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!

Friday, December 30, 2011

My vagrant earring has flown home.

It was hanging from a pushpin on the bulletin board in the break room and is now resting quietly with its mate on Lorelai’s front passenger seat.

I have a 50% off coupon for Michael’s and will head that way after work, the better to pick up the cake stand I’ve had my eye on.

Our first wedding gift arrived today.

I am also going bra shopping. Ordinarily I opt for the white, semi-orthopedic ones that are designed to mask the effects of working in an overly cooled office building. However, I am thinking more in terms of the sort that are designed to be worn for approximately fifteen seconds before they are removed by an exuberant spouse and sent flying into the far corners of the room. Lane Bryant is having a sale, and there is one bra in particular which is perfectly modest, and perfectly hilarious, and I hope they still have it in my size.

I’ll wait for my children to stop twitching.

Heading out to pick up a Brita pitcher and two boxes of filters from one of my yarnie friends, and then I start shopping. Wedding reception at 7:00 for BestFriend’s kid.

Beloved’s after that, because it’s been two or three days since I have been well and truly kissed.

There may or may not be posting over the weekend. We have a New Year’s Eve dance tomorrow night, but I make you no promises, other than the one that I will, as ever, behave myself.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Making a list. Checking it twice.

Last night I finished (lightly, not so much as you’d notice) beading the bodice of my wedding gown. Something like 26 beads across the back yoke. And became dissatisfied with the very plain plastic buttons on each cuff, so I will replace them with something subtly spiffier. If I can find very white natural shell buttons, I think that is what I want. I’ll look tomorrow after work, since I will have three hours between when I leave the office and when I need to be at BestFriend’s baby girl’s wedding reception.

I also put the finishing touches on the garter, and I am ridiculously pleased with it.

Whipped up the last two corsages, one for the pianist and one for the soloist. Still have not decided how to attach the wrist corsages to our collective herd of daughters. No doubt inspiration will smack me upside the head one night while I am lying awake at dark-thirty and the fabric and/or craft stores are closed.

Tonight I go serve in the temple. It’s been a wonderfully, quietly productive day. I love how that feels.

On the other hand, I have lost two, or maybe three, earrings in as many weeks. Last week it was a copper enamel one I’d had for years, sent to me by my sister and engraved with the maker’s name on the reverse. Something from Vashon Island, if I remember correctly. And last night one of my new feathered earrings migrated south for the winter. Maybe I should just stick to post earrings.

I found my grandmother’s pearl studs this morning and was reminded that one is missing a back. These are the old-fashioned ones with the slightly thicker posts, where the back screws onto the post. I vaguely remember that one back went missing maybe ten or twelve years ago. (Yes, yes, I have a screw loose. Ba dum bum ching!) So it is likely to be impossible to match the pitch of a new screw-back to the pitch of the post. And my cheapie white pearls from Target have grown legs and walked off. Or fins and swum away. I will probably find them as I finish up the packing, but probably not in time for the wedding.

Still, there is good news: my reimbursement for my new glasses will hit next Tuesday, which means that in theory I could order “Hope” to complete my trifecta of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Or I could save it for spending money on our mini-moon.

I love how God keeps His promises. There is no logical way for me to have had sufficient gas money to keep going this week, and yet I did. It is the day before payday, and I have three-fourths of a tank of gas, and I still have (a very little) money in my savings accounts and my checking account, and I am eating a chicken salad sandwich between sentences, and there is Greek yogurt for dessert, and just enough leftover oatmeal in the fridge at home to warm up for breakfast tomorrow. That may not be your idea of “enough and to spare”, but I am elated!

Tomorrow my various and sundry accounts will be replenished (but not from the East, nor with soothsayers; Brother Isaiah would be so pleased! [chapter 2, verse 6]), and I will buy enough fresh fruit and veggies to last me two weeks, and then it will be picnic basket + Jellystone Park + Beloved.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spice, spice, baby!

So, we are agreed on the type of cake. Spice cake is tasty, visually interesting, and not likely to set off digestive bells and whistles. And we can make a huge one for a pittance.

All the paper invitations have gone out (at least until we get word that we need to send more). Kristen, I just figured out how to add you to the eVite list, and I sent one your way.

Tomorrow BittyBit is seven. Boggles the mind. Next year she will be old enough to be baptized.

I had a lovely, productive day at work. All the angst of week before last was ultimately worth it.

When I got on the scale at work this morning, preparing to be seriously bummed by the results of three weeks of Christmas goodies appearing (and disappearing) from the break room, I had a happy surprise: the needle was farther to the left than it has been all year! I credit the enzymes; it’s the only possible explanation.

I resisted the urge to devour the chocolate frog which my attorney brought me back from Harry Potter Land, in celebration; I ate three peppermints instead.

Beloved sent me home with leftover salad and steamed veggies last night. I had the salad with my lunch today. I could taste the love in every bite.

This is the part where I go home and finish the last dab of beading on my wedding dress. And get to bed sometime before midnight.

As you can tell from the brevity of my paragraphs, my thoughts are going every which way. Seventeen days, unless I’m still awake at midnight, in which case it will be sixteen.

Can I get a yeehaw?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Deep, cleansing, Christmas-cookie-flavored breath!

Wow! What a weekend! That blur you saw whizzing past? Probably me, either towing Beloved or being towed by him.

His present to me was perfect: a red(!) scrapbook to be filled with engagement and wedding stuff. A package of silver and white stickers to help out with that task. Prints of some of my favorite pictures.

I had dinner with Trainman on Friday night. Woke up about 3:30 on Christmas Eve and did a bit of holiday baking and put together the goodie boxes. Took a nap from about 9:30 until 2:30 that afternoon, then fluffed and foofed and headed over his way for his family’s Christmas Eve festivities. Drove home, slept a little – a very little – as I was awakened at 2:30 when I tried to roll over, by my ACL howling in protest. (I had LittleBit’s honey, a physical therapist, take a look at it at dinner on Sunday; it’s strained, but it’s not torn.) I did catch a few more hours of sleep, then drove like a bat out of Houston back to Beloved’s for the Christmas morning festivities, after which we drove to Firstborn’s ward, where she and Secondborn and LittleBit and I sang in sacrament meeting. From there to Secondborn’s for dinner.

Squishy and Mel accompanied us, and had a blast. My kids like them as much as they like my kids. This bodes well.

After dinner, we went back to Beloved’s, where he watched the Packers play, and I took a catnap so that I wouldn’t go off the road on the drive back to Fort Worth.

Yesterday morning was another party, breakfast for LittleBit’s birthday at Secondborn’s house. Where, in talking with the children’s father, I found myself asking him if he wanted to come to the wedding. He did. (I know, I know. Remember, the surest way for me to know that something is inspiration, is if it is something that is good and decent, that would not ordinarily occur to me.)

The lion’s share of the paper invitations went out in today’s mail. And as soon as I hit “send” and shut down my workstation, I am headed back to Beloved’s for dinner and, presumably, the launching of the eVites. If you want one and you have moved, or you aren’t sure we have your email address, message me here (not at the old Yahoo! address) or over on FB.

I am hungry, tired, disheveled (what, pray tell, is heveled?) and in need of more sleep than is likely tonight. But I am happy, and we are making progress on the wedding preparations, and we still like one another, so that is good.

My contender for the wedding cake has been crossed off the list. Taste is lovely, texture is heavier than he thinks appropriate. There will be further experimentation this week.

Let them eat cake. Quite possibly from Costco if we don’t find a more snazzy solution in the next couple of days.

OK, I’m outta here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

I am sitting here, eating cherries.

Because life is just a bowl full of them, right? These ones are the candy-covered, chocolate-covered ones from Harry and David. And are probably not on what I laughingly call my diet, but they are delicious, and I am enjoying them.

Got the call from my eye doctor that my new glasses are ready, so I will be heading out in five minutes to pick them up.

Bridal shower with the work bunch is all set up. Foo-foo lunch, with a side order of frivolity before heading back to work.

I put ten rounds on the Christmas project while I was sitting in traffic on the Tollway en route to the temple last night. And promptly frogged seven of them after examination this morning. Angry knitting is not pretty knitting. I would knit three stitches, creep forward ten feet, knit three more, creep forward a couple of car lengths, etc etc etc. I was fifteen minutes late for the prayer meeting, so I skipped it.

Quite possibly will be radio silence until Christmas or thereafter. So merry merry, and happy happy, and may none of you find a lump of coal in the bottom of your stocking this year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I love to see the temple…

I’m going there tonight. It’s been a good day. I am not quite up to speed with the new programs here at work, but I am significantly closer than I was, and it makes for far less angst in my traps, neck, and upper back.

Beloved’s siblings would like to have lunch together after the wedding (when we had planned on making a quick getaway to the honeymoon cabin). I had hoped to check on availability of one of my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants, but I have been busier than the proverbial paper-hanger today.

Maybe tomorrow, when plaintiff attorneys are just about guaranteed to be out golfing or otherwise goofing off?

Had a blast at dinner with BFFE/early days last night. There is a fragment of leftover Thai omelette in my fridge, along with a handful of rice. All of it too good to throw away. Dinner with Trainman tomorrow night.

As you can tell, my brain is skittering like drops of water on a hot griddle. And this will not be an early night, but I will be trailing the peace of the temple behind me, all the way home and all through the night.

Can’t. Wait.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nothing much to see here, just keep moving, folks.

