About Me

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

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Apparently 4:00 is the new 5:00?

Because that’s when I’ve awakened at least three mornings this week, including today. You would think I still had a child in early morning seminary!

I have not just been sitting around, twiddling my fingers, however; I spent most of the past three and a half hours in my studio, moving things around and growing increasingly more pleased with each tweak. The walking about, shuffling of boxes, emptying and moving and refilling bookcases, bending and stretching, et al, have been like a really productive variation on the theme of yoga. The standing and thinking and scratching my head about where to shift the tower bookcase have sent a good deal of the lymph in my body racing for my left ankle, and to a lesser extent, the right. I need to spend an hour or so on my back, with my feet up a wall like I learned in yoga class when I was rehabbing my broken leg (and frankly that was my favorite part of the class, as it was the only part where I felt like I halfway knew what I was doing).

I have also done a modicum of knitting this morning, always a pleasant thing to do. I need to figure out what I am taking to the ballpark this afternoon. Yes, I am stepping waaaaay out of my comfort zone. I bought inexpensive seats for a friend’s daughter’s fundraiser several months ago, and this is the day when I get to watch my sweetheart and some of my friends enjoy the game. Lest I sound like a martyr, there is something in it for me, as well: we are dining first at Chop House Burgers, and picking up two T-shirts which Beloved ordered. We are looking forward to wearing them to the next Empty Nesters dinner. They say something on the order of “Practice safe eating. Use condiments.”

Beloved found the folding cooler. He already has some bottles of water in the freezer, and others chilling. We are going to pick up some snack foods, although if I clean my plate at Chop House, there will be no room at the inn so far as I am concerned.

Breakfast, first, and then shopping, and then a nap, and then you should pray for me, or for those sitting around me who will be subjected to my general ignorance [nay, agnosticism] on the subject of baseball.

If you’re watching the Rangers game, and the camera pans across a woman who looks suspiciously like me, melting in the Texas heat and looking anywhere but the field, do not adjust your set. Or your meds. You’re not (necessarily) hallucinating.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Whisperings

There is a marvelous article on the last page of the June Ensign about learning to recognize the workings of the Spirit. I had one of those experiences yesterday. I was catching up on Firstborn’s blog, and she mentioned that one of her dearest friends from high school was undergoing Major Trial. My daughter did not name the friend, but as I read, a face popped into my mind. Oh no! I texted Firstborn from work, and she confirmed it.

Did this happen because I am a perfectly saintly woman? Of course not! But I serve in the House of the Lord once a week, as does Beloved (he is there, as I write), and I serve in my ward, and all week I have been reading an article or two from the June Ensign in the quiet early morning hours, and the ground was fertile.

Think about those moments when you just know something, and you know that you know it. (And then you think about it some more and realize that Heaven wants you to do something about it. Which is why I am teaching Primary when my natural inclination is to hang out with grown women. Or at least teenagers.)

You may have read that caffeine can impair short-term memory, which for some of us may already be iffy at best. Last night was proof of that. I had the slows all day. And I slugged down four styrofoam cups of Cherry Coke over ice, something on the order of a liter of the stuff. I felt as if I were moving through a sea of molasses, and when I drove off to the temple, I was still yawning. Thankfully, my assignments last night required me to keep moving, and that helped enormously.

When I came home, Beloved was watching the Rangers while posting on Facebook (yeah, a man who multitasks; I told you he is extraordinary). And the cat was in. Cricket padded over to my chair, put one paw up on my lap, and looked me beseechingly in the eye. I patted my skirt with both hands, and up he came! This was a first. He sat in my lap for fifteen or twenty minutes, until I had to walk over to Beloved to watch something funny on his laptop.

It’s payday. Tithing check is written and ready to go to church with us on Sunday. Gas card is paid off. I am still more comfortable paying cash as I go, but I am OK with putting it on a gas card as long as I can pay it off on or before the due date (which I did). And I have placed an order with KnitPicks for a book at 40% off, and some discontinued yarn for not-the-next-sweater but the one after that. And we still have money in the accounts.

This was the first, third-payday since I married. In the past, it was my time to catch up anything that needed catching up, and to have a mini-splurge. I have been reminding myself for two or three days that that was then, and this is now, and you know what? I do not feel the least bit deprived because I “can’t” hit all my favorite stores online and off, and come home with bags of new clothing or things for the house.

