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!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Progress ... not our most important product.

If you are older, like me, you will remember the ad campaign from the 60’s or 70’s, in which progress was their most important product. Obviously, they didn’t live chez Ravelled.

I came home last night, made a fresh pot of Texmati rice, chopped up half of one of those Dolly Parton chicken breasts, topped it with a reasonable portion of rice, and called it dinner. Left the pot on the stove to cool a little before putting it away, except I realized upon waking this morning that I forgot that little detail.

So, none of the chicken was wasted, but three-fourths of the rice is going out to the trash this morning, because I have no desire to be singing that famous Clapton parody, “Ptomaine”. You know the chorus:

It’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right ... PTOMAINE!

And you know me. I hate wasting food, because I remember when we didn’t have much.

I frogged about two-thirds of the new guy’s hatband at lunch yesterday, but in the quiet hours last night [while the rice on the stove was going sour], I got it all re-knitted, plus a little more. Listened to some of the new podcasts, and early issues of some of my favorites. Just about dropped my teeth when I realized who one of my blog readers is: a former officer of one of the yarn companies I support, who loves Jacqueline Fee’s Sweater Workshop Book every bit as much as I do (yay! for thinking knitters).

Emails are once more flying back and forth betwixt the new guy and me, and considerably more substantive than in the last few weeks before his surgery, wherein they consisted of my asking him how he was doing, and his giving me witty and non-whiny accounts of his latest symptoms.

I sent him that eight-page dissertation yesterday. He sent back a well-reasoned, if considerably shorter, response. We have some talking points, and I no longer feel quite as stuck as I did.

Feeling less-stuck is not exactly progress, but it is a lean, if not quite a step, in the right direction.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my new computer set-up? Blogger on one monitor, a Word transcription of the new guy’s latest on a second, and a fresh Word document awaiting my ramblings on a third.

I’m going to see if I can cobble together an intelligent response to his reply, before I hit the shower and then hit the road. But first, there is rice to be bagged. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Be brave. Ask questions."

I saw that on the side of a bus in downtown Dallas last night as I was on my way to Knit Night.

So, I got another interesting email from my bishop on the subject of the new guy, and I wrote back with some clarifying questions, and his answers were waiting for me when I woke up at 3:00 this morning. I have an eight-page draft or dissertation that needs to ferment a little before I send it.

I have something like eight repeats done on the brow band of the chemo cap.

Brother Sushi is engaged. I am over the moon! When we were at dinner Monday night, he told me all the he-said-she-said stuff, and I asked if I could tell the new guy, and he said I could tell anybody I wanted. I asked if I could blog about it, and his eyes got really big, and he sighed, and he said yes, I could.

So I have.

Not as if I had put it out there on Facebook, where his status remains unchanged. And likely will until the fait is accompli.

I was sitting in Knit Night when I had the sudden, overwhelming impression that I needed to go home. So I did. Still no idea why, other than the email from my bishop. All appears to be well at the Better-Than-OK Corral. I have a lot on my mind, but am not sure how to say it, so I will just get ready for work and ease on down the road.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Overslept!

All kinds of good news to share, some of it not-mine but shared with permission, and it will just have to wait. I need to put on my socks and shoes, grab the leftovers from dinner last night, and scoot on out the door, stopping long enough to set out the trash and the recycling.

I start working on the chemo cap today and cannot wait to get my hands on that Malabrigo!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Stealth project nearly done!

I have four rounds left. And I need to join on another ball of the main color, which, thankfully, I have.

I also have a skein of Malabrigo in my stash, leftover from knitting Autumn Asters, in a plausible approximation of Packers green. Do any of you have half a ball or more of Malabrigo in a rich VW yellow that you would be willing to sell me? If not, I will just have to make a field trip to Knitting Nook on Saturday.

Oh, darn.

The water was shut off in our meetinghouse yesterday, so we only had sacrament meeting. I came home, ate a snack, and took a nap. When I awoke, I spent the rest of the day reading and knitting and listening to podcasts.

This is what is on my iPod at the moment [not counting the music]:
1. Knit Picks. I have started over from the first one. She has a lovely voice.
2. Sticks & String. I do love me some David Reidy.
3. Knitting Rose. She is local!
4. The Savvy Girls. So far, squeaky clean, and one of them sings opera.
5. The Anatomy of Knitting. I have not listened to her yet, but I have 25 of her 27 episodes loaded. Episode 6 is marked explicit [she dropped a stitch? in silk?], so needless to say I am not loading that one. And another appears to be simply an announcement of who won a contest for some Wollmeise(!!!)
6. A church-ish one, wherein one of my friends recorded an episode on interfaith marriage. Until I have listened to the others in that series, I will not share the name of it. Some of the non-official websites, such as Meridian, are careful to be doctrinally correct. Others are corrupted by worldly philosophies. I lived a worldly life for 23 years. While none of you would jump off a roof if I suggested it, some of you value my opinion sufficiently that if I said I liked something, you would try it. Ergo, I have a responsibility to make sure that anything I endorse, will be edifying.

So:
Pie5 Pizza in Montgomery Plaza
Malabrigo
::cough:: not living in sin ::cough::
[wipe the milk off your monitor; you know I love you!]
Harry Potter, whether written, filmed, or knitted
Chop House Burgers on Park Row in Arlington

That ought to keep us all out of the pool halls for awhile.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yesterday was great!

I spent a couple of hours, off and on, in the kitchen. When I was done, I had three cooked chicken breasts, a pot of Texmati rice, and 2.5 quarts of chicken broth leftover. I took my friend half of one of those chicken breasts, chopped/shredded, over a bed of rice, with some marinated mushrooms and a splash of marinade. No idea how it tastes, because I threw together a salad, did a drive-by fooding, cooed at her new baby, and headed to Arlington for the single adult mini-conference.

As always, Brother Sushi and his elegant sisterly counterpart (I used to have a code name for her, but I’ve forgotten it; Firstborn, she taught Gospel Doctrine in your ward and has the same given name as Fourthborn) made the impossible look easy. She gave the first presentation and called several of us up out of the audience to share our experiences. Yes, that would include me. Then we moved to the chapel, as we had filled the Primary room to overflowing, where we heard from the good brother in Plano stake who is a licensed professional counselor and such a dynamic and enjoyable speaker, finishing up with a member of the Arlington stake presidency.

