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, February 28, 2011

Monday mumbling.

Church yesterday was a spiritual feast, even though I only stayed for sacrament meeting. Our new stake president was there, and he is just amazing. He was serving as the stake patriarch when he was called to preside over the stake, and he has held both callings for about three months.

Yesterday he presented the name of our new patriarch for a sustaining vote. Goosebumps. This brother served as a counselor in the former stake presidency, and because of my former calling I got to know him a little better than I might otherwise have. So it was very much my pleasure to feel the Spirit, to know that the calling was inspired, and to raise my hand in support.

The stake president also presented for our sustaining vote, the advancement of various brethren in the stake to the high priest quorum, including two brothers in our ward. They are about the same age as my sons-in-law. When he gave the first name, my thought was Oh, of course; this brother, though young, has much of the gravitas I associate with seasoned leaders. He is not stuffy; he is steady.

When the stake president announced the second name, my hand flew to my mouth to cover a delighted gasp, and the tears started up. He was the elders quorum president in this ward when I moved in, far more spiritually astute than he would like anyone to know [he was one of two people who knew I was going to be the RS president before the former bishop did; the other was the RS president (and yes, I knew before I moved into the ward; I just didn’t know it was going to be quite so soon after I got there)], and far more outspoken than the average elder. So we have always gotten along quite well.

Nothing more was said, so I just wiped my eyes and settled in for the rest of the meeting.

Bishop also announced changes in our RS presidency. The dear woman who was my secretary, and continued in that capacity with my successor, is now one of the counselors. And one of my visiting teachers is the new secretary.

The stake president took back the podium after we had all partaken of the sacrament, made us chuckle with a couple of quips, and explained that he had neglected to tell us why these brethren had been advanced in the priesthood [because he had forgotten for a moment that he was not addressing another, nearby ward; his duties take him all over the stake, and he rarely gets to attend meetings in his own ward; it’s understandable]. He then released the bishop’s two counselors and presented the younguns for our sustaining vote as the new counselors, telling them to kiss their wives goodbye and come sit up on the stand in their new capacity.

There was not a hope of my remaining dry-eyed for the rest of the meeting. The two just-released counselors gave farewell remarks and testimonies. The wife of one also was invited to speak. The other is single and said he understood that this was when his wife should speak, which cracked us all up. And then the two new counselors were invited to speak. The stake president finished with a few remarks, I handed in my tithing, and I came home.

The wife of the feisty counselor is my other visiting teacher. I am going to have to figure out a way to make visiting teaching easy for them, because my house is not child-friendly, and their husbands are no longer available to watch the kids so the moms can come give me a monthly lesson. We’re smart women. We will figure something out.

Today I will be taking care of car stuff. Possibly a new catalytic converter, but more likely an O2 sensor, which is significantly cheaper. And once that is done and the computers have re-set themselves, getting the safety inspection because hello! tomorrow is the first of March.

I also need to tackle Mount Washmore, which is once more approaching critical mass, and get my nails done.

All of the napping and the resting-with-feet-elevated which I did yesterday, have made my ankles far less cranky than they were. I will endeavor to do more of the same today, when I am not running around like the proverbial headless chicken.

But for now I am going to go sit on the couch and grab my knitting and see if I can figure out the chart, because there is going to be a whole lot of sitting and knitting today while my checking account gets liposuctioned, and I would like for knitting to be the one non-frustrating part of the day which lies ahead.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bliss. Mostly.

Didn’t have to share him with the other petri dish last night. And he is having leftover lasagna for breakfast this morning. Am hoping that puts me way ahead on points.



And I hope I never get tired of him bringing me flowers. Alstromeria are some of my favorites, and he got the color right. The roses are from last night’s dance. Somebody donated a bunch of them for the single sisters. I nabbed the yellow one and clenched it between my teeth. When I got back to our table after a dance, there was a red one, too.

I did get the Christmas tree and the moostletoe holder put away. The living room is tidy, and the bathroom is clean, and other than that I didn’t worry about it. I had a really good day. The lasagna turned out well, and the company was excellent.

Last night’s dance does not require my channeling Thumper’s mother in order to comment. It was what I would have expected from my friends in my old stake in terms of food, music, and ambiance. Had a blast, and only went home early(ish) because I was plumb tuckered out.

I am still tired, although I slept well. My ankles want to swell. I may only go to sacrament meeting, hand in my tithing, and come home again. The respiratory yuck from earlier in the week flared up a bit on Friday, and last night the new guy got to hear me give a sneezing recital before we left for the dance. Something like seven-to-nine sneezes in rapid and deafening succession. My head is fairly clear this morning [no comments from the peanut gallery], but I am just pooped.

Have a blessed and peaceful Sabbath, everybody. I’m going to sit here and look at my flowers until I have to put on shoes and get in the car.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Emulating Thumper’s mom.

I enjoyed the speed dating which preceded last night’s dance far more than I thought I would. Got to talk with several friends. Was not spared having to interact with an age-appropriate brother who is into the Barbie-types. So now he is not simply that arrogant, dismissive twit; he is now that arrogant, dismissive twit from Coeur d’Alene whose father knows the father of the husband in the couple with whom we were best friends when the children’s father was getting his MBA at BYU.

That may or may not be progress. And it does not quite qualify as something Thumper’s mom said, but it’s the best I can do, for now, in that particular situation.

The other petri and the most-recently-former petri were at the dance. I got to visit with, or say hi to, both of them.

I also had a nice chat with Middlest while I sat in the parking lot of a restaurant after work. From there I drove to a different restaurant, whose food I was craving, and I knitted while waiting [briefly] for my cream of jalapeno soup, salad and rolls. Then I drove across the street and picked up a bag of clementines and a tub of ginger animal crackers for my contribution to the snack table at the dance.

I am looking forward to the music at tonight’s dance. (I do not have words to describe how strongly I am channeling Thumper’s mom as I write that.)

I am glad that the mid-singles had music they could dance to, last night. Best part of the dance per se was when the new guy walked me to my car and hugged me.

Thumper’s mom, Ms. Ravelled, Thumper’s mom.

Augh-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h! [OK, I feel better.]

Thumper’s mom.