There is a pair of lace-trimmed leggings in another catalogue, in a color that would be useful under one of my skirts which is in the mending pile. (And I know were the bobbin cover is for the Bernina, so there is a slight chance I could get that done this weekend, but I’m not holding my breath.) If I do not find a similar item at Wally World when I pick up a new pair of jeans (I just about wore out the current pair scratching hives a couple of weeks ago; looked at my nails and there was all this navy blue fuzz under them), then I will order those as well. I need a new/improved closet more than I need new clothing. I seriously need to replace my sneakers, which are two years old, or maybe three. I bought them when I had the gym membership in Fort Worth and was riding the train to work. Long ago in a universe far, far away.

I have oodles and oodles of time before I need to hop in the car and go to work. I think I might French-braid my hair this morning. And I’m grabbing that other catalogue, just in case.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Commodious

Tomorrow is Big Payday, the one we get twice a year in those months which contain three paydays. Taxes come out. My 401K contributions come out. And that’s it. All the little piddly things that add up, sit around in cyberspace twiddling their thumbs and waiting to pounce on the paycheck after that.

No chemo-lite today. Beloved’s doctor says this is warm-up for the treatment at MD Anderson, assuming he gets in. They will want him off chemo for a bit before he goes. I am certainly enjoying the break (I will not have to drop him off at the cancer center on my way to work, although it is my pleasure and privilege to do so). I woke around 4:00 (aGAIN) and wandered out to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal and some of Beloved’s most excellent sourdough bread with a slathering of marionberry jam sent by a friend in Oregon. Thence to the living room for the first reading of Sunday’s lesson. And now here to type up my “homework” labels for the kids.

I shot an email to Secondborn and 2BDH last night, inquiring about the make and model of the commode in their guest bathroom. I think we’re on track to get the new one for ours this weekend, and maybe also the new tile. While I was rooting around in my studio yesterday, I found one of the two little tin-lined copper cups acquired when we lived in the Hill Country. It is now up in the cabinet over the current commode, where it catches the light wonderfully while holding a small army of bobby pins.

Tonight is temple night for me. I am still dragging from all the excitement of last weekend. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to serving, and to bringing that sweet holy peace home with me tonight. My temple bag is by the door. Ditto an insulated shopping bag, for the individual cups of Blue Bell I will be picking up in an hour and a half, when I get the cupcakes. My knitting bag and my purse are still in the rocker, and I have no idea what I’m taking for lunch today. Maybe the last stuffed tomato and that wee chunk of manchego with a sleeve of Ritz crackers. Yesterday’s carrots are still uneaten in the fridge at work.

The alarm just went off, for the umpteenth time. Have I mentioned that while I cherish my husband, I loathe the snooze button? One of these days when it scares the dickens out of me (for the umpteenth time), I am just going to reach back and snatch it off the desk and pitch it out the window, over his head. One more thing for the yappy little dog next door to get excited about.

The squirrels have eaten every peach off our tree. Beloved has been muttering about humane traps and squirrel stew for the past several days. (Squirrel stew: not exactly on my bucket list. Just sayin’.)

Yesterday’s fishing trip was enjoyable but rather unproductive. One fish, and I’m not sure if it was his, or his grandson’s. They were off the lake by 10:00, as it’s hotter than the hinges of Houston lately. I am so glad that I took his counsel and got the A/C fixed in Lorelai last year. I go from our air-conditioned house to my air-conditioned car to my air-conditioned office, and except for the stretch in the parking garage at quitting time, or the dash from the car to our front door, I have to take it on faith that it’s miserable out there.

My thoughts are skittering around like drops of water on a griddle. Must be time to send down some protein after those delicious carbs. I would really rather just turn off the lights and go back to bed. Beloved is not-quite-snoring, three feet behind me, and I’ve been up for nearly three hours. I suspect it’s going to be another Cherry Coke day.

I am grateful.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ka-choo! Grrr. Whew!

I woke up yesterday around 4:00. As soon as I sat up, my sinuses started doing a crazy Chinese fire drill inside my head. I honked and sneezed most of the way to work, where it only intensified. I killed a third of a box of tissues before leaving the office. I also managed to pick up a headache toward the end of the workday.

