About Me

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

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pondering and meditation.

Girls, this is why I spend so much time in the temple. Another lovely, calm, quiet stretch of service and insight, last night. They even had me training/shadowing a new sister, and I made significant progress in my own training.

I am looking down the barrel of another week of insanity: dinner with a girlfriend tonight (if nothing comes up between now and then), much knitting at the dealership tomorrow while they finish fixing Lorelai’s AC, church on Sunday morning, a fireside where my friend Jody is the speaker that night, a massage after work on Monday, Knit Night on Tuesday, haircut and waxing (ouch!) on Wednesday, temple again on Thursday, dance on Friday, can’t remember what on Saturday, more church on Sunday, and the week after that is a blank.

There was no knitting yesterday. None. Instead, I had a lovely conversation on Things Financial with one of my lawyer friends during lunch. He did not give me advice. He did confirm that something I am doing each payday is based on sound financial principles. (I knew that already, but it’s always nice to hear a second witness from somebody whose judgment you trust.) I may or may not tweak my investment mix, based on our discussion. He was quick to say, “Don’t make changes just because I said X. I don’t want you to do it and have it go wrong and then have you be mad at me.” I told him I would think about it, and then I would pray about it, and that if the Spirit said that that was what I should do, then I would do it, but only if. It’s my money, and it’s my responsibility to manage it, and to learn or consider different ways to do so, consistent with wisdom and inspiration.

1BDH emailed me back re: my prioritization of the various tasks which need to be done on Lorelai and said it looked good to him.

Still feeling the benefit of that brief chair massage on Wednesday night.

Today’s weather forecast? Tired, but happy. With a chance of chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sawdust pie. And other imponderables.

I found my first reference to it. Here’s his home page. You have to read the about us.

None of those exactly tell you what sawdust pie is. Easier to tell you what it is not: a thin veneer of pecans just barely touching one another above an insipid, gummy custard. Picture the best pecan pie you’ve ever eaten. Silky, rich custard. Fat, sassy pecans. Now picture the deliciously edible equivalent of asphalt, or high-quality particle board: coconut, chocolate chips, pecan chunks, all snugly bound together with impeccable custard, but only enough to serve as mortar.

It is almost a religious experience.

Stopped at Whole Foods on the way home last night and got a quick chair massage, as my neck was feeling achy-breaky. And this time I drank lots and lots and lots of water afterward. My ankles are extremely grateful, as is my neck. My innards, not so much. I woke up three times during the night to slosh down the hall.

Alison, I am taking very good care of myself. I finally connected with the massage therapist I saw a few weeks ago, the one who is so hard to catch. I asked her to call me back when she had her calendar in front of her, and I’ve booked appointments for next Monday night [oh, what a treat we have in store!] and successive Mondays at four-week intervals. Which will take me into late October, when I should know whether I am staying put or merging households. I am also getting a haircut on Wednesday.

When I left the dealership on Tuesday, I was sad and frustrated, almost to the point of tears. I have worked so hard to get out of debt, and now I am going to have to max-out my line of credit to pay for the compressor, related parts, and labor, and then for the timing belt and its labor. And motor mounts. And, eventually, a catalytic converter. I called the new guy and vented, and he listened wonderfully and did not try to fix anything, other than offering to call his mechanic. I need to set up a spreadsheet and compare numbers, but it looks like it’s going to be six of one and half a dozen of the other. I would save considerably on the AC work if I went to his mechanic, but I would spend more on the timing belt, and who knows what on the motor mounts, which they would have to see before they could give a rough estimate. (I asked for worst-case scenarios.) I am already more or less committed to using the dealership for the AC fix, as I gave them a $300 downpayment on the parts when I left the dealership on Tuesday.

Later that day I called Secondborn about something unrelated and vented to her as well. She had a different perspective. She said that, rather than looking at this as an undoing of all my hard work to get debt-free, I might want to consider it a validation of it. I have funds available to take care of this. It’s not as if I had all this stuff that needed doing, and was already maxed-out. I have options, even if I don’t like them.

Thank you. Deep cleansing breath.

I was about three-fourths of the way down the first row on the stealth project when I realized it was going to be too long. So I tinked back for a few inches and frogged ten of the pattern repeats. When I went to bed last night, I had completed the first row and a couple of inches on the second. I won’t know for another couple of rows if this experiment is going to be successful, but I like what I see so far.

Time for a bite and a quick sluice and then out the door I go.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

First summer job?

Motel maid, when I was sixteen or seventeen. I lasted all of four days.

First summer job that I liked? Sorting lima beans on a conveyor belt at the Birds-Eye plant. It was a whole lot easier than making beds in marginally-air-conditioned motel rooms. My hands never stopped. Sometimes I got to sit on a stool. I could sing to my heart’s content and not be overheard by my co-workers along the conveyor belt. I went home hot, tired, sweaty, and supremely happy. And they paid me to show up. [The miracle is that I still like lima beans.]

Why has this bubbled up to the surface? Every month at work we can submit something for “inspiring stories”. Working at the Birds-Eye plant was my first happy work memory, but certainly not the last. I didn’t know it at the time, but FirstHubby was also working at the plant, on a different shift. I don’t remember if we met at the end of that summer, or the following year. But that is a whole ’nuther story.

Yesterday was a financially frustrating day. I’m still processing it, but Secondborn’s comments were definitely helpful, as was the time I spent at Knit Night. I have a lot to say, and no time to say it, so it will have to wait. But some of you worry if I skip a day. So this is me, waving hello with the hand that isn’t holding the new stealth project.

I’m alive and well, and there is dark chocolate in my cubby at work, and I am taking leftover mac and cheese to work for lunch today, and LittleBit is enrolled at the local college for fall.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chemo sabe.

Although Brother Sushi says it should be Sobby. I think it could equally well be Savvy, because I sure am learning a lot. [I told you it was a wickedly funny blog post title! And I have been saving it for such a time as this: I’ve alluded to the discreet discussion of marital activities vs. chemo, and I did ask those questions at my well-woman yesterday.]

