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!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pie are round. (Cornbread are square.)

So, I had an email from the new guy waiting for me bright and early yesterday morning, asking about a restaurant in Fort Worth which is supposed to be pretty amazing. Had I ever eaten there? No, I had not. Did I know anything about their coconut meringue pie? No, I did not.



But I do now. As you can see, it got jounced around in the to-go box, but that did not affect the flavor one little bit. How good was it? So far beyond the goodness of the banana pudding I had over the weekend, that it might as well be in its own universe.

Paris Coffee Shop ~ I would link to them, but Blogger is being wonky ~ is only open for breakfast and lunch, and closes for the Sabbath. (One more reason to like them.) Pie is a Monday through Friday thing; they only serve breakfast on Saturdays, and apparently pie is not a breakfast food?

Could have fooled me, as that is what I had for breakfast yesterday. And, until I got to Knit Night last night, it was the best part of the day.

Work was uncharacteristically frustrating. I wrangled with the recalcitrant mouse for five hours of what should have been, at most, a two hour project. Move the mouse half an inch. Wait for it to thaw. Move it three inches. Wait again. Reboot. Finally I cried uncle and got another mouse. Part of the problem is the new server. The one that is allegedly part of the solution. At any rate, I have a new mouse (my second in about three months), and when I left work it was happily bouncing between the monitors as a good little mouse should.

Lunch was catered, earlier than I normally eat, and spent with only one of my regular lunch companions. We legal secretaries had a special project, and lunch together was an edible team building experience. However, the online ordering function had lost my order, and mine was one of several the office manager had to reload an hour before lunch was scheduled to be delivered. So my box lunch was mostly-right.

I had planned to go to Knit Night briefly, then head to the laundromat. I stayed at Knit Night until after 9:00 (I know!), came home and noodled around online for another hour or so, and went to bed.

Lots of happy knitting yesterday, both at lunch and at Knit Night. Enough that the current stealth project will be finished today or tomorrow, and then I will have to clear the coffee table and start blocking.

I have no idea what I will be wearing to work today. Most of the closet is in bags in the backseat of my car. You know where to look for me after work tonight.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Knitting progress

I blew past the place where I had stopped to frog the current stealth project. I am now well over halfway done, and I will be a little sad to have this one finished. Notwithstanding the frogfest, the combination of yarn and pattern has exceeded my expectations.

Church was wonderful (as usual) yesterday. I was on time (barely). As I sat down, I saw that the adult children of two of my friends were sitting with them on the pew. They are good kids but for one reason or another have wandered away from full church activity. That was my first clue. The second was when I looked up to where the bishopric was sitting and saw that my friend who just moved to the new guy’s ward was sitting in his accustomed place next to the bishop. The third was seeing all three members of the stake presidency sitting on the other side of the pulpit.

So I put 1 + 2 + 3 together and came up with six, and it turned out I was right. We sustained that other dear friend as the new counselor in the bishopric. I got to hand him my tithing envelope before I scooted out the door at the end of Primary.

Seriously cool.

I had another of those experiences where something that had been bugging me, got answered in the course of somebody’s sacrament meeting talk. One particular phrase of scripture that she quoted, jumped out at me with a big ta-daaaa!

Also seriously cool, and the cause of a wee bit of laughing at myself, which is frequently a good thing. And on that note, I will start the last minute scramble which has become the norm around here. I want to get out my driveway before the Tonka trucks get going again. There are two parked directly in front of my house. As yard art, they leave something to be desired...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What? I can’t hear you!!!



The Tonka trucks are back on my street. I was in such a hurry to get out of here before they fired up, yesterday, that there was no time to post. They were still hard at it when I got home last night. As in, my street was still blocked off, they were still huffing and puffing and moving dirt around, and the nice man with the safety vest suggested that I go somewhere else for about half an hour and then come back.

So I did. I went to B&N, sat in the parking lot and finished my dinner from In N Out Burger, went in and washed my hands thoroughly, and sat happily in the bookstore with my iPod, my knitting [and three knitting books, none of which came home with me, but two of which are on the list for to-me-from-me-with-love].

I finished the last of the re-beading on the stealth project before staggering off to bed last night. I’ve done two rows this morning and am now within two rows of where I frogged a week ago.

This is going to be a variegated day. I have my friend’s funeral at 1:00, laundry that ought to get done, and since the guys are still likely to be working out front until 7:00 or later tonight, I’ve changed my mind about the single adult dinner tonight and will be going to the one in Carrollton, because (A) the new guy will be there and (B) it’s a block from the quilt shop where a few years ago the girls and I were members of the block of the month club. So I know how to get there.

That heavy equipment is so heavy that the whole house was shaking awhile ago. I could feel it coming up through the floor and couch, where I was happily knitting while catching up on podcasts. I could hear empty canning jars rattling on a shelf (I checked to make sure that none of them were near the edge).

I will do my grocery shopping tonight, after dinner, and after the dust has settled. In the meantime, it’s weird stuff for breakfast and lunch: coconut milk and whole wheat mini-bagels dredged through edamame hummus for breakfast, and probably a Caesar salad kit for lunch.

I’m heading back to the couch and my knitting. I leave you with this:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The most important things.

When the Savior was visiting His friends, Mary and Martha, Martha was taking care of business in the kitchen. Mary was sitting near the Savior, learning. Both are needful. I spend way more time thinking about things than I do keeping house, which is still, nearly 60 years after I got here, bound up with my adolescent power struggles with my left-handed Virgo mother about the right way to do things. And so it goes in cycles, as I fumble towards balance in that aspect of my life.

And I spend more time inside my own head than I do interacting with the people who matter most to me. For those of you familiar with the Lord’s counsel to Oliver Cowdery to study things out before asking for inspiration, well I have that part down cold. I could stand to do more asking. Both with Him and with my kids and my friends.

Starting last Sunday, I have been able to spend a little time with four of my five offspring, either in person or on the phone. It has been, quite simply, terrific just to be in their presence, whether we could talk, as I did with Middlest on the phone Tuesday night or Fourthborn over ice cream last night, or we were worshiping quietly, as I did with Firstborn and Secondborn in their respective wards. I hope to catch up with LittleBit before the end of the week.

I have laundry to do and computer issues at work, and my kitchen does not bear contemplating at the moment. But there are four times this week when I know with certainty that I was where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing.

And that, as another famous Martha has been known to say, is a Good Thing.

The new guy has more chemo today. I would much rather be with him than at work; thankfully I have enough stuff to do because I didn’t get it done yesterday because I had to reboot my computer five times because the mouse kept freezing, that I will have no time to fret.

In knitting news, I listened to 1.75 podcasts this morning and added another two rows to the stealth project. I am now going to emulate Taz while putting my temple bag and my lunch together so that I can scoot on out the door in eleven eight minutes or less.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Maybe my title is under a couch cushion?

For those of you who are not Facebook friends: my friend Kristen linked to this.

And Tina shared this, in a link embedded in her current blog post. As Blogger does not want me to link to it, I will quote it: Constance’s face turned so red, her pale blue eyes glistened so brightly behind angry tears, and her wispy blond hair was in such a state of dishevelment that she looked more like a small child’s painting of a person than an actual person herself. A fierce display of vivid colors in odd proportions, she seemed to have stepped right out of a canvas for the sole purpose of throwing a fit. ~ The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Had a good visit with Middlest last night. She was at work when the quake happened and barely felt it. Their apartment is on the second floor, and it was a little more pronounced there, but all was well at home, thus far. [Her roommate called her.] They are keeping a weather eye on Irene, which is supposed to strike land just south of them.

Had an amazing massage last night and learned a little more about how the body works. Or doesn’t. Mine, in particular. I have some tender spots this morning, but I can reach them with the golf ball and can work on them at odd moments throughout the day.

