About Me

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

Friday, August 31, 2012

Oh dear. Houndstooth.

J’adore houndstooth. Always have. Most likely, always will. It’s just so crisp and tidy. And it’s all over the inside of the new Lane Bryant catalogue. Skirts. Tailored blouses. Flats. A clutch. A cape. And one really ugly printed-patternblocked-mixed-plaids dress. Am I forgetting something?

I am off work today, theoretically lounging about like the ladies who lunch, but in reality there is barely any time for knitting. I need to pick up gift cards for Fourthborn’s Fiancé’s birthday (yesterday, ahem; cash flow issues), Squishy and Beloved (Monday), and do a little grocery shopping. I think I will factor in a side trip to Lane Bryant to inspect fabric quality, the better to decide if one of those houndstooth goodies will follow me home next payday or the one after that.

 Knitting a 358-stitch round goes much more slowly than knitting a 70-stitch round for a sleeve hem, or the 130 stitches where the sleeves will eventually join the body. As applied to knitting, the laws of physics tend to be somewhat stretchy, but this one is holding as firm as a cabled cast-on.  I’m thinking that the sweater body will take a month or more to reach the armscyes, unless I decide to make the body shorter than the pattern as written.

I also have an almost overwhelming urge to move furniture around. Beloved is already off to the temple, and I’ve had a couple slices of bread and butter while trying to make up my mind about what I want for a real breakfast. Beloved’s kids have come over this week and taken almost everything they wanted from his mother’s stuff. LittleBit came over after class last night and took home several boxes of kitchen supplies. We will take more boxes up to Younger Twin’s house when we go for the family BBQ tomorrow. We are beginning to get our house back. The swathes of visible carpet are growing by the day.

I want to hang pictures in the guest bathroom. I want to tackle the area by my side of the bed, clear out that desk and make it mine. Maybe move the small bookcase in the hall out from there and atop the desk, the better to organize my own stuff. There is a desk lamp which is useless-to-me, but which would be handy over on Beloved’s side of the bed. We found a power strip in one of his mother’s boxes, and I would much rather have my CPAP plugged into that than into the extension cord which is currently serving the purpose. Time to grab one of the umpteen small notepads we inherited from his mother and make myself a honey-do list.

It’s almost 7:00. I’m burning daylight.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Beloved is feeling a lot better. We are beginning to think that that Ondamed machine is pure magic. He had a twinkle in his eye when I got home on Tuesday (not a glint, just a nice twinkle). Yesterday he impersonated his younger self and wrangled a Queen Mary boatload of boxes in the living room and dining room. I picked up Panda Express for dinner.

Another good day at work. I ended up not getting evaluated yesterday afternoon, but I got a lot done. I’m off tomorrow, and I’m working like crazy to make sure that my To-Do’s are all current. There should be two, two-hour evaluation periods today.

In knitting news, I finished the hem on the body of the sweater and this morning completed the first round above the hem turn. I’m looking forward to lots of happy knitting over the four (!) day weekend.

Beloved got a call from the doctor in Houston yesterday. There is not a lot they can do for him there, but they are coordinating with the local oncologist, and there may be those local studies, and Beloved is going on a list for studies in Houston. Whether he participates, if qualified, will depend upon what co-pay, if any, will be required from us.

Today is Big Chemo. I have my temple bag packed, and my knitting mostly packed up, so it is time to pack my lunch and figure out my breakfast and decide what I am going to wear. Beloved is making reluctant wake-up noises about a yard behind me. (They look so cute when they’re asleep, don’t they?)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sorting, sorting.

On Saturday we went through a bunch of boxes and put a lot of books on the shelf in the hall. There are four boxes for Beloved’s kids to go through: two of church books and two of secular books. Last night we went through more boxes, this time in the dining room. We have enough small note pads to stock an office supply shop; they are neatly stacked atop one of those four boxes in the hall.

Beloved will be trekking up to use the Ondamed machine today, then coming home to sort more boxes while I am slaving over a hot keyboard at work. The twins are coming over tonight to mow the yard and pick up the rest of the horse apples in the back. Beloved filled the garbage bin yesterday, and between us we got it rolled out to the street. Horse apples are the fruit of the bois d’arc tree (pronounced BOHdark, for you non-Texans) and are roughly the size of a softball, electric green in color, and trying to take over our back yard. Beloved is just too pooped to do much yard work, and I have never mown a lawn in my life, so bless those boys!