And because we are singles, there was food for the body, as well as for the heart, mind, and spirit. Tons of it. If anybody went home hungry last night it was their own fault.

I stayed for the dance, because my favorite DJ was in charge. All those bits that the massage therapist worked on so diligently Wednesday night, which have given me not a squeak of trouble since then? They were yodeling to beat the band last night. And I am distinctly stiff, though not what I would call in pain, this morning.

I finally found out who is DJ’ing at the dance in Denton on Friday night. Same DJ, so I am definitely going. I wonder if I can squeeze in another massage between now and then?

In knitting news, I have a bit more than one repeat to go on BittyBubba’s gift. I should make significant progress on that today. Possibly even complete it, as I have a whole bunch of podcasts on the iPod, and if I can keep my eyes open after church I will just knit-knit-knit until it’s done. [I got lots of compliments on it yesterday, and not just from the other knitters and crocheters. There were four or five of us, most of them sitting on my row. Woohoo!]

I remembered to pick up graham crackers for my Primary class. This is the part where I run the lesson material across my retinas, print off coloring sheets, pray, and hope for the best.

The new guy starts chemo on Friday. I’m a lot less nervous about that than I was about the surgery. So maybe I can get more into actual lesson preparation, for next week’s lesson, but I do not feel the slightest bit guilty about skimping on this week’s. I have tried to stay in Mary-mode all week. Martha-mode will get its own turn, soon enough.

He went home from the hospital yesterday! They had told him three to five days, and he did it in two.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

So, can we call that a date?

I have yet to hear back from him on that. I went to the hospital after work. The newlyweds were there, with his mom. They stayed for about another hour, then went home; they’ll be back again today.

I settled in with my knitting, we talked, he wrangled with the laptop a bit, and we fired up a movie. Shortly after which we were joined by mutual friends, who stayed for a good, long visit [but not too long] and left. We watched the last few minutes of the movie, hugged carefully, and I came home.

I teased him that slow dancing is going to be a bit of a challenge, as his stoma is pretty much front and center.

His color is good, his attitude is great, and he has acquired a new talent which will delight his grandkids: unscented but distinctly audible farts. [I hope that word doesn’t offend you; it was not in my vocabulary, growing up, but life with the children’s father changed that. LittleBit’s first complete sentence was, “Hee! Hee! Daddy fart!”]

He says it ought to liven up sacrament meeting in his ward. All of his kids and grandkids live within his ward boundaries.

I grabbed something on the way home and stayed up just long enough to finish it. Had a couple of quick chats with friends via FB and was in bed a hair after midnight. I hope he slept as well as I did: roughly six hours.

My next two tasks are to spit-splice another ball of the main color onto BittyBubba’s gift, for uninterrupted knitting at the singles mini-conference this afternoon and evening. And then to figure out what to fix for my friend who just had her baby: no corn, no beans, no broccoli (no problem!), no cabbage (ditto!), no chocolate. I have three ginormous chicken breasts in the freezer. That’s a start.

Friday, June 24, 2011

So, a good day all around.

He sailed through his surgery. I taught his new daughter-in-law the knitted cast on and, from that, how to knit. I will leave it to Mel to teach her how to purl, but when I left the hospital, C had about two inches of astoundingly even stitches worked and was patiently soldiering away.

I like his mom.

When the boys showed up, with real food for his mom and C, I shook hands with the one I barely know, and he said, “None of that!” and pulled me in for a bear hug. Got another one from C’s hubby.

Met up with BFF for a late lunch at Fuzzy’s Tacos. Fish tacos were excellent as always. Guac was painfully hot, and I had forgotten that they oversalt their chips, so most of that went to waste [instead of to waist]. Drove home with the intention of freshening up and heading over to the temple for my Thursday night shift, but about midway home I just wilted, so I emailed my supervisors and then left messages on their cell phones. Drank a glass of water and went right to bed, where I slept for six hours[!].

I am ready to go back to bed. The new guy has his laptop and a portable DVD player with him. He’s been on Facebook already, thanking everyone for their prayers. Presumably he is out like a light. He was pretty pleased that he got two hours of unbroken sleep while they were operating on him.

Kristen, how is your niece faring?

I put another seven inches or so on BittyBubba’s birthday gift while at the hospital. It is looking really, really good, and I hope he will be pleased. I already know what I want to do for his little brother’s scaled-down version, and [I think] also for BittyBit’s, although that design is still negotiable.

Wednesday night’s massage was amazing. She is very strong, and quite intuitive. I thought we would work on the trigger points in my neck and shoulders and upper back. She spent most of the time working on my ankles and resetting the lymph pumps in my feet, and I am starting to feel a real difference there. She also gave me the name of her chiropractor. I went to the pool afterward and walked for about a third of a mile. Would have walked longer, but she warned me that the work she had done, would keep my bladder busy for several hours. She wasn’t kidding.

The wedding bouquet is drying nicely in the doorway to my studio.

My hands want to knit. My eyes want to sleep. My mouth is parched, and my cell phone needs charging. I think I will try for a two or three hour nap and then get up and go to the gym before work.

MizA, you will be in my thoughts and prayers today.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mindcrumbs.

Tonight I am getting a massage. It is months overdue, not even counting all that has happened since mid-March. I set the alarm an hour early so as to go to the gym this morning, and instead I spent that hour writing to the new guy and pondering stuff.

We have our monthly staff meeting this morning. I am hoping it’s a short one. I have lots to do before leaving an hour early so I can make it to my appointment on time. And I will be out all day tomorrow. The new guy will call me today or tonight and let me know what time his surgery is scheduled.

I am about 30 rounds from the midpoint on BittyBubba’s birthday present. I expect to be there by bedtime tonight.

I can feel your prayers, y’all. This gathering sense of peace and calm enveloping me. Thank you. My thoughts are still running around in my head like a hamster on a wheel, but mostly they are positive thoughts. I have sticky-notes all over the house, not filled with affirmations, but with reminders of things to do. Yes, I put it all on my calendar, but I also need the little visual triggers. Sticky-note on ATM receipt: Budget $30 + tip (massage 7/6/11). That would be the chair massage at the office, where I bought up the first three ten-minute slots the first week she is coming, and would have bought the first three of the following week if I hadn’t thought it would get me killed or at least severely bruised.