My doctor’s brother-in-law had chemo, and his doctor told him not to let the dogs drink out of the commode. And I had this sudden thought: bodily fluids = what about enthusiastic marital kissing? She did not have an answer for me. Or rather, the answer was, “You need to ask his oncologist.” So now he has homework for his visit on the 11th. Also the question of whether my hepatitis (type unspecified, but probably B) from 1979 would pose a danger to him. It is so weird to be discussing this with a man whom I have not, as yet, kissed.

He is starting to feel better after last week’s first chemo treatment, and we are hoping that the bloodwork before next week’s treatment will indicate that the good guys are starting to win.

Came home from my well-woman with an Rx for medical support stockings and will need to do some calling around to see who has them in stock. I was thinking knee-highs, but my doctor said that thigh-highs are what I need, even if they are not what I want.

Lorelai had her own checkup. When I left the dealership, I had cold air coming out my ears. So much so that I dialed the intensity down a step, and promptly lost my cooling. I emailed my attorney and my office manager last night, and I will be at the dealership when it opens at 7:30. I’m thinking there may be an electrical problem, something to do with the dial on the dashboard? And I have another $2,800 of work that the dealership says needs to be budgeted. I have emailed 1BDH to ask his advice on prioritizing that. I hate spending money on car maintenance (it’s flat not in the budget; I will have to borrow from my line of credit periodically), but the total is less than a year of car payments. I am, occasionally, able to see the forest, notwithstanding the trees.

I got all of my knitting files transferred over from the old computer section of my documents into the new section. In the process, I found some of my photographs, so that is good.

I’m not sure that I remembered to mention that the memory card on my camera is full. I discovered this sad fact two pictures into the birthday party on Saturday. And now I have to figure out how to extract the memory card, which I distinctly remember inserting when I bought the camera, and where the port is on this computer so I can transfer the pictures onto my hard drive. As in, maybe they are not entirely lost, after all. Which would be really cool.

Had lunch with BestFriend at Chop House Burgers yesterday. Which means that I have sawdust pie for breakfast this morning, and my stomach is whining that my throat has been cut.

Chemo Cap the Second got finished about an hour before I left the dealership yesterday afternoon. And I had no backup knitting. And had left my iPod at home, which left me at the mercy of the TV judges.

So the first order of business is to inhale devour enjoy my sawdust pie for breakfast. And the second is to put my iPod into my bag, for later this morning. And the third is to figure out the knitting du jour. I do have inklings.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Insufficient mammary at this time.

That pun in honor of my friend Alison, who was frogged recently. (Froggings will continue until morale improves?)

Today I have my mammogram. And my well-woman. And lunch with BestFriend. [Lorelai gets her turn at the car doc this afternoon.] I have my list of questions printed off to ask the doctor, and a copy of my advance directive. Because we know how deadly a mammogram can be. (I do realize that the online pre-registration form is intended for major surgery, every bit as much as the technically non-invasive slamming of The Girls into a vise that is a mammogram, which is why the form asks if one has an advance directive, and then says to bring a copy. I just find it amusing.)

If there is sufficient time, I may get to squeeze in a trip to a local yarn shop that carries those stiletto needles. I have not yet visited her shop, and she’s been open for a little over a year. In my defense, I only found out that she has a brick-and-mortar shop about six weeks ago. Oh drat, I just checked online. She’s not open on Mondays. I see from the manufacturer’s website that the needles are also sold at another local shop owned by a woman to whom we refer as She Who Must Not Be Named. No thanks.

I need to be out the door in half an hour, to be at the Grand Inquisitor’s mammography unit in an hour. Lunch will not get here one moment too soon.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Right-click + Rename + Home + CTRL-V

Somewhere between 400-500 times on Friday before last. Renaming files in Outlook that are in auxiliary sub-folders which will not migrate when the approved folders and sub-folders do, when we get the new calendaring system.

I went to bed a little after 9:00 last night. It felt really good. Found a round wooden ball to massage my calves (picked the brain of LittleBit’s guy, who is trained in physical therapy and sports rehabilitation. He suggested a golf ball (which I meant to pick up on the way home from the family party, but did not; too much sugar, not enough real food, and I just wanted to eat something sensible but light, and go to bed after it had had a chance to settle), which the massage therapist had also recommended, or a massage ball (one of those porcupine-y things), which I will be ordering online tomorrow.

In the meantime, the myrtle-wood candle holder, a sphere about 4” in diameter, worked relatively well. I slept for six hours, got up and puttered for one, and went back to bed for two more.

Right now, the biscuits are baking. They will become the treat for my Primary class today. And the manual is over by the couch, for when the tater tots that will go into the oven after that and become the happy part of this complete breakfast, are baking. I will also make an omelette, or possibly just a sandwich of dark rye with cream cheese, for the responsible part of this complete breakfast.

I did not eat a whole lot yesterday, nor for dinner the night before. Let me revise that. I had one party burrito and an IBC root beer at Bueno while waiting for my friend to show up, intending to eat more once she arrived. She had had a particularly difficult day and was too upset to eat. So I made myself a PBJ when I got home from the movie and washed it down with a glass of milk. I ate candy and cake balls shaped like golden snitches at the party yesterday. When I left, I wanted to eat real food, but I was too tired to make a decision as to where, and I did not want to spend a lot of money, and I did not want fast food, so I came home and nuked a healthy frozen entree and washed it down with milk and puttered for awhile.

I needed another six hours in the day yesterday. I need to restock the fridge; the pantry is filled with items that are more appropriate for January than July (hello: turkey chili?). And my decision-making skills are whooping it up at Club Med. I am reasonably patient with others. I am far less patient with myself, and I do not know what I want to eat until it is time to eat it. So I need to broaden what I am keeping in the pantry, to include things that are more tempting in these hot Texas summers. Which means more time preparing the shopping list, and more time in the store, hitting aisles which might not otherwise occur to me. I also need to do laundry, more to have a sense that something in my life is marginally under control, than for the typical reason that I am wearing the penultimate set of clean underwear and Mount Washmore has reached critical mass.