I did finish the second sleeve yesterday, complete with stitching the hem at the wrist and weaving in the ends. I also cast on 358 stitches for the hem of the sweater body itself, placing a split-ring marker every 20 stitches. It took the better part of an hour. This morning I carefully laid the needle out on the breakfast table, made sure that there were no twists, joined it in a big circle, and worked the first round, placing different markers to note each side of the steek (where I will eventually divide it to turn this into a cardigan rather than a pullover) and the side seams (where the waist shaping will go, if I decide to do conventional waist shaping).

So, it’s 6:00am if the clock is to be believed. (Beloved habitually sets the clocks ahead. I forget if this is a fast clock or a regular one.) I have been up for an hour and a half. He had another rough night but did manage to catch some sleep. He is having quite a bit of pain, all of it since our trip to Houston, and is grateful for strong pain meds. Apparently it’s not enough pain that he thinks we should go to the ER; he shot an email off to the local oncologist yesterday but had yet to hear back when we went to bed last night, although he had had a response to an earlier email.

Right now he is feeling almost as bad as he did last summer, after the surgery and before the chemo started to work. We will get this figured out, but boy howdy! is it hard to watch him go through this. We are in good hands. Both earthly and Heavenly. It will all work out.

My turn for the shower. I need to leave early enough that I can pick up a lipstick on my way to work. I have some of my old MK stash in the house, presumably in the middle bedroom, but it might as well be on Mars. I’m one of two secretaries getting evaluated to see which is ready to take on an additional attorney (the new one started yesterday), and I need to have my game face on for the next two or three weeks. Game face, in a legal office, means lipstick.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gryffindor times three.

Because you guys are/were used to the constant battle between order and chaos at the former chez Ravelled, I’m not embarrassed to show you this; it’s the first Gryffindor scarf, made for BittyBubba in July of last year:

And a detail; yes, that is a green plastic Easter egg on the table. Don’t judge me!

Here is his little brother’s, in September.

I would show you a picture of BittyBit’s scarf, finishing off the trifecta, and the year, nicely but shortly after it was done I was up to my ears in wedding prep, and my computer is still in pieces in the middle bedroom, and I don’t remember if I even took a picture. Or where the cable is for my camera, or the software to connect my camera to Beloved’s computer. As we say, it’s in the house.

She was pleased. Firstborn would like her own Gryffindor scarf, but I am quite firmly out of the scarf business for the moment.

I expect to finish the second sweater sleeve tonight, all things being equal. Three weeks for the first sleeve, and one for the second. I have seventeen rounds left, as we speak. Maybe seventeen and a half. There is only so much Food Network dunh-dunh-dunh drama I can watch without being overcome by the urge to eat every scrap of leftovers in the fridge. So I came in here, caught up my Google Reader, will play a couple rounds of Mahjongg Dimensions/Dementia, and then go back out and be sociable.

Beloved had another rough night last night. I got several short chunks of sleep. I think he was up every half hour or so. I went to church this morning, taught my class, came home and inhaled a sandwich, then ran back out and did some of our home/visiting teaching. He did the sensible thing and stayed home from church to sleep. He has been dozing, either in our bed or in his chair, off and on all day, and he’s still tired. He will be calling or emailing his doctor tomorrow. Doctor here and doctor in Houston have been communicating with one another. This bodes well.

I am all typed-out. Inconceivable! We should probably alert the media.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Alarm or alarm not. There is no snooze.

With apologies to Yoda. Beloved is mighty fond of the snooze button. I am mighty fond of Beloved, even when he hits the snooze button. For me, the point of an alarm clock is to wake me up. To ensure that this happens, I used to keep mine across the room.

By the time I clawed my way up out of sleep, staggered out of bed, and lurched over to beat the alarm into mute submission, I was well and truly awake. At which time my bladder would realize that we were vertical and start yodeling.

Now that I am married, my alarm clock is taking a sabbatical. It traveled to Houston with us earlier this week, and it got us out of bed on Wednesday morning. Bleat, squelch, mission accomplished, after which I unplugged it and put it back into my suitcase.