The new cast-on which I learned, is magic.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Yes, I know who it is.

No, I’m not at liberty to say. I don’t know the other petri dish well, but I like what I have observed (both before and after I knew the new guy, or I knew that he and she were dating), and she has always been gracious to me. I’m glad that neither of them got hurt as they sorted this out. And I’m glad that both of them want, and get to keep, their friendship.

In other news, yesterday was just-verging-on-brutal at work. On the one hand, I only had one to-do remaining from my attorney at the end of the day, down from eight or so, all of them requiring a significant amount of time. So that was good. On the other hand, I had two items I was expecting from the other attorney, and another one that I wasn’t, and when I inquired gently, “Isn’t [your secretary] here?” he told me that she left earlier in the day.

I will have to check my email to see if she sent me one to that effect. After 2:45 or so, the afternoon was pretty much a blur, and the end of the world could have come and gone without my noticing it. But all the mail went out, and all the faxes went out, and all the fax confirmations got matched up with their corresponding faxes, and all the faxes went on the first try.

And if she didn’t let me know, I need to visit with her briefly about that. Makes us both look bad if I don’t know that I’ve become the secretary du jour.

I have two new suits to open today, and two cases to close before mid-afternoon. Which will generate spaces for two more suits to be assigned to us in the next week or so. Job security. And thankfully, I love my job. But yesterday there were moments when I felt like my hair was on fire.

Tonight, there is dancing. I will have to wade through a speed-dating event first, to get to the good part, but there is a hug with my name on it at the end of the day.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

And another [petri dish] bites the dust!

No, I don’t know which one at this point. It was a mutual decision, and they both feel good about it, and my friends at work will be doing the happy dance today. Brother Sushi will be pleased, too, but we all know that he doesn't dance ;)

I would be turning cartwheels, if I only knew how.

Tonight is my temple night, and he will be there, helping one of the sisters in his ward with some of her family work. So I will get to see him tonight, and tomorrow at the speed dating and dance event, and here Saturday for dinner so I can feed the elders with a non-drive-by fooding, and then we will go to the dance in my old stake.

I should probably take down the Christmas tree.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cover me, guys. I’m going in!

I might have been watching a little too much John Wayne, of late. Though I have friends of both sexes who would say that that is impossible.

I’m vertical. My head is relatively clear. I am tired of my lovely red comfy couch. I don’t ever get tired of my own company [they know me here], but I would welcome the company of others, and I think I can manage that today without deafening them by my honking and sneezing.

I finished the fronts and back of the tiny sweater, joined the shoulders with a three needle bind-off, picked up stitches for one sleeve and put a quarter-inch of length on it, and realized that I picked up too many stitches. And made the armscye too deep. And really, truly, prefer raglan sleeves to just about everything else. So this may become a sleeveless vest for a larger doll, or I may rip all the way back to where I bound off for the underarms, cast on two sleeves, and take it from there. It’s going into timeout for a bit, and I’m going to knit something quick and wonderful, in wool, for me.

Later, gators. There’s a hot shower calling my name.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Random acts of sinus, day two.

I came home early yesterday. [Honk, honk, gag, snort, honk.] Transcribed three tapes for my attorney and a report for the other attorney and called it a day. Thankfully, we have a generous sick-day policy. Even more thankfully, I rarely have to use it. This is what the tulips looked like when I got to work yesterday.



I think I know how they feel. Just put me in the compost pile and pour out the stinky water.

I have taken the trash and the recycling out to the street. The neighbors, bless them, will haul the empty bins back to the side of the house later today. I have called in to work. I have no idea what I will be missing today [other than a clear head and free and easy breathing]. Breakfast was a mini-bagel, with two slices of pepperjack cheese nuked on top of each half. Spicy food and warm liquids will be the order of the day. My sinuses will thank me. My digestive tract, not so much.

I did sleep fairly well last night, notwithstanding the lengthy nap which I took shortly after coming home. I suspect there will be more napping in the near future, but first there will be a nice poach in the shower until the hot water runs out.

In knitting news, I am back at work on the minuscule sweater prototype in the non-wool tweed yarn. The body is done up to the binding-off at the armscyes, and I am currently working on the shaping of the left front, typing up each row as I go.

So the day will not be a total loss, though I would really much rather be typing away madly at the job I love and anticipating Knit Night tonight.

Be good [honk]. Remember who you are [sniff].

Monday, February 21, 2011

Random acts of sinus.

So there I was, happily snoozing away, when all of a sudden I woke up to the Parting of the Red Sea inside my head. It feels as if the ants are marching, one by one, pausing every so often to kick one of those itty bitty hairs that triggers a fit of sneezing.

This would probably be a good time to rifle through the pile of coats and sweaters on the end of the couch, to see if there is one last unopened box of tissues lurking underneath.

In happier news, the latest missionary hat is finished, and I will be within blocks of their apartment after work tonight, so I can deliver it in case the weather man really knew what he was talking about when he said it would be getting colder again.

But wait, there’s more. Fourthborn texted me yesterday afternoon to say that the faceup was finished, and I could pick up my new doll anytime. Which I did, about an hour later.

I had been holding off on a name until I could see her in ready-to-be-played-with form. I bought her with the intent that she would be “Hope” or “Charity”, but she is neither, nor is she “Joy”. Although she is thankfully neither sad nor pouty, she is also insufficiently perky to be any of the lighter virtues. But she is just perfect for “Temperance”; I knew I could rely on both my daughter’s talent and her intuition.

If you are a Facebook friend, you can see Temperance in the new cover page of the “Dolls” album, with a close-up shot at the end. Those pictures will also be featured in the post on my doll blog tomorrow. And she will be going to work with me today, in the Ken outfit that Fourthborn sent her home in: a T-shirt and bermuda shorts.

Fourthborn solved the lack-of-eyes problem by sending Temperance home with a pair of lilac glass eyes. And I can see that I am going to have to update the eyes on all the other dolls, in process of time, because glass eyes look so much more realistic than the acrylic ones I am used to.

