. His compressor didn’t work, either, so we realized it was something with my car. We used his car and my compressor and aired up the tire. While that was going on, he pulled out the bad fuse for my cigarette lighter. If he does not have the right one at their place to fix it, I will stop in at AutoZone after work on Monday and bat my eyes at them.

2BDH then piloted us to the nearest Discount Tire Store, where they found a nail in the shoulder of my tire. Again, the tire was under warranty, so I was only out $10 to renew the warranty. My friend and I celebrated the fact that I did not have to buy a whole new tire, with ice cream cones at Braums.

While we were at the tire store, we made RS phone calls. Well, mostly she did. There was a gorgeous middle-aged man wearing a shirt with a massage therapy logo. Turns out he is an instructor at one of the local colleges. We talked about modalities, about the need to take care of oneself, etc. I was not flirting. He offered his business card, but I told him I have one friend who does Swedish when I just want to relax, and a Shiatsu practitioner for when I let it go too long and need to be broken apart and put back together.

In retrospect, what I should have done was give him a Book of Mormon pass-along card and just trade cards with him. For somebody who shows up at correlation meeting every week, I am not very missionary-minded.

My first counselor is a wonderful example. We were sitting there in the tire store, and she got the inspiration to call various sisters in the ward and leave loving messages on their voicemail. I had it in my own mind that I had been to my training meeting and was done with RS for the day. I was in full-on knitting mode. [Well, until I found something even more interesting than knitting to do.]

If you are local, the new Smashburger on South Cooper in Arlington has great burgers and even more amazing fries. The Smashfries have olive oil, rosemary and I think garlic. Best fries I have ever eaten, bar none. I had the Baja burger, with pepperjack cheese, guac, wafer-thin slices of red onion and tomato, deep green buttery lettuce, and fresh jalapeno slices, which I carefully picked off. This is a Denver chain; does not taste like chain food. There is one in Meridian, Idaho, if you’re near my old stomping grounds.

My friend Francis recommended it on his blog. I will definitely be going back for more. I like the burgers at Kincaid’s better, but I would put these between Kincaid’s and Fred’s (another FW institution) and well above Tommy’s, which is now a distant fourth in this woman’s book.

The doll beret turned out absolutely precious. I am nearly done with another out of my second ball of Noro Kureyon Sock in the teal/charcoal/green colorway. And then I think I will cast on one fora larger doll. I may have to buy another ball if I want to make a pair of socks from it. I have seen gloves knit from Kureyon Sock, where each finger is a different color but it all comes together harmoniously because of his color genius.

It’s been a good day. I’m going to read a little and then go to bed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Neat Stuff.

By which I do not mean orderly stuff, because hello? this is me we are talking about, and on good days I am a messie-in-remission and on bad days I echo Pigpen in saying that cleanliness may be next to Godliness, but around here it is [frequently] next to impossible.

I am well enough physically to want to spend the weekend puttering. Which is a lovely frame of mind to be in, but I have a leadership training meeting tomorrow morning, and Lorelai needs to get her oil changed, and I popped a nail [last week], and the fridge and pantry have plenty of room for fresh stuff.

I have had two really great days at work, productive, lessons learned, a fair bit of laughter at myself. My attorney and I are starting to have a running joke. I will start with, “In the spirit of being a thinking legal secretary...” and he will either smile or I can hear it in his voice, and then I state Point A and Point B and my conclusions and ask for confirmation, and more often than not I am beginning to be right, plus I have made Rambo grin.

I love it when that happens.

On Wednesday I had transcribed something fairly complicated, and he had assembled exhibits, which he wanted labeled, and then he said, “When you’ve got it assembled, you can show me if you like.” And I said, “Yeah, we’re still learning to trust each other.” And he said, “Oh, I trust you. Just bring it by when you’re done.” And the other secretary and I looked at each other and grinned, and she said, “Yeah, I trust you, but I don’t, yet.” So I put it together, labeled six ways from Sunday, with the judge’s copy tabbed along the side, and he took a quick look and grinned up at me and pronounced it:

“Beautiful.”

Made. My. Day.

Oh, and the beret that I thought was likely to be a disaster? Nearly done, and I appear to have guessed right on the decreases, and I am taking the second ball of Noro Kureyon to work with me, to start one for Blessing. (Because I will have plenty of it leftover for a pair of socks or maybe even gloves, for me.)

