About Me

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Drawing a blank on Halloween costumes.

The Inspiration Fairy is off knitting somewhere.

I should probably not eat potato leek soup after midnight. I made a particularly brilliant batch last night, and I dreamed that I was in the middle of a Robert B. Parker mystery (as yet unwritten or unread), part of which involved being in a boat, part of which involved being in a hostel that was hostile (you had to grab space blankets and wrap yourself up like a mummy and sleep on the floor, and there were bad guys who wanted my blanket).

Some of this might have been related to an online discussion of camping. The new guy is going with the single adults, weekend after next. They will dine like kings, as he is a master of dutch-oven cooking. If I do anything other than sit on the couch and knit, I will go to the Greek Food Festival (which I thought was already on his calendar, but I am truly not upset), either alone or maybe with Brother Sushi (or BestFriend???).

And now I need to grab my knitting and my lunch and swing by CVS to see if I can find anything plausible on their cheap-costume rack. Perhaps next year will be the one that I break down and buy another copy of the Folkwear Kinsale Cloak pattern and a bajillion yards of high-end velvet, and hand-stitch a cloak. Because I promised myself twenty-five years ago that I would never again stitch velvet on a sewing machine.

Therein lies madness.

I was thinking, on the drive somewhere on Saturday, that if I bought the pattern and drew a one-inch grid all over it, I could then rather easily scale it down to make cloaks for all the resin kids. Oh well. That is something to ponder while driving to work today.

Happy Halloween, everybody! Eat some candy corn for me, since it is now on my not only no... list.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

243.8 miles yesterday. And I can still walk.

Home, to the eye exam, and back again to pick up my doll and a couple of bottles of water. 42.2 miles.

Thence to Fourthborn’s, to pick her up and three of her dolls and on to the doll meetup in Denton, where I got a call from the new guy saying yes, by all means, come join our ward activity and we can watch a movie while dismembering pomegranates afterward. Back to my house, to drop off my doll, then brownies with a ward member so I could keep my promise of providing same for my ward’s Trunk or Treat and potluck. Another 90.5 miles.

Back to Fourthborn’s to drop her and her dolls off, then to the new guy’s with detours for gasoline and cookies to take to his picnic (some of which became my dinner, as I had not eaten since 1:00 and it was now nearly 7:00). Phone call from him to confirm where I was, and to suggest that I just head for his house, as their activity was winding down. So I did. Including the trip home, another 111.1 miles.

An hour and a half playing pomegranate assassin while Secondhand Lions ran in the background, his mom’s chihuahua snoozed at my side, and we mostly told stories and laughed. You really don’t want to look too closely at my fingernails this morning.

His eldest son’s female dog has apparently decided that I am part of the tribe: she politely put her paws up on my chest and offered a smooch. I as politely declined.

Of his two dogs, Gracie is the alpha. Chase, though larger, just generally does as he is told. And the chihuahua, Cricket, thinks he should be the boss of Gracie because she is a girl, while she thinks he would make an excellent chew toy. The discussion got a little noisy last night right after I got there. Cricket seems to think that he has won, since he planted himself between my thigh and the armrest of the loveseat and growled at Gracie any time he thought she got too close.

Me? I’m just happy that none of them has decided that I am a chew toy.

Update on the Social Security issue is that early-retirement benefits start, very soon (he is 62), to be replaced by disability payments in a few weeks. This week is all about chemo #8 and the results of the CT scan on Thursday, and I suspect that my emotions are going to be all over the map.

But at least I got a couple of good hugs last night, and time in his company (it had been two weeks; I was getting a little angsty), and he mentioned me by name in a FB post, which I think is probably the first time that’s happened. We’ve both been trying to be exceedingly discreet there, although it is an open secret that we are dating.

An amusing story from the doll meetup yesterday: the waiter brought my plate, and I asked for a to-go box right away. I bisected my dinner along the horizontal axis of my oval plate, ate the near half, and put the other half in the box when it arrived. The guy sitting across the table, who is a schoolteacher and a less-obviously-colorful member of the group, asked why I hadn’t just eaten one whole enchilada, instead of two halves. Fourthborn chimed in that she had wondered the same thing. I looked at her, a little perplexed, and then at him. Symmetry; I’m an artist and something of a mathematician. She laughed first; she’s very much an artist, with a side order of OCD. He laughed next; he teaches fifth-grade math. Bonding moment. Loved it.

In knitting news, my KnitPicks order arrived at work on Friday. The rest of the yarn (I hope) that I need for 2BDH’s birthday hat, three circular needles to fill gaps in my collection, and two books: the Yarn Harlot’s latest, and Wendy Knits Lace, both at deep discount. They included a copy of the new catalogue: and they have at least one new sock yarn, a merino/alpaca/nylon blend that I can’t wait to get my hands on. (But will.)

The tweaking of the ribbing on LittleBit’s cap is nearly done. I expect to finish that today and resume the round and round and round at my usual speed.

And with that, I think we are done for this morning. I need to figure out breakfast and read over the Primary lesson. My team-teacher is teaching today, and in theory all I need to do is show up with treats and the visuals, but she has some serious health issues, so I need to be at least somewhat prepared to teach if she is ill.

Friday, October 28, 2011

In which Ms. Ravelled plays with a sugar glider.



No, that is not my hand. It belongs to the person who is owned by the sugar glider. Both of them friendly; neither one inclined to bite. He let me hold that little cutie. My modus operandi when dealing with live things that move quickly, is to hold them gently but firmly. This little guy was having none of it. He was perfectly content to scamper up my sleeve to my shoulder and examine the change machine. But when I tried to pen him in, he chittered at me. I remember that tone from when I had teenagers!

