About Me

My photo
Four years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Learning Curves

I don’t know why the new, new phone is so much easier for me to use than the old, new phone (the one that Firstborn gave me). It’s set up the same way, but it doesn’t argue with me. I just flick and swipe and tap, and it jumps through hoops without inducing childbirth words. When I turn it off, it doesn’t ask me if I want to change batteries. It just goes off. It has a rubber flappy-doodle on the side, for charging. I have to use a T-pin to open it, because of my acrylic nails, but that is the only thing resembling a quirk that I have discovered, so far.

2BDH was here last night, installing the new computer. I need to go to the box which holds my CD-rom’s, and grab the one for my camera, so that I can share the new configuration. I asked him if there were an easy way to move files from the old computer to the new one. He has something that plugs into a USB port and liposuctions all the old files out.

I do not have my ergonomic keyboard yet, a miscommunication on my part, but we will order that, and new cables for the monitors (something about analog vs. digital) and a new mouse because the old one had a round plug like the keyboard. Remember how 2BDH had to add USB ports to the old computer because I had a plethora of round sockets, and only one or two USB ports? Well, now the situation is reversed. I have USB ports coming out my ears, and only one round socket, so now I am borrowing his friend’s mouse until we get my new one. We will order all that stuff next Friday (i.e., payday).

I am going to have to fiddle with my rolling chair and ratchet the seat up higher, because I am having bifocal issues. I need new glasses, anyway, but the placement of the band/setting for computer monitors is perfect for the one at work, and also for the bottom two here at home. The top two? Not so much. I look like one of the snooty society dames in a Marx Brothers movie, my head tilted back to stare down my nose through a lorgnette.

There is a shortcut button on my monitor for iTunes. I am looking forward to getting that set up sometime this weekend, and Office as well. But for now I need to hop in the shower and get ready to pick up Fourthborn. There is a miniatures show in Dallas today, and it benefits Habitat for Humanity.

It has been a rough week. I am ready to see all sorts of tiny cleverness, while keeping my debit card firmly in my pocket. (Good thing this show wasn’t last weekend, or I would be typing this post on the computer at work, either before or after the stuff they pay me for, got done.)

Oh, and I can watch DVD’s on my computer now. I have a date for some chick time with Jane Austen after dinner.

Remember that laceweight tweed I bought a few months ago, and the laughable attempt to un-ply it using four ball winders? The solution to that conundrum is old-fashioned patience. I am breaking off five-yard lengths of yarn and peeling off one ply at a time, winding them into little loops around my fingers, and storing them in a gallon Ziploc bag. I will probably spit-splice as I go, although a five-yard length would yield considerable fabric if we are talking a Chutzpah sized sweater, and I might only have to weave in ends on the smaller sweater pieces.

I got a lot of un-plying done last night while 2BDH was mounting the monitors on my wall. There wasn’t enough room around the computer table for me to be helpful, so I just put my feet up on the couch and asked him one question after another regarding what this new computer can do.

This is the part where I publish and then hit the shower. I hope to have all sorts of neat pictures for you tomorrow.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cue Eddie Murphy:

It’s a h#ll of a day in the neighborhood. I was at the hospital until nearly 10:00 last night. It’s not good. Well, for Nita it is, because she will be graduating from earth life very soon. But for those of us who love her, it is sad and difficult.

Ian’s father in law is a doctor; he was able to talk with all three of her doctors, including the oncologist, and translate doc-speak into comprehensible English. They have discovered a cancer which is very aggressive and very advanced. It is fusing her internal organs together, and then when she moves, there are tears, and toxicity pours into her body cavity. [So I guess that would explain the hole in her stomach and the one in her duodenum.] Were it not for the respirator, she would not be breathing.

I sat with Dane and his friend and friend’s wife while Larry went to fill out the DNR.

Larry kindly allowed me sit with her for a few minutes and tell her how much I love her, and how thankful I am for all she has done for and with me, over the years. I only have two friends whom I have known longer: Shiela (my best friend from high school) and Robi (who also knows and loves Nita).

You will be pleased to note that the new guy has said exactly the right things, because he is truly a good guy and just past the worst of his own grief. Unlike He Who Must Not be Named, who ghosted on me the last time I was grieving, this one is a true friend, and I am so grateful.

I woke up dry-eyed, but that changed while I was filling the bathtub this morning. I wore my shades into the office building, and they are here at my desk as I type, in case my eyes start leaking again. I’ve let my attorney know that I am just waiting for the call, and that I will be attending a funeral in the near future.

I love this scripture, from our Doctrine and Covenants (modern revelation given primarily through the prophet Joseph Smith): “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection.” ~ Doctrine and Covenants 42:45.

I have no doubt that her eternity will be glorious indeed. Dane commented that there is a big party waiting for when she gets to the other side. They will be so happy to have her back again. She will get to meet her mother, who died giving birth to her (amazing to think that that was still happening, back in 1952). And all the relatives and others whom she has loved and served so faithfully in 58 short years. She is very frail, not sedated but nevertheless more there than here.

She is leaving a marvelous heritage: a faithful husband who honors his priesthood, and five stalwart sons who all served honorable missions and are temple-worthy. (I am a little envious of that, but only a little; Heaven is not done with me, nor with my children.)

After I left the hospital, I went over to Secondborn’s, and we talked and cried for the better part of an hour. Family is such a marvelous comfort.