Beloved’s alarm clock lives on the corner of his desk, next to where his glasses spend the night. If I am not already up by the time the alarm goes off, I leap out of bed and aim myself toward the guest bathroom. He hits the snooze button. Seven minutes later, he hits it again. It is like the poem I learned from the children’s father (recited in a fake-Swedish accent):

My name is Yim Yonson,
I live in Visconsin
I vork in de lumbermill dere.
And ven people pass by
And say vere are you from,
Well, dis is vat I alvays say:
My name is Yim Yonson...

When I went to bed last night, knowing that we had no early morning appointments today, I whined pleaded with him, “Please tell me that we can go to bed without setting the alarm tonight.” No such luck. He had important gardening stuff that needed to get done as soon as it was light, i.e., well before it got too hot outside. Fair enough. I won’t deny that I like the goodies he brings in from our garden. That is worth a modicum of sleep-wrecking in this woman’s book.

So he set the alarm, and we went to bed somewhat earlier than usual, and I woke up around 3:00 feeling wonderfully refreshed. Out to the living room I went, where I spent the better part of three hours communing with my sweater sleeve. After enough time lapsed that my light breakfast had had a chance to settle, I went back to bed. The alarm went off. He did not get up. It was raining outside. I tried to catch a nap. No dice. Every seven minutes, just as I was drifting away, the infernal alarm clock did its job. Finally he shut it down, I caught a catnap, he dozed a little, and then we got up and emptied most of the contents of ten or twelve boxes of books into the hall bookcase. There are four boxes now ready for other family members to sort through: two of church books and manuals that are duplicates of what he or I already had, and two of secular books. His mother was highly intelligent, eminently sensible (two qualities which do not always pop up in the same individual, you must admit), and read voraciously. We are pulling out one treasure after another from these boxes. And we haven’t even gotten to the cookbooks yet.

So it’s been a mostly-productive day. We went to Mel’s dad’s birthday party at lunchtime but left early because Beloved’s nausea kicked in. I brought him home, grabbed my nail polish, and headed back out for my manicure (yay!) and to pick up a honey-and-ginger herbal tea that Squishy recommended.

Beloved got a nice long nap this afternoon. He is up and about, and I probably ought to go see if I can help with anything. In another hour I can go to sleep with a clear conscience (I’m 60; if I want to go to bed with the chickens, it’s my prerogative. I’ll be up before them, that’s for sure.)

Did I mention that the bloodwork done in Houston showed his cancer cell count down by 130 from its spike to 400 of the previous week? Parkland did send the old films on CD to MD Anderson, and the oncologist there is already speaking with our oncologist here. I’ll keep you posted when we know anything.

Friday, August 24, 2012

There’s anole place like home!

Good day at work yesterday. I chewed through two days’ worth of mail, sent out drafts on three cases we’ve settled, and significantly whittled down my inbox. My attorney is on vacation today, and Attorney B has only one report for me to type, so I’m looking forward to a quietly productive day.

Payday. Tithing check is written. Birthday card for Beloved’s brother is stamped and ready to go. Utility bill is in Beloved’s pocket; he’ll drop it off on his way home from the temple. Beloved needs a haircut. I need a manicure.

I also need a new (cheap) purse, because my $10 wonder has just about outlived its usefulness. I spent 15 minutes or so on eBay, looking at tan leather purses. What I really wish I could do, is wave my fairy wand at that picture of the Dooney & Burke purse I saw a few months ago, make it large enough to carry everything I lug around (I have no idea how big that purse is, except as big applies to its price tag), and make it a non-designer purse. I want simple styling and excellent workmanship and nothing which suggests that status is important to me. I work with woman who carry expensive designer bags. And I certainly have areas in my life in which I am willing to spend that kind of money (cough:dolls:cough). I don’t put them down for it.

It’s just not my bag, as we used to say.

I parked behind Beloved in our driveway last night, so I needed to move my car this morning in order for him to get to the temple. On my way back into the house, I spotted a tiny lizard, maybe two and a half inches long and a quarter of an inch wide, on the front step. He froze. I carefully stepped around him. Hence the title of this post.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Road music, his and hers.