Spotted at the chiropractor’s last night, after my adjustment:



Head intentionally omitted; she didn’t want me to get her face or hair. And a back view:



I couldn’t be quite as obliging in this view, because I wanted you to see the yoke pattern. Simple four-stitch [or maybe six-stitch? eight-stitch?] cables alternated with garter stitch, and then garter stitch blocks alternated with stockinette at the top of the sleeves and across the shoulders, fore and aft. So simple, and perfectly elegant. She found it at a resale shop when she took some of her own things in.

My ribs were not the only ones that got tweaked yesterday. I have not been entirely happy with the cast-on I used for the ribbing on LittleBit’s cap. Rather than frog it back, I have been dropping a single column of stitches down to the cast-on, twisting that stitch with a crochet hook, and then working my way back up to the top. It’s been slow going, but this gives me the option of tweaking only the bits that need it, and leaving the rest as-is. I’ve done one round fixing half of the knit columns. Now I am going around and reworking some of the purl columns.

I am using a crochet hook one size larger than the diameter of the knitting needles, and you really cannot tell that stitches have been dropped and picked up again. Ordinarily, I would have used a same-size needle, and there would have been a telltale space on either side of the picked-up stitch, which would have evened out after the cap had been washed a couple of times. Now it just looks as if I had been knitting flawlessly from the beginning.



If you look at the cast-on edge toward the left, you will see that it is a little loosey-goosey. More so, naturally, across the brow where it would be most visible, rather than across the nape of the neck. In this picture, I have tweaked the first two or three columns on the right. I might have to make a third trip round, adding occasional knit columns or purl columns, but mostly fixing one stitch in each two-stitch column appears to be enough.

And now if you will all kindly excuse me, I need to decide which shirt I want to wear inside-out today.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Heard at work.

Near my cubicle as I headed toward the fax machine:

My attorney: “Are we going to have dance practice today?”
Me, in passing: “Never thought I’d hear those words coming out of your mouth.”
Attorney B: “No, I don’t think we need it.”
Me: *splutter*

I love my job. I may have whined commented on the upcoming new docketing system. The morale committee has come up with activities for each Friday leading up to the day. Two weeks ago it was “Bananas and Bandannas”. Many of my co-workers brought banana desserts. Many more of us wore bandannas to work. Think geriatric biker club, and you would not be far off the mark.

Last Friday the theme was “Relax and Slip Into [program name]” We got to wear house shoes or slippers to work. Lest you not believe, here is a visual, taken in the large conference room of our office. Mine are the boringly shod cankles on the far left.



These are too cool not to share:



This coming Friday, the theme is “Know the Ins and Outs of [program name]”. We get to wear our clothing inside out (I think I will pass), and the best dance to “Inside Out” wins a prize. A couple of attorneys (my two) and several of the support staff are representing various topics of diversity, in a team dance choreographed by another co-worker. No, I am not dancing. I’m not sure that I know the song, and I will be too busy laughing and pointing fingers to get up and boogie.

Next week, the theme is “Hats Off to [program name]”. As my office manager decreed several years ago that I could not wear hats to work, I will be making the most of this opportunity. I will probably pull out one of my Red Hat specials, and I might even take my purple feather boa.

The week after that is our final activity, “Kickoff to [program name] Tailgate Party”. We get to wear our favorite sports jersey. (Maybe I can borrow one from the new guy? Blessed if I’m going to buy one!) And bring our favorite tailgate food, and play another game for prizes.

And you thought it was all about the practice of law.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So, yesterday was crazy.

There I was minding my own business, finishing up the last bites of lunch, and talking with a co-worker, when all of a sudden the Dysphagia Fairy paid a little visit. The coughing. The gagging. The hacking. The involuntary expulsion of mandarin orange out my mouth, possibly out my ears as well. And the knowledge that, ten minutes before an all-office staff meeting, I needed to go home and change clothes.

Stress incontinence is a beast. I coughed so hard that I could feel it in my ankles (sometimes I feel that when I sneeze, as well, the violent buildup of fluid pressure throughout my system which demands release in publicly embarrassing ways).

My co-worker stayed long enough to be convinced that I was not actually choking, that I could breathe, that I could talk (if gaspingly). He’s a good guy.

A few seconds later, after I had stood up, my managing attorney came in, looking specifically for me, because she wanted me to head up a team at the meeting. I quickly explained that I needed to leave, that I had had an episode and peed all over myself, and that I would fill out my electronic absence request and notify people, and scoot.

My best friend at the office was at a printer. I asked her if anything were visible. She said no (and she would have told me if it were otherwise). I got the heck out of Dodge.

I came home, had a nice long soak in the tub, and took a nap, setting the alarm so that I would not miss my massage appointment. There were all sorts of trigger points, et al, and she strongly recommended that I see the chiropractor, as I may have done something to a rib (or two) with the coughing yesterday. She’s also not crazy about my trick knee. Neither, frankly, am I.

I will try to get in to see him today. I feel a lot better this morning. My throat doesn’t hurt any more, but I’m a little croupy. And I am really, really tired, in part because I tackled half of Mount Washmore last night. The rest of it is out in the car, and I will finish up tonight.

Doll pictures are up on the other blog. Eventually I’ll do a link or a box opening on Den of Angels.

Life is good, although I am feeling my age this morning. Actually, I am feeling more like my sister’s age: she is 75 today!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fourthborn’s birthday loot. And Charity begins, at home.

