About Me

My photo
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!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So, one of the other petri dishes friended me!

I didn’t catch her last name when he introduced us at the dance last Saturday night. She is the former wife of a friend of mine (Brother Sushi, that would be Gooberman).

With each passing day, my life is looking more and more like something that M.C Escher might have drawn.

On the other hand, the second sleeve on Faith’s sweater is finished, and I’ve cast on for the back.

The new guy confirmed that on Saturday night, yes indeed, he had had two petri dishes sitting adjacent to one another, across the table from him. And that there was another sister at our table who very much wanted to be a petri dish, but who will not achieve petri dish status. Not because of a lack of worthiness on her part, but because there is not a “glimmer of chemistry.”

I asked him, “So, am I to infer that there may be a glimmer of chemistry betwixt thee and me?”

[I had asked him several other questions in that email, pertinent and im-.] He replied, “In response to your last question - the answer would be yes.”

Woohoo!

It was nice to get confirmation that the reason he is being such a gentleman, is because he is one, and not because there’s no spark. Truly, a situation I can live with, and be patient about.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting.

Monday, August 30, 2010

“For Good”

I got to see a bunch of old friends last night. [Please kindly refrain from pointing out that most of my friends are old. Some of them could still kick your nevermind.]

“Recall the new star that announced the birth at Bethlehem? It was in its precise orbit long before it shone. We are likewise placed in human orbits to illuminate.” ~ Neal A. Maxwell

That quotation was neatly lettered on the blackboard in the Relief Society room after the potluck I attended in my old stake. The fireside speakers were two dear friends. He is the bishop in Firstborn’s ward. She is the stake Relief Society president. They are tag-team speakers: he would speak for awhile, and then she would, back and forth with stories and examples until we were thoroughly engaged. The subject was how we touch one another’s lives. At the end of it, he sang “For Good” from “Wicked,” while she accompanied him. I was really glad that I had a small box of Puffs in my Ubiquitous Red Bag. I am tearing-up again, remembering.

My old stake and my current stake are not-so-good about publicizing their singles’ activities, but somebody got the word to the Facebook group yesterday, and word went out about 5:00 last night. So some of the folks we saw at the dance were there.

Lots of productive knitting time yesterday. The second sleeve on Faith’s sweater is almost to the underarm. I am really enjoying the stitch pattern, and I am definitely going to knit one of these for myself.

I woke ahead of the alarm. I have not been in the pool since late Friday night. I am fixing that. I have stuff to think about, and I seem to do my best thinking when I am in the water.

Happy Monday, everybody!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Who rolled my odometer back?

So. Much. Fun.

If I didn’t know better, I would suspect that I woke up c.2002 yesterday. The day did get off to a weird start: I went back to bed after breakfast, after setting the alarm for an hour ahead of my eye appointment, only to wake up ten minutes before I was supposed to be there. And I was at least 25 minutes away. I am now scheduled for during my staycation next month.

The funeral was great. I didn’t know my friend’s mother, but apparently she was quite a character. And she had 10 kids, and all of them were there, and it was possibly the most musical funeral I have ever attended, because she was passionate about music, and some of her kids and grandkids are exquisitely talented, vocally.

From there I went to the grocery store, came home long enough to stow the perishables and grab what I needed for the dance, including my cooler for a portion of the new guy’s newest culinary experiment (twelve bites of which I just enjoyed for my breakfast, and the rest of which will be doled out to myself for as long as I can make it last).

Drove to Brother Sushi’s and sat on his couch with my knitting while he put his DJ equipment into the truck. Then rode to Denton in air-conditioned comfort, the two of us chattering like magpies.

It has been a very long time since I danced that much. Mostly I was up, dancing with the sisters, but I did get to dance with all my favorite guys, and I did get to dance the last slow song with the new guy. And I am pretty sure that I am the only one of his petri dishes who got to take home a slice of his cheesecake.

I don’t know what time the dance ended. I don’t know what time it was when the guys got Brother Sushi’s truck reloaded. I don’t know what time it was when we hit the drive-through on our way home (but I suspect we were beating the living daylights out of the Sabbath). I do know that when I pulled out from in front of his house for the drive home, it was 1:24. I left with his firm instructions to text him when I got home.

I texted him at 2:00a.m. (Me, the woman who frequently leaves Knit Night at 8:30.) Drove home, blasting Gershwin as I have been doing since Tuesday night.

I wouldn’t want to do this on a regular basis; I did it way too often when I was in my 20’s, and it will take a day or two to recover. Right now I feel as if somebody had rolled me up in a blanket and beaten my knees, hips, and ankles with something fairly soft but still noticeable. Maybe the Jolly Green Giant’s nerf baseball bat, or a raft of feather pillows?

Worth it? Mm-hm, yeah, most definitely.

Very thankful for no additional church meetings today. That will take some getting used to. Since this is a fifth Sunday, when the priesthood and the Relief Society have a combined meeting (is it wrong that I think of it as There Goes The Neighborhood Sunday?), and there is no lesson material to study, I am going to take my knitting and finish Faith’s first sleeve and get the second one underway.

But first I need to drop the new guy a note and tell him that the current cheesecake incarnation was successful.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Scraps of this and that

The first sleeve on Faith’s sweater is nearly to the armscye. I am undecided whether I want to knit it in five pieces and sew them together, or to do what I usually do: finish all the bits up to the armscye, join them into a five-armed creature, and do the raglan shaping and the V-neck shaping all at one go. I am seeing this sweater as more of a tunic, to be worn over a black turtleneck or bodysuit, with leggings. Except that I would have to take her hooves off in order to put pants on her, unless I design them to lace up the sides.

My kids who got me into this hobby are now easing into problem-solving mode as they read, and they will have all sorts of good ideas for me. My kids who think we are all a wee bit strange for playing with dolls, will no doubt be confirmed in their opinions.

For the past several weeks, I have been going to my friend’s yarn shop in Duncanville after work on Friday nights. It’s a different bunch of talented women from my Tuesday night Knit Night friends. And it’s truly my idea of happy hour, a place to unwind from the joys, triumphs and challenges of worklife, a delightful alternative to rush-hour traffic. I stay for an hour, sometimes two, then I gather up my stuff and head home.

My friend Leslye sent me the greatest joke via email: the redneck fire alarm = a thingie of JiffyPop nailed above the doorway to each room. I could do that, now that I live in a quiet neighborhood. When I lived at La Casa Cucaracha or the penultimate apartment, that alarm going off would only wake me up all confused, thinking that the neighbors were fighting.

Still blasting Gershwin on my drives to and fro. George, Ira, and Brian will be accompanying me to the dance tonight, where Brother Sushi will be the DJ. So I will not lack for clever, trustworthy male companionship.

Speaking of which, the new guy asked me to bring my small cooler. And to be prepared to take home a slice of his new version of the German Chocolate Cheesecake. If his experiment is successful, he will bring me a blue gel brick to keep it cool. Which, of course, would necessitate my returning it to him as I did the storage containers a couple of weeks ago, which, according to his son, would seem to be part of the plan.