The shoes came. They are very plain. I am not disappointed, other than in the fact that they were not the white patent ones available on close-out in almost any size but my own. I think white patent clogs would have been spiffy. And we all know how I feel about the “no patent leather after Labor Day” rule (i.e., foolish traditions of the mothers, since we haven’t had real patent leather in decades, the kind where you had to grease them up with Vaseline to get them through the winter). I think these very plain shoes will lend themselves to a discreet amount of beading.

I have cast on the last knitted gift. It is a very, very small project. I may be knitting on it come Christmas morning, but I am reasonably sure that I will not be giving half a gift to one of my beloved granddaughters. And that is all that I am going to say on the matter, for now.

Another good day at work. And I am headed out to meet my BFFE from my childbearing years, to Thai one on. And run the beading idea past her for a sartorial reality check.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dances with wolves, lunches with lawyers

Two of my attorneys invited me to lunch with the rest of their staff today. We tried out one of the restaurants in the new Omni Hotel in downtown BigD. This is the edifice which ate my favorite parking space. I am somewhat mollified after lunch. I had a bison burger with goat cheese, and they substituted a fruit cup for the parmesan fries. (Yes, I know I should not eat beef; bison is not beef. Don’t ask, don’t tell.)

I got Mount Washmore checked off the list last night. It was an amazingly productive evening: spare floral bits returned, my sister’s Christmas gift mailed, and in bed relatively early.

Allegedly, my wedding shoes will be here tomorrow.

And now I am headed out the door for Beloved’s annual Chanukah dinner. With a little discreet smooching for dessert, once we shoo the missionaries out the door.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My brilliant children! And wedding stuff.

Firstborn graduated cum laude yesterday afternoon. And LittleBit has a 4.0 after her first semester of college. Proving, in both instances, that when one waits until one is ready for college, one tends to do well. Or in this case, two tend to do well.

I left Beloved’s a little after midnight yesterday morning, after slaving over the mailing list. Still not done, but making noticeable progress.

Tomorrow I go over there for Chanukah. Yes, we’re Christian. We still think Chanukah is cool. He is feeding the missionaries, and we will eat some of the traditional foods, and he has a menorah, and once we chase the elders out, we will work some more on the mailing list and maybe smooch a little.

I had a great day at work today. I have whittled my to-do’s down to manageable size, cleared up some weird/missing/duplicate entries in the docketing system, and pretty much gotten my desk under control.

And now I am headed out, to mail off my sister’s Christmas present and then to tackle Mount Washmore. I am not quite ready to wash my unmentionables at Beloved’s house. Although if I poop out on the drive home, I may have to do just that.

Firstborn and Fourthborn and I spent the better part of eight hours on Saturday, assembling my bouquet, and my throwing bouquet (I did a practice fling over the shoulder, and I did not hit the ceiling fan, and the bouquet landed a respectable distance behind me, so I am not likely to either clock somebody on the big day, or embarrass myself with a repeat of my softball throw in fourth grade. Underhand: 50 feet straight up, landing a foot and a half in front of me. Guess which distance got measured?) Not to mention various corsages, boutonnieres, et al.

Life is good. And we are 26 days out...

Friday, December 16, 2011

A beautiful day in the neighborhood.

On Wednesday I was squarely in Henry-VI mode (“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”) I would now appear to be in remission. I am caught up on filing my mail. My desk is approaching its normal level of tidiness. My to-do’s are mostly to-done, and I have three days next week to get them all checked off and two cases closed, before my favorite attorney returns.

In other news, we have a firm date for the wedding: 14 January, 10:00a.m., my meetinghouse. Tomorrow morning I will get together with some of my kids, and we will put together my bouquet, the corsages, and the boutonnieres. I still have not found the perfect (i.e., attractive and comfortable) shoes to go with my wedding dress. Nor have I figured out what to do as hair ornamentation, other than the firm resolve it will not be yet another veil. So done with veils.

If you are not a Facebook friend, and you want an e-vite, please email me at the google address or respond in a comment (Jerilyn and Robi, you are already on the list).

I am skipping Beloved’s ward Christmas party in favor of a massage and an early bedtime.

I attempted to mail my sister’s gift on the way to work, but the 24/7 post office now has shorter hours. So I will take care of that tomorrow, which is already going to be crazy-busy, but what’s one more thing, right?

And now if you will all excuse me, I have 23 minutes before it’s time to shut down the popsicle stand, and no work to do, and I am going to check out the Dansko outlet.

Monday, December 12, 2011

His fortune, my fortune.

Mine: “Sail into the land of opportunity - treasures await!” Suitably generic, although if I give it a honeymoon slant, it’s good for a grin or two.

His: “You have the ability to excel in untried areas.”

Me: *snort*

Him: “Hey, keep it clean, keep it clean!”

So, maybe not untried, but definitely fallow.

Work today was way better than in recent weeks. I was justifiably tired by the time I got to Beloved’s, but I managed to slog through ten days’ worth of mail, and all but one item of the eleventh day’s. I still have three new cases to open, plus another that was tossed on my desk near the end of the day. As Miz Scarlett was wont to say, “I’ll worry about that tomorrow.”

We drove up into the frozen north to take engagement pictures. Much hilarity. His eldest is our photographer, and he has a wicked sense of humor. [Not unlike his father’s.]

They just walked in, and I really don’t have a lot more to say, so I’m going to steal a few quick smooches and head for home. I might even get a box or two packed before I crash for the night. This will be the first night I’ve been in bed before midnight since maybe last Wednesday.

Tomorrow night I’m getting a manicure, and then I am coming home and going to bed, because Wednesday night is his ward’s temple night, and Thursday is my regular shift at the temple, Friday is a well-earned massage, and Saturday is another whirlwind of activity.

Life is good. 33 days.

Friday, December 09, 2011

In which your intrepid heroine laughs at herself.

Day before yesterday, or thereabouts, I mislaid the leather cover for my cell phone. I checked the loo on our floor. I inquired at the management office and with building security. Nada.

This afternoon, as I was finishing up work on a case which I had opened two days ago, the case fell out of the claim file.

In other breaking news, Beloved’s Christmas present arrived in today’s mail.

And I am heading out the door to meet Firstborn and sundry others for LittleBit’s dance recital at the college tonight. I am leaving behind me a desk which looks far more like what I’m accustomed to seeing at the end of a day/week. The massive, demoralizing piles of stuff have been wrangled into small, neat stacks, and while my attorney is still seeing all the stuff that isn’t yet done, I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Tomorrow is crazy-busy. I have myself booked from sunup until dark-thirty. I’ll pick up boxes from Secondborn, get my nails done, meet Beloved to attend the temple wedding of some of his friends, and then go with him to a dinner/discussion at an outlying stake.

No, I haven’t looked at my Primary lesson for Sunday morning. Sufficient unto the day are the weevils thereof.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A silver sixpence...

… along with half a dozen perfectly delightful magnets, arrived from Tola Faery today. Thank you, ma’am!

Not only did I enjoy a little genteel smooching with Beloved last night, I also got to meet several of the adult women in his ward, who were there for tithing settlement. Several great conversations.

I made significant progress at work today. And now I am headed out the door for the temple.

Be good, and remember Whose you are.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Another drive-by smooching, woohoo!

My hair magician called to say that her neighborhood had been without power since about noon. We have rescheduled for next week. I have also booked an appointment with an esthetician she recommended, for massive waxing of the Ravelled frame, pre-wedding. I don’t trust myself with tweezers or a razor that close to the Big Day.

My pretty stockings arrived in the mail today. I am now only waiting on Beloved’s Christmas present, which should be here anytime between Friday and next Wednesday.

December is filling up fast.

I am feeling a little more effective with the new systems at work, and I am waking up each morning after approximately six hours of sleep, fairly consistently. The respiratory yuck is nearly gone. I have hardly coughed today, and what coughing there was, was nowhere near as eye-popping as on Sunday or Monday.

Beloved’s family has a tradition of hanging ginormous stockings on the mantle at Christmas. I joked that for next year, we should get a pair of red fishnet hose and hang one with the more traditional ones. He thinks that’s a great idea, and there might be one hanging there this year.

I’ve warned him that pretty much, whatever is on my mind, comes out of my mouth. This one may bite me in the ankle.

He’s got tithing settlement tonight, and since I am not in the mood to go home and pack boxes, I will grab dinner and go make mischief (and out, a little) in the clerk’s office.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

No alarums; one excursion

Dinner with Beloved, last night, was just what the doctor ordered. Chicken breasts sizzled in butter with plenty of pepper; sautéed spinach and mushrooms; steamed cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower (I am not becoming a convert, yet, but he seasons everything so well that I can even eat yucky vegetables without gagging). After dinner, we tossed my laundry from his washer into his dryer and took a little drive.

We headed for the park where he proposed. And, mostly, we talked. And it was very, very sweet and tender and respectful.

I was able to talk through some of my frustrations at work, and to put the sinus problems / borderline bronchitis into context. Consequently, I went home far more relaxed than when I awoke yesterday morning, and when I woke up today I was barely stuffy and hardly coughing. It has been a relatively quiet day, and my second consecutive productive day at work, and I am ready to head out for a manicure, if NailDude is available, or to go to Knit Night if he is not (but not for long, as I really ought to make an early night of it). The Relief Society Christmas social is tonight, and I have my contribution in the trunk for their professional clothing drive to support a local charity. I also have a car full of boxes that are the perfect size for books, and I’m thinking that maybe I just want to be a hermit (albeit a hermit with pretty nails) and pack as many boxes as I can before I have to pack it in for the night.