We had more lightning last night, and presumably more storms. I came home a little early from Knit Night, and I think I was in bed by 10:00. Much better than the night before. I certainly slept better.

6:00p.m. cannot get here fast enough, although I will try very hard not to wish the day away, but to notice and savor all the small, good things that will happen between now and then.

Be good, and be good to yourselves. This is the part where I go soak my head.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Achy breaky bod

No, I’m not hurt. No slips, no falls, no Keystone Kops antics. Just two loads of laundry last night, and an hour or so in the pool moving stuff that had kind of set-up since last I went, and a cooler than usual evening because of the rainstorm last night. My hands, and various other bits, are quite stiff and tender this morning. It will pass.

The light show was amazing while I was out and about. I thought, briefly, about fire falling out of the sky and obliterating Sodom and Gomorrah, it was that intense. [Wonder if any of the bars or “family restaurants” (you know, that chain with the owls that proclaims itself to be one, but isn’t) got hit?] Couldn’t hear any thunder from where I was, and the sky was only partially blanketed with clouds. We have had crazy winds since Saturday.

I was awakened briefly about an hour ago by rain pummeling the window unit in my bedroom. I suppose I ought to check it for hail, but it wasn’t that noisy.

We have had a stand-down in terms of the level of care needed for the postpartum sister. [So glad that I am no longer in charge of all this.] I gave the compassionate service leader my availability this week, and thus far my number has not come up. So it looks as if I will be able to go to Knit Night with a clear conscience.

Work is a little crazy, but in a good way. I opened two new cases yesterday.

Late-night exercise is not for me. There was some serious but chaste flirting going on amongst the 30-somethings. A couple of guys acting as if they were 13, i.e., loud and goofy. It was more endearing than annoying, but there were way too many people there at 10:00 last night. The ones who show up at dark-thirty in the morning are there for exercise and not for fellowship or romance.

And I was still wide awake after midnight, so I am going to have to get my rear in gear and set the alarm earlier and scoot out the door tomorrow morning, though I might go again tonight, after Knit Night, depending upon mood and need.

But yeah, I got a lot done last night even if my body is grumbling good-naturedly. I have clean clothes. I have new toothbrushes and more water for my CPAP and some things I picked up with a coupon. I woke up a trigger point or two, and might even have gotten rid of one if the itching in my back was any indication. And while I was at the store, I got cash to pay the massage therapist tomorrow night.

I am more or less on track with my knitting goal for the week, so that is good.

And my ankles are a lot happier this morning.

OK, you know the drill: be good, remember who you are, and let people know that you love them. I, um, may have done just that Sunday night.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I can feel those prayers, thanks!

Yesterday at church was pretty good. I wept and smiled through Sacrament meeting, cried when telling friends between meetings, got through Primary just fine, cried some more while telling other friends on my way out the door.

Kristen, I inadvertently deleted your kind comment, but thank you. My fine motor skills are not quite up to par these days. I managed to evaporate a bamboo DP somewhere between church and my couch, although it might be out in the car. I strip-searched my purse, twice, and it’s definitely not in there. Thankfully, these are Crystal Palace resin-infused DP’s, and I have two sets of everything from 0 to 2. When I went into the second package, I found that a DP was already missing. It’s a little like an Agatha Christie mystery: And Then There Were Eight.

I am nearly done with the second repeat of the pattern in BittyBubba’s stealth project. I am still loving it. This is fat(ish) yarn on what are for me middling needles (US 1.5), and it’s all cooperating nicely, except when one of my needles does a Houdini.

The new guy has requested a hat in Packers colors; I spent half an hour or so searching nine pages of chemo caps on Ravelry and tossed every one that I liked into the queue, including some lacy ones should I get bad news about any of my girlfriends.

Speaking of whom, I have plans to get together with one of my BFF’s after the surgery, depending upon when it is scheduled. The new guy will call me on Wednesday when the hospital gives him his time slot. He told me he had lost that battle with his new daughter-in-law, and I said, “Oh good. Then we won’t have to argue about my being there.” He says that we [d-i-l, his mom, and I] are likely to have company, as a number of former petri’s have stated their intention to show up to support the family. I told him that was a non-problem, as I am the one with the sharp, poky sticks.

He also said that from where he was sitting or standing at the reception, it looked as if I had hip-checked a former petri in order to grab the bouquet.

Negatori, GhostWriter. I was merely inspired by a just cause, and extremely determined.

My friend, Bookgrump, posted a lovely photo and story about her dad, for Father’s Day. He had been given a six-month prognosis when she was a teen. He told them that he would dance at her wedding. He did. And at his own, nearly a decade after that. They gave him six months. He lived 23 more years.

I love success stories. Please share yours. I will add them to the scripture study, prayer, etc., hymns at the top of my lungs while driving to and fro.

This is the part where I turn off the AC unit in the front window so I can sluice off and blow-dry my hair and ease on down the road. I think it’s going to be a great day.

PS: MizA, I passed on your experience and excellent advice to the new guy, muchas gracias, along with your email address, along with the emphasis that you were already taken.

Oh dear, the street wreckers-and-fixers are firing up their giant Tonkas already, a full seven minutes ahead of schedule. Gotta scoot!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Good news, bad news.



I caught the bouquet. Right after he caught the garter. It was a lovely wedding, poignant as all are which are not a sealing in the House of the Lord. [They will take care of that little detail next year, but this was one of those rare cases (as in, not involving moral transgression, more like a technical glitch) in which it is better to marry first and seal later.] And the more poignant because I did attend our ward’s temple session yesterday morning, where I was reminded of the covenants which bind both Heaven and earth, when made in that holy place.

The new guy called, as promised, on Friday. I am still reeling. Fourth stage colon cancer, into the liver and lungs. Colostomy on Thursday, chemo beginning the following week. He dropped another bombshell, quietly, at the reception last night. Prognosis is six months to two years, I think even with the chemo. But on the other hand, he has promises made to him by the Lord and also by his bishop, so he told the oncologist, “You’re the one with the fancy piece of paper on the wall, and there are some things you don’t know.” They will be using a protocol developed at the University of Kentucky which is the current gold standard.

