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!

Monday, January 31, 2011

1300

That was the number of yesterday’s post. Last year I hit 1066, amusingly appropriate because I was reading Sharon Kay Penman’s meticulously researched series of historical novels about William the Conqueror (a/k/a William the Illegitimate Person ~ more or less ~ and hard to say if it was because of his birth or his attitude). It looks as if I will be blowing kisses at Christopher Columbus’ ghost sometime before the end of the year.

The kitchen still smells like burnt bagel. I am the Death Star of small appliances.

Nearly done with the doll hat which I cast on before bedtime on Friday night [that was the first thing I grabbed after I found my glasses this morning]; may have solved the technical problem with the shawl; have an idea for a silk/wool lace beret or maybe even a sweater from the leftover Gloss Lace; and even put a few more rows on the moss green alpaca putative cowl before crashing last night.

Now it’s on to GoogleReader and a quick dash through the AARP games and get ready for work and scoot on out the door.

A good Sabbath almost guarantees a good Monday.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Odds. Ends. Puzzlements.

My W-2 arrived yesterday, and my taxes are filed. I am not entirely happy with TurboTax. I learned last year that one cannot downgrade to a less-expensive program without signing up as a new account and losing access to the former information. Furthermore, if one wishes to have the $29.95 service charge for the deluxe program (my bank subsidizes part of the cost of filing) subtracted from one’s refund, and the refund electronically deposited, there is an additional $29.95 charge for a temporary account at some mythological e-bank. Time value of money, and all that.

My 2009 and 2010 returns were exceedingly simple, just a W-2 and a dab of interest, but I had used the deluxe program for several years because of my stint as a purveyor of skincare products and cosmetics. (And was able to deduct the cost of filing as a legitimate business expense, which I will get to do again for 2011.)

I do believe that I will be saving the PDF’s for my old returns onto my hard drive (the few which are not already there), and next year I may look around for a more flexible product. On the other hand, I will have inventory and cost of goods sold, and that legitimate business deduction, and by next tax season I may no longer be miffed at TurboTax.

So, not sure if that was an odd or an end. I think the following definitely qualifies as an end.



It’s the end of the toast as we know it. It’s the end of the toast as we know it. (But I feel fine. And Mom always said that charcoal was good for the teeth, as well as for the digestion.) Or, put another way, looks like I was right when I suspected that my toaster was, well, toast.

The Steamfresh rotini with broccoli in cheese sauce is a Good Thing. Pasta, which I love, and cheese, which I love, and stupid broccoli, which I (h)ate.

I grabbed that last bit of the purple Manos Lace leftover from Lark’s shawlette, and my 0000 needles, and cast on for a simple shawl in doll scale. I am stuck midway through the second pattern repeat, unsure of where the decreases should start. I’ve tinked it back, twice. When I get off the computer, I will go grab my Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries and see if there is an approximation in there. The yarn informed me before church that it wanted beads, which took it out of the realm of mindless church knitting.

So I then dug out the remnants of the Alpaca Cloud ball which I had wound into a cake, then taken the ends and rewound into a two-strand cake, and repeated for a cake composed of a four-strand yarn, which I promptly decided that I hated (this was a couple of years ago; I cannibalized that ball for the cowl I made my sister for her birthday last year). And either my size 5 or size 6 circ, and off to church I went. Knitted happily on a funky little swatch before realizing what the yarn wanted to be, frogged the swatch, and started again while waiting for a friend who doesn’t drive to run a quick errand after church.

[She’s a relatively new member. I’ll save the we don’t shop on Sundays lecture for another time, and in the meantime she had a prescription in the mire, so to speak. I remember after Dad died, when two of my dear LDS friends kidnapped me after church and told the bishop that they were taking me out for Death by Chocolate, in case anybody else who happened to be beating the daylights out of the Sabbath at the same establishment, or saw us entering it, should choose to narc to him. He said, strictly off the record, that it was probably an excellent idea.]

Where was I? Oh. Knitting.



It’s a little fuzzy, but then it’s alpaca. I think it wants to be a sideways cowl, with short rows broken up by garter stitch ridges. All I know is, it’s not arguing with me or nattering on about beads.

I have a new email address. Those of you who write to me, email me at the old one or on Facebook, and I’ll give it to you. I’m not sure I’ve adjusted it here on the blog. Figuring that out just feels a little too much like laboring on the Sabbath at the moment.

My bank instituted a program year before last, wherein debit card purchases gave one points which could be redeemed for goodies. They discontinued the program at the end of last year, and miracle of miracles when I was purging files last fall, I found all the old certificates, which I needed to enter into their system. The last one came yesterday, and they will be mailing me some kitchen knives in a knife block. [I finished up 23 points shy of the next award level. Broke my heart.] I was torn between the kitchen knife set and a Swiss Army Knife, but I figured that the kitchen knife set would be harder to misplace and less likely to get me in trouble at an airport.

And now if you will all kindly excuse me, I am ready to head over to the couch and commune with yarn.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Minutiae

Another doll hat is finished, and a new one is on the needles. It’s a small one, so I may very well start and finish it today, although I think this may turn out to be a day for sewing, once I get the laundry and grocery shopping done.

I think my toaster may be fixin’ to give up the ghost. Twice in the past few days, the wires have remained on after the toast has popped up. I’ve had to push the lever down and pop it back up manually, to shut it off. I’ll watch it carefully, but I don’t smell any burning wires or anything.

I tidied the fridge before breakfast. There was baby spinach which was ready for a pension. And I am down to one egg, which means that this will not be a Saturday like last weekend, where I didn’t get out of my jammies all day.

But first, I think I will take a wee nap. I woke up at 3:45, which seems to be the new normal if this past week is anything to go by, and I think it’s time to show my pituitary or hypothalamus or navel, or whoever thinks they are in charge of how much sleep I get, who is really and truly in charge around here. [I’ll wait while you all stop laughing.]