I knew, going in, that I had a report to transcribe for Attorney B, and that I would be backing up Attorney C, whose secretary was taking the day off. When I opened my Outlook, I discovered that another secretary had decided to take the day off. Attorney C's secretary is the universal, default backup. Could I back up Attorney D as well? I girded my loins and forwarded the message to Attorneys C and D that once I had finished the report for Attorney B, I would be available to help them both. Then I went into my attorney’s office and let him know what was up, and that if he walked by my desk and my hair was on fire, that would be why.

And then I got to work. Report? check! Monday’s mail folder dealt with? check! At which point it was past time for lunch.

Thankfully, yesterday was a light mail day. When I returned to my desk after lunch, I sent off Attorney B’s report, went through Attorney D’s mail and filed it electronically but did not calendar anything, making a note of same for his team to read. Ditto for Attorney C. At which point I was free to read and work my attorney’s mail and do anything else that was needful.

Around 4:00pm I got a semi-frantic call from Attorney E, who was working outside the office. His secretary was also off. The default secretary was also out (see above). As I had done something for him in the past when his secretary was swamped, could I handle something for him now? I told him that I was already backing up two extra attorneys, and that J was his backup secretary, and that if she were unable to help, I would be happy to do so. I then transferred him to J.

J is an experienced secretary. She has a lot of adjunct responsibilities in our office. And she is rarely at her desk, for one reason or another. She was away from her desk when I transferred Attorney E. I don’t know if he left her a voicemail, but the next thing I knew, there were two emails from him to me, the first requesting assistance (and I’m not sure if he sent that before or after we spoke on the phone; I was seriously impaired after a day of honking and sneezing) and the second saying something like unto, “J says that you are the backup to the backup. Could you handle this for me?”

At which point I got my Irish up and went looking for J, who was in her attorney’s office, with the door open. I popped in and asked if she had told him that. She replied in astonishment that she had not, that she had not spoken to anyone that day (other than her attorney, obviously). By the time I walked back to my desk, you could have been scalded by the steam coming out of my ears. And about three seconds after I sat down, I heard J’s phone ring. It was Attorney E, and I could hear her reassure him that she would take care of it.

I got the rest of my attorney’s mail taken care of and fired off a letter to the other two members of the hospitality committee (both of whom were out of the office yesterday) that if I felt as awful this morning as I did at that moment, I would not be coming in. And since I spent Monday catching up from being out on Friday, and yesterday wrangling 4.5 attorneys, I had not had the chance to call and order the cupcakes for tomorrow’s birthday celebration, could one of them please handle it? With a copy to the office manager, who is not exactly on the hospitality committee and not exactly not.

I was so sick, and tired, and frustrated when I left the office that I was on the verge of tears for most of the drive home. Beloved remarked on how quickly I’d gotten home. The traffic fairy was as merciful yesterday as the mail fairy had been. He gave me a big ol’ hug, and I started to simmer down.

I love our home. Within half an hour I had stopped sneezing and was calm again.

Before I left the office, I told J that I wanted to forward Attorney E’s second email to our office manager, with the comment that J had said no such thing. I would have had no problem whatsoever had he said that he couldn’t reach J, could he take me up on my offer to help? That, my friends, would have been honest. I used to like him, and now I have lost all trust in him. J said it wouldn’t do any good to say anything to the office manager, and I should just let it go. Maybe I should. I don’t feel all het up about it anymore. But I also do not have one speck of warmth toward that prevaricator. So I will be praying for a forgiving heart, and maybe I will put his name on the prayer roll at the temple when I’m there tomorrow.

In other, happier news, Beloved got a callback from MD Anderson: they need more information. He shot off an email to his new oncologist, who will get that information from Parkland and send it on to Houston. If MD Anderson decides that Beloved is a good candidate for their clinical trial, then they will contact our HMO to request authorization. So maybe some of this will be covered by my insurance after all? That would be seriously cool! In the meantime, Beloved is already getting a much higher level of healthcare at the new facility than he was at Parkland, where they are overworked and understaffed (and while I am somewhat sympathetic, I am also unimpressed, although grateful they were able to keep him alive long enough for us to get better care for him).

We should know in a few more days. Time for me to sluice off, head to the office, order the cupcakes, and see if I can get some knitting in before my workday begins. I went to bed a little after 7:00 last night and slept until about 10:30, then got up and puttered in my studio for a couple of hours before coming back to bed and sleeping (with only minor interruptions) until the alarm went off.