Paycheck hasn’t hit my account yet, so it looks as if I will be riding the train this morning. Dinner with Brother Sushi tonight, my nickel. And maybe a new burger place to try, courtesy of my friend Francis. Woohoo!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Noble Experiment?

Yesterday I noodled away on a prototype beret. I think I will probably end up frogging it back to the end of the ribbing and trying again, with fewer increases. I am reasonably sure that I am going to run out of yarn before I run out of hat. But since I am playing, it’s not particularly upsetting. And this yarn frogs well. It’s not as if it were cashmere laceweight, or alpaca.

Had a really, really great day back at work yesterday. My appetite showed up for breakfast, but not obnoxiously so. I was a little hungry at lunch and satisfied myself with a bowl of cereal. I had some carrot sticks for dessert. It is so nice to eat food that crunches! My teeth and gums were getting a little tired of toast, morning noon and night.

I showed up for presidency meeting, and one of my counselors was out of pocket, so we canceled the meeting. Came home and ate a small serving of my friend’s delicious lasagna, then did a load of laundry, came home again and polished off the last of the lasagna.

I’m driving in today, because I’m meeting my friend at the temple after work. Which means that I have time to fry up a small pan of potatoes O’Brien and a couple of eggs, and of course more toast. And I’ll take what are probably the last of the frozen blueberries to put on my cereal at work, for lunch, and maybe a sandwich for a quick snack on the way to the temple, and some fruit.

I have been really good to myself financially the past two weeks. And I have also been good to myself nutritionally, when I was inclined to eat. All, by the grace of Heaven. The tithing blessings have come through for me: there has been enough, and to spare. Of everything. [Well, not of guys I want to date, but then I haven’t exactly had the energy to be interested in that line of thought anyway. All in due time.]

I even know what I want to wear to work today. And it’s clean!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gratitude

I don’t know about you, but when I read the March issue of the Ensign, the theme that popped out for me, is gratitude. I certainly needed a reminder. The past month and a half have been challenging. I have felt emotionally vulnerable (which I do not like), and physically frail (which I like even less), and I have wondered if this is what it will feel like to be old. [And here I had actually been looking forward to living to be 100!]

So I was definitely in need of a booster shot to ramp up my gratitude.

The most recent bout of yuck appears to have been the last-hurrah of whatever it was that was bugging me. My head feels clear. My breathing is easy. There is, for the moment at least, no temptation to cough. The rumblies in my tumblies feel like the healthy sort, from a body which has consumed perhaps one-tenth of its normal allotment of calories in the past two days.

I am almost tempted to step on the scale when I get to work today, because I feel about ten pounds lighter, but that is probably just the rumblies talking.

So what did I do while I was home yesterday? Slept. A lot. I also finished a prototype hat which fits Celeste and used up much of the yarn leftover from my latest pair of socks. I think there is enough yarn left that I can make a beret to fit her or Blessing. I am toying with the idea of opening an Etsy shop later this year; whether I will sell doll couture, or patterns for same, or both, remains to be seen. I will have to figure out the legalities (in terms of sales tax, product labeling, etc.) as well as the logistics.

And I would have to improve my picture-taking skills considerably, or ask one of the girls to do the honors.

My census form was waiting when I got home Monday night. I was not inclined to open it yesterday, but I am taking it with me to work and will fill it out there. They have pens at work. My last pen appears to have grown legs and walked off; I hope it is having a lovely time, wherever it is. I have a coupon for $10 off a $20 purchase at an office supply store, and after my church meeting on Saturday morning, which will put me in the general vicinity of said office supply store, I will get new pens, more paper for my printer, etc. Several things to be thankful for in this paragraph.

We are having what I hope will be a quick presidency meeting tonight, to assign the last of the visiting teaching [letter routes] and to hammer out details of our classes for this month and next. And then I will make a mad dash to the Laundromat to do a load of whites.

I pulled this from Barb’s post:



Just what I needed to restore a little humor in my life. I think I’ll watch it again. Love that song. Love to dance to that song, myself.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Breathing: it’s not just for breakfast anymore!