A zydeco CD with a Tabasco label.
Generic bagpipe music. (Lifescapes??)
More bagpipe music, this time by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
The Ultimate Charlie Daniels Band.
Generic zydeco music. (More Lifescapes.)
Martina McBride (we likes!).
Johnny Horton’s 16 Biggest Hits.
Classical Thunder II. (really loud pieces, some of which I like, some of which are obnoxious Russian twelve-tone garbage)
Eagles - Greatest Hits.
Romantic Piano Masterworks, Disc B (which implies that somewhere there is a Disc A).
Romantic Piano Masterworks, Disc A (bingo!).

J.J. Cale and Eric Clapton - The Road to Escondido.
Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris - All the Roadrunning (we didn’t get to this one).
Ray Charles - Genius Loves Company (duets - we didn’t get to this one, either).
The Cream of Clapton (or this one).
Emmylou Harris - Stumble into Grace.
Eagles - Long Road Out of Eden.
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - Raising Sand.

I was really tickled to find Martina tucked in among all that testosterone. I can sing along with Martina. Kinda hard to sing along with bagpipes, although I adore them.

His music is designed to keep him awake, pedal to the metal, from Point A to Point B. Or in this case, from Disc A to Disc B (ducking, ducking). My music is chosen for its sing-along-ability. Road trips, for me, have typically been motivated by a need to get away, process the latest family crisis, and have a good cleansing weep.

As you might guess, we are back from Houston. The news is mixed. His cancer count went down 130 points from last week. His lungs are in good shape. There are lots of little spots of rebellion on his liver. Parkland was supposed to overnight a CD with images from his X-rays and CT scans to MD Anderson. When we had the second appointment with new doctor yesterday morning, those images were not yet in the system. They might have been sitting in-house, waiting to be uploaded, or they might have been in transit, or they might still be at Parkland, which like the mill of the gods, grindeth exceeding slow. The new doctor needs to see the older images, to see where Beloved is progressing and where the cancer is advancing. Once he knows, he will work with the local oncologist to tweak the chemo protocol if necessary.

More bad news is that the Kanzius procedure is not quite ready to test on humans, although it is doing quite well on primates. (We are reasonably certain that Beloved is a primate.) And it appears to hold more promise for lymphomas than for solid-tissue cancers like Beloved’s colon/liver/lungs. So that is out, as are a couple of clinical trials that use a drug similar to the one which has caused the neuropathy in his fingers and feet. There is another trial at UT Southwestern here in Dallas (but we don’t like them much; they are intertwined with Parkland) and one at a hospital in San Antonio. We will find out more about them.

We had no appointments on Tuesday, so we drove to Galveston, walked along the seawall and investigated the two fishing piers (one of which is a not-only-no-but), had lunch at Landry’s with my friend from the Arlington days, had one gold-plated scoop apiece at the Ben & Jerry’s ($3.50 for a single scoop? really?) then drove back to Houston.

After we finished up at MD Anderson yesterday, I headed the car northwest to Brenham. Beloved had never toured the Blue Bell factory, so we did that, scored a free scoop apiece, then turned the car up back roads toward the freeway, reconnecting a little north of Huntsville.

Rough night last night. We think his body is still expelling the last of the barium milkshake from Monday’s tests. He had abdominal pain, no fever, backache from all of the sitting (helped immeasurably by an application of Bio-Freeze to the saddle of his back; I’m glad to be at least intermittently good for something around here). Not a lot of sleep for either of us. He got his in half-hour increments. I got mine in maybe one- and two-hour increments.

He has chemo-lite this morning, so I will be dropping him off in a couple of hours and heading into work. I am excused from the temple tonight, praise be, as we did not know if we would be in Houston all week, or just a couple of days. The email they sent said to prepare to be there for five business days.

Lots and lots and lots of knitting done this week. You can do an amazing amount during a nine-hour stretch at the hospital if you are not the one getting poked and prodded. I just finished the 84th round, of the 143 that will declare sleeve number two finito.

Time to go put his CD travel pack back and stow my own CD’s with their musical buddies. You will be pleased to know that the freezer did not go berserk in our absence. Our frozen food is still frozen. However, the gallon of milk we bought on Saturday, with a freshness date of 8/27, went sour while we were gone; the one we took with us in the miraculous cooler, is still fresh as a daisy, at least what’s left of it. Somebody will need to buy more milk today. I’m thinking that somebody is me. And if I were to stir my stumps, I might be able to get to Wally World and back before we need to leave for the hospital and the office.