Remember the MIA fabric store from last weekend? I called their number a couple of days ago, and it was forwarded to a different store a little farther north, in one of the ritzier suburbs. They carry upscale, specialty fabrics. She asked what I was looking for, and I told her I wanted blouse-weight silk. I could hear the warmth in her voice. Yes, they have that. So I will head up there between next month’s ward temple trip and that night’s dance in Richardson, and I will see if I can score fabric to make ballgowns for Blessing and Celeste, and party dresses for Faith and Chutzpah.

I am going to stretch my legs out and knit for awhile, then get ready for my eye appointment, which will be followed by a funeral, some errands, and the dance.

I have a whole closet full of nothing to wear, and I need to pick up more hose.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Not all who wander are lost.

Good man, that Gandalf.

I had a little adventure last night. Not the scary kind, and not the irritating kind. Just, an adventure. I’ll get to that in a bit.

Work was good. I nearly zeroed out my desk, and while I was typing away in a most secretarial fashion, I made notes regarding a couple of reports I need to do for the data clerk. [We had two mediations this week.] And I wondered, suddenly, if I had gotten her a report for every mediation we have had this year.

So I figured out how to get myself a list of them, and I converted that list to a PDF, and while I was covering the last half hour of switchboard (because the usual suspect was at the dentist) I went through and marked up that PDF with what date the case closed, if it was a closed case, and the date of the mediation, if it was still open. It will now be a simple matter to compare that with the page where the data from my reports shows up, to see if I’ve taken care of all the jots and tittles.

I did not make it to the gym yesterday. I took my bag, figuring that I would go after I finished up at the temple. Served there, had a nice leisurely dinner at Rockfish (jalapeno cream soup and a side salad), and then headed home.

I have several alternatives. One is a toll road, but Lorelai has a tolltag, so that’s not a problem. One is under construction, but typically I can dodge that by running down the service road at the airport. They outfoxed me last night. The detour shunted us off by Bass Pro, led us hither and yon by Grapevine Mills Mall, Great Wolf Lodge, the Gaylord Resort, and back to the freeways.

Which is where it gets a little tricky. At or near Grapevine, you have State Highway 26, State Highway 114 (which leads, basically, from where Texas Stadium used to be, out past the north end of DFW Airport to Paradise, Texas, and who knows where from there; i.e., nowhere near downtown Cowtown), and State Highway 121. If I had stayed on 26, I would have come in on the north end of downtown. If I had continued on the 26 service road for maybe a quarter of a mile, I would have connected back with 121, which feeds into Belknap and takes me right to Camp Bowie.

But I did not. I took the road less traveled, when in the back of my mind I should have remembered from my interpreting practicum days (spring of 1998) that one false move can put me in Wichita Falls. More or less.

I spent half an hour meandering semi-suburban streets, knowing approximately where I was and approximately where I should be, but not quite making the connections. I had that lovely full moon in my face, over my right shoulder, over my left shoulder, and at one point she disappeared, which suggests that she was following me. I drove past a huge Wal-Mart, a bigger high school, went halfway around a traffic circle (roundabout, for you Brits) until I got to a street that I knew connected with 121. Naturally, because the moon was full, I turned the wrong way on it for a bit, but eventually I came to the intersection where the California Pizza Kitchen was, and suddenly my internal GPS kicked in.

I left Rockfish about 8:45. I got home after 10:30. Yes, there was a wreck on LBJ/635 that slowed me down for awhile before I took the long way home (and of course it was too dark to knit while I was just sitting there), but mostly I was just emulating Charlie on the MTA.

But you know the cool part? I wasn’t stressing out. Just this lovely sense of “I wonder where this goes?”

I know where the gym bag goes, this morning: back into the trunk. I needed to type more than I needed to sploosh in the pool. I will do that tonight after work (because I will not be going home by way of the temple tonight).

I started the sleeve on Faith’s sweater yesterday. I get my eyes checked tomorrow morning, and I get to go dancing tomorrow night.

Jimmy Stewart / George Bailey was right: it’s a wonderful life!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bloomer Skirt is Done!



There she is, perched atop a tiny terracotta pot. The beaded panel of her skirt resembles an overgrown sporran. I wonder if I could figure out how to make her a pair of kilt hose?

Here is a detail: the side of her bloomers. The leaf-shaped glass bead has flipped upward. I ended up stitching both skirt panels to the waist of her bloomers and embellishing each panel with three of the abalone beads. I also trimmed the ribbon lacing of her cardigan to a respectable length and used the remnants to fashion two new hair bows, both of which are stitched to their respective, tiny strands of hair. If she did not have quite so much hair, I would think a tiara should come next. [A force of nature ought to have a tiara.] Or a pair of fairy wings.



I have finished swatching the sweater for Faith and am ready to cast on and get going.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

They do this on purpose, you know.

Oh man, oh man, oh man, I came home from Knit Night with some amazing music! I was sitting in the bookstore, knitting away on a swatch, and I realized, “That’s Gershwin.” And then I thought, “That sounds like the Beach Boys!” So before I left, I went over to the information desk and inquired. I listened to it all the way home, one of the songs twice. It’s a little unnerving hearing Brian Wilson sing “I Loves You, Porgy,” but otherwise all the surprises have been of a happy sort ;)

Picture “Swonderful” mashed up with “Barbara Ann”. I’m going to ask Brother Sushi to play it on Saturday night, and I plan on line-dancing to it. [And then I plan on having a small heart attack, because it is rollicking. Make sure the paramedics are cute, OK?]

Can you *hear* me grinning from ear to ear?

Oops, wrong song: should have been, “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.” Every bit as great as the mash-up from “Take the Lead,” but in a more comfortable [for me] style.

I did some serious swatching with the silver grey Gloss Lace: “Mulberry Grid” on page 70 of the Summer 2010 issue of Knitters. On four-aughts. I’m not the only one who sees hints of lilac or lavender in this dusty grey, and I think it would be perfect for Faith. She’s been a remarkably patient little hoofie-girl.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What? And get blood on my knitting?

This, in response to Firstborn’s comment that I don’t need help getting even; I have knitting needles in my bag. Yes, and my favorites are hard to come by, and they are attached to yarn that I like even more than I like the needles. So why would I want to risk damaging my needles or a WIP (work in progress) just to give somebody an attitude adjustment?

What I really need to do, is to adapt Tevye’s rabbi’s prayer for the Tsar: “God bless and keep the Tsar Brother Abacus -- far from us!” [Or at the very least, on the other side of the room from wherever I happen to be sitting.]

You know, it would be so much easier to remember that I’ve forgiven him, if he didn’t keep popping up unexpectedly and reminding me why I needed to forgive him in the first place. Or if there were a scintilla of evidence that he has acquired a clue.

My “dontcha” shirt was a hit with the new guy. Maybe I should invest in the one that says “I knit so I don’t kill people”???

OK, in non-boy news, I have nearly finished Chutzpah’s skirt. I ended up stitching it to the top of her bloomers. There is a tiny bit of embellishment remaining, and then she will be ready for her closeup, Mr. DeMille.

I am taking allegedly healthy lobster ravioli to work for lunch today. And there is Knit Night tonight. I am also taking my umbrella swift and ball winder, to get the silver-grey laceweight ready for swatching.

