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, November 30, 2012

Double date tonight.

About 4:30, Firstborn left a voicemail on my phone at work. I was taking my mail downstairs, having just missed the person who takes it all down at the end of the day.  And when I got back to my desk, my child had texted me as well. Were Beloved and I available for dinner tonight? We were!

They drove over here, and we had pizza, and I think that whatever issues I have with Little Caesar, I also have with this bunch. I think when we ate here in July, and two of the Beloved-sibs were here to help sort through the Mom-stuff, that I had an ankle flareup at that time. Have slept since then and am not inclined to riffle back through blog archives for a yea or a nay. I have slathered both ankles with eczema goop and am hoping that when I awake, I will be as close to normal as I am likely to get.

Beloved is off his new chemo drug until further notice. His bilirubin count is rising, and there is talk of putting a stint in his liver. When I know more, I will let you know.

He also fired off a letter to our stake president about how long it is taking to hear back on my sealing cancellation. The stake president got some information from him and said he would find out what has gone amiss, as it does not (ordinarily) take a year to hear back from Salt Lake. Our stake president is a go-getter, as is the stake president in my former stake.

Not much knitting got done today. I did sort through a box of Mom-stuff and separated the things we can use from the things that need new homes and the stuff that has been loved to death and is simply waiting for burial at sea (or at landfill; whatever).

Time for me to figure out where I set down that bottle of water, and get the contents on the inside where they can do some good.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ms. Ravelled gets her head examined...

OK, not the whole head, but the eyes, which are doing just fine, no perceptible change from last year and so no new glasses to pick out or pay for, huzzah!

Beloved found the family punchbowl, not in the closet where he thought it was (after I moved half a dozen boxes and found the shower curtain that disappeared when his sibs were here in July to help sort through the Mom-stuff, plus two missing angels that I wanted to hang in the guest bathroom) but in another. The box is now out in the living room, because a friend needs it on Saturday.

I made a quick run to the drugstore to pick up two more boxes of facial tissue. I have been sneezing up a storm for the past two or three days, thanks to the wind changing to out of the north.

I need to look at the budget spreadsheet (but will probably save it for tomorrow) to see how many birthday cards to buy for December. The eagle screams at dawn, and after the bills get paid there will be the merest modicum of shopping.

I am heading back out to the living room to finish the row on the sweater, and then out to the garage to check on the last of the laundry. Beloved is sleeping sweetly behind me. I caught a catnap after my eye appointment, so am not quite sufficiently wound down to think about going to bed.

Please do not worry about the hanging-of-angels. I was planning on using the loops that came with them, rather than nooses. No angels will be lynched in this house. Not while I have anything to say about it.

Night, all. (I might be closer to being ready for bed than I thought?)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday update.

I got the furniture moved Sunday night, or more accurately, Monday morning. And last night I combined, alphabetized, and culled duplicates from our DVD collection. I am not quite ready to tackle the VHSs we still have hanging about, nor to organize our CDs. But those items are definitely on the list.

I mentioned that the side effects are kicking in. The left side of Beloved’s face is tingly and numb, like his hands and feet. Does this make him officially half a numbskull? Says he, Ha ha. Kissing a man whose face is half numb is an interesting proposition.

He is sleeping a lot. Not so much during the night; that’s still in 15-20 minute increments, but he’s getting some good naps in during the day. So naturally, he’s frustrated that he’s not getting anything checked off his self-imposed honey-do list, but I’m taking it as a sign that the chemo is working.

I have completed two pattern repeats, and the first set of decreases, on the sweater body. And that, my friends, is basically all the news that’s fit to print chez Ravelled. I am pleased to report that I did not injure myself moving the furniture around (notwithstanding the fact that I was bending the Sabbath like you would not believe); I will concede, however, that I am getting a little old for this. Doesn’t mean I have any intention of stopping.

This is the part where I look at the clock, gasp where has the time gone? and leap into my morning routine.

P.S. I fixed those broken links in yesterday’s post. Thank you, Secondborn.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Humor me.

I have been sitting on these links for a couple of weeks, waiting until what felt like the right time. As most of you know, I am an enthusiastic (but hopefully not obnoxious) Latter-Day Saint. A Christian, no matter what some of my fellow Christians might believe. A Republican with a social conscience. A single mother for many years. Pro-woman without being anti-man. And I really hoped that Mitt Romney would win the recent election. Not simply because he shares my faith, although I am glad that he does. But because I believe his principles would do more to right our country than the programs of the current administration.

My guy lost. There are lots of opinions out there as to why that happened. Here is a perspective that made sense to me. Particularly the last two paragraphs embedded in the post. [Consider the defamation that Mary, the mother of Christ, and Mary of Magdala have experienced over the past two millenia. There are enough nut jobs protesting the dedication of new temples in this country, making light of things which I (and roughly 14 million other people) hold sacred.] I have heard it expressed that it was more important that Mitt run, than that he win. Makes a lot of sense to me. And while I was initially a little startled at the First Presidency’s congratulating Mr. Obama, it was a gracious thing to do.

I had hoped that Mitt’s election would mean that people in general would give up the stupor of religious bigotry. I remember being shocked to learn that people had worried that electing JFK would effectively turn our government over the the Vatican. Four years ago, I was delighted that we had advanced enough as a society to finally, finally elect a non-Caucasian to our highest office. (Even if I would have preferred a more politically conservative non-Caucasian.)

I am so grateful for parents who raised me to see people as individuals and not as stereotypes. I am thankful to live in Texas, where my children grew up around people of all faiths and colors and cultures. I grew up in Idaho. There was one black student in my high school, and two years later, his younger sister. I watched my kids carefully for signs that they might be developing prejudice. I would have jumped on that like a duck on a June bug.

I will be so thankful when the religious bigots can finally see us clearly. I don’t expect that to happen before the Millennium, but I can hope. I remember an old joke, printed in the Wall Street Journal when the children’s father was earning his MBA at Brigham Young University (I would have been pregnant with Firstborn at that time). As I remember it, one of the Cardinals tells the Pope, “I’ve got good news and bad news.”