I barely coughed during my early meetings on Sunday, and I asked the brethren at welfare meeting to pray that I would be able to make it through the three-hour block (sacrament meeting, Sunday School, RS) and able to teach my lesson.

They did, and I was.

I came home and went straight to bed, first setting the alarm in case I slept all night. Hey, this is me; stranger things have happened. Slept until about 8:30 and was up for another three hours, during which I wrote a much-needed and long-delayed apology to an old friend. And then back to bed, apparently UNsetting the alarm, because I woke at 6:35 to way too much light in my room.

I almost made it onto my regular train, locking up Lorelai just as the TRE pulled out of the station. So I caught the next one, and I had a pretty good day at work, if you don’t count the sneezing and the collywobbles. I had a muffin and a pint of milk for breakfast. For the rest of the day, I nursed a 20-oz bottle of Coke over ice and practiced my race-walking. I am still apparently practicing for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Stopped at a dear friend’s on the way home from the station; she had made me a small loaf pan of lasagna, which I heated up. I ate a couple of tablespoons (excellent!) and put the rest of it into the fridge and went to bed. I’m up again for a bit, mostly to rehydrate, though I’ve managed to eat a slice of toast and three bites from another one, which will soon join the lasagna in the fridge.

When I bob to the surface again, I will call in dead; I think this day will be a day for the BRAT diet, if and when I feel like eating. I have the bananas. I have the rice. I have the makings of toast. And I have one ginormous apple in the fridge, which at the rate of my current appetite may last me the rest of the week.

The good news is, I am coughing only occasionally and not as deeply as before, and the sinus which was plaguing me yesterday has apparently decided to stop making my head runneth over. I don’t feel sick-sick, as if this were from food poisoning or the flu, merely [ahem] explosive, and cold, and tired. I feel as if I had swallowed the 1812 Overture. Complete with cannons. [And not of the Pachelbel sort.]

Correction. We have just added toast-as-javelin-throw to our training program. Oye to the veh.

But I was not in the high rise where a shooting occurred yesterday in Dallas (Middlest texted me while I was on the train last night; CNN’s trailer alerted her, and she checked on me). So even if my body is revolting (there’s your straight line), I get to have another day on this lovely earth.

OK, time to brush my toofies and rinse out my poor, abused mouth and put the surviving toast in the fridge; the earlier slice is, well, toast.

Obviously, there will be no Knit Night tonight. But there may very well be knitting, and possibly some reading. But for now, let there be sleep, because I am feeling distinctly unRavelled.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Balzac! (The magnet is back!)

But first, this breaking news! A new comment a couple of days ago on an old, old post of mine: “Just googled ‘flouride [sic] varnish burping’ because I was curious if this is a common issue - ‘solvent’ is the perfect word that I could not think of when explaining my issue to a coworker. Thanks!” If you google same, I am currently the third entry down. Woohoo! 15 minutes of google-fame, here I come.

So, I went to the singles’ conference, and I may have enjoyed myself, and I came home to this in my Facebook inbox:

“How are you doing today. My name is [name], [age] years old...I just joined this facebook and i saw your profile which really caught my attention and i developed a special interest in you. I am a widowed/single man, loyal, responsible, active, loving, caring, kindhearted, accommodating and s*xy. I want a woman with a good heart, one with good knowledge about love and who knows how a man is been [??] treated, age or color difference do not matter to me at all, as long as she loves me, I want a relationship that will last forever and won’t fade.”

I sent him a response that was brief, courteous, and I hope Christlike: “I see that one of your friends is a friend of one of my friends. Are you by any chance LDS? Where in the country (or in the world) do you live?”

To which I got a copy of his original email, with this addition: “Dear, you are such a lucky woman cos you are the only and first woman that has contacted me so far. I feel more comfortable talking to you now on yahoo messenger and my yahoo IM is [name] ... Give me your yahoo I.D and my email address is [address] ... I will be awaiting your swift response. ... Hugs and Kisses, [ApparentPsycho]”

To which I responded: “You haven’t answered my questions, and I don’t chat with people I don’t know in real life.”

As Marian the Librarian said, “I know what the gentleman wanted. You’ll find it in Balzac.”

I guess this was just to see if I was awake and paying attention in the workshop on healthy relationships yesterday. What do you think? If I don’t get a lucid [non-canned, properly punctuated] response from him in the next 24 hours, I’m blocking him.