If you need me, I will be eating my feelings all weekend. Although I may nip out for a bit tomorrow to see a miniatures show. Beauty is also therapeutic.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Week of Eating Dangerously

Tuesday my attorney took me to lunch. Yesterday Attorney B took me to lunch. Today the office manager took the April birthday people (legal secretaries and admins) out for a treat. I am immensely grateful for all of this culinary esteem, and if it continues I shall be greatly immense.

I am thinking that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had it right when they refused the king’s meat and asked for “pulse”. If I keep eating like this, paramedics may be trying to find one.

Dinner tonight will be two party tacos washed down with water, unless it is a very small hamburger with no fries, likewise washed down with water.

I am headed to Secondborn’s right after work in the hope of picking up my new computer (I have not called 2BDH yet to confirm; I’ll do that while shutting down the computer).

The news is not good for my friend. The most recent text message from her son said that they can’t do the surgeries as they had hoped, and they really can’t do much more poking around. I asked if it were time to start muttering childbirth words, and he said that it is.

So, y’all pray, and I will vent, and maybe that will keep the universe in balance.

And on that note, I will say goodnight, post this, and see what, if anything, my girls have posted on their blogs since last night. If I am very lucky, the Panopticon will have posted the latest scandalous news about Dolores the wayward sheep. I could use a good belly-laugh about now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another quick post

Got a lot done today, notwithstanding a one-hour meeting this morning, lunch out with Attorney B and cohorts for Administrative Specialists Day, and a one-hour meeting this afternoon, complete with cookies from Paradise Bakery as an incentive to attend the latter.

Found myself all alone at the coffeeshop last night. Everybody else was at a knitting guild meeting. Funny thing is, as I sat there, I asked myself, Where am I supposed to be, instead? And the answer was, At the hospital with your friend Nita.

So I went. At 8:00 last night, it only took me 23 minutes to get from just off the freeway in north Arlington to just off another freeway in south Fort Worth. Took me nearly that long to find her room, once I got there.

She is absolutely beautiful (she would argue this), notwithstanding the trach and the tubes and wires coming and going. The veil [of mortality] is very thin in that room. She was asleep, and I did not stay long, but her husband and sons let me go stand there for a few minutes, just thinking about how much I love her and what an amazing friend she has been for nearly 30 years. Larry and two of his sons had just given her a priesthood blessing, and Heaven was very near in that room. I have no doubt that I was standing in the presence of angels, as well as many of the ancestors for whom she has done genealogical research and temple work. I am tearing-up as I write this. It felt the way it does inside a temple, which is the holiest place on earth.

She needs surgery to repair a hole in her stomach which is letting yuck out into her body cavity, and another hole in her duodenum, which is letting yuckier stuff out. The pneumonia is nearly cleared up. Many of her vitals are excellent. The hospital has been fortifying her all day, per the last text message I got from her oldest son, so that the surgery may go forward.

She needs your prayers. The guys are confident, with the confidence that comes from honoring their priesthood, that she will recover. And Heaven has not gone out of the miracle business.

But every prayer helps. OK, you have your marching orders.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another really great day.

All but one of my to-do’s, to-done. Lunch with my attorney for Administrative Specialists Day [lunch with the other two, tomorrow]. One of my co-workers did 92.5% of a fiddly task for me while I transcribed a couple of tapes for my attorney.

I am still full of chicken fried steak from lunch. In theory it is almost dinnertime. In practice, I am likely to grab a smaller dinner than usual, in the interests of culinary sanity and what I laughingly and lovingly call my waistline.

Not much knitting so far today, but there is Knit Night tonight, and I am looking forward to that.

Tola, you asked so nicely for pictures of all these hats which are flying off my needles. Patience, grasshopper. When I have my new computer assembled and all the peripherals connected [yes, Firstborn, including the iPod (which I am getting really excited about if truth be told)] then I will do a nice montage of the finished hats.

Did I mention that I have figured out how to access my Google Reader on my phone? I can’t embiggen the daily dose of Non Sequitur, but everything else cooperates reasonably well.

Also to Tola, I have been knitting a few decades longer than you have. My needle collection would not fit into a couple of shoeboxes. I figure that when I have everything corralled, there will be three Namaste circ files and [eventually] a KnitPicks modular needle organizer, and probably a DP organizer for each length. Most of mine are 6” or 7” needles, but some are longer, and I am amassing an impressive collection of 4” needles, suitable for the smallest doll hats or the fingers of honest-to-goodness gloves if I ever get that courageous.

It is now 5:00, and I am going to pull up the blog and post this, then get the heck out of Dodge.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Work, work, work, pant, pant, pant

I think I am all caught up. This is something like a miracle on the order of the loaves and the fishes. My inbox is empty, except for one item which my attorney slipped in when he was walking out the door. Our mail is out. As is the mail for the rest of the office; I took it all downstairs.

Everything on my to-do list is to-done.

There was a message waiting for me from the new guy when I went to lunch. Nothing earth-shaking, just touching base.

I had church X 2 yesterday: all of my regular meetings, plus a second round so that I could hear Firstborn [and the rest of the choir, including 1BDH] sing in their Easter cantata. All five of the grands were there. Willow is here from Fern Parts, and almost as cool? The socks I made for her, fit. And we have figured out what I am making her for her birthday this year.

Lots of scanning and shredding on Saturday. Many, many bills paid. 2BDH tells me that part of the computer has been shipped. KnitPicks shipped my order today.

I have leftover M&Ms from the goodie bags I put together for my Primary kids. I ate the last of the leftover cookies on the drive into work today.

It looks like I am mildly allergic to one of the granolas that I buy. This was the third time that I noticed a persistent desire to hack after eating a bowlful. Now to determine if the other flavor does the same thing. And to find somebody who can enjoy two partial boxes of organic goodness without respiratory drama ensuing.