Beloved and his second grandson are fishing this morning. It’s gonna be a scorcher today. I hope they don’t bring pre-baked fish home later this morning.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Going to work so I can rest.

The size of my Primary class fluctuates from week to week. We had lots of good discussion yesterday. I came home, inhaled some lunch, and then Beloved and I went home teaching. We saw two of our families, came home, and napped.

I followed Firstborn’s excellent advice and transferred Beloved’s meds and chemo protocol into retrievable form. Next time we go to the ER, if there is a next time, I will be significantly more prepared.

Knit happened, although not quite as much as I would have liked. I am a little over halfway done with the second pillow front. I am twelve days out from its commencement, and it’s doubtful that I can finish it by Saturday and start on the back. My pace seems to be lagging, notwithstanding all that lovely knitting time at the family reunion.

While I was on the computer yesterday, I spent a little time scheduling bills over the next three paydays. This has been a spendy month. The cash reserves which delighted me so, last month, have gone to cover expenses. Legitimate ones, I am happy to say, not foolish splurges. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to plugging the last numbers into the balance sheet when I get paid on Friday. We should still be several hundred dollars closer to our goal, notwithstanding our having had to put the ER visit on plastic.

The new Knit Picks catalogue arrived on Saturday. There are new colors in their lace yarns, and a book I want is 40% off. I am hoping to score both, and some of their discontinued colors, on Friday.

It’s 6:30. Not the best night’s sleep I have had, but at least I woke up on the right side of the dirt! I need to get moving, so that I can take a bag of tomatoes and other veggies to a friend’s porch on my way to work. Ms. Ravelled is still in the drive-by fooding business.

Life is good.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Some. Week.

I cannot believe that it has been nearly a week since I posted. Monday was the only night that I was home after work. On Tuesday we had ward temple night. It was also RS temple night for the ward into which Beloved’s twin sons have moved with their families, so I got to sit next to the delightful spouse of the younger twin.

Wednesday was something of a mixed blessing. A friend of ours, who went through chiropractic school a year ahead of the children’s father, has specialized in nutrition. We were invited to attend a lecture on nutrition. Dinner to be provided. When we got there, midway through his presentation I realized it was a carefully crafted sales pitch. While I learned a good deal that will be useful about nutrition, and connected more dots about my own health challenges, I came home feeling Amwayed. And hungry, as dinner was heavy on delicious fruits and vegetables and light on the things that make me feel satisfied and full.

Thursday night was the meet-and-greet for Beloved’s family reunion, which might more accurately be described as genealogy-on-crack. These people have been seriously smacked upside the head by the spirit of Elijah! And I have already started making connections and friends among the women, some of whom are skilled needlewomen, one of whom is an intermittently-active member of the church (and possibly a relative of Robi; she has a lot of information on your maiden name, and I will try to connect you two via Facebook).

On Thursday, Beloved had big-chemo at the new facility. He was in and out in about four hours, as opposed to the all-day marathon at Parkland, and he came home with a plastic sleeve holding the business cards of [almost?] all of the personnel at the new facility. I will be updating my contacts list with that additional information. He did not sleep well, about two hours’ worth toward the end of the night, so he was already tired when Friday began.

He also brought home the news that we will be hearing soon about the clinical trial at M.D. Anderson. He should know by 11 July. We might be down there by 11 July. I will keep you posted as we learn more. I figure that if it is Heaven’s will that Beloved is part of the clinical trial, Heaven will also open the way for us to pay for it, as it will not be covered by my excellent insurance. I have no worries on that score, only hopeful curiosity.

The presenters yesterday were good-to-brilliant, and I now know rather more about Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston than I was ever interested to learn ~ there are connections with Beloved’s family to both of those Texas giants.

My connection to Sam Houston runs more along the lines of this. Can’t believe that that was five years ago, almost to the day!

Friday was lo-o-o-ong. Good, but long. We were both very tired; if he doesn’t sleep well, I tend not to sleep well, either. But I’m so glad we went. As I said, the presenters were worth the trip. We were not far from an In N Out, so we went there for lunch. The afternoon meetings were over by 4:00 or so, and we came home, and I made two batches of macaroni and cheese: one to my taste and a more traditional one for Beloved (so he could tart it up any way he liked, and mine would approximate my own preferences). He steamed a nice mess of spinach, and we had that and watermelon and grapes that needed to be eaten up. I portioned out the mac and cheese for future meals: blue lids for his, red lids for mine.