We laughed a little, as he bundled me into my car, about how we are both sorely tempted to just elope and get on with the happily-ever-after part. But there are too many people on both sides of the family who would be hurt, or livid, so we will continue to be good kids.

Engagement pictures next Monday night; pray for a good hair day.

39 days.

P.S. Send up some love and prayers for my friend Tan, and for her family; she lost her mother-in-love this week.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Posting at lightning speed.

Or as fast as I can go, given that the Bronchitis Fairy has smacked me upside the lungs. I am heading to Beloved’s for dinner and a neck rub and some hand-holding. He had chemo this morning. Daughter-in-law will be cooking. And my stomach is yodeling for sustenance.

Picked up his ring on Saturday. It’s beautiful, and you could drive a truck through it. Just what you would expect for a superhero’s ring. I will try to remember to take a picture of it with a quarter for scale.

While I remember: Tola: 1952, 1949, 1975 (when I joined the church), or just make up a date. And where did you find the Christmas cards? I would love to get some for next year, when I might have the time, the funds, and the inclination to send out Christmas cards for the first time in decades.

I ordered his Christmas present this morning. We are already starting to have our little private jokes, and I think this will tickle him immensely.

I’m outta here!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Another marginally productive day.

But I do seem to be picking up speed. My desk is still a wreck. Three years ago, it would not bother me. But I have been working for my attorney long enough that clutter on my desk now drives me a little nuts. (At home, not so much, although we count all the small victories.)

I got the birthday cake to work, intact.

I managed to stay awake all day, get the two critical reports done for Attorney B out in a timely fashion, and wrangle two hot potatoes for my attorney. I ate my lunch (sandwich, seriously yummy) at my desk and spent my lunch hour communing with the current knitting project.

I am now logging off and heading to the massage therapist. I have a number of errands tomorrow: picking up a superhero-sized wedding ring, looking for the last detail to complete my garter, getting a two-month supply of enzymes (which I have not been taking for at least three weeks now, and I can definitely feel the difference).

After the massage therapist, I foresee salmon and the usual veggie suspects at Black Eyed Pea, and then an early bedtime. Maybe just an early bedtime.

I leave it all in your capable hands.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Brutal day.

I did manage to get a new case opened and most of the discovery ready to go. I’ll finish that tomorrow. Also maybe half of a report (one of two) which has to go out tomorrow for Attorney B.

On the other hand, I (we) got a Christmas card from Tola and her hubby. Knitterly humor, and much appreciated. And the jewelry store called to say that Beloved’s ring is ready. And last night my wedding dress was waiting on the front porch when I got home from the drive-by smooching.

Speaking of which, it’s time for me to shut everything down, brush a tooth, and scoot out the door toward the temple. Beloved is meeting me there for dinner before my shift.

I am tired and most everything hurts, from my fingers to my wrists to my neck. But notwithstanding all that, I am still as happy as if I had good sense.

44 days.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

He never ceases to surprise me.

(This is not a bad thing.) One of our friends is a gifted photographer. Beloved posted a link on Facebook, a picture of the groom spelunking amidst yards and yards of tulle in search of the garter. I allowed as how that was not going to happen at our reception.

First, because my wedding dress is not a Barbie dress (she looked lovely, and her style is not my style). Second, because I intend to park the garter just below my patella, thus displaying a bit of ankle and maybe a swathe of calf, but nothing in hey-sailor territory. Third, because Beloved might be a great one for teasing, but he would never do anything to embarrass me (nor I, him).

I think the guys in my office have seen my calves maybe half a dozen times in the ten years I have been working here. I am mostly a jeans girl, or dress slacks, or long skirts. I don’t want any of my co-workers to faint, or be snow-blinded.

Cake topper arrived yesterday. I ordered his ring this afternoon. My dress should be here in the next few days. The garter is mostly-sewn, and I have had second thoughts about its embellishment. What I chose, would be lovely; what I have in mind would be memorable.

Today was a far more productive, and far less stressful, day spent wrangling the new systems at work. While I didn’t get anywhere near as much accomplished as either my attorney or I would have liked, I am truly hopeful of being caught up by close of business on Friday. I even remembered to order the cake for Friday’s birthday celebration.

Jury is out on whether I will remember to pick it up on Friday morning.

As Beloved has tithing settlement tonight, and we have not seen one another since Sunday, and I fell asleep last night before he got home from his clerkly duties (ergo, no me on the other end of the phone when he called), I am doing another drive-by smooching after work. I told him not to expect me until I got there. Sprouts is having a sale on blackberries, and I fully intend to get my share of them. And maybe a healthy little treat for him and the other brethren who are slaving over a hot keyboard tonight.

45 days [tee hee]

Monday, November 28, 2011

Busy, spendy day

Bought the flowers for my bouquet, boutonnières for the guys and corsages for the girls, pre-ordered Beloved’s ring (because it doesn’t come in superhero size). And now have florist wire and florist tape, but will wait on the ribbons until everything is assembled, then take finished objects to the craft store for matching purposes.

Also ordered the white lace stockings. This morning I partially assembled the garter. I want to look for an alternate trim to finish it off.

Land line at home is cancelled. Now to reconcile my checkbook, and then will head for home.

This has been a magical staycation. Who knew that I could be so happy, being at home for nearly two weeks?

Life is good.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Beloved gets blog privileges.

I am blogging from his computer. And he is reading over my shoulder.

Church today went well. My ring is still gorgeous. He is still such a good guy. I would say all these things even if he were sitting in another room.

That stealth project I was mentioning? Forgot to tell you that this whole mushy business was that stealth project, but you probably already figured it out.

I am shutting down the land line at home, will keep my computer at home for printing off labels and organizing the move, the reception, et al.

Wedding gown is ordered, and cake topper will be here by the end of the week. Just found the white lace stockings that I want to wear and have emailed the information to myself. I can’t access it from home, or at work, but I can order it from Secondborn’s, or I can order it from here on a day other than the Sabbath.

We have had an interesting series of discussions, while I have been on his computer looking at one website or another. He now knows a whale of a lot about me. There has been some blushing. Not all of it mine. And a lot of healthy laughter.

And now if you will all excuse me, it’s time to head back out to the kitchen for a little smooching, and then I need to go pick up Middlest, who is spending the night at my house, and the day with me tomorrow, and tomorrow night as well, and on Tuesday I will drop her at the airport on my way to work.

Life is very, very, very good.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Blogging from Secondborn’s, again.

Thanksgiving was amazing. I managed not to eat myself into a coma, but it required enormous fortitude. [Fivitude?]

I came home with two meals’ worth of chicken pot pie from Wednesday night, the last slice of black bottom banana cream pie, about half of my Death Tart [has pecans; Fourthborn can’t eat any, hence the name], and four of Squishy’s hot rolls. Not to mention lots of sweet kisses, many hugs, and one discreet pat on the tushie when Beloved thought nobody was looking.

I am going to have so much fun with that man!

The meeting of spouse-emeritus and Beloved was calm, dignified, and otherwise uneventful. Willow or Lark asked if she gets to be my flower girl. Beloved and 1BDH and I had a great exchange during a dull spot in the Cowboys game.

1BDH: “You do realize that when you marry a [Ravelled] woman, the fun stops once you’re actually married?”
Beloved: “???”
Me: “That which stopped when you married Firstborn, begins when I marry Beloved.”
1BDH: “Lucky devil.”
Beloved: “Woohoo!”

Boys. Gotta love ’em.

Today I am paying a few bills while here on Secondborn’s computer, balancing my checkbook (which I like to do two or three times a week), and ordering the cake topper and maybe my wedding dress. I am thinking seriously about shutting down my land line at home, since I can blog from here or after-hours at work, and I’ve done reasonably well for the past three weeks without home internet. [It’s more or less a small twitch in one eye, as opposed to a grand mal seizure.]

I packed four boxes yesterday before leaving for Thanksgiving dinner(s), and another two boxes this morning (the latter two in my studio).

I have no idea what I’m doing for Christmas, either in terms of what I am giving people, or where I will be spending it. But the moostletoe is hung over the doorway to my kitchen, and I think when I go home, I will do a little decorating.

I need to ask him if he has an artificial tree; I do know that he is planning to hang lights outside this weekend, once he takes care of a couple of minor plumbing issues.

Bills. Bills, then shopping, then Costco with Secondborn. Seven weeks is looking like not-very-long to me. We are going with Plan B for the cake; I need to check into that venue while I’m online and thinking about it.

Happy, happy! Joy, joy! With a side order of EEEEK!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Posting from Secondborn’s

Oh, internet friends, how I have missed thee! It’s been quite the week. Middlest got here yesterday and spent the night on my couch. This morning we kidnapped Fourthborn and bought cinnamon rolls from KolacheMan and made a raid on Pottery Barn (hoping to find wee swords for the small dolls, but failing nobly in our quest) and are now here. My kids are helping out with craft day, downstairs, while I am up here getting my internet fix.