As I wrote another Facebook friend, before reading this guy’s email, “And there was an email waiting for me here from some guy I don’t know who appears to think I might be the love of his life. ... Is it bad that what came to mind was the Dorothy Parker line ‘what fresh h--- is this?’ ... The irony of this is not lost on me: that I come home from a singles’ conference and find an email from a presumed [non-LDS man], who in the economy of God might actually *be* or become the great love of my life, and now I have to come up with a Christlike response to somebody who may or may not be merely psychotic.”

Well, we see that my instincts were correct. That’s refreshing, and reassuring. And now I have a lesson to prepare.

Friday, March 05, 2010

In the “Life’s Little Ironies” department...

So I went to the temple last night, after heating and enjoying a bowl of clam chowder in the break room once I had logged off. I had already made up my mind that I didn’t want to go on a session; I just wanted to hang out with the sisters and do the preparatory ordinances. [I was physically tired enough that I probably couldn’t have stayed awake during a session anyway.]

While I was changing out of my street clothes in the dressing room, I heard a sister call another sister’s name, softly. A very familiar name. And the voice which responded was one I know well. In the cubicle next to my own, the ex-wife of my ex-boyfriend was also preparing to serve in the temple.

Ordinarily, I would have been delighted to see her; she’s a good woman, with a good heart. Last night, not so much. I was not in the mood to talk with anyone who happened to have that last name. Granted, she may not have that name much longer, but I have never wanted to attend a singles’ conference less than I do now [and I ordinarily enjoy them], so my attitude is a wee bit iffy.

Not so much as you’d notice.

So I was very, very quiet in my cubicle, and I made sure to stay in there until she and her friend were gone.

I went last night, as I will go to the mixer and dance tonight, strictly to be obedient. A friend commented that with my current mindset, I would be blessed all the more for attending. I told her that I would probably blessed a whole lot more if I stopped whining about being there. We both laughed.

I don’t mind being single, in principle. I really don’t. It’s way better than being unhappily married, or in a bad relationship. It’s just that this particular singles’ conference comes right on the heels of a dating situation that went blooey. And I am not the least bit interested in spending the weekend in a large classroom with a bunch of guys who want to date me about as much as I want to date them. Nor do I want to take classes and workshops that will probably be edifying, and even interesting, but nevertheless remind me that I am, oh dear, single.

Repeat after me: the odds aren’t good, and the goods are odd. [And yes, I realize that when I point the finger at somebody else, there are several more pointing right back at me.]

Is it too late to open a convent? With me as Irreverent Mother?

One of my friends is attending the North Texas Irish Festival on Saturday. I am jealous, so jealous! I shot him a note on Facebook to tell him so, and he reminded me about the Scottish Festival in June. I’ve lived in this part of Texas for most of the last 31 years, and I’ve never gone to it, either. But it’s on my calendar now

Bagpipes. Men in kilts. I can just look. I don’t have to shop.

Got my performance review yesterday; specifics about what they like, specific ways to improve, and we will talk about the money in three weeks. I already know that there is a smaller pool of money to share among 36 people this year, likewise the pool for our bonuses. Modest raise beats no raise at all. Ditto for bonus money. I have a job. And I like it. Most days, the fact that they pay me to show up is almost irrelevant.

Five rounds to go on the sock, and still no idea what I want to do next.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Nights in Nystatin

Couldn’t resist posting this again. My closing status on Facebook last night:

Foot’s in Nystatin
Never reaching the end;
There’s a fungus amongus
Getting better, my friend...
(with profound apologies to the Moody Blues)

Some great comments from the peanut gallery on that one!

Yesterday was one of those days when, if people asked how I was, I replied “vertical”. I am quite capable of choking on a spit bubble, and yesterday on the bus I swallowed wrong and spent the rest of the ride trying not to cough, choke, etc. I made it to the restroom in my office building with seconds to spare. Where I sat and coughed and peed for the next ten minutes; grateful, so grateful, that I didn’t have to get on another bus and go back to the station and come home and change my clothes and try again.