“What’s the good news?”

“The Savior is on the phone.”

“What’s the bad news?”

“He’s calling from Salt Lake City.” Active Latter-Day Saints will know the real reason that’s so funny.

Here’s another link from my friend Kristen, with a Hugh Nibley quote. Hugh Nibley was an amazing man. That second link is well worth your time, even if you only read the first few paragraphs. I have heard that he could read the Dead Sea Scrolls like we read the funnies.

But where is the knitting news? you ask. I am about an inch above the ribbing on the body of Beloved’s sweater, and now I am heading back out to the living room to work on it some more. ♥

Edited to fix a couple of those links. Thank you, Secondborn.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Busy day.

Got the second sleeve done. Got the ribbing cast on for the body of the sweater and am about halfway finished with that. Helped Beloved muck out three shelves in the garage, then schlepped the the majority of the contents out to the curb. Fixed lunch. Fixed dinner. Knitted some more. Sorted through the accumulation of mail, junk- and otherwise, by Beloved’s chair while he cat-napped.

Next up: sort through three more boxes, move the coffee table, move the drop leaf table, move the cabinet/desk which contains Beloved’s DVDs, muck out the hope chest so it can go to Younger Twin’s house, set up the Christmas tree. None of which is likely to happen before bedtime, but prior to Christmas, I most devoutly hope.

Way more productive day than yesterday, for both of us. We make haste slowly around here.

Spent an hour or more doing research so as to answer a collection letter for a bill we do not owe. Nowhere near as fun as date night last night, when we watched “The Blind Side,” which is one of the best movies I have seen in years, even if it is about football.

And now it is 9:30 or thereabouts, and my eyes are getting heavy, and I wonder what my chances are of falling asleep and staying that way until some reasonable hour in the morning? I hear stirring in the living room. Wonder if he is in the mood for a sliver of black bottom banana cream pie?

I know I am.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Thanksgiving with no family drama?

What kind of holiday was that, anyway? A pretty spectacularly amazing one if you ask me. I lasted almost six hours, surrounded by twice as much family as usual!

Willow and LittleBit had to work, and Middlest was on the East Coast, but Lark came over after going to her mother’s (a/k/a The Egg Donor’s). Said mother is on my short list for having inquired of Lark or Firstborn as to when we would be having our feast, then setting hers for an hour sooner, ensuring that Lark would miss the appetizers and barely make it in time for dessert. (We told Lark to eat her dessert first and then see what appealed to her amongst the leftovers.)

Given that it is easily an hour between Firstborn’s house and Younger Twin’s, I am not overly amused. Granted, Egg Donor may not have known how long a drive it was and may have thought that Lark would have plenty of time to enjoy both dinners, but given the chaos Egg Donor has wreaked over the past twelve years, I look on that with love and suspicion.

The children’s father was there, and he behaved himself. Didn’t call me “Beautiful” this time, not even once. I behaved myself, too. Older Twin’s wife’s tummy has become delightfully rounded, a good thing because the baby is due in a little over two months. She looks even more radiantly beautiful than usual, which is remarkable because she feels yucky most of the time. I am hoping that difficult pregnancy equals thoughtful and obedient child. (I had easy pregnancies and gave birth to the Wild Bunch!)

Tried some new foods as well as the old standards. Squishy made a casserole with quinoa and sweet potatoes that was way better than OK at room temperature, and I would be interested in trying it again fresh out of the oven. (Beloved or Mel? not so much.) And he found a new recipe for pumpkin pie with a little molasses in it, that we agree is nothing short of amazing. Really adds a depth of flavor.

I got to help make our two black bottom banana cream pies. And lick the bowls, because the surplus was far too tasty to wash down the drain.

Beloved and I were home and in bed at 7:00 or so. I was up again around 1:00 and out to the living room for some knitting. For a break, I went into my studio and started sorting the contents of one of my Rubbermaid storage bins. Took two armfuls of stuff out to the trash in the kitchen and gathered an impressive stack destined for the shredder. Also found a package of Christmas ornaments, congratulatory cards and invitations to baby showers around the time of BittyBit’s birth. That all went into the scrapbooking pile.

Back to bed around 4:00, napped for another two or three hours, then more knitting and more sorting. I have about five minutes’ work to finish cleaning out that storage bin, and then I can open what may be the last two cardboard boxes in my studio and see what they hold and if it is worth keeping.

Beloved is napping out in his chair. We are agreed that the project du jour is to clean off a couple of shelves in the garage and get some stuff moved onto them and move a few things to the window in the dining room preparatory to setting up the Christmas tree.

But first, I think I have earned another small sliver of pie. Time, too, for a walk-by smooching if Beloved is awake and reading. He’s just so doggone smoochable.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

OK: stuff I’m thankful for.

Which I may or may not post on Thanksgiving per se, contrarian that I am.

My kids, notwithstanding my loathing of Mother’s Day. I love them, and I love being their mother.

Their father, because I couldn’t have gotten them here all by myself, and because not all of their good qualities come from me. The first five years of that marriage were pretty amazing.

My poor, patient first hubby, now again my friend for the past ten years. Blessings upon him and his wife; both of them are dealing with cancer, his slow-growing and hers undetermined the last I heard. Note to self: drop them a line to see how it’s going.

 Not having to put my hand up a turkey’s butt. One promise to myself that I have happily kept ever since I divorced the children’s father.

Knitting. So many mottos. I knit so I will not kill people. Knitting, not stabbing. (I should wear that to the family dinner today). Keep calm, and carry yarn. Don’t you wish your girlfriend could knit like me? (Ditto.)

Chocolate, every way but with peanut butter. Especially dark chocolate.

A quiet house. I can barely hear the hum of the computer’s fan, the clock ticking on the wall in front of me, the click of my fingers on the keys, and no @#$%^&* TV. Beloved is either reading his paper out in the living room, or snoozing in his chair.

Keys brings me to keyboards, as opposed to Underwood manual typewriters, on which I learned to type. Which is why if you were sitting on the bed behind me, you would hear emphatic clicking on the keyboard, and not a gentle tappity-tapping. Sometimes I do miss the lever I had to hit at the end of a line, and the little bell, but not all that much.