I am (wearily) happy and significantly more hopeful than a week ago, even with the uncertainty, but it’s gonna be a Cherry Coke day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Enjoy our new ratmelt sandwiches!

No, that’s not quite what the sign said. But it’s what I saw as I drove past on my way to meet up with  Secondborn and crew last Saturday. Someone had pushed the F and the L rather closely together, and what I saw was an R.

I laughed most of the way there.

I am pleased to report that there has been much knitting progress in the past couple of days. I bound off the underarm stitches on the first sleeve after church on Sunday and immediately cast on for the second sleeve. When I went to bed last night, I was about a third of the way up the second sleeve. I will not be at Knit Night tonight, because Knit Night has moved to Monday night, as being easier for the majority of the members of our group. Beloved has no objections to my joining them, but y'all know how stubborn I can be.

Monday nights, in LDS families, are reserved for family home evening. Ergo, I shall spend Monday nights with Beloved and any other family members who show up, or once a month with the Empty Nesters. End of discussion.

The sun is up, as are we. Looks like it’s my turn for the shower, and then time to rustle up some breakfast.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Crazy week!

Composed of a series of seemingly endless crazy days, but we got through it and have made it safely to the weekend.

First bit of good news: Beloved has been accepted into the clinical trial at MD Anderson. More good news: they’re in the HMO. Want more? We drive down for testing next week, with maybe a side order of Galveston, depending on how many days they want/need us there and how much time between appointments.

I have my absence cleared through work, and I have been scrambling for two days to get all of my To-Do’s checked off so I would leave nothing big for my backup.

We know for sure that one day will be shot to blazes. But until we get there and he meets with the doctor, we don’t know what-all is involved in the treatments, how many there will be, how closely spaced together, etc. The next month or so may be zanier than usual.

And not a moment too soon. His oncologist took him off chemo lite to give his body a rest. His cancer count started creeping upward, and last week it doubled. He had been running somewhere between 100 and 150 for several months, and now it is 400. Not Good. We don’t know if that means the chemo drugs have lost their effectiveness, or the mini-break from chemo lite gave the bad cells time to gather their courage and make another push.

What we do know is that he has been waking every half hour to forty-five minutes, every night, for a week to ten days, when what he really needs is a few nights of two to three hours at a whack. And when he doesn’t sleep well, I don’t sleep well.

They are going to test him six ways from Sunday when we get to Houston: bloodwork, X-rays, yet another CT scan with its delicious barium milkshake accompaniment. On the other hand, we might be able to see one of my old friends from the Arlington days, a widower with a large and lively posterity. He has yet to meet Beloved. And I bet he knows any number of good seafood restaurants. No, I am not going to do the shrimp challenge while in South Texas. But there are plenty of things that I know I can eat, that may go over the teeth, across the gums, lookout stomach here it comes.

Beloved has found us a place with a fridge and a microwave, so we plan to take down much of the food we will eat. He also has a serious cooler that will keep food cold for several days when it is 90F outside. I will spend a good chunk of this weekend preparing for the trip. Baking, packing, more baking, more packing, and the careful calculation of just how much yarn will be required.

Won’t tell you that we’re gone, until we’re back. Cricket the Attack Cat will be in charge; it worked well, last time, to have him out in the garage with outside access and a ginormous bowl of cat food and an equally large bowl of water. We will probably not be gone longer than three days at a stretch. He turns up his nose at using a litter box, not that I blame him, so he will just have to be at large and in charge while we are out and about.

I had a brief, preliminary chat with my HMO before leaving the office today. Looks like a lot of this, or maybe even all of it, will be covered by our insurance. Prayers and positive thoughts, if you please. I’m heading back out to the living room to half-listen to the food channel until Beloved is ready to call it a night.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday trivia.

Yesterday was a not-bad day at work. My attorney was out of the office, and we had very little mail to process, but Attorney B had two reports for me to type, and there was administrative stuff to handle, so I stayed busy all day, even though I was fighting sleep. I don’t know if it’s the new allergy medicines or just the craziness of daily life, but I could barely keep my eyes open from 3:00 until after I recharged at dinner. It was a serious struggle to stay awake on the drive home, but thankfully the radio stations kept playing lively tunes with lyrics I wasn’t embarrassed to sing along with, and that did the trick.