I don’t know: do men have stress incontinence when they cough or sneeze? Or is it a frustration only known to the fair sex? I get more than a little frustrated on those days when my Native American name could be Princess-Cough-and-Pee. It was verging on funny when I described my morning to several middle-aged female friends at church last night, more so now that I am sitting here still safely dry and happy, but when I am in the throes of a spate of coughing, and I don’t know if I will cough up a lung or three toes with the next spasm, my sense of humor is almost the first thing to go. Pun intended.

We made one Moby-Dick-sized whale of a lot of progress on the visiting teaching last night.

And I am nearly done with sock #2, something like 15 rounds to go, maybe less. I probably should figure out what I want to do next. And make sure that I grab what I need to get started on it.

In the Glass Is More Than Half Full Department, my renewed subscription to the Ensign, which I thought I had set up to come to the duplex [because I now live someplace where the chance of my mail getting stolen is minuscule] was waiting in my mailbox at work on Monday, and I have been devouring it at lunch all week.

And I am on my third round of Nystatin for my poor sad foot, which is looking promising. I will spare you the visual, but every day I see more pink, healthy skin and less yuck. I have been anointing it with Nystatin three times a day, for four weeks now, and I have only missed a few doses. Amazing what happens when you follow directions...

I am driving in today, so that I can head straight for the temple after work tonight. The meetinghouse which is hosting the singles’ conference this weekend is just off a toll road, and I remembered to check my TollTag balance when I woke up this morning, so as not to have any budget-wrecking surprises. I have automatic renewal, and when my balance dips below $10.00, my debit card gets hit for another $40.00. Ordinarily not a problem, but *not* budgeted for between now and next Friday. Thankfully, not an issue. Whew!

I am also taking a can of clam chowder to heat up when I log off tonight. That way I don’t have to stop and get dinner on the way to the temple. I have not grabbed so much as a french fry in the car this week. I made an egg casserole for breakfast on Monday or Tuesday (which effectively used up the last of that indifferent cheese sauce which had been lurking in my fridge) and have been reheating leftovers since then. Just finished a small bowlful, washed down with juice, and am in the mood for an equally small bowl of cream of wheat. I had a quick can of tuna about 4:15 yesterday and was good to go until after presidency meeting last night, when I came home and had a bowl of spoon size shredded wheat with a generic grape-nuts garnish and a generous sprinkling of frozen blueberries. Dinner and dessert all in one, and I’m sure my arteries were yodeling thank you, thank you!

I think it’s going to be an amazing day. I am almost ready to take it on...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Approximating my patriotic duty...

I was one of the first people at the polls. I was definitely the first one to use the electronic voting machine; they had to set up the privacy canopy-thingie and find me a chair. Nice people. Remind me to do this again in two years.

Results, at 5:26am, are inconclusive, but it looks as if most of the people I voted for, may go on to the general election in November. I was interested to read in this article that there has been a strong local trend to elect conservative women, which I am very much in favor of. I think we need more good women (on both sides of the political fence) in office, from “small” positions on up. I also think that we need to revamp our political traditions (i.e., term limits) so that public servants have a greater incentive to remember just whom it is that they are supposed to be serving.

I have mixed feelings about one of the contests. There is a judge who simply has to go. And there was a plea that went out via our unofficial stake email list, from someone who works in his office and will be out of work if he is defeated. [Of course, if the unlikely happens and a Democrat is elected in this very conservative county come November, that will happen anyway.] It was enlightening to me, to learn that a judge's staff are not necessarily city or county employees. I do not know this employee, but I sincerely wish him/her well. And employed.

While we are discussing mixed feelings, I received an invitation to a home party. Having done our share of multilevel marketing when married to the children’s father, and having run a quietly successful business of my own a few years ago selling product while side-stepping the marketing aspects, I know that there are good products out there, and that not all of them are priced three times what you would spend for a comparable product at the grocery store or cosmetics counter.

I declined the invitation for several reasons: (1) no matter how little it costs, I can't afford it if I want to be out of debt on the timetable I have chosen; (2) I have an equivalent product that I am rarely using now; (3) I am trying to use up or get rid of things chez Ravelled in a provident manner, not add to them; (4) my current level of health, which is improving but not as fast as I would like.

I am feeling exceptionally blessed this morning. Head is nearly clear, only one spectacular bout of coughing (so far), time spent reading a good book last night, and leftovers to take for lunch today.