Pumpkin pie. Any time of the year. And I am not fussy over whether it is topped with Cool Whip or real whipped cream or spray cream out of a can. Or gloriously naked on the plate. One of my best memories? Thanksgiving at my folks’ house with a three week old Secondborn and a two year old Firstborn, and her going for thirds on the pie as my parents watched in disbelief.

The something in Beloved’s head that is causing his headaches, is not cancer. We are not sure what it is, and won’t be until the local oncologist gets a missing record from MD Anderson for comparison, but at least it’s not a fourth metastasis of his cancer. Woohoos all around!

Sleep. A miracle, every blessed night. I can go to bed wound up tighter than a tick, and when I wake up in the morning, stuff has generally sorted itself out. Although I was having anxiety dreams about some minor paperwork for Primary.

The kindness of strangers. (Scoot over, Blanche DuBois!) While I was waiting for Beloved and the wrecker to show up yesterday, there were several cars that stopped to see if they could help. What a pleasure to tell them that my hubby and a wrecker were on the way, and to thank them and bless them. Also the ones who maybe just thought about stopping to ask, but went on because you never know who’s safe to talk to these days, and I might just be a grandmotherly serial killer.

Beloved. Well, you all have a pretty good idea how I feel about that particular miracle in my life. And I am hearing kitchen noises, so time for me to mosey on out and see if I can help, or lick a bowl, or something.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. Be safe, be warm, and know that I appreciate your love and friendship and support.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Can we just go to bed now?

This day has been quite the adventure. Beloved got to see, firsthand, what happens in my world when Things Go Wrong With Cars.

I pulled into the parking lot at the 24/7 Post Office to mail a Bernina part to his niece. We have been trying to get that in the mail to her for three or four weeks now. I stepped out of Lorelai. Into a pool of something dark and very, very slick. Ew.

I scuffed my soles as clean as I could, went in and mailed the package, then came out and panicked, just a little, not so much as you would notice. Called Beloved, who was just settling down for a nap. Did our mechanic happen to have a tow truck? He did not know. 1-411 to the rescue, and they put me through. Mechanic did not. So I let them know that somebody would be bringing Lorelai in. Called the tow company I used (more than once) when I was single.

Beloved showed up in our truck, carefully tested the substance beneath Lorelai, and confirmed that it was indeed oil. His best guess, about 5 quarts of it. We settled in to wait for the tow truck. Dude with impressive muscles rolled Lorelai backward out of the parking spot and forward to the ramp of the truck. $155 later, Lorelai was on her way to the garage and we were on our way to my well-woman.

I have my flu shot. They have an impressive harvest of my blood. I got the EKG and the chest X-rays and the assume-the-position. (Made my doctor laugh when I told her that this year I could not say she was boldly going where no man had gone in a very long time. Made her snort, actually.)

Beloved and I came home by way of Taco Cabana, because I was hungry on the suburbs of cranky at that point. He ate a couple of tacos. I inhaled an entire Cabana Bowl. I do not think there was so much as a grain of rice left in that bowl when I put my fork down.

Holiday baking did not ensue tonight. But we have the decks cleared for tomorrow. I am ready to pray, to smooch goodnight, and to call it a long, long day.

But not before telling you that the only thing wrong with Lorelai was two tires that were scary-bad, or would be if I had had enough energy to be scared. I had the misfortune to pull into a parking spot where someone else had a vehicular malfunction. (This would explain the major lack of banging and smoke as I pulled into the parking space.) Beloved had one of his killer headaches, so it did not occur to him to check the dipstick. I was on the cusp of frenzy, being 15 miles east and two hours shy of my well-woman, so it did not occur to me to check the dipstick.

Which is why, my friends, they call it a dipstick.

Over and out.

So, we know I am not Ms. TV, right?

I barely watched it when I was single, preferring to read or knit or listen to audiobooks or watch movies. I naturally enough missed the memo that Tuesdays on Dancing with the Stars are dedicated to talking about dancing, watching flashbacks of dancing, listening to mediocre bands, etc. People get voted off the island. Commercials happen. But no real dancing, to speak of. Who knew?

Beloved knew, actually, and I wish I had known to ask him the right questions. If I had, I would not have spent an hour fidgeting in my chair, messing up the row count on the second sleeve, forgetting to work increases at the proper point, and growing progressively more snarky because people? There. Was. No. Dancing.

The name of the show is not Yammering with the Stars. Unless they changed it while I was not-listening to the commercials. Except for the Target ones with the LDS actor whose face I recognize from a host of mostly forgettable movies made for Mormons by Mormons.

Pirouetting neatly off my soapbox now.

In other news, I had a review of the observations that happened back in August, when it looked like I might be in line to get half of the new attorney’s docket (he has remained with the secretary who was temporarily assigned to him). Both of my coworkers think I am ready to take on another half-docket. I have a suspicion who I might be getting, and between thee and me and the gatepost, the phrase interesting times comes to mind. As in the Chinese curse.

But until I hear from the powers that be that I am in fact getting another half docket, and whose it will be, I am going to enjoy each day as it comes, knowing that I am keeping my attorney happy and doing a good job of transcribing Attorney B’s work, and hoping that I get half of an attorney whose work style is similar to my own and my present attorney’s. The syntax got a little scrambled there, but I have begun this post at 8:30p.m. on Tuesday, because for the moment I do not want to knit (hark! was that a hiccup in the space-time continuum?) or watch Chopped or listen to another Target commercial.

Do you think Beloved would mind if I went into my studio and only came out for meals and canoodling until after Christmas is over?

I have this poster on the wall in the guest bathroom. Maybe I should take my own advice.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And a link from my friend Kristen.

Well, eventually. First the knitting news: I have used up all but maybe a yard of the first ball of yarn on the first sleeve. At this writing it is 18.25” long, with 4.75” to go before the armscye, but I have switched over to the other sleeve. I was just not in the mood to spit-splice at 4:00a.m. Half of the increases are already done on the second sleeve, and I may get those done before bedtime.

