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!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ok, maybe “capsules.”

I was getting the information second-hand and filtering it through Valkyrie mode. At any rate, a formula which differs from that on the original prescription, and the insurance will pay for it.

Beloved was too tired to go to church today. He is out there making posole for dinner. [Possibly the only respectable use for the poor, tortured creature which is hominy.] No extra spices today, just mild enchilada sauce as the basis, and the pork steaks I picked up at the store yesterday. I am thankful from the bottom of my heart (and vice versa, in a few hours).

He has slept a lot today. The Packers game is on. He is only marginally paying attention to it. Younger-twin’s wife just brought the Beloved grandchildren over for a drive-by hugging. Granddaughter asked, “What’s that smell?”

Beloved said, “Posole” just as I said, “Dead frogs.” Guess which they heard? I got to tell my “dead frogs” story. The kids seemed to enjoy it.

I am now halfway through the third repeat of the second part of the raglan decreases on the sweater. Specifically, I am working the round in which the alternate color comes in and must be positioned so as to lie on top as those stitches come off the needle and join the fabric below. I got most of the way around during sacrament meeting. Thankfully, each decrease round (I am now decreasing every other row, and will be doing so a total of 38 times before the neckline shaping begins) is eight stitches shorter than the row before. Eventually I will have fewer stitches on my needle than I did while working the body up to the armscyes.

Eventually hasn’t happened yet and may not for a week or two. But that happy thought keeps me going.

Beloved’s twins will come by after work (computer emergencies which demanded their attention/presence at their respective companies) and give him a blessing. And in the meantime, there is knitting. And, quite soon, posole.

Life is good.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ms. Ravelled goes valkyrie.

My children learned to fear the phrase, “Do you want to see Ugly Mother?” I stole it from my friend Nita, who had the temerity to die last year. She and her husband reared five sons, all of whom have grown up to be fine young men, in part because when they were creating chaos en masse as teenagers, she would raise one eyebrow ~ but not her voice ~ and utter those words. And the boys would instantly take it down to a dull roar.

Beloved did not get chemo this week, as his white count is too low. He will not get it next week, either. His blood pressure is also low. His hands are cool. He is weary, but thankfully he has been able to sleep more than usual at night. He got a two-hour chunk and a three-hour chunk on Wednesday night and a four-hour nap on Thursday. His cancer count is about half what it was at its worst last year. His potassium is low. He lost eight pounds last week because food is going straight through without giving him so much as a belch or a kiss-my-grits.

[PrivateFormerly private joke; he loathes grits.]

I called the oncologist’s office on Thursday after getting the email from Beloved, giving me the above news. His appetite is fickle. Would it be a good idea to give him Ensure or something like unto it? Mom gave that to Dad when he was battling cancer. Yes, it might help, but the sugar in it tends to increase diarrhea, plus cancer loves sugar. The dietitian called Beloved and told him: white bread, white potatoes, white rice. Stuff that ordinarily is not good for people because it has less nutritional value, but in this case is good because it hangs around in the body longer, thus giving Beloved a chance of snagging some nourishment as it flies by.

He asked me to pick up his Rx’s on my way home from work. Two were ready; there was an issue with the third one, something about the insurance not being willing to pay for it. There was an indifferent connection at the drive-through speaker (they couldn’t hear me well, but I could hear them), so I parked Lorelai and went inside. Beloved has a prescription for an anti-diarrhea drug, which is OTC, and the insurance company wouldn’t pay for it. The pharmacist was apologetic and very kind. I was livid but under control by the grace of Heaven. The doctor wanted 480 pills which would have cost us $113 and change, but since the drug was OTC, I could get it for much less out in the main area of the store.

The Rx specified two pills every two hours, maximum 16 pills per day; the Rx was for a month’s worth. I came home with five boxes of generic at .88 per box and a promise from the pharmacist that she would contact the insurance company and see if they would work with us. I thanked her and wished her a good weekend and meant it.

We got a call later last night from the pharmacy. They had gotten in touch with the insurance company, and while pills were not covered by insurance, tablets were, so if the doctor writes a new Rx for tablets, we can get a month’s worth for $10, and in the meantime we have enough to get Beloved through the weekend until the oncologist’s office reopens on Monday.

When I am out running errands later today, I will take a handwritten thank-you note to the lovely, competent, helpful pharmacist. I am so thankful for the years and years of chronic frustration when I was married to the children’s father: they taught me patience, persistence, and the ability to fuse my anger with civility, like a laser scalpel, rather than blowing up like a defective grenade.

Valkyrie mode gets things done without grieving the Spirit, when Ugly Mother and going postal, do not.