He was in bed by a quarter to seven, and at 7:00 he asked me to bring him the blanket that lives on the back of his recliner. He was shivering. I brought it. A few minutes later he asked me to bring him another. I added the brown fleece blanket. A few minutes after that he asked for more. It is June. In Texas. It was probably 90+ outside and in the mid 70’s inside. I put my quilt, doubled, on top of the pile and lay down next to him, outside the covers, and pressed my back against his. That helped a little. Finally I climbed under the covers, and the tremors began to calm down. He had been shivering so hard that I could hear his teeth chattering from out in my chair in the living room.

A few minutes later he was out in the kitchen, getting a drink of water and some pain relievers and one of his anti-nausea pills. And he was burning up. I did the back of hand on forehead thing and guessed that he was somewhere between 99 and 101. He told me where to find the thermometer. It was an old mercury thermometer and probably older than most of our children, and I couldn’t get a reading.

At this point I was getting concerned, so I grabbed the sleeve of business cards and called the oncologist, getting the answering service, which called back twice before the doctor on call was able to call me back. (They follow up on things at that office. Good to know.) The doctor had an Asian accent and a bad phone connection. Even after he called back from a different phone, it was still hard to understand him, but the upshot was that they needed a reading, and if Beloved’s temperature was over 101, I needed to get him to the ER.

So I got in the car and drove to the nearby pharmacy and bought a new digital thermometer with the disposable sleeves that I call thermometer-condoms. I took Beloved’s temperature:101.5, at which point I did not bother with the niceties. I just ordered him into his clothes and broke land speed records to the ER, which is right behind his PCP’s office and half a block from the cancer center.

I called Squishy and asked him to call his brothers. I called Firstborn and asked her to call her sisters.

“Do you want me to come?”

“I don’t know; it’s awfully far.”

“Mother [said in that tone], that’s not what I asked. Do. you. want. me. to. come?”

“Yes, please.”

“Do you need me to bring anything? Food, books, anything?”

“No, I have my knitting, a couple of bottles of water, and some Lara Bars.”

“OK, we’ll be there in about an hour or an hour and a half.”

And they were. 1BDH came with her. At that point we were in the back. Mel and Squishy were there. Younger-Twin had showed up; Older-Twin was home with a very sick wife (bona fide influenza).

The staff took blood from Beloved’s arm and his chemo port, took a urine sample, and checked his temperature, which had dropped to 101.3; at this point Beloved kept repeating, politely, that he just wanted to get his temperature down enough that he could go home and sleep in his own bed. Which was what we all wanted. As we waited for lab results, 1BDH and Younger-Twin gave him a blessing.

Mel and Squishy followed us home, because I was starting to fade, and I didn’t want to fall asleep at the wheel. They went home with some tomatoes and lots of hugs. Beloved and I rolled into bed a little before 1:00am.

We will get the formal lab results back tomorrow or Monday on the blood work (he is supposed to follow up with his PCP on Monday), but there was no obvious source of infection. They gave him a sulfa tablet and a prescription for more. I filled that after dropping him off at the reunion this morning and was barely late myself.

This morning’s session was nearly as good as yesterday’s. We skipped the business meeting this afternoon in favor of coming home for naps, and we went back for the dinner session feeling significantly more human. Dinner was good. The entertainment was fantastic (country/western singer from Corsicana), and we came home.

It is now nearly 11:00pm, and I am teaching tomorrow, and I haven’t read the funnies, and I haven’t touched my lesson manual, but I really, really needed to write.

Oh, and I spoke with Middlest earlier today, who called to check up on us.

We have amazing children.

And I sure hope next week is significantly less interesting. That Chinese woman better watch her back, is all I’ll say...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

In which your intrepid heroine skins 47 tomatoes.

He blanched them. I skinned them. He bagged them. This was the second batch to go into the freezer; one or two more batches will be enough to thaw and turn into tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce.

The hives continue to disappear. I have a (as in one) new one that cropped up yesterday, but we seem to have them on the run, rather than vice versa.

Had fun teaching Primary this morning. He taught the lesson in the high priest quorum.

I got a 3-4 hour nap this afternoon, while he dozed in his chair. Now he’s ready for bed, and I’m ready to head back out to the living room and knit until I can’t keep my eyes open one moment longer.