Fourthborn has been remarkably patient about the fact that all of her sisters have some of my knitting, and that she has had nothing since the hand-dyed, handspun, hand-knitted dress I made for her when she was four. Before we knew that she was allergic to wool. And alpaca. And cashmere. [The only animal fiber that does not make her skin go nuts, is silk.]

So this was my evil plan: give her a package containing a shawlette for one of her dolls, knitted from bamboo thread. Like, say, this one. [Blessing was only too happy to pose with it. Yes, it’s beaded. This is the second incarnation of SusannaIC’s Oslo Walk, with 13 lace repeats rather than the original 23.]



And wait for Fourthborn to raise one eyebrow and inquire politely when she might have something for herself? Then reach into the bottom of her bag and hand her this.



How did that go, you ask? Very well, actually, although she did not vocalize that thought. I told her I was a little disappointed about that. She says that FaithAnn, her mini-me doll, will be very happy to wear the wee shawlette, and she herself looks lovely in the human-size one. I was too busy grinning to remember to take a picture, so you’ll just have to trust me.

My new doll arrived yesterday. I will save the whole box-opening sequence for my other (doll) blog, but here she is:



And a close-up. Charity’s hair is not that glaringly bright in real life. I have $50+ saved toward the next doll, to be named Hope.



I was a little sad yesterday when I discovered that one of the dolls on my wishlist is apparently all sold out or no longer being manufactured. Hope is the next planned acquisition, to be followed by Joy, and I would like one who embodies Wisdom.

James 1:5, and all that.

Monday, October 24, 2011

7H15 15 4LL3G3DLY H4RD?

My office manager sent this out earlier in the month:

An old pastor lay dying. He sent a message for an Internal Revenue Service agent and his lawyer to come to the hospital.

When they arrived, they were ushered up to his room. As they entered the room, the pastor held out his hands and motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. The pastor grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled and stared at the ceiling. For a time, no one said anything.

Both the IRS agent and lawyer were touched and flattered that the old man would ask them to be with him during his final moments. They were also puzzled because the pastor had never given any indication that he particularly liked either one of them.

Finally, the Lawyer asked, “Pastor, why did you ask the two of us to come here?”

The old pastor mustered all his strength, and then said weakly, “Jesus died between two thieves, and that’s how I’d like to go.”

[The managing attorney and another attorney were not amused.]


Then she sent this out:

F1gur471v3ly 5p34k1ng?

7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 7O PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5! 1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5! 1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG 17 WA5 H4RD BU7 N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3 Y0UR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 17 4U70M471C4LLY W17H 0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17, B3 PROUD! 0NLY C3R741N P30PL3 C4N R3AD 7H15.
PL3453 F0RW4RD 1F U C4N R34D 7H15. :)

I suppose there are people who can’t read that, but I suspect they are few and far between.

No, I didn’t fall in, over the weekend. I was in the throes of finish-itis, and I went to BittyBubba’s soccer game, and I cooked some and read some.

My new doll should be at the office today. They attempted delivery on Saturday, but since the office was closed and there was nobody to sign for the package, I went online and rescheduled delivery for today, noting that our scanning operator is also authorized to sign for it.

I am seriously impressed with the customer service at Denver Doll Emporium. I ordered her Thursday morning, had an email shipping confirmation that afternoon, and she was at my office [briefly] on Saturday. This is far removed from the dolly drama associated with Blessing’s arrival. And even with Priority Mail, insurance, and signature verification, shipping was a third of what it would have been from Korea.

Today is Fourthborn’s birthday. The gift bag is stuffed and fluffed and waiting by the front door. I’m taking her out for dessert tonight.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I am debt-free.

It’s been a long, hard slog. Ten and a half years ago, I was debt-free, with no credit history. So I got a VISA card, and my first activity was the co-payment for my gallbladder surgery. The second purchase was significantly higher, for the interview suit (from the late, lamented August Max Woman) which helped me get my job.

I was making a little over half of what I’m earning now. I still had two children at home. Child support was minimal. Gradually that balance crept up, until I realized that it made more sense to take out a line of credit from my credit union at work and pay 8% than to pay whatever the credit card company was charging at the time. Whew, deep cleansing breath, which lasted a couple of weeks until the children’s father lost his job and was out of work for over a year.

Rather than tell the children that we couldn’t afford something as basic as bras, I put a year’s worth of child support onto my newly-clean plastic. At the end of that year, I had a car payment, the line of credit, and credit card debt. My debt load was roughly half of my yearly gross salary.

And every time the Brethren preached that we needed to get out of debt, I squirmed.

I paid off the car (Earl, after the song by the group that I really liked until their ignorant comments on their concert tour right after 9-11), but because I hadn’t had enough cash for regular oil changes, not to mention regular maintenance, Earl only lived a year after he was paid off. At which point I acquired Lorelai and had only one child at home. The children’s father had reached the magic age of 65, which meant that instead of his having to pony up for child support, Uncle Sam stepped in until LittleBit graduated from high school.

I moved into this duplex after she graduated, because the space was smaller, the rent was lower, and it’s in a blissfully quiet neighborhood. No more neighbors tap-dancing in the kitchen upstairs at 2:00a.m. or flinging F-bombs over the balcony onto unsuspecting passers-by.

And since then, my financial situation has waxed and waned, but the general trend has been upward. If you count my 401K’s (regular and Roth), I have theoretically been in the black for a long time. Cash flow has been another matter.

This week I reached the magic age of 59.5, which means that I could draw from my 401K without an additional 10% penalty, just the 25% against my tax return next spring. While listening to General Conference earlier this month, the impression came again that I should do precisely that, and get out of debt now.