Finished a doll hat on Saturday and am on the home stretch of another one. Bought a Namaste circular needle organizer and will buy a second one from a friend at Knit Night tomorrow. I may need part of a third one in order to corral all of my circs.

Having dinner with girlfriends tonight and calling it visiting teaching.

Life is good.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The computer ate my spinning wheel.

Also the doll I wanted, plus the new bras and pair of shoes I was going to buy.

As comic relief [of a sort], a knitting joke, courtesy of my office manager, shortly after my work day began yesterday.

A blonde was knitting while she drove. A police officer drove up alongside and told her, “Pull over.”

She told him, “No, it’s a scarf.”

What I did yesterday:

1. Moved six days’ worth of (scanned) mail from the days that I was there, but our paralegal was on vacation. Also two days’ worth from when she was here, and I was out.
2. Asked for a rain check when my attorney asked if he could take me to lunch for Administrative Assistants Day. Why? Secondborn packed the cutest lunch for me on Monday night. Picture to follow, maybe, eventually, if I remember, once I have the new computer set up.
3. Calendared three (four?) scheduling orders. Each of which was the mental equivalent of having one’s teeth deep-scaled without anesthetic.

What I’ve done today:

1. One emergency pre-trial report. Emergency, because we got the trial setting yesterday, with timing such that the report is due today. Thankfully, my unflappable attorney had it dictated in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, and my type-like-the-wind-Daniel-san fingers transcribed it.

New computer gets ordered today. Bills are paid. You are not likely to hear from me, except on Facebook or by cell phone, until I get back to work on Monday. Be good, remember who you are, and go buy cute shoes for yourself, knowing that I am just the teensiest bit jealous [on the other hand, I am $339.48 closer to solvency than I was when I went to bed last night, and I can always save for the things I want.

Whoa! Who said that?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Not dead. Nor kidnapped by aliens.

I had a great vacation. Caught a fish that was half an inch too short to keep, but was bigger than the one he had to throw back. Too excited about catching a fish after nearly 40 years to remember to photograph it before he threw it back. Grinned for at least an hour afterward.

It was an excellent date. He fixed me breakfast. He fixed me lunch. He fixed me dinner. What’s not to like?

Electricity issues at home until Tuesday. Turns out it was an electric company problem. They sent a nice man out in a cherry-picker, who trimmed away a bunch of branches and restored power and coolness and sanity to my home. Well, maybe two out of three.

Spent an hour and a quarter on my cell phone with tech support at the phone company yesterday, only to discover that the problem is with my antivirus program. We were able to get me online, in safe mode, which feels distinctly unsafe to me. And of course, after I shut down that window, I could no longer log on, even in safe mode, even with the antivirus program uninstalled.

So I am doing what I should have done some time ago: getting a new computer. 2BDH is building me one, and I will have a terabyte of memory [as compared with my current 4 gigs; I’ll wait while you all stop snickering], and his four old flat-screen monitors, when we are done. I have just printed off tomorrow’s paycheck, which is even larger than I had guesstimated. In a little while I will call him and let him know it’s a go.

I am a little spoiled by my workstation here at the office. I have dual monitors, and they increase my efficiency dramatically. I think it will be seriously cool to have four monitors at home. I can have Ravelry up on one, my blog on another, Facebook on a third, and design apps on the fourth.

I can Facebook from my mobile phone, but I have yet to enable mobile blogging. I may or may not remedy that after posting this, or maybe tomorrow. I came in early to work, so I could reconcile my checking account and pull some other information together.

And now it is ten minutes until the time they pay me to be here, so I am going to post this and bid you a gracious adieu for probably another week We are doing three-day shipping; I might have my new computer up and running by Wednesday or Thursday (the temple will be closed for two weeks, so I’m off the hook for next Thursday). In the meantime, I do have email via my phone, and you can reach me on Facebook.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Uncharacteristically little to say.

I’ll wait while you pick yourselves up off the floor. Yesterday was a very good, if very long, day. My attorney took me to lunch for my birthday, since it falls on Sunday, and since I will be off through Wednesday. We walked a couple of blocks to a little sandwich shop where I got one of the best turkey subs of my life. Half of it for lunch, washed down with lemonade, a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie for dessert (eaten while transcribing a discovery summary for Attorney B after lunch), and the other half of the sandwich for dinner last night while sitting in the parking lot of the temple before my shift.

A good session last night. I am memorizing my favorite of the temple ordinances. I had been quietly doing groundwork for that, when I was going weekly as a temple patron, and that has definitely helped.

It took me nearly two hours to get home last night. It was 9:20 (I got to leave early) when I left the parking lot, the scenic route to Braum’s to pick up a dozen chocolate chip cookies, then onto the freeway to creep and sit, creep and sit, through two patches of road construction, the second of which I could have avoided by taking the alternate route. I sat down at my computer a little after 11:00 last night.

Another storm blew through last night. The trees were dancing on the temple parking grounds and along the street to Braum’s. There was marble-sized hail in Flower Mound. One of my FB acquaintances says there were tornadoes and much destruction up in Oklahoma. The new guy will be checking his garden this morning to see what, if anything, survived. I got a few spatters of rain on Lorelai’s windshield and a stiff breeze blowing through the windows when I didn’t have them rolled up in the rain.

I finished binding off the second Chutzpah-sized sweater when I woke up this morning. I hope to get the sewing-up done at lunch today. Or at least started.