He liked his Father’s Day card, and the present I gave him: four pens that I found in the June issue of Real Simple, in the form of a hammer, a screwdriver, a wrench, and a ginormous screw. So nobody can say he has one loose. Although technically he does, as it’s still out in the living room rather than here on his desk. In the spirit of Father’s Day, this is a link to a book about Darth-as-dad that I found on Movie Mom’s blog.

I have the munchies. I know where the chocolate almond milk ice cream is hiding. Seeya!

Friday, June 15, 2012

♫♪♫ Meeting the new oncologist. ♪♫♪

*So* impressed. From the flowers growing at the entryway, to the smile on the face of the receptionist, to his assistant’s offer of water or juice while we waited for the doctor to join us in the examining room. There is a mural (for lack of a better word) that you see upon entering the building, with a brass panel overlaying a housebroken waterfall (slipping down between two panels of glass, but still plenty lively), which reads, “Cancer Should Not Have the Last Word”. There is a poster in the elevator announcing a class next week on guided meditations. We brought home a plethora of pamphlets and other publications. Also our new doctor’s business card with cell phone and email address. [We like this young man!]

Our doctor also sent a referral to M.D. Anderson for the clinical trial that Beloved has been hoping to get into, that his doctor at Parkland did not [would not? could not?] refer him to. Our doctor did it on his laptop in a matter of minutes. He gave a thumbs-up to everything Beloved is doing in addition to the chemo: nutrition, positive attitude, supplements. We trust him.

Most important, when we stepped into the elevator to go up from the foyer to the office, and I saw the flyer for the meditation class, the Spirit washed over me. This is a place that Heaven touches on a regular basis. Beloved will be safe with these people. And I can work with them.

In lesser news, the knitting is coming along nicely. And the last news that Beloved gave me as I drifted off to sleep last night, was that we have been assigned to home teach / visit teach the family whose move from my old ward preceded my own; I used to teach their middle daughter in Primary. And my hives began to shrink and vanish, all afternoon, until most of them are now little red pinpricks on my legs. I still don’t know what caused them, but it’s clear that my stress level was higher than I thought, and that the release of that stress in the elevator at the oncologist’s sent a wave of healing throughout my cranky, spotty hide.

When I was sitting in the temple last night, talking with a fellow ordinance worker, she asked how I was, and I replied, “Fine,” to which she responded, “Why am I not entirely convinced you’re telling me the whole truth?” So I fessed up to the hives, and it turns out she gets them, too, so badly that they send her to the hospital.

It’s been a rough week physically, but a grand week spiritually. While I was in the shower this morning (I do some of my very best thinking there) I wondered if I should get myself tested for various and sundry autoimmune conditions. Starting with allergies, which I’d already promised myself I would do this year, and also testing for lupus and fibromyalgia. There is something going on. I can pretty well ignore the ankle that ebbs and flows. It’s a lot harder to ignore quarter-inch or bigger hives, especially when they start to form constellations in their circuit around my thighs.

I wish I knew more about reflexology, and how various bits of the body are interrelated. I think the ankle thing, and the TMJ thing, and the pinched nerve in my neck, and the hives, and maybe the sleep apnea, are all hooked together in a pattern that would make sense to somebody with a different skill set than I possess. I’m still at the point where I panic a little if the cat comes near my legs. A simple touch on a healthy patch of skin can trigger fierce itching all over my legs. An endlessly twitching cat’s tail is currently not my idea of a Real Good Time.

But as I said earlier this week, it’s not leprosy, or bubonic plague, or a whole host of truly miserable things. I have had moments of inspiration and joy, notwithstanding the itching that drove me to scratch so hard I bruised my legs (one downside to acrylic nails, dreadful sorry Clementine).

I am now going to proofread this and pour myself a big glass of water and knit a little and see if I can be asleep before 10:00.

The Father’s Day gift for Beloved arrived in yesterday’s mail, and while it’s not as snazzy as it looked where I first spotted it, it’s still charming and more than marginally useful, and I hope he will like it. I did find a truly inspired card to give him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Aveeno + aloe + 1% hydrocortisone = (some) relief!