There are some interesting developments ahead, according to the new guy. He is preparing to pick up the pace of the courtship/winnowing process. I do know which of us petri dishes I would prefer to be the next one voted off the island. [Hint: it’s not me.] What I am praying for, is a generous scoop of wisdom all around. I can’t imagine liking and respecting and trusting any man more than I do him, but if that is how it is meant to be, all I can say is Oh wow, can’t wait.

And in the meantime, there is knitting. Today I will get back to work on the Chutzpah-sized sweater prototypes while pondering ones for Honor and Temperance. [I found a new tissue box.] Life is good.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In which our intrepid heroine oversleeps.



Yesterday was quite the day, capping quite the week. I was already having a good day on Monday, when his flowers were delivered.



These will probably be the last of those pictures; I suspect that when I get to work on Monday, there will be a shower of petals all over my desk.



I had already been anticipating dinner with my young(er) single friends, and then there was the news that my Naias was on-shipping, two months before I expected her. Usual business practice for doll manufacturers who offer layaway is that you make your last payment, they acknowledge it, and then your doll order enters their manufacturing queue. Not this company. You order the doll, they make the doll, you pay for the doll, they ship the doll. I had forgotten that since ordering my Jessica last year (traded to Fourthborn for her Anastasia, now my Celeste).

So, Monday was basically one long round of giddiness, punctuated by flowers and lobster ravioli. Tuesday was yet more fun, a church friend joining us for Knit Night and then some ice cream at Braum’s afterward. Wednesday was singles’ night serving in the temple, and an enthusiastic exchange of hugs with the new guy afterward. Thursday night was my regular shift as a temple worker, with new responsibilities learned on the fly, a quick visit with friends in the lobby afterward, and the drive home.

By Friday morning I was feeling rode hard and put up wet. I just barely made it to work. We do not have assigned parking in the garage at work, so I am rarely in the same spot twice. When I opened my door, this is what I saw:



Just the tiniest bit scuffed, which is a miracle on the order of the loaves and the fishes, as it had lain there in the parking lot for at least a week. I didn’t see how the day could get any better than that, but it did.



My attorney plunked that down on my desk as he breezed past, with a “For all that you do.” No, wait, it gets better. My Naias arrived an hour or so later. I got all the important things done at work (including backing up two other attorneys, only one of whom actually needed me), and at the end of the day I opened the box to say hi to my new doll.

No box-opening pictures here. It’s something of a tradition in the doll world, but until she has her faceup, which Fourthborn will do as soon as the humidity calms down, there’s really not much for you to see. Oh, and the factory forgot to include her eyes, but I’ve emailed them about that, and Fourthborn has a loaner pair, so we will not have to be making do with pirate patches (Arrrrrr!) or Ray Charles shades.

After work I dropped her off at Fourthborn’s, then took a check to Firstborn’s from one of my coworkers and hung out for a little, then came straight home to bed.

Firstborn is the family’s designated bearer-of-possibly-bad-tidings. She and Secondborn shared with me that their father is working to re-qualify for a temple recommend. [They fear that he is doing this in hopes of a reconciliation. I think it is as a result of the fact that I keep his name pretty much constantly on the prayer roll at the temple.] I hope he follows through on this. It is, after all, his birthright as a child of God. I hope that he is able to regain the trust and respect of his children. That would be a very good thing for this family.

At this point, I can state with reasonable confidence that while I would require an unmistakable witness of the Spirit to marry outside my faith, I would require an even stronger one to induce me to remarry their father. Some of you will remember John Denver’s song Forest Lawn. Something like the tapdancing angels with golden wings he sang about. Umm, I just listened to that. It wasn’t tapdancing angels with golden wings, LOL.

The temple session yesterday with our ward was just, well, words fail me. A faithful family in our ward. Older son passed away a few years ago from the same wasting disease that the younger son has, so they were able to get clearance for E. to take out his endowment (make his temple covenants) a little earlier than is usual. And his sister was doing the same. Virtually all of the ward leadership was there, and a good number of the regular members, and our former bishop and his wife, who live in another ward. A very lovely, tender mercy.

And I had a good time at the doll meetup in Denton, afterward. Here are Celeste and Chutzpah (with her wee bear), looking a little overwhelmed at the horde of dolls and people.



I had great visits with Squishy and Mel-Mel-Chan. He asked me how things were going, and I told him great, that his dad had sent me flowers for V-day. His face lit up, and he exclaimed, “All right, Dad!”

When lunch was over, I was suddenly and overwhelmingly weary. The week just flat caught up with me. I was past the exit to I35-W (which would have taken me straight to Fort Worth) when I realized that there was no way I was going to enjoy an afternoon at the bookstore while waiting for the potluck and dance. So I took the road less traveled, which meant that a trip home which should have taken a bit under an hour, took just over an hour and a half, and my ankles were screaming, and my eyes did not want to stay open.

I came home, posted briefly on Facebook, and went straight to bed, waking an hour and a half before the dance was due to end. Verklempt. It just did not make sense to drive an hour, dance for half an hour, and drive back home, but I had been looking forward all week to dancing with the new guy. There is just something about having that man’s arms around me that makes my world go all calm and still. I dashed out to pick up some groceries, and he called when he got home, so the evening was not a total loss, and my ankles and feet are much happier with me than they were yesterday afternoon.

I told him what his son had said at the doll meetup, and he laughed with me.

Well, it is nearly 2:30a.m., and I think I am all written out, and I still have not fixed those wonky cables that I wrote about on Wednesday or Thursday. Time to put in a movie and take care of that, then maybe catch a quick nap before I have to get up for church.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eu5ia

In the spirit of Victor Borge, who played elevennis.



These are not blurry. They are soft-focus. Think of it as your daily dose of impressionism.



This one might be my favorite.



Or, possibly, this.



My doll has [finally] escaped the clutches of the customs office. Last update to her EMS status was that fact, time-stamped at 10:51 yesterday morning. She should show up at the regional hub for USPS sometime today.

No knitting yesterday. Not. One. Stitch. Boggles the mind. I expect to remedy that in about an hour, which means that I need to log off and hit the road. Happy Friday, everybody!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Links and pondering.

The new guy sent me this link to an article in the Washington Post.

I read that and clicked through to an article about the address by Elder Dallin H. Oaks.

And from there to an interview with him.