Because, as you all know, swatch happens.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Here are some of my single friends, performing the haka:

I was released as Relief Society president in sacrament meeting yesterday, and Bishop asked me to speak briefly about my experiences and to bear my testimony. I handed over a bag of RS-related stuff, plus my keys to the building, the clerk’s office, and the RS closet. [I will now have to find a new form of weight-bearing exercise.]

The new guy (who knew that this was coming) warned me that I would feel out of sorts as that mantle of responsibility and inspiration passed to the new president, who was my first counselor. Still waiting for that to happen. I teared up at the opening song in sacrament meeting, played hooky during Sunday School to show her how to access what she needs on the computer in the clerk’s office, and sniffled my way through the lesson I taught in Relief Society.

After church, Bishop invited me to stay while they were all set apart for their callings. It’s going to be another strong presidency.

What a wonderful experience and opportunity this has been. I am looking forward to the next adventure. And until I get nudged or shoved in the new direction, I am going to spend some time setting my house in order.

I do believe that I promised to share what I bought at Baubles & Frills on Saturday afternoon.



Yellow beads (jade? quartz?) to make necklaces for Chutzpah and company, and maybe some for sale. Oval abalone beads, ditto. And a tube of matte hunter green seed beads, almost exactly the same color as Chutzpah’s sweater. I think I showed remarkable restraint.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hula + Haka = Hilarity

Elijah is one of my favorite dead prophets. (I am rather more fond of the living ones, because they give counsel that is consistent with previous revelation and tailored to our times. Elijah, one of the greatest men who has ever lived on earth, never had to deal with telemarketers.)

The Bible says that when it was Elijah’s time to go, a chariot came down out of Heaven and whisked him away. The same thing happened to his successor, Elisha, some years later.

[I would be perfectly content if they sent Teancum, resurrected, on a Harley. Do not try to tell me that there are no Harley Davidsons in Heaven. That is as harsh as saying there will be no chocolate.]

Why am I rambling on about dead prophets, you ask? Well, as I told y’all was the [non-evil] plan, I have been to the temple four times this week; that’s the back-story. Here is what has developed since last weekend, when I started teasing him about his experiment: i.e., seeking a new wife.

ME: It’s a nice lab you have going. How many petri dishes are you watching?

And from here on out, I am going to paraphrase. We have been having great fun with this metaphor. He is seeing at least at least one other petri dish. And he is being a complete gentleman about it: very considerate of the feelings of all the petri dishes, unlike another widower I could mention.

I shared with him what happened when I went to watch Secondborn speak in church a few weeks ago, and was sitting next to a guy whom 2BDH had really wanted me to date, a couple of years back. That brother and I like each other well enough, but there was no click. Then Brother Abacus came over and said hello, and for a moment I feared that he was going to sit down on the other side. And I caught a glimpse of another man in their ward whom I dated *once* (but the kids don’t know who he is), who seemed a bit grumpy when caught sight of me, and I thought, “The only thing that would make this moment more perfect would be if the children’s father walked in the door right now.” (Yes, he’s in Secondborn's ward, too.) Thankfully, he was apparently attending his other church that morning.

As I told the new guy, whatever the antithesis of “embarrassment of riches” is, that was it. And I told him that I would brave the gauntlet last Tuesday, by attending his ward’s temple night. “Which I guess means that I will be attending the temple *four* times this week, and when I walk out after Saturday’s session, Elijah will swoop down with his chariot and carry me away to wed one of the stripling warriors, and you will be flat out of luck ... Or something.”

Later in the week, he asked if he should bring his camera to the temple on Saturday; he was going to be there for the sealing (wedding) of some young friends, and I was going to be there with my own ward. He thought that if the chariot and the swooping occurred, there was a pretty good chance the pictures would get published in the next Ensign.

I told him he had my permission to publish, should I be Elijahfied, just as long as they also published the companion shot of his face as told the bystanders, “I lose more petri dishes that way...”

He is so much fun. I am having so much fun. Even if my petri dish gets voted off the island, so to speak, it will have been a grand experiment. Whatever is going on, he jumps right in, but not in a see how cool I am? way.

They taught us to hula last night. If you know how to find me on Facebook, there are four new pictures, but I promise I did finally manage to get the hips and the hands moving at more or less the same time. The best part? They taught the guys how to do the haka, which is a Maori war cry.

I told the new guy that they should use it to get the brethren all fired up to go do their home teaching. Mighty impressive. (At this point he is better at haka than at line-dancing, but my point is that he is not doing all his living inside his head.)

Yesterday I went from home to the temple, up to Denton for a doll/bead thing, down to Plano/Frisco to pick up macaroni salad for the luau at L*L Hawaiian Barbecue, down to Kay Fabrics in Richardson (which was no longer there, but it was where I got some of the fabric for the girls' weddings), over to Firewheel Mall to chill (literally) at the B&N before moseying over to the new guy’s to give him his line-dancing lesson, then on to the dance and home. I put over 200 miles on Lorelai. Miraculously, I am hearing very little from the trick knee, not during the last part of the trek home, and not this morning. Woohoo! (Answered prayers.)

Brother Abacus deigned to show up for the luau. I may have gotten a little snarky. Yes, I have forgiven him for the way he treated me, and a dear friend, and at least 10 other women that we know of. Yes, I know how to be civil. Yes, he has a right to attend any of the singles activities that interest him. But he does not have the right to sit at my table and act as if we were friends, and compound it by saying what a nice little family Secondborn has. (It wasn't what he said. It was how he said it.)

At which point I reached down into the Ubiquitous Red Bag and fired up my cell phone and texted Brother Sushi: “Would you hurry up and get here? I have something at my table that needs smiting.” But he had something to do for his ward, and by the time he got to the luau, all the macaroni salad was gone, as was Brother Abacus. [Who is not an evil man, just a painfully clueless one. I know, I know. Time wounds all heels. I just wanted to help the process along...]

I have other news to share; tune in tomorrow, if only for pictures of the stuff that may have followed me home from the doll/bead shop. [No, I did not break my pledge not to buy any doll stuff this year.]

Friday, August 20, 2010

Why is that guy’s truck all wet?

I walked out of the building last night to see a ginormous pickup truck parked in the drive-thru by the security booth. I’m not much for trucks, but this one was gorgeous: not exactly rust, and not exactly brown. Just about the color of root beer in a clear glass with plenty of ice.

And the truck was wet all over. And this is Texas, and August. So I looked up and out, to where the ramp leads up out of the parking garage, and what do you know? It was raining. And the sun was shining. Because this is Texas.

By the time I finished stowing my bags in Lorelai’s trunk, took out what I would need to grab dinner on the way to the temple, and made it up to ground level, the shower was mostly over.

Yes, I went back to the temple last night. It’s part of an experiment, and I should have some results for you on Sunday.

But now I need to grab the gym bag and the water bottle and scoot on out the door. As I emailed the new guy a couple of minutes ago, I have a hot date this morning with the recumbent bicycle and a good book.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another quick post

In my current obsession to become, not holier-than-thou, but holier than I, day two at the temple was also a success. Not a roaring success, because roaring at the temple would be irreverent, right?