I got through an entire week without Cherry Coke. I did it by willpower, stretching, and much giving-myself-a-good-talking-to. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, my friend who runs the deli in my building has not been carrying Cherry Coke, and I find that I’m no longer crazy about regular Coke. I’ve been wondering if some of my food sensitivity issues might be linked to Cherry Coke, and so far the jury is still out.

The fireplace just kicked on, so I am going to bask (or maybe baste would be a better word), and then I am going to make a mad dash for bed before I cool off. And then I will get up and deal with minutiae.

Middlest posted about the new Iplehouse limited edition doll. Male sculpt, and he weighs 3 kilos. Jessica was something like 1.94 kilos, and she was just too massive for me to wrangle. So, not even tempted, though the new limited edition tinies are both cute. I would love to have the flame wings and boots for one of my other girls, but I’m not willing to add that to my order for Naias, who is meant to be a water sprite. [The Iplehouse tinies are elemenals: Byuri is air, Naias is water, Efreet is fire, and the other one, whose name escapes me, is earth.]

Still waiting on my W-2 but am guessing today or tomorrow.

Naptime.

Friday, January 28, 2011

This is a test. This is only a test.

Though it might very well be one measure of how much I like the new guy. Girls, you might want to sit down, and brace yourselves. Ready? OK then.

He invited me to come have dinner and watch the game on Super Bowl Sunday. And bring my knitting, just in case he is not able to convert me to the true faith (i.e., football).

We all know how I feel about football.



But I like the guy. And he makes the effort to appreciate what I like. Remember the wee bear he gave Chutzpah for Christmas?

I don’t expect to like the game; I haven’t liked football since I joined the pep club my sophomore year in high school and had to stand and scream for three hours, and it wasn’t even a flattering pep club uniform (kelly green jacket and skirt; mustard yellow shirt; hello? so not me!). But I think it will be fun to watch him, watching the game. And I will get to meet the one son I haven’t met but have spoken to on the phone.

And he’s making cheesecake.

Boo!

Eek!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The musical equivalent of skeet shooting.

With my emotions as the target. It started with this song on the drive home last night. And I thought “amen!” and switched stations when it was over, only to hear this one. At which point I was seriously regretting having handed over the box of Puffs which I keep in Lorelai to a friend at church on Sunday.

The Wistful Fairy? She is one mean mama.

So I changed stations again, this time to hear Brad Paisley, always a winner in my book. And I was wiping my eyes from laughter, instead of simply wiping my eyes. Sly cowboy trumps soggy fairy every blessed time.

I was supposed to go visiting teaching last night, but my friend has apparently picked up the strep her son was so willing to share. So I came home and fired up the last half of “Truly Madly Deeply,” because the only thing better than Brad Paisley’s voice is Alan Rickman’s, and soon I no longer felt like howling at the moon or shooting out the lights.

The grey/taupe/tan doll hat is finished. A smaller one is underway in a rich, dark purple and whatever follows that out from the depths of the ball. Noro is addictive stuff; I keep adding one more row, one more round, because of the way one color flows into the next.

Spent some time this morning working on my budget and writing checks for the bills I will be paying tomorrow, so that’s done. I’ll make a payment on my Iplehouse Naias, which will put me a month ahead on her layaway. Still waiting for my W-2, which should be here any day now. I’ve already entered my interest earned for the year and only have to plug in the amounts for gross income and my 401K deductions. (I now have a regular 401K and a Roth.)

I need to gather up my lunch stuff and my dinner stuff and my temple bag, and then I can curl up on the couch for some guilt-free knitting before it’s time to hop in the shower. I got almost six full hours of sleep last night, which bodes well for my productivity at work and with my knitting today.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Incremental progress.

On a number of levels, in a number of aspects.

First, the scanner. When I got home last night, the annual statement from Social Security was waiting for me. I read the numbers, scanned and shredded the paper copy. Then I went to my files and pulled out last year’s and several others, going back to 2000’s statement for 1999, which was my first full year of full time work after getting my associates degree and my divorce in 1998.

My first year of paying into the system, 1970, I earned $21. My 2000 statement projected my monthly benefit at retirement, based on past earnings, at a little over $300. I am pleased to report that it’s somewhat higher now, after 12+ years of gainful employment.

The hat which I cast on, on Saturday, is nearly done. I began the decreases at lunch yesterday, and 75% of the stitches are gone, and it’s shaping up nicely. I am going to toss the smaller hat (which fits Honor) into my bag so that I can cast one on as soon as this one is bound off and the ends are woven in.

Last night turned into an adventure. After Relief Society, I went out to the car and discovered that my car key had disappeared from my pocket / the key ring. I have one of those key rings where I can pop the car key off so I don’t mess up the electronic ignition with the weight of the key ring as a whole. We had to call one of my friends, who came and picked us up (us being his wife, whom I had planned on taking home, plus the friend I had picked up to take to Relief Society, and me), drove us here, where I knew exactly where the spare key was and walked right back out again, and back to the church. At that point, the car which had been parked to the left of Lorelai was gone, and there was the first car key, lying on the pavement where it had bounced.

In other good news, one of my friends just lobotomized her computer, and she has a newer-than-mine tower to donate to the cause. (I have been grousing on Facebook about my computer issues.) I will pick it up tonight when I go visiting teaching. [She also promised homemade gingersnaps, as if visiting her were not reason enough to go.]

Secondborn says the problem is with my motherboard, and that 2BDH can work all kinds of wonders if I give him a new(er) tower to work with. So I think this is going to be another amazing day; I hope for significantly less nerve-wracking reasons than parts of yesterday.