Just waiting for one of you to comment that my life seems to consist entirely of odd moments.

Have an appointment in a couple of weeks for a free allergy screening. I think it might be with a biofeedback machine??? At any rate, I’ll let you know how it goes, and what I learn. Free advice is sometimes priceless. And any testing that does not require me to fast from midnight on, is likely to get my vote.

Zero progress on the stealth project last night. A modicum of progress on the church knitting at lunch yesterday, while watching an old and deliciously clean movie with some of my co-workers. I think it might have been produced by Western Union, because there are plot telegraphs like you would not believe. But it is good clean fun.

The new guy went fishing yesterday and caught things he could keep.

And if I hurry up and get ready for work now, I might have time to sit on the couch and work on the stealth project before I have to hit the road.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Personal revelation. With a side of parody.

The primary point of doctrine which sets the Church apart from other Christian churches, is that we believe the heavens are not sealed. That God still speaks to the world through a prophet [who, if what I read on Facebook is to be believed, turned 84 on Sunday; I’ll check on that in a minute*]; that local church leadership is called by prophecy and revelation; that parents are entitled to revelation in leading their families; and that individuals may receive inspiration to guide their daily lives.

That’s the first bit of background that you need to have in order to appreciate this post.

The Church is huge. There are over 14 million of us, worldwide. The Church is divided into multiple areas (with area presidencies serving under the direction of the First Presidency, or the Prophet and his two counselors). It is further divided into stakes, similar to Catholic diocese, and wards, which are similar to Catholic parishes. We are parochial in nature, rather than congregational. If you live here, you will attend that ward. So, no shopping about for a preacher that you like. The doctrine is correlated throughout the church.

If I were to go to my sister’s near Seattle and attend church in the ward that would be hers if she were LDS, I would hear the same Relief Society lesson that I would in my own ward, or possibly the one I heard last week or will hear next week, allowing for the timing of stake conferences, ward conferences, General Conference. The delivery of that lesson, or the fleshing-out of the bones of that lesson, would be adapted by inspiration to the needs of that congregation. They generally give us too much material in the manuals to be covered within the confines of the class period, thus ensuring that we rarely have to experience someone standing at the front of the room and reading out of the manual while we read along in ours.

That’s the second bit of background that you need.

On the third Sunday of the month, the member of the stake high council (twelve men who are called out of their individual wards throughout the stake, to serve with the stake president and his counselors, to lead and teach and govern church members residing within the stake) go out to their assigned wards and speak upon a topic chosen by the stake president (again, through inspiration). Some of these brethren are gifted speakers. Some are not. Thus the loving tradition of calling this particular Sabbath Dry Council Sunday.

We have a new one in our stake. He is a young one (they are expecting their first child), which is typically not the norm; frequently brethren are called into the high council who have served as bishops in a ward, or counselors to a bishop. [Perhaps he was a Doogie Howser bishop?] He is a good speaker despite some understandable nervousness at the magnitude of his calling. So he spoke to us on Sunday, and what he said is not necessarily what I heard, or what I remember, as is often the case.

Frequently there is a word or phrase that jumps out at us, opens our hears, and allows the Spirit to get a toehold or maybe even truly get our attention. He spoke a little about the Pharisees in the Savior’s day, how they were so proud of being full tithe-payers that they even tithed on the herbs which seasoned their lives. They knew they were obedient, which meant that they were righteous, which meant that they were cooler than anybody else. The Savior chastised them for the things which they did not often think to do: being kind, being helpful, being loving. The sins of omission.

Which is when the Spirit suggested to me that after church I should drive to my old stake and go to sacrament meeting with Firstborn. And after that, I should scoot back to Fort Worth and surprise Secondborn in her Relief Society meeting. I may not ever know, in mortality, if I was going for them, or for me [I was not feeling the slightest bit needy when I got those impressions], and I may not need to. The real miracle is that I heard, and I went.

But before I did that, and before I taught Primary, I went up to the speaker and told him how much I had enjoyed what he’d said, and that I had gotten two specific pieces of revelation that I was going to act on, that day. And he lit up. Because sometimes the speaker and/or the topic have little or nothing to do with what we need to hear or ponder or do.

I frequently joke that the surest way for me to know that I am receiving revelation is when I am asked, or told, to do something that is good, that would not naturally occur to me. So it was an especial treat to be invited to do something that was thoroughly enjoyable.

*Google says that Wikipedia says that President Thomas S. Monson was born August 21, 1927, in Salt Lake City, which certainly sounds like 84 to me.

I came home and slept like a rock and knitted until the wee hours and had a great day at work yesterday and a decent night’s sleep last night.

And now it is Tuesday, and I woke ahead of the alarm, and tonight I am skipping Knit Night to get another massage, and one of my Facebook friends gave me a link to a woman who conducts free allergy testing twice a month, so I might be going there in September.

My arms are still relatively relaxed from the last massage, and my right foot and leg are holding up well, and the swelling and stiffness on my left side are noticeably less. The new shoes fit well, and a callus which had built up on the outer edge of my left foot is diminishing daily: it is now roughly the size of an uncooked lentil and no longer tender. It must have been pressing on a nerve.

Because we know I have a lot of that, some days. Just like in the song:

I’ve got nerves that jingle, jangle, jingle
As I go riding merrily along.
And they say, hey ain’t you glad you’re single?


What do you mean, that’s not how it goes?

Monday, August 22, 2011

BestFriend’s Mom

Dear friends and family:

My best friend’s mom passed away yesterday afternoon, in a city far from home, while on vacation with other family members. Both daughters were able to be with her when she passed. [She is within a year of the same age as my big sister, and shares the same first name.] She was widowed in her 40’s and never remarried. So, while her sweetheart is no doubt ecstatic to be reunited on the other side of mortality, the family still waiting behind here on earth is grieving. Please remember them in your prayers.

She was a marvelous friend to me, particularly after I became a single mother. I am better because I knew her.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stating the obvious.



Just in case you missed it, on the back of that bag of Blue Diamond Almonds, “Ingredients: Almonds. Peanut free. May contain other tree nuts.” Like, maybe, almonds?

Yesterday was a good one. A really, really good one. I had no difficulty staying awake during the temple session. We made a brief stop at an LDS bookstore near the temple (where I frugally visited with other friends while he picked up a couple of things), then had lunch at Pei Wei.

We were in our own cars, so he told me where to turn, and where the restaurant was, but not the name. There is an exit with a traffic light from the parking lot of the bookstore, and another exit a couple of car-lengths south of it, for traffic turning right. I normally use the light, even if I am turning right, but there was a backup, and I was starving and impatient, so I hooked the right and got ahead of him, then realized that my phone was turned off, in my bag, in the foot-well behind my seat, and there was no way but telepathy to contact him if I guessed wrong. I turned left at the next light and made an immediate right into the parking lot in front of Pei Wei, hoping I was right.

He pulled in a few seconds later, and I grinned in relief. When we got out of our cars, he said that he had momentarily forgotten the name of the restaurant, as he hadn’t eaten there in awhile. He just remembered that he liked the food.

“Oh, that’s easy. It’s named after the famous ball player, Pei Wei Reese.” I got more than a pity-laugh out of him for that. [Alison, my punny friend, are you proud of me?]

I had the sweet and sour chicken. He had the sweet and sour shrimp. One more reason to be thankful that we are not kissing. [For those of you who just tuned in, I am severely allergic to shrimp.]

Note to self: next time, do not order the sweet and sour chicken, which though delicious, is hotter than the hinges of Houston Hell. I ate about a third of it, which kindled a minor inferno in my stomach, and put the rest in a to-go box. I think if I make up a week’s worth of plain rice and mix the two, just before eating, and add fresh sweet and sour sauce, I can polish it off without pain. Because it’s too tasty to just pitch out and chalk up to experience.