This weekend is the Main Street Arts Festival in downtown Cowtown. I am hoping to go tonight with the friend with whom I had dinner on Tuesday night. I also need to make a second trip to the NailDude’s. His workmanship was just fine, but one of my thumbnails is coming apart under the acrylic, and I want to forestall a fungus infection.

I forgot to set the alarm when I went to bed last night, but I woke up right on schedule. I think this is going to be a day for cookies and milk at my desk. I still have some leftover fruit in the fridge at work, so I will take another container of Greek yogurt and do a yogurt-granola-fruit parfait for breakfast, and I have the bagels I took for yesterday’s lunch up in my cubby. There will not be a dearth of real food. But it just feels like a good day for milk and cookies.

So glad that I did my taxes early-on and will not be in line at the post office over the weekend.

Later, gators!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ba-ba-ba-ba-bobber-ann!

You will be pleased to know that I do not need to buy any hooks, sinkers, bobbers, etc.; he has plenty. I am relieved, because I wouldn’t know a bobber if it bit me. [I do know what a sinker is. It’s that feeling you get when you are reconciling your bank account and realize that the tolltag people have liposuctioned $40 out of your account because your balance with them fell below $10, and you will be eating ramen noodles until payday. Not that that has happened recently.]

I bought my third box of Mucinex-D last night. That’s $80 in the past three weeks that I cannot deduct from my medical expense reimbursement account. Thank you from the bottom of my checkbook, members of Congress and Mr. President.

Other than that, I am liking the play just fine, Mrs. Lincoln. Mount Washmore has been reduced to a sandpile for the moment. Between work and that, there was a second episode of Knit Night, with a splinter group whom I had not seen in roughly two years, so that was fun. And I finished the actual knitting on the second Chutzpah sweater; well, all but the binding-off on the button band, because I want to use a larger needle for that. And then there will be some fiddly sewing-up of the sleeve seams and the grafting of two half-inch underarm seams, and we are done.

Very much looking forward to the temple tonight, as I feel as much stronger this week over last week, as I did last week over the week before.

I have started putting together my wish list and/or shopping list for when my bonus hits next week. I’m throwing everything on there, the needs and the wants, so that when I wake up on the day the eagle screams [one of my favorite lines from an old Kris Kristofferson song, It’s been a month of paydays since I heard that eagle scream (referring to people who are so tight-fisted that when they hold a dollar bill, the eagle screams; so not me)] I can just point and click and wait for the packages to show up at work.

I think I’ve found the best price on a white-over-white pair of Dansko/Sanita clogs to wear in the temple. I have been making-do with a pair of simple white slippers, and by the time I’m ready to go home on Thursday nights it’s sometimes difficult to get my feet back into my street shoes. I am also going to invest in some white support stockings, which will help alleviate the problem, if I can find them in knee-highs. I don’t need a lot of push at the ankles, just that little bit extra.

Time to rehydrate, and then to sluice off and scoot on out the door. I wish somebody would stay home and put the clean laundry away for me. [I need a wife.]

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

But I did not eat the deputy...

One of the features of Adobe Acrobat Professional which I like, is that you can run OCR recognition on a page of text, copy it into a Word document, and save hours of work in terms of formatting discovery requests for the paralegals to answer. I did a whale of a lot of that when I was up at the front desk. Now, I do my own, because it is generally faster to do so than to call or email opposing counsel and ask them to email me the discovery in Word format.

This is what the source text said yesterday: You are a resident...

This is what the OCR recognition turned it into: You aTe a resident... [complete with random capitalization at no extra charge]

One brief moment of angst when I was settling down after Knit Night. I noticed a small hole on the face of my phone, which I didn’t remember having seen before. I thought I’d maybe shanked it with a knitting needle [remember when I shanked my leg?], but the picture on the website shows a dimple in the shadow on that part of the phone, so I guess it’s supposed to be there. (Good thing I can laugh at myself; I have so many opportunities!)



Love that song. Is it OK to want to beat someone over the head with it?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Oops.

So yesterday after church, I made an appointment to go visiting teaching a week from tonight, entirely forgetting that I have a previous commitment with the fish and the fisherman. This month always gets away from me. We are sneaking up on the middle of it already and will be there by Friday. I somehow thought I had at least another week between now and then. [We will blame this on all those sweet short people yesterday. I have finally stopped twitching.]

The fisherman himself posted a wistful bit overnight about storms and how much better they are if there is someone beloved with whom to cuddle. I concur. Full moons, too.

At great personal sacrifice (family joke, that) I refrained from pointing out, publicly or privately, that he has the means to fix that little problem.

Time for me to cobble together the salad du jour and scoot on out the door. I realized yesterday that I have four projects on the needles. I am going to try to finish two of them before bedtime tonight. I made significant progress on the one human sized project in the lot; it is the only one which is Sabbath-appropriate, as the others will eventually become inventory.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In which your intrepid heroine is rapidly and thoroughly humbled.

My child asks, “Did you write that last part [about the fishing] all tiny thinking that we wouldn’t notice it and start asking questions about when, where and with whom???”

When: shortly after my birthday; I am taking a few days off.
Where: on a lake, if it’s not windy; on the bank if it is.
With whom: the new guy, of course; he posted recently that nobody was getting a ring from him unless and until she had gone fishing with him at least once; I bought my fishing license the following payday.

Faith without works being dead, and all that.

Primary today was what we in the church call a learning experience, and what the rest of the world would call (a) pandemonium, (b) bedlam, (c) unmitigated disaster, or (d) all of the above.

First, it had been three weeks since I had seen them, one more reason to hate being sick.