Up against the wall, redneck motherboards?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yesterday was something of a miracle.

I was up into the wee hours, then down again for a nap before work, and forgot to set my alarm. I reset the time, just didn’t push the button, and woke up ten minutes after I like to be out the door for a stress-free commute.

By the grace of Heaven, I was washed and dressed and out the door twenty minutes later, and I made it to my desk, breakfast in hand, with three minutes to spare.

Whew. [The only reason there was a blog post yesterday was because I wrote it before I went to bed and set it to publish at a plausible time.]

And it was a reasonably productive day once I got there. I did a little visiting teaching last night, was in bed by 10:00, and up again a little before 3:00.

Ahem.

I am nearly to the decreases on the doll hat I began on Saturday. I shall probably finish it tonight. We have a Relief Society meeting, so no Knit Night for me, but I am looking forward to seeing my church friends and getting ideas to tweak my budgeting skills. And of course I shall be knitting while I’m sitting.

I started researching a new computer last night. Sigh. Today I’ll check on what bargains might be available through the discount program at work. But I would really much rather be knitting up inventory for my Etsy shop, which *gasp* is scheduled to open next week.

This is the part where I get out of my pajamas and put on my jeans and grab the gym bag and leave the house. I would really rather just go back to bed, but I woke from the dream where I am an anti-terrorist assassin for the U.S. government (I know; I think it was probably the bean burrito I had for dinner), and I don’t think I can jump out of another helicopter before breakfast.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A plain block of frozen spinach.

One more thing that I took for granted until it apparently became extinct. Last week I bought a Pictsweet creamed spinach [serves two, if they’re not me], and it was tasty, but it wasn’t what I wanted. Don’t get me wrong: I love all the steamer bags of tarted-up veggies. I am insufficiently appreciative of veggies, unless they are potatoes, so anything that makes them more appetizing is pretty much fine with me.

But sometimes all I want is a big bowl of spinach with a little butter and some lemon juice, without the bother of washing it and chopping it and actually cooking it. And once you get past the color the noodles turn, a block of spinach and a block of ramen noodles, simmered together and drained, with a can of tuna rinsed and drained and stirred in, is comfort food that is cheap, fast, easy, and nearly guilt-free.

While I have made probably hundreds of tuna-noodle casseroles using Cream of Whatever soup, for some reason the idea of stirring creamed spinach into tuna and ramen just makes me gag.

My children are shaking their heads.

I spent some time last night (this morning) playing with the scanning function on my new printer. Scanned all of last year's tithing receipts with the reconciliation from tithing settlement, then fed all the paper to my shredder. I also scanned the paperwork related to that medical study on menopause and heart health. Over the course of the next year or so, I will be able to work my way through my file cabinets and eliminate most of what's in there, and then I can give away one or both of the file cabinets to someone who needs them.

This is going to be such a blessing, especially for things like my quarterly 401K statements from the movie theatre, which do not come electronically, and for random bills. I am also going through old duplicate check stubs, looking for particular information, and shredding as I go. I shredded several for LittleBit’s voice lessons when she was a senior. Fourteen pads of checks, in total, before I went to bed. Not bad for an hour or so’s work.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lovely quiet day yesterday.

I did not leave the house. I did not get out of my pajamas. Mostly, I just knitted. I only spoke to one living soul, a brief conversation with Brother Sushi, followed by a quick text message, also to him.

I finished the pink and purple doll hat. I cast on another one in dark neutrals, intending to save the knitting of it for tomorrow, but I was already four rows past the ribbing when I stopped last night. It is set aside for the Sabbath, but it will be one of the first things my hands touch tomorrow morning.

I also cast on for a spiral-knit hat (or possibly just a cowl) in some of my leftover Malabrigo and Manos from my Autumn Asters cardigan of 2009. I’m using the same technique as for the green thingie, which did not see much play after Wednesday morning, when doll hat madness seized me. I’m not sure that I like the color combinations. It may very well get frogged tomorrow.

I finished connecting my printer and charged up my iPod, only to find out that I cannot presently use iTunes, because this dear dinosaur of a computer runs on Windows 2000 5.0, and I need at least XP SP2 (also, ahem, obsolete).

When the going gets tough, the tough eat chocolate. But I did not want to [get dressed and] leave the house, so I baked a pan of brownies in my new LeCreuset casserole and cut them into two dozen bites. Twenty-two of which are now reposing in the fridge.

I have not yet figured out today’s church knitting, and I have a narrow window of time in which to do so, as I need to leave in about 45 minutes to pick up my new friend for church.

Oh well, I do some of my best thinking while in the shower. Have a blessed and peaceful Sabbath.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kureyon, my wayward son.

I don’t know, I was just suddenly reminded of the old Kansas song.

I have had an exceptionally productive week at work. When I went home last night, there were no ToDo’s undone. That will change; I expect a positive blizzard of them once my attorney comes in.

The singles are assisting with baptisms tonight. I will either wear a skirt to work, or take one (we wear our Sunday best to the temple). I don’t know if I am up for a third consecutive day of temple service, but I certainly understand how Anna, the prophetess mentioned briefly in the New Testament, could have served her entire widowhood there. Oh, the peace that follows you home afterward!

I am almost ready to begin the decreases on a doll hat. The fireplace is humming. Part of me wants to brew up a pot of Abuelita (Mexican hot chocolate, with cinnamon) and sit on the couch all morning, wool in hand.

We are doing lunch and a movie at work today, watching the last half of You Can’t Take It with You, with Jimmy Stewart and friends. Lovely. I don’t suppose men ever talked to their sweethearts the way he does to his, but all of us were sighing wistfully.

It’s supposed to be colder than a bill collector’s heart out there today. Bundle up. Drink some hot chocolate. Tell the folks you love, that you do.