In knitting news, because that’s what some of you come here for, the sleeves are now joined to the sweater body, and I have completed the first seven decrease rounds. There are now “only” 506 stitches on my needles, and the sixth round, where I drop one strand of the main color and substitute a strand of the handpainted yarn and micromanage the stitches so the fancy yarn will lie on top? That one took about an hour. Maybe a little more, because we were watching/listening to The Avengers last night. I am now at the part where I decrease every other round, and I noticed that my gauge on the sweater body is a smidgen more relaxed than on the sleeves. I don’t think a knitting muggle will notice. And, assuming the yoke fits properly, if they do I will just smile and tell them it is a design feature.

Friday, September 28, 2012

And then there was shopping.

My dental hygienist, who is a quiet, lovely, loving, devout Catholic, and I have good discussions on practical Christianity (i.e., how to walk the talk). We had another one while she was spiffing up my teeth on Wednesday. My dentist is LDS and a good example of a righteous priesthood holder, so she is more than usually conversant with our doctrine.

She makes the whole every-four-months procedure painless as well as inevitable, and we both come away from it lifted and strengthened.

Then I took my happy clean teeth straight to In N Out for a burger and fries and a vanilla milkshake. No rash, no rumblies in the tumblies (but then I didn’t supersize anything, either), and no major organs fell off, or out. Thence to the new outlet mall. I found brown footless leggings in a wonderful cocoa brown, at 30% off at the Lane Bryant outlet. Looked at purses at the Coach outlet (didn’t find anything I really liked, which is good because it wasn’t in the budget, while the leggings were, more or less; now to finish mending that skirt!). Noted the presence of an OshKosh outlet (incipient grandson will get more than one outfit from that establishment unless I miss my guess). And LeCreuset. And a generic kitchen shop with way too much Hamilton Beach. My mother was not a fan of Hamilton Beach. Their quality standards may have improved since my mother gave me her opinion 40+ years ago.

Did not check out the food court. See In N Out, above. Plus, Beloved’s cooking has spoiled me for a lot of my former haunts. I eat much better, healthier, and cheaper at home. ♥

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Harlot was here? Last night? And I missed her?


In which Ms. Ravelled learns that not only did she miss the most recent lecture by the ever-amazing Yarn Harlot, but there is a new yarn store a few blocks from the duplex in which she used to live, until she married Beloved.


In less noisy news, it appears that I like shark. Rather a lot. Is it OK to put it on my bucket list just to have the pleasure of marking it done?

I have something less than ten rounds to go, before I start adding sleeves to the sweater body in progress. I will be heading back out to the living room in a few minutes.

I will watch the odd football game with Beloved. I am starting to ask thoughtful questions about football, if thoughtful and football are not entirely and utterly oxymoronic. I draw the line at Survivor. If I want terror and drama, I will examine the balance in my check register the day before payday, or contemplate a world without cashmere. Or dark chocolate.

I voted with my feet. My feet brought my hands to the computer, which took me to Google Reader, which led me to the realization that very few people at the tribal feast last night would have understood, had I stood them up to go listen to the Yarn Harlot.


Time to go knit, in hopes of taking the edge off.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Rusty. And at least one other dwarf you never heard of.

There is a reason women my age don’t get pregnant. Beloved and his youngest grandson are fishing this morning. The plan was for M the Marauder to spend the night camped out on our living room floor so the boys could get up way earlier than dark-thirty and head to a friend’s and thence to the lake.

Family prayer? check.
Last drink of water? check.
Last trip to the loo? check.

First there was the drumming on the Captain America shield. I went out and explained, politely and firmly, that if it continued, I would be taking up the shield until morning, because I have to go to work, and I needed to get to sleep, and if I don’t get enough sleep I get cranky.

Then there was the crying, which I just managed to hear over the hissing of my CPAP. So I went out to investigate, talked a little, listened a lot, sang a few songs, and he still missed his brothers and sister and mom and dad and wanted to go home. I went back and rousted Beloved and told him it was his turn.

Upshot was that M’s mom drove back down here and retrieved him, and one or the other parental unit brought him back this morning, and the boys are off fishing, and instead of falling asleep around 9:30 as planned, I was awake until nearly midnight (for the third night in a row, but at least the other two nights were fun).

And I want to pay a couple of bills this morning, but I have no idea where the check blanks might be, and I got maybe four hours of sleep (because the alarm went off earlier than usual) and I am well and truly cranky. I took a melatonin last night, my first, and I don’t know if it was that or the pork and beans at dinner, but my ankles started itching suspiciously, so I slathered them with eczema cream, nuked a mug of milk, and came back to bed.