So: officially engaged, as in he gave me the ring at the dance on Friday night, breaking into the ring of sisters who were dancing to All the Single Ladies to do a John Travolta slide on his knees, ending up in front of me with a box full of ring. And I? I was momentarily, and uncharacteristically, speechless, doing the Sandra Bullock hand-fanning thing after pulling both hands away from my mouth. He says the look on my face was priceless. Then he stood up and hugged me, and if memory serves, announced to the younger brethren, “And that, gentlemen, is how it’s done.”

That thing that women with new engagement rings do? Guilty. I am rather glad that I lost that particular argument.

My friend Alison was in town over the weekend. We did a little texting and left each other a couple of voicemails, then finally met just before stake conference on Sunday morning. She is even more beautiful and wonderful in real life than she is in her blog. And I’m not saying that simply because she brought me two balls of cerise/fuchsia cashmere. I felt like a total ditz, with a serious case of the distractables as the hand and I got pulled from pillar to post. One of these days she and I are going to have to be in the same place at the same time, with no distractions, and spend a few hours or a few days talking and laughing and knitting.

Beloved and I are registered at Pottery Barn. He has initiated a letter writing campaign at Bass Pro, because they do not have a wedding registry, only a wishlist. [What? Rednecks don’t get married? I don’t think so!] As the shower curtain I fell in love with is being discontinued, I stopped in on Friday night before the dance and nabbed one. I also have a sheaf of paint chips which (once I can sit still and string two consecutive thoughts together, because right now I’m having too much fun laughing with my kids) I need to compare under natural light and incandescent light with the shower curtain, because I am actually thinking of something other than red for the living room walls.

This is the part where I post and wave goodbye for probably another week, unless I can get the internet fixed while I am avoiding the Black Friday crowds. Right now I need to reconcile my checkbook and pay a couple of bills.

Beloved says, 53 days and counting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another quick post.

I was in training all day today. My home phone line is supposed to be fixed by 7:00p.m. tomorrow. And then I will meet with Bishop after 8:00p.m. to sign the updated application for my sealing cancellation.

He has statements from FirstHubby and the children’s father. Bishop has written out his own statement. (And he would like me to take all or most of the bouncy songs off the playlist for the reception. I can do that. Beloved is wanting to have the marriage around 10:00a.m. and the whole thing over and done with around noon, so we can get to the place we will be staying, before dark. Fewer songs mean a shorter reception, less cake down the hatch, and a greater chance of my not falling asleep mid-afternoon through sheer exhaustion.)

I am going to Knit Night. I will probably not stay long, but I need to be around wool, and women, after a day listening to a most excellent presenter teach us how to navigate the new docketing system. He has a good, clear voice, an engaging personality, and makes what could be a very dull but necessary process intermittently enjoyable. I was successful in moving the documents which I created yesterday into the new filing system, once class let out.

Tomorrow should be slightly less crazy, significantly more productive, and then I am off for the better part of two weeks.

The shower curtain that I fell in love with last Saturday is no longer available on the gift registry (or online) so I am buying it on Friday. And I found more sheets that I like.

Monday, November 14, 2011

No internet at home.

I’ve reported it to Uncaring Monopoly. The last time this happened, it was because a tree branch was arguing with the line. And we’ve had a lot of wind lately.

Great weekend. A drive-by smooching of the new guy after work on Friday night. Harry Potter 7.2 with Secondborn and her friends. Some window-shopping on Friday and during the day on Saturday.

Yesterday he came to church with me, to watch my little ones in the annual Primary sacrament meeting. We left shortly thereafter (I handed the kids off to my team teacher) and drove east to his ward, where I attended the presentation in his ward, followed by the entire block of meetings.

His bishop’s wife is their Gospel Doctrine teacher. She asked him to stand and introduce his guest.

“This is my friend, Ms. Ravelled. In January, she will be moving into this ward. And changing her last name.”

I have been sitting on this news since Thursday before last, although my kids and my sister were told immediately (in a veryfasthighpitchedvoice). Some of you have guessed. He ordered my ring today.

When the ring is on my hand, we will update our status on Facebook to “engaged” and fill in the blanks in terms of names. No use of the e-word on FB until then, if you please.

Wedding most likely in early January, timing contingent on when he has his surgery to remove the colostomy bag. Venue to be determined by how quickly the First Presidency moves on my request for a sealing cancellation. The children’s father very graciously requested, in his statement, that they expedite matters due to the new guy’s health issues.

Because of the short time frame, we will dispense with engraved invitations and go the e-route, with a few paper copies for sundry meetinghouses. If you’re local (or not) and want an e-vite, please email me here or on FB.

And I suppose it is also time to unveil his new moniker here on the blog, but it’s what I’ve called him inside my head and inside my heart for a very long time:

Beloved.

Friday, November 11, 2011

So tired I could cry.

The past couple of days, as we prepare for conversion at work, have been brutal. Scheduled meetings, impromptu meetings, endless meetings, and the downside to my improving health is that I have very few trigger points near my knees, that I can push on discreetly while sitting through said meetings, in order to generate enough pain to stay awake.

The stealth project continues apace. Patience, grasshoppers, I shall have a picture of a finished object in the relatively near future.

Taking an hour of PT and possibly heading over to the campsite for a hug and a quick smooch before heading to Secondborn’s for some serious HP7.2 tonight. I will be the one falling asleep, bolt upright, on her couch.

Crazy day tomorrow: Greek Festival, potluck and dance. Possibly more smooching.

Life is good.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

d. c. al fine

The training at work continues. We are just about meetinged to death. I am accomplishing very little of substance. My thoughts are like water droplets on a hot griddle.

On the other hand, my knitting is behaving in a particularly cooperative fashion. I like the pattern, the yarn, the colors, and the fact that this is my last birthday gift to create for 2011. I am so thankful to have a family who value handmade gifts.

Tonight I will be serving in the temple with the new guy. If I keep showing up at his ward’s temple night, people are going to start talking. (That is, if they are not doing so already.) Tomorrow is my regular shift. The temple was closed for semiannual maintenance for two weeks, and while it was theoretically nice to have an extra evening or myself, two Thursdays running, in reality it left a hole in the fabric of each week. I am glad to be returning to what passes for normal in my life.

I have made significant progress on the stealth project, one wee bite at a time. I might even have a picture of the work in progress before the end of the month. No promises, more like what we in our family call a definite maybe.

Time to log off and go make myself useful in the House of the Lord.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Monday mumblings.

I will begin and end with quotes which the office manager sent out to the office:

He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. ~ Harold Wilson

So, I have finally settled on a pattern for 2BDH’s hat. I worked seventeen rounds of K1, P1 ribbing in purple #1, switched to white and knit one round (this, after two or three failed attempts at getting the plain stockinette to look pretty or to be visually the same gauge as the ribbing), then shifted the ribbing one stitch to the left. In other words, the purled stitches in purple are now knitted stitches in white, and there is no awkward transition between the purled purple stitches and the white ones. You can thank Jacqueline Fee for the lack of an awkward transition; I learned that trick in her Sweater Workshop Book.

Funny things that happened this weekend: when looking for the pit-stop before the baby shower on Saturday, I found it not in the medicine cabinet, but in the cupboard where I keep my hair spray and cleaning products. I laughed and put it back into the medicine cabinet. A little later, when I went back to brush my teeth after breakfast, I grabbed the pit-stop instead of the toothpaste and narrowly avoided having to trash my toothbrush.

On the other hand, I have a growing number of tasks to accomplish related to the stealth project, and I am checking them off nearly as quickly as I am adding new ones. This reassures me [somewhat] that the Alzheimer’s Fairy does not have a stealth project of her own.

I may or may not be at Knit Night tomorrow night. (I have an opportunity for more overtime.) Or the Knit Night after that. I hope to make the one in two weeks, if there is one, but it might be the one that I used to attend, because Middlest will be in town, and she knows more people in that group, I think, than in the group I am attending now. Or she may have plans with one or more of her siblings that preclude either or both of us attending Knit Night, anywhere.

I am just taking things one day at a time. And sometimes one hour at a time. Living and dying by the sticky-note, the electronic reminder, sundry calendars, and the intermittent subvocal childbirth word.

The new guy emailed me to say that his cancer count is now down to 8.9. These would be the cancer cells which are hanging on for dear life and biting anything that comes at them. They will be the hardest to kill. But we are ever hopeful.

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful, it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful, it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident, it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better. ~ King Whitney Jr.

Life is good. And I am logging off in three minutes and heading to see my NailDude.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Crazy-busy, with more to come.

Posts may be a little thin on the ground for the next few weeks. I recently undertook a major stealth project, we have the Primary program next Sunday, two Thanksgivings to get through, the usual Christmas insanity (which I adore), and the inevitable complications from the new guy’s chemo and probable surgery to remove the colostomy bag and reconnect his plumbing as Heaven and nature intended.

In other news, when I was at the baby shower yesterday (at which I did not present her with a finished pair of baby socks, but she was quite happy with Plan B), I learned that my friend AlisonH, whom I’ve known online for what? four-plus years? and who is my bishop’s wife’s sister-in-law, will be here later this month, so I finally get to hug her in the flesh. I am seriously excited about that, Alison, and I promise not to knock you over in my enthusiasm.

Tola, I’ll give her an extra hug, from you.

The call went out overnight from our compassionate service leader, for contributions to food baskets for sundry ward members. I have a bag by the door, things that are still fresh but no longer on my safe list. They will be going to church with me today. I checked the expiration dates on the two cans of cranberry sauce. 2006 and 2009. Oh dear. Mute testimony to my lack of enthusiasm for holiday cooking.