Second, the room was not set up. Somebody had put eight tall, smallish tables in there, with miscellaneous chairs.

Third, there were more children than I had planned for.

Fourth, I didn’t remember the need for snacks until this morning, when I had an “Oh bleep, what am I going to feed them?” moment, which I solved by grabbing cheese sticks from the fridge.

Fifth, unlike 58-year-olds, four-year-olds do not like sharp cheese. And the cheese was a little warm, ergo slimy, and not easy for little fingers to extract from the shrink wrapping. Most of it got rolled on the table like play-dough and then chucked into the trash. [You know how I am about wasting food; that seriously ratcheted up my already zooming anxiety level.]

Thankfully, the Primary president sent reinforcements, and they and the bishopric will get me a team-teacher as soon as possible.

The Adversary would just love for me to feel permanently awful about this. However, I don’t have time for that. I took my friend home from church, nuked a Stouffer’s mac and cheese, and proceeded to enjoy every blessed bite, following that with a glass of milk and half of a Dagoba 59% chocolate bar infused with lavender and wild blueberries.

As I posted on FB, if I were still a drinking woman, today would be a day for it. But the carb-induced endorphins are starting to kick in, and I’m about ready for a good, long nap. And when I wake up again, I will get started on next week’s lesson, making sure that I have way more handouts than I think I might need. I’m printing them off my computer, not standing in line at the ward library, so I won’t be wasting the Lords resources, except in the sense that everything is already his anyway.

Stick a fork in me, honey, I’m done. Over and out.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Breathing easier.

Dinner last night with Brother Sushi. Wasn’t entirely sure, mid-day, if I would have enough oomph to get to that point. [After the squirreloncrack feeling that Alison described in her comment, the coming-down is Seriously Not Fun. I hope I never have to take prednisone again.] But I did make it, if barely. I was worn to a Ravelling all day. Did not sleep well, and after five or six weeks without touching a Cherry Coke (yay, me!) I had to break down and buy a bottle.

I am smart enough to know that such bone-weariness is not a function of caffeine deficiency, notwithstanding what some of my good friends might say. I attribute it to three-plus weeks of respiratory issues; two courses of medication in a middle-aged body; two lengthy experiences of working in the Spirit (the single adult conference, followed two weeks later by General Conference) which gave me a renewed appreciation for how Joseph Smith might have felt after that fourth interview with the angel Moroni; a natural uncertainty about where this dating relationship is going; and the usual wear-and-tear of family stuff and daily life.

No, I am not saying that you girls make me sick. Just hush!

Anyway, I was tired, and 20 ounces of Cherry Coke got me through the workday, leaving me with a slight headache as I rode down in the elevator to the parking garage.

I met up with Brother Sushi at Chop House Burgers, where we shared some of Kenny’s excellent sweet potato fries (the remnants of which are in my fridge and beginning to call my name enticingly), and I ate a burger which helped to set my world back on its rails. Brother Sushi and I talked about everything and nothing, solved a few of the world’s problems [no need to send a thank you note, but you’re welcome], and ate ourselves silly.

I needed some silly. And I spent several hours in the presence of a righteous priesthood holder (he is falling out of his chair to hear himself described that way) who may not be the man I would very much like to fall in love with, but who was and is the tough, loving, and loyal friend whom I have missed fiercely because of all this stupid sickness, and whom I needed to see at that time and in that place.

You will probably not be surprised to know that the headache came back as I was driving home, but after a decent night’s sleep [in two or possibly more increments] it is gone.

He doesn’t like taking prednisone any more than I do, and for much the same reasons. We both like to feel in possession of ourselves, where the mind and spirit are in charge, and the body takes orders. Disciplined and disciple come from the same root. For me, some medicines open up a little wiggle room between here and the hereafter. Dextro-methorphan is like running up a white flag and inviting the bad guys to come in and tromp through the tulip beds. Which is why I resisted Mucinex for so long, until my wonderful doctor explained the difference between D and DM. I get horrible nightmares with DM, the kind where I have to roll out of bed onto my knees and pray, sobbing, until the Spirit’s influence comes back to reassure me. Prednisone is more subtle. I still don’t like it.

So: this morning, no headache, normal appetite, breathing easily, thinking clearly. This bodes well.

We have a ward picnic at church later this morning. I am picking up a tub of potato salad as my contribution and hoping that I do not have to run any of the games for the children. I just want to be obedient, show up, eat a little, visit with the friends I have not seen for three weeks, and come back home for a nap. There is an unofficial singles activity on the far north side of Dallas tonight, and I am down as a definite-maybe for that; while I would get to see the new guy (whom I also have not seen for three weeks, but we have been in touch by phone, chat, and email), I think it would be wiser to stay home, finish my lesson for Primary tomorrow, and try for an early bedtime. There is a dance next Saturday night, and we will both be there, plus I am going fishing in about ten days.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Last night in the temple

I began learning one of my favorite ordinances from the business end, as it were; it’s significantly different to experience it as a patron, serving as proxy for a departed loved one, than it is to be in charge of making sure that all the ecclesiastical I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. I am learning so much in these quiet hours in the temple, and so grateful for the opportunity. Heaven was very near last night.

I am finally starting to feel like myself again, about the normal level of tiredness for a Friday morning (they don’t call it temple work for nothing). All the various bits are reporting in. Ankles a little swollen from too much salt and too long a day yesterday. A non-embarrassing degree of appetite for breakfast. The chili I had for lunch is grumbling in the background. My head is mercifully, blessedly clear. Unlike last Friday, I do not feel as if I had been hung, drawn, and quartered. This is progress!