I feel as if I had been stuffed in a bag and beaten with a baseball bat. My eyes ache, my joints are stiff. Beloved did not sleep well; ergo I did not sleep well, and I finally understand why the husbands and wives in 1960s sitcoms slept in separate beds but that is not an option.

And I realized, halfway in, that I had begun the final round of increases on the waist shaping, one round too soon. I just said to heck with it (more or less) and forged on ahead.

It’s gonna be a Cherry Coke day.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

So I wasn’t hallucinating?

As I was driving home the other day, I passed (or maybe was passed by) a car whose rear looked like this. Crossed flags like a Corvette. Shape like a Corvette. But across the back it said Callaway in bright chrome letters that looked like a professional installation. Here in North Texas, Callaway’s is a nursery. That black jobbie was the fastest, sleekest tree I’ve ever seen!

Oops, CallOway’s.

The next mystery to solve is a window decal I saw another morning on the back of a black SUV. It had something that might have been a scarab, might have been a samovar, might have been a Rubenesque ballerina sitting in a chair with her arms gracefully reaching for the ceiling in an approximation of fifth position.

It’s been a pretty amazing weekend. Beloved is on his way home from a deep sea fishing trip with his sons, their thoughtful, collective birthday gift to him this year. They left yesterday afternoon around 3:00. He expects to roll in around 2:30a.m. I expect to be asleep.

He says they caught eleven sharks and two kingfish. I guess the queenfish were all hanging out at Club Med? Shark has never exactly been on my bucket list, but if he fixes it, I will eat it, and it will probably be delicious. But I bet it won’t taste like chicken.

I baked a little over three dozen two-bite brownies to take to Secondborn’s last night for girls night out. Although technically I supposed it would have been more accurate to call it girls night in. Some of us put together a Lego version of Gringotts Bank from Harry Potter. We watched a brief music video, which led to a discussion of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Fourthborn sent me the link. I watched it after clothes-shopping but before grocery shopping. I had no idea that Neal Patrick Harris could sing! The harmonies are just delicious.

Mel and I got back to Garland (in separate cars) around midnight, and I was in bed before 1:00. I know. But what I did not know is that Beloved had accidentally set the alarm to go off at 7:00 this morning. I came mighty close to taking his name in vain while flailing about in an effort to silence the beast. Turnabout is fair play. I have no idea if he will be up for sacrament meeting tomorrow, but I will be there, same bat time, same bat station. And that alarm will go off right on schedule...

So what did I do today? Finished two separate pages on my financial spreadsheet, made a list of the October birthday cards to get (and bought them), had a nice chat on the phone with one of my new sisters out in California, and a great visit with BestFriend, who had an errand that brought her over to my side of the world, and I prevailed upon her to swing by before she headed back for home and housework and hubby. She got a tour of the kitchen, living room, dining room, and guest bathroom (of which she approves highly). And she has forgiven me for accidentally boob-dialing her number last night, not once but twice. This is what happens when I tuck my phone in my bra, and Fourthborn gets me to laughing uncontrollably. She [Fourthborn] had had an interesting day, nowhere near as fun as mine had been, and we went through the drive-in at Arby’s. The bag declared its contents to be Good Mood Food. Struck us funny. And if we hadn’t laughed, would have struck us again.

I have been wanting another lightweight jacket. So I did a whale of a lot of window shopping, and I tried on about a dozen things at CJ Banks and looked for but did not find anything at Lane Bryant and Kohl’s. Came home with a berry red corduroy jacket at 40% off. I think it will be stunning with my brown net skirt, once I finish repairing it, and if I can find a pair of lace-hemmed brown leggings to wear under the skirt.

I also drove up to Sprouts and came home with chick food. Healthy chick food, mind you, but chick food nonetheless. Baby croissants and salad mix and grape tomatoes and baby carrots and red seedless grapes and clementines and (shh, don’t tell Beloved!) pomegranate ice cream with dark chocolate chips. At great personal sacrifice, I am saving that for dessert tomorrow night. I also bought a pint of the mango Noosa yogurt I love so much, and I am going to enjoy some now. I’ve already had a nice salad, and my innards are smiling so hard that I feel as if I had gone dancing.

Speaking of which, sortof, I slept very well last night (although I did miss my husband, and I’m not just saying that because he reads the blog). No sheet wars. No restless leg syndrome. Thursday night it was like being in bed with “Moses Supposes”. He has yet to kick me, but it certainly makes for a lively night. ♥

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

There is, among some LDS bloggers, an ongoing celebration of this revelation given in 1995 (hence the button to the left of this page). Here are mes deux centimes for a cool and possibly rainy Tuesday morning.

“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” Hence our defense of traditional families. Don’t blame us. Take it up with the Almighty.