I could probably put in the #10 cans of powdered milk which are currently in my food storage, as that stuff keeps for years under the right storage conditions, and I’ve maintained those as much as possible in an old house in Texas in a summer like the one just past. Be right back.

Nope, not this weekend. That would require dismantling the impromptu shelves at the side of the fridge. I am using #10 cans as the uprights. And that would be way over the line in terms of working on the Sabbath, but I can rearrange things during the next week and contribute them next Sunday. OK, that’s on my calendar for bright and early Saturday morning, before I go to the Greek Food Festival. Woohoo! One more minuscule victory in the battle against the forces of chaos. Not to mention my ongoing and very personal war on hunger.

I have Middlest’s itinerary for her trip to Texas later this month. I am excited about that, as well. We have offered our services as pie-making flunkies on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, which is Pie Day in the new guy’s household, but he will be getting the chemo pump off sometime that day, which will cut into pie-making time. He’ll be management; we’ll be labor.

Apparently there was an earthquake in Oklahoma and Texas yesterday. 5.6 up where my friend Alyeen lives. I didn’t notice anything here, but I was at Secondborn’s, and the kids were running around being kids and showing off for Gram, so anything less than the house falling down around our ears would have gone unnoticed.

I think that’s it. Baby sock is going on the back burner, and I hope to finish the ribbing on 2BDH’s hat at church today and get started on the straightaway. I’m doing 1x1 ribbing on this hat and designing as I go. No idea why; I just am.

I also decided on Friday to give away all my hats except the one that Fourthborn gave me. I have a friend who is as hat-mad as I am, and she might as well enjoy them. I am on a downsizing spree, and this just feels like the right thing to do. This is me, at work last Friday, after we came back from lunch. There was a guy across the restaurant who kept looking at me. Looked like a poor man’s Gerald McRaney in his Simon and Simon days.



Still life: Red Hat with Chin(s). Have a blessed and peaceful Sabbath, everybody. Life is good.

Friday, November 04, 2011

The news is mixed.

He spoke with his oncologist yesterday. There is a 5% chance for a complete cure. I figure that 5% is infinitely better than no chance. And the realistic prognosis is two to five years, which is not as much as I had hoped, but better than I expected.

That being said, he and I had a long talk last night, in the course of which he admitted that he loved me back. And there was a lovely, tender, respectful, and thoroughly enjoyable kiss at the end of the evening.

In more urgent news, I have a baby shower tomorrow morning at 10:00 that almost slipped past my radar. I just finished winding the yarn (an orphan skein of Claudia Handpainted Fingering) and will break in my 4” Harmony DP’s on this project.

I get to wear a hat to work today. I found the box that contained my hats. Now to decide which one.

That’s probably all the sense you’re going to get out of me today.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Tenterhooks

Took a bit of PT and ran an errand after work, then headed to Secondborn’s with her hat, which she loves. Got a picture of her in it, Bittiest on her lap.



Finished LittleBit’s hat and got it photographed for Ravelry and both projects marked finished. Did the set-up for 2BDH’s hat on Ravelry, noting yarns and needle size and date started, which will be in a few minutes, or maybe when I get to work.

Feeling a little like a kid on Christmas morning, for the moment. Am reasonably sure that my emotions are going to be all over the map today. This is a Big Day, for both the new guy and me, and don’t think the Adversary doesn’t know it. I have been praying that he has a clear channel in terms of knowing what Heaven wants for us, and that I have the wisdom, grace, courage, or whatever else is needed to respond accordingly.

What I am hoping, of course, is that this is going to be a yee haw, crawdaddies! day for both of us. And part of me wishes I could be a mouse in his pocket at the hospital today, while recognizing that he needs peace and quiet and no distractions when he is talking this over with the Lord, afterward.

I have to laugh at myself a little: I did the math and figured out that I have been patient approximately 8.5 times longer than I would have been in my 20’s. (A side benefit of having ovaries that are no longer screaming hey, sailor!) My calendar is free tonight, should he wish to visit face to face. I have a massage scheduled for tomorrow night and will be having dinner at Black Eyed Pea after that (wondering if there is a dance tomorrow night?), and I’ve told him that he is welcome to join me there.

If all of this sounds as if the Patience Fairy has left the building, along with Elvis, and has been replaced by the Tenterhooks Fairy, you would be right. I am now heading out to the kitchen to plan breakfast, lunch, and my snacks. I am already reconciled to the knowledge that I will be steadily eating my feelings all day. I want to make sure that at least some of what goes down the hatch, is healthy.

Prayers and positive thoughts, if you please.

Here is Clara Parkes’ review of BrooklynTweed’s new yarn, Loft. I popped a link onto Facebook from his website, night before last, and will be buying some of this yarn for next year’s gift knitting. There’s a pattern in Wendy Knits Lace that would be ideal for all the adult women in my tribe, even if my tribe doubles in the next few months.

This is the part where I go soak my head.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Real love eats curry.

I think I might have mentioned the Unfortunate Curry Episode from my misspent youth, when I was making two-thirds of a recipe of curried rice and flipped the fraction in my head while measuring out the curry, effectively making it twice as hot as it was intended to be?

There is an excellent Indian restaurant across the street from the high school which my kids attended. I have eaten there a couple of times with Brother Sushi, whose first (but apparently not last, tee hee!) wife was from India. I found a couple of things that I could eat comfortably, but while he was tucking into one curry or another, I was chiefly there for the joy of his company.

The new guy was supposed to get chemo yesterday. When they did his blood work, they told him that his platelets were too low, and they sent him home. He will try again next week. I figured that he might need a little cheering up, so I offered to come over after work and help dismember more pomegranates. His emailed response was very sweet. (I am welcome there, any time. Such a dangerous thing to say to a woman besotted!) He later emailed to tell me what was for dinner, and that they would save me some: chicken curry over rice, steamed cauliflower, zucchini, and spinach.

My inner four-year-old was shrieking OH GACK!

I got to work nearly two hours of overtime, and then I headed his way. True to his word, he had saved me some dinner. Perfectly cooked rice, two abominable veggies and the last of the spinach, and a delicately flavored curry made by his newest daughter-in-law.

I told him it was the first time in 35 years that I had liked curry. (Probably longer than that; probably closer to 50.) He brought her out to the kitchen so I could tell her personally. Note to my fellow loathers-of-cauliflower: it is better with a generous splash of curry liquid all over it. Ditto for zucchini.

In other culinary news, I made an executive decision yesterday and ordered the immersion blender for my Christmas gift from the corporation. I really could have used it during the Salmon Soup Fiasco of recent memory.

And I did my free annual credit check, more like my free about every eighteen months credit check, and got my credit score from one of the firms. *Much* higher than I expected to see, and today I will call them and cancel my free trial offer. I have one potentially-negative item that should drop off the radar in another eighteen months or so.

In knitting news, I reached the point where I needed to design the crown shaping on the current hat. I tried it on before the decreases, and I tried it on again after three decrease rounds, and I am decreasing too quickly. So I will frog back and start the decreases over, with fewer sections: six as opposed to ten. I think that will give me just enough depth in this portion, but if not I will frog back again and try it with five.

This is the part where I put on my shoes and scoot on out the door. I would rather stay home and knit and eat some of the chicken which was simmering in the crockpot when I got home last night. I portioned it all out and set it on the window unit on the porch to cool, setting the timer for 20-minute intervals. Everything got brought in and put in the fridge, and I probably will not need to cook for a week. Eight (or maybe ten) chicken thighs goes a long way, chez Ravelled.

Tonight I will take Secondborn her birthday present, which I forgot to photograph for Ravelry, but only realized at bedtime last night.

Twitterpated.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Fort Worth Greek Festival

For those of you who are local.

Brother Sushi may or may not be going with me; there is always room for one more. Secondborn is having a HP-DH2 party on Friday night, when I would ordinarily dine with him. (Which means that I need to see a few of the movies, including HP-DH1, before then.)

I hung out at the bookstore until about 8:30 last night. If I don’t get to eat candy corn, nobody else does. Actually, it’s a very quiet neighborhood, and on the nights I have stayed home with candy, I’ve had maybe one or two kids show up. I am not into giving candy to teenagers; Halloween is for little kids, and those of us who refuse to [entirely] grow up. The teenagers can get jobs and buy their own candy, or get it from their parents.

Bah pumpkinbug!

I did end up going to the drugstore on my way to work yesterday, but I came up empty in terms of a costume. One of my coworkers made a simple tutu from skinny black elastic and strips of tulle that were tied on with lark’s-head knots (as in macramé). Thus solving my problem of what to make for at least some of the resin kids next year.

After the bookstore, I ran by Sprouts and came home with more chicken thighs, a small bottle of maple syrup, an avocado, more grape tomatoes, deli-sliced chicken for sandwiches, a small wedge of goat cheese that I tried and liked last time, and a middle-sized bag of baby carrots. The chicken, some frozen chopped onion, and half of the carrots are simmering in the crockpot for dinner tonight. When I woke up, the house smelled heavenly!