[Y’all? I do.]

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Knowing which side my shea is buttered on.

@ Pamela: mostly I found sources for shea butter online, but my need was too immediate to wait on shipping. Aveeno makes a product [Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion] with oatmeal and shea butter, unscented, and between that and the Renew [from Melaleuca] which my friend Tom gave me at the dance the other night, my hands are mostly healed. I bought the Aveeno at CVS. You could probably find it at Wally World.

Yesterday was one wild and crazy day. The morning staff meeting ran two and a half hours. Thankfully, it was well-run and worth the time invested. Afterward, I got five of the six depo summaries done and the sixth one formatted. There are more reports from Attorney B in the queue. [Who decided that queue should be pronounced cue? When I was little, I thought it should be kwee-wee. Or cue-ee-oo-ee.]

There is little chance of my running out of work today, for which I am thankful.

Last night was the monthly singles’ temple night, where we band together to provide service to others. I was sitting in the inner foyer, waiting to enter the chapel, not-coincidentally seated next to the new guy. In walked NintendoMan.

He grinned. I grinned, then leaped up to give him a hug, then introduced my guys to one another. I was a bit of a space cadet for the rest of the evening. But at least I had no problem staying awake.

After NintendoMan went back to prepare for temple service, I leaned over and whispered to the new guy, “Now I have a greater appreciation for what you might feel when your petri dishes are talking to one another.”

He whispered back, “That’s [GreyhoundWoman’s] ex, right?”

“Yes, and mine as well.” Not that we were married, as they were for a quarter-century or more, but definitely one of my formerly typical bottle-rocket experiences.

And one of the other petri dishes serves in the temple on Wednesday night. I popped my head in and said hi, when I first got there. She is an amazing woman, very happy for me that I am now a temple worker, and said she wished that I was working Wednesdays, too.

Lots to think about on the drive home last night, and minimal difficulty remaining alert. Slept like a rock until just before my alarm would have gone off and have already finished the ribbing on a doll hat and worked the increase row.

Back to the temple tonight, woohoo!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Knitwit

Yesterday was an interesting day at work. I was able to stay busy most of the day, although at one point, after I had winnowed out my inbox, I was so desperate as to sign up on a link from the company’s wellness website. And read every article. Thankfully, things picked up shortly after that. I think it was the work equivalent of after the trial of your faith, come the blessings.

Knit Night was wonderful, as usual. I am very nearly done with the green thingie, which was much oohed and aahed over. I bought three balls of Noro sock yarn to make more doll hats, and I am itching to get started. They will not be church knitting, obviously. And I think I hammered out a useful-to-me inventory code for the finished hats, incorporating the doll size, the number of stitches cast on for the hat ribbing, the yarn used, and the colorway.

I still have no idea what I want to use for graphics, for the banner on my [future] Etsy site, the packaging, etc. I’ll let my subconscious chew away on that while I am typing what promises to be a somewhat complicated deposition summary [multiple plaintiffs; thankfully, no co-defendants] for Lawyer B.

I just did an assumed name search for what I thought might be a brilliant name for the Etsy shop. Somebody in Dallas County has a corporation by that name. Great minds. Plan B. Time for some consolatory knitting.

Monday, January 17, 2011

So, last night...

...I took ten cans of tomato soup over to Secondborn’s house. Along with my CPU, six doll hats, and four dolls. And the cheesecake that the new guy sent home with me on Saturday night.

I came home with fresh leftover cornbread *and* the USB port installed; when I left, Secondborn was photo-shopping stray hairs from the pictures of dolls-in-hats and dolls-wearing-jewelry.

It was Fambly. It was [not my] Home. It was BeliEvening. [Ergo, I was somewhat obedient.] And poor little Chutzpah was home alone, except for Dolly the Llama.



Well, mostly alone. She did have her new bear. I don’t have any hats her size, and it’s only fair that she has to stay home sometimes; she gets to go a lot more places than the big dolls, because she is so portable.



Secondborn got some amazing photos of the dolls. Not all of them will be the best choices for the Etsy shop. Some we will use to put together a banner for my doll blog. And eventually I’ll have her do one for the spinning blog.

So [obviously] the computer is back together, and tonight after Knit Night I will finish installing the new printer and maybe even get my iPod fired up.

I’m making a list of all the things I want to do and need to get before I open the Etsy shop. Rewritable CD’s for all the photos Secondborn will be taking. More yarn in different colorways. I need to decide on packaging. And I need to create enough inventory that joining the Fort Worth Etsy group and selling at one of the shows would be worthwhile, assuming that I would be able to sell on Saturday but not be required to be there on Sunday.

My attorney will be out of the office all day today and tomorrow, and most of Thursday. I will be standing by the door to the break room with a “Will Type for Food” sign.

Speaking of which [food], it’s time to pack my lunchbox and get ready to scoot on out the door.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mamma Mia!

I didn’t know that Meryl Streep has a nice, clear singing voice. I shouldn’t have been surprised. And I didn’t know that Pierce Brosnan um, well, I give him full points for trying. I was all set to watch “The Quiet Man” after dinner last night, until the new guy said that he had “Mamma Mia!”

Sorry, Duke. I love you more than my luggage, but a musical will almost always outgun you.

In other surprising revelations, I learned that Darius Rucker, the country singer, is the same person as Hootie of Hootie and the Blowfish. Which would explain why I like “Come Back Song” as much as I’ve always liked “I Only Want to Be With You”.

Boggles. The. Mind. Almost as much as the fact that when I was listening to snippets of what the new guy’s oldest son was preparing to load onto his dad’s iPod, and I commented on how much I liked that second song, the new guy said, “Yeah, Darius Rucker is...” and I don’t remember what he said after that, because I was going “Butbutbutbutbut”.