Here is the link to the address itself. It is worth your time.

So glad that I pre-fabbed this post yesterday. It’s been a long week and shows no sign of getting shorter.

I found three cabling mistakes in the current missionary hat and have fixed one of them so far. Thankfully, I know how to drop the offending stitches and pick them back up properly, without the necessity of frogging the hat back several rounds to the problem.

The doll is still in customs in Chicago. I am too sleepy to be upset or worried. I could use another two or three hours of sleep. [And I really, truly need to hie me to the gym. Not happening today.]

The flowers are more gorgeous every day. I forgot to take my camera to work yesterday. It’s in my bag now.

You know I’m tired when I write short sentences like Hemingway. Heading out to the kitchen to find something to appease this growling stomach.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tiptoeing through the tulips.

First thing in the morning.



Getting on toward lunchtime.



Late afternoon.



In other news, my doll is at customs in Chicago. I had forgotten how efficient this manufacturer is, regarding shipping and communication, as compared with the one that made Blessing and Faith.

In other other news, the missionary hat is galloping along. I worked on it quite a bit yesterday, and there is a reasonably good chance of finishing in time to hand it over on Sunday.

I had a very productive day at work yesterday. Still digging out from the backlog of having the office closed three days, two weeks ago, and one day last week.

Had a blast at Knit Night last night. My friend from church showed up. My other friends brought ball winders. We attempted (briefly) to un-ply the laceweight tweed, but discovered it was too well-plied to undo and gave it up after about 18 inches, to much laughter. So my solution will be to break off 2-5 yard lengths and take them apart manually, spit-splicing as I go, or simply weave in the ends at the side seams. I might be able to calculate just how many yards I need to knit a Chutzpah-sized sweater back and break up the yarn accordingly.

Like Prohibition, a noble experiment, and a learning experience.

I went to bed at 10:00 last night and woke about 3:30. I’m going to try to catch a catnap before I have to leave for work. This is going to be a long day, with seeing the new guy at the temple at the end of it, and I need my beauty sleep.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Typingreallyfast.

He sent me tulips at work yesterday. With a short, sweet note. Miraculously, I did manage to get some real work done. Today I will take the plastic sleeve off the tulips and photograph them in all their glory. I was completely surprised. He was pleased about that.

Had dinner last night with friends, and it was a blast. I ate lobster ravioli, no salad or soup or dessert, just a plateful of perfection with lots of good bread and olive oil on the side (though I prefer the bread and garlic butter at Spaghetti Warehouse).

I checked my order status at Iplehouse this morning. I have a tracking number for my new doll. She may be here as early as tomorrow, depending upon how long she spends at customs.

And now I need to get ready for work and get the trash and recycling out to the street.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Church rocked. (Happy V-day!)

I had a blast visiting with the wee people yesterday. Our Primary is very, very small. Less than a dozen kids in Junior Primary (the ones aged three to eight). Less than half a dozen in Senior Primary (the ones who have been baptized and will graduate to Young Men or Young Women when they are twelve).

I made them laugh (on purpose). I got a bearhug from my friend when Primary was over.

Note to Heaven: The fact that I had fun yesterday with children-not-my-own should not be construed to mean that I have any desire to serve in Primary. Extended exposure to wee people brings up old memories of feeling like a failure as a mother because I was so fixated on making sure they ate that I didn’t have much chance to teach or enjoy them.

[I am not fishing for reassurances, girls. I know you love me, and I know you know that I love you, and I’m glad we have reasonably sane, reasonably functional relationships now.]

I cast on a hat for the new missionary elder while at church yesterday and put about six rounds on it. Came home, decided that I didn’t like it, and frogged it after my nap. Cast on again, another 20 stitches this time and the same pattern, and I’m liking it better in this incarnation.

This is going to be a very social week. I am doing something unusual tonight to celebrate Valentine’s Day: I am meeting friends/acquaintances from the church singles for dinner at a nice restaurant. This is not my regular crowd; I will be hanging out with a handful of the younguns, including the sweet and lively sister who introduced me to the new guy. There will also be at least one brother my own age, someone I know slightly. Definitely quirky and possibly a candidate for posse-hood. I’m not sensing sparkage in either direction.

Tomorrow night is Knit Night, and I’ve invited one of the sisters I visit teach to join us. Wednesday night is the monthly singles temple night, and Thursday is my regular shift at the temple. At the moment, I don’t remember if anything is happening on Friday night. [I most devoutly hope not.] Saturday is ward temple day in the morning, and I really want to be there this time, because two of our own are going through the temple for the first time (a brother and a sister), and then I have a doll meetup in Denton, and a potluck/dance that night in Richardson.

Posting may be a little sparse between now and Sunday; we’ll see how that plays out. I think I need another nap, just thinking about this!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thoughts on the singles fireside.

They put a lot of thought into it. The music was carefully chosen and lovingly presented. I was in reasonably good voice for the opening and closing hymns, and it was nice to sit next to the new guy (who was sporting a vibrant red tie with an Op-art motif, to my great approval) and just sing my heart out. He gave the benediction.

They quoted me a lot. (They didn’t know that it was me, as the questionnaire was carefully crafted to be anonymous.) But the bits that I was most passionate about when responding, those were front and center, perfectly illustrated in the Power Point presentation.

It was touching, and a bit humbling, and a sweet honor, to have so many of my thoughts chosen as representative of the whole. And to know that my comments, along with all the others, are being sent on to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City.

Well, Heaven knows how I feel about being single, and how I feel about the strengths and weaknesses of the singles program as currently constituted, and about my fellow-singles. I’m not embarrassed to have Heaven’s servants know as well.

After most of the congregation had filtered down the hall toward the refreshments, I went up to the presenter and thanked him, shook his hand, and quietly outed myself. He grinned.

When we were having punch and cookies afterward, one of the guys in my posse quietly asked me if some of those quotes were mine. I told him that a lot of them were, and he said that he was pretty sure which ones.