You could still call me “Spot” and not be far off the mark, but I am looking much better. Last night when I peeled out of my street clothes and showed my poor legs to Beloved, he exclaimed, “Oh. Wow.” but not with the same intonation he usually greets them. I did make a run to the drugstore to ask the pharmacist what might reduce the itching and general misery, since I cannot take Benadryl. I came home with a tube of Aveeno-et-al. Beloved swabbed me down thoroughly, and I slept fairly well. After my shower this morning, he doctored me again. (One more reason to like being married: having someone who can reach the bits that are just out of easy reach.) After lunch today I doctored as much as I could, and I’ll have him swab me again before bedtime. My right leg, at least the part I can see, is healing rapidly; the left leg, less so, but still progressing.

What I would like to do, is sit in a big tub full of oatmeal slurry for about a week and a half, although I suspect I will be healed long before that. And besides, it would interfere with my knitting.

The first pillow cover is all sewn up, and the pillow is now ready to support my back in one of the wicker chairs. Heavenly. I have the second cover cast on and am about to head back for more knitting. I came home to BLT’s with homegrown tomatoes and freshly-baked bread and reduced-sodium bacon. I am contemplating some of the last of the strawberry/raspberry sorbet for dessert, but Beloved thinks we might prefer one of his cinnamon-laced (unsweet) rolls with a glass of milk, instead. I have an unopened quart of goat’s milk in the fridge.

Tempting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

At least it’s not boils, right?

This is one of those times when I’m thankful that the glass is half empty. I broke out in hives yesterday. For awhile, I looked as if I had those little red stickers along the crease of my knees and up the back of my thighs. As if I were a really great deal at a garage sale. I’ve already consulted the Google and Thummim, and it can’t be shingles, because shingles only shows up on one side of the body at a time. It doesn’t look like chigger bites, either, although the itch factor is pretty much equivalent. Aloe gel seems to help. I woke up in the middle of the night and wandered out to the kitchen for some vitamin D3 and one of Beloved’s turmeric capsules. The cat ambled out from wherever he’d been hiding and rubbed along my legs. Aughhh! I love you, Cricket, but I seem to have acquired a case of please-do-not-contact dermatitis.

Mostly, I am laughing about this. Or at least grinning. One of my favorite sayings in the church is that we are not mortal beings here to have spiritual experiences, but spiritual beings here to have mortal experiences. I am definitely feeling my mortality today. But it’s not boils, or skin cancer, or radiation poisoning, or bubonic plague, or leprosy. It’s just hives. And sooner or later, they will go away. The Google and Thummim says generally within 24 hours, which is lovely to contemplate, because that means I might be normal (stop laughing) before quitting time.

I wondered if it might be the new, improved laundry detergent, but Beloved says he’s been using it for the past two or three weeks, and the hives are localized. And it blew up mid-afternoon, so I think it might have been something at lunch. I’m wondering if it’s the green peppers (which would make Beloved weep; we are having a bumper crop of peppers this summer, everything from bell to jalapeno to habanero, and he has Plans).

In happier news, I have six more pattern repeats and then the garter stitch border, and the second half of the pillow back will be done.

I would love to stay home and have Beloved slather aloe on my legs every 15 minutes while I lie on my stomach and knit, but he has other things to do, and so do I. If we had a hot tub I would fill it with chamomile teabags and steep all day.

(No) film at 11. ♥

Monday, June 11, 2012

Knitting, not stabbing.

Finish-itis, and a crazy week ahead.

Lots and lots and lots of happy knitting yesterday. I went from one-third done with the second section for the back, to half done, to nearly two-thirds done. Woke up a little after 4:00 and passed that mark. So, barring complications, I will finish the first pillow top in the next two or three days and cast on for the second one.

Mel and Squishy came by last night to pick up her Time Out for Women DVD and to bring me a present they bought me at A-Kon (the anime convention) last weekend: a black rubber bracelet with today’s title emblazoned on it. I will wear it to work today with my dressy black T-shirt and black slacks and conservative jewelry, just because I can.

Time to roust Beloved so we can have breakfast together before I scoot on out the door. Although he looks so cute and innocent while he sleeps, it’s tempting to just let him snooze until he wakes naturally, but he wants to get out in the garden while it’s still cool. There are weeds to slay and squirrels to fend off from our peach tree: they are already making depredations, and he’s talking about borrowing a non-lethal trap from the city. Apparently we are having a bumper crop of squirrels this year, because the winter was so mild. Rumor has it that they got in an extra breeding cycle?