Last night there was a session for the singles to serve together. I may have sat next to the new guy. We did not go out to eat afterward, but he walked me to the car after asking me So where is Lorelai parked?

You are getting italics today because I can do them without going into the draft where I have all the fun punctuation parked.

Remind me to tell you about petri dishes.

I am going to sluice off and scoot out the door. I skipped the pool this morning in favor of another hour of sleep. The gym bag is packed, and I may head there tonight after I do something more important.

I did a little beading on the miniature skirt at lunch yesterday, but I do not like it and am going to pick that part of it out and try again.

Later, gators!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Zzzzzzzz

No, that is not a commentary on last night. I am going to throw a post together before crashing, because as soon as the alarm goes off in five hours, I am heading to the pool.

I stayed awake [and reasonably alert] throughout the temple session last night. Afterward, I met: his RS president, his bishop and spouse, and the high priest group leader. Also got to see our mutual friend, who used to live in my old ward. Would love to be a mouse in the corner of his chapel next Sunday, when he explains to all and sundry who I am.

Night, all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Veryquickpost

No time for apostrophes. Mount Washmore? Done. Traffic court? Headed there. Skipping Knit Night tonight in favor of an extra session at the temple. Possibly dinner or dessert with the new guy, before or after. Still at a loss for what to knit next, but the beading is coming along nicely. And the emails back and forth have been warm and witty and kind. I was up way too late last night. This will be a Cherry Coke day. Life is good.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Whew!

First of all, thank you for the supportive comments! It is one thing to know something is right. [In this case, giving my honest opinion.] It can be quite another to step out in faith and do it.

A series of emails wafted back and forth like badminton birds yesterday, before and after our respective meetings.

After I heard his reasoning, I agreed that we should alter our plans for Saturday night. It has to do with sustaining the leadership in his stake, and since that is something I do with my own local leadership, and because it also takes any time pressures off what we had planned to do before the dance, it is win-win all the way around.

I also got some other answers in the course of the day. Yes, he is dating other women. Don’t get huffy on my behalf; I find this entirely reassuring. This is the way we used to do things when I was young, before people thought it was a good idea to fall into bed with one another. After I joined the church, I would occasionally date two or three different guys during the course of the week. One of the most well-liked and exceedingly chaste young women in my singles ward sometimes dated *four* in a week.

This was also before the day of the NCMO (Non-Committal Making-Out).

The new guy is behaving with Victorian propriety toward me. I presume his behavior is no less gentlemanly towards the other ladies. So I have nothing to fear, and nothing to be jealous of.

Plus, I leveraged another date for this week, so I am feeling rather like the cat that ate the canary.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yesterday was a “me” day

Caught up on my Bloglines. Had a nice, leisurely workout, including adequate time on the machines; miraculously, I could get out of bed this morning under my own steam. Got my nails done.

Got a haircut, even though it’s only been a few weeks since the last one. It’s so hot here that my hair refuses to stay spiked. It just kinda lies on top of my head like an old hound on the front porch. Once in awhile it howls at me.

Had dinner with Brother Sushi. We were both in the mood for some excellent chicken fried steak, so he drove us up to the Stockyards, and we found a parking lot one block from Star Cafe, so all we had to do was cross the street midway and walk down the alley.

Sometimes you want a salad that is more ranch than rabbit food, and that’s what I got last night. A nice bowl of greens, a few cherry tomatoes, and a whole lot of ranch dressing. Ate. Every. Bite. Which is why more than half of my chicken fried steak and nearly half of my mashed potatoes are in the fridge, waiting for lunch tomorrow or dinner tonight, along with the untouched slice of pecan pie that will become breakfast shortly.

After he brought me home and I’d put the food away, I went out again into that heat. [It was 108°F/42°C when I left NailDude’s to go get my hair cut; it was still 96°F/36°C at 9:16p.m. Texas is not for wimps!] Picked up two half-gallons of milk: one for the house, and one to take to work for my breakfasts next week. And more juice, and two more cheap swimsuits to alternate until I can save up for a good one. I am starting to see those telltale spandex crumbs along the seams of the swimsuit I bought a couple of months ago.

Facebook is pretty good as an informal research tool. I asked if more expensive suits stand up better to chlorine, and the consensus, so far, is that they do. $32 per suit x6 suits per year at the current cannibalization rate = $192, as opposed to $80 to $120 from a catalogue. Sigh... a good swimsuit ought to cost no more than $25, and it ought to last for five years, and it should also make me look like I did before I had five children.

Oh, and automatically shave my legs every time I pull it on. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

I did something very brave last night. Two brave things, actually; the first was to put the six cartons of American yogurt back on the shelf and replace them with an experimental six-pack of Greek yogurt that cost a dollar more but has no corn syrup in it. I’ve learned to like freshly-grated nutmeg. I’ve adapted to natural peanut butter. I even eat broccoli! If successful, this will be the next healthy adaptation in my diet.

Emboldened by that, the other brave thing was my response to a question of the new guy’s in a recent email. (As you might suspect from what we know of his character thus far, it was nothing illegal or immoral, though given his abilities in the kitchen, it had the potential to be quite fattening, LOL.) The point is, he asked my opinion on something. And after some pondering, I gave it to him.

I was reared in the 50’s and 60’s. I am, by nature or nurture, a pleaser. “No, thank you” does not come easily to my lips, even at the ice cream store when I ask for a single dip and they ask if I would like a double. Yes, I would like a double. No, I am not going to order one.

Toward the end of my marriage, my opinions literally went unheard (talk radio, 24/7, at high volume because he was growing deaf), so I ceased to offer them. I was afraid that if I told him what I really thought, he would stop loving me. When I could keep silent no longer, and I did open up, that’s pretty much what happened. [Sometimes I hate being right.]

So, it is scary for me to be asked my opinion by a guy I just might possibly like, because there is the distinct possibility that my opinion might be ignored, or worse: I might say something he found ridiculous or offensive, and zoom! what is that black speck in the distance?

Brother Abacus ghosted on me, and a bunch of other women, several years ago. NintendoMan, when asked, at least had the integrity to tell me why it was never going to work, and I had to agree. (He gets full points for honesty, that one.) The new guy seems to have a lot of what I’ve been looking for, and thus far no red flags. The termites are usually beginning to crawl out about now, and I’ve kept an eye peeled for sawdust, but he seems to be the real thing, even if it’s way too early to know if he is The One.

I think I will take my piece of pie and pour myself a glass of milk and go listen to Brother Eyring for awhile. And maybe I will stop twitching.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Good stuff

Yesterday was a good, productive day at work. Brother Sushi called me mid-afternoon to tell me that his boss thought it would be a good idea for him to work overtime. Could we reschedule? So we will probably do something later today. I will have to work around my monthly drive-by fooding of the missionaries.

I won the two pictures I bid on. They are seat-belted in the back of Lorelai, and I need to bring them in before I go work out. The one is going to be stunning in my studio. I’m not sure where the other one should go, but it makes me grin (it’s a Norman Rockwell print).