There will not be much knitting at lunch today, because we are having our Thanksgiving feast. I did not bake another gooey cake like Saturday’s, opting instead for a single batch of brownies, split in half and baked in two of Beloved’s disposable grilling pans, which add up to approximately 11” x 7”. I drizzled a little caramel sauce over the batter, so these are (more or less) turtle brownies without the nuts. We have enough nuts at work, Ms. Ravelled included.

Beloved had another MRI yesterday, this one of the base of his skull. And more blood work. He will get the results tomorrow. And his new chemo pills will come to the house today. Ten thousand dollars’ worth of carefully calibrated poison, four months of the new protocol, which we hope will beat the cancer in his liver into submission with few or minimal side effects. Our co-payment? $65. My HMO has paid out over half a million dollars on Beloved’s behalf since we married in January. And he is worth every blessed penny, and more.

I came home last night to the best beef stew I have eaten in my life. Better than my mother’s, and that is saying something. I told Beloved that I have never been disappointed in any meal he has served me, but that this was the best one yet. I’m a little sad to be eating traditional holiday food at lunch today, instead of leftovers.

Yeah. That good.

After dinner we went over numbers so I could make an informed election for our health benefits next year. The big question was, how much to increase the medical expense reimbursement feature? Our premiums are going up, but not ridiculously. And our out of pocket this year has been over $200 a month so far. But neither of us felt good about dedicating the maximum reimbursement amount of $2,500 for next year. So we talked it over, and we found a number that doesn’t make us twitch (much), and that’s the number I will plug into the system when I get to work this morning. It’s a delicate balance between the very sensible idea of getting reimbursed for all or most of our out of pocket, and making sure we have enough to live on. And also making sure that, if there is a miraculous cure and no more medical bills, or the golden chariot sweeps down and carries Beloved off in a whirlwind like Elijah, I/we do not have to watch money we could have been living on, go swirling down the drain every two weeks for the rest of the year.

It is so nice not to have to make that decision all by myself. I was somewhat frustrated last year, because I had no idea what our expenses would be once we married, so I just dedicated enough to cover a new pair of glasses for me and said oh well to the rest of it. We blew through that before the end of January, and I have yet to get my glasses (but I did remember to reschedule my appointment, and I will either have new ones by the end of the year, or know that I don’t need them yet).

I promised you Kristen’s link. You’re welcome.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

♫A Fleetwood Mac kind of day.♪

[That would be yesterday. And possibly today as well? Our weather was glorious, perfect for grilling outdoors and eating with two dozen friends and might-as-well-be-family. I acquired another brother last night. Told his wife she had a good one, and she agreed. Told her I could call him brother, and not because it is how we address one another at church. They both grinned.]

Love this song, just love it. That banjo is so perfect it nearly makes me weep with joy. (Although in listening carefully to the lyrics, I see that she is singing about a woefully codependent relationship, which mine is most definitely NOT.)

I also like this one, which has been going through my head at odd hours. Much more descriptive of this miraculous love I have with Beloved, just not as catchy a melody.

And this one is so much fun to dance to. I do miss dancing, every once in awhile. But then, I was missing it a lot, even when I was in the singles program, because so much of the music was impossible for me to dance to. (Yay! for that which was not.)

The fish fry went well. The new cake recipe (already modified) got rave reviews from most of our friends, although it was too rich for some and nearly so for me. I think I will make further modifications before taking it to the Thanksgiving luncheon at work on Tuesday (and possibly to the tribal feast on Thursday). Beloved and I overdid our efforts yesterday and were in bed by 8:00p.m. Maybe as early as 7:30?

I was too tired to sleep, so I got back up and worked on the sleeve, which I am happy to report is not only back to where it was when I frogged it Friday night, but nearly two full pattern repeats beyond that. I only have two more increase rounds on this sleeve, and then the mad gallop to the armscye, round and round and round. I think I will stay with this sleeve until I run out of yarn (the first ball) before switching back to the other sleeve. Right now, this sleeve is about half as long as it needs to be before joining it to the body of the sweater.

Went back to bed around 9:00, slept until around 1:00, then up to knit for another hour, and back to bed until 5:00 or so. When I woke up, Beloved was out in his easy chair, dozing a little with the Tom Clancy he is re-reading, lying neatly in his lap.

If I am able to continue knitting at this pace, I may very well cast on for the body of the sweater sometime next weekend. One of our friends asked me last night, how long it would take to knit this sweater. I have no idea; I’ve never made one for such a tall dude before. I didn’t tell my friend that I am making this one up as I go.

I made breakfast for us this morning as well, a variation on Eggs McMommy. Two whole-grain toaster waffles. Two eggs in my favorite skillet, to make a flat, crepe-ish omelette, lots of grated cheese on the flip side, folded in half then cut in half and stacked, points aimed north and south in between the toasty waffles. I wish I had been able to find ones that were maple-flavored like the ones at Jack in the Box, but whole-grain is better for us.

And now it is a little after 7:00, and I think I am properly refueled for church (would not do to fall asleep in the back of the Primary room during Sharing Time), and Beloved is out of the shower and eating his breakfast. Must be time for me to rinse and fluff.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Not your average Emily Gilmore.

But that’s who I was impersonating this morning, over at the Bitties’ school. They are, essentially, attending Chilton Academy, but I was greatly impressed with both the campus and the staff who addressed us. Beloved and I pooped out a little early, and I drove over to West Side Cafe, where I had eaten twice when I lived in Fort Worth, and which I learned about from Trainman. We basically ate ourselves stupid, and it was wonderful.

From there we headed east on Camp Bowie to MadTosh, which opened in April, three months after I moved to Garland, and where the Yarn Harlot lectured/taught a couple of months ago. The shop is lovely. I knew it was within a few blocks of where I used to live, and I wondered if it had gone into the old paint store next door to the yarn shop which closed (and which is now a gourmet bathroom fixtures shop). I was right! All kinds of luscious yarns, primarily Madeleine Tosh, but also Blue Sky Alpaca, Spud & Chloe, with a nice representation of Addi and Lantern Moon needles, and the far wall devoted to quilting fabric.