“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” This is where it gets personal. I gave birth to five lovely daughters, one of whom is in the process of turning herself into a handsome son. It is a tender subject. I have been granted a measure of peace over it. That will have to do, for now.

“In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.” I bear you my witness that the sacred work which we do in the temples, is very real. I have not been privileged to see any of my ancestors whom I have served in the House of the Lord, but I have felt their presence and their gratitude.

“The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” It was a lovely, sacred experience to witness Beloved’s firstborn and his bride make covenants which will bind them to God and to one another for the eternities. Their son, who will arrive next February, will be born in the covenant of eternal marriage. I look forward with great hope to the day, not far ahead, when I will be sealed to Beloved.

“We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.” In other words, sex is (or is intended to be) holy and sacred, as well as pleasurable and fun. Some of the sweetest and most awe-some experiences of my life, were when we were inviting little ones to come join our family.

“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.” And for too long I used this paragraph to justify my anger toward the children’s father. He has once more regained temple worthiness and is hoping to be able to serve as a temple worker. If that happens, it will be Heavenly Father’s will, which is infinitely and eternally more important than my own. And if it does, our children and their children will be blessed (whether they like it or not) by having two of us serving in the House of the Lord.

“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.” It is funny how time and circumstances can change one’s attitude. Mine in particular. Had I been the primary breadwinner when I was married to the children’s father, I would have been cranky. Seriously cranky. But now, when I bring home two paychecks a month, and Beloved has a monthly disability check that roughly equals my take-home pay (because of insurance premiums, savings accounts, and debt retirement), and he is the one who primarily keeps our home running smoothly, I can only hum along with a verse of one of my favorite hymns: “Time doth softly, sweetly glide, when theres love ... at ... home.”

“We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” I have seen those calamities in my own family, following my divorce from the children’s father.

“We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” Ergo, the Defense of Marriage Act, Prop 8, and other laws and ordinances as (unfortunately) necessary.

I should have left the house 15 minutes ago. There will be serious bending of the 12th Article of Faith on my commute to work this morning. I am such a work in progress...

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Truly sublime. Beloved’s eldest and his wife were sealed in the temple for eternity. What this means, in practical terms, is that if they honor their covenants to one another and to God, their marriage will last beyond “as long as you both shall live” or “until death do you part”. Yes, there is that kind of authority here on the Earth, in these days. This hearkens back to the Savior’s instruction to Peter that whatsoever he sealed on Earth would be sealed in Heaven (i.e., God would ratify that sealing) and whatsoever he loosed on Earth would be loosed in Heaven (i.e., my upcoming sealing cancellation to the chldren’s father so that I may be sealed to Beloved).

We went out for lunch afterward, to a chain restaurant near the temple. Beloved had a cup of chili which he says was the best restaurant chili he’s had and nearly as good as his own. I got the Southwest egg rolls, handed him one section, inhaled two more, and threw the remaining ones into a to-go box and dumped the rest of the sauce over them, as we had to be at the hospital in 20 minutes to get his chemo pump taken off.

Br. Sushi and another dear friend came to dinner tonight before heading on to the singles’ dance at our stake center. Beloved and I are heartily glad to be out of the singles’ program (especially glad that he was finally released as a stake singles’ representative), although I miss the dances, and he misses socializing with our friends in the program. I also miss my friends, don’t get me wrong, but I truly love to dance, and I miss feeling the music flow up from the floor through my feet and into my heart.

Beloved baked a German chocolate cake on Friday. He made the frosting yesterday, and I frosted it while he napped. He had thrown a pork roast into the crockpot. We had mashed sweet potatoes with butter, nutmeg, and real maple syrup. We also had sourdough bread and the vegetable jollop we both like. And lots and lots of visiting. I got almost all of the dishes into the dishwasher and run, and a couple of pots are still soaking in the sink. I’ll take care of that after breakfast.

I am really excited about teaching my Primary lesson today. We are still mining some of my favorite parts in the Book of Mormon, and so I can teach with conviction, personal experience, and testimony. Plus, there is a bit of food involved, which is nearly as much fun as the lessons which involve coloring, etc. (I hope I am not going to the warm place because my favorite part of teaching is making the handouts. I love it when the lesson has something for the kids to take home, or to work on during class. Although my heart was warmed in a good way when we were talking during last week’s lesson, and most of the kids said they loved to read ~ me too ~ but one of the girls said what she liked best was making things ~ me too.)

Speaking of making things, I passed halfway on the sweater body last night. In a couple of rounds I will start the increases which will restore the number of stitches on my needle to what I cast on at the hem. When we get home from church, I will juggle knitting with napping. I most devoutly hope that I get a longer nap today than I did yesterday.