Sometimes low-tech and old-fashioned is the way to go. I was trying to figure out an easy way to print new labels for my circular needle holder tabbed dividers. I don’t like the glazed cardboard inserts, and some of the crimping at the bottom of the tabs is faulty, so the insert falls to the bottom of the organizer. Setting up a label template and rotating it to landscape view (so that, in theory, it would print sideways) didn’t work. I ended up using return address labels (as planned) but hand-lettering them. No more fiddling with tweezers to shift the inserts about when I buy a new circ that needs to go between ones I already had. (Because when I wake up at 2:00a.m. and need a 2.25mm needle, I want to know exactly where to find it. Brigham Young would be proud of me!)

Why, you ask? He said that we should know where everything is in our homes, so that if we wake up in the middle of the night we can put our hand right on what it is that we need. You may not need a 2.25mm circular needle at 2:00a.m., but I never know when the muse is going to roust me out of bed and demand sticks and string.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Drawing a blank on Halloween costumes.

The Inspiration Fairy is off knitting somewhere.

I should probably not eat potato leek soup after midnight. I made a particularly brilliant batch last night, and I dreamed that I was in the middle of a Robert B. Parker mystery (as yet unwritten or unread), part of which involved being in a boat, part of which involved being in a hostel that was hostile (you had to grab space blankets and wrap yourself up like a mummy and sleep on the floor, and there were bad guys who wanted my blanket).

Some of this might have been related to an online discussion of camping. The new guy is going with the single adults, weekend after next. They will dine like kings, as he is a master of dutch-oven cooking. If I do anything other than sit on the couch and knit, I will go to the Greek Food Festival (which I thought was already on his calendar, but I am truly not upset), either alone or maybe with Brother Sushi (or BestFriend???).

And now I need to grab my knitting and my lunch and swing by CVS to see if I can find anything plausible on their cheap-costume rack. Perhaps next year will be the one that I break down and buy another copy of the Folkwear Kinsale Cloak pattern and a bajillion yards of high-end velvet, and hand-stitch a cloak. Because I promised myself twenty-five years ago that I would never again stitch velvet on a sewing machine.

Therein lies madness.

I was thinking, on the drive somewhere on Saturday, that if I bought the pattern and drew a one-inch grid all over it, I could then rather easily scale it down to make cloaks for all the resin kids. Oh well. That is something to ponder while driving to work today.

Happy Halloween, everybody! Eat some candy corn for me, since it is now on my not only no... list.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

243.8 miles yesterday. And I can still walk.

Home, to the eye exam, and back again to pick up my doll and a couple of bottles of water. 42.2 miles.

Thence to Fourthborn’s, to pick her up and three of her dolls and on to the doll meetup in Denton, where I got a call from the new guy saying yes, by all means, come join our ward activity and we can watch a movie while dismembering pomegranates afterward. Back to my house, to drop off my doll, then brownies with a ward member so I could keep my promise of providing same for my ward’s Trunk or Treat and potluck. Another 90.5 miles.

Back to Fourthborn’s to drop her and her dolls off, then to the new guy’s with detours for gasoline and cookies to take to his picnic (some of which became my dinner, as I had not eaten since 1:00 and it was now nearly 7:00). Phone call from him to confirm where I was, and to suggest that I just head for his house, as their activity was winding down. So I did. Including the trip home, another 111.1 miles.

An hour and a half playing pomegranate assassin while Secondhand Lions ran in the background, his mom’s chihuahua snoozed at my side, and we mostly told stories and laughed. You really don’t want to look too closely at my fingernails this morning.

His eldest son’s female dog has apparently decided that I am part of the tribe: she politely put her paws up on my chest and offered a smooch. I as politely declined.

Of his two dogs, Gracie is the alpha. Chase, though larger, just generally does as he is told. And the chihuahua, Cricket, thinks he should be the boss of Gracie because she is a girl, while she thinks he would make an excellent chew toy. The discussion got a little noisy last night right after I got there. Cricket seems to think that he has won, since he planted himself between my thigh and the armrest of the loveseat and growled at Gracie any time he thought she got too close.

Me? I’m just happy that none of them has decided that I am a chew toy.

Update on the Social Security issue is that early-retirement benefits start, very soon (he is 62), to be replaced by disability payments in a few weeks. This week is all about chemo #8 and the results of the CT scan on Thursday, and I suspect that my emotions are going to be all over the map.

But at least I got a couple of good hugs last night, and time in his company (it had been two weeks; I was getting a little angsty), and he mentioned me by name in a FB post, which I think is probably the first time that’s happened. We’ve both been trying to be exceedingly discreet there, although it is an open secret that we are dating.

An amusing story from the doll meetup yesterday: the waiter brought my plate, and I asked for a to-go box right away. I bisected my dinner along the horizontal axis of my oval plate, ate the near half, and put the other half in the box when it arrived. The guy sitting across the table, who is a schoolteacher and a less-obviously-colorful member of the group, asked why I hadn’t just eaten one whole enchilada, instead of two halves. Fourthborn chimed in that she had wondered the same thing. I looked at her, a little perplexed, and then at him. Symmetry; I’m an artist and something of a mathematician. She laughed first; she’s very much an artist, with a side order of OCD. He laughed next; he teaches fifth-grade math. Bonding moment. Loved it.

In knitting news, my KnitPicks order arrived at work on Friday. The rest of the yarn (I hope) that I need for 2BDH’s birthday hat, three circular needles to fill gaps in my collection, and two books: the Yarn Harlot’s latest, and Wendy Knits Lace, both at deep discount. They included a copy of the new catalogue: and they have at least one new sock yarn, a merino/alpaca/nylon blend that I can’t wait to get my hands on. (But will.)

The tweaking of the ribbing on LittleBit’s cap is nearly done. I expect to finish that today and resume the round and round and round at my usual speed.

And with that, I think we are done for this morning. I need to figure out breakfast and read over the Primary lesson. My team-teacher is teaching today, and in theory all I need to do is show up with treats and the visuals, but she has some serious health issues, so I need to be at least somewhat prepared to teach if she is ill.

Friday, October 28, 2011

In which Ms. Ravelled plays with a sugar glider.



No, that is not my hand. It belongs to the person who is owned by the sugar glider. Both of them friendly; neither one inclined to bite. He let me hold that little cutie. My modus operandi when dealing with live things that move quickly, is to hold them gently but firmly. This little guy was having none of it. He was perfectly content to scamper up my sleeve to my shoulder and examine the change machine. But when I tried to pen him in, he chittered at me. I remember that tone from when I had teenagers!

Spotted at the chiropractor’s last night, after my adjustment:



Head intentionally omitted; she didn’t want me to get her face or hair. And a back view:



I couldn’t be quite as obliging in this view, because I wanted you to see the yoke pattern. Simple four-stitch [or maybe six-stitch? eight-stitch?] cables alternated with garter stitch, and then garter stitch blocks alternated with stockinette at the top of the sleeves and across the shoulders, fore and aft. So simple, and perfectly elegant. She found it at a resale shop when she took some of her own things in.

My ribs were not the only ones that got tweaked yesterday. I have not been entirely happy with the cast-on I used for the ribbing on LittleBit’s cap. Rather than frog it back, I have been dropping a single column of stitches down to the cast-on, twisting that stitch with a crochet hook, and then working my way back up to the top. It’s been slow going, but this gives me the option of tweaking only the bits that need it, and leaving the rest as-is. I’ve done one round fixing half of the knit columns. Now I am going around and reworking some of the purl columns.

I am using a crochet hook one size larger than the diameter of the knitting needles, and you really cannot tell that stitches have been dropped and picked up again. Ordinarily, I would have used a same-size needle, and there would have been a telltale space on either side of the picked-up stitch, which would have evened out after the cap had been washed a couple of times. Now it just looks as if I had been knitting flawlessly from the beginning.



If you look at the cast-on edge toward the left, you will see that it is a little loosey-goosey. More so, naturally, across the brow where it would be most visible, rather than across the nape of the neck. In this picture, I have tweaked the first two or three columns on the right. I might have to make a third trip round, adding occasional knit columns or purl columns, but mostly fixing one stitch in each two-stitch column appears to be enough.

And now if you will all kindly excuse me, I need to decide which shirt I want to wear inside-out today.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Heard at work.

Near my cubicle as I headed toward the fax machine:

My attorney: “Are we going to have dance practice today?”
Me, in passing: “Never thought I’d hear those words coming out of your mouth.”
Attorney B: “No, I don’t think we need it.”
Me: *splutter*

I love my job. I may have whined commented on the upcoming new docketing system. The morale committee has come up with activities for each Friday leading up to the day. Two weeks ago it was “Bananas and Bandannas”. Many of my co-workers brought banana desserts. Many more of us wore bandannas to work. Think geriatric biker club, and you would not be far off the mark.

Last Friday the theme was “Relax and Slip Into [program name]” We got to wear house shoes or slippers to work. Lest you not believe, here is a visual, taken in the large conference room of our office. Mine are the boringly shod cankles on the far left.



These are too cool not to share:



This coming Friday, the theme is “Know the Ins and Outs of [program name]”. We get to wear our clothing inside out (I think I will pass), and the best dance to “Inside Out” wins a prize. A couple of attorneys (my two) and several of the support staff are representing various topics of diversity, in a team dance choreographed by another co-worker. No, I am not dancing. I’m not sure that I know the song, and I will be too busy laughing and pointing fingers to get up and boogie.

Next week, the theme is “Hats Off to [program name]”. As my office manager decreed several years ago that I could not wear hats to work, I will be making the most of this opportunity. I will probably pull out one of my Red Hat specials, and I might even take my purple feather boa.