The people are as nice as the shop. I will be back. So that makes two terrific yarn shops in Fort Worth that I know of (I don’t know if Cabbage Rose is still open; they are primarily a quilting shop that carries/carried yarn.

I’m still crazy about Jennings Street Yarn. Linda is a love. Her shop is a minuscule gem, and she has her yarns arranged by color, not brand, for the most part. It’s like Charming Charlie for knitters!

Which brings me to the work in progress. I was feeling so good about the second sleeve, which had just reached the same length as the first, or so I thought. When I put them side by side, I noticed that the ribbing was about half an inch shorter on this sleeve. I counted the rows: 30 on one, 27 on the other. Sigh.

Frogged back to almost the end of the ribbing, and I will frog or tink it back the rest of the way, tomorrow. But as Beloved tactfully pointed out, better to find out now than once I’d reached the armscye. If I apply myself, I can recoup my lost work before bedtime tomorrow. That would be after sleeping off the fish fry which is our scheduled high priests’ social tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

“Brave.” And a CARE package. ♥

I got the second cuff done before work yesterday and took it along. I tried (for half a round) to work both sleeves on one long needle using Magic Loop and quickly separated them, the better to retain my sanity.

I’ll wait until you stop snickering.

I have now worked about three inches of pattern above the ribbing and am almost ready to switch back to the first sleeve. I figure that I’ll work a couple of inches on one, then the other, until I reach the armscyes.

The eagle screamed yesterday. (We got his Social Security disability check.) I paid a bunch of bills. After dinner, I nipped out and picked up a copy of Brave. [We loved it.] Also three pairs of brown cotton socks, a copy of The Blind Side (for only $10!), and a package of gel pens, as ours have a distressing habit of drying up or evaporating entirely.

Yesterday was reasonably productive at work, complicated only slightly by the monthly support staff meeting, where I actually learned several things that are or will be useful. One of which is that the upper limit for a medical expense reimbursement account has been dropped to $2,500 for 2013, down from $4,000. Now, I have never allocated $4,000 for medical expenses. I think I maxxed it at $900 back when I had two kids at home, because I would rather not get reimbursed for some of my medical expenses than lose unspent money at the end of the year.

Beloved was marginally awake when I came over to the computer this morning. I asked if he were sufficiently awake for me to ask him a financial question. He thought he was. I asked what he thought we should allocate for MER for next year. He gave me a bleary grin and said we need to discuss it when I get home from work tonight.

This is one of those practical applications of faith-and-works that gets really complicated for me. Last year I had to make the decision about the time we got engaged, and I had no idea what our medical expenses would be this year. So I allocated $400, which would cover my dental visits and a new pair of glasses, over and above my vision plan. We blew through that within a month after we married.

On the one hand, we have had more than $2,500 out of pocket this year, what with the trips to Houston and our co-payments for one thing and another. So it seems like a fairly safe bet to go for the maximum. On the other hand, that will erase approximately $100 from my take-home each payday, which will make monthly budgeting more scary for me. It seems easier emotionally to just deal with the co-payments as they pop up, but it’s far more sensible to reduce our medical outlay by our effective tax rate (which at this point is unknown, as we have yet to file a joint return). I need to crunch some numbers there to guesstimate what our effective tax rate might be. We keep meaning to talk to Beloved’s tax person, and other stuff keeps coming up.

There is so much minutiae to deal with. Getting the last of his mother’s stuff out of the dining room so we can eat in there again. Getting me a closet of my own. Wrangling all the stuff in the middle bedroom so it can become an office, and our bedroom can become a retreat, exclusively. Learning my new calling, which has detail upon detail upon detail, and I probably should be studying an hour a night for the next couple of months, until I feel I have some idea what-all is or should be going on with that stewardship. Taking over more of the housework, as Beloved’s energy flags. (And we all know how much I adore housework.)

But, ta-DAAA! Yesterday there was a CARE package from one of my girlfriends, a bag of Raspberry M&M’s she priority-mailed me. And much appreciated. It is such a quintessentially feminine thing to spend more on mailing a package than the contents are worth (at least in terms of retail), but as they say in the commercials: priceless!

Thank you, ma’am. They are going to work with me today. I’ll leave your delightful card here for Beloved to enjoy. Because I’m thoughtful like that.

There was other good news yesterday. Secondborn and her tribe thought they were having company for Thanksgiving dinner, making them unavailable for the joint-tribal feast that Younger Twin and his wife are hosting. The expected company will not be coming, so Bittiest and M the Marauder will get to join forces, while Beloved and I will be relatively close to home for when he gets tired and I have gotten overwhelmed by the sheer number of people. I don’t do crowds well. When we’ve gathered at Firstborn’s or Secondborn’s, there are anywhere from a dozen to two dozen people, and my limit is somewhere between two and three hours before I have to go home and take a nap.

I figure there will be two dozen people at minimum, a week from today, and likely a dozen more. [Middlest will not be able to join us this year, bummer.] It will be interesting to sit as an observer on my own shoulder and see how long it takes for my inner eeeeek to go off!

How to sign eeeeek: form the E hand and move it sideways through space long enough to make your point, then pop your hand into a K. A little bit of deaf humor to brighten your Thursday.

BTW, Robi, no need to beat yourself up for making me sniffly with that dedicated-to-me post of yours. Those were good tears. Yes, my inner 17 year old is still alive and well. She’s the one who wants to run screaming from Primary each week. And my Tina Turner legs are still in here, somewhere.

On that note, time for me to proud-Mary myself into the shower and doot-doot-doot-doot until I’m ready to hit the road.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

One cuff done.

Thirty rounds, as it turned out, equal four inches in length, at least in K2P2 ribbing. I have done the first increases and parked the stitches on DP’s the size I will use for the rest of the sleeves and the body, and now I am soldiering away on the ribbing for the second cuff.

The Milestone Anniversary celebration went well. I did as little as possible on it yesterday (including skipping out on the cleanup; oh well) because I have tons to do before Friday. Two reports to transcribe today and a new case to open, and I have not even looked at my attorney’s calendar for the rest of the week, or Attorney B’s.