We talked. A lot. We talked a little about finances, not in a we’re charging ahead with this way, more in a if we decide to go forward once we know how the chemo is going, this is a snapshot of what we bring, good and bad, way. And I gave him a supremely condensed version of various things in my personal, and our family, history that underlie the dynamics of how the girls and I relate to one another.

A lot of it will depend upon whether his application for disability is approved. Because we already know that with my current take-home I would not be able to cover the mortgage payment, much less utilities that are roughly half again what I am currently paying (because his house is larger though better insulated), and still continue to chisel away at my debt at the current rate.

We also briefly discussed the issue of my need for a studio, and that having a bed in it for the grandchildren would defeat the purpose of having a lock on the door. We were both sufficiently well rested to see the humor in that.

So, a good start made. And now I need to finish my preparations for today’s Primary lesson. Salt clay. Not what I wanted to make at 7:22a.m. in August when it’s already 85°F at DFW Airport.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I love Excel.

I sat down with a bright shiny new spreadsheet, the weight of the remaining yarn, the knowledge of where I was in the pattern, and calculated just how-much-too-much pattern would be left to work, after I ran out of yarn on the current stealth project. (I bought the only ball of its color at the yarn shop.)

I needed another fourteen percent. Would eliminating two pattern repeats be enough to make up the difference? Almost, but not quite. Taking out four pattern repeats would do the trick. At which point it was time to frog thirteen days’ worth of knitting, without losing any of those beads. So I took a nap, instead.

And then I tackled it. Grabbed the wide, shallow bowl in which I serve spaghetti when I’m feeding the tribe, slid the needle out of the stitches, retrieved the stitch markers, and started frogging. Half an hour or so later, I was down to the last two rows. Another half hour or so to carefully pick up the cast-on row and dislodge the remaining beads, only a few of which flew out of the bowl and onto the floor. I think I found them all. The yarn is rewound and resting in a nice, loose ball. The beads are waiting to join the party when I start knitting again.

I celebrated with another [far shorter] nap, until it was time for my evening meds. Then I put the stealth project which I finished earlier this month, to soak in preparation for blocking. Wish I could show you what it looks like, but I am seriously impressed. This was my first time to knit with 100% stealth-project-fiber, and it knits like a dream and appears to stay put when blocked; i.e., details are not lost once the pins are taken out.

Ran out and got a few groceries: milk, more Puffs, white tic-tacs to take with me to the temple and pop into my pocket, by which I hope to minimize or eliminate my coughing. A pint of Ben and Jerry’s, and it’s a measure of how crummy I have been feeling, that I only ate a modest, sane portion before popping the rest of it into the freezer.

I did some quiet, but serious, puttering yesterday. Lots and lots of much-needed shredding. I frisked the May and June 2010 pages from my old organizer for things like receipts and extra pages, put them with the rest of the pages, and bound up that year with a ribbon, as I had done for 2006-2007, 2007-2008, and 2008-2009. In the May section I found a small paper bag containing two small buttons that I think I bought at Shabby Sheep last year to turn into earrings. They are made from smallish discs of shell, with two holes along one edge, to be used as paillettes in one’s knitting. I looked at my sterling split-rings, but the 4mm’s are just a wee bit too small to both reach the edge and allow space for a larger ring, to which the French hooks would attach.

Oh drat, this means I shall have to make a field trip to The Artful Bead. Whatever shall I do?

Time to get ready to drive to Dallas. My bishop will not be there with the rest of the ward, after all. One of his college-age children has come home for the weekend. So the new guy will have a slightly less gauntlety gauntlet to run. And he has promised me Asian food for lunch.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mildly amusing.

Apparently if you have a blog post with checkbook in the title, you attract spammers from Haiti who want your help. Thankfully, your intrepid heroine [wonder if that word will attract illiterate spamming drug dealers?] has comment moderation enabled. A pain in the patoot for all you law-abiding folks, but wonderfully conducive to keeping this blog a happy place to be.

In less amusing news, I came home early from work yesterday. We had a three-hour staff meeting, which might just hold the all-time record since I went to work there. And for some reason that conference room, in which you normally could hang meat, was stuffy and overheated. Or maybe I had a fever. I don’t know. [I’m a little warm as I write this, mid-evening on Thursday night, when I normally would be serving in the temple. I called in sick, attempted to find a substitute, and went to bed for two hours after downing a generic Claritin. I am waiting 23 minutes until it’s time for my next Mucinex. My first stop, once I got to Fort Worth, was at the pharmacy, to talk with the pharmacist, who reassured me that I could take both. So I am.]

I am really bummed that I did not get to serve at the temple on a night when two of my kids (kid+spouse) were going to be there. That would have been so much [exceedingly reverent] fun. And now we are going to have to wait for another opportunity to see if 1BDH + me in the temple = lightning strike.

I ate a lot more grapes than I ordinarily would have, after I awoke from my nap. It wasn’t much of a day for real food. Was back in bed by 9:00 or so, up again a little before 2:00 this morning. We are learning the 9th Article of Faith in Primary, by singing a musical arrangement of it. That melody was playing in my head as I woke. Not a bad thing to have running through the back of your mind, and one more testimony of how important it is to put good things in there, because you never know when they are going to crop up. Or you might need them.

I am powerfully thirsty, this dark-thirty morning. I think I will refill my glass of water, eat some cherries, and go back to bed. More later?

It’s later. The sun just woke up, and so did I. Called in sick. Peeling clementines for breakfast. Heading to the couch shortly, to knit a row or two, and then, probably, back to bed. Almost time for the next dose of Mucinex.

I just want to be well for tomorrow and so that I will be fit to teach on Sunday.

Bleahhhh.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The checkbook is well and truly balanced.

The same may not be said for Ms. Ravelled. Morning two of coughing and hacking. We are not amused. But in an hour, we can take more medicine, and that should help. (We also found an unopened box of Puffs on the end of the couch, which will go to work with us today.)

OK, enough of the royal we.

I just spent the better part of an hour entering data into my new check register and reconciling my checkbook. The register was stalled-out at about three weeks ago, and the little paper receipts were piling up. Now everything is financially tidy, and all that remains is to have a shred-fest.

Just got a call from Firstborn. She and 1BDH are having a date night at the temple, so I will get to see them for the first time since the family party in July. That will be great! I can’t wait to see his expression when he sees me standing there with my little name tag, radiating [relative] serenity and order and calm. If lightning hits the Dallas temple tonight, you will know why.

After doing a drive-by fooding for visiting teaching last night, I came home with a clear conscience (skipping the quilting class at RS since I already know how), because I wanted to finish the beading on the stealth project. Which I did. It was a real nail-biter as to whether I would run out of beads before I ran out of row, but there are just nine beads left, plus the one that went flying at the coffee shop on Tuesday night and promptly vanished. [I heard one ping, and we all looked for it, but it must have gone into the same black hole that ate one of my bamboo DP’s at Knit Night a few years ago.]

I have no idea what I’m wearing to work today, or what I will do once I get there. I have a couple of phone calls to make, and a new case to open, but unless Attorney B brings me a whole raft of reports that are due, I may be sending out an email that says will type for food...

I did get to talk with Secondborn last night, half an hour of blissfully uninterrupted mutual support and laughter. And maybe 15 seconds with Middlest on the drive home, but she was at work. Just long enough to say that I love her and was thinking about her.

In spite of the whole coughing and hacking and generally-not-breathing well business, I feel better, overall, than I did earlier this week. I slept fairly well last night, and now it is time to go soak my head.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I’m not making this up.