The week after that is our final activity, “Kickoff to [program name] Tailgate Party”. We get to wear our favorite sports jersey. (Maybe I can borrow one from the new guy? Blessed if I’m going to buy one!) And bring our favorite tailgate food, and play another game for prizes.

And you thought it was all about the practice of law.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So, yesterday was crazy.

There I was minding my own business, finishing up the last bites of lunch, and talking with a co-worker, when all of a sudden the Dysphagia Fairy paid a little visit. The coughing. The gagging. The hacking. The involuntary expulsion of mandarin orange out my mouth, possibly out my ears as well. And the knowledge that, ten minutes before an all-office staff meeting, I needed to go home and change clothes.

Stress incontinence is a beast. I coughed so hard that I could feel it in my ankles (sometimes I feel that when I sneeze, as well, the violent buildup of fluid pressure throughout my system which demands release in publicly embarrassing ways).

My co-worker stayed long enough to be convinced that I was not actually choking, that I could breathe, that I could talk (if gaspingly). He’s a good guy.

A few seconds later, after I had stood up, my managing attorney came in, looking specifically for me, because she wanted me to head up a team at the meeting. I quickly explained that I needed to leave, that I had had an episode and peed all over myself, and that I would fill out my electronic absence request and notify people, and scoot.

My best friend at the office was at a printer. I asked her if anything were visible. She said no (and she would have told me if it were otherwise). I got the heck out of Dodge.

I came home, had a nice long soak in the tub, and took a nap, setting the alarm so that I would not miss my massage appointment. There were all sorts of trigger points, et al, and she strongly recommended that I see the chiropractor, as I may have done something to a rib (or two) with the coughing yesterday. She’s also not crazy about my trick knee. Neither, frankly, am I.

I will try to get in to see him today. I feel a lot better this morning. My throat doesn’t hurt any more, but I’m a little croupy. And I am really, really tired, in part because I tackled half of Mount Washmore last night. The rest of it is out in the car, and I will finish up tonight.

Doll pictures are up on the other blog. Eventually I’ll do a link or a box opening on Den of Angels.

Life is good, although I am feeling my age this morning. Actually, I am feeling more like my sister’s age: she is 75 today!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fourthborn’s birthday loot. And Charity begins, at home.

Fourthborn has been remarkably patient about the fact that all of her sisters have some of my knitting, and that she has had nothing since the hand-dyed, handspun, hand-knitted dress I made for her when she was four. Before we knew that she was allergic to wool. And alpaca. And cashmere. [The only animal fiber that does not make her skin go nuts, is silk.]

So this was my evil plan: give her a package containing a shawlette for one of her dolls, knitted from bamboo thread. Like, say, this one. [Blessing was only too happy to pose with it. Yes, it’s beaded. This is the second incarnation of SusannaIC’s Oslo Walk, with 13 lace repeats rather than the original 23.]



And wait for Fourthborn to raise one eyebrow and inquire politely when she might have something for herself? Then reach into the bottom of her bag and hand her this.



How did that go, you ask? Very well, actually, although she did not vocalize that thought. I told her I was a little disappointed about that. She says that FaithAnn, her mini-me doll, will be very happy to wear the wee shawlette, and she herself looks lovely in the human-size one. I was too busy grinning to remember to take a picture, so you’ll just have to trust me.

My new doll arrived yesterday. I will save the whole box-opening sequence for my other (doll) blog, but here she is:



And a close-up. Charity’s hair is not that glaringly bright in real life. I have $50+ saved toward the next doll, to be named Hope.



I was a little sad yesterday when I discovered that one of the dolls on my wishlist is apparently all sold out or no longer being manufactured. Hope is the next planned acquisition, to be followed by Joy, and I would like one who embodies Wisdom.

James 1:5, and all that.

Monday, October 24, 2011

7H15 15 4LL3G3DLY H4RD?

My office manager sent this out earlier in the month:

An old pastor lay dying. He sent a message for an Internal Revenue Service agent and his lawyer to come to the hospital.

When they arrived, they were ushered up to his room. As they entered the room, the pastor held out his hands and motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. The pastor grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled and stared at the ceiling. For a time, no one said anything.

Both the IRS agent and lawyer were touched and flattered that the old man would ask them to be with him during his final moments. They were also puzzled because the pastor had never given any indication that he particularly liked either one of them.

Finally, the Lawyer asked, “Pastor, why did you ask the two of us to come here?”

The old pastor mustered all his strength, and then said weakly, “Jesus died between two thieves, and that’s how I’d like to go.”

[The managing attorney and another attorney were not amused.]


Then she sent this out:

F1gur471v3ly 5p34k1ng?

7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 7O PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5! 1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5! 1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG 17 WA5 H4RD BU7 N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3 Y0UR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 17 4U70M471C4LLY W17H 0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17, B3 PROUD! 0NLY C3R741N P30PL3 C4N R3AD 7H15.
PL3453 F0RW4RD 1F U C4N R34D 7H15. :)

I suppose there are people who can’t read that, but I suspect they are few and far between.

No, I didn’t fall in, over the weekend. I was in the throes of finish-itis, and I went to BittyBubba’s soccer game, and I cooked some and read some.

My new doll should be at the office today. They attempted delivery on Saturday, but since the office was closed and there was nobody to sign for the package, I went online and rescheduled delivery for today, noting that our scanning operator is also authorized to sign for it.

I am seriously impressed with the customer service at Denver Doll Emporium. I ordered her Thursday morning, had an email shipping confirmation that afternoon, and she was at my office [briefly] on Saturday. This is far removed from the dolly drama associated with Blessing’s arrival. And even with Priority Mail, insurance, and signature verification, shipping was a third of what it would have been from Korea.

Today is Fourthborn’s birthday. The gift bag is stuffed and fluffed and waiting by the front door. I’m taking her out for dessert tonight.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I am debt-free.

It’s been a long, hard slog. Ten and a half years ago, I was debt-free, with no credit history. So I got a VISA card, and my first activity was the co-payment for my gallbladder surgery. The second purchase was significantly higher, for the interview suit (from the late, lamented August Max Woman) which helped me get my job.

I was making a little over half of what I’m earning now. I still had two children at home. Child support was minimal. Gradually that balance crept up, until I realized that it made more sense to take out a line of credit from my credit union at work and pay 8% than to pay whatever the credit card company was charging at the time. Whew, deep cleansing breath, which lasted a couple of weeks until the children’s father lost his job and was out of work for over a year.

Rather than tell the children that we couldn’t afford something as basic as bras, I put a year’s worth of child support onto my newly-clean plastic. At the end of that year, I had a car payment, the line of credit, and credit card debt. My debt load was roughly half of my yearly gross salary.

And every time the Brethren preached that we needed to get out of debt, I squirmed.

I paid off the car (Earl, after the song by the group that I really liked until their ignorant comments on their concert tour right after 9-11), but because I hadn’t had enough cash for regular oil changes, not to mention regular maintenance, Earl only lived a year after he was paid off. At which point I acquired Lorelai and had only one child at home. The children’s father had reached the magic age of 65, which meant that instead of his having to pony up for child support, Uncle Sam stepped in until LittleBit graduated from high school.

I moved into this duplex after she graduated, because the space was smaller, the rent was lower, and it’s in a blissfully quiet neighborhood. No more neighbors tap-dancing in the kitchen upstairs at 2:00a.m. or flinging F-bombs over the balcony onto unsuspecting passers-by.

And since then, my financial situation has waxed and waned, but the general trend has been upward. If you count my 401K’s (regular and Roth), I have theoretically been in the black for a long time. Cash flow has been another matter.

This week I reached the magic age of 59.5, which means that I could draw from my 401K without an additional 10% penalty, just the 25% against my tax return next spring. While listening to General Conference earlier this month, the impression came again that I should do precisely that, and get out of debt now.

I know that this flies in the face of conventional wisdom. I know that at least one of my children is shaking her head. But I am the one who got the impression, and I am the one who has the peaceful feeling for having followed through.

I increased my 401K and Roth contributions last week. They will be effective next paycheck. Doctors without Borders and Feeding America both got a raise. And I sent a donation to Rising Star Outreach, which supports children and families affected by leprosy. (I did not see a way to set up a monthly debit.) I also increased my contribution to two of my three savings accounts. And I still have money left for inconsequentials like food and gasoline!

The numbers may get shuffled if things go forward with the new guy, but at least I will not be bringing debt into that hypothetical marriage.

He is out of state as we speak. The chemo pump came off yesterday, and last night he flew out to where his mother lives. People from his mother’s ward (congregation) will be loading up a truck today. Then he and one of his sisters will be driving it to Texas, starting tomorrow. He hopes to be home Sunday night or by mid-day on Monday. The anticoagulants he is taking twice a day mean that he has to get out of the car every two hours and walk for 15 or 20 minutes. That will slow them down. But he has his road music: bagpipes, zydeco, and the Green Bay Packers’ fight song. His mom will fly out here on Tuesday.

He has his appointment with Social Security next Thursday. And the Thursday after that we get the word on his CT scan. Thirteen days. Yes, I am starting to count them.

He is having a rough go of it, this time around. Even tap water is too cold for him, and when he got in the car yesterday to go have his pump taken off, the steering wheel was painful to touch. I reminded him: cold hands? warm wife.