We are waiting to hear from Beloved’s oncologist that the new chemo pills have arrived. Which makes Thursday eight weeks without chemo.

However, last night we both had enough zip to attend Empty Nesters at a chain restaurant we both like, and we both pretty much cleared our plates. Beloved’s appetite has been good the past couple of days, which is encouraging.

May I just say that Ensure does not make a bad, quick meal? I snagged a bottle and a chunk of pepper jack to eat in the car on the way to church on Sunday, and I had no problem staying awake and alert for the duration. Breakfast yesterday was again in the car, on the way to work: a tuna sandwich and another bottle of Ensure. And I lasted until lunch, without the munchies. (Lunch was the last of the mac and cheese I made for dinner on Sunday. I tried one of the fancier incarnations, where you make a roux and then stir in the squeeze cheese and bacon bits.)

It’s 6:00a.m. and I realized this morning that I have a new relative with a birthday tomorrow, whose birthday made it onto my Google calendar but not onto the spreadsheet, so I need to hit Wally World on my way to work and find a wonderfully snarky gonna-be-belated birthday card for him. I have remedied the error on my spreadsheet so this won’t happen again next year.

No idea what I want for breakfast today, or to take for lunch. Beloved said there would be tacos tonight. Can’t wait!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Casting on.

I played with swatches last night after dinner, after grabbing Volume 1 of my Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries. Started with a size 5 needle and worked two or three patterns, including my favorite broken rib, then switched to a size 4 needle for a few rows of double moss stitch. Since Beloved wants a cardigan and I won’t have the efficiency of knitting in the round (not in the mood to steek the opening, thank-you-very-much), I want a knit/purl pattern that is relatively mindless but not entirely so. After clearing my head in the shower this morning, I am thinking of alternating double moss stitch with the odd bit of broken rib, maybe randomly and maybe not.

I have both sleeves cast on, and seven rounds of K2P2 ribbing worked on one sleeve, while the other sleeve sits in timeout because I cast on with size 4 needles and worked the first two rounds, then geared down to size 3 and only have the one set. My plan with the sleeves is to get the ribbing worked, then slip both cuffs onto a long circ and work them simultaneously, which would ensure that they match perfectly.

Once the sleeves are up to the armscyes, I’ll slip them onto a holding needle and work the body to that point. I am planning a K2 “seam” along the inside of each sleeve and matching ones where side seams would go if this sweater were knitted in pieces and sewn together. I think I will like how the various increases and decreases take shape a lot better if they snuggle up to a thin column of plain knitting, rather than disrupting the pattern. When I do the raglan decreases, I think there will be another “seam” between the decreases. Although it just occurred to me that it might be fun to work a mock cable over two stitches, marching up the inside of the sleeve and the sides of the sweater and most definitely at the raglan decreases. An inch or two of pattern above the sleeve ribbing will tell me if I am inspired or just plain nuts.

Meanwhile, I need to tank Lorelai before heading into work. We are having our Milestone Anniversary party this afternoon, (three individuals who have worked 5 years, 10 years, or 15 years, and four who have worked 20 years; a total of 110 years of collective brilliance, and some of my favorite people) and this will be my last hurrah for the festivities committee.

This is another week in which I will need to cram five days’ worth of work into four. And one in which I would really much rather sit in my chair in the living room and knit away on Beloved’s sweater. I am loving the color, and the yarn is every bit as nice to work with as I remembered.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A very Bitty meltdown

Several weeks ago, I was at Secondborn’s as they were wrangling the kids at bedtime. I sat downstairs during family scripture study and prayers. My legs were just not up to making the climb that day (they have a very tall house: soaring first floor, and the family room and kids’ rooms above that).

In the middle of murmur, murmur, murmur, there was suddenly an indignant wail from the Bittiest. And his father said calmly and sternly, “Do you think it’s a good idea to throw things?”

“Yes!” More wailing.

“Do. You. Think. It’s. A. Good. Idea. To. Throw. Things?”

Yes!” Bittiest wailed even louder. “Wanna throw!” At which point I hid my face in my knitting to stifle helpless laughter. Boy, can I relate.

I would like to throw cancer down the stairs and then kick it until it stops moving. I am grateful, in retrospect, for all of the crummy experiences I have had in 60 years of living, which have made me strong enough to be useful to Beloved as he struggles with this. But it is so hard to watch him struggle and to hear him moan or cry out in his sleep. (He keeps a pretty tight lid on things when he’s awake, because that’s how our generation was raised.)

He’s lost mass in his shoulders, chest, and back. The sweater which fit him just loosely enough when we married in January, now hangs on his upper body. And he loves that sweater; he has had it for years, and it still looks great. Good news is, he is married to a knitter. And I found the yarn for his next sweater at one of the two closest LYS’s yesterday. Plymouth Galway, 100% wool in a worsted weight. I’ve worked with it before, I think for some of the missionary hats I made while living in Fort Worth. It’s a sturdy, workhorse yarn that’s a pleasure to knit and not scratchy when worn. I was hoping for a chunkier yarn, because hey, Beloved is a big dude. And I would like to give him this for Christmas, or sooner. I emailed Alison (and the Yarn Harlot), because both of them are married to Seriously Tall Dudes. How much extra to calculate, to allow for the extra altitude?

If Beloved were of average height, I would just take his circumference in inches, divide it in half, and that would be how many ounces of yarn I needed in a medium weight. Eight ounces less for a fine-gauge yarn, and eight more for bulky. (I learned this years ago from Jacqueline Fee’s The Sweater Workshop.) That gives me a basic number, and then I guesstimated that if I just bought a whole package of ten balls, I should have enough. If I have leftovers, I can take them back. And if I need more, they have ten more in the same dye lot in the back of the shop.

Am I evil because I just wish the Primary sacrament meeting program (this morning) and Sharing Time (I’m in charge of the lesson) were over and done with, so I can come home and swatch? This is the sacrament meeting that most folks look forward to all year, and it’s never been my favorite, although my kids always did their part and I was proud of them. And I come home in tears after exposure to large numbers of children. Happened after pack meeting on Wednesday. Happened again after the rehearsal on Friday night.