I came home to New Orleans style bread pudding (pineapple sauce rather than rum or whiskey) for dessert and a big pot of beef and beans for the main course. We also went out and bought me a new pair of sneakers. The tread was coming off the old ones, and I couldn’t jolly them along any longer. They were becoming a slip-and-fall hazard. The bad news about the new sneakers is that we had to put them on plastic. The good news is that they were on sale for $30, or about one-third of what I paid for the last pair (also on sale). I’ve never owned a pair of Fila sneakers before, but they’re the right price and the right colors (black and red) and a little bit shiny but not metallic. I’m looking forward to seeing how well they hold up.

Academy’s prices beat Foot Locker’s, even if the store is more crowded. I had very polite help when I needed it, getting the one pair in my size down from about eight feet up; Beloved was in another part of the store at the time.

We came home from shopping and had dessert. While Beloved whipped up the pineapple sauce, I emptied and moved a very small bookcase in the hall (the one that used to sit along the wall between our room and the middle bedroom. After dessert we joined forces to wrangle the big oak bookcase down the hall and set it up where the other had been. Today, while I am slaving over a hot keyboard at work, Beloved will start going through box after box of his mother’s books. The ones we are keeping will go into the bookcase. The others will go back into a box and out the door tonight or tomorrow. I think the small bookcase might get emptied out again and set up on the back of the desk on my side of the bed, to serve as a hutch. I am all about the vertical storage!

Just moving that big bookcase from where it was leaning gingerly against the china cabinet in the living room, and clearing off the wicker chair in the corner of the living room, and tidying the kitchen table last Saturday, has made the whole house seem more hopeful. I don’t know how many boxes of books there are, or how long it will take Beloved to sort through them, but we are making inroads. His niece and her family will be here in a few days, and they will have a horse trailer, and I hope a whole lot of stuff that is presently playing Occupy Belovedland will be going out the door when they head homeward.

I have four more increase rounds, and then I think about 30 rounds after that, and the first sleeve will be done. Maybe by the end of this week. I love it that the designer thinks like I do: get the sleeves out of the way, first, and then they will be ready when you reach the armscyes on the sweater body.

This is the part where I bat my eyes at my husband so he will make us breakfast. I will not be going to Knit Night tonight, because he has promised one of my favorite meals for dinner. I think it might be a bribe so that I will help him wrangle book boxes, but I will be happy to play along.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Maybe catching up on my sleep. Maybe.

I slept a lot this weekend. Not the desperate sleep which is the hallmark of depression. Just a wonderful series of catnaps. And reasonably decent sleep when it came time for that.

I love the feeling of being in-harness with Beloved. We are getting ready to revise our wills. We are talking about hard things. We are working towards solutions of long-term problems, together. I love this man. I love his goodness, his decency, his humor, his wit, and his willingness to negotiate. For starters.

And I love that for the first time in many years, there is another adult in the house to share in the decision making.

There is so much that I wish I could say, but this is not the time nor the place. I am not unused to writing so briefly, but for the moment my thoughts and energy are needed elsewhere. I may need to haul out one of my paper journals in the meantime, because I think best when I am writing things down.

In knitting news, I thought I was done with the sleeve increases, but I checked my gauge, which is easier and more accurate on a sleeve than on that gauge swatch I worked. I am one stitch tighter and one row shorter than the specified gauge, so I am going to have to knit the next larger size and shorten the sweater body to ensure that I do not run out of yarn. I think 150 rows will just about give me the sleeve length I am looking for.

There is one last brownie out in the kitchen, leftover from Saturday dinner. It has my name on it. And it is about to meet its doom.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Now *this* looks interesting!

Found this review on MovieMom’s blog.

Middlest, pictures of my new doll will have to wait until I get my computer set up, which will not happen until we reconfigure the middle bedroom into an office, which comes way farther down my list of priorities than getting myself a workable closet.

Yes, I have a camera on my phone, and yes, I could probably figure out how to email a picture to you, but I am going to have to acquire a new life skill sometime today, and I’m not sure there is room at the inn for two new life skills in one day. Especially when we are feeding the missionaries tonight and trying to figure out where to Tetris them into a living room that is still crammed with boxes from Beloved’s mother’s storage unit.

Before I forget: Alison, find Rose is Rose in the comics for today, Saturday the 11th. Squirrel antics. I thought of you.