I headed down to the yarn shop for a couple of hours, eating and stitching on Chutzpah’s skirt, then drove over to the dance and visited with friends and danced a little. Finally allowed myself to stay on the floor for the Cuban Shuffle, which is an exceedingly simple line dance to a catchy tune. I don’t like to display my learning curve in public, although I guess I do that all the time here on the blog.

Visited with a guy who comes to the dances intermittently. Found out what he does for a living, and it ties in rather neatly with what 2BDH does, so I took one of his business cards and gave him one of 2BDH’s. Secondborn, you might have to remind me to take that business card out of my purse and hand it over to your beloved.

I need to get my nails done. And a haircut. It’s so hot and humid out that my hair won’t stay properly spiked. And I need to do laundry, either that or buy more clothes. Taking care of the stuff I have seems more conducive to my long-range financial goals.

That big bright ball is up in the sky again. (Funny how that happens every weekend.) I think I will go say how-do.

Friday, August 13, 2010

So, the way to hear from my family...

Is to mangle a reference Harry Potter or to leave the S’more kit leftovers [of which there are a plethora] in my cubicle at work. Good to know.

Pray for frost, my blessings. If I tried to bring the 18(!!!) unopened Hershey bars home now, Lorelai would do an excellent impression of a chocolate fondue fountain.

I have an amusing HMO story to tell you. Those of you who are regular readers know that I have been wrangling with athlete’s foot for over two years, with varying degrees of success. When I had my well-woman last month, she looked at my foot and tut-tutted. And said that before she prescribed another week of Diflucan, she wanted to see my liver function tests.

I called back last Thursday, and her part of the practice was closed for the weekend. So I called back bright and early Monday morning and left a message for the nurse, who conferred with Doctor, who said my liver is just dandy, and we are going to try Lamisil, instead. They phoned it in to my neighborhood pharmacy, and I went by after work (and Zeke’s) to pick it up. The pharmacy tech apologized profusely and said that it wasn’t ready, would I mind waiting a few minutes?

Since (unlike other occasions) my feet were giving me relatively little grief, I smiled all the way up from my toes and told her I'd be back in the morning. Which I was, to be greeted by a different pharmacy tech who told me that my HMO had not approved it, and that Doctor needed to call them and explain why it was medically necessary, otherwise it was going to be $64.

Oye. I went to work and left them a message, only to have my cell phone die, and my charger back here in Fort Worth. After I charged my phone and checked my messages, my doctor’s office was quite naturally closed for the evening. So I called them back in the morning, and the nurse told me she had no idea what was up with the HMO, because it is a $4 generic prescription at Wal-Mart: would I like them to fax the Rx there?

Sixty dollars would buy a whole lot of yarn, so yes please.

Rather like the difference between “Diagon Alley” and “diagonally,” wouldn’t you say?

In other news, I think I finally have a workable idea for Chutzpah’s skirt. I have taken two scraps of lace leftover from Celeste’s silk necktie skirt and am embellishing them to a fare-thee-well. Beading may ensue. I wonder if I could make her a pair of sandals using silk ribbon for the straps and Ultrasuede or leather bits for the soles? Does anybody have two postage stamp sized scraps of mossy green Ultrasuede hanging about in your fabric stash?

[Hey, you don’t ask, you don’t get. If all else fails, I can always knit up and felt a bit of fabric for the soles.]

Happy Friday the Thirteenth, everybody!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

Good day at work yesterday. We had a working lunch, catered by a local deli, and the meeting was both blessedly brief and truly interesting. The food was good, too, and I ate enough to refuel but not so much as to be drowsy. Half of the office took their lunch hour at the end of the day (i.e., got to leave that much earlier than usual; I was one of those), and the other half will do so today.

Came home and polished off my leftover fish and chips from Monday night, then went to the church for my meeting with Bishop (even more brief, interesting, and productive). After that meeting, I headed down to Secondborn’s to return the book I had borrowed when I had jury duty. Had a nice little visit with her

I *think* I am going to the temple tonight after work. I have some urgent, mundane stuff that needs doing; Mount Washmore is threatening to take over my hall, and I am the only likely candidate to deal with it. However, the laundry, like the poor, we will always have with us, and I try to favor the important over the urgent. Emphasis on the word try. Regardless of what Yoda said, in my life there most definitely is try.

As I wrote to a friend last night, I can feel winds of change beginning to move through my life. I think it must be like what happened when the angel “troubled the waters” at the temple (in the New Testament), and one person each year was healed. Not that I am feeling any great need for healing, at least on my own behalf.

I have no idea what’s ahead of me (I don’t usually get told anything as specific as I was when I asked Him why I was supposed to move to Fort Worth), but I almost always feel this way spiritually and emotionally before the next adventure happens.

Maybe the next adventure will be the discovery of a warp in the space-time continuum, and I will finally figure out how to seemingly get it all done in 24 hours because I have something like Hermione's hat or whatever that hat trick was that enabled her to play with time.

Naahhh, that would be too easy. And nowhere near elegant enough for the Father of All Blessings.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blind, screaming panic? And a side order of S’mores.

So, there was an email waiting for me this morning, suggesting that he come over to Fort Worth, and we should go to dinner at Zeke’s. Which is, on the face of it, an excellent idea. However, as I told him, I am in the midst of disposing of old paperwork and finding new homes for things I no longer need, and right now the couch looks like the love child of a tornado and an IRS audit.

Hence the blind, screaming panic. We are not talking a state of messiness that equates with hoarding and the need for an intervention. We are talking about my desire to have a house that looks like what I think a Relief Society president’s house ought to look like. Which is nigh unto impossible given my calling, my commute, and my need to create.

But now I have fresh incentive to try.

The S’mores were well received at work yesterday. We had a mysterious computer glitch that took three or four hours to resolve. I grabbed a box of kim-wipes and started making S’more kits. Three dozen of them. Everybody got one, and there was much hilarity in the break room mid-afternoon.

I finished Chutzpah’s bloomers at Knit Night last night then came home and rummaged through my silk ribbon to come up with embellishments for the cuffs. Now to decide on which ribbon to lace through the buttonholes on the sweater, but she is basically modest, and now I can design and make her skirt.

I have no idea what I want to knit next. I think I will shred 100 things and then head over to the gym and see what bubbles up inside my head as I sploosh. That’s where I got the inspiration for S’morefest 2010.

Happy Wednesday, everybody. Knit something pretty, or hug somebody, or just sit on your [presumably tidier than my] couch and eat a S’more or three.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

National S’mores Day???

My friend Lisa posted on FB that today is National S’mores Day. Google says that she’s right. Which makes a day I was already anticipating, even better.

Yesterday I had a fish Lean Cuisine for lunch. Fish was not-bad. Rice was execrable. So I went to Zeke’s for dinner, and I have enough leftovers for lunch or dinner today. I also have the promise of a home-cooked fish’n’chips dinner from the new guy, who has eaten the real thing in Old Blighty.

I am nearly done with the first bloomer leg on Chutzpah’s undies. Just need to grab the slightly larger needle I want to use to bind off: four-aughts as opposed to the five-aughts I have used for the greater portion of the fabric. (I geared down to six-aughts for the waist ribbing, so they have finally and properly been broken in.)