I have a dear friend who’s had a colostomy and has offered her expertise. She has also knit multiple chemo caps (not for herself, for loved ones), and I will be drawing upon that as I start cranking out caps for the new guy.

But today it is all about the stealth project for BittyBubba. I am going to try to get at least one full repeat done today, and another by bedtime on Wednesday.

I don’t know if the new guy or his family will want me there at the hospital on Thursday during the surgery, but I hope so, and I’d like to send him home with a chemo cap resplendent with fishes. I asked him for his favorite color. He said bright.

I think we can manage that.

I have an appointment with the massage therapist on Wednesday night, and one is coming to the office for chair massages in early July. I’ve already signed up for the first three 10-minute slots.

The Primary lesson today will be a trainwreck. I did not get any graham crackers bought (no grocery shopping yesterday, except for milk and juice and cottage cheese and chocolate chip cookies at Braum’s on the way home from babysitting the Bitties so that Secondborn could run down the block to an open house for friends). I will be Solomon-izing the cookies and giving each precious child half of a deliciously large and decadent chocolate chip cookie. I haven’t even cracked open the lesson manual. Thankfully, it is Fathers’ Day, and we can color.

Oh, and one of the sisters we visit-teach has a newborn and a c-section and requires 24/7 care until her family can get here in two weeks, but thankfully she and the baby do not come home from the hospital until tomorrow.

I feel rather like the mom in The Incredibles at the moment. Isn’t she the one who could stretch out, very thin?

I’m off to fix the cookies, and then my bath, and then I’ll take a squint at the lesson.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Too many athletes, not enough horses.

And my camera battery died, early on in the parade (before I could get a picture of the Clydesdales or the bagpipe corps).

So, all I could offer you is a view, seven stories up, of the pre-parade crowd, but I don’t have the energy to pull it off my camera and paste it here.

I had a fairly bad case of the idawanna’s yesterday. It did not go away, overnight. I didn’t sleep well on Wednesday night; my [CPAP] mask slipped around on my face, so I think I probably woke up a lot, but not enough for it to register consciously. And last night was more of the same, except that I did wake up once and was grateful to go back to sleep, plus weird dreams.

All I know is, I sure hope I start sleeping better once we get a precise diagnosis, a surgery date, and the new guy is all patched up and on the road to recovery.

MovieMom reviewed Green Lantern and managed to get in digs at the casting, the editing, the unimpressive use of 3D, the vavoom factor of the obligatory girlfriend, and Ayn Rand. [My girls will appreciate the last.] I still want to see the movie. Furthermore, as soon as practicable, I also want to take up Firstborn on her offer of Ironman and its sequel.

This would not be the night. Tonight I have a party for the Primary leaders and teachers at our bishop’s house, assuming I am up to it after the new guy calls me this afternoon.

In knitting news, there was steady progress on BittyBubba’s present yesterday, and because I got to leave work half an hour ahead of schedule, I stopped at Holley’s Yarn Shoppe, which is a relatively new place quite near to the temple, and bought some four-inch HiyaHiya DP’s in the size I meant to buy when I bought the extra set of 6-0’s the last time I was in Shabby Sheep.

I coveted some of the Manos Lace (the yarn I’ve used for Lark’s and Willow’s shawlettes) in a rich variegated ruby red. If the news this afternoon is not as wonderful as I hope it will be, I will go back and pick up a skein, or possibly two: one for me, and one for a sweater for Honor and then miscellaneous small items for sale. I have some teardrop-shaped beads in the right color, in my bead stash.

The tub is full. I am nearly done with breakfast. And if I hustle my bustle, I can stop at the store on my way to work and pick up an industrial-size bottle of Cherry Coke; the deli at work has been out since I drank the last bottle earlier this week. And I strongly suspect this is going to be a Cherry Coke day. There was only one item on my to-do list when I left the office yesterday. I may be sending out a will type for food email to the other legal secretaries.

Prayers for all concerned, if you please. His mom flew in last night. I get to Meet-the-Mom at the wedding tomorrow. [And I get to decide if I’m going to ask the bride to pitch the bouquet directly to me, or if I’m going to trust fate on that score.]

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Parade? Downtown? For this?

I know the Mavs fans are happy, including the new guy. However, there is a parade in downtown Dallas this morning, and there will be street closings beginning at 8:00a.m. The parade starts near the back of my building, so we will be affected.

Security will be standing at the entrance to the parking garage, to make sure that parade watchers do not fill it up and make it impossible for those of us with parking passes to access our spaces. [Thankfully, the head of security knows me quite well and shares one of my hobbies.]

This means I need to leave shortly so that I am well ahead of the curve of rush hour and can be in my building in an hour, knitting, and at my desk at 8:00. The good news is, I can also close down the popsicle stand half an hour earlier than usual, making for a leisurely commute to the temple.

My bags are by the door. Lunch is packed. I know what I will be wearing. I just need to step away from the computer and start foofing.

Bread and circuses, people, bread and circuses. Although there should be horses aplenty, and marching bands.

mmm, drumline. OK, I feel better about this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Having fun on Facebook

Just learned this morning that a dear friend will be moving back to this area soon. Oh, how I love blessings that do not arrive wearing fake glasses and a funny nose and a moustache.

There will be a modicum of dancing at the wedding reception on Saturday. Bride gets the first one, his mom gets the next, and I get the third. Good thing that the other petri will be out of town visiting grandchildren, because it is questionable whether he will have enough energy for a fourth dance. So there is no danger of one of us ladies drawing the short straw and having to sit, smiling politely, on the sidelines.

I did half of the laundry last night, because I was wearing the very last of my clean underwear. I did not take the bag of colored clothes, and it is a good thing I didn’t, because seven of the twenty-three dryers were out of commission. Might be time to think about finding another laundromat. But this one is so close.

My friend Rebecca brought me a Ziploc bag full of laceweight remnants in yummy colors. I think I will have to sit down and rewind them all, not because she did anything wrong, but because I want to see what they feel like flowing through my hands.