Now about that new life skill. With some back-story, first. On Thursday I got to lead one of the newbies on a working tour of the temple, check-off list in hand, showing her where the fire extinguishers, fire pull boxes, telephones, first aid stations, emergency exits, etc., are. It takes about an hour to do it right. We did it right. And my other responsibilities had me on my feet all night, except for maybe ten minutes.

That is too long for me to be afoot. At the end of the evening both ankles were massively swollen into folds that resembled those wrinkly Chinese dogs. Not fun. And I had done something to my right knee, the one I messed up on that long, long drive when Dad died in 1990. I don’t know at this point if it’s another stress fracture, or if it’s ligaments or tendons or simply cranky musculature, but it’s still tender at noon on Saturday.

If it’s still hurting in a week, I will not wait another two and a half months to get it X-rayed, like last time. I limped all day yesterday, and most of my joints ached from the waist on down. I just fired off a letter to my supervisors at the temple, asking them to please not schedule me to stand for more than half an hour at a time, from here on out, and why.

As soon as Beloved wakes from his post-gardening nap, we are heading off to Costco. I will be conceding defeat and grabbing one of those carts to ride in. I get to learn how to play Costco Dodge-'Em. You can expect me as the starter on the relay team in the 2016 Games.

Still no word from M.D. Anderson. They have promised him, twice, that he would hear back “in 45 minutes,” but have failed to do so. This is getting really old. (So am I, but at least I try to be entertaining.)

Beloved’s cancer count is climbing, so we are back to chemo every week. He was getting up about once an hour during the night to hit the bathroom; it is now every half hour or 45 minutes. He will be discussing that with his oncologist next week, and there is a possibility they will be changing the drugs in his chemo cocktail. Thus far he has not needed the chemo caps, but his eyebrows are coming in all funny and surprised-looking. His hair is actually getting darker.

Something really funny happened at work yesterday. I got a voicemail from the company which handles some of our benefits, responding to a call “I” made on Thursday regarding retirement planning. I checked the company directory. Sure enough, there are two other women with names virtually identical to mine. I returned the gentleman’s call and told him I would email them and ask the right “me” to contact him.

Retirement. It is to laugh. A genuine miracle if it happens in my lifetime, unless Beloved and I discover oil in our backyard. Meanwhile, I am ever so thankful that I love my job and my co-workers.

I woke up at 3-something, absolutely parched from the refreshments at the wedding reception last night. Went out to the living room and downed a bottle and a half of water and put four and a half rounds on the sweater sleeve. After two weeks, I am nearly up to the elbow. This is not going to be a fast project, any more than the pillow covers were, but I suspect I will enjoy the process every bit as much.

Time to go roust Beloved and head for the jousting fields at Costco. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Falling-apart Friday

I’d like to trade in this 60 year old body for two 30’s. Yesterday was more grueling than usual, and various bits ache, and I would very much like to roll over and go back to bed. I have already made a fruitless run to Wally World, in search of under-bed storage boxes to match the ones I have had for 15 years (I do realize the likelihood of that happening) and an ironing board cover whose pattern and/or color doesn’t make me gag.

I will be stopping at Target after work, to pick up a gift card for the second wedding reception of the week and to see if my inner domestic engineer has any better luck there. We have a very nice, sturdy, non-rusty ironing board, courtesy of Beloved’s mother’s storage unit; all it needs is a new cover.

Work has gone very well this week, thus far. I got through the rest of my mail yesterday and tidied up some of my To-Do’s, and we got another lawsuit to enter. Attorney B has several reports which are due out today, so the new suits may have to wait until Monday. I closed another case yesterday, and we have several more dismissal orders sent off to the courts, so I may be able to close more cases in the next couple of days.

I think I got half a round done on the sleeve yesterday. My attorney took three of us out to lunch, so no knitting there. Just walk, sweat, eat, walk, sweat some more, and back to the grindstone. The lunch I took for yesterday is still in the fridge at work, so I won’t have to do more than grab some fresh fruit and git.

I have to laugh at myself, a little. On Wednesday after my shower, I put on three separate topical creams in various places, for various issues. I wonder if my skin gets confused? Good news is that I did not need to put any on yesterday, and I think I may not need them today. The chigger bites no longer bug me (pun intended), and my ankles are pink rather than fire engine red. We count all the small victories.