I know that this flies in the face of conventional wisdom. I know that at least one of my children is shaking her head. But I am the one who got the impression, and I am the one who has the peaceful feeling for having followed through.

I increased my 401K and Roth contributions last week. They will be effective next paycheck. Doctors without Borders and Feeding America both got a raise. And I sent a donation to Rising Star Outreach, which supports children and families affected by leprosy. (I did not see a way to set up a monthly debit.) I also increased my contribution to two of my three savings accounts. And I still have money left for inconsequentials like food and gasoline!

The numbers may get shuffled if things go forward with the new guy, but at least I will not be bringing debt into that hypothetical marriage.

He is out of state as we speak. The chemo pump came off yesterday, and last night he flew out to where his mother lives. People from his mother’s ward (congregation) will be loading up a truck today. Then he and one of his sisters will be driving it to Texas, starting tomorrow. He hopes to be home Sunday night or by mid-day on Monday. The anticoagulants he is taking twice a day mean that he has to get out of the car every two hours and walk for 15 or 20 minutes. That will slow them down. But he has his road music: bagpipes, zydeco, and the Green Bay Packers’ fight song. His mom will fly out here on Tuesday.

He has his appointment with Social Security next Thursday. And the Thursday after that we get the word on his CT scan. Thirteen days. Yes, I am starting to count them.

He is having a rough go of it, this time around. Even tap water is too cold for him, and when he got in the car yesterday to go have his pump taken off, the steering wheel was painful to touch. I reminded him: cold hands? warm wife.

I spoke with 2BDH yesterday. He did not wipe the old computer when he transferred my files, but he has a program which will do so. Therefore, I will be schlepping the old CPU over to their house bright and early tomorrow morning, and then it can go out on the curb next week with its dinosaur of a monitor.

A modicum of knitting progress yesterday. Still loving the yarn and the pattern. I have nothing on the books for tonight, and very little for tomorrow. The computer gets wiped, Lorelai gets an oil change, I buy groceries and do laundry (though I might do both of those tonight). I foresee a lot of happy knitting in my immediate future!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nothing to see here. Just keep moving.

I put in an hour of overtime yesterday and was still able to go to Knit Night, where I managed to last 45 minutes before wilting. Drove home by way of Sprouts, picked up a carton of coconut milk and some dark chocolate almond milk, more boneless skinless chicken thighs for soup, another bag of that excellent flatbread, two wee loaves of sourdough that you finish baking at home (and would be good with some soup inside), Greek yogurt, a new flavor of cultured almond milk, and a big carton of strawberries.

I almost bought some organic gummi bunnies. I think they will follow me home when I go again on Saturday. I am learning how much produce is enough and am ridiculously proud of myself that none of the grapes in the last two bags have gone bad before I finished.

The goat cheddar which I bought last Saturday is excellent. I ate rather too much of it yesterday while working overtime and will probably do the same tonight. Which gave me an excuse to have a slice of flatbread with hummus when I got home, and I think I will have another one this morning.

I have never been much for fresh fruits and vegetables, but I am becoming a convert.

I mailed the birthday present to my sister after work last night. And I put about an inch on the TCU purple hat for Secondborn. That one will be relatively slow going, because I am doing a patterned stitch instead of miles and miles of stockinette tube, but it will be fun to knit. If I add an inch or so per day, I will have no problem delivering it on her birthday. At which point I will cast on for its twin, for 2BDH exactly one month later. And then I can turn my attention to the sweater I promised another family member for his birthday. Last year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Done. (For now.)

BittyBit’s birthday present is finished. I cast on for her mother’s before crashing last night and have put three rounds on it this morning.

The massage went well last night. She is so pleased with my progress, as am I. There is less inflammation every time she works on me. I had very little pain or discomfort, and none this morning. It is starting to feel more like massage and less like physical therapy. The hip-strengthening exercises are working.

I came home and ate leftovers while making a nice pot of rice to use up the last of the almond milk and the coconut milk. I figure that I will mix a container of that with some of the failed salmon soup and call it a casserole. Will let you know how that goes.

For lunch yesterday I ate up the leftovers from dinner with Brother Sushi on Friday. So yummy! Half of my salmon and the last third of his pecan-crusted mahi mahi, and roasted sweet potatoes and a couple of tablespoons of the pilaf my fish came on.

The new guy has chemo today. I may have overtime tonight, and I may still be able to catch Knit Night and then go round up more goat milk, almond milk, and coconut milk at Sprouts on my way home. I’m taking goat cheddar and crackers and grapes for dinner tonight.

We got all kinds of rain, big fat drops that started as I rolled the trash and the recycling out to the curb last night. I slept like a rock.

And now, if I get moving and keep moving, I can be out the door in 15 minutes and have time to swing by the post office to mail my sister’s birthday present. I also need to pick up new AAA batteries for my digital scale so I can finish documenting BittyBit’s present on Ravelry.

And I guess that’s all the news for now.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

When you say nothing at all.



I danced to this last night. I think it’s my favorite of everything I’ve heard her sing. I may have sung along with her, gazing upward in full Nancy-Reagan mode.

It has been a really great weekend. I actually had fun at the baby shower yesterday. Generally, I loathe both baby showers and bridal showers, because I detest stupid games. There were no stupid games yesterday. A couple of fun activities, lots of good food, and I got to meet more of Firstborn’s and my hair magician’s friends, and see some of my own friends from my old stake.

I also had fun at the dance. A good brother who is roughly my own age was the DJ, so the music didn’t stink. What was my costume, you ask? I took Dad’s polo mallet and told people that my polo pony had gone missing. It was either that, or take my largest stuffed sheep and tell people my name was Mary, and this was my little lamb, and did they have a problem with it?