It was a really good day. I drove at least 200 miles. [Felt like 500 on the last leg of the drive home.] I can still walk this morning, which is good because I need to sluice off very quickly and be out the door in a bit less than an hour. My friend the RS president asked if I could pick somebody up for church, which is certainly one way to make sure I’m there, on time, in my own ward.

I love Heaven’s sense of humor, even when it is aimed in my direction.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

“Who was that masked (wo)man?”

“I don’t know, but (s)he left this silver bullet.”

I was in love with “The Lone Ranger” when I was a little girl. Clayton Moore was dashing and mysterious, but my heart secretly beat for Tonto. [I called him Jay-Yay Silverheels.] Oye, he started out as Harold Smith? That is just too funny: Trainman’s first name is also Harry.

*chortle*

I am going to have to be six kinds of superhero today. I need to leave for the temple in approximately two hours. Before that I need to do my grocery shopping, wash one quick load of laundry, eat breakfast, and make myself presentable. While remembering my temple bag, my insulated bag for the AWOL cheesecake slice that’s in the new guy’s freezer, my knitting bag, the Ubiquitous Red Bag, a snack for the dance tonight, a doll to take to my friend MizP’s house (for a size comparison with patterns for doll clothing which somebody gave her, which may come home with me) and to possibly leave at the new guy’s for MelMelChan to re-string (I made the second and final payment to Fourthborn for Honor yesterday). And my manners. And my marbles.

Wish me luck. My friend Tom is begging for brownies. Not even on the radar screen today, dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Those pre-fab posts were nice.

I could use another one this morning.

I had another great, productive day at work yesterday. I really enjoyed the novel sensation of being entirely rested. And of course it was lovely to be, and to serve, in the temple last night.

The sunrise yesterday, and the sunset last night, were both spectacular. Heaven’s paintbrushes have been very busy recently.

I’m not sure that I touched the teal green thingie yesterday, except to move it out of the way in my knitting bag. I hope to remedy that today. The little stripedy cowl is galloping along, because I can whip out a twelve-stitch row while stuck in traffic or sitting at a light.

Lawyer B brought me a report that needs to go out today, so that I could make a dent in it. I moved it to his outbox at 4:59 and ran a victory lap inside my head.

What? You don’t do that?

Today is all about hydration. I plan on drinking at least the recommended eight, 8oz glasses of water, just to play catch-up. And then some more for good measure. My poor hands are parched, cracking, and still red in a couple of spots where they bled yesterday. I woke up about 3:30 this morning and worked in four separate dabs of scented shea butter before going back to bed. I need to find a source for unscented (assuming it does not smell nasty in the wild) to use on my temple days. Shea butter seems to be the only thing that really soothes. I did put out an SOS on Facebook; I wonder if the responses will be as wildly varied as they were regarding that episode of hives?

Tonight is my monthly dinner with Brother Sushi. We are going back to Chop House Burgers, my nickel. And I need to stop of at the Nail Dude’s, because I have one nail that is fixin’ to fly.

OK, this is the part where I get ready for work, when I would much rather go back to bed. Good thing I love my job! It’s payday, and Lorelai wants more gas, so I think I will buy myself a nice mug of hot chocolate while I’m there.

Happy Friday, everybody!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ten days of whatever. Day Ten.

Day Ten: One confession.

1. Religion works, for me. Even after 35 years, it’s hard for me to think of myself as a religious person, but by all conventional standards I most certainly am. I go to church every Sunday, health permitting. I strive to keep the Sabbath holy. I tithe, sometimes with greater faith in the promised blessings than at others. I repent (a lot).

Why? Because the Spirit has spoken truth to my heart, and because it is the only way of life that now makes sense to me. It has turned Sunday, formerly the longest and most boring day of the week, into a Sabbath which heals and cleanses and refreshes me from the inside out. It enables me to see the Creator’s love in every sunrise, in the chatter and play of squirrels, in the beautiful faces of my children and grandchildren and friends.

Knowing who I am, and Whose I am, gives me a feel for where I fit into the universe, and into His plan for happiness. It gives me a greater appreciation for my own gifts, and for the Giver, and it encourages and inspires me to use my talents to serve and bless others.



Another view of my new haircut. (The first picture is on Facebook.) I was laughing at something Firstborn said.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ten days of whatever. Day Nine.

Day Nine: Two images that describe your life right now, and why.



1. Kaleidoscope: many facets, unexpected combinations, endless and evanescent beauty, colorful, fragmented, noisy when you shake it, only works when you aim it at the Light.



2. Line dance: orderly, rhythmic, cooperative, exhausting, episodic, achy-breaky, yeehaw!, ending up where you started, stay in your box please [and stay out of mine], les quatre coins de la terre (the four quarters of the earth).



And if this image is to be believed, maybe a little pixilated, metaphorically if not literally.

Great day yesterday. Much to-ing and fro-ing with Fourthborn, getting the legalities taken care of for our future respective businesses. I reactivated my Texas Sales Tax ID. She got hers. We had lunch at L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, browsed the really cool fabric store where I got the Dior grey silk for Faith’s outfit, and just generally had fun together. After I took her home, I went to Knit Night by way of Chop House Burgers, where I picked up a slice of pie for breakfast. Which I am now about to eat. Much progress on both knitting projects.

Tonight I’m getting my hair cut, and Secondborn emailed to say that the part has arrived for my computer. My dance card is full until Sunday night. 2BDH could come put it in tonight after Scouts, but I may already be asleep by then.

A girl can dream, right?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ten days of whatever. Day Eight.

Day Eight: Three turn-ons.

1. torch songs [I have them; I just don’t listen to them (often) because there’s no sense being in the mood when I’m not authorized to share.]

2. the tango [I will know that I am really, truly a grownup when I learn how to dance this dance which requires that the woman have no opinion.]