When I sprinted downstairs yesterday afternoon to grab the nearly-full box of Puffs out of my car, to replace the one on my desk which had just bitten the dust, well, I should have had my camera with me. Because the left-hand column of cars was neatly sorted by color: pearl, black, white, [concrete pillar] silver, white, white, [concrete pillar] silver, silver, silver, [concrete pillar] white, white, white, [concrete pillar] red, white, white. A special convocation of the OCD Parking Club?

Yes, I am just that easily amused.

I had all sorts of random thoughts bouncing around inside my brain-pain on the drive to work yesterday. By the time I got there, I had pretty well worked myself into “keep your dadgum ladder” mode. You know the story: man decides to borrow a ladder from his neighbor, and on the way he pictures how the conversation will go, escalating from polite inquiry to foaming at the mouth, and when he bangs on the neighbor’s door and the neighbor answers, he hollers, “Oh yeah? Well you can keep your dadgum ladder!” and turns on his heel and goes home.

I was thinking, rather more rationally, about the expectations we all bring to a new relationship. What do I want? Pretty much the quiet life I have now, with someone across the table three meals a day, and marital relations at age-appropriate intervals. What does he want? Not entirely sure, but I intend to find out. I spent twenty years being the good wife, pretzelizing myself in an attempt to be supportive.

No mas. I have opinions. I intend to share them, seasoned liberally with kindness.

I shared a few with him last night via email. He responded. We start talking, in depth, at lunch on Saturday. I would feel a whole lot more enthusiastic were it not for the fact that apparently the song of the ragweed is now being heard, chez Ravelled. I haven’t found any data online to back this up, but one of my coworkers went home sick yesterday afternoon, and my head has that familiar, quick-set concrete, feeling. Thankfully, there is Mucinex in my bag, and I’m hoping that takes care of it.

You might want to buy stock in Puffs (Proctor & Gamble). I can probably single-handedly turn the stock market around in the next six weeks or so.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

These are the knitting podcasts to which I am listening at present:
1. The Anatomy of Knitting
2. Knit Picks’ Podcast
3. Knitting Rose
4. The Savvy Girls
5. Sticks and String

All of them available on iTunes. I have gone back to the beginning on #s 1, 2, 4, and 5. When I am caught up there, I will see if there is a way to go back to the beginning on #3. iTunes picked that one up at Episode 88.

Do you have a favorite, squeaky-clean podcast you like, that you would recommend? [I deleted a couple of the early Savvy Girls podcasts, because there was some music which they warned in advance was going to be somewhat suggestive, so I stopped before I got there and moved on to the next episode.] I am enjoying, thus far, the LDS-culture-related podcast to which I have been listening, but I am not yet ready to recommend it.

In knitting news, the church knitting, something of a sampler in doll scale, grew by several rows (i.e., several millimeters) on Sunday. And the current stealth project continues to please me, very much. Although I think I might need to buy more beads next Saturday, if I get back to Fort Worth soon enough after the temple session.

In new guy news, there have been recent discussions which suggest to me that he might be inching closer to a decision. I dropped a couple of clarifying questions into his inbox late Sunday night, or possibly early yesterday morning. I had a long nap after church, and I stayed up late, and it all sort of ran together. If we could just dislodge the Other Woman (Ms. Cancer) from the voting booth, I think it would all sort out rather quickly, one way or the other.

Went to bed about 1:45a.m., yesterday. Dozed a little. Back up at 3:00, to break apart those ossified baguettes and beat 10 eggs and four cups of milk and put it all together with some herbes de provence and frozen chopped onion and the smoked cheddar. Forty minutes after I started, into the oven it went. After I shut the door on it, I thought to myself that it might have been better to cover it and let the bread soak up all that jollop before applying heat.

Notwithstanding my misgivings, it turned out quite well. I had meant to post the above before leaving for work yesterday, but it was not to be. And I spent an hour or so after work at the Sprint store, getting my phone tweaked, and completely forgot to post. I was in bed around 8:30 last night and woke up around a quarter to 5:00 this morning. Easily seven and a half hours of sleep. And as Mrs. Potts sang, I feel human again.

Pondering stuff, because pondering is what I do best. Well, other than knitting. I need some quiet time with the new guy, with no distractions other than whatever fish might be interested in becoming dinner. I’m happy to hear his stories. I have stories of my own. And they are bubbling around inside me, unsaid. I’ve heard a handful of his stories more than once. I don’t mind hearing them again. But I really need to feel heard. And I am not feeling heard at the moment. I plan to address that at lunch after the temple session on Saturday.

As Toby Keith sang, I wanna talk about me.

When the new guy’s wife was still alive, a grandchild spent the weekend with them. Every weekend. The Bitties have never spent the night with me. I can see how it would be a lovely way to have one-on-one time with each child and how it would strengthen the extended family, plus supplying much needed relief to the parental units. Nevertheless, the idea of giving up every weekend to the short people, gives me the willies. So I need to know if he would be willing to change to every other weekend, or maybe once a month or every three weeks, and if the Bitties would want to be fitted into the rotation.

And then there is the matter of my studio. I need one, pure and simple. A dedicated space. Currently there is no need for a lock, because I go see my grandchildren and not the other way around. His two oldest, and my two oldest, are reasonably respectful and understand the idea of thou shalt not touch. His two youngest, and my youngest, do not. Olfa cutters, paper cutters, scissors of all sorts, needles, pins, delicate and expensive tools. And about $3,000 worth of dolls.

We were talking, hypothetically, about what might be suitable studio space. His food storage room, even with a lock put on, would not. Especially since it is the room with the twin bed for the grandchildren, and putting a lock on the door to keep the kids out if they are sleeping in that room at night, seems counterintuitive.

Yes, I do think I am looking for reasons why this would not work, now that we are getting closer to the time when decisions will have to be made.

I need to be brave and show him my studio. I am more than willing to give up 98% of my kitchen stuff, because he has more kitchen stuff, and better kitchen stuff, than I do. Most of my furniture I can pass on to others. I’m not [at present] willing to give up the antiques I’ve bought (he hasn’t asked me to; we haven’t even discussed it, just like we haven’t talked about a lot of things I think are important). And I am not willing to give up my creative space, or winnow it down to fit into a corner somewhere, because that is where I will find my sanity when he is finishing up his time here on earth.

One of my [thoroughly worldly and somewhat cynical] friends at work has pointed out that he has everything to gain, and nothing to lose, by marrying me. On the other hand, I would be giving up privacy, and serenity, and solitude, and quiet, in exchange for being held. And even that is likely to have a short shelf life. At the moment, his eldest son and bride are occupying one bedroom. His mother is in the guest room. That’s four adults to deal with, when I’m used to being alone.

Still love him. Still happy when I’m around him. Still frustrated that a decision is several weeks down the road. Still trying not to shoot myself in the foot.

Thankfully, there is Knit Night tonight. And the current stealth project is smart enough not to argue with me.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My well-woman.

Got the results back, when I nipped out at 10:30 to see if I could snag a burger at the In N Out which just opened a mile or so away. (I could, and I did.)

Everything is normal, including the mammogram, except for my Vitamin D level, which is just a tad low: 28 as opposed to the 30 - 100 she would like to see. So tomorrow on the way to work, I will pick up a bottle of Vitamin D supplements (2,000IU).

Lots of lovely naps yesterday, and reasonably good sleep last night. Minimal but acceptable knitting progress. A couple of podcasts listened-to, another one considered but rejected; MovieMom is crazy about it, but of the five episodes listed on iTunes, two were marked explicit. Glad for the warning, and am taking a pass.

My theoretically possible future mother-in-law is heading home later this week. The new guy is planning to join me on Saturday to run the gauntlet with my ward at our temple session. This fills me with glee.