When the new guy walked me to Lorelai, he said that a couple of his quotes had been used, and I outed myself again. He agreed with a lot of my points. After I got home, there was a brief flurry of emails, the upshot of which [where does that come from? must Google] was my statement that *if* we decide to get serious, he needs to know just how broken I have been in the past, and how thoroughly Heaven has put me back together. Because we bring our past with us, and thankfully I no longer have the matched set of emotional steamer trunks, only a vintage hatbox or two.

It is so nice to be dating a grownup. And to finally, authentically, feel like one myself.

In knitting news, I went back to the yarn shop in Duncanville and picked up the two infinitesimally small circular needles.

And now I need to figure out what I will be telling the Primary kids today. Another friend has asked me to speak with them on how to make ones signing fluid and fluent, instead of a bunch of hand-shapes strung together by rote.

How do I explain be passionate to a bunch of kids? You have to know the hymns. You have to understand their meaning. You have to know the appropriate signs, the five elements of a sign and how to modify them. [Hand shape, hand position, hand orientation, hand movement, and facial expression.] You have to have a sense of yourself in space. You have to feel the Spirit. And it all has to come together inside you, and when it does, the signs fly off your hands, and even the hearing can feel the Spirit and the connection when they watch.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Scraps

Yesterday I made the final payment to Fourthborn, this one for a delectable pink outfit (complete with shoes) for Celeste. It was the petticoat that got me. That, and having a commercially-made crinoline to go under it, so my own next attempt would be more successful than the previous one.



I also stopped in at Whirled Fibers to score more Kureyon Sock for doll hats, because my first love will always be wool, and I rotate as many purchases as possible among my local yarn shops. I also picked up another ball of Silk Garden Sock, and replacement DP’s in 00 (one of my pink aluminum Susan Bates needles went AWOL a few weeks ago, so I have been knitting hats on three needles, using the fourth as my working needle; it’s way more fun to use five needles).

These are HiyaHiya’s at $5.50, as opposed to the stealth-bomber ones at $34.95. I also discovered that HiyaHiya makes circs in 4-0 and 5-0, which I didn’t buy last night but think I will swing by and get on my way to the activity in Plano tonight (yes, Duncanville is absolutely on the way to Plano on my personal GPS, especially when yarny goodness is involved) and pick them up.

Both circs are only 16” long, but she is checking to see if they come in a 40” length for Magic Loop. In the meantime, they will be useful for back-and-forthing on the bodies of doll sweaters, when a 6” DP is just that much too short.

Brother Sushi utterly surprised me when he said he wanted to have dinner again at Cheesecake Factory for our monthly outing. This is the man who doesn’t like cheesecake, and didn’t eat it when we went there a few months ago.

I got there a few minutes before he did, and the line was out the door, and there were maybe 15-20 people queued up to be seated, with more in the benches, more milling about, and a whole bunch huddled on benches outside. I’m thinking something like 100 people standing between us and dinner. Not to mention that I could barely hear myself think.

The hostess said that we could sit at the tall tables, if we liked. I did not like. I smiled, said no thank you, and walked out again. Called him up; he was just leaving his house. We met over at Spaghetti Warehouse a few minutes later.

M-u-c-h better. It was obviously not where the elite had chosen to meet in Arlington, Texas, on the Friday before V-day. The restaurant had a soft, contented buzz, our server was cordial but unobtrusive, the sourdough bread was especially good, and we spent the next two hours eating and chatting. Bliss.

Although I was more than a little surprised with my entree, fettuccine alfredo with red peppers. I was thinking pimiento or bell; the chef was thinking peperoncini. So it was not the taste my mouth was expecting (i.e., warm and creamy), and every bite was “Tex-Mex? Here?”, but it was still quite tasty, and I have leftovers for later, along with most of the last mini-loaf of sourdough and all of the remaining garlic butter.

I’m doing a drive-by fooding of the missionaries at lunch. There is a doll meet between here and Plano which I may or may not make, depending upon the time. I would like to get their opinions on some of my non-wool yarns, and on my finished hats.

New guy got my valentine yesterday and thanked me for it. It was his first since his wife passed. His to me was my first in a long, long time. And I get to see him tonight at the Plano activity.

I’m thinking this is going to be a good day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Follies

I shared this on Facebook. Too good not to repeat it here, where I can editorialize a little. I think we’ve all been there at one time or another, sometimes with the genders reversed.

I didn’t know that the artist had been to some of our singles activities.

And I am thankful that I learned, early on, that the singles program in the church is not to match us up two by two, like the Ark, but to provide opportunities for fellowship, mutual support, and the refinement of souls [as well as our social skills].

Which is why I will be driving to Plano tomorrow night, with gas hovering just under $3.00 a gallon, to hear the consensus from the questionnaire which a good brother sent out to us. I know what my experiences have been, as a single woman in the church. I know what some of my friends, of both sexes, have experienced. I’m going, to learn more.

In other news, the rest of the yarn which I ordered last week arrived safely at work yesterday, and it is splendid, and I’ve already started swatching some of it. I really really really want to get my hands on the burgundy silk tweed laceweight, but I am making myself work with the silk/linen/poly tweed first. And it’s not all that great a hardship. It is easier on my hands than the first efforts with the Habu, though not much. I am going to have to recalculate the numbers for a Chutzpah-sized sweater in this yarn if I want to use the same stitch pattern as hers.

I need to get moving. I’m picking up the cake for the office birthday party on my way into work, and I have to do that on company time, so I will walk up to the counter in the bakery department at 8:31. But first I will have to step away from the keyboard and get out of my pajamas. And with all of the lazing-at-home over the past two weeks, I am having a bit of difficulty overcoming inertia and approaching escape velocity.

Dinner with Brother Sushi tonight. Can’t wait. OK, there’s my motivation...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snowpocalypse 2.0

This is what my porch looked like at 5:45a.m. yesterday.



This is what I did while the tater tots baked.



The Panopticon posts about his new carbon fiber DP’s. Same material as a stealth bomber, and priced accordingly: $34.95 per set of five, which takes the term wretched excess to a whole new level. I can get a complete set of all eight sizes, in a leather case, for $299.00.

That would buy a dozen balls of the Karabella laceweight cashmere, with enough cash back for a Chop House Burger and a slice of sawdust pie, á deux.