Can you believe it? I did not knit at all yesterday. I spent most of the morning working on my spreadsheets and dealing with financial stuff, but it gave me a great sense of accomplishment to have that done.

The biscuits are out of the oven. The tater tots are in. I am looking forward to listening and learning in sacrament meeting, and to spending time with my Primary class after that. But mostly? mostly I am looking forward to a nap this afternoon. There is a fireside for the single adults tonight, reasonably close, on a topic which interests me, with a potluck dinner beforehand. But that would require more cooking, and the idea of heating up the kitchen again does not inspire me. So we shall see.

In new guy news, he had another rough day and went to bed early. Just a one-line email to touch base, with the promise of more, later. I hope his Sabbath is as restorative as I fully expect mine to be.

Be good, y’all. I’ll do the same.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Decisions, decisions.

Me, to the CU: “I hate doing it like this (wire/$9 CU fee + $6 bank fee/instantaneous vs. transfer/free/next day), but the need is fairly urgent. Please wire $[lots] from my line of credit to my [bank] account. I need to fix/replace the AC in my car. Depending upon how bad it is, I may be requesting an additional transfer, but wish me luck. Thank you!”

CU, to me: “Will go out today, thank you!”

Me, to the CU: “Thank you. I’m hoping that it won’t involve the compressor, and that it’s just some little fiddly part that costs $2.95 and requires five minutes to install. I’m not holding my breath, but I’m hoping.”

CU, to me: “Goodness, good luck to you Ms. Ravelled!”

Yeah. This is my third hot, sweaty summer, and I reached the tipping (dripping?) point after the new guy said [when he saw how my ankle blew up last Saturday] that I might want to consider it a health issue.

So I’m having my well-woman on Monday morning, meeting BestFriend for lunch when all of the poking and stabbing and scanning are done, and taking Lorelai to the dealership for diagnostics, the cost of which will be applied to any repair. I am hoping that we can get this done for less than the amount I drew, but if need be I will draw more.

I am picking up Fourthborn in approximately six hours because she has spent the past three days working on a project that will enhance the fun at our family’s joint birthday party for Firstborn and BittyBubba, later today. It’s a Harry Potter themed party. I cannot wait! Although sometime between now and 1:00 I need to find a new white dress shirt, because the one that would have done, had an unfortunate argument awhile ago with something I was eating, and is now in the pile to be Solomonized and shared with Middlest and Fourthborn to make doll clothes.

I watched the movie 17 Miracles last night with one of my girlfriends. It’s about the Martin and Willie handcart companies, and it is superb. It’s playing in limited release, but if you get a chance to see it, make the time to do so. If you are LDS, you will find it edifying. If you have LDS friends, it will give you a better grasp of our history and culture as a people. When this comes out on DVD, I am buying it.

But first, I am fixing myself some breakfast, and then I am planning out my morning, to include at least one more pattern repeat on the new guy’s second chemo cap, which is breathtakingly lovely in the interplay of colors.

For the past three nights, I have wrapped first one ankle and then both, gently and firmly with wide Ace bandages to encourage the lymph to step away from my ankles. It has made a significant difference in how they look and how I feel. I will be talking to my doctor on Monday about a prescription for elastic stockings. Two of my friends who are nurses with similar issues swear by them, and have a catalog from which they order. If I can’t get an Rx so that I can get reimbursed from my MER account, I will just bite the bullet and spend the money anyway.

@Alison: it’s almost certainly not CHF; it’s just a wonky lymph pump in my foot, worse when it’s hot or I get too much salt. But yes, I will talk to her about that. And I need to find someone who is skilled in lymphatic drainage [a massage technique, not the installation of little spigots in my ankles, although some days I think that would be lovely].

Breakfast. Breakfast, Ms. Ravelled, and then knitting.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Intolerable Cruelty

One of the things that I did when I was home on Tuesday, was to update Ravelry. Here is the original picture of the finished skirt, posted in late March 2010.



Here is the front view of the finished skirt.



Here is the back view.



And a close-up of the handpainted silk ribbon, which does not contrast so violently in real life.



The finished skirt is 3.75” across at the waist; 4.5” across at the hip; and 12.25” in length. I did not need to run shirring elastic through the ribbing on the inside, as I had thought I would. This is for Celeste.

In other news, the side effects of the new guy’s chemo kicked in yesterday. Extreme sensitivity to cold (chopping carrots just out of the fridge was tolerable; wrangling a frozen chicken made his hands feel as if they were on fire). The anti-nausea medicine is working, thus far. He felt a little queasiness, but his food is staying down. This morning the pump comes off, and he gets to take a shower. He is a manly man, and sponge baths are for babies.

I told him, irreverently, that the cure for cold hands is a warm wife. [Hoping it would make him laugh, not make him nervous.]

There is something in the air, here in North Texas. I am suddenly coughing and gagging. Something tells me it that this is going to be a Mucinex day.

Weird dream last night: I was kissing a man I know [relax, Brother Sushi, it wasn’t you] while arguing with myself that this was not the behavior of a woman in love. My conscience never sleeps. Waking, I can appreciate that. I can remember trying to pray for an answer, or help, in the dream, as to what it all meant. [I think it means that it’s been over a year since I was well-and-truly kissed, and I probably need another massage. Thank Heaven for my Primary kids, who are all over me at church, and for the Bitties, whom I will see at the tribal birthday party on Saturday.]

I have the first repeat done on Chemo Cap the Second. I am loving it. Knitting, at least, makes sense to me, even if the inside of my head while I am sleeping, does not.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Well, *that* was interesting.

I don’t know how to attribute it, but I just folded yesterday morning while getting ready for work. Sneezing like nobody’s business, ankle swelling painfully, and enough verging-on-weepiness that I would have suspected PMS if I weren’t roughly three years past the M. So I called in sick, and I went back to bed, where I promptly fell asleep for the next four and a half hours.