As opposed to Glee. One of my Facebook friends, the lively and generally intelligent spouse of a good friend of the spouse of one of my kids [I am trying to avoid apostrophes today], posted that her six year old daughter recognized a song from Ella Enchanted as something she had heard on Glee. My horrified reaction was, you let your child watch that show? Really? I toned it down considerably in my response. At least, I hope I did.

This is the part where I get off the computer and put my bag together for church. And then put myself together for church. Wish me luck.

Oh, before I forget, I have no idea whether the other remaining petri dish witnessed the new guy getting his storage containers from my car after the temple session on Wednesday. Presumably, he is feeding her well, as well, and rotating leftovers and storage containers with her. Whatever else is on his plate this coming week, literally or metaphorically, the plan is to spend some time with me on Saturday, serving in the House of the Lord, and then have lunch together afterward. Preferably without the rest of my beloved church family. I have not had uninterrupted quiet time with him since we went fishing in April. [I am sure not counting the time we spent talking in his hospital room in June!]

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Really good day, so far.

I’ve been to three grocery stores, brought everything home, divvied it up and put it away, and now I’m ready for a nice aromatherapy bath and a nap of some sort.

My poor phone is so confused. I shut down my Yahoo! account. My phone is still trying to sync with it. I keep getting help?! messages asking me to log in or confirm my password. I’ll have to go to the Palm site and take care of things from there.

I just ate the last of last Saturday’s cherries. I am eating the leftover salmon from dinner, while contemplating the leftover broccoli with love and suspicion. On the stove, a pot is beginning to simmer, so that I can cook up the last of the whole-grain rotini and stir in the last of the bottled pesto. It will get put away for future lunches and dinners, but because we’re having some rain, cooking seems like an adventure rather than drudgery. Today is a day for grazing, and gratitude. I briefly thought about polishing off last night’s dessert, but I’m saving that for after church tomorrow, so I am having canteloupe instead.

The massage last night was pretty amazing. My right foot, ankle, leg, and hip are (I think) nearly well. We mostly worked on the left side last night. My contribution to the work, was to just lie there and not try to help. She also worked some on my neck, traps, and both arms, particularly around the elbows.

At the moment, there is no perceptible swelling in my right leg, all the way down to my toes, and the skin is resilient, rather than hard, like a carapace. My arms and my traps are still squishy. And I can feel the tension building in my left calf, so as soon as the pasta is dealt with, I am going to lie down, wrap that ankle and foot gently to encourage the lymph to just keep moving along, buddy, and snooze a little.

I bought some of the Greek yogurt that the new guy and his eldest recommended. Maybe I will have some of that when I wake up. And I bought a little plastic lemon so I can take juice to work to squirt into every third bottle of water, or so. I keep one here in the fridge at home, and the first water in the morning gets a shot of lemon (if I remember).

The new guy’s cancer cell count soared after two rounds of chemo; they tell him that this frequently happens. What I think, is that the cancer cells are running around like bugs in a Raid commercial, looking for the exit. His liver function is normal, and the twinkle is back in his eye.

He asked his oncologist all the questions I gave him to ask, and got answers that made me grin. Came back with a couple of questions of his own.

Eldest son’s bride is posting pictures from the reception. There is one of the four of us standing together, garter on the new guy’s sleeve, and bouquet held triumphantly in my hand. I am grinning like the Cheshire Cat. His comment: “...not sure where this is going.” My response: “We could discuss it...” And there is one of me catching the bouquet. I am going to print both and frame them and put them on my desk at work.

Pasta is cooked, sauced, portioned, and in the fridge. I seem to have inhaled roughly half a pound of canteloupe. Naptime!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Shut down my Yahoo! account

Which means that I also lost my Flickr account, but those were early pictures and mostly on Ravelry, and I can probably snag them again from here. Or not. I was so tired when I finished up that I just said oh to heck with it and hit the delete button.

If that was your only email address for me, leave a comment here or on FB. I copied my address book over to gmail when I got my new(est) phone, so that if the time came when I got a new phone that would not automatically snag my contacts, they would not be lost. Again. So I have ways to contact you.

New guy did not get his cancer numbers yesterday. They did another blood test (cha-ching!) and will give him those results today. But his liver function is normal. They told him yesterday that his liver had almost shut down, before the surgery.

So, no specifics yet, but plenty of good news to go around.

And I am getting a massage tonight. And we are having an ice cream social at work today, to celebrate (maybe) equaling the duration of the 1980 heat wave. At any rate, we are eating ice cream, and we get to dress casually, so I am going to put on my sneakers and ease on, ease on down the rooooaaaad.

Extra points if you can tell me where that comes from.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Neat stuff.

Work went well, again. I kept up with my attorney’s calendar and the day’s mail. I also kept up with Attorney B’s calendar and mail (his secretary is on vacation). It helps that we have had two successive days of light mail, but by the grace of Heaven I have been getting all my to-do’s to-did and checked off the list.

My new shoes arrived after lunch. And, as I had hoped, they fit perfectly. My stance is better, my gait is better, and the old shoes went straight into the trash. I did not even wave bye-bye. These are seconds, from the Dansko outlet online, and I cannot see or feel a thing wrong with them. Before they came, I was limping slightly all morning. After that? Pfft!

Since the new guy’s ward’s temple session did not begin until 7:30, I had time to go to Rockfish and have a bowl of cream of jalapeno soup and one of their delicious side salads for my dinner. I also made a little progress on the current stealth project after I ordered and while waiting for my check. Looking forward to more knitting when I get to work today.

Interesting moment at the temple last night. Before the session, I was standing at a desk for some administrative stuff, and when I turned around, not only were the new guy and his mother standing there (which I expected), but the other sister he is dating, who serves in the temple on Wednesday nights (not to be confused with the Other Woman, whose name is Cancer). We talked briefly and hugged and agreed that he really is looking good.

Yes, I know, that’s not the norm. What is normal is to be jealous and insecure and snarky and, in my case, impatient.

My dear friend J was also on the session with us, which made it all the better. Afterward, I got the storage containers out of Lorelai and handed them back. Tucked in with them was a cartoon that my best-friend-at-work had given me, from her calendar (Zits), in which the son kisses his girlfriend goodbye and then remarks to his best friend that girl is his favorite flavor.

Yes, I’m incorrigible. It wouldn’t be appropriate for the new guy and me to be smooching now, when there are still two petri dishes in the grand experiment. But it doesn’t hurt to remind him of what may be ahead. (He emailed me late last night that he’d found the cartoon, and liked it.)

I have nearly finished the book I am reading.

The new guy meets with his oncologist today. He should be getting the cancer numbers, and he will call or message me later.

Tonight I am back at the temple. Tomorrow night is my massage. But between now and work I need to buy new knee-high hose, so I had better get moving.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Narking for truth and righteousness.

On Monday night, as I was driving home enjoying the AC in Lorelai, I noticed a car in the next lane, about two cars up, with the window open. And the driver’s arm extended. And he was flicking ashes. When we have signs about every three miles or so, warning of extreme drought. And fire crews were doing controlled burns along the median as I drove home one night last week.

Made. Me. Mad.

So I fired up my cell phone, called 911, explained that I was in no personal danger, but that there was this idiot flicking ashes out his window. I gave the dispatcher the make, model, color, and license plate number; she said she would pass the word along. That was about Loop 12 and I-30. There was an unmarked car parked under the overpass at 360, presumably waiting for him.

I wish I had thought to take a picture of him with my cell phone (I wish I knew how to take pictures with my cell phone), or to grab my digital camera with all that lovely new memory capacity.