My patriarchal blessing says that I will spend the majority of my time with the youth in the Church. I’ve been a member for 37 years, and except for a few brief stints as a Primary teacher, that hasn’t happened. I thought I had dodged a bullet. Apparently not. It doesn’t help that our Primary president, when she bore her testimony, said that she was happy for the calling because that’s where the Savior would go if He were to visit our ward. I am trying to be like Jesus. Apparently I’m not trying hard enough, because that just makes me feel guilty, and hardly anything does.

Yes, I am laughing at myself. It looks like I will live to be very, very old, which was certainly part of my plan, if I am to spend the majority of my time serving with the youth. I guess I should just be thankful that I am not the Young Women’s president, because I like camping even less than I like being surrounded by hordes of sugar-infused short people, half of whom are seriously estrogen-deficient.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ahhh, much better.

Early to bed, ridiculously early to rise, an hour or so of knitting, and back to bed. I made an omelette with pepper jack cheese and split it with Beloved. He is snoozing in his chair. I just finished creating a handout of sorts, to go in the bottom of the treat basket tomorrow. Making handouts and visual aids is my favorite part of teaching.

I would give you a visual, but it’s a Word document with a photo background, and I don’t know if Beloved has Paint on his computer. When I try to copy/paste, all it wants to pick up is the verbiage, which would look meh without the background. You’ll just have to trust me when I say it is scathingly brilliant, and retina-searingly bright. The Primary president will print it off, as my color printer is still in a box. Somewhere in the bowels of the middle bedroom.

At breakfast, I asked Beloved what his agenda is for the day: eating strawberry shortcake and clearing boxes out of the hallway. Mine includes getting a manicure and preparing Sharing Time for tomorrow. There is an elders quorum social this evening, but thankfully Beloved is a high priest, so we are not obligated to go. We have an HP social next Saturday, and maybe next Saturday I will be in the mood (and he will have the energy) to socialize.

For now, he’s come back to bed, so I guess it’s a couple of quick games for me (with the sound off) and then get cleaned up and go get my nails done. I have made most of the calculations necessary to order yarn for his sweater. Just need to go check a couple of things on Ravelry. It’s been awhile since I knitted a sweater for a man, and none of them were as tall as Beloved.

Friday, November 09, 2012

So tired. So weepy.

Went, like a good little Do-Bee, to the Primary activity tonight. Stayed through the music practice. Took my place as dispenser-of-canned-whipped-cream and made a bunch of short people very happy. (Sundaes as a reward for singing VERY LOUDLY and mostly on-key.) Around the time the sugar hit their collective bloodstream and they started racing around the gym, I handed the can of whipped cream over to the Primary secretary and took myself home.

Beloved did not sleep well last night. He vocalized a lot, fragments of sentences, much tossing and turning. Around 4:30 I gave up and went out into the living room. I have been dragging all day. I told Heavenly Father that it was only because I love Him and the Savior even more than I love Beloved, that I was fulfilling my responsibilities tonight. Every cell in my body was and is screaming for sleep. As soon as I got buckled into Lorelai, my eyes started leaking. Not big fat tears of self-pity. Just. Bone. Weariness.

I asked Beloved, when I kissed him goodbye this morning, if he had had nightmares. No, he just hurt all over.


Attorney B took us (his regular secretary, his new paralegal, and me) out to lunch at a nearby restaurant today, just because. I had a most excellent chicken club sandwich with smoked bacon, chipotle mayonnaise (yum!), and a cookie that needed its own Zip Code for dessert. Business was light during lunch, so our waitress told us to help ourselves to the desserts in the buffet line, as otherwise they would just get thrown out. Oye. So dinner tonight, eaten between work and coming home to grab an ice cream scoop that never left my pocket at church (double oye), was the other half of my sandwich and another cookie.

Beloved dashed out during the day and bought shortcakes. It is a measure of his lack of energy that he did not make them. He also mooshed up some strawberries and raspberries, and in theory we would have dessert together when I got home from church. But he just wants to crash, and so do I.

I am hoping that he can sleep in at least one-hour increments. Lately it’s been more like 15-20 minute bites. And I am hoping that I can get at least six hours of sleep, no matter how many chunks it takes to get there. I just asked him if there is any reason to set the alarm for tomorrow. He confirmed that there is not.

Is that Hope lurking just out of my field of vision? I think that a good night’s sleep and a good, simple breakfast would go a long way toward fixing Ms. Ravelled. And woe be unto anyone who calls us before noon tomorrow morning!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Just a note.

Yesterday was kind of a bummer. I wore black to work, just to make fun of myself a little: black slacks, black socks, black clogs, black dressy T-shirt, white-with-black-dots barrettes. Regretted that I had polished off all the Tootsie Roll miniatures that went to work with me on Tuesday, because I could have used the chocolate.

My guy lost. The incumbent, however, is not the Anti-Christ, and I will pray for our leadership and rejoice in the fact that for Presidents, at least, there are term limits.

What would I like to see in the White House? Conservative. Female. LDS. Business acumen. A nice blend of feisty and gracious.

Sheri L. Dew in 2016! (The article is brief and well worth your time.)

Have a follow-up appointment with my allergist this morning. Ironically, I woke up with a stuffy head, and I know from experience that I should not take Zyrtec during waking hours. Maybe I should just stuff half a Tootsie Roll miniature (there are still a few here at home) in each nostril and hope for the best?

Monday, November 05, 2012

Anise ≠ not-a-nephew.

I grew up pronouncing it to rhyme with Alice: short A, short I, accent on the first syllable. On the food shows, they say aNIECE. Wikipedia says I am right. I really ought to check my hardcover dictionary to be sure, but it’s been a long day and Idawanna.

We are back from Houston and MD Anderson and bloodwork and more bloodwork, and a consultation with their oncologist, who talked by phone with our local oncologist, and they concur on the next course of therapy for Beloved, which involves his taking a pill every day, at home, for 21 days, and then not, for 7 days. I snickered, “Honey, you’re going on The Pill!”