Breakfast is down the hatch. Raisin bran with cow’s milk on it (not much, but enough). Know what? After a year of not drinking cow’s milk, I find that I’m not crazy about the taste of it. Crazy, perhaps, but not about milk.

Hark! I think I hear a banana calling my name.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

♥ Happy Thursday to me!

Work went really well yesterday. I walked into my cubicle, set my bags down on the other chair, and surveyed my desk. The managing attorney had not been idle in my absence. A new file to open. Don’t ask me when the answer is due, because I only got most of the way through Friday’s mail before scooting out the door at 5:00.

Today I have a report to type for Attorney B, and I hope to finish Friday’s mail and Monday’s and maybe get the new case opened. I think somebody opened one in our absence (but it may only be a monitoring-for-service file), as there are two new case names on our docket. One more case is a little nearer to closing, and I got through most of my email as well.

I came home to pot roast in the crockpot (with wonderfully spicy potatoes, yum!), and then we lit out for a wedding reception. I was delighted to discover that the brother of one of my good friends in this new ward, is somebody who is best friends with a non-LDS attorney in my office. They’ve been buddies for 25 years! Can’t wait to get to the office and tell Attorney C (yes, the other one I back up when his regular secretary is out) that I saw the big dude last night. I met him years and years ago, when I was still working switchboard in our office.

Not a lot of knitting yesterday, but I did get the hem sewn on the sleeve I’ve been working on. I hope to do more knitting today, although it is chemo-lite today, so I will spend more time than usual on the road before work, which severely curtails my knitting time. The actual knitting on this sweater is simple, but I spend a fair bit of time on the contrast row (every sixth row) making sure that the contrast yarn sits to the left of the base yarn, so that when I knit the following row the contrast yarn will be on top. (You may now check the physics-of-knitting item off your list for the day.)

Not sure if I mentioned it, but Beloved’s cancer count is rising, so we are back to chemo every week. We are still waiting to hear from M.D. Anderson.

I am going to shred a small sheaf of mail and then get ready for breakfast. Oh yeah, forgot to mention that the cat is back, safe and sound, and spent a good deal of last night winding possessively around my ankles. Sure wish he would earn his keep by catching the cricket which is mocking me, under Beloved’s desk.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

We’re baaaaack!

Observations: The average driver in California, at least in my sampling over the past five days, does not understand the Texas concept of “drive friendly,” making our Lexus drivers look humble and our BMW drivers look polite.

Newport Beach is lovely. We walked out on Balboa Pier, and I saw jellyfish in the water, and we debated photographing somebody parasailing and trying to convince you it was Ms. Ravelled.

The Crab Cooker of Newport Beach claims to have the world’s best clam chowder. It is excellent, but in order to be the best it would have to be New England style, not Manhattan style. They do make excellent oyster crackers, however, and we ate a fresh boule and took another home to Beloved’s sister’s house.

We have been in California since dark-thirty last Friday morning and got back home this afternoon. The memorial service was lovely. I got to know my new siblings a bit better. I ate too much. I found a cream designed to help eczema outbreaks, which is steadily reducing the redness in my ankles. The chigger bites are nearly gone.

Beloved has washed and dried the majority of our vacation wardrobe. I have had a manicure and made a batch of mac and cheese. We very sadly emptied out the freezer in the garage; its door flew open in our absence, spoiling 450 tomatoes that were scheduled to become sauce later this week, 28 pounds of premium frozen berries from Bothell Farms in Oregon, roasts, steaks, salmon fillets, and all manner of frozen vegetables. Beloved estimates at least $400 of food now taking up space in the garbage can. He will see if he can get a special pickup from the city, because I don’t want to think what that is going to smell like if it sits outside until next Tuesday morning.

The freezer is wiped clean and appears to be working. Who knows what caused the great escape?

We also don’t know where the cat is; he bolted out of the house on Friday, so we left his food in the garage (thankfully undamaged by those lemmings in the freezer) and a huge bowl of water.

Perhaps he opened the freezer door in retaliation?

I am roughly halfway up the first sleeve.

And somewhere over Amarillo I came up with a scathingly brilliant title for this post, but it seems to be gone with the blackberries and the phyllo dough.

Back to the salt mines tomorrow. But for now, Olympics and knitting and an early bedtime.