I put another two inches or more on the current stealth project. It is in timeout, on the front seat of Lorelai, because one of the DP’s poked me in the cheek as I was getting into the car at the laundromat. So, penalty for roughing the knitter.

I had a wildly productive day at work. Got the last of my attorney’s revised vacation letters out. He is in trial today, so I should be able to help one of my friends get her attorney’s letters out. And also deal with yesterday’s mail, which I barely looked at.

The wedding gift components look great. I still have ends to trim, but I think I will wait until this evening, just to be sure that everything is well and truly dry. I found a gift bag and a card last night, both of them sufficiently non-bland. I will probably save the actual wrapping for Saturday.

Meeting with my visiting teaching companion for a quick bite tonight and to discuss strategy for what remains of the month.

This would appear to be all the news that’s fit to print. Time to see if I can fill the tub without a repeat of Monday morning’s damp shoulder.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I didn’t know we had a team?



A week or so ago, I noticed that phone number on the back of a landscaping truck. I frantically fished up my bag from the foot-well, keeping my eyes firmly on the road, and rummaged about until I came up with my camera. Alas, my lane surged ahead, and I did not see that truck again.

I was driving home last night, dithering about whether to have a sensible bowl of cereal at home, or another individual pizza at Pie5. And suddenly, to my right, there was the truck! Or another of their trucks. I almost missed it because of the folded-up grate that covered the back doors. So I got around them, and in front of them, and waited patiently, camera in hand, until the road funneled down to two lanes for construction, and they moved over and pulled up alongside. I snapped this without looking and hoped for the best.

Fourthborn and I don’t say that we have ADD (not sure that we do, but we are easily distracted). We say that we have OLS: Oh Look! Shiny!

And guess what, Fourthborn, we have a team, and green trucks! I thought you’d like that.

In knitting news, the stealth wedding project is finished and blocking as we speak. The stealth birthday project is underway once more.

Speaking of weddings, the reason you girls did not see me at that wedding reception last weekend, is because I didn’t get an invitation. My invitation to her shower went to Fourthborn’s house, and I had already made other plans when she told me about it. Heaven only knows what happened to my invitation for the reception. It could be buried in junk mail at the end of the couch, although I’m usually pretty good at dealing with that as it comes in. [Yesterday’s went straight into the recycling, as there was nothing which required shredding.] The past month has been something of a blur.

The new guy had his CT scan yesterday, and I had about half of the office praying for him. He has more tests on Wednesday, and on Friday he meets with hematology, the CT interpreters, and the oncologist, presumably to be given his surgery date. I got to speak with him a little last night. He was very tired but in excellent spirits, a bit abashed at the outpouring of love and support from the single adults.

Well, duh! It’s because he’s a nice guy. If he were a bozo, it would be just him and his mom and maybe his kids praying for him.

Boys are so funny.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Smooth

One of my all-time favorite Santana songs. Twelve years later, and it still gives me goosebumps. [Was going to insert the YouTube here but after viewing, I decided it was too sensual; I don’t think I’d ever seen Rob Thomas before: the kid is gorgeous!]

This post is inspired by an exchange over on FB after church yesterday. It’s a challenge to come up with age-appropriate treats for my Primary class. At four and five, they know what they like, and they are not shy with their opinions. After the sharp cheese fiasco, I was reasonably sure that it would be a waste to give them edamame hummus and a slice or two of baguette. Let them get a few more miles on their individual and collective palates, and a job, and they can buy their own edamame hummus.

So I made pigs in blankets, to the enthusiastic devouring of three little girls and the near-meltdown of a fourth. The consensus is that graham crackers should be the treat du jour, next week. Preferably washed down with milk, but they all agreed that it would not be fun to drink it warm if I brought it in my bag, and reasoned that it might spill and get all over the lesson. (That ability to foresee cause and effect will stand them in good stead when they are old enough to date.)

I think many kids just naturally prefer bland food. I vaguely remember having read something about how taste buds develop or wake up, over a lifetime. When I was a kid, I liked my food smooth and predictable. Smooth peanut butter (still prefer it; had to work for a couple of years to be able to eat the old-fashioned kind that you have to stir, with any degree of enjoyment). Brownies without nuts.

Hated pizza the first few times I tried it: there was too much going on all at once. Took me a couple of decades of hard work to eat Chinese food the way it is intended, a bite of this and a bite of that. If you had given me a handful of wasabi peas as recently as ten years ago, there would have been weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I’m not one of those people whose peas can’t touch the carrots can’t touch the potatoes can’t touch the salad can’t touch the meat, but I totally *get* them.

[The comments, almost to a mom, averred that children who are exposed to non-bland foods at an early age and who are not allowed to be picky, develop a proper appreciation for flavorful foods. Perhaps, but none of those moms have five children. I was not allowed to be picky, and my mother was a gifted cook, and there was still stuff that made me gag.]

Still are. There is a whole raft of vegetables which induce social embarrassment of the ascending (cukes) or descending (onions, beans) sort. The brassicae (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) are almost painful to eat.

I think it might be a matter of how one’s brain is organized, and where one’s talents lie, and I think it might be partly genetic. [Thankfully, at least two of my children are able to eat what they choose; one can barely eat tomatoes, another is allergic to nuts, and LittleBit’s hiatal hernia severely limits her intake.]

There are areas in my life that I like to keep separate from one another. When they stay in their boxes, life is good. And when they overlap, it can be crazy-making.

Here I am again, obsessing over food. The new guy has his CT scan today, when they will determine the stage of his cancer and the extent of his treatment. He had a pretty rough day yesterday but was elated that the Mavs won. I think the chances of my getting to meet his son’s fiancée before the wedding on Saturday are fairly slim, as there is only tonight or tomorrow night before his insane work schedule takes over.

I finished parts four and five of the wedding gift yesterday and am nearly half done with the sixth and final part.

Hee hee hee, somebody forgot to flip the switch back in the shower yesterday, so when I went to fill the tub (I alternate between a shower when I need to wash my hair, and a bath when I do not), one shoulder got a damp surprise. Thankfully, the spray missed my head. And just as I sat down here to type this, the shower rod fell into the tub, bearing my towel.