3. Jeff Bridges in “Starman”; hence, one of my children [who just screamed “Mom, noooooo!” and dived under her computer desk]

I think this is going to be a pretty good day. I woke an hour or so ago with the hives from last night’s dinner mostly-gone. And some pretty creative solutions for stopping the itch, as comments on my Facebook post.

What’s on the agenda? Cleaning at the dentist’s. Helping Fourthborn with the legalities of setting up in business (sales tax permit, etc.) and maybe a field trip to the really cool fabric store if road conditions permit. Some of my outlying coworkers elected to take a vacation day yesterday. I haven’t checked on the roads yet, but they were OK when I drove to work and when I drove home again.

And of course there will be lots of lovely knitting. Starting now.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ten days of whatever. Day Seven.

Day Seven: Four turn-offs.

1. Cigar smoke

2. Spitting on the sidewalk

3. Talk radio

4. The fight music from Dragon Warrior

And in that same spirit, some comments inspired by a friend’s blog post about the shooting in Arizona:

I was a child when President Kennedy was shot. I was a young mother when President Reagan was shot. I wept for both of them. The current state of American politics is frustrating (though still better than most or all other countries). I am not aware of any political party which truly represents what I believe.

I wish that more people, of all faiths, who hold themselves to the high standards which are required of those who attend the (LDS) temple, would quietly and civilly and decently run for office.

I dislike the liberal press and the conservative talk show hosts almost equally.

The way to effect change in government is through the ballot box, through thoughtful letters written to our elected representatives, and through prayer. Can you imagine the good which would happen in our country if we all prayed for one another? Consistently?

Naturally, since I do not watch the news or take the paper, I found out about this late Saturday night after reconnecting my computer to the outside world. Obviously, the people who did this are unfamiliar with, or have forgotten, the Golden Rule.

End of rant. I had a magical day yesterday. I was noodling around with my budget and let the time get away from me. Suddenly it was ten minutes to church, and I was still in my pajamas, unshowered. So I left a message on my RS president’s cell phone, and I called Firstborn to confirm that yes, they were meeting at 1:00 this year, and I went to church with them. And then I went back to their house and had leftover spaghetti and watched the fourth and fifth Harry Potter movies.

As the big project is too big and too bright for inconspicuous church knitting, I wound up some of my stash yarn and started my own version of the Kinetic Cowl in Claudia’s Fingering 55 (55% silk, 45% merino), colorway Desert Dusk. Twelve stitches per row on my four-inch size 4 birch DP’s. I will either knit until I have a few yards left so that I may do the chain-stitch join using one of my trusty crochet hooks, as the pattern specifies, or I will knit until it’s all gone, then get creative with a needlepoint yarn in a similar fiber blend from The French Knot.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Ten days of whatever. Day Six.

Day Six: Five people who mean a lot (in no order whatsoever)

1. (I have five daughters; that would be the obvious answer. But in the spirit of reaching beyond the obvious:) Winston Churchill

2. Queen Elizabeth the First

3. Queen Esther

4. Joseph Smith

5. My ninth-grade algebra teacher.

I am sort-of online again. The computer is plugged in until 2BDH gets the new part in the mail, which should be sometime next week. I do not want to think about what my Yahoo! mailbox looks like, but I am heading over there shortly to do a massive purge, and if I bob to the surface again before midnight, I will run out and get some celebratory ice cream at CVS.

I am knitting up the yarn which my sister sent me for Christmas. It is gorgeous stuff. I went to the bead store after a family birthday party yesterday, looking for half a dozen beads or whatnots to attach on the cast-on row where the colors change, but found nothing to my liking. These yarns are a color not found in nature.

I have an appointment with the hair magician whom Firstborn and Secondborn both recommended.

My attorney gave me a she walks on water in her spare time performance review (and gave me a printout of it). I went into his office, closed the door, and told him he was not supposed to make his secretary cry. He said his only fear now is that word will leak out how good I am, and they will take me away and give me to somebody else. I told him that would not happen without a fight on my part, too.

I got to dance with the new guy at the dance on Friday night.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Ten days of whatever. Day Five.

Day Five: Six things you wish you’d never done.

1. Gone out with a certain airman.

2. Turned away the first two sets of missionaries that came to the door when I was married to my first husband.

3. Not-filed a complaint with the EEOC against the man who interviewed me in Provo, when I was a student wife, when he asked when my husband and I planned to start our family.

4. Raced the next kid over during a spelling test in third grade. The teacher thought we were cheating, and I got an “F” on my test, and I had to tell my parents.

5. Eaten a Napoleon [sweet pastry] and chased it with a beer, back in my pre-LDS days. Both came up within fifteen minutes or so. Not fun.

6. Bitten my tongue quite so much, in my second marriage. I wish I had learned how to fight properly; i.e., respectfully and effectively.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Ten days of whatever. Day Four.

Day Four: Seven things that cross your mind a lot.

1. Am I going to remarry in this life?

2. Do I want to remarry in this life?

3. How bad are the utilities going to be this month?

4. I still have too much stuff.

5. Those dishes are not going to do themselves.

6. Is he thinking about me?

7. How many more rows can I knit before I fall asleep on the couch?


Random note: Staying up late on Wednesday night to deal with Mount Rushmore and rebellious technology, does not make for effectiveness at work, or reverent alertness at the temple, on Thursday.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Ten days of whatever. Day Three.

Day Three: Eight ways to win your heart.

1. Tell me the truth. Kindly, please, but tell me the truth.

2. Promise less; deliver more.

3. Dance with me.

4. Do your home teaching.

6. Drive politely.

7. Clear out a room for my studio. Or build me one. Or rent me one.

8. Honor your temple covenants.


FYI, my computer is in bits, elsewhere. I will be intermittently online until it is reassembled and back at home. Thankfully, there is knitting to soothe my internet-deprived nerves. If you need me, call or text.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Ten days of whatever. Day Two.