It made for a weird day. When I awoke, I had gotten over the sneezing, my ankle had calmed down, and I no longer wanted to pull my lower lip up over the top of my head and howl. I still didn’t feel like knitting. (I know!) So I went into Ravelry, updated some of my pictures, and discovered that the photographs stored on the old computer did not transfer to the new one. I have a whole raft of empty folders which I will delete a few dozen at a time, and I guess I will be going back into my blog archives and copying/pasting pictures individually.

That should keep me out of the pool halls awhile longer.

The new guy and I were in touch via email last night. He has a pump that is supplementing the in-house treatment he received yesterday. The pump is Not Small. The cancer cells have been partying like it’s 1999 since his last blood test. They really grasp that whole “be fruitful and multiply” thing. He is (we are) hoping that the next blood test will show much improvement. I just had a mental image of the old RAID commercials. The can shows up. The bugs run, shrieking.

I like that picture.

I also photographed some old finished objects, the better to update Ravelry, and discovered that there were several pictures I had not published here on the blog, for items that were gifts. I deleted some frogged projects, linked a blog post or two, and finally, finally was in the mood to knit.

I’ve cast on for Chemo Cap the Second, worked the ribbing in the dark green, and worked two rounds in the bright yellow. I’ve also typed out the instructions (which were written for flat knitting) and adapted them to knitting in the round, because I don’t necessarily trust myself to remember to flip the knits and purls on even rounds.

My late mother-in-law used to say, “Trust in Allah. Trust in Allah, but keep your camel tied.” (She practiced Vedanta, not Islam; she just loved the saying.)

I have prepared my next KnitPicks order and parked it in my shopping cart for next payday. I will be filling in gaps in my needle inventory, in the smaller sizes. I entered all my pretty new 4” Harmony DP’s into Ravelry yesterday.

And I spent a little time looking for remnants of the fabric for Firstborn’s wedding gown, but found none. [Fourthborn, did I give those to you during a studio purge? Probably not.] But I did find my MoTab rendition of Messiah. So that was pretty cool.

I guess that’s it for today, unless I have another meltdown in the shower. I think I will be swinging by the pharmacy on my way to work, to see if they have any support hose or compression stockings in my size. One of my friends at church is going to give me a link that she uses. I think that will help a lot. I found some online a few weeks ago, but now I can’t find that link.

If I scoot now, I can get the Bittiest’s birthday present soaked and blocked before I have to leave for work. It’s a simple stockinette tube, so not much pinning required. I might just be able to smooth it out on the blocking board and call it done.

*Today is going to be a better day; repeat from *. (Just a little knitting humor.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Faits accomplis!

Bittiest’s birthday present is done, all but the blocking. I have wound the yarn for the new guy’s second chemo cap. Had a nice quiet evening, mostly at home, just me and the knitting and the podcasts.

Schlepped the trash and the recycling out to the street. Ran to the store for some groceries. Put them away.

Bought my ticket for a special showing of 17 Miracles, about the Willie handcart company, for Friday night. Am going to an earlier showing than most of the singles, because I don’t want to hang out in Plano for four hours after work until their showing starts. I want to be on my way back home by then.

Meeting a new girlfriend from the singles for refueling before the movie. The new guy and his mom and some of his kids may be at the same showing. That will depend entirely on how his chemo goes today, and whether/which side effects show up.

In a fit of wild optimism, I bought a curling iron with a fat barrel while at the store last night. Not quite in the mood to wrangle with it today. I haven’t even gotten it out of the packaging at this point.

This is the part where I sluice off, rinse the socks that I washed last night and hang them up to dry, do something plausible with my hair, and scoot out the door with all sorts of healthy options for my food cubby at work.

I am losing my nice neighbors. They have found a place that’s bigger, a few blocks away. They have been pure joy, but I knew that the other half of the duplex was just a temporary stop for them while they solidified their plans. I’m going to miss them.

Correction: this is the part where I start sneezing, and my ankle blows up, and I call in dead and go back to bed. But I have gorgeous, shiny hair.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A grate time in the kitchen.

He let me help make dinner Saturday night, because he tires easily. [Not a whole lot of help, but enough that I didn’t feel like Simone Legree, watching him slave over a hot stove.] I grated the better part of a pound and a half of cheese: Tillamook cheddar and some lesser variety. And when dinner was over, he put food away while I rinsed dishes and loaded the dishwasher.

My children are going, “She did what???

I did remind him, on the drive to the dance, that I am just fine with PBJ’s if they are eaten in his company.

Church was good yesterday. I was late (fourth Sunday in a row, sigh...), and instead of frowning at me from the front of the chapel, Bishop’s face lit up. So it wasn’t “You’re late. Again.” More on the order of “Oh boy! You’re here!” He is a very, very good shepherd, and in our interactions I feel my Savior’s love.

I came home, drank a quart of water, and lay down for a nap, expecting to wake at sundown. Instead, I awoke two hours later, refreshed and mindful. I spent most of the rest of the day knitting and listening to podcasts, and the birthday present for my youngest grandchild is nearly complete. Not sure if I should wind up some of the new Malabrigo for Chemo Cap the Second. He [the new guy, not the grandson] approved one of the yellows as being the perfect shade for a Packers cap. Now to design one.

I discovered to my chagrin that my two favorite spreadsheets did not make the transition from the old computer to this one. I had the 2010’s, but not the 2011’s, so I spent awhile saving-as and tweaking until I now have [more or less] what I lost. Some would consider that to be laboring on the Sabbath. For me, it was on the order of a nice long chat with a particularly bright and amusing friend. I love math.

So, I have leftovers from Saturday night’s dinner to enjoy. [Yesterday, after my nap, I polished off the ones from Friday night. Waste not, want not.] He also sent home some of the from-scratch macaroni and cheese he was teasing me about after the temple session on Wednesday. I have been craving mac and cheese. It will be fun to see if his is as good as my mother’s was.