I spoke with 2BDH yesterday. He did not wipe the old computer when he transferred my files, but he has a program which will do so. Therefore, I will be schlepping the old CPU over to their house bright and early tomorrow morning, and then it can go out on the curb next week with its dinosaur of a monitor.

A modicum of knitting progress yesterday. Still loving the yarn and the pattern. I have nothing on the books for tonight, and very little for tomorrow. The computer gets wiped, Lorelai gets an oil change, I buy groceries and do laundry (though I might do both of those tonight). I foresee a lot of happy knitting in my immediate future!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nothing to see here. Just keep moving.

I put in an hour of overtime yesterday and was still able to go to Knit Night, where I managed to last 45 minutes before wilting. Drove home by way of Sprouts, picked up a carton of coconut milk and some dark chocolate almond milk, more boneless skinless chicken thighs for soup, another bag of that excellent flatbread, two wee loaves of sourdough that you finish baking at home (and would be good with some soup inside), Greek yogurt, a new flavor of cultured almond milk, and a big carton of strawberries.

I almost bought some organic gummi bunnies. I think they will follow me home when I go again on Saturday. I am learning how much produce is enough and am ridiculously proud of myself that none of the grapes in the last two bags have gone bad before I finished.

The goat cheddar which I bought last Saturday is excellent. I ate rather too much of it yesterday while working overtime and will probably do the same tonight. Which gave me an excuse to have a slice of flatbread with hummus when I got home, and I think I will have another one this morning.

I have never been much for fresh fruits and vegetables, but I am becoming a convert.

I mailed the birthday present to my sister after work last night. And I put about an inch on the TCU purple hat for Secondborn. That one will be relatively slow going, because I am doing a patterned stitch instead of miles and miles of stockinette tube, but it will be fun to knit. If I add an inch or so per day, I will have no problem delivering it on her birthday. At which point I will cast on for its twin, for 2BDH exactly one month later. And then I can turn my attention to the sweater I promised another family member for his birthday. Last year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Done. (For now.)

BittyBit’s birthday present is finished. I cast on for her mother’s before crashing last night and have put three rounds on it this morning.

The massage went well last night. She is so pleased with my progress, as am I. There is less inflammation every time she works on me. I had very little pain or discomfort, and none this morning. It is starting to feel more like massage and less like physical therapy. The hip-strengthening exercises are working.

I came home and ate leftovers while making a nice pot of rice to use up the last of the almond milk and the coconut milk. I figure that I will mix a container of that with some of the failed salmon soup and call it a casserole. Will let you know how that goes.

For lunch yesterday I ate up the leftovers from dinner with Brother Sushi on Friday. So yummy! Half of my salmon and the last third of his pecan-crusted mahi mahi, and roasted sweet potatoes and a couple of tablespoons of the pilaf my fish came on.

The new guy has chemo today. I may have overtime tonight, and I may still be able to catch Knit Night and then go round up more goat milk, almond milk, and coconut milk at Sprouts on my way home. I’m taking goat cheddar and crackers and grapes for dinner tonight.

We got all kinds of rain, big fat drops that started as I rolled the trash and the recycling out to the curb last night. I slept like a rock.

And now, if I get moving and keep moving, I can be out the door in 15 minutes and have time to swing by the post office to mail my sister’s birthday present. I also need to pick up new AAA batteries for my digital scale so I can finish documenting BittyBit’s present on Ravelry.

And I guess that’s all the news for now.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

When you say nothing at all.



I danced to this last night. I think it’s my favorite of everything I’ve heard her sing. I may have sung along with her, gazing upward in full Nancy-Reagan mode.

It has been a really great weekend. I actually had fun at the baby shower yesterday. Generally, I loathe both baby showers and bridal showers, because I detest stupid games. There were no stupid games yesterday. A couple of fun activities, lots of good food, and I got to meet more of Firstborn’s and my hair magician’s friends, and see some of my own friends from my old stake.

I also had fun at the dance. A good brother who is roughly my own age was the DJ, so the music didn’t stink. What was my costume, you ask? I took Dad’s polo mallet and told people that my polo pony had gone missing. It was either that, or take my largest stuffed sheep and tell people my name was Mary, and this was my little lamb, and did they have a problem with it?

The new guy put on his fishing poncho. I told people that he was a ninja, because he made his appearance while I was out on the dance floor tearing it up to “All the Single Ladies,” and I totally [totally, dudes!] did not see him until I went back to my table (which he found because I had put my knitting on it so nobody would steal my chair). I got either four or six slow dances with him.

Thoroughly enjoyed church today, including or perhaps especially, my Primary class. I have pretty much given up on the idea of covering all the material in the lesson plan. I teach them the big chunks, and I spend a good part of the lesson listening to them, and we color, and I feed them graham crackers, and everybody goes home happy.

I had a lovely long nap after church, and I am likely to be up awhile. A lot of knitting progress during sacrament meeting and at the shower yesterday and a little more at the dance. I have a bunch of ends to weave in, but I am working on the penultimate stripe, so after I take care of that little task there will only be three ends to weave in, and I’m done.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday.

Thankfully, there’s one every week. Scooting out the door a little early to catch some quality knitting time before the workday begins.

It’s been a good week. Last night was very long. I had a sweet and sacred experience while serving in the temple last night. May I just say that I got to see humanity at its best.

It’s likely to be a crazy day at work. Thankfully, there is dinner with Brother Sushi tonight. I had a happy surprise yesterday, when Attorney B took his secretary, his paralegal, and me (his transcriptionist) out to lunch for no particular reason. And I had the best guacamole in months at a restaurant in the West End.



Look closely. That white stuff is lump crabmeat. I would never have thought of adding crab to guacamole, but it was so good! You will be pleased to note that I resisted the temptation to call this post Just a Closer Guac with Thee. Or You’ll Never Guac Alone.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It followed me home.

The straw bale, that is. I ran into WallyWorld the other morning to pick up some milk and see if Rice Chex were on my happy food list. They are. I left with milk, a box of Rice Chex for my cubby at work, and a box of whole-grain Rice Krispies. Can’t wait to snap, crackle, and pop this weekend!



Because I was prepared to knit all day at work, if necessary (oh, what a hardship!), when I got there the server was behaving impeccably. So I got a lot done, in a calm and orderly manner, and when I left at the end of the day I felt as if I’d earned my keep.

My hair magician worked her magic last night. Just a trim. I think I’m going to continue to grow it out for awhile and see what I think. I can always go shorter again.

Right now the wax is softening so I can deal with the stray eyebrows on my chin. We didn’t have time for proper waxing last night; I’m just going to deal with it myself this time.

I made most of today’s salad last night. Just need to pick up some greens on my way to work. Also my first attempt at black bean burritos at home. Goat’s milk kefir is an acceptable substitute for sour cream, but it still wasn’t up to Bueno standards.

Temple tonight, and I plan to pick up more of that purple tweed yarn between work and there.

The anticoagulant is kicking the new guy’s derriere. He is v-e-r-y tired, I’m guessing because thinner blood means slower oxygen delivery? So I’m thinking that the dance on Saturday night will be a short one for him, and possibly for me as well. He originally thought he would only be taking it for a week, but he will pick up a three-month prescription at chemo next week. He has to take it until he’s all done with chemo, and there are four more sessions tentatively scheduled for after this month. But as he says, whatever it takes to get him from where he is, to well again.

His attitude is amazing, and inspiring.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

“Calm and uneventful”

Thank you, Secondborn; it was a good thought.

Yesterday was neither, but neither was it bad. Our server went out about 3:30, thankfully after I had printed off all of the outgoing mail, but just as I was preparing to save a new letter. A collective groan rose up throughout the office as my co-workers realized that the server was down.

Me? I just closed down one window after another, and then I grabbed my knitting. I was still able to go online, so I caught up on the Yarn Harlot and Crazy Aunt Purl and Mason-Dixon Knitting and my kids’ blogs.

I had emailed the new guy while still at home, that while it was Knit Night, and I did not have to [get to] work overtime, nobody was expecting me at my usual haunt, so if he needed me or just wanted to see me, I was available. He responded that he didn’t know what his kids’ plans were for the evening, but I was welcome to come, and he didn’t know what there might be for dinner. I replied that I owed him a bucket of chicken (a promise made shortly after he got his diagnosis) and would be happy to deliver on that promise. So I went to the websites of the three major chains, and I did a little nutritional research.

KFC, Chicken Express, and Church’s all use MSG. I called him to ask if Panda Express (which does not) would be an acceptable substitute. And that is how I found myself at the head of a long line of hungry Dallasites, ordering a family meal with spicy beef, that delectable orange chicken, and honey walnut shrimp, plus spring rolls, steamed rice, and fried rice.

The kids were there for dinner. His son blessed the meal as we stood in the kitchen, his arms folded gently around his impossibly slim and lovely wife. After the amen, I asked him if was more fun to fold his arms, now, than when he was eight years old? Definitely.

There were not a whole lot of leftovers, but the steamed rice and the last dab of orange chicken came home with me. They have a rice cooker (and better rice in their pantry), so everybody won.

I only stayed an hour or so, as much for my own need to sleep as out of consideration for the new guy. Came home, puttered a little, and was in bed at a reasonable hour.

Tonight I see my hair magician, and then I am hoping for a quiet evening at home, with a side order of puttering. I have been slogging away at a pesky long-term project, and this morning I think I passed the tipping point.

I hope they fixed the server problem overnight. But I am taking plenty of yarn in case they did not.