The new guy put on his fishing poncho. I told people that he was a ninja, because he made his appearance while I was out on the dance floor tearing it up to “All the Single Ladies,” and I totally [totally, dudes!] did not see him until I went back to my table (which he found because I had put my knitting on it so nobody would steal my chair). I got either four or six slow dances with him.

Thoroughly enjoyed church today, including or perhaps especially, my Primary class. I have pretty much given up on the idea of covering all the material in the lesson plan. I teach them the big chunks, and I spend a good part of the lesson listening to them, and we color, and I feed them graham crackers, and everybody goes home happy.

I had a lovely long nap after church, and I am likely to be up awhile. A lot of knitting progress during sacrament meeting and at the shower yesterday and a little more at the dance. I have a bunch of ends to weave in, but I am working on the penultimate stripe, so after I take care of that little task there will only be three ends to weave in, and I’m done.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday.

Thankfully, there’s one every week. Scooting out the door a little early to catch some quality knitting time before the workday begins.

It’s been a good week. Last night was very long. I had a sweet and sacred experience while serving in the temple last night. May I just say that I got to see humanity at its best.

It’s likely to be a crazy day at work. Thankfully, there is dinner with Brother Sushi tonight. I had a happy surprise yesterday, when Attorney B took his secretary, his paralegal, and me (his transcriptionist) out to lunch for no particular reason. And I had the best guacamole in months at a restaurant in the West End.



Look closely. That white stuff is lump crabmeat. I would never have thought of adding crab to guacamole, but it was so good! You will be pleased to note that I resisted the temptation to call this post Just a Closer Guac with Thee. Or You’ll Never Guac Alone.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It followed me home.

The straw bale, that is. I ran into WallyWorld the other morning to pick up some milk and see if Rice Chex were on my happy food list. They are. I left with milk, a box of Rice Chex for my cubby at work, and a box of whole-grain Rice Krispies. Can’t wait to snap, crackle, and pop this weekend!



Because I was prepared to knit all day at work, if necessary (oh, what a hardship!), when I got there the server was behaving impeccably. So I got a lot done, in a calm and orderly manner, and when I left at the end of the day I felt as if I’d earned my keep.

My hair magician worked her magic last night. Just a trim. I think I’m going to continue to grow it out for awhile and see what I think. I can always go shorter again.

Right now the wax is softening so I can deal with the stray eyebrows on my chin. We didn’t have time for proper waxing last night; I’m just going to deal with it myself this time.

I made most of today’s salad last night. Just need to pick up some greens on my way to work. Also my first attempt at black bean burritos at home. Goat’s milk kefir is an acceptable substitute for sour cream, but it still wasn’t up to Bueno standards.

Temple tonight, and I plan to pick up more of that purple tweed yarn between work and there.

The anticoagulant is kicking the new guy’s derriere. He is v-e-r-y tired, I’m guessing because thinner blood means slower oxygen delivery? So I’m thinking that the dance on Saturday night will be a short one for him, and possibly for me as well. He originally thought he would only be taking it for a week, but he will pick up a three-month prescription at chemo next week. He has to take it until he’s all done with chemo, and there are four more sessions tentatively scheduled for after this month. But as he says, whatever it takes to get him from where he is, to well again.

His attitude is amazing, and inspiring.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

“Calm and uneventful”

Thank you, Secondborn; it was a good thought.

Yesterday was neither, but neither was it bad. Our server went out about 3:30, thankfully after I had printed off all of the outgoing mail, but just as I was preparing to save a new letter. A collective groan rose up throughout the office as my co-workers realized that the server was down.

Me? I just closed down one window after another, and then I grabbed my knitting. I was still able to go online, so I caught up on the Yarn Harlot and Crazy Aunt Purl and Mason-Dixon Knitting and my kids’ blogs.

I had emailed the new guy while still at home, that while it was Knit Night, and I did not have to [get to] work overtime, nobody was expecting me at my usual haunt, so if he needed me or just wanted to see me, I was available. He responded that he didn’t know what his kids’ plans were for the evening, but I was welcome to come, and he didn’t know what there might be for dinner. I replied that I owed him a bucket of chicken (a promise made shortly after he got his diagnosis) and would be happy to deliver on that promise. So I went to the websites of the three major chains, and I did a little nutritional research.

KFC, Chicken Express, and Church’s all use MSG. I called him to ask if Panda Express (which does not) would be an acceptable substitute. And that is how I found myself at the head of a long line of hungry Dallasites, ordering a family meal with spicy beef, that delectable orange chicken, and honey walnut shrimp, plus spring rolls, steamed rice, and fried rice.

The kids were there for dinner. His son blessed the meal as we stood in the kitchen, his arms folded gently around his impossibly slim and lovely wife. After the amen, I asked him if was more fun to fold his arms, now, than when he was eight years old? Definitely.

There were not a whole lot of leftovers, but the steamed rice and the last dab of orange chicken came home with me. They have a rice cooker (and better rice in their pantry), so everybody won.

I only stayed an hour or so, as much for my own need to sleep as out of consideration for the new guy. Came home, puttered a little, and was in bed at a reasonable hour.

Tonight I see my hair magician, and then I am hoping for a quiet evening at home, with a side order of puttering. I have been slogging away at a pesky long-term project, and this morning I think I passed the tipping point.

I hope they fixed the server problem overnight. But I am taking plenty of yarn in case they did not.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Alarums; no excursions. Stabby Tuesday edition.

As I posted on FB, yesterday was all lovely and calm and wonderful until about 11:00 last night when I took my phone out of the charger and turned it on and checked my messages.