Day Two: Nine things about yourself.

1. I carry colors in my head. This is, supposedly, a gift rarer than perfect pitch. But I cannot force it. If I go to the store with the intent of matching something, unless I take the something along, my color sense will be skewed by the fluorescent lighting, and the result will be painful. But if I buy something because I find it beautiful, it will go with many things in my closet or in my home.

2. I love algebra, bookkeeping, and logic puzzles. I love online Sudoku. If Brother Fibonacci were here in this room, I would kiss him until his eyes crossed, assuming of course that there is no Sister Fibonacci who would object.

3. I used to think I was clumsy because I was forevermore stubbing my toes. It wasn’t until I had a mime class and had to lip-synch, with choreography, and watched the videotape, that I saw how beautifully I move when I am one with the music.

4. I wish I could grind my voice like some of the really good blues singers do. Maybe when I get my resurrected body, but for now I can no more do it, than I can turn cartwheels.

5. I have written what is possibly the world’s largest collection of p’d-off-wife poetry. All of it therapeutic, though I haven’t needed to read it in years, and some of it very, very good.

6. I went into the waters of baptism a Frank Church Democrat and came out a Goldwater Republican. It took me a couple of years to realize it, but it was the darnedest thing.

7. My surviving toenails embarrass me. They grow at odd angles on my feet, and one of them is rolled up like a Torah, and there is no point in getting eight nails painted when they would resemble tiny jacks scattered on the floor, rather than two rows of perfect pearls. I am a little jealous of my daughters’ normal, healthy toenails.

8. I really like my mouth. People pay good money to have lips like mine, and they’re the one part of me that time and gravity have not had their way with [much]. And I like the fact that, notwithstanding the adversities I have weathered, my mouth still turns up on both ends.

9. I am utterly stunned [gobsmacked!] at how not-anxious I am about the glacial pace of this dating experience with the new guy. It’s as if my comfort zone had been miraculously redesigned.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Ten days of whatever. Day One.

Stolen from the blogs of some of my offspring. I needed to wait until I could draft all the answers at once, because we see how well I did in posting the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Day One: Ten things you want to say to ten different people right now.
Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight ways to win your heart.
Day Four: Seven things that cross your mind a lot.
Day Five: Six things you wish you’d never done.
Day Six: Five people who mean a lot (in no order whatsoever)
Day Seven: Four turn-offs.
Day Eight: Three turn-ons.
Day Nine: Two images that describe your life right now, and why.
Day Ten: One confession.

Day One: Ten things you want to say to ten different people right now.

1. Yes, some people are wishing you well in your new relationship, but you’re still married, and therefore you do not have the right to be in a relationship, and anyone who is congratulating you on a relationship that is as wrongful as your still-husband’s with The Other Woman, does not understand how the universe works and/or does not have your best interests at heart.

2. Stop chasing Barbies. They only want you to pay for their plastic surgeries, and once their bodies have healed, they will take off with Kens. [No, I am not volunteering for the job; we would make one another crazy in record time. But somebody our age would be a step in the right direction.]

3. Why are you so cranky with most of your co-workers? What has happened in your life to incline you to suspect the worst of others, and to speak as if you had razor blade soup for breakfast every day?

4. Thank you for marrying a shattered woman, even though neither of us dreamed how badly I was broken, and for loving me, and forgiving me, and for asking if we could be friends again after two and a half decades. I know you wish the girls were yours. Sometimes I wish that, too.

5. Thank you for baptizing me into the church. You saved my life, and this road not-often-chosen has been and continues to be a marvelous adventure.

6. Because of you, I have read all of Shakespeare, learned to love classical music, had the courage to take voice lessons, learned to milk a goat, and [briefly] starved. I have a working knowledge of King Benjamin’s statement that “there must needs be an opposition in all things.” Thank you for our girls. There is a part of me that will always love you, but she does not get a vote.

7. Thank you for taking me out for Death by Chocolate after Dad died, and for loving me when I was so depressed that I could barely manage to brush my teeth. Thank you for holding my hand while the midwife stitched me up. Thank you for those nights with our nursing babies at the greeting card rack in the grocery store, when you and I were both so poor we couldn’t pay attention, and we read cards to one another until we were shaking so hard from suppressed laughter that we couldn’t stand upright.

8. Thank you, dear roommate, for saying, when the boy du jour recited his list of what he required in a wife, “So, if she’s perfect, why would she marry you?” And for making me crack up, even after all these years, when I sing one of our hymns that contains the last name of that boy, as I remember you cracking up while conducting it back in the singles ward [and not being able to look me in the eye for the rest of the hymn]. Good times.

9. My favorite Nintendo partner, ever. I miss the bickering and the bantering and the crazy chemistry. I cherish your honesty. You’re a far better man than you think you are. May you finally let go of your obsession with her, so you are free to love somebody who will respect you and love you back.

10. Thank you for praying me into the church. I am happy to have my grandchildren call me by the name by which I called you. I try to live up to your feisty example.

Monday, January 03, 2011

“The Lord My Pasture Will Prepare”

I cannot think that that lovely hymn was penned by a youngish person. Why not? “And all my silent, midnight hours defend.” I know that Middlest struggles with insomnia, but I like to think that it is chiefly an indignity foisted upon the middle-aged and the elderly. It was the closing hymn in sacrament meeting yesterday, and when we got to that line, it moved me to tears.

I am frequently awake at midnight, not because I am burning the candle at both ends, but because I have crashed earlier in the evening and, having gotten my allotted five hours of sleep, am officially done for several more hours.