Next time I will be prepared. I don’t care if I ruined his day. He could have ruined the lives, or the livelihoods, of hundreds of people with his thoughtlessness. I am [somewhat less] mad [than when I drafted this], all over again, just thinking about it. But I’m glad I did something about it.

In other news, I did skip Knit Night, spending the evening on my couch on a third or fourth re-reading of Kitchen Table Wisdom. I had hoped to be done with it last night, so that I could loan it to the new guy when I see him at the temple tonight. I will be taking back the storage containers he sent home with me on Sunday. But I guess that loaning the book will just have to wait until next Wednesday, when the singles have their temple night, if I go, or whenever we go fishing together before the end of August (when my current fishing license expires).

I really needed to re-read this book. It dovetails nicely with the massage therapy, the scripture study, the prayer and pondering. I have friends who recharge by birdwatching, or gardening. But when I see birds, mostly what I think of is bird poop. And when I think of gardening, I remember that plants fear me, with good reason. I’m sure there is some natural-world thing I could be seeing or doing, that would enrich my life and make me more whole. But I’m drawing a blank, other than that I have neither driven through mountains since Mom died in 1997, nor wiggled my toes in salt water since 2001.

I love spending time with friends. I love spending time with my family (who are scratching their heads and thinking really? then why has it been so long since we’ve seen her?) But I recharge, at the most fundamental level, by thinking and pondering and praying and writing and meditating, and those are solitary activities.

So, last night I did a bunch of the above, and I went to bed at a reasonable hour, and I got more sleep than is customary, and I’m feeling pretty good about life today. There are cherries with my name on them, in the fridge. There are leftovers from the dinner I cooked from scratch. I’ll get to see the dear man tonight. Work has gone particularly well, the past two days. I finished a row on the current stealth project after watching the last third of a movie at lunch. And I’m getting another massage on Friday night.

Thankful. Really thankful. And uncharacteristically Zen about it all, at least until the next time I see somebody endangering others’ lives or property, then look out, Loretta!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I might be AWOL tonight.

Dinner at the new guy’s on Sunday night, dinner at another friend’s last night (where they keep later hours than I do, and I didn’t get out the door until 10:00!!!). I am well-fed, supremely, happy, and sleepy. I think this is going to be a Cherry Coke day.

Not a lot of knitting got done yesterday, but my non-evil plan to get out the door early enough to tank Lorelai and get past the construction on I-30 and still have a few minutes for knitting before logging on, worked. But that was all there was.

At lunch we watched the last part of “Rio”, which we started on Friday. Loved it. The soundtrack is excellent, including possibly the best use of Lionel Richie in decades. The birds are adorable, the human protagonists are loyal and resourceful, and I would watch this one again.

Another weird dream last night, one in which I was stuck in a mess (physical and emotional) like unto when I was living with four children as a single mom at La Casa Cucaracha. There are still a few crumbs clinging to my brain this morning. Seldom has an alarm clock been more welcome!

It’s a good thing I love my job, because if I didn’t, this would be a good day to take at least half the day off, go back to bed, and try for a do-over.

New guy had a good day yesterday. I told him that, all humility aside, it was because he had his own personal ray of sunshine on Sunday. (That would be me.) And that my own endorphin count was running pretty high at the moment, just in case he was wondering.

The endorphins are still there. But this morning they are just staggering about in my bloodstream, instead of rappelling off the walls. Today’s non-evil plan is to get out the door early enough to set out the trash and the recycling and get past the construction on I-30 and still have a few minutes for knitting before logging on.

My new shirts were waiting for me at Coldwater Creek before I went to dinner. I tossed them into the trunk and fished them out again when I got home. I was so sleepy when I went to bed last night that I didn’t bother to rip open the bag and see if I like the colors as well in real life as I did online.

Stagger, stagger. Lurch, lurch. Rip, rip. Oh yeah. Bigtime! And maybe after my shower, I will have enough functioning synapses to decide which shirt to wear to work this morning.

Life [yawn, stretch, creak] is good.

Monday, August 08, 2011

P.S. Chemo Cap the Second?

Huge hit. Still no need for it, but at least we are prepared.

Slept like a rock last night. Have zipped through my blog reader and am about ready to sluice off, grab lunch (mmmmm, leftovers!) and my contribution to tonight’s pot luck, then dash to the gas station and on to work before traffic gets bad.

The two shirts I ordered from Coldwater Creek’s online outlet have been shipped to the local store (free shipping; who am I to quibble?) and should be there when I leave work tonight. I’ll swing by and pick them up before dinner. And the new shoes from the Dansko outlet should be at the office on Wednesday. If they fit as hoped, I will pitch all the current pairs and prepare to order more.

My body is saying thank you thank you thank you for all the fresh fruit I am eating. It’s also rather pleased with the ginger molasses cookies from Sprouts. I do believe that I like them even better than the chocolate chip cookies from Braum’s, which is saying a lot!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting...

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Stuffed to the gills.

Dinner at the new guy’s: grilled salmon. Asparagus wrapped in bacon and grilled, with a bit of feta sprinkled on top afterward. Grilled tomato halves topped with mozzarella. A fruit salad, unadorned. Grilled crooknecks and zucchini. (Which I actually liked. I know! We should call the Guinness people.) I baked turtle brownies.

He passed out twice, maybe three times, at church today. Four big strong guys manhandled him into a car and brought him home, where he slept. He suspects that his BP medicine needs to be adjusted for the fact that he has lost so much weight.

He was astonished to see how many storage containers he had sent home with me. He sent me home with two more, one holding a grilled tomato, some squash, and what I think is the last of the salmon, and the other holding a genteel portion of fruit salad. I also brought home about 25% of the brownies.

Eldest son transferred the contents of my memory card onto a disc so I can feed it into my computer, then reformatted the memory card so I can take more pictures. He told me I needed a bigger memory card. I didn't tell him that it’s taken me what, four years? to fill it the first time. I am hoping that when I load this onto my hard drive, the photographs that didn’t survive the transfer from the old computer, will no longer be MIA.

It was touch and go as to whether I would have enough gas to make it home. I have just enough to hie meself to the gas station in the morning.

Stealth project got finished when I went to bed about 12:30 this morning. I cast on a fresh project while dinner was a-grilling.

I am now going to bed. But here’s the timeline as we understand it: back to the oncologist later this week, where we’ll learn if the cancer numbers are going down. Third treatment the week after that, fourth two weeks later, followed by another visit with the oncologist and the CT scan that will give us a more definitive answer.

I got some great hugs tonight. If you hear grinning on the Doppler radar in North Texas tonight, that would be me.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

All sorts of good news, chez Ravelled.

He got the chemo pump off on Thursday; tired, but no pain, cramps, or nausea; still has his hair; has had to lay off the ice water, which he loves.

I am invited to Sunday dinner.

At this writing, I have five rows left on the current stealth project, if I continue with the pattern as written. I am very, very pleased with what I see so far.

I went to Sprouts this morning and brought home three pounds of cherries, another bag of clementines, three (should have been four, see below) wee cartons of blueberries, another baguette because the one from last week has ossified (but will still be good for French toast, should I get ambitious), a dozen incredibly tender ginger/molasses cookies, and some Roma tomatoes.

I had everything stacked neatly in the part of the cart where your toddler goes, when one of the cartons of blueberries suddenly made a break for freedom. Blueberries all over the floor in the produce section. I could have cried! Thankfully, one of the employees fetched a broom and a dustpan, while I directed traffic, and the little rascals went to the Great Compost Heap in the Sky. I felt like a blueberry murderer, so I did not pick up a replacement carton.

From Sprouts, I went to Wally World and picked up milk, cream cheese, bananas, and four bundles of storage tubs in various sizes.