The new guy went to the hospital yesterday for his CT scan. They haven’t told him what they found in terms of cancer cells. But they did find some blood clots in his lungs, and at 6:00 he was in the ER with a heparin drip. He went home around midnight with a week’s worth of anticoagulant and gets to stab himself twice a day.

Ironically, I had read earlier in the evening, in Kevin Hinckley’s book, about how sometimes the challenges intensify when we have made a correct decision, or we are on the right path. We step out of the boat in faith and start skipping along on top of the waves, and the water gets rougher, and our knees get wet. And we get scared, lose faith in God or in ourselves, and we sink, forgetting to notice that for a time, we were succeeding at doing the impossible.

With my mobility issues, most of my prayers are standing up or sitting in a chair. You had better believe that I hit my knees last night! And the peace came. Sometimes He calms the storm. Sometimes He stills the child. I got a taste of the latter last night, and it was sweet indeed.

I called the new guy as soon as I’d listened to his voicemail. And I made him promise to call me if he decided that he needed me. And then, miraculously, I went to bed and fell asleep.

On a purely practical note, my bishop/home teacher is also a radiologist. I think we are going to ask him to see if he can get an answer back more quickly on the CT, than we can.

I spent the blissfully unaware portion of the evening doing kitchen triage. I will be taking more stuff to work today, to give away.

Life is good, and I am so blessed!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I promised some pictures.

This is the shawlette I made for Willow:



A detail. The yarn is a little too busy to properly show off the nupps.



And this is a smidgen of the scarf I made for Lark:



It was a glorious weekend. I am really looking forward to the week ahead. And yes, I did remember to switch out knitting projects so that BittyBit will have at least some element of surprise when she opens her gift later this year.

Have I mentioned that I really, truly love my tribe? I took a quiet moment yesterday to speak with the spouse emeritus and let him know that I would be bringing the new guy to Thanksgiving dinner, so he would not be blind-sided. I also told him that, should the new guy pop the question, I would accept, and what the new guy is dealing with, health-wise. He took it all graciously.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Another nearly perfect day.

I got so much accomplished. Vacuuming as aerobics and strength-training, over at our meetinghouse, followed by grocery shopping and a manicure and more grocery shopping and making-of-carrot-and-raisin-salad that did not quite taste like Mom used to make but was nevertheless pretty amazing. The new guy went back for seconds, as dessert, while we watched Enchanted.

I warned him that at my tribal gatherings, we tend to burst into show tunes for no apparent reason. Family party tonight after church, woohoo!

Mama mia! [There we] go again!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Meh day, great evening.

Work yesterday was a mixed bag. The cake was well-received.



Everyone marveled that I, the AntiSports, intentionally chose a cake with a football theme. I told them it was all the new guy’s fault. They laughed.

We had another “quick” meeting, standing up, in the office manager’s lair, but this time it actually was quick, something on the order of 20 minutes, which my massage therapist is still too long for me to be standing up at a go with the present state of my hip.

I got very little done that was measurable, at least by my standards. Most of the pre-conversion activities that I did earlier in the week, I had to re-do. I did get one case closed, another one nearly so, and one letter created for my attorney. I also typed up the (lengthy) medical expense chart for a supplemental discovery summary that I will bang out on Monday. But mostly, it was a day of hurry up and get here, 5:00, so I can scoot on out the door for my massage.

She says that, while my back was very tense last night, my overall muscle tone has improved. We also discovered that I have been doing my hip-strengthening exercise incorrectly, because I was straining my neck and shoulders. She had to do a lot of work on those bits, and she reminded me to rinse off my feet and calves with cold water before going to bed at night, and to put a pillow under my legs. My feather pillows are dying. I think I will pick up a cheap polyester-filled pillow while I’m out today, to elevate my feet.

I bought four cards while I was picking up the cake: two for Bosses’ Day on the 17th (something I have not done before, because in my opinion every day is bosses’ day), and one for Lark and one for Fourthborn.

So, the massage was good, and when I got to the restaurant, the new guy was waiting for me with a big smile. Dinner was delicious, and the conversation even more nourishing. I ran some ideas past him and got his input. Then we went to the dance (after I picked up a container of iced animal crackers as my contribution to the refreshments), and the music didn’t stink. Apparently at least one of our volunteer, works-for-free DJ’s actually pays attention to what we want. I got a couple of fast dances with the new guy, a couple of slow dances, a couple more fast dances with the herd while he put his shoes back on, and then he went home to his house, and I came home to mine.

I’ll be back at the church in a couple of hours to help clean it for the Sabbath. And then I will go camp out at NailDude’s, because I’m fixing to pop a nail, and I don’t want to get water under there and have to deal with fungus for several months until it grows out.

The new guy is cooking dinner for me after the food storage (sales) party. I will be taking a carrot/raisin salad, trying to approximate the one that Mom used to make, but maybe having to tweak the dressing a little to accommodate my dietary changes.

Time to sit on the couch and sort out the piles of birthday gifts and match up the cards. And then some celebratory knitting.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Gunga don’t.

In which your intrepid heroine has a difference of opinion with the water cooler, and the water cooler loses.



On the other hand, the Tonka boys are finally done with my curb and driveway. For the past several days, there has been a small pile of dirty yellow sand where the concrete ended and the pea gravel began. Too high to drive over, too small to be useful at filling the trench they had left. So I continued to park on the street. Last night I came home to a neat field of jawbreaker-sized gravel extending from the concrete, several feet into the driveway, and too chunky to wind up caught in the soles of my sneakers.