My spinning went really, really well yesterday. As posted elsewhere, midway through the skein I was plying, all the things I used to know about spinning, kicked in; the wool is telling me what it wants to be.

I spun and plied an entire bobbin while watching Finding Forrester, who [Forrester] at one point tells the student, Jamal, that the way to a woman’s heart is to give her an unexpected gift, at an unexpected time. And of course the next scene shows Jamal giving a gift to the girl he likes. Not half an hour later, I paused the movie to bring in the mail.

And found a Valentine.

Oh my.

So I guess it’s safe to send him the one I got for him, right?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Not much going on here.

I know: you’re shocked. Had a quietly productive day at work yesterday, including a training meeting that was well worth my time. Also had the wrap-up PRT (performance review) for 2010, which included plenty of attagirls and a bit of truly constructive criticism. My office manager excels at that.

I’ll find out next month how the evaluation translates into raise and bonus, but I have to say that the overall evaluation was better than I had expected for my first year in the new position.

I sat down with the Habu silk and cast on 72 stitches during lunch, which I worked up at Knit Night last night and frogged after about four rows. I think I need to go down at least one needle size. I’m hoping that the 00000’s will do it. Wrangling this yarn (thread, actually) is a lot like trying to herd cats, and I am looking forward to seeing what a swatch is like, once washed. Silk yarn tends to grow when washed.

Lorelai’s tank is full, I have healthy food and new snackage, and I borrowed ten VHS’s from the new guy when I came home Sunday night. So if the promised storm comes through and I am snowed in for the second consecutive week, I think I’ll be OK in the physical and mental health department.

[No wisecracks from the peanut gallery, if you please.]

I am hoping that the second batch of yarn makes it to my office today, so that if they send us home early I will have more ammunition against cabin fever.

I found a really great V-day card for the new guy yesterday. Not mushy, not snarky, just cute and old-fashioned and tasteful. With any luck the roads will be good on Saturday, when we are both supposed to attend a singles activity in Plano, and I can give it to him then.

I have another meeting scheduled for this afternoon. I hope that it is as lively and useful as yesterday’s.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Exciting News!

Well, for me at least: the first batch of yarn which I ordered when I was snowed in last week, arrived safely at work yesterday. Habu silk tweed, Xie bamboo, and Karabella Supercashmere Fine. Each glorious in its own way. Swatching to begin shortly.

Can’t find the Word document with my notes on Chutzpah’s sweater, so I will have to sit down with pen and paper to count stitches and reconstruct it. I want to reproduce it in the Habu and then the Xie, for my Etsy shop. And then in cashmere. I looked in my finished objects on Ravelry to see if I had saved the pattern there, but no such luck.

One wheel, reinvented, coming right up. And yes, I want fries with that, but I will happily take tater tots instead.

Work went well yesterday. It was so nice to be back. With permission, I left a little early to order the cake for Friday’s group birthday party, which was postponed from last Friday because of the weather. More of which we may get tonight.

Selfishly, I hope any storm we get hits after I bring home the second yarn shipment and after everyone is safely off the roads and tucked in at home. I will plan on picking up more snackage, as a friend’s daughter calls it, on my way to work this morning. I had enough to eat last week, and I ate well, and it would have been nice to have had more options.

There was a catalogue from a shipping supplies place, waiting in my mailbox last night. Now to compare its contents and prices with those offered at the Etsy shop. I would far rather support another crafter.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Packers 1, Glee 0

I have no explanation for it. I ransacked my brain, trying to figure out if I was just being a good sport so the new guy would like me.

Nope.

I watched an entire football game. I asked reasonably intelligent questions. I may even have made some noise when the Packers scored that second touchdown. [I should probably tell my sister, who inherited our dad’s football-loving genes. Nah.]

They are not going to believe this at work. Nor the fact that I, the Anti-Tamale, ate half of one and thought it was pretty tasty, too.

After the game and the blah-blah that followed, we watched the first few minutes of Glee. I don’t get it. It’s not funny enough to be a comedy. There wasn’t enough singing in what we saw, for it to be a musical (though what we saw was better than the half-time show). And Jane Lynch’s character is just boring.

That’s the big secret of the universe: evil is boring. [In case you were wondering.] It just hopes you don’t figure that out. Goodness, in all its infinite variety, is the only thing that matters.



He’s wearing that to work today. And I have five minutes to get dressed and out the door if I want a stress-free commute.

There is cheesecake in the fridge. Pippa was right.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Does this football make my knitting look fat?

This is too good not to share.

The adult session of stake conference was just glorious last night. I am still processing it. And I will probably go on at length about it, some other day. Right now I am figuring out what to pack, in case the roads turn bad tonight and I end up spending the night at the home of the new guy’s bishop and family.

If I prepare for that, the roads will be bare and dry. If I blow it off, we will get the next storm a few days early, and I will get stuck on the High Five until the Tuesday after Easter.

The High Five is an interchange in North Dallas, where Coit Road and Central Expressway and I-635 all come together and dance around one another. It’s like tatting, for cars. It’s called the High Five because of how tall some of the overpasses are (and there are probably five of them, but I’ve always been so busy staying in my own lane that I’ve never had time to count). Let’s just say that when I’m bearing west onto 635 from Central, I am further from the ground than I was at the Clapton concert in 1998. And nowhere near as happy about it.

So, once I’m packed, I get to figure out today’s church knitting. If the general session of stake conference is anything like last night, I will be too busy taking notes and wiping my eyes to do much knitting, but again it’s better to take knitting and not need it, than need it and not have it.

And I have Not Clue One as to what football knitting might be. So I'm heading over to Ravelry in a few minutes, because after stake conference, and after I drop my friend at her home, I am heading across Dallas to watch the new guy, and the one son I have yet to meet, watch the Super Bowl. My children find this almost as amazing as I do.

Ms. Ravelled visits Testosteroneville.

They say the natives are friendly.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

It even makes coleslaw!

I have been shredding this week. All of my business records from when I was an independent beauty consultant (skincare and makeup), and now my old payslips, some dating back to 2000, which was my first full year working for my current employer. It’s lovely to compare my yearly gross from as recently as five years ago with what I am making now as a legal secretary. I can easily see the fingerprints of Heaven all over this.