I would really like to stay home and sleep. I woke up at least twice during the night. Not the stirring, rolling-over, and going back to sleep kind. The get up, walk down the hall with knitting in hand because we’ve swallowed the 1812 Overture kind. Followed by a nice drink of water and a catnap until it starts again.

So, I am officially tired, but it is officially payday, the one where, after I have paid my tithing and the bills, there is actually something left for non-essentials like food and gasoline. I am just *that* much less in debt, which makes me smile. I was pondering on the drive into work the other day. I’m currently paying several times the amount I’m obligated to, to get this debt retired all the faster. When I am done, it will be like getting a whole extra paycheck every month. Some of which will go into regular savings, and some of which will go into my 401K.

When I was noodling about with investment amounts and percentages the other night, I found the theoretical point at which my 401K earnings would significantly eclipse Social Security and my pension. Just a few simple tweaks took me from “oh no! you need another $350,000 in savings in order to eat something other than cat food” to “you are going to have enough, and to spare”.

Enough to buy a house. Enough to serve a mission.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Knitting encounters of the best kind!



For you muggles, that’s Anne Hanson of Knitspot, who is here for DFW Fiber Fest and also teaching at The Shabby Sheep in Dallas. I went to her trunk show and lecture after work last night. She is amazing. Lovely, clear voice. Great stories. And, of course, all the goodies she has designed (some of which are hanging there behind us) which I have been caressing with my eyes for lo! these many months. And finally got to run my greedy fingers over.

Gotta run. Am having another adventure this morning. I brought home a company car and will be using it to pick up the client [who doesn’t drive, or possibly has no car (I forget), and lives between my home and work] of another attorney in our office so that said client may attend his/her deposition. I am not responsible for returning said client to his/her residence, and I get to leave the office commensurately early this afternoon, as my workday will officially begin once s/he sets foot in the car.

I get to drive a car where you step on the brake and push a button to start it. [I used to drive this car when it was part of my duties to take a turn picking up the early mail.] I get to be genuinely useful to a friend/colleague with small children who cannot, for some reason, be in two places at once. (I get serious brownie points with the higher-ups for my 2011 end-of-year evaluation.) And I get extra knitting time before reporting at the temple tonight.

Sounds like win-win to me.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Mostly jots.

My friend Kristen had this to say, with a lovely illustration by one of my favorite artists.

My friend Alison had this to say.

What do I have to say? Apparently, a lot. I dropped Chutzpah and a blank frame for angel wings off at Fourthborn’s last night on the way home from work, skipping Knit Night in favor of another quiet evening at home. I sat at the computer and typed out my thoughts and feelings for what felt like hours, though not necessarily for publication. I also had a good if frequently-interrupted chat with Tola, who is coughing and you should pray for her. And a bit of a chat with the new guy as well.

I just took the last dose of prednisone, and another dose of Mucinex-D. While I am thankful for both, I like neither. I am wondering if this endless coughing-up is metaphorical as well as literal, and I suspect there are no quick and easy answers. The sense of being wired is exhilarating but also unpleasant. The coming-down leaves me feeling weak, tired, and vulnerable, with both a slightly flattened affect and an intermittently overwhelming urge to weep.

Friends, this is why we don’t do drugs, and why I am so thankful for the Word of Wisdom, which is our health code.

I slept well last night. Really well, and for a decent length of time. I also dreamed that my parents were still among us, and that they had opened my? their? telephone bill to see that it was $440 and past due, and all because of some choices on my part. [I did a lot of statistical typing yesterday; numbers were flying off my fingers like nobody’s business!] Thankfully, I do not have a $440 phone bill to pay on Friday.

I do have something fun planned for after work tonight, health and energy levels permitting. It has nothing to do with boys or chocolate. [Imagine that.] If it all comes to pass, I’ll share with you tomorrow. Which reminds me that I need to grab my camera.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

My hitch-hiker’s towel?

I had to google the reference, because I had no idea what you were talking about, Ms. Tola. I’ve tried reading that book three or four times, and I cannot get through it. I’m just not as cool as some of you seem to think I am.

My best guess is that my hitch-hiker’s towel is somewhere in the vicinity of my marbles. Or the cover to my smart phone, which has vanished like piddle in the sand, as Saint Elizabeth of Zimmermann would say.

Thankfully, I have a massive amount of leftover Malabrigo and can just knit up a new cover. Or a towel, for that matter, but obviously not from the Malabrigo.

The new guy was complaining of insomnia last night, while I [irony of ironies] was snoozing soundly. Almost six hours’ worth.

I got so much done yesterday. I mean, really got stuff done, not just thought I was getting stuff done. Blew through my inbox and nearly zeroed it out. Dealt with the mail from Friday and yesterday’s too, although thankfully it was a light day for mail. Caught something on my attorney's calendar that had almost slipped by us. [This is why they pay me the big bucks.]

Examined my 401K (happy dance, happy dance!), increased my contributions beginning next payday, and pulled the last dab out of a sentimental favorite fund that was nonperforming. Moved almost $1,500 from that and other funds into the highest-performing bucket and will look at things again in three months. Played a little with the calculators on the website our company provides before shutting down the popcorn stand. Came home and logged back on to that website and did some serious number-crunching.

To my kids: I did the do-unto-others part last weekend, as inspired by General Conference and the April issue of the Ensign. Yesterday and last night I did the taking-care-of-myself part. I am doing almost everything I reasonably can to ensure that you will not have the same issues with me that you are struggling with, with your father. [I ate enough whole grains, in small amounts, yesterday to keep a small village alive. And part of that 10:00p.m. prednisone-fueled grocery run was for a special on one of my favorite species of apples that only ran until close of business last night. Roughage. Got it!]