We have pumpkin pie fudge in the fridge, and leftover dinner from the restaurant we like so much that’s on the way to and from Houston (lunch for each of us tomorrow, huzzah).

We also had our first fight yesterday. It lasted all of 20 seconds, if that, and we were snickering about it within the hour. He has posted on Facebook, including the difficulty of trying to schedule makeup sex, which is something I’ve never had but I’ve heard is great. The children’s father and I never fought. My first marriage was pretty much all one long fight, so I don’t think our love life counts. I am missing out on one of life's allegedly wonderful experiences, simply because Beloved and I are two middle-aged people who drove 500+ miles in less than 24 hours, and what we are really hoping for, individually and collectively, is a good night’s sleep.

Night, y’all. Oh good grief, he’s snoring already!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

He’s home. ♥ And we’re gone again.

They released him from the hospital on Friday afternoon. I was up to my ears in alligators, so one of our friends fetched him and brought him home. Friday was payday. I picked up something for dinner -- don’t remember what -- oh yeah, finger lickin’ chicken for him, and tenders for me, and he ate maybe half of his and went to bed. I basically inhaled mine. I am not a big fan of fried chicken, and I definitely no longer like meat on the bone. Any kind of meat on any kind of bone. But the tenders smelled fantastic (hunger and exhaustion being the best spice) and I didn’t have to clean up the kitchen.

Yesterday we dropped Lorelai off for an oil change and lube, ran by Jack in the Box to try one of their new waffle breakfast sandwiches (amazingly good) and then to an Eagle court of honor for one of our young friends. I have been to two Eagle courts of honor since marrying Beloved. It’s a big deal: only 2% of Scouts, worldwide, ever have the gumption to make Eagle. Beloved had multiple scoutmasters growing up (military family) so never quite made it, but all three of the boys made Eagle. One of the things I love, is that the moms get a pin to wear in recognition of all they do to rear a son who is worthy to be an Eagle Scout. After the presentation to the parents (dads get a pin, too, and I’m not belittling that), then the Scout gets to recognize people who have mentored him. Beloved was honored on both of these occasions.

Yesterday he was the first honoree mentioned, after his parents. Instant tears for Ms. Ravelled. My feelings are very much on the surface after the week we have had (the happy ones every bit as much as the ones I am trying to wrangle into submission), and I suspect I will sit and weep in relief all through sacrament meeting today. If that doesn’t put me there, the music for the Primary program (our penultimate practice is today) will.

I have been working on the ruana this week, when I have had time to knit. It is coming along beautifully. Yesterday around 2:00am when I was up and about, I reorganized the yarns into color families in their gallon Ziploc bags. Why that didn’t occur to me before, I can’t say, but among other things it shows me where I have holes in the colors I am using. I definitely need more of a particular shade of green, and one of the fancy specialty yarns my sister gave me, has either gone missing or I used it up and don’t remember. Either is distinctly possible.

Beloved’s right leg is looking and feeling significantly better than when he went into the hospital. He has a new, improved anticoagulant and is taking the diuretic religiously, and he’s almost where we want him to be.

You should have seen us at Costco yesterday. Mel and Squishy pulled up just as we got home from the court of honor, and they stayed while Beloved catnapped. Then the four of us trooped up to Costco. I had the riding cart for 90% of our shopping, and Beloved took it on the home stretch. We both got exercise, neither of us wore ourselves out, and the kids were our happy, exuberant minions.

“Minion! Fetch me a sample of that, if you please!”

“Yes ma’am!” Much hilarity ensued.

This is the part where I get ready for church and figure out what small project to take for church knitting, because the ruana is getting huge, and discreet is the last adjective I would choose to describe it.

Thank you for your prayers, positive thoughts, et al. We feel them. ♥ Heading back to MD Anderson after church today. (And I haven’t mislaid my cell phone in two days!)

Friday, November 02, 2012

It’s been a little crazy here.

After the last trick or treater on Wednesday, we went to the ER. Not to get our candy X-rayed, but to get Beloved’s leg checked out. Same wonderful triage nurse as in June, same wonderful doctor, who said to us after reading the sonogram, that it was a very good thing we had brought Beloved in. You know that calm tone of voice that parents use when something has gone wrong and they don’t want the kids to panic?

That tone of voice.

Beloved’s right leg had multiple blood clots, notwithstanding the Lovenox he has been taking for a year for the ones in his lungs. He went via ambulance to the main facility after the twins quietly gave him a lovely and loving priesthood blessing.

I got home around 2:00am yesterday, emailed my attorney and office manager that I didn’t know when I would be in, emailed the family, and slept until 9:00 or so, when we got a call from MD Anderson. I was sufficiently awake to recognize the area code and the prefix, and to tell the caller that Beloved was in the hospital, but insufficiently awake to clarify that the hospital was not MD Anderson.


I sent more emails, made a few calls, and went to visit Beloved in the hospital. They are taking very good care of him. I like his nurses. His local oncologist had come and gone by the time I got there.

Wednesday night I left my cell phone in Lorelai’s trunk. Last night I left it in Beloved’s hospital room when I went out to see why it was taking so long to get him some pain meds. That wonderful nurse had gotten separated from her cell phone (must be an epidemic of some sort), and she took care of it right away.

I came home, sent an update out to the siblings and kids, and crashed. Thought I had set the alarm to go off at 5:15, but woke naturally a little after 6:00.

And now I am headed back to the hospital, with a meatloaf sandwich for Beloved and a KnitPicks catalogue for him to peruse for yarn colors, and then on to the office, where we have a mandatory diversity and inclusion activity at 10:00 and Attorney B has something that he needs for a hearing (or something) no later than 9:15.

My inner snark is just screaming to come out. There are two or three people at the office who don’t know how close they came, yesterday, to having their heads handed to them. I am in the process of disentangling myself from a committee that I didn’t want to be on in the first place. So far, the Tact Fairy is still very much in charge, but she definitely has more plates spinning than any sane fairy wants to manage. (Remind me to tell you of my inner dialogue regarding the office Thanksgiving celebration.)

Please keep those prayers and positive thoughts coming!