I listened to a lot of podcasts yesterday. I love David Reidy’s voice, so calm and thoughtful. It may not be the male voice I most wanted to hear (there was supposed to be a dance for the singles last night, but it was canceled because of the snow and ice); however, it was an acceptable placebo.

I am nearly done with another doll hat. I’m trying something a little different with the shaping of the crown: 12 wedges in this size, as opposed to 10, and I knitted the straight part a little longer in compensation. This might be done before breakfast, but if not, then shortly thereafter.

I may have gotten a bit of inspiration while I was puttering about yesterday. Snoods. Basically an oversize doily with a band around the perimeter to bring it in so that it corrals the hair and frames the face neatly. Middlest and Fourthborn, do you think there might be a market among the steampunk resin crowd for something like that? (Maybe attach a miniature watch face to the band, instead of a flower or beads or a bow?) I need to run that by Mel and Onna and see what they think, too.

I did a little research this morning on pricing and availability for the Lendrum wheel. More pages bookmarked in the Spinning folder.

I also priced little clear bags to hold the finished hats. I asked the ribbon vendor where she gets hers, and I checked out that site. Very reasonable. Now I just need to figure out the rest of the packaging, my business card, what colors to use, etc. I’m supposed to have dinner with Brother Sushi next Friday, and I need to have him translate the Japanese bits on the Noro ball-band so that when I finish writing my ad copy, it is as perfect as I can make it in terms of description and care instructions.

I am hungry enough that my thoughts are starting to skitter about like drops of water on a hot griddle. I should probably do something about that.

Oh, and I finished that bobbin of handspun that I started before Christmas. It’s awfully pretty, but I won’t know if it’s any good until I’ve washed it and set the twist. Meanwhile, I have a new bobbin started, which may or may not be the definition of insanity.

We have the adult session of stake conference tonight, and the general session tomorrow, and it will be lovely to get out of the house and get some spiritual nourishment before heading over to the new guy’s for TexMex and cheesecake. I am trying to prioritize properly and to be more excited about the former than I am about the latter. Sometimes I even succeed.

Breakfast. Breakfast would be good.

Friday, February 04, 2011

9:37a.m.

This is what I saw when I opened my eyes (again) at 9:37a.m.



Because this is what greeted me when I first awoke at 3:00a.m.



Which is not all that different from what I saw on Tuesday morning, after putting the trash and recycling out on Monday night:



Yes, I am home again today. But since I got out of the house yesterday, and I got to interact with others in a non-virtual way, I am quite content. Also, I hit the grocery store on my way home from work, so I did not have to break out the almond milk.

Have had a lovely exchange this morning over on Facebook with my friend Jerry, formerly of California and currently of The Land of Ice and Snow. He knits. He spins. He’s 6’4” and can probably take anyone who thinks he should turn in his man-card. [The new guy also knows how to knit, thanks to a teacher in high school who gave him that task as part of his grade.]

More lovely things, for my girls who love shoes, or anybody else who does.

As for me, I am taking my poor sad misshapen toes over to the couch and curling up for some quality time with yarn and needles, while listening to David Reidy. I finished the last of Tuesday’s brownies when I woke up the first time, so there will probably be more baking later today.

Life is good.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

429,392,425

Allegedly, that is the top score for Mah Jongg Dimensions (which I sometimes call Mah Jongg Dementia) on the AARP website. I suspect that that score was not garnered by somebody who belongs on AARP. I suspect it was somebody’s grandchild or great-grandchild, with faster reflexes or a symbiotic relationship with his/her computer. (Hello, Jane?)

My top score is in the 15,000’s. And I am neither blind nor slow of hand.

Management kept our office closed yesterday, saving me from having to decide whether to burn a day of vacation, because I really did not want to have to walk down my front steps to the car. I knew that once I got into Lorelai, I would be fine. I know how to drive on this stuff.

Mid-afternoon, I had had enough of sitting on the couch with my knitting, no matter how lovely the fire or the podcasts. I needed to get out, so out I went, all bundled up like the Abominable Snowmom. Only to find that Lorelai had no intention of starting. The last couple of times I made it out of the driveway, there was just the faintest hint of a suggestion that the battery might be thinking of dying. Yesterday I did not have enough juice to turn over the engine.

So I took myself back into the house and got back on the couch for more knitting and more podcasts, and I was in bed a little after 10:00, all knitted out, having arrived at that point I used to reach at 2:00a.m. when I would get cold and shaky and ready to weep from exhaustion.

I love my own company. We get along quite well, me, myself, and I. And I was not physically cold, thanks to my friend E. up in Oklahoma who reminded me, via Facebook, that the ceiling fan, reversed, would do a fine job of bringing the lovely hot air down from the ceiling, which it is. No, this was a case of my spirit and my body telling me enough.

I did wish, in that brief interval between lying down and falling asleep, that I were happily married and could snuggle with my spouse. I wonder how many sweet babies will show up in North Texas in late October and early November, who might not have were it not for this cold snap? (Pittsburgh and Green Bay may also experience a boomlet of their own. I read that we were expecting 150,000 of their citizens here for the Super Bowl. There may well be a few hundred more making the return trip.)

I mused last night that the ice storm has prevented what I was dreading: Super Bowl traffic on my daily commute. Again, our office is scheduled to open at 10:00a.m., but that is subject to revision. And I am scheduled to serve in the temple tonight, but when I called last night to tell them that there might be a problem getting in, there was a message saying that they were closed due to the inclement weather. [I will check back with them in a few hours.]

Which reminds me that my clementines, all but two of them, and a bunch of bananas are waiting for me at the office. At this rate, the yarn I ordered on Tuesday will get there before I do. I got an email saying that one order shipped out yesterday, Priority Mail. I haven’t heard back from the other vendor, but she lives just over the border in Ontario, and our storm was headed her way on Tuesday night, so she may be snowed in, too.

I am officially hungry, and there is a tad of leftover pizza in the fridge (I baked two mini Boboli last night, just the bread with generous shavings of Asiago, and it was heavenly.) And then I think I will make a nice pot of apple oatmeal and listen to the next installment of Sticks & Strings. I tried listening to the KnitPicks podcast last night, but I couldn’t get the volume quite loud enough.