Truly enjoying the audio-book of Elder Eyring’s essays. What a blessing it is to live in a time when technology can bring me the words of the prophets, and I can listen in my car as I drive or as I sit in my bed with my feet up and my knitting well in hand.

What a great start to my day, and how touching it was to me, to hear phrases I recognize from my patriarchal blessing and see their application from a broader perspective.

Time to grab the gym bag (packed) and my checkbook and head out first for exercise, then for s’more supplies to take to work and share with my friends.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Thirty-five years ago today (Part One)

Girls, thirty-five years ago today your father was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in California. That will mean more to some of you than to others, but please remember that if your father and I had not joined the church and been introduced two years later, three of you would have been born to other families or would still be waiting to get your bodies. And you would be at least subtly different from the women you are today. Your spirits are eternal, and they are the blueprint for your bodies, but DNA has its own role to play.

Yesterday was a physically miserable day, some of it due to poor choices on my part, but mostly due to the fact that it is Texas and August. [I do not want to know how hot it was, but it felt like eleventy-twelve degrees.] Both ankles blew up, and I could not get shoes on my feet to go to church. And what wasn't puffing up like a blowfish, was melting. I know that horses sweat and men perspire and ladies glow, but yesterday you could have called me Seabiscuit and not been far off the mark.

Thankfully, it is not my month to conduct. I went back to bed and slept for five hours with my feet propped higher than my head, which helped somewhat. Also thankfully, I remembered the church CDs I brought home a few weeks ago, so I spent several more hours sitting up in bed, listening and pondering as my hands knitted round and round on a pair of undies for Chutzpah. I felt the Spirit, and I learned stuff, and I gave thanks for the Atonement. All of which we are supposed to experience when we go to church, so the day was not a total loss.

Mid-evening, one of my alarms started chirping. I got up on my stepstool and took out the 9V battery. The chirping did not cease. It was a few hours later that I realized I had taken the battery out of the smoke detector, when I should have taken it out of the carbon monoxide detector. (They are about three feet apart, and in a direct line in relation to my left ear as I sit here at the computer, so the confusion is understandable.) One of my friends suggested putting it (the device, not my ear; I was not having a Van Gogh moment) in the fridge, which is relatively soundproof. Another friend suggested that it might disturb the fruits and vegetables. I decided I would risk that.

I plan to pick up a replacement battery when I go out to the gym in a bit, and take the whole mess into work and have one of the guys get the old battery out and put the new battery in.

The cankles (considerably more anklish today than yesterday) and I hope you all have a happy, safe, productive, and relatively comfortable day.

I am in Third Nephi, in my CD Book of Mormon. Probably my favorite part, because that is what I read during the evening hours of the day I took my first discussion, and that is what gave me my [immediate] testimony of the Book of Mormon, and therefore of Joseph Smith. Two weeks from today, *I* will have been a member of the Church for 35 years. What a blessing that has been, and continues to be.

So I am going to enjoy the drive into work today, because it is going to sound like the red-letter (KJV) edition of the Holy Bible, which is what I grew up with, come to life. If you want to know why, dust off your own copy of the Book of Mormon, or ask one of your weird LDS friends to get you one.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

No alarums; only excursions.

First, to The French Knot, where I bought four cards of 4mm silk ribbon in greens to teals, two cards of #8 silk perle thread, and two hanks of soy-silk thread. Do not ask me how much I spent, but it was less than the overseas shipping would have cost to order a single pair of undies for Chutzpah.

Her sweater is done; however, there is nothing matching for her southern hemisphere, so at the moment she is sitting semi-commando on top of the computer. She seems to be fine with that ~ she is a force of nature, after all ~ but I am not. Modesty is the word of the day, every day, chez Ravelled.

So I am knitting her a pair of bloomers or panties (won’t know what to call them until I see how the legs shape up), which I suspect will become the foundation for a skirt. Who knows: they may end up as leggings. Right now I am doing short-row shaping in the back to account for her buns and giving thanks that I do not have to make shaping decisions for the larger dolls. Thought it might be fun interesting, later, to knit teddies for Blessing and Celeste.

@Fourthborn: I am knitting the undies from the soy-silk, and it is a dream to knit. If you are not allergic to soybeans, this might be an option for something for you. I know this fiber comes in human-sized yarn as well as embroidery floss.

After the falling-down adventure in the needlework shop, I put everything carefully into my gym bag and splooshed in the pool for a little over an hour. Then I came home and got ready for the surprise 40th anniversary party for good friends (the ones with whom we lived for six weeks after we left Fredericksburg). Their kids handled everything, and it was simple and tasty and fun. The background music rocked. (Unlike at most of the singles dances, alas.)

On the way home, I stopped by Secondborn’s new house and got the grand tour. They have put in new hardwood flooring and are preparing to paint 2BDH’s office a lovely Tuscan green and the dining room a wonderful shade of red. (There are no bad shades of red. Well, maybe puce, which is not the color of upchuck as one might expect, but the color of raw liver. The Victorians, who were excessively fond of puce, were a strange lot.) 2BDH and their friend T were nailing baseboards back in place while I visited. I even got to see the “scary attic”.

They will be moving in later this month. The house is nearly three times the size of the house she was born in, yet to me it does not look or feel like a McMansion. Well done, kids, well done.

So then I came home and wound one of the wee hanks of soy-silk into a small ball and got started on Chutzpah’s undies. I would give you a visual, but they are undies after all and not some breathtaking bit of antique lace, and besides, my camera thumbed its lens at me and would only give me blurry shots.

Executive secretary just called me. No PPI with Bishop this morning, as he is either working or on call. So my appointment with him is now on Wednesday night.

Date #4 is under construction. Chaperones are all lined up. Life is good.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

A weekend that begins with Nutella...



... is a promising weekend, indeed. And speaking of promises, I promise that I did not do all that damage in one go. I have been working on this jar for several weeks, though admittedly more often in the past two. The new guy is as fond of Nutella straight from the jar as I am, which inspired that little ditty on FB last night. With apologies to Brother Handel, although I am reasonably sure that had they had Nutella in his day, he would have composed with two hands on the paper and pen, and a spoon clamped firmly, upside down, between his teeth.



I finished the knitting and the weaving-in-of-ends this morning. Now I am waiting for it to be 10:00 so I may mosey over to The French Knot (conveniently located across the street from Lucile’s, but I am blissed-out on Nutella and unlikely to require a lobster fix), to see what they have in the way of silk ribbon to lace this up. But first I will mosey into my studio and look over my inventory on hand. Next project is a coordinating skirt; I am in the mood to sew something. And then I want to wind the silver grey Gloss Lace and get started on a sweater for patient Faith.

Yesterday was a reasonably good day at work. We had a new suit thrown at us, answer due on Monday, when I had three reports due for Attorney B. And several depositions and mediations to schedule for Attorney C. My new mantra is fast becoming “ohbleepwhatnow?” Which suggests that I have become a legal secretary indeed, judging from the expletives that erupt from neighboring cubicles throughout the day. [A veritable bleepstorm.] And which also suggests that I need to be spending at least two nights a week in the temple, to wear away at the desire to swear when under duress.

The world would be a happier place if, inside my head, I were channeling Spencer W. Kimball and not J. Golden.