Today his chemo port goes in. Tomorrow they start pouring in the bug juice. I am planning a quiet week, myself: very little of the running-and-seeing that was last week, although every part of me but my ankles, regrets none of it. And even they are not whining [much] this morning.

This is looking like a brillig day, but the slithy toves had better watch themselves.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Small personal victory, and a not-so-bright idea.

I’ve spoken before about the principle of fasting. This is something that we do in our church, if we are physically able to do so, once a month as a ward, giving up two meals and donating their value for the blessing of the poor. And from time to time, we may choose to fast individually, to foster a greater connection to the Almighty, to receive needed inspiration or guidance, or on behalf of a loved one with serious personal needs.

I fasted a lot when I was a new member of the church. I had many changes to make, and I had gone twenty-three years without much of a connection to Heaven. For me, fasting increased the depth and sincerity of my prayers, enabled me to strengthen or adopt character traits which my parents had taught by precept and example [but which I may not have embraced] and helped me to feel really clean in my heart.

I was not plagued with the headaches which many people experience when they fast. I did not get dizzy, or cranky, or excessively hungry. I got answers. And I liked it.

After four children in seven years (and a fifth one four years later) and month after month of breastfeeding, plus a string of minor health challenges, medications which required me to take them with food, and general you-name-it, I sadly concluded that my fasting days were over. I continued to make a monthly donation to the fast offering fund. I continued to bear testimony as inspired, at our monthly fast-and-testimony meetings, about Heaven’s blessings and tender mercies in my life. And I really, really missed that clear connection.

I woke up Wednesday morning feeling tired, achy, and scattered. [Hush.] On the drive into work, it came to me that maybe the best thing I could do, would be to fast. I would take the day an hour or so at a time, monitoring myself for negative physical or emotional symptoms, and see how it went. I spent the rest of that drive singing bits and pieces of my favorite hymns to put myself in the right frame of mind, as I had not begun a proper fast with prayer after dinner on Tuesday night.

It went wonderfully. I was productive, I was clear-headed, I had enormous energy, and I was deeply happy all day. Truly, one of the best days in recent history. And I am looking forward to next Fast Sunday, because I have proven to myself that I am not going to faint or get weird[er] if I attempt to honor that particular commandment.

Where it turned out to be a not-so-bright idea, is the fact that I was scheduled for a massage that afternoon, in preparation for which I should have been hydrating steadily all day. I did break my fast after the massage, drinking two glasses of water before leaving the office to head toward the temple. I stopped at Rockfish and had a real meal: cream of jalapeno soup and one of their heavenly side salads. I drank more water. And I paid for it Thursday and yesterday.

The massage itself went well. She said there had been so much improvement in my back, that it was almost as if it were a different back. So she focused her efforts on the top of my neck, my traps, and my lower spine between the sacral dimples and my coccyx.

Ow. Ow!Ow!Ow!Ow!Ow! I am [still] hearing from bits that I didn’t even know I had. And they are not warbling “Indian Love Call.”

When I went to bed Wednesday night, my left ankle looked like a Shar Pei. Bulges and folds going this way and that, all of them distinctly angry. I was so sleepy that I forgot to set the alarm on Wednesday night. I got seven hours of sleep. You wouldn’t have known it by the state of my feet and ankles when I woke up Thursday morning. I was on my third tall glass (a Wendy’s “medium”, so maybe a quart?) of water when I started the draft of this post, that morning. I hit the bathroom about once an hour all day, and the swelling had gone down significantly, as had the related discomfort, by the time I left for the temple on Thursday night. I got through that day with patience and a modicum of dignity.

Yesterday was not significantly better. I did set the alarm on Thursday night, but I woke when it was light, in a panic, ten minutes before I needed to leave for work. Turns out that my alarm was set to go off at 5:45 at night. (I woke ahead of the alarm on Monday and Tuesday, thus had not discovered this. But it explains why I woke up late on Wednesday and Thursday.)

Lesson learned. Ecclesiastes was no fool. To everything there is a time, and a season, and a purpose. I can fast, and I need to pick my timing better. And it is unwise for me to attend the temple on two successive nights, particularly when it is 107F outside.

I have about six inches left to knit on the Bittiest’s birthday gift. I may very well finish it tomorrow. It will be interesting to see which runs out first, the yarn, or my patience with going round and round in one-row spirals of stockinette. I will be ready for fat yarn and patterned knitting when this project is done.

I would go sit on the couch and knit some more, but my iPod is charging. I suppose I could put in a movie. What I really want, is to go back to bed, but I have the temple with my ward this morning, and all sorts of noodling-about in the middle of the day, and dinner at the new guy’s tonight, and then the dance. He told me to bring a small cooler, so I can take home leftovers.

It was so good to serve with him in the temple on Wednesday night. I’ve invited him to join our ward this morning, but I’m not holding my breath on that. He tires very easily, and I would prefer to enjoy his company at dinner tonight and then a slow dance or two tonight before we go to our respective homes and crash.

I am not planning on a late night, tonight. This heat is really taking it out of me. But my heart is peaceful, even if my ankles are intermittently cranky. Life is good.

Dad would have been 106 today. Middlest had her umpteenth on Thursday. Firstborn’s is a week from today. I do not understand how a young thing like me [snort!] can be the mother of people their age.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

“Work is love made visible.”

Thank you, Brother Gibran. This is Chemo Cap the First, in a reasonable depiction of its color.



Here is a detail of the braided hatband. The color is definitely off. The pattern is Coronet, from Knitty.



And here are all of my KnitPicks Shadow laceweight yarns bought in the last couple of months, supplemented by Rebecca’s laceweight leftovers in sundry fibers, and the pale yellow Misti Alpaca Lace I bought from Tola, and the last little dab of Shadow in a discontinued green (fourth from the left, in front; it’s what I used for Chutzpah’s sweater and its clone).



So, tonight I will be at the temple for the new guy’s ward temple night, at his invitation. And I will give him Chemo Cap the First. And two cartoons from my friend Candayce’s desk calendar at work, which are fishing-related. And a bushel of hugs, before and after the temple session.