I have long term care insurance. I have disability insurance. The company pays for enough life insurance that you could lay me down in Forest Lawn in a golden casket, with enough change leftover that everybody can go out for pizza afterward, except please remember that when I no longer need them, I want my innards to go to others who can use them, and the rest to go to medical research, and somebody else can pick up the tab for planting me when everybody is done with the shell.

I got almost six hours of sleep last night. Six! And virtually uninterrupted, though the dreams were again on the weird side. I was a younger me, and I was trying to build a new home on top of the house in Irving [i.e., add a second story], trying to get a mechanical engineer [or possibly an architect] out of my room so I could finish dressing, bickering amiably with NintendoMan’s oldest son for reasons I do not remember, and just generally being in charge of things while wishing that I had a little help.

Oh wait, that sounds like real life, doesn’t it?

I woke to find the new guy’s comment that he had insomnia and thought, If we were married, I bet we would both be sleeping better. I contented myself with maidenly modesty forbids me to comment. Because I love a little irony before breakfast. He also said that I need a T-shirt that says Prednisone Woman, and I countered that now he knew what to get me for my birthday. [Thus cleverly alerting him to the fact that I have one coming up. Method to my madness, and all that.]

I think it’s going to be another terrific day. I may or may not make it to Knit Night tonight. Another quiet(ish) evening at home might be more in order. And unlike Miz Scarlett, I cannot swear that I’ll never be hungry again! [At least not until the prednisone wears off. By the way, do you have anything that needs to be alphabetized? Brownies taking up space in your fridge? Just checking.]

Monday, April 04, 2011

I’m a little bit snarky. I’m a little bit rock and roll.

Anybody else remember that old Donny and Marie duet from their TV show? White bread Motown. If that doesn’t make you grin, or at least giggle, you might be a little bit snarky, too.

I’m feeling much better this morning, although I just realized that I forgot to take my second dose of Mucinex-D last night.

General Conference was amazing, again, yesterday. Between the morning session and the afternoon session, I watched the segment from Saturday night’s priesthood session, wherein the prophet lovingly and gently lit into the single brethren who are reluctant to marry (or remarry). Elder Scott brought up the topic again yesterday.

It will be interesting to see if any male hearts have been softened or changed locally. I have a couple of male friends *cough*Brother Yummy*cough* to whom that chastisement applies, a couple more who are patiently working out their issues, and then there is the new guy, who thoroughly enjoyed both talks, because he is being obedient. He had fun stirring things up on the FB group over the weekend. I had fun helping.

I started watching movies last night, while frogging and reworking the hat I am making for Fourthborn’s Fiancé. One was a British film, filled with colorful language that I mostly-ignored until there was one crisply-enunciated phrase I recognized, so out it came. Followed with another movie that I liked very much when I saw it several years ago, but bingo! there was that same expression (neither of them the F-bomb, but a taking of the Lord’s name in vain, and after eight hours of Conference addresses, I was sensitized to that sort of nonsense). Out it came. In went the Zeffirelli Romeo and Juliet, which is visually sumptuous and not a knitting movie, and what-with the prednisone, just not what I was in the mood for. I got a little snarky on FB.

The end-of-day prednisone dosage was half that of the two preceding nights. It was easier to get to sleep, my dreams were less screwy, and I got four uninterrupted hours of sleep. I am cautiously optimistic about this day, especially since it is raining cats and dogs and little fishes out there, with thunder and lightning and audible spattering out on the front porch. I know where my raincoat is, and where my umbrella is. We need this rain so much. I think I read yesterday that we are about 5” below normal for this time of year. Maybe we will catch up this week, and maybe it will fall slowly and steadily so the earth has a chance to soak it up without flooding.

Oh man, it’s hitting the windows sideways now. Cool!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Somebody dropped a nickel in me.

Boy, did I hear stuff that I needed to hear in the General Conference broadcasts yesterday! Mostly stuff that comforted me in my challenges (because Heaven is all about comforting the afflicted) as well as challenging me to do better in various areas (because Heaven is also all about afflicting the comfortable, and there are areas of my life in which I am altogether too comfortable).

I had been musing, earlier in the week, about how to divvy up the raise that is coming. The Lord gets His cut, right off the top, of course. And I was wondering if I should increase my contributions to the two non-LDS charities I support (not at the present, as it turns out) or find additional places for my discretionary income to go (bingo!)

Bishop has counseled me that my primary donations should be for tithing (check!) and a fast offering (check!) until I am out of debt. And that makes sense to both my head and my check register. My heart, however, continues to argue quite convincingly that if I want to be generous when I am solvent, I had better start practicing it now. So I’ve chosen two reputable private charities that support my ideals, and they get a small donation every month, which I’ve automated to remove the question can I afford it this month? from the discussion entirely.

Beginning with the big paycheck later this month, I will start making modest but regular contributions to the church’s Humanitarian Fund and to the Perpetual Education Fund. As my last big debt dwindles down, I can increase the size of those contributions. And, of course, if Brother Right shows up with a paid-for house and an oil well on the back 40, then I can toss in my half of the utilities, get out of debt that much sooner, and fund what I laughingly call my retirement.

That’s the plan, anyway. And my heart feels good about it.

Fourthborn’s Fiancé raised an interesting issue recently. As I understand it, he would like to see all the money we are currently exporting in the form of foreign aid, used here to take care of our own sick and afflicted. This is something that I struggle with.