This Monday is getting off to an amusing and interesting start.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Suddenly, I'm sleeping?

“Inconceivable!” as the short bad guy in “The Princess Bride” would say.

Got my much-needed manicure after work last night. My hands are pretty again, or as pretty as workhorse hands can be. At any rate, I’m pleased with them. Had quite the discussion with NailDude about his sister’s idea of good nails, and mine. She is all for delicate, thin nails that look natural. Excellent in theory, but impractical in my own version of reality.

I learned to type on a manual typewriter. If you were sitting on the couch listening to me type, you would hear bangity-bangity-bang. Have you ever seen an old Underwood, with grooves in the keys where fingernails have them a kajillion times? In the thirteen years I have owned a computer, I have killed three or four keyboards. [In the library. With a lead pipe. While flirting with Professor Plum.]

So the three or four nails which she bullied me into removing and replacing, did not hold up well. One popped off, blowing her theory that the reason my natural nails curl away from the acrylic is because the acrylic is too thick. My own theory is that the solar nail powder, while producing a prettier nail, does not bond as well with the glue. When I was getting standard American nails, I never lost a nail, nor had my own curl away as my nails grew out. I pop a nail every four to six weeks, on average. And I am daily on the lookout for the start of nail fungus.

Sorry, you were probably eating.

I pay for acrylic nails because my natural nails are thin and brittle, and if left to muddle through on their own they split just below the quick and snag on things and rip. I pay for acrylic nails because long nails make me feel feminine. [I pay for acrylic nails because I get to hold hands with a middle-aged, straight, Lutheran guy every three weeks.] I pay for acrylic nails because it keeps them all more or less the same length, and other than the constant inspection mentioned above, I don’t have to do anything about them until it is time for a fill, or the replacement of one that has gone flying. Since I have switched to the famous brand of polish with the clever names for its colors, the actual manicure lasts and lasts and lasts, as well.

But enough about my nails. Let’s talk about sleep. Eight hours last night. After an excellent dinner of the caprese from Chop House [that’s not what he calls the salad, but mozzarella + tomatoes + basil + olive oil = caprese, and it was gooooood], I got woozy about 8:30 and shut down the popcorn stand and went to bed. And I don’t remember waking up during the night. At all. If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time you will know that this is not the norm, for me, but I wouldn’t mind if it were.

My neck, shoulders, and traps are, well, not exactly relaxed, but palpably less tense. You could still bounce a quarter off them; it just wouldn’t ricochet off the ceiling this morning.

I had planned to attend a fireside about 50 miles from here tonight, but the speaker was called away for a family emergency and will be rescheduled. I like my single friends who live in that neck of the woods just fine, and I have zero interest in getting into Lorelai during the hottest part of the day and driving for more than an hour, without air conditioning, for what has now become a simple potluck. With the likelihood that after working until 10:00 last night and from 6:00 to 2:00 today, the new guy will not feel up to attending.

I did not get the last three rows and the binding-off done on part two of the wedding gift, before I crashed. I will take care of that shortly and cast on for part three. And since I no longer have a social engagement this evening, I foresee much knitting progress throughout the day and into the night. I only have a few groceries to pick up, and Mount Washmore is far from critical mass, so I think this will be a day for reading and pondering and knitting and pondering and napping and pondering.

I hope y’all have a good one, too.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Feeling a little rash.

No, literally. There is something weird going on with my neck and collarbone area, but I don’t see or feel any bite marks. I think a food allergy would have shown up sooner. I’ll spare you the visual.

Nearly done with part two of the wedding present, which puts me somewhere between 25% and 33% finished. I hope to complete this part by the end of lunch, and I am aiming for lots of happy knitting this weekend.

There is a young married sister in the new guy’s ward who serves on Thursday nights in the temple. She took me aside last night and said, “I have something to give you, from somebody.” It was a hug, from him.

He is just the dearest, kindest, funnest [it is too a word!] guy. This morning he has his pre-op consultation. I am hoping to be busy enough at work, not to spazz, but not so busy that I can’t think or pray.

One of the single adults is checking to see if we can organize a group fast for him. I told a friend at work, not of our faith. She told me to let her know, and she would fast for him.

The kindness, unselfishness, and generosity of my friends just blows me away.

I took some pictures while in traffic yesterday. No telling if any of them turned out, but I may have some comic relief for you this weekend.

Getting my nails done tonight. Hoping for an early bedtime. I slept well, and I suspect it is going to be another Cherry Coke day.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Exceptionally random synaptic firings.

Having friends is one of the things that makes life worth living. Weird, random, not-entirely-awake thought that just poked its head up like a prairie dog: all of the people praying for the new guy, in and out of the church, make the world just that much better of a place. All of us uniting our hearts and minds and voices in hope on his behalf, helps to bring about Heaven’s will for him, and also strengthens and purifies and reconnects the rest of us.

I worked on his kids’ wedding gift last night while 2BDH worked on my computer. At this point I am approximately 25% done, if all goes according to plan.

Had pizza with the Knit Night group at a new place that just opened up (as in, last Friday) at Montgomery Plaza. It was just a little too salty; my ankles are a bit swollen this morning. I'm sure it didn't help that my attorney took me, and his former secretary, to lunch yesterday to celebrate our anniversaries with the corporation: 12 years for me, this month, and 16 for her. A wrap place in the tunnels. I got all kinds of veggies in mine and was only able to eat half. Will have the other half for lunch today.

Had an almost stellar day at work yesterday. Much accomplished in a reasonably orderly fashion. Desk is looking more the way I want it. Physical inbox (where my attorney puts the dictated tapes) is not in cup-runneth-over mode. Electronic inbox has been whittled down to size. All of which dovetail to make the workday sweeter.

Very much wishing I could go back to bed and sleep until it’s time to go to the temple tonight. I’m sleeping better but still not feeling as if it were *enough*.

I need to followup on that call I made to the massage therapist.

Sorry: you’re getting whatever is bubbling up to the surface, this morning. I think I will go back to bed for another hour and try again.

The new guy says they may be able to do his surgery laparoscopically.

Be good, and remember who you are.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Progress?