I tried to go to bed somewhat early last night, because tonight will be a long one. His ward’s session does not begin until 8:00, finishing around 9:30, which gets me home sometime between 10:30 and 11:00. To be repeated tomorrow night for my regular temple service assignment. I wonder if I can sneak in a nap between 5:00 and 8:00?

I am hoping that inspiration or revelation smacks him upside the head tonight [what? the Almighty doesn’t thimp you sometimes? happens to me, a lot!] and gives him a definitive answer to the $64,000 question. Or tells him how to phrase the question so that he gets an answer he can recognize. Even if it’s to marry the other petri dish.

This is her night to serve in the temple. I know what I want. I think I know what she wants. [And she’s my friend, and I love her, and I want her to be happy.]

Tonight is only a quasi-date. He’s cooking dinner for me on Saturday, before the dance. And I’ve invited him to my ward’s temple session on Saturday morning, but I think that will depend upon how tonight goes, and upon his energy level.

I have to finish by razzing my children. I texted Lark last night to see when she would be home, so I could take her her last-year’s birthday present (the finished Oslo Walk shawlette by SusannaIC, much oohed and aahed over at Knit Night). She was at a concert. With three of my daughters. Which concert, you ask? Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj.

Really? [On the other hand, we’re supposed to be kind to the sick and the afflicted, so maybe I should look at this in the light of doing-unto-others and as your collective semi-random-acts-of-kindness for the day. Britney’s kids are likely to need therapy, and Ms. Minaj was beaten up by some guy in Dallas the night before the concert.] This is how you spend your hard-earned money? And you think I’m a little crazy for collecting dolls?

Oh my. I think I’m having a fit of the vapors. Somebody pass me my smelling salts!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Beastly Day

No, no, not a bad one! Just “Beastly”; my girlfriends and I watched the first half of it at lunch yesterday. I love MovieMom’s take on it, basically that the beast is always far more interesting than the prince.

That has certainly been my experience.

Can’t wait for lunch today. I love books and movies where the guy wakes up and realizes he wants the smart girl with character. Vanessa Hudgens is lovely in a smart-girl way; she reminds me a little of Maggie Gyllenhaal. And Neil Patrick Harris is perfect in his role. Especially when he is playing darts. Or picking out his tie.

Bittiest’s present is more than halfway done. I don’t anticipate a lot of progress on it until Knit Night, as I don’t want to miss anything while watching the movie today.



I blocked Lark’s shawlette yesterday. I will take it to Knit Night and then drop it at her place if anyone is home when I’m ready to go. Firstborn and 1BDH work full time and go to school full time. Including summer school. And Lark just got a job. [So proud of her!] Here is a close-up of the pattern. You can just barely see the beads at the hem.



I was feeling mildly ambitious after I unpinned it, so I put Willow’s shawlette to soak but was suddenly too tired to pin it out before going to bed. So it spent the night in the fridge, wrapped up in a towel.



I wanted to take it to Knit Night too, but it dried out a little too much while I pinned it out this morning, so after that was done I goosed it with a spray bottle. I’ll take it next week then bring it home to be properly wrapped for Willow’s birthday in October.



And then there was the matter of the surprise package from Tola: one full skein of Malabrigo in a luscious Tuscan red, and a partial ball of white, and a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in basic black, all to make chemo hats for the new guy. Just about did me in. Pictures later, if I remember.

Very interesting discussion with the new guy last night, via email, re: his chemo drugs. I will likely spend the next few nights reading up on all that. How to phrase this delicately? Men with a romantic partner are strongly cautioned not to impregnate said partner while on chemo, or for six months afterward. *So* not a problem, as we both live the law of chastity.

I have not seen the Red Fairy in over three years. But yes, I will be discussing this with my doctor when I have my well-woman in a few weeks, because when I did that post-menopause study in December, my blood levels indicated that I was only perimenopausal. I told him it was an interesting thing to be discussing, even peripherally, when we are not even holding hands at this point, and when he has more urgent things on his mind than popping the question.

But yeah, I had wondered, fleetingly: if one is married to a man who is on chemo, and the man has enough energy between bouts of vomiting and hair loss to be romantically inclined, does one have to worry about glowing in the dark, oneself?

[My poor daughters. I suspect that they are all gagging at this point.] OK, one of my characteristically abrupt changes of subject. I love my iPod. It really takes the drudgery out of things like blocking, a process I like only slightly more than cutting out things to sew, or getting my teeth cleaned. Thank you, ladies. Ya done good!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Not a very good ninja.

So said Fourthborn, when I told her there was one parked next to Lorelai outside the apartment, and I was going to take a picture of it.



“If you can see it, then obviously it’s not a very good ninja.”

At the doll meet-up, I handed Fourthborn my camera and told her to knock herself out. I was happily knitting away on the birthday present for Bittiest, and disinclined to get up.



As with their owners, the dolls themselves embody Diversity with a capital D.



That little one with the blue feet? Mel-Mel-Chan did the face-up. It’s one of the Soom mini’s, approximately the same size as my Faith, or 28cm tall, maybe a little taller because of her feet. This one is a human/dragon hybrid. The little dragon horns are incredibly cute.



Your usual assortment of ghouls and hussies.



In the red, lounging gracefully against the wall, is Fourthborn’s FaithAnn, in a prototype of Fourthborn’s future wedding gown. I am guessing that the gown itself will be a more traditional white-to-cream. I’ll get back to you on that, as I will be sewing it in the next couple of years.



On the left is her Rosalie, representing LittleBit, complete with piercings and the 50’s-pillowcase birdies just below her collarbone. My two are nowhere in evidence. Camera-shy, or off filching somebody’s chips and salsa?

Honor went home with Mel-Mel-Chan to be restrung. Temperance is smirking on the sofa table, because she got to go yesterday, and Chutzpah did not. Sibling rivalry. Still not done with that, apparently.

I am now off to do battle with the wasp in my bathroom, so I can blow-dry my hair and look somewhat presentable for church.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

M-pressed

You know you have it bad when you see something random like this...