I’m nearly done with the hat I was working on yesterday, and today I think I may take a break and knit a human-sized one for some knitterly instant gratification. It would give me a chance to try out a pattern I have in mind for a Chutzpah-sized hat.

The city says that the garbage trucks (which were due on Tuesday) will be going out today, but that they won’t come for the recycling until next week. So I will get a little exercise lugging those two bins back to the side of the house.

And I’m hoping my neighbor will be here to jump-start Lorelai if I really do have to go into work today. That trip would involve a quick detour to buy a new battery. But if I’m home again all day, there will be some serious baking.

Be good. Stay warm.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Love Me Tender (Clams)

The can says, “Now with more tender clams!” And [irreverent me] I wonder, do they mean it contains more claims, which were historically, and continue to be, tender? Or do they mean that they are putting in clams in the same quantity as before, only now they are tender?

The English, she is such a funny language.

If I were a betting woman, I would bet that Phil is not going to poke his head above ground today, Groundhog Day or no.

So, yesterday was a little expensive. I bought the burgundy (I think burgundy, maybe plum) laceweight tweed that I’ve been coveting for several months. Also a couple of small balls of laceweight silk tweed, one in dusty rose, and another in what may be celadon, or maybe just celery. She warned me that the colors on my monitor were not necessarily accurate. And then I went to another website and bought some ultrafine laceweight (possibly verging on cobweb?) in a silk, a bamboo, and a cashmere.

I had asked some of my DoA friends for feedback on pricing my work, and they were wonderfully helpful. Furthermore, one of them suggested that if I concentrate on things that would fit Chutzpah and her ilk, I could charge top dollar. There is just not a whole lot out there that is of proper scale. And she wondered if I would be willing to knit in acrylic (no!) or cotton (maybe, but probably not) for dolls whose owners ~ like Fourthborn ~ have issues with most animal fibers. Hence some of those very specific choices, above. Cannot wait to get my hands on that stuff.

I also spent some time washing and blocking the hats I’ve completed. Secondborn, we may want/need to reshoot them, plus the new ones I’ve made since I got together with you, because the washing and blocking has really changed the feel and the drape of them.

And I started another hat, to fit larger dolls like Blessing. There’s a lot out there for the mid-sized dolls, but the Super Gem size is seriously under-served. So if I focus on both ends of the spectrum, I have an excellent chance of building up a good clientele.

Work has been delayed until 10:00am, at the earliest, and the weather line should have an update around 7:00. I am hoping for another day at home with my knitting, although I’d have to switch to almond milk before the day is out. If this weather continues into tomorrow, I’ll be ready to chew off a paw. I don’t do stuck very well. I have my Gmail open and my my Yahoo! mail open and my phone turned on. As well as the rest of yesterday’s clam chowder nuking in the microwave, because my feet are cold and I don’t want to put on socks until I’ve showered. What I really want is mac and cheese, but all of my instant is at work, and I don’t have the right kind here at home to make it from scratch.

Sitemeter says 40,853 visits here since July 2006, and 48,384 page views. I remember how excited I was when I hit 10,000. Boggles. The. Mind.

Dallas, Arlington, and Fort Worth ISD’s are closed again today, as are most if not all of the outlying school districts. Our weather line says we will delay opening until 10:00 but that the message will be updated by 8:30, which gives me plenty of time to clean up, dress warmly, and dig out poor Lorelai in case I really do need to make that drive. I hope that everybody who has to drive in today, makes it there safely, and home again in one piece. And I hope that the roads will be in good shape for Friday night, when I have speed dating (ugh!) followed by a dance.

Love my new printer. Adore its scanning function. I just pulled all of my ID’s out of my wallet and scanned them front and back: TXDL, health insurance card, organ donor card, library card, etc. I also have a little folded-up piece of paper that peeks out from behind my TXDL and says “In Case of Emergency”. Now, mail comes in the front door, junk mail goes right to the recycling pile, bills are entered on my Excel spreadsheet (possibly scanned, definitely shredded), and I am steadily whittling down the “deal with this” pile.

Time to stop procrastinating my shower. The water is hot enough, but the bathroom is on the other side of a wall from the fireplace, and it’s colder than a bill collector’s heart in there.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Snow Day.

They weren’t kidding when they said the weather might turn interesting today. Fort Worth ISD is closed. Arlington ISD is closed. Dallas ISD is closed. And our office is closed. Which means a play day in front of the fire with books and knitting.

It’s still dark out there. I’ve been up for a couple of hours, blitzed through my Google Reader, nattered a bit on Facebook, put the makings of pumpkin soup into the crockpot, and nuked myself a bowl of apple oatmeal, which I am eating between phrases or sentences.

The fireplace hasn’t stopped since before I woke up. I’m glad that I put the trash and recycling out last night. No telling if the city will be by to pick up the contents; I would hate to have that job on any day, but on a day when it’s raining and maybe sleeting, brrr!

The latest doll hat only needs to have the ends woven in. I’ve put out feelers on Facebook and Den of Angels, for suggestions as to how to price them. I noodled about on Etsy last night, looking at people hats and doll hats, knowing that my workmanship puts me on the high end of the scale and wondering how to convey that in ad text so that people think, “Wow, that’s a great price for something well-made,” and not, “She is seriously underpricing her work” or [worse], “That much? For a doll hat?”

I’ve seen handspun, handknitted hats for humans in the $60-90 price range. I’ve seen doll hats and a few sweaters that are Honor-sized or Chutzpah-sized which are cleverly done, in beautiful colors, but with yarn that would be a better scale on a larger doll, so the total effect is more homemade than handmade. I’ve not seen a lot of exquisitely crafted work, but I have seen some.

I think there is definitely a niche for what I do. And I think I will spend the next couple of hours working on ad copy, so that when I can get down to Secondborn’s [probably not today] to pick up the pictures she has already taken, and to have her photograph the four new hats I’ve made since then, I can put it all together.

Meanwhile, I’m just glad for a quiet day at home with my fireplace and my knitting and my books and my thoughts. Brownies may ensue, later.

Be good, everybody. Try to stay warm.