Lark’s scarf is blocked. Family party at Firstborn’s on Sunday after church. I hope we will have our traditional fruit roll-up races, although I probably shouldn’t participate, because I’m sure they are loaded with high fructose corn syrup as well as artificial coloring. All of the October birthday presents are wrapped or sitting next to their gift bags, and are stacked neatly on the back of the couch. I will put my sister’s in a mailing box this weekend and send it on its way sometime next week.

I’m also approaching the halfway point on BittyBit’s scarf. Five more rounds will finish this stripe. Simple, mindless knitting at its best.

I pick up the office birthday cake in a little over an hour. Time to assemble my lunch and weave in a few ends on the scarf.

Happy Friday, everybody!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Maybe not just the ankles.

Brother Sushi and Jerry, and any other guys who may be reading this: might be a good time to go fix yourself a sandwich. Come back in a minute or so.

I caught a good look at myself in the mirror at work yesterday, and something was not quite right with my bra. It looked as if there were seams running along the diagonal. This bra does not have seams; it is a molded wonder which keeps me modest when a room is chilly. I bent over, fished around, and attempted to fluff, to no avail. There was less to fluff than I am used to.

I just bought new bras three weeks ago! They were not cheap, even at buy one and get the second one half price!

It might also have been an unhappy synergy between the new bra and one of the dressy, layering T-shirts I bought from Coldwater Creek two or three months ago, slightly more fitted than the ones I bought two or three years ago (which I much prefer, because they float over my curves rather than hug them, but which are succumbing to time and spilled soup). I will be wearing one of the older shirts to work today, and I will be examining my reflection closely throughout the day.

I really, truly do not want to buy new, new bras on Saturday.

OK, guys, you can come back now.

Heading in early to work, to squeeze in half an hour of overtime before the regular day begins. I’ll be at the temple tonight, as usual, so I won’t be working overtime alongside several of my co-workers. I would go in early tomorrow, as well, but I’m picking up the cake for the office birthday party on the way in, and after work there is a much-needed massage, dinner with the new guy, and a dance at my building that may or may not be very well attended.

I’m booked pretty much all day on Saturday: cleaning the chapel, manicure, [possible bra shopping?], and dinner with the new guy.

I will see if I can go in early every day next week, or at least through Wednesday, which is the timecard cut-off day, plus the evening hours I will be able to work. Good news, though: I only worked until 6:45 last night, so Knit Night might not have to be sacrificed, after all!

Temple bag is packed and by the door. Knitting and backup yarn are in my bag. I need to pack lunch and dinner, grab my bags, and git.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

What’s cooking?

Actually, that should be “Who’s cooking?” And the answer would be “Me!”

Slept like a rock last night, up at 4:00, hit the kitchen almost immediately. A pot of risotto with herbes de Provence and the last scraps of ham. A pan of the new guy’s mushroom and spinach jollop. All packaged up in take-along’s for lunch today and tomorrow, with a little risotto to spare.

Didn’t stay long at Knit Night last night, just long enough to show off the new laceweight and let my friends pet it, and to finish the current stripe on BittyBit’s scarf. I’m weaving in the ends as I finish each stripe, because this is a tubular scarf and because I don’t like to weave in ends. So when I get to the end of the scarf, I’ll have two ends from the beginning of the last stripe, and the tag end after binding off, and done.

I need to leave for work in five minutes. Lunch and dinner are packed. Overtime starts tonight. I plan to work as much of that as I can, and Knit Night will necessarily take a backseat. The temple and the Sabbath will not. Most of my Saturdays are already booked (so nice to have my calendar on my phone).

Blogging might be a little thin on the ground as well, but probably not. The new guy is in zombie mode today after yesterday’s chemo, but otherwise in good spirits. Two days until my massage, and dinner with him, and the dance at my building.

And in the meantime, I had better scoot!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Faux-k art

That K is the sound of Ms. Ravelled, gagging on her indignation.

I am not the proud new owner of a small red wooden phone booth. Why not, you ask? When I got to Hobby Lobby, the ones on display were cheaply made, and the shelf in the middle turned out to be glued in, and the price was twice what I remembered from Saturday. I would have begrudgingly paid the $20 I saw then, if the quality were better. I am not paying $40 for something that was thrown together in such a fashion as to make slapdash a compliment of the highest order. [Even if it is red.]

So I went to Sprouts and spent the $20 I had earmarked for frivolity, on food. Plus a dollar for autism research. And brought home a $5 bill to donate for Lee National Denim Day on Friday. Just to clear my palate.

I guess the good news is, I won’t have to come up with a Supergirl costume for Faith or Temperance. That equals more happy knitting time.

I seem to have mislaid another two pounds. If you find them, please don’t feel obligated to mark them return to sender. I am rather pleased, if mystified, by this turn of events, although if it keeps up, I will be in the next smaller size of jeans by the end of the month. I hadn’t really planned on buying new jeans anytime soon.



This just in from our news bureau. At 30 inches, it’s theoretically tall enough for even Blessing to stand upright in. [The other was 12-15 inches tall.] But I suspect the shelves are not merely glued in. Without looking inside, I imagine that they are impeccably dado’ed, making this thing of beauty utterly useless to me. Good thing: half-price, it’s still over $100!!!

If Dad were still alive, I could show him this picture, and he would make me one just like it, and it would be perfect. When I was married to FirstHubby, I designed our waterbed frame. Dad built it. I designed an elaborate jewelry box. He drilled maybe a hundred tiny holes in dividers for the drawer to hold my post earrings. Those holes lined up like infantrymen on inspection. The drawer moved smoothly. The joinery was perfect. There was a mirror [of top-quality glass] inside the lid, and a really cool knob on top, with two smaller ones to match on the front of the drawer. When our house was burglarized in 1982, the thieves stole my jewelry box, not realizing that the box was far more precious to me than anything it contained.