The fruit has been sorted out into a week’s worth of lunch portions, so all I will have to do is grab and go. I also bought (at Sprouts) some allegedly healthy cheese puffs, and they are quite tasty, but after eating a portion and taking a nap, I actually read the label. Three oils are listed as a possibility; the first is canola oil. I don’t do canola oil if I can help it. So the leftovers (already portioned out) will go up into the freezer for the next time I get a mad craving for cheese puffs. Which isn’t often, something on the order of once a year.

I am so thankful to have AC in Lorelai again. I am thankful for all the water I have drunk this past week. I am not feeling up to fasting this weekend, which makes me a little sad, but perhaps it will be cooler next month (a girl can dream), when Fast Sunday rolls around again. I wonder how my fellow Saints manage, who live in equatorial climes and have middle-aged or elderly bodies?

I am going to pour myself a glass of water and grab some of those cherries and a clementine or three. And then maybe make myself a PBJ for dinner, as the thought of eating anything hot just makes me shudder. And then maybe I will grab my gym bag and go hang out in the pool at the health club for dessert.

Or maybe I will just go sit on the couch and knit until the urge passes.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Friday! Blessed be!

I double-wrapped the trick ankle last night before crashing; two ace bandages on one ankle, none on the other. Neither seems to be cranky this morning about the division of support. No toes fell off while I was sleeping. This bodes well.

There is a dance tonight. My spirit wants to go boogie. One of my friends is the DJ, and I want to support her. On the other hand, the week has been every bit as crazy-busy as I’d thought it would be, and the idea of a simple bowl of cereal for dinner, followed by an hour or so of knitting on the couch, with early bedtime for dessert, is mighty appealing.

I get to go to work late this morning. Why? I am picking up the cake for the office birthday party, and the store does not open until 8:00a.m. Which means that I can enjoy a leisurely breakfast, take all the time I need to fix my hair, get in a row or two of knitting, and mosey on out the door.

Found myself a little weepy at Firstborn’s on Wednesday night when we were talking about one thing and another. More so on the drive home, still more on the way to work yesterday. Finally I realized that it is part of the post-massage healing, and a sign that we did some really good work on Monday night.

Further confirmation of that conclusion came at the temple last night. There were several instances where Heaven was very near, and I was moved to tears.

Did you know that Charlie Chaplin was also a gifted composer? The “Road Rage Remedy” on the classical station on my drive to the temple, was a medley of three of his songs, ending with “Smile” (he composed the melody; others composed the lyrics and gave it the title).

Lovely song.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Book of Neuter-onomy

Thank you, Alison! I was checking emails while on my break, and your comment on my last post made me hoot! (They are more or less used to me doing stuff like that at work. Hey, I didn’t break out into show tunes; they should be grateful, right?) I didn’t want it to get buried, so it gets recycled as today’s title.

Oh, man, I need to get my glasses changed. The company has an e-newsletter that comes out once a week, and one section has employee-to-employee classifieds. I was reading one ad, then had to stop and shake my head. What I read was, “Kitchen Aid Dishwasher … about 7 years old in great condition … many different cycles … have washed jeans and king bedding with no problems.” Um, Ms. Ravelled, that would be a Kitchen Aid Washer.

And there is another Harley for sale, but we are pretending that we didn’t see it.

In happier news, I ordered two new pairs of clogs through the Dansko Outlet. This is a good thing, because when you leave clogs in a car for extended periods in the Texas heat, the soles implode. Just in case you were wondering. I had one pair where the soles had cracked on one side of one shoe, but the shoe was still wearable. When I took it out of the drawer at work recently, there was a big chunk missing out of that side. [Alternatively, it might simply have met a RUS* with exceptionally square teeth.] Into the trash it went, along with its less-damaged companion. I am down from seven pairs or eight pairs of clogs to (I think) three. Maybe four. There’s another pair in the trunk that are discolored from the salve I used when I was clearing up the athlete’s foot, month after month after month. I need to chuck them out, as well, somewhere that nobody will find them and be tempted to snag them and wear them, because they are probably doubly-toxic: first the fungus, and then the cure.

Needless to say, the new shoes will not be casually thrown into Lorelai’s back seat, unless we find ourselves entering another Ice Age.

The golf ball as massage therapy tool (run up and down my leg, foot, and ankle) is working amazingly well. I don’t know if I’m doing it right, but two or three times yesterday, I took the ball out of my drawer at work and made a few quick swipes on my leg.

I figured out my knitting glitch at work and got past it. Haircut went well. Facial went well. Firstborn showed up at the hair magician’s, and from there we went to Chipotle and on to Firstborn’s, where I did two small loads of colored clothes, and we ate (and I promptly devoured 80% or more of the guac) while watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

I love it when the smart girl gets the guy. And when he [more or less] deserves her.

This is the part where I have to decide if my hair looks sufficiently nice after the dampening that preceded the cutting, that I do not have to wash it. Particularly since I will be serving in the temple tonight. The headgear for my CPAP has undone most of the lovely symmetry that my hair magician came up with. I don’t know if a fluffing session with my pick and my hairspray is going to be enough to redeem it.

One of the things I am hoping for, when I get my resurrected body, is an endless succession of good hair days. In the meantime, I do what I can to keep the chaos under control. Some days I really miss my short and spiky hair. Other days I want to go for the Emmylou Harris look. Right now I have a nice Bonnie Raitt whirl of silver at my right temple, and I try to show it to good effect.

Must get moving, out of the house, and into Lorelai. They have I-30 shut down to two lanes eastbound at one point, and it adds at least 20 minutes to my drive in the morning.

*RUS: Rodent of Unusual Size, from The Princess Bride, in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

“Trap, neuter, and release.”

You should have been there at Knit Night last night. My friend was telling about the lovely place they stayed while on a business trip to the 50th state, how the frogs and the birds would sing, loudly and persistently, at all hours. And [this is the part where I was not paying strict attention, as I was counting stitches] the people who run the resort are very effective at keeping the feral cat population under control.

But what I heard was, “They have a really good management system: trap, neuter, and release.” While the rational part of my mind was thinking “oh, feral cats,” the office worker part of my mind was thinking “that would really help with middle management.” Not in terms of my current working conditions, which with the exception of no electricity in the building until mid-morning yesterday, are typically excellent. I have no quarrel with either the office manager or the managing attorney. But I had my share of jobs-from-hell, long ago in a universe far, far away.

And I started laughing, the kind where your shoulders heave, and tears squirt out of your eyes, and you can’t tell people why you are laughing so hard. I did finally manage to catch my breath after a minute or so, and I shared my insight, and then we were all gasping and chortling and snorting.

And people think that knitting is boring.

The new guy made it through the second round of chemo, and the side effects were accelerated. Cold hands (warm heart) and as he describes it, zombified. He did call me. We did talk. Both of us were yawning. He is hoping that if he has started feeling yucky so quickly, he will also work through it more quickly, and that maybe by Saturday he will be on the upswing again. He won’t find out his cancer count until his appointment next week.

I have eaten more watermelon in the past 24+ hours than I would have thought possible for this particular mortal to hold. Right foot, ankle, and leg are still feeling pretty good. Left foot, ankle, and leg are pouting. It’s almost as if they are jealous that the other side got more attention.

We will fix that at the next appointment. I am thinking that I do not want to wait until Friday week to make that happen. Meanwhile, last night I did what my massage therapist and LittleBit’s guy suggested: I rolled a golf ball up and down my ankles, feet, and calves. I could feel the shar-pei-ness of the left ankle soften almost instantly into smoosh. I am going to repeat the process in a few minutes, before heading to the shower. I was sensible and drank almost a half gallon of water yesterday, plus the milk and the buttermilk that also went down the hatch.