UT Southwestern stoutly maintains that even if my HMO is willing to grant an out of network exception, they are not willing to play ball. Which ticks Beloved off, but which is just fine with me although I cannot explain why, other than I just don’t like them or feel good about them. And in far more exciting news, Beloved has another appointment at MD Anderson in a few weeks for a 20 minute consultation that we have been told is likely to last closer to three hours, and if that goes well he will go back for 10 to 14 days of treatment for the uprising of the metastasis to his liver. They call it a targeted therapy.

So we will do another lightning run down to Houston, leaving crazy-early in the day, having the appointment, and driving back the same day. My knee is up to that if I am sharing the driving, although I make no promises as to how effective I will be at work the next day. If he gets accepted, we will have to work out how much, if any, time I will spend down there with him. I’m definitely not up for driving down and back again, separately, and I don’t know if he would be up to picking me up at the airport if I were to fly down on an off day. But that’s all next month, and we will just take it a day at a time until then.

The evaluations are over at work, as near as I can determine, so I should be hearing later this week if I get part or all of the new attorney’s docket. With the things I learned while the others were observing my work, I have streamlined my workflow (and one of them is already quite impressed with it as it stood). I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

Beloved is out of the shower, which means that breakfast is forthcoming, and it’s time for me to empty the dishwasher while he dresses so that he will have a clear field and I can shower while he cooks. We are getting this down to an art form.

We are also taking both cars to work, as we did last week, in case sacrament meeting is all he is up for. He is crazy-tired, but oh so kind and thoughtful and funny and a delight to be with. ♥

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Oh barium me not on the lone prairie...

I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist. We have some answers on Beloved’s recent symptoms: all of them side effects of the chemo. The fatigue, the shortness of breath, and as we learned from his eye exam yesterday, cataracts which are forming and will need to be dealt with. The retina scan shows healthy tissue, huzzah!

The swelling in his right leg has yet to go down. He has a new outbreak of slits on the soles of his feet from last week’s chemo. He made an interesting assortment of noises in his sleep last night, none of them of the ooh, baby, baby variety.

And in half an hour we hop in Lorelai and I take him for this week’s chemo.

In happier news, we tried a new restaurant last night. I spotted it when I was running errands on Saturday. O’live; they feature Lebanese fusion, whatever that is. It was better than average food, and we spent about twice what I would have liked. The felafels were small discs about the size of a BabyBel cheese, and browned to the point of almost being burnt. But their innards were delicious. The dolmas were meh; I like a lot more rice in mine, and these were skinny little things, about the size of my forefinger. I like the ones from Central Market a lot better, and you get more bite for your buck. I tried something new: manakish, a small flatbread pizza that is basically thyme and olive oil on a pita, with sesame seeds. It was really interesting, in a more-good-than-bad way. Beloved had the lamb shish kebab. I ate a bite of his lamb. It was not as gross as the lamb-burger we ate when the children’s father was at BYU and we couldn’t afford hamburger at $1.00 a pound, so we bought ground lamb at $.50 a pound, and I was pregnant with Firstborn. Beloved thought that some of his lamb tasted suspiciously like beef. There was some gristle. I got some in my bite, and he got more in his.

The service was excellent. We were the only ones there. The decor is lovely, and the background music is restful, and we will go back, but next time we’ll go for appetizers. Or dessert. Or a meal with no appetizers. Meanwhile, I have two slices of manakish that will go to work with me as part of lunch.

In other health news, Beloved has an appointment next Wednesday at UT Southwestern with the doctor for that clinical trial. I looked the doctor up on my HMO. He’s not a part of it. So I will be making phone calls this morning, assuming my workload permits.

My sweater is perking right along. Pure joy. Six more rounds until I do the last decrease for the waist shaping, and then after a pause there will be corresponding increases so that I return to the original number of stitches.

Beloved is almost ready for me to slather aloe on the booboo’s on his feet, so I had better proof and go. My bags are packed, all except for my lunch, and I have no idea what I want to wear today.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Progress notes.

There has been bread-baking this weekend; more is underway. We scored some excellent bread at the birthday bash last Monday, and Squishy sent Beloved the link. He is in the process of making a double batch of sourdough, to be followed shortly thereafter by a double batch of the other recipe. Crisp crust, nice browning, and wonderfully tender crumb. Not to mention the flavor, oh gracious the flavor!

I have done my own noodling-about in the kitchen. When in the mood, I like to make salads. I spent half an hour yesterday, carefully peeling half a dozen clementines to throw into our salad for dinner. Beloved browned a couple of chicken breasts in butter, and we killed the pasta leftover from Friday night. And now I am in the mood for coconut macaroons. One of those random temptations that entered my brain on the drive home, to be thwarted by a brief power outage.