I slept in until a little after 5:00 this morning. It is now approaching 7:30. I am almost ready to grab the gym bag and scoot on out the door. I can be on the recumbent bike while the yogaphiles are doing their thing in the big exercise room, and I might even be in the pool in time for water aerobics! I only have one thing that absolutely needs to get done at a certain time today. Looks like this might be a great day to putter and nap.

Friday, August 06, 2010

What is Valerie Bertinelli doing on the cover of AARP?

Barbara Cooper, her character on “One Day at a Time,” is sixteen. Forever. There is a picture of her inside the magazine, three-quarters profile viewed from the back, in a cerise (hot cherry pink) gown that has to be silk from the way it flows. Breathtaking.

My new white skirt (part of my temple clothing) arrived in yesterday’s mail and is nowhere near that impressive, but it fits. Barely. Which is why I am heading out to the health club in a few minutes. Well, that and the fact that it’s Texas in August, which as I posted on Facebook, is as close to Hades as I ever hope to get. The idea of being neck deep in cool, chlorinated water is even more appealing usual.

I had a shoe emergency yesterday. Driving in, I was nearly there when I realized that I had forgotten to grab work-appropriate shoes. Dashed into Wally World and picked up a pair of sandals, guessing at the size. And spent the day in foot misery. I have always hated the kind of sandals where there is a thingie between the big toe and its neighbor. And that was the only style they had, where I had a hope of it fitting over my crazy-high arches. By the end of the day, both feet were swollen up around the various straps, but I had been obedient, dadgummit!

I very happily peeled them off my feet and put them in a drawer, just in case I have another brainf@rt. I can still see faint impressions on the top of each foot. Yes, I have my clogs right on top of my bag.

How do women walk in that sort of sandal? I find it harder than navigating in high heels or platforms, not that I’ve done either since graduating from the interpreting program and its Sign Song performing group.

So, it’s Texas in August, and I am under-slept, and a little dehydrated in spite of my best efforts, and my ankles have cankled, and I just want to stay home in my jammies and sleep today, or spend the day on the couch, reading, with my feet running up the wall until my ankles calm down.

Plus, I was sneezing a lot yesterday. I need to check the pollen count. Could it possibly be ragweed season already? I don’t normally react like this, not since we moved out of the little house in Irving with its attic fan that concentrated the pollens as they flowed over our bed by a factor of at least 100 to 1. (Because later, when we were living in air-conditioned comfort in an apartment in Arlington, and the pollen count was 400, which used to send me over the edge, I would not even notice it.)

I probably need to go to the Chinese herbal shop and get a bottle of Ba Nguyen, which looks like rabbit berries but does a great job of strengthening my immune system. Which has taken a hit lately, what with a double dose of family drama plus the heat plus my workload plus the staying up too late on FB to write back and forth to the new guy. Oh, and plus church stuff, which is a pleasure and a privilege and most emphatically not a stressor but is the retaining wall into which all the stressors crash so spectacularly.

I want my mommy. I’m happy and safe and grateful and reasonably productive and I want my mommy.

I did not meet my friend Robi at the temple last night. I came home by way of Panda Express, visited briefly with Trainman at the station (I drove, he rode the train, I caught him as he was getting into his car), came home and went to bed at 8:00. Up again at 3:00. Not going to the service project tonight but will come straight home, unless I go to Vicki’s yarn shop again, and make it another early night.

Pool. Want pool. Chlorine, here I come!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

I’ll take PTSD for $500, Alex.

I don’t know whose bright idea it was to have an unannounced fire drill five days after our bomb scare. If I could pick my feet up, I would drop kick his/her fanny up into the general region of his/her shoulder blades. Ordinarily, because of my knees, I just go stand by the door to the stairwell until the all clear is sounded. Or I sit at switchboard and handle the phones so the receptionist can participate.

Today I grabbed my purse, my phone, and my knitting and marched my unhappy self down seven flights of stairs. I was right behind a friend whose ankles, knees, and hips are even more discombobulated than my own. The need to step carefully in order not to mow her down is probably all that stopped me from somersaulting the last two flights, bumpety-bumpety-bump. It certainly couldn’t ache any more than I do right now.

I am so thankful that I have been exercising for three months. Otherwise I never would have made it. I had plenty of time to wonder if the words which immediately came to mind when I heard the fire alarm got verbalized in my frustration. So once we were back at our desks, I asked my friend if I had used any colorful language.

Not that she had heard. Whew!

If they had waited another week or two, I would have been just fine. Or if they had announced the quarterly fire drill, as they usually do. As it was, I was still distracted and anxious nearly an hour later, until that fact reached my conscious mind and I made it a matter of prayer.

Hey guys, prayer works. Just in case you were wondering.

I am home from the temple, and I think I am sufficiently unwound that I have some hope of falling asleep.

Unwound, but not unRavelled. Night, y’all.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I Nerds

This is the T-shirt I found at Wally World on Saturday morning.



I might wear it on date #4. The new guy, like me, is a passionate and omnivorous [but discerning] reader. Not to mention bespectacled.

The fourth and final Twilight book was not-bad. I was a little tired of wrangling the doll sweater, where I had gotten off-track [a-GAIN!] with my decreases and also mislaid DP needle #5, so I cracked the book open after church and was sucked into the vortex. I stood outside the courtroom after we were dismissed yesterday and read the last couple of pages.

What I liked: Carlisle is a righteous patriarch. Esme is a loving and loyal wife and mother. Bella stops whining! and begins to discover her talents and strengths, using them to bless the people she loves. She also learns to bridle her passions. Edward, always moral but somewhat dull, acquires a sense of humor and therefore a bit of personality. Jacob (my favorite male character) comes into his own, and finds peace. The holy fire which is maternal love is movingly portrayed. As is the joy which comes from having respect for marital intimacy sufficient that one waits until one is married, to experience it.

This book is very much about diversity and inclusion, but in Heaven’s way and not the current tepid politically-correct counterfeit. The men respect the women. The women respect the men. Jacob’s tribe finds true peace with the vampires, and vice versa, as they see how they are interconnected. Love and loyalty and honor win out over lust and selfishness and secret combinations.

And it is two women, Bella discovering her latent strengths and Alice doing what she knows she does best, who ultimately save the day.

Sisters, do not underestimate the power of one righteous woman in this sad and decaying world. And when we are true to ourselves and true to the Father who sent us here to succeed, when we support one another in love and faith and prayer and mutual acts of service, it shakes the foundations of Hell.

Do you wonder why the Adversary is seeking to destroy us through unchastity, distraction, depression? Do you wonder why he is working so hard against the family?

But our Father loved us so much that He provided a Savior for us. We cannot save ourselves. We can only improve ourselves incrementally through our own efforts; lasting change requires Divine intervention. And ultimately, since all Creation belongs to the Creator, the only gifts we can give Him that are truly ours to give, are our heart and our will.

I still struggle with this, because He made me smart, and sometimes I am too smart for my own good. But I can give you a metaphor. Recently the new guy and I were serving together, and at one point it was necessary for my hand to be enfolded in his. And my only, semi-coherent, thought was, “I know my hand is in there somewhere.” It was a moment of profound spiritual intimacy rather than physical intimacy, and some of you will know exactly what I am talking about, and for the rest of you I can’t explain it better because there are some things for which mere words are inadequate; you have to know them by the Spirit.