I wonder if the new guy has woodworking tools out in his garage? Everything I know about him, suggests that he might. Now there’s a happy thought!

Knit Night tonight, and yes, Aisling, the new red yarn is in my bag for proper appreciation. [I was mistaken about the other silk laceweight: it’s Claudia, not Schaefer.]

Monday, October 03, 2011

You would think...

...that, having lain down for a nap at 5:30 last night and waking at 11:30, and going back to bed at 3:45, I would have been able to go back to sleep for a couple of hours. You would be mistaken. The hamster wheel which is my brain kept going round and round and round. Not worried about anything, just lots to think about.

He has chemo tomorrow. He gets the report of next week’s CT scan a month from today. I have massages booked every ten days, to break up the time a little and give me something tangible to anticipate.

I did a lot of knitting yesterday, only some of it on BittyBit’s birthday present. Thankfully, her birthday is the very last week of December, and even if I only add 5% per day to the length of her scarf, it will be done by the end of the month. I started another chemo cap yesterday, to productively use up the tag ends of Malabrigo from the new guy’s caps and the yarn which Tola sent me. I have no idea for whom I am knitting. This one is all autumn colors. Somebody will love it.

Heading out the door now to put two packages in the mail. If traffic is Obby Noxious [Abby Normal’s tacky cousin], then I will put them in the mail after work.

This week’s dance card is filling rapidly, but that’s a post for another day.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Princess of Puttering

Secondborn, I ordered what is allegedly a gently-used copy of that church-related ABC book on eBay last night. [I went to buy it at the bookstore in BigD on my way to the temple Thursday night and learned that it’s out of print.] So now I won’t have to mug my friends at church next Sunday and deprive their toddler of his book. I’m rather fond of the little rascal, even though he did pull a DP out of my project at the Easter egg hunt last spring.

So, I’m really enjoying General Conference, possibly even more than usual. The talks and the music in the Saturday morning session were seriously sniffle-inducing.

“Now brethren, we speak boldly to you, because anything more subtle doesn’t seem to work.” ~ Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

In the priesthood session last Conference, the Brethren spoke boldly about the need for single brethren, young and old, to stop following selfish pursuits and to take a good sister to the temple, there to begin an eternal family. This Conference, the theme for the brethren is worthiness and service, primarily missionary service. Or that’s what it seemed to be through the first half of last night’s session, which they put up on the internet about 9:30. I got a few minutes into Elder Eyring’s talk before my body said, “Whoa, sister, it’s time you went to bed.” I’m going to fix some breakfast, and if there’s still time I’ll restart from that point and see how much I can listen to before it’s time to switch over to the live Sunday morning session.

I got all of my crochet thread organized and put away yesterday. I scored the last snap-on organizer tray package in the size I needed, at the Jo-Ann’s which is closing [because a new, larger one is opening next month], at 15% off. I only needed one tray for the thread project. I used the other one to organize what’s left of my silk paints and my free-range decorative painting supplies, the rest of which are neatly contained in an oversize plastic shoebox. My watercolor supplies are also contained; I may move them into my rolling scrapbook cart, where their brushes reside in a tall, skinny glass jar.

I also sorted through twenty years’ worth of buttons by color, material, shape (shank, two-hole, four-hole), and size. I think there is still one jar floating around unsorted, but when I find it, it will be a small matter to divide and conquer. I wanted to do this so that, when I need to sew on a button, I do not have to sort through two tins, a half-gallon jar, and a couple of smaller jars to find one which will work. I will just have to grab the right plastic box [one of five, the same sort I used to organize my embroidery floss collection] that holds the right color family and see what I’ve got.

I saw the cutest thing in Hobby Lobby yesterday: a small display box painted to look like a red telephone booth. There is one shelf inside. I didn’t check to see if it is removable. I think I will go back there tomorrow night with Faith and Honor, to see which of them looks better standing alongside/inside it. And if it’s a good fit, it’s mine. The next project would be to figure out how to make a Supergirl costume.

I’m not telling any of my doll collecting friends about my find unless/until I have it home. Crazy like a fox, that’s me.

I also added two or three inches to BittyBit’s birthday present yesterday. I figured out how to incorporate some of the first shade of gold in a way that ties it into the first two scarves and doesn’t clash with the new shade. I anticipate lots of knitting progress today.

Have a blessed and peaceful Sabbath, everybody.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

General Conference time!!!

I love General Conference. I love sitting quietly for two hours at a time, with my knitting to keep my hands busy and the rest of me awake, and hearing what Heaven thinks is important for me to know. I love that there is a prophet on earth today, as in Moses’ day, who gives loving counsel tailored for our times. I know that I will hear things today and tomorrow which will address my needs and concerns. And I will hear sublime music, and feel the Spirit, and holy peace will descend upon me and bubble through me.

I am going to run a [very] few errands this morning. I began the day with a nice bowl of Irish oatmeal, and I have all kinds of fruity and veggie goodness in the fridge, for snacking on throughout the day. At some point there will be a big salad, although I plan to throw most of the baby spinach into another batch of the new guy’s spinach and mushroom jollop.

I hope to make enormous progress on BittyBit’s birthday present. It would be lovely to finish it and get it, and Lark’s birthday present, blocked. The latter will probably happen sometime today; blocking is a quiet activity that does not interfere with contemplation.

I hope this day brings all of you much quiet joy, that you feel your connection to Heaven, and that all of the surprises are good ones.