...and think of the guy of whom you are inordinately fond, whose name begins with M.

How I have felt in recent weeks:



Kinda like that scene from “Footloose” where she has one foot on each car and is screaming at oncoming traffic.

But if your eye takes you up the side of that left mini-crate, down the left handle of the bulldog clip to the business end, up the right handle, and down the side of the right mini-crate, you find another, somewhat wobbly, M.



Something else I love that begins with M. Ditto for this:



There is a bag of ossifying, geriatric Marshmallows up in my cubby at work. I’ll spare you the visual.

So: today there will be a Modicum of laundry, a Manicure if I have my way, and then I will pick up Fourthborn for the doll meet-up, where Mel-Mel-Chan will take Honor home to re-string her. [Asian ball-jointed dolls are held together by elastic, which, in this lovely Texas heat, poops out on a somewhat regular basis. I haven’t been able to play with Honor, and I haven’t tried to sew for her, because she is all floppy and flails about and will not stay put when I pose her.] I am also taking Temperance, because she’s the newest and hasn’t gotten out much. She’s just not as portable as Chutzpah, who can fit in my pocket.

Depending upon how I feel physically after the laundry and the running about in a non-AC’d car, I may go to the game night at my friend’s, which is just south of downtown Dallas. The doll meet-up is a 70-mile roundtrip, not counting the drive to Arlington for my nails and to pick up Fourthborn and whichever of her dolls is coming along. I may just want to come home and go to bed, or go slog through the pool first and then go to bed.

I had a great dinner with Brother Sushi last night. We went to Pie5, and he enjoyed his pizza. [Goes without saying that I enjoyed mine. This was my fifth trip in roughly three weeks.] Then we drove to Braum’s for ice cream. Braum’s was a whole lot less crowded than Pie5, and we did our usual sitting-and-talking there, until we were both yawning prodigiously, and I made him take me home.

We were too tired to solve any of the world’s problems last night, so today you guys are on your own! But I have faith in you.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

When the going gets tough

The tough get up from their desks, ransack their food cubby, and walk to the break room to make a S’more. Microwave S’mores are S’mores in the same sense that near beer is beer. [Mark Twain is reputed to have said, “The man who named it near beer was a poor judge of distance.” But I digress.]

Note to Middlest: actually, I was not in a bookstore. I was also not in the alternative location for the knitting group that you know and love. I have defected to an alternative, alternative location, with an alternative knitting group consisting of some of the members of the former group.

So I could not have thrown a thesaurus at the miscreant. Not mine, nor one of the store’s. I could, however, have chucked an iced coffee belonging to one of my friends’ at him, but she might very well have objected to that as “roughing the coffee” and thrown a flag on the play.

Note to Alison: yes, there was more than garden-variety indignation that went into my experience on Tuesday night. It was as if all the frustration I feel at the new guy’s situation, and my own while waiting on the outcome, got funneled into it.

I am quicker to laugh, quicker to cry, quicker to speak, quicker to become angry, and quicker to tire. I have zero patience, although I hope I hide that fairly well. Indecision, not following through on a commitment [hello, legal secretary at opposing counsel who promised to email me discovery in Word format, are you listening?], rapid changes of plan all disorient me.

I am trying to be sensible about bedtime. I am trying to eat intelligently. I got a half-hour chair massage at work the other day, which took me from PretzelWoman to MerelyVeryTense. She will be back next week; I will be back for more.

When I had that other massage a couple of weeks ago, I asked her if what I was feeling in my joints was early arthritis. She said no, it is all muscular tension. Which is relatively good news.

I will take relatively good news.

The new guy talked with his cancer people yesterday. The port goes in on the 18th. The chemo goes in on the 19th. His treatment will be slightly to somewhat complicated because of other medication he takes on a regular basis.

And I have a wickedly funny blog post title to throw at you sometime in the future.

Good stuff planned for this weekend: dinner with Brother Sushi tonight, possibly a doll meet-up tomorrow afternoon [remind me to call Fourthborn to see if she wants to go], game night at a friend’s house tomorrow night as another option [no, I still don’t like games, but I love that friend, and we have great mutual friends, and I think I might need to be around them] and my short people at church on Sunday and hibernation for two to seven hours immediately afterward.

There are chocolate chip cookies in my fridge (one less than when I awoke this morning) and the makings for more S’mores in my cubby at work. I have seven six minutes to shower and foof and be out the door if I don’t want to deal with crazy traffic. I had better stir my stumps.

Stuff that is going right.

One of my co-workers held an estate sale for her late mother-in-law’s stuff last weekend. She set aside vintage crochet cotton for me in classic 50’s variegated pastels. Behold.



...and...



Five dolla! No, really.

My order from Jimmy Beans arrived yesterday, with two more Namaste circular needle organizers, only one of which I technically need at the moment. (This will change, and soon.) One is red, and one is purple. So now I have four.



And the boxes in which they were shipped are just the right size for wrapping birthday presents.



That’s BittyBubba’s on top. Or maybe Middlest’s.

Also in the big box were the skeins for the new guy’s next chemo cap. Which will have X’s and O’s knitted into it. Because I can. We call that subliminal advertising.



There is something that sounds large, tapping in the kitchen. I’m off to investigate, flyswatter in hand. Cue the scary music.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Ridiculously quick post.

Knit Night last night was no fun. Young twit, about 14, humanoid male, potty mouth. When the manager at the venue did nothing after three f-bombs in five minutes, I voted with my feet.

Oh, how I wished that Brother Sushi (multiple black belts) and/or the late Brother Stilts (6’5” of pure gristle and German-Irish attitude) had been there. Probably just as well that they weren’t, but I was definitely in the mood for a little applied mayhem at the time. 1BDH and 2BDH both have martial arts training, and Fourthborn’s beloved (like Brother Stilts) is redneck-once-removed. It would have been fun to have had all five of them there last night.

Sometimes I am not at all inclined to turn the other cheek; sometimes my warrior-queen is screaming to get out. Last night was one of those nights.