But when I trust my Father and put my hand in His, I can still feel my hand. I know it is in there somewhere. And I feel safe, and protected, and known.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Comfort Food (for Thought)

I am sitting here after jury duty, home and safe, eating the last of Saturday night’s tuna roll and counting my blessings, not the least of which are my friends.

I am one of those rare people who doesn’t have the tape playing in her head. You know the one. Not good enough. Not smart enough. Not whatever enough. I must have been standing in the collect cool stuff that your kids don’t understand line when the self-deprecating tape was being handed out.

Not that I am complaining, mind you. And not that I don’t have moments when I have to look myself in the eye and say, “That didn’t go well. Back up, apologize, and try again.” But on those days when my eternal goals seem very far away, and when I am frustrated with the glacial slowness of the sanctification process, it is oh so comforting to look around at the people I’m traveling with and recognize their essential goodness and feel Eternal fingers push the “refresh” button on the window marked COURAGE.

Thanks, y’all. Let’s please keep doing that for one another.

OK, this next is for my new friend Michele. Here is the link to the official Church info on personal and family preparedness, frequently referred to as provident living. [And not to be confused with the privately owned commercial site, Provident Living, where you may buy commodities to begin or round out your family’s preparedness program once you have designed it to suit your needs.]

As you will see, there are a number of useful links on the right side of that page. I suggest that you click on each in turn. One is a form that you can take to your local Home Storage Center (if you have one). We have one in Carrollton, a building that houses the Bishops Storehouse (where food orders ~ lists ~ prepared by RS presidents like me, under the direction of the bishop and signed by him, are filled at no cost to indigent members of the church), LDS Family Services, the Employment Center, the Home Storage Center, etc. I don’t know if there is one near you, or if you would have to drive to San Antonio or Austin or Houston. I know that ours serves an area roughly down to Waco and probably up into Oklahoma, and out into East Texas. I don’t know how many there are in Texas, but if there is one near you, members of the Church can make an appointment to do dry-pack canning of things like wheat, flour, sugar, beans, etc. I don’t know if non-LDS folks could do the same, but maybe you could combine efforts with some of your cousins who are members?

The idea is to store a year’s worth of stuff that would keep you alive and reasonably healthy. In recent years, they have emphasized the 72-hour kits and acquiring a three-month supply of stuff you might actually be enthusiastic about eating, in time of emergency.

I can promise you from my own experience that if you are stressed out and having to dip into your food storage, you want it to be something that tastes good to you. Otherwise, you will just gradually stop eating. I lost 21 lbs in three weeks, about 20 years ago, because we were living on past-its-prime oatmeal for two meals a day, sometimes three. Most of my kids cannot stand oatmeal, to this day. I cannot eat boiled wheat berries, because even though it’s a very healthy food; to me it smells like poverty and tastes like despair, and my taste buds revolt.

Also, if you do store the basic stuff, make sure you rotate it regularly and incorporate it into your diet; otherwise when you are suddenly eating cracked wheat cereal or whole-wheat bread after developing a taste for deadbread, your izzards and gizzards will do a convincing job of telling you that you are going to die, slowly and painfully and explosively.

I don’t remember if I have shared the $5 a week food storage plan, which these days is more like $8 a week but is still a fairly painless way to accumulate a year’s supply of the basics by spending a small amount extra each week, and at the year being able to call yourself obedient. Even I can spend an extra $5-8 a week on groceries without having to wonder if the lights will get cut off.

Which reminds me of something that Orson Scott Card wrote [loosely paraphrased here], that if you get the chance, move in next door to somebody who has a *two* years’ supply and then both families would, on average, be obedient.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Busy Day

Doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Before I hit the gym, I dashed through Wally World and picked up two new pairs of the denim leggings I like so much and a new summer shirt with paisleys cartwheeling all over it. Ergo, my workout was somewhat hurried but infinitely restorative.

The unpleasant necessity, for which I needed Brother Sushi’s assistance, went more smoothly than I had expected and took rather longer than I had hoped. The bright side to that was more time spent in his excellent company.

I drove back to Fort Worth and headed straight for Lucile's, where they serve that wonderful lobster bisque. [When the going gets tough, the tough go eat lobster.] And then I came home and set the alarm for a two-hour nap, but I only slept for about an hour and a half of it.

Then it was up, re-spritz my hair, put on the new shirt with the new leggings and my second favorite pair of earrings, and head over to Fern Parts with a detour to Lane Bryant because one of my bras had committed ritual underwire suicide when I was getting dressed at the gym. Which coincided neatly and mercifully with a sale.

May I just say that his place is a long, long way from my place? Well worth the drive. Neither he nor his late wife were afraid of putting a little color on the walls. Bigger than my half of the duplex, smaller than the house that Secondborn & Co. just sold (but probably of that era). Cozy, but not in the real estate sense of the word.

And he was not exaggerating when he said he could cook. I have the leftovers to prove it, waiting in the fridge in nice containers that will have to be returned. His son commented something like, “Looks like that is part of the plan.”

Had a blast. We all ate so much that there is no way we could have attempted the line dancing. He said we will have to do that another time.

Still no idea what to call him, though the kids offered up some suggestions.

Remember I said that the first hugs were of the “bishop hugging the RS president” sort? Polite, respectful, sideways hugs, the kind that are culturally kosher [so to speak] for people who are married, but not to each other. Got a very nice but still entirely appropriate bear-hug at the end of the evening.

Still grinning.

And the dolls got along well, too. Mel got lots of pictures of my two little ones sitting with or climbing on the two big ones they brought. Even Chutzpah behaved herself.

I did get the second sleeve done after lunch but before my nap. And I am now in the midst of joining all the bits together. I discovered when getting ready to attach the second sleeve, that I had reversed it when inserting it between the front and the back. That took some finagling to fix, as these needles are so small that you can’t get them in circular format. So at the moment I am juggling all five minuscule DP’s. It is awkward and fiddly, but not so much as to inspire childbirth words.

@Michele, welcome to the madness which is my world. [How on earth did you stumble upon me?] I will be happy to cobble together a reasonably coherent list of resources for you, but I will need at least one more nap before I can make it happen.

OK, y’all, time for me to refuel. I truly miss those days when I could easily fast; there is nothing like a dedicated fast to bring the Spirit near. So for me, this will not be Fast and Testimony Sunday. It will just be the savoring of others’ testimonies, and a day of grateful reflection upon my blessings. Thankfully, I am still quite capable of making a donation to the fast offering fund, which blesses the poor and the needy. I have certainly been both, more than once.

Whether I make it to the break-the-fast potluck for the singles in my stake tonight, remains to be seen. I have never been disappointed when I went, nor in the fireside (inspirational talk) which followed. But generally, by the time I am done with 2.5 hours of meetings, including choir practice, and the regular three-hour block of meetings, I am ready to be horizontal and unconscious as quickly and safely as humanly possible (i.e., preferably not behind the wheel on the way home).

And it’s been a week that rather was rather more complicated than usual.