Our AC gave went comatose on us yesterday. The lines froze up. Thankfully, our home teacher is an AC dude. They came over this afternoon for the previously-scheduled mutual HT and VT lessons, dragging a canister of coolant behind them. Turns out that the vacuuming-of-the-filter which Beloved did, just before they got here, took care of the major part of the problem. We are once more cooler than cool.

I have an explanation for this rash of symptoms Beloved is experiencing. The shortness of breath, weakness, sores in his mouth, lack of energy, et al, are all side effects of one or another of his chemo drugs. He was told that they might happen, fifteen months ago when he began chemo. But they are just now starting to catch up with him. The only amusing and non-annoying side effect is that his hair is getting darker, beginning at the back of his head. And his eyebrows are growing lush and curly.

I have completed the first hip/waist decreases on the sweater body, and on the next round I will do the next batch. I have done 18 rounds since I blogged on Friday morning. And hung two pictures in the guest bathroom. I am trying to decide where to hang a third. I would really love to know where in the middle bedroom that new Pottery Barn shower curtain might be.

Beloved is calling the oncologist tomorrow and making arrangements to have his swollen (but less-so) right leg Doppler'ed to make sure there is no blood clot causing the swelling. With as much Lovenox as he is taking, the chance of a blood clot is really quite small. But I’d love for them to figure out what’s up, and fix it if fixing is possible. I’m wondering if maybe he has a stress fracture like the one I had several years ago.

And I will be calling the eye doctor to make an appointment for him. I ought to make one for myself while I am at it. It’s been almost a year now: October 29.

We have (mostly, he has) watched a whale of a lot of football this weekend. Three college games yesterday. My hearing played tricks on me again. The announcer referred to the Florida Gators. What I heard was fornicators. Definitely put a hiccup in the next few stitches on my needles, as I was laughing so hard.

And on that note, I think I will print off the macaroon recipe and go feed the dishwasher.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Friday. Whew!

My friend Alison posted this link to a fence knitted in Shetland lace. Go on, click on it, you know you want to. Stunning. Almost it persuadeth me to go outside and brave the chiggers...

I can’t believe it’s Friday already. This is my third or fourth short week in a row, and I am ready for some regular boring weeks in which to rest up. Work is going well. I’m getting good, useful feedback from the two secretaries who have been assigned to assess my workflow to see if I’m ready to take on (part or all of) the caseload of our new attorney. I’ve made some minor changes to how I do things, and those changes probably saved me 15-20 minutes when opening a new case yesterday. It will take awhile before the changes feel like the new normal (whatever that is), but in the meantime there is that happy glow of accomplishment.

Payday. I’ve written one check and paid a bill and discussed our cash flow with Beloved, who was momentarily awake. I love being on the same page as the man I love. As Billy Joel sings, that hasn’t happened for the longest time. [Love that song.]

Slow but steady progress on my knitting. I am partway through the 24th round on the sweater body. I am so glad that I stopped and stitched up the hem. There’s a whole lot less flopping and twitching of the stitches on the needles, and way fewer dangling ends. I am not quite to the point where the knitted fabric no longer tries to form ruffles and twist around the needle cable; that will probably require another two to four inches before the mass of the stitches ensures that a tube is the only possible configuration. I do love that crisp, clean edge at the hem.

Beloved is not serving at the temple this morning. He has had a swollen leg for the past couple of days, and his oncologist told him to stay off it until it returns to normal. He had grand plans, last night, of mopping the kitchen floor and vacuuming the carpet while I am at work (he mopped our bathroom floor yesterday). I told him to choose one, or the other, and reminded him that he has a perfectly good wife who is quite capable of picking up the mop or wrangling the vacuum. He can sort through as many boxes as he would like from a seated position, with the bad leg elevated. Bless him, he is not quite as fond of it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission as the children’s father. He also has new, stronger meds to help him manage some of the side effects of the chemo. He’s tired, and he’s not sleeping well, and he doesn’t have much of an appetite, and he is losing weight (but not at the scary rate he was last year); as ever, his attitude is gallant and stellar.

He bought a cantaloupe the other day that is not quite up to the others we have enjoyed. I have a banana that is starting to look as high-mileage as Willie Nelson, courtesy of one of my coworkers, and if I scurry, there will be time to stop at the grocery store on my way to work and pick up some strawberries for a huge fruit salad. The cantaloupe chunks that I took for lunch yesterday are still in the fridge, because they were just meh. If I throw enough other ripe or overripe fruit in with them, I think I can sneak them past my taste buds.