Tonight we have another presidency meeting, and tomorrow the fun and games begin (singles’ conference. Maybe we will get everybody assigned for the visiting teaching tonight, and Elijah will come for me in that golden chariot right after I’ve said my evening prayers, and I won’t have to go?

[On the other hand, and even more unlikely, wouldn’t it be funny if Brother Right is there? But that’s not why I’m going. I am going strictly out of duty, and to be obedient, and to set a good example, and also to thank Brother Farrell for his book.]

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

What we studied on Sunday.

The fourth Sunday of every month, we do not study a lesson from our manuals. Instead, we study one or more of the addresses from the most recent General Conference, as published in the Ensign, which is the magazine for adult members of the Church. In countries where English is not the native language, the contents are translated and are published as the Liahona.

One of the responsibilities of the stake president (like your bishop, for my friends who are Catholic) and his counselors, is to plan out a theme for each month, and to choose which lessons will support that theme, and to come up with teaching points which the teachers in each ward Relief Society and priesthood quorum should emphasize.

The theme for the fourth Sunday in February was Agency; the conference addresses which were chosen, were these: Stewardship ~ A Sacred Trust and Moral Discipline. And the points to be emphasized were as follows:

1. We must have the truth to exercise our agency wisely.
2. We must teach our children the truth rather than allowing the world to teach our children.
3. Moral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard.

I missed the lesson in class, because I am still struggling (a little) with my lungs. I spent Sunday School in the clerk’s office, tidying up Round I of the revisions to our visiting teaching. I spent a very small part of Relief Society in the library, getting the printouts copied for Bishop, the elders quorum president, the high priest group leader, my counselors, my compassionate service leader, and my visiting teaching coordinator. And then I went home, coughing; ate a little, had a lovely if sleep-wrecking nap, got up and tidied my inbox, pre-published Monday’s post, and started this one.

Did I read the lesson? Umm, that would be a no, until now. [Although I had attended Conference in October and read the addresses when they were printed in November, and I referenced “Moral Discipline” earlier this year in one of my posts, as well as an article I found in the footnotes, “Subversive Virginity”.] The late Elder Maxwell would call this being caught up “in the thick of thin things”.

One of the blessings of my current church calling is that it continually focuses my mind and heart on the need to serve others. And for me, as for the rest of you, it is a continual juggling act, and I drop my share of plates and balls and the occasional flaming torch.

This morning, I miss my kids. [This is not a whine, this is an observation.] I do not see any of them as often as I would like. They have turned out to be chosen to be remarkable women, whether because of parental example or in spite of it, and I love them dearly.

In the have-to-laugh-at-myself department, choir practice on Sunday went well. I am there for multiple reasons, some of them selfish. I love to sing. I love the Gospel. I love to perform. I do not have a solo voice. Singing opens up my heart, and not coincidentally, my pipes. My pipes are in need of opening. We started practicing “Beautiful Savior”, an arrangement which has a lovely descant during the third verse. And I brightly chirped, “Oh, I can play this on the recorder!”

So I came home with the sheet music, and last night I sat down to puzzle it out, because this arrangement has three flats, and I am a by-ear, seat-of-the-pants musician. I read music well enough to find my part when I sing, but I’m happier when I know what note I’m supposed to sing because I’ve heard it in context.

It’s been 25 years since I taught myself to play the recorder; I couldn’t remember how to do flats! And the descant just sat there on the page, thumbing its notes at me. So I put the recorder and the sheet music in the pile with BestFriend’s book that I borrowed, in the hope that I could noodle on her piano for a few minutes when I return the book.

But this morning, one of my first conscious thoughts was, “I wonder if I can find a fingering chart for the soprano recorder online?” Lo! and behold, I could. And did. And printed it off. I still want to noodle on a piano, to hear what the descant is supposed to sound like and to count out the timing (easier for me on the piano than on the recorder; no idea why). But now there is light at the end of the musical tunnel.

My friend Tan, who is Musical with a capital “M”, is probably grinning as she reads this. Ditto my friend Wanda, who is Musical and also a Friend [tee-hee].

OK, I’ll behave. Go make some beauty. Or some music. Or a joyful noise. Or a plate of brownies. And find somebody to share it with.