When I finish calming down, I will write a letter to the manager of that venue.

BittyBubba’s present appears to be bone-dry on the blocking board, but I’m giving it today as well, before I wrap it up. His little brother’s present is nearly a quarter done.

Also found Firstborn’s present, at the fourth Target store in as many days.

The new guy has invited me to his ward’s temple night, next week. In return, I have invited him to my ward’s session a few days later. He is making noises about feeding me dinner soon. I like this!

A dear friend, who lived with us briefly in the mid-1980’s, has moved back to Texas with her family. We’ve already spoken on the phone and are getting together soon. She was living in Houston-adjacent when life was falling down around our ears in the Hill Country, and she drove up one afternoon for some chick time. That was 18 years ago!

Work was really good yesterday. I closed two cases and opened another.

And now it’s time to grab various and sundry stuff and ease on down the road. Beausoleil, or Scotland the Brave? I think, perhaps, the latter.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

So far.

We got to go home an hour early on Friday. I ran by Pie5 and grabbed dinner, met the husband of one of my knitting friends (he manages the restaurant and is every bit as delightful as his charming and somewhat exotic wife). Came home and let that settle a bit, then was overcome by the need to sleep.

Lay down for a nap, planning to go to the dance in Denton, and slept for seven hours. Seven. Obviously, I needed to sleep more than I needed to dance, but still.

Stayed up for the next four hours, made another pot of Texmati, but this time I remembered to refrigerate the leftovers. Finished the hatband on the new guy’s chemo cap while listening to a podcast or three. Went back to bed and slept for another three or four hours.

Got up and picked up stitches for the crown. Alternated knitting and reading, reading and knitting, with a side order of podcasts, until I needed to get out of the house. Went looking for Firstborn’s birthday present (I already have Middlest’s). Stopped at Pier One and bought four placemats to cannibalize for DP holders, then to JoAnn’s for grosgrain ribbon and thread to match. Came home hot, tired, and probably stinky. Took another nap, but only for a couple of hours.

I had decided earlier in the day that I was not going to drive on the far side of Dallas, to watch fireworks and a movie projected on a sheet hung on the side of the house belonging to two friends who graduated from the single adults a few years back. [I told her, back then, that I was delighted for her, but that she really had no right to marry him, because he was one of the few guys at the dances who actually knew how to lead. They both laughed and cheerfully ignored me.]

But when I came home from my errands, there was an email from the new guy inviting me to stop by for a quick visit on the way to the movie. I told him I was probably not going, I was definitely taking a nap, and I would decide when I woke up. And, if I was coming, I would call him but not to expect me [see hot, tired, and probably stinky, above].

I woke up with just enough time to print off driving directions, grab my folding chair, and scoot.

Yes, I will drive an hour just to spend 20-30 minutes with him. Ariel’s got it bad, Daddy.

Nice visit: two hugs, with a tall glass of ice water and some great conversation in between.

I got to my friends’ house and set up my chair less than five minutes before the fireworks started. Had the perfect seat, oohed and aahed with the best of them, and ate about a third of my pretzel M&M’s, washed down with the last of a large root beer.

And then we watched “Despicable Me.” I had seen parts of it at Firstborn’s, but theirs is not a house wherein one sits and watches a movie without discussion or distraction. And if the Bitties are visiting, all bets are off.

I always have fun when I go; I just go, knowing that it will not be a time for cinema.

Time to put on my shoes and grab my bags and scoot out the door for church. I’ve been invited to Firstborn’s after church. I’d like that. And it will depend entirely on how wiped out I am by the heat and my beloved Primary class.

Side note: the chemo did not take place on Friday. There was a miscommunication, so his port was not installed. We are hoping that is remedied this week and that he doesn't have to wait until the 17th. His doctor is Seriously Unhappy. His doctor is not the only one.

We are burning moonlight, y’all.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Sitting here in limbo.

He has his first chemotherapy treatment today. His mom and new daughter-in-law will be with him, as will our mutual friend who is driving everybody there and home again.

I will be at work. My attorney will be working remotely, and my inbox is nearly empty. I do have one report which must go out today, but I transcribed it yesterday, and it is probably sitting in his outbox. I also have four new cases to open, none of them with an answer due on Tuesday.

Both of the secretaries whom I back up, will be out today. So life could get interesting. One of those attorneys is on vacation; the other has depositions and will be out for a good chunk of the day. Sudden horrified thought: I hope the depo’s are not in our office, where I might be expected to make coffee. Oh well, I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it ;)

I am nearly done with the hatband on the chemo cap. I think this one may end up being solid green, because neither of the two local yarn shops which carry Malabrigo, have the yellows I need. I will order them from Jimmy Beans immediately after writing my tithing check.

I love paydays. This one is basically tithing and rent, with a side order of gasoline and food. And a modicum of yarn.

Emails are lobbing back and forth between the new guy’s inbox and mine. We are talking about Important Things. So that source of stress (the lack of communication) is somewhat relieved, even if the uncertainty is not.

I need time and space in which to write at length, not necessarily for here. That will not be happening today, but thankfully this is a long weekend.

There is a dance in Denton tonight. I am going. I do not know how long I will be staying, but I will be going. I need to move this body, and I need about a bajillion hugs, even if I am currently at the point where I will cry if somebody is nice to me.

This life? It is a soul-stretching experience. And while I would have told you, six months ago, that I had already experienced my own personal Gethsemane about five years ago, I begin to suspect that that may have only been a prelude. And I am okay with that.

I know that God lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that the Holy Spirit is truly a Comforter. I know that the age of miracles has not passed. I know that the power and authority to speak in the name of the Lord, are invested in the prophet and his counselors. I know that Joseph Smith was speaking the truth when he bore witness of the Father and the Son. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that the Bible is also the word of God (insofar as it is translated correctly). I know that prayer sometimes changes our circumstances, and that it always changes *us*.

Tithing check written. Rent check written. Yarn ordered. Life is good.