Yesterday went well at work, I think. I just kept my head down and my eyes on the typing, and I got a lot of stuff crossed off my list. My inbox is growing like kudzu, and I need to take half an hour today and whack it back into submission.

I finished the Summer Mystery Shawlette, so that’s two finished objects in four days. I worked a little on BittyBubba’s gift, and last night I cast on for my wedding gift to the new guy’s kids. He told me last night that she is a fledgling knitter and crocheter, so she might think that *I’m* a little weird, but she won’t think the gift is.

I told him I’m a little nervous about meeting his mom. He said not to be, piece of cake.

It’s been more than 30 years since I met the mom of a guy I was dating. I’m a little out of practice.

Got me to thinking about when I met FirstHubby’s parents. He had taken me somewhere for dancing (he hated to dance, but I didn’t know that yet). I’d had a drink, maybe two. I was wearing a long black skirt I had made, pinstriped I think, or maybe it had little lines of infinitesimally small flowers giving the same effect. A black surplice blouse I had made from crepe-backed satin, with a gorgeous ruffle that tapered down to nothing at the waistband, and impressive decolletage. This was in the days before (A) modesty and (B) nursing babies, so the girls were still perky and relatively manageable. I was wearing a fall, turned upside down to give me a cascade of curls.

We were at a club, to hear the band. Nobody famous, but somebody local and good. He looked across the room, and his parents were sitting at a table, so he led me over there to meet them. (His mother loved to dance, every bit as much as I do; she grew up taking dance lessons alongside the woman who would later be my teacher and once told me, “She was always better at ballet, but I could tap rings around her!”)

I didn’t meet the children’s grandmother [seems a little more elegant to call her that, than the children’s father’s mother] until I had been married to their father for a week. She flew up from California to the reception at my parents’ house, looked up at me and said, “You’re so willowy!” thus endearing her to me forever.

I have been blessed with two of the world’s greatest mothers-in-law. Both of them tiny in body and big in heart.

I hadn’t really thought about parents-in-law in terms of remarriage. I am just old enough that age-appropriate men might have lost one or both parents. I have spent most of my mental energy on figuring out if the kids would get along, because so often that is a deal-breaker [or, later, a marriage-breaker-upper].

So, eek. I’m a little nervous, but not throwing up on my shoes nervous. At least she’s a knitter, so we will have something other than a mutual fondness for her son, in common.

I think I need to go knit a little. Or maybe catch a nap before the alarm goes off.

Calm down, Ms. Ravelled; she picks up her knitting one stick at a time, just like you do.

Monday, June 06, 2011

KnittingKnittingKnitting

I have only a few (5?) rows left on the third clue on the Summer Mystery Shawlette, and the printer just spit out the final clue.

Seventeen rounds on the stealth project for BittyBubba at church yesterday.

Five precious, giggly, wiggly four-year-old girls in class, and the treats came home with me again, uneaten; they will be snackage for me this week, so all is not entirely lost.

My checkbook is reconciled.

I think I may have been double-charged (again, but at a different Wendy's) for my order on Saturday afternoon. There was a problem with the machine, and they ran my card twice, and it looks like it went both times, after all. However, I anticipate no difficulties getting a refund; I got the first one taken care of on Saturday morning while I was running around doing errands.

Feels a little weird to be going into work on a Monday morning. I was off, the last two.

This is the part where I hop in the shower, right?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A nice, productive, restful day.

  • Lorelai’s oil changed.
  • Half or more of the grocery shopping, mostly involving cherry-picking the sales at two or three stores.
  • Blue painter’s tape to go with the graph paper I bought on Friday night.
  • Five vials of lime green beads to go with the laceweight bamboo yarn (I have a doll shawl in mind).
  • The rest of the sawdust pie for breakfast.
  • A surprising new taste treat: edamame hummus, on a baguette that was still quite warm when I put it in my cart at the store.
  • The first 24-row repeat of the third pattern clue on the Summer Mystery Shawlette, and nearly half of the second repeat. I have worked a few more rows this morning.
  • One Primary lesson prepared.
  • Several brief chortly emails back and forth with the new guy.
  • A new stealth project, for BittyBubba’s birthday. It will be my church knitting for the foreseeable future. I put four rounds on it before I finally gave up verticality and went to bed to bed last night.
I aim to finish that second repeat when I get home from church today, either before or after the nap which I am already craving. But first, breakfast, and the assembly of snacks for my Primary class, and a quick sluicing, and out the door.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Oye. Squared. Maybe even cubed.

Two reports for my attorney (one of them eight pages, one of them six). Another report, last-minute of course and even more time-critical than the first two, for Attorney B. A lawsuit which came in, in the middle of the day, with the answer due on Monday. Assigned to us, because the secretary of the attorney who was assigning cases in the managing attorney’s absence, was in a rollover accident on her way to work. [She is, thankfully, not seriously hurt.]

Yet another in a string of days in which if I were still a drinking woman, you would find me under a table somewhere with an empty bottle and a serious case of the hiccups.

What to do? I joined the knitting group at Whirled Fibers on the way home, where on attempt number four I got Willow’s shawlette bound off. I grabbed yet another black bean burrito from Bueno on the drive to Arlington, and washed it down with a small IBC root beer. I hung out at Chop House Burgers until a friend got done with her massage and joined me. And we sat and talked as good friends do, and hugged good-bye.

There was a nice email waiting from the new guy, whose grace continues to impress and astound me. His soon-to-be daughter-in-law is rearranging the house to her satisfaction, with his consent. He gave me a date and time for the wedding and affirmed that an invitation would be winging its way shortly. And, depending upon schedules, he is going to try to have me over for dinner, so I can meet her before the “I do’s” start flying.

And by the time I went to bed, I had a recommendation for a shiatsu practitioner, in response to my request on Facebook. There is a single sister who is a licensed massage therapist, and one of my friends has a monthly booking. I am always happy to bless a fellow single. I can’t wait for it to be late enough that I can call her on a Saturday morning.

The comments from some of my guyfriends re: my Facebook query have been amusing, to say the least.

I need to figure out what I am making/buying for the combined ward activity that begins in two hours. It’s outside, and I am NotInTheMood to play outside, but I want to honor my commitment to bring something. So it will be another drive-by fooding.