Put four rows on the stealth project yesterday, two at lunch and two at Knit Night. I need to sit down with the chart, because my count is off by one stitch, and I’m not sure if it’s in the first segment, or the last. Either way, I can fake a yarnover or tink an extra decrease. I just need to know which to do, and where. Failing that, I can tink back two rows, but I would rather not, because the penultimate row involved moving a dozen or so stitch markers one stitch to the left.

Not difficult, just fiddly. With a side order of mild exasperation, induced by the heat more than anything else. My Facebook friends were all posting yesterday’s high temperatures last night. This is one of those cases where I believe that ignorance looks astonishingly like its sibling, bliss.

And this is the part where I kill the last of the buttermilk, eat a couple of graham crackers, give my limbs a quick massage, and figure out what I’m wearing to work, as there were way too many children inside the laundromat for my level of patience last night, and I just drove through the parking lot and went home.

Tonight, after my haircut, there will either be laundry or enough desperate shopping to see me through the rest of the work week.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

So, good stuff.

Work went well, for which I am thankful. I got the cake ordered for Friday’s party; it was a far more complicated process than you might imagine. The person taking the order (over the phone) did not grow up speaking English. I was spelling the names which should go on the cake. There are four of them. I asked her to spell them back to me. One of my co-workers (male) has a given name that sounds like a surname in the order taker’s language. I had the bright idea of telling her “like surname, but take the last two letters off”. I thought it was an elegant solution to the problem. I was wrong; that was the name which got mangled the worst. Finally I asked if there were anybody in the bakery department who spoke English. I hate doing that. I like to sweetly persist in efforts to communicate until both parties feel (A) clear, (B) intelligent, and (C) successful.

With great relief, she told me that the other woman would be there in three minutes. I called back in fifteen and got Ms. EnglishSpeaker. In less than a minute, I had the order confirmed: half a sheet cake, half vanilla and half chocolate, vanilla butter-cream icing, sprinkles and confetti, four properly spelled names.

The massage went well last night. I can look at my right foot and ankle and see a shadow of my former sylph. Ditto my right wrist. All are visibly smaller than they were at the end of my workday and before the massage therapist went to work connecting dots and unblocking passageways. There was not time to do much work on the left half, which is worse, but we got things stirred up a bit, and I have booked another appointment for the end of next week, as Brother Sushi has a conflict for the night on which we would ordinarily have dinner.

This woman is amazing! I am so glad that I persisted until I got a series of appointments lined up. They are definitely going to be more often than once every four weeks. I think we can move toward that in a couple of months, but right now there is so much work to be done, and I can feel such a difference already.

When I was done, as I was paying, my body told me that we wanted watermelon. I don’t like watermelon. I like it a little more than I like broccoli, but not much. So I stopped at the grocery store and came home with two pounds of cut-up watermelon. And another pound or pound and a half of canteloupe, which is the only melon I really like. I ate watermelon and canteloupe for dinner last night, after nuking some cheese in a wrap and calling a quesadilla, and then a bit of edamame hummus with baguette for dessert, and a banana after that. I am working my way through another small bowl of watermelon as we speak. I don’t like it any better than I did last night, but I am eating it.

Next week we are going to connect the dots on the left side of my body. She says to continue with the chair massages when I get the chance, as they will work on my upper body. She talked about the tension in my hands. Yep! strung up tighter than a woman of ill repute in church. She talked about old emotional wounds. [Might have a few of those, but as I discover them, I hand them over to Heaven for scar revision surgery.]

I feel really good this morning. Or, rather, the right half of my body feels ten or twenty years younger, and the left half is distinctly cranky and jealous, but hopeful.

I was online last night, and a message popped up from the new guy: Turn on your phone. So I did, and he called, and we talked for twenty minutes or so. He is probably in chemo as I type this, and said he will call me tonight to let me know how it went.

I do not feel all anxious about it today, as I did two weeks ago, which is probably the greater part of the reason I was sick that day and stayed home from work.

I have an invitation to his ward’s temple night next week, but we have already scheduled visiting teaching for that night. I told him when our ward meets for their temple session. It might be feasible this month.

I had an aha! moment a bit ago. When Firstborn was tiny, and I had that massive nursing-mom infection [figured that if I spelled out the word for the mammalian organ, I would get all sorts of weird traffic here on the blog], it was on the left side of my body. I wonder if the blockage was already forming then?

It was really cool, last night, to have her working on a trigger point near my shoulder blade, and another near my hip, and suddenly feel little sparklers of energy traveling between the two points, along the front of my body. Or to have her work on something near my hip, and feel referred pain or pressure shooting up through my neck into the base of my skull, and then resolving itself.

Time to reload my bowl of watermelon so I can take some to work.

She said that as we work and free things up, I will lose a lot of weight (I think it is mostly water-weight), I will regain my energy, and I will sleep better. I suspect that Heaven and I will be doing a lot of spiritual and emotional house-cleaning as this occurs, as well.

Can’t wait.

But if you will all kindly excuse me, nature is calling.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Very good, if expensive, weekend.

Had a wonderful dinner with my friend T on Friday night. We ate at Babe’s in Garland. Amazing food, a little too salty for my taste, but strangely enough my ankles did not blow up.

I was at the dealership at 7:00 on Saturday morning, where I knitted and beaded on the stealth project for the next seven hours. I left with working AC on Lorelai. It’s still working. I’m still thankful.

I finished the beading last night before crashing. This is now officially a portable project; it was portable on Saturday only because there is a tall table by the window at the dealership, and ergonomically configured stools upon which to perch. I took a chair’s worth of the space which is designed for ordinary mortals and their laptops, and I set up my magazine, the big ramekin to hold beads from the tube, the smaller ramekin to hold beads that would not fit onto my size 12 crochet hook, and a minuscule ziploc bag in which to decant those too-small beads periodically. I used or sorted out all but half an inch of beads in the tube: 364 incorporated into the design. If I had had a size 13/14 hook, I could probably have used all, or almost all, of the beads.

Anyway, I had an elegant one-woman sweatshop set up on my portion of that table at the dealership, and it led to a delightful conversation with another patiently-waiting individual.

After leaving the dealership I went to my local yarn shop and found the perfect yarn for the next stealth project. Then I drove to the bead shop and bought three vials of beads, in case said project wants to have beads. From there I drove to Sprouts and picked up more of that edamame hummus and a baguette. When I tried to get cash-back for this evening’s massage, the computer informed us that I was over my spending limit for the day. I did have enough wiggle room to take my food home. So I will be hitting the ATM on my way to work.

Church was wonderful as usual. Lots of little hugs from one of my favorite four year olds. A quick nap afterward. And then I took the last four of those cupcakes I bought on Wednesday to the potluck, where they were either eaten or disposed of, out of my sight. I’m betting on the former. They were very tasty little cupcakes. I’m just not excessively fond of cupcakes, preferring muffins (and no frosting).

The fireside last night was superb. My friend Jody was the speaker, and as usual, she had her ducks in a row. Multimedia, doctrinally sound, and a nice blend of laughter and tears.

I came home and groused gently to the new guy that, while I have never been jealous of the other sisters he has dated while we have been dating, I have come to think of cancer as the Other Woman, and I would just like to punch her lights out. The new guy gets a vote. The dear other sister he is dating, gets a vote. I get a vote. But the Other Woman is hogging the voting booth, and I think she’s in there painting her nails.

And then I went to bed.

I’ve updated Facebook with the newer email address and tweaked my settings yet again. (I’m preparing to shut down my Yahoo! account.) My knitting is packed and ready to go. My iPod is charged and sync’ed. My phone is charged. I need to buy stamps and get cash.

I’ll order the cake for Friday’s office party on my way home tonight, and then onward, onward, for my massage.

Can’t wait. But in the meantime, I intend to fully savor this day.