I ate a bowl of cereal about 4:00a.m. Woke a little before 3:00 and couldn’t get back to sleep. When in doubt, eat, right? While I ate, I read a few pages in a book by Chieko Okazaki, who was a counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency in the 1990’s and has since passed away. Wonderful woman. She was, I think, the first non-white-bread sister in that position, and we all loved her for her cheerful, encouraging stories. We have inherited one of her books from Beloved’s mother, and it is like sitting down with an old friend. I loved her because she was not your typical RS sister in the uniform of the 1980’s: floral dress with white lace collar and perfect pumps. She was different, a little exotic, not afraid to wear bright colors, and refreshingly real.

I stuffed a lot of myself into boxes when I joined the church, and seeing Sr. Okazaki I began to realize that I could still be me and be righteous and it really didn’t matter what somebody else thought. (I was on the receiving end of a whole lot of judging in the 80’s and 90’s.)

Now I know that the only opinions that truly matter are my Heavenly Father’s and, possibly, my husband’s. Sorry, kids, you had your day ;)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


No, I am not clearing my throat. Yesterday I spent virtually all of my knitting time in stitching up the hem on this new sweater. Three hundred fifty-eight stitches. Finish work like this is something I generally dread, and now I have this bit of it out of the way. I just finished a pattern row and am anticipating the next five rounds of essentially mindless knitting.

Work went well yesterday. I finished one small project, dealt with Friday’s mail, transcribed a report for my attorney, and basically kept my shoulder to the wheel and my nose to the grindstone. It’s a little hard to type in that position, but I’m used to it, right?

Beloved is fishing with his best buddy. It has been too long since he went; I think this day will do wonders to improve his already way-better-than-average morale. As they say, a bad day fishing is better than a good day [something; I forget what]. He didn’t sleep all that well, and he’s a little short of breath. We think it’s just fall allergies, but I asked him to run that by his doctor on Thursday. I think we should check him for asthma, and maybe a sleep study, although the vision of him wrangling a CPAP mask and the chemo pump and the multiple trips to the loo during the night, is a darkly humorous one.

Y’all? if you are not already old, you will get there soon enough. Take care of the body you have. You won’t be getting another, at least not until the resurrection. A little wisdom and forethought (wisdom being one of those things we acquire through lack of forethought) may not guarantee you a problem-free middle age, but it just might minimize some of the indignities that come with aging. And if not, at least you will have the comfort of knowing you did the best you could with the information, and body, that you had.

I have a sudden craving for broccoli. That’s a little scary.

I spent a little time this morning preparing to pay bills on Friday. I think (I hope) that this month will have fewer spendy surprises than last. I have already picked up all but one of the gift cards we need, and I’ll take care of that one this weekend. All the birthday cards but one are signed and addressed and awaiting either a stamp or a personal visit. So this is what being a grownup feels like?

I realized with some amusement that one of the tote bags that Beloved’s mother left us is the right size and color to serve as my fall/winter purse. Last night I transferred her skincare products out of it (and the samples into my bathroom) and tossed my daily junk into it and put the old purse into the trash. That purse was $10 well spent. Now I just need to save up to buy a nice, sensible leather purse, the kind I used to be able to buy for $5 when I was a kid, but which now cost $150.

Gilda was right: it’s always something.

Monday, September 03, 2012

But hark! what brat through yonder window breaks?

Birthday lunch over at Mel’s folks’ this afternoon. Half a dozen different kinds of bratwurst, all grilled to perfection. Ate mine on a bolillo roll the size of a toddler’s football, a generous half cup of potato salad, and two bottles of water, at which point there was no more room at the inn, Mary.

We delegated the tie-dyeing of two of Beloved’s short-sleeved dress shirts to Squishy, came home, and took a nap. Mel and Squishy have gnomed our flower bed, right by the front door. But the best gift Beloved got [at least in this woman’s opinion] was the card they gave him: Grim Reaper is out cold on the floor, a small red dog standing over him, holding a baseball bat, and looking triumphant; inside it says “don’t let the b@st@rd win!” At which I let out a most undignified yelp of glee.

We have been busy bees all weekend. Baking and eating and visiting and churching and napping and visiting and eating and baking and visiting and ... you get the idea. This morning I emptied that small bookcase out in the hall, transferred its contents to other bookcases, and set it atop the desk on my side of the bed. After we got home from Mel’s folks’ house, I spent 15 or 20 minutes finding new homes for all the stuff I had removed from the floor, desk, entrance to the closet, etc., in order to get at the top of the desk, so we could take the aforementioned nap.

Dinner was one large root beer float apiece, and half a slice of French silk pie. Dessert, methinks, will be the first Indiana Jones movie. Beloved shares his birthday with Squishy, and on the day that P went into labor, Beloved took the twins to go see Indy.