I have been poor, in U.S. terms, nearly all of my adult life. Some of this is due to my own poor choices, and some of it is due to the poor choices of others, and some of it just is.

We bought a house in 1981 at the height of the interest rate feeding frenzy; our cheap mortgage was 14.25%, and our second mortgage was 20.36%. When we sold the house to friends, to avert foreclosure, they assumed the first mortgage (the second was paid off by then) and gave us the nominal amount of cash we asked for.

We lost 97% of our investment. [That is not counting the $100K we had paid over ten years on the second mortgage.] Am I bitter? No, I am grateful to the friends who saved our financial hides at a difficult and scary time. We lived for several weeks on that money; I hold those friends in the highest esteem.

So I have very tender feelings for friends and acquaintances (and children) who are just barely scraping by. And I struggle to know how much to help, what sort of help would be truly useful, and what might be enabling. I know a very good woman who has given and given and given until she has depleted all her assets. Only she and the Lord know if her choices have been the best ones.

On the one hand, I think it is unconscionable that so many people cannot afford decent medical care. On the other hand, I know enough about the underwriting process to know that premiums must be based upon the risks to be covered. So if you have good health, or work for a large company (as I do), you can have good medical coverage and still pay the rent. If you are self-employed, the risk pool is smaller, and the premiums are necessarily higher. If you are underemployed, you pay relatively high premiums for relatively little coverage, or you have no coverage at all. And woe be unto you if you have chronic health problems. Which frequently arise because you cannot afford preventative care.

And it is only by the grace of Heaven, and the generosity of friends, that we were not homeless for a time. So I have some tender feelings in that area as well. With the new raise, I am now making approximately twice what I was earning in 1999. Hard work and persistence are part of the equation, but the larger part is truly the grace of Heaven. As Alan Jackson sings in “Small Town Southern Man” (which always reminds me of Dad, though he was neither small-town nor Southern), I’m blessed, and I know I am. On paper, with my 401K’s, I am officially in the black. But in two-week increments, I struggle to judge between wants and needs, I still rob Peter to pay Paul, and I do far better some months than others. Nevertheless, inch by inch I am edging toward a debt-free life, and when I get there, I want my hands to be open and ready to give.

Here are some other thoughts on this subject, and others:
1. Michael Otterson, who is head of Public Affairs for the church.
2. William J. Monahan, on our petty personal rebellions.
3. Maurine Proctor, on self-talk, which is generally not an issue with me. My running monologue is usually about the creative process: wonder what would happen if I tried this?

This is for Dad (and Mom) who gave me the foundation for my life. Thirty-five years in the church has turned out to be the world’s longest finishing school.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Marginally better.

Oye. I went home early from work again yesterday. My wonderful doctor did not make me come in for another office visit; she called in a prescription for a steroid dose pack, and I have a fresh box of Mucinex-D, which apparently will be my new eternal companion.

Cooking tip: cream of wheat in the microwave is a nice treat when you’re feeling puny. However, it does not take well to neglect. I was nuking it in 1 1/2 minute increments [while proofreading and debugging my pattern for the Chutzpah II sweater]. I forgot to go in and stir it after the second nuking [for maybe 15 minutes?], only to find a sodden lump of quick-set concrete in the bottom of the Pyrex cup. Which I, being the stubborn and frugal wench that I am, promptly beat like the proverbial stepchild and finished nuking.

Puts me in mind of the very old Cosby routine [from his album with “Tonsils” and “Chicken Heart”] about his mom, who could not make cream of wheat without lumps.



So: prednisone. Maybe the first thing I have taken that tastes worse than a penicillin pill. (I remember those. Can’t take them anymore, but I still remember how they made a chewable vitamin C pill taste sweet by comparison.) But it seems to be doing the trick. Although I have the urge to eat everything in the fridge, all at once, and possibly the fridge as well.

“I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too.”

I was supposed to hang out with my daughters tonight. Instead, I will be keeping my croupy self at home, watching the videos that my BFFE - Arlington gave me, and knitting as if I were on steroids.

Oh wait. I am.

Friday, April 01, 2011

More weird dreams.

None of which involved smooching.

It was good to be at the temple last night. My energy levels remained fairly constant until a few minutes before the end of my shift. I stopped at Bueno on the way home for an IBC root beer (no caffeine) and a couple of cheesecake chimichangas. Then to another drive-thru for a small burger and minuscule packet of fries. Must have needed the salt.

Four more rows, I think, and I will be up to the armscyes on Chutzpah II (the sweater).

If I sound tired, it is because I am. I cannot decide if I need more decongestant, and if so which type. I do not want a relapse, and I am still a little harrumphy.

Today is the office birthday party, and my overarching goal is to not break the cake while transporting it out to the car. [And, perhaps, while splitting as many infinitives as humanly possible.] Because I did not order the cake until the end of my workday on Wednesday, it will not be ready for pickup at the beginning of my workday today. I will have to drop everything mid-morning to go fetch it. Thankfully, another member of the birthday committee is bringing the ice cream.

Between his work schedule and mine, his health blip and mine, his church responsibilities and mine, shall I go on? I have not seen the new guy since the singles conference two weekends ago. I only hope he is missing me as much as I am currently missing him. I think I will go discuss that with Heaven while I am poaching my head and figuring out what to wear. My first choice would be pajamas, and my second choice would be not going in at all, but see birthday cake, above.

Am about 99% sure that I will be skipping the dance tonight in favor of an early bedtime.

Be good, remember who you are, and make something pretty today.