I own a copy of Our Latter-Day Hymns: The Stories and The Messages, by Karen Lynn Davidson (ISBN 0-87579-137-9). On pages 136-137 she tells the story of this hymn. Addison published it in 1712, the year he was 40, which in those days would have made him an old man. The melody goes back to 1825 and was written by the then-director of the Imperial Russian Choir in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Over the weekend I got a notification on Facebook about this year’s DFW Fiber Fest 2011. Anne Hanson, one of my favorite knitbloggers, will be teaching. After my nap yesterday, I went to the website and discovered that her advanced lace knitting class, which would have been my only reason to attend, is already sold out. (Not that I would have registered for it on the Sabbath, but I am not [yet] above window-shopping online, on the Sabbath.)



Even experienced knitters are not always careful not to twist. I have since frogged this and cast on fewer stitches, on larger needles, and am past the point where I stopped before.

Heading back to bed now, having just put “Hope” or “Charity” on layaway. I will probably pay her off later this month, or early next month. Had she not been a limited edition, I would have simply saved up for her, but the sales window closes in six days. They do this on purpose...

Sunday, January 02, 2011

When did that new year sneak in here?

I was up to my ears in finish-itis, so no posting on Friday or Saturday. But Lark’s shawlette is done and awaiting its rendezvous with my yoga mat, a pile of towels, and two boxes of pins. And the color below is reasonably close.



I used up 91% of the yarn, which leaves a ball of yarny goodness a little larger than a golf ball. It has gone into my gallon Ziploc bag with the other remnants of laceweight yarn, to be turned into something dollish in the future. That was my last conscious act, last night.

And my first conscious act, this morning, was to rendezvous with my umbrella swift and ball winder and turn six hanks of yarn into this:



What I am envisioning is something like the Noro cowl I made for Lark last Christmas, where I cast on from both ends of two balls, a quarter of the stitches with each end, and knitted until I ran out of yarn. This time I am thinking of casting on one-sixth of the stitches in each yarn and working in a spiral until something runs out, then binding off with one of the non-mohair yarns at the top.

Next step is to play with the color arrangement until I have a lively alternation that does not clump the three balls with nearly identical values all together. In terms of size, I think I have enough yarn that I can make the bottom edge come out nearly to my shoulders, and if I knit it on what are [for me] oversize needles, possibly the size 7 circ I just used for Lark’s shawlette, I will get a loopy, fluid fabric that drapes nicely about my neck and upper chest.

The actual yarn is much greener than what you see here, something like an electric version of the jade of the mid-1980’s. As usual, my sister batted this one clean out of the ballpark!

I mentioned getting two gift cards. One from a co-worker, with which I bought this organizer and rounded out my collection of crochet hooks:



And one from the new guy, with which I bought a miniature trunk ~



~ cool clasp, no? To hold doll clothes ~



~ which I bought from Fourthborn; she had me at petticoat. I will study it within an inch of its life and use it as a template to make similar petticoats for the other girls. Speaking of which, there’s a new kid in town:



Her name is Honor. As in “return with”. She’s the size between Celeste and Faith, and she is in serious need of restringing, but even all floppy she’s beautiful. I look forward to knitting a sweater for her, and that will have to wait until I finish Faith’s outfit. Which will have to wait until I do a quick pick-up in my studio now that all the Christmas creating and birthday creating is over.

But some of you do not come here for knitting news or doll news. Some of you want to know how it went at the dance on New Year’s Eve. Breathe easy, I’m ambling in that general direction.

First, some technology news. I bit the bullet and bought myself a new printer on Friday, only to find out after getting it mostly set up that it has the new-style cable to make it speak to my computer. Which is old-style, and has no USB ports. No, not one. So I had to email my printouts to myself and to Secondborn, and she printed them off for the dance, and I got my bulletin board decorated.

It occurred to me in the wee hours yesterday morning, while I was working on the short-rows on Lark’s shawlette, that no USB ports means my new iPod cannot speak to my computer, either. But 2BDH thinks he can rig something up.

The new printer is seriously cool: it prints, it faxes, it copies, and it scans. Or it will, once we solve that pesky connection problem. So I will be able to gather up all sorts of records and scan them and shred them, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a good long while.

OK, OK, the dance. I had a very good time. Saw a lot of people I don’t usually see at the dances, got to hug a lot of friends and visit and eat too much party food and yes, dance some too. Two members of the new stake presidency were there. One of the counselors gave a few opening remarks to welcome us. And later on the stake president and his wife graced us. That is not a snarky comment; they are two of my favorite people in this stake, even lovelier on the inside than they are on the outside, and they are truly a handsome couple.

Had several nice conversations with the new guy during the course of the evening; we sat at the same table but were both up and around, visiting and dancing, sometimes even with each other. There was only one other petri dish at the dance that night, but in his car on the drive over, were the ex-petri, the wannabe-petri, and the non-petri for whom there is no room at the lab table.

I will confess to feeling the merest smidgen of envy when he was dancing with the other petri dish, but I got up and asked a friend to dance, instead of sitting there feeling sorry for myself. He came charging up to the table a hair before midnight with a glass of sparkling cider for me, for the toast, apologizing for having been waylaid. And by that time I was long past my fifteen-second pity party, and we danced some more while waiting for breakfast to be served.

When he and his passengers were ready to leave, so I was I, and I played pilot-fish to get them back to the freeway more efficiently than they had arrived. [The online map lied. What can I say?] At which point I went north for home, and they went east, just sufficiently delayed to be held up by a really bad accident on Central Expressway for an hour and a quarter, when if they had been five minutes earlier they might well have been part of it.

And now it is 7:15, and I have church at 9:00 and no idea what I’m wearing, or what I’m taking for church knitting, so I had better go figure something out. I am really going to miss my Sunday morning naps this year.