Firstborn, don’t faint. The Scentsy burner that you gave me, now has a proper place.

I have a small dishpan of papers to sort and alphabetize for filing, and then I’m going to knit through the rest of the movie. In about five more rounds, I will have enough length in the body of the sweater that I can go ahead and stitch up the hem without interfering with live stitches. Beloved says there is one last small thing to do in the guest bathroom, and then we can start clearing the decks to create my walk-in closet. Life is good.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

I’m not buying that.

I got a lot done in two incredibly busy hours yesterday morning, but first I went back to bed and slept until 10:30. And then I made a list; went to the first place and picked up a gift card; drove to Lane Bryant and looked over the houndstooth cape, which was lovely, but too loosely woven to last more than a season, and I don’t buy disposable clothing, so no, ditto the flats (cloth shoes are impractical for Ms. Ravelled, assuming they would fit) and the clutch (too easily soiled, but quite attractive in its pristine state); I will check out the fit of the houndstooth blouse later, when I have more time, and if it fits I will buy it when it goes on sale at the end of the season; then off to another store to get a different gift card; to the grocery store where I got the salad fixins, a gallon of milk, and the penultimate gift card; last to CVS to use my coupon for stockings, get more disinfecting wipes, and a stash of raspberry M&M’s. All in two hours, and without breaking any land speed records

My friend Kristen linked to Orson Scott Card’s recent article about Ann Romney’s speech. The rest of his article is good, as well.

You all know that I am more than somewhat politically conservative, but not entirely. The Birchers turn me off. Some of the Tea Party stuff turns me off. That idiot in Missouri, who has since apologized for his idiotic statement about a woman’s body being magically able to prevent pregnancy in a case of rape, makes me want to start by punching him in the nose and then continue on to hitting him where it might actually get his attention. The experiences of thousands upon thousands of women over the course of Earth’s history, who were raped by conquering armies, deliberately, to break down the civilization and cohesion of the vanquished country, would testify to the contrary.

And I happen to know a little something about rape. Had I become pregnant when it happened, I would probably have chosen abortion. Had it happened after my conversion to the Church, particularly in the twilight years of my fertility, I would almost certainly have chosen to bear the child and give him or her up for adoption. I would never insist that any other woman do the same. I am fervently, but not stupidly, Pro-Life. I loathe abortion in principle. My personal belief is that a human begins at the moment of conception, and certainly by the time one feels that quickening. (If I remember correctly, the latter is what Brigham Young taught.) I could be wrong. But I want there to be skilled professionals who know how to do the job right, in those cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at stake. I am here on Earth because at one time my mother required a D&C, and it was done competently and professionally, and she healed properly, and when it was time for Heaven to surprise them with a second child? BINGO! Here I am.

My friend Alison has spoken well and passionately about the dangers of the personhood bill that is being contemplated, which would prevent women from having life-saving procedures such as a D&C when medically warranted. It’s a little jarring to find myself agreeing with the pro-abortionists that it’s my womb, dadgummit, and the government ought to stay out of it.

I should probably add that while I am not happy about Obamacare, I am nevertheless thankful that it has made it possible to add Beloved to my health insurance and is keeping one very good man alive. I don’t count that as hypocrisy, but as a well-honed sense of irony.

I will also add that unlike many people (including dear, staunchly Democrat relatives) my personal economy has steadily improved over the past three and a half years, as I followed my church’s teachings on stewardship, faithfully paid my tithes and offerings, and watched my 401K grow sufficiently that I could raid it last year after I turned 59.5 to pay off the last of the debt I incurred. I do not give Mr. Obama’s administration any credit for that; in fact I will gleefully turn his words upon him: “You, Mr. President, didn’t build my [marginal and fledgling] success.” Hard work, correct principles, and bushels of patience and blessings did. For which Heaven be thanked.

I loathe politics nearly as much as I loathe abortions. I was glad that we elected Mr. Obama to be our President, because I thought it finally meant an official end to racist stupidity. (I did not vote for him, but I know plenty of sensible people who did, for one reason or another.) I remember how nervous some people were when President Kennedy was a candidate, thinking that the Vatican was now going to rule American politics. They were wrong. I hope that we elect Romney and Ryan for the next four years, and I hope that they can bring our policies into alignment with the values I hold dear, and I hope that it might mean an official end to religious bigotry. (I was reluctantly impressed with Mike Huckabee’s speech the other night. He appears to be a jackass-in-remission.

Stepping down from my soapbox to go make cookies for a family BBQ and get my church clothes assembled for a funeral in our ward, later this afternoon.

Gahhhh! I just had to get a lot of stuff out of my system.