Lorelai needs an oil change. My nails need attention. I am hoping for a massage sometime today, or a booking for early next week.

This day is looking gorgeous. The light outside, as observed through the window at the top of my door, is golden and lovely. I have a pad of graph paper in my bag, bought between Bueno and sawdust pie, suitable for designing patterns for small resin people, which reminds me that Chutzpah is still in the box in which she rode to church last Sunday [as part of my lesson]. I’ve already put three rows on the Summer Mystery Shawlette, and I think I will add a couple of more before I hit the shower. I no longer feel like Pretzel Woman. By the time I left the office last night, I felt like I’d been shoved in a tote sack and beaten with a baseball bat. This morning, I just feel normally tense. I can live with normally tense, but I have a plan to whittle that down to subnormally tense (?) in the near future.

Lest you be tempted to toss the word proactive at me, remember that I have sharp poky sticks, and I know how to use them.

Friday, June 03, 2011

So, that temple thing? It works.

Just knowing that I was going to spend the evening in the temple, got me through the day. The portion of scriptures to which I listened on the drive into work, was precisely what I needed to hear yesterday [funny how that works], although yes, it brought me to tears and kept me there for several miles.

Work per se was one small task after another checked off the list, adding up to half as many tapes still in the inbox or To-Do’s online.

I remembered to grab the cash to pay for the birthday cake. I leave in half an hour to do that. There is a sticky-note on the front door and another on the mirror in the bathroom.

Belt *and* suspenders, as my attorney would say.

When I woke up this morning, I carefully picked out all the binding-off I have done over the past couple of days and started over. Twice. Logic tells me that the way I was doing it should have the same effect as the bind-off as written, so first I tried it with the next size larger needle, and it was too sloppy (the previous attempt, with a purled adaptation of the Russian bind-off, had become crazily loosey-goosey and was exceedingly awkward to work).

I think the problem with my first try at the bind-off as written, was the tension in my neck and shoulders. I did a whole lot of slow and steady neck rolls while memorizing ordinances in the temple last night. I was in a spot where nobody could see me, but my trainer knew how to find me, so I was not entertaining or distracting anybody.

You know? Most people wake up feeling really relaxed in the morning. Nice, loose muscles. I wake up feeling like me: i.e., on Red Alert. Stiff neck. Tense shoulders. You know those pictures of prairie dogs sitting up impossibly straight, looking for danger? That would be me. It’s not as if I am perpetually afraid. I’m not. I’ve dealt with enough stuff over the course of six decades (!) that I know I can handle anything with Heaven’s assistance. And it’s not that I am a pessimist; I am chronically optimistic, to the point where I tend to schedule more tasks in a given time frame than any human could possibly manage.

I am just incredibly, irrepressibly, *alert*. I’ve made it a matter of prayer: what do I need to do, in order for my body to relax? I tried to remember if I was relaxed when I was married to the children’s father, and no I was not. I was either scared [financially, not personally] or depressed. I was frequently exhausted.

I wonder if this is part of the burden and blessing of being of the tribe of Ephraim? We are charged with helping to prepare the world for the Second Coming. Sometimes I want to beat people about the head and shoulders with a Book of Mormon, and I wish that sense of responsibility would kick over into a desire to do the family history research I know I should be doing, but meh.

In the meantime, I will put on my shoes and grab my bag and go get that cake. I may not be able to save the world, but I can feed them.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Cranky. Seriously cranky.

Work yesterday was just hard. A long tape filled with mumbling and hemming and hawing and backtracking, and little else accomplished. I am hoping for better today.

Last night I was on the receiving end of a well-meant comment that just made me livid. Instructive, because a couple of weeks ago I did the same thing to one of the sisters I visit teach, and she is currently not speaking to me, not returning my messages, and may have blocked me online.

Another week to go before the new guy has his preoperative consultation (a week from tomorrow). He is weary but upbeat. I am hopeful but tense.

I am in serious need of a full-body massage. And a good cry. My head and my heart are fully convinced that God is in charge of the universe and, more particularly, my little section of it. My neck and shoulders have not gotten the news. You could hang the Brooklyn Bridge from my left shoulder, and London Bridge from my right, and people would be perfectly safe.

It is a miracle, and completely incomprehensible to me, how I can be on red alert so much of the time and not have hypertension. One of many things for which I am grateful.

I have started binding off the shawlette. The designer specified a new-to-me bindoff, and it seemed insufficiently stretchy, so I tinked back and started over with the Russian bindoff, which is slow and fiddly [at least for me it is] but produces a superb edge.

Time to throw my lunch together, hop in the shower, and ease on down the road. Grabbing my Beausoleil CD for happy listening after I have listened to my Book of Mormon.

Thankfully, blessedly, this day will finish off with temple service, and some of that peace will follow me home.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Thought for the day?

Posted by a friend on FB yesterday, playfully attributing it to someone he knew: “The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it is still on the list.”

Have we not all felt like that, at one time or another?

No, it’s not what the Savior preached. But it makes me snort. And it makes me think.

I had a really good day yesterday, appreciated all the more because of the interesting days I have had, over the past few weeks.

My KnitPicks order arrived, days ahead of when I expected it, and my modular needles are now organized, along with the cables and the bits and bobs of accessories. There is more laceweight yarn in the stash, for dolly knitting.

Willow’s shawlette is nearly done, and I did some research on BittyBubba’s birthday present, which is up next, because it will be a quick and fairly mindless knit.

I ordered the cake for this week’s office birthday party, on the drive home yesterday, and the heat outside (and inside Lorelai) was sufficient that once I got home, I wanted to peel down past my skin and let the AC whistle between my ribs. So no Knit Night for me. I drank lots of water and contemplated a shower but didn’t quite have the energy. I sat very carefully in this chair, waiting for the sweat to dry up and go away, and once I was 98.6 again I got on the couch and communed with the shawlette and thought a good thunk and had a nice quiet evening at home.

I noodled around with my finances last night, when I wasn’t knitting, and by the end of next year I should have nearly as much in savings as I had in debt at the beginning of this year. I did the math twice.

And on that happy note, I will bid you all a happy Wednesday and grab my bags and hit the road.