Tonight we are having Chinese with the empty-nesters. I am hoping for Knit Night tomorrow but not holding my breath. I am in desperate need of a manicure; they’ve grown out so long that they’re hampering my typing, and it’s either tomorrow night or Wednesday.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

S is for Saturday, and also for Shopping

I went to Charming Charlie but found nothing sufficiently charming to wipe out the balance on my gift card.

I went to Container Store and bought a small lacquered box (bright orange) to hold elastics and a wee plastic tote (shocking pink) to corral my headbands. There were other pretties, but I passed them by.

Next was a 40% off sale on many items at my local yarn shop, but the things I wanted were not on sale. However, they were relatively inexpensive, so I bought them anyway.

Then I stopped at Wally World long enough to pick up a half gallon of dark chocolate almond milk and a loaf of frozen garlic bread. I’m “cooking” tonight, and I’m in the mood for spaghetti with obscenely garlicky bread, which equates (in this woman’s world) to baking a loaf of Cole’s.

On the way home, I discovered that we have a Whole Foods a whole lot closer than the one which is on the way home from work. I filed that away in my mental file cabinet but was not the least bit tempted to check it out. All I wanted at that time was to come home, put my new organizing stuff away, enter the knitting needles on Ravelry, eat a turkey sandwich, and take a nap.

The headbands and elastics are now brightly corraled; the knitting needles are logged in and will very soon be put away in my studio; the turkey sandwich is down the hatch.

Naptime!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Whew! [smile]

It’s been a good week at work so far. None of this hurry up and wait nonsense, just a steady stream of projects to cross off my list. I need to open a new suit for Attorney B today, and I need to tweak something for my attorney before turning it over to him for more tweaking.

I woke up dark-thirtier than normal today. On Fridays the alarm goes off fifteen minutes earlier than on other days, so that Beloved will be on time for his training as a temple ordinance worker. He got no sleep last night, he tells me. None. Nada. Zip. He says this happens about once a month. Yesterday was Big Chemo, and I am wondering if it is a reaction to something in his cocktail?

Nevertheless, he woke up cheerfully. I made two turkey sandwiches: one for my lunch, and one for his breakfast. Also found the unopened container of dishwasher detergent pods (love those!). Breakfast for me was a bowl of raisin bran. I am showered, shampooed, dressed, lunch packed, knitting in my bag, and I’ve located the triangular table that I want to put in the guest bathroom to hold the baskets which formerly went on the back of the commode and in the ugly-shelves that came off the wall when the cupboard(!) went up.

And it’s only 6:30.

My hair is (finally) long enough to French-braid. It’s a little off-center in the back. I’m calling it a design feature. It’s been about 15 years since I wore my hair this way, and last time there was only the occasional thread of silver among the dark chestnut brown. But we likes it. I wonder what Beloved will think? He is long-since out the door for the temple.

Hardly any knitting yesterday. Hoping for significantly more of it today, beginning in about ten minutes. I don’t need to leave for half an hour.

Weird. You may want to check the space-time continuum in your neck of the woods.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Who *is* that Chinese woman, and why is she cursing me?

Yesterday was not a bad day, overall, but one that was liberally peppered with moments of frustration, confusion, et al. So good to drive home and spend a quiet evening with Beloved. I finished the first half of the back of the pillow. This morning before work I attached it to the front and cast on for the second half.

Have been feasting like a queen all week: grilled salmon, smashed taters, carrots, and cantaloupe on Monday. Fish chowder, homemade sourdough bread, and dried-apple pie last night. Stuffed peppers (from our garden!) and garlic bread and broccoli tonight. In a few minutes I will go bat my eyes at Beloved and see if we can rustle up some leftover sorbet; it’s in the outside fridge.

Last night I turned him on to Stranger Than Fiction, one of the two Will Farrell movies I like. It’s so much fun watching Emma Thompson be as rabbity as Hugh Grant is in most of his movies. Beloved does not care much for Will Farrell (nor do I), Queen Latifah, or Dustin Hoffman, but he liked the movie. We both think Maggie Gyllenhaal is brilliant, and that we don’t see her often enough. I told Beloved to be watching out for the interior of her character’s home, where color runs rampant. His response? “Oh, WOW! (I thought you didn’t like blue?” “That’s not blue; it’s turquoise. Isn’t it gorgeous?” especially with those pale lavender-grey cabinets in her kitchen. I am now trying to figure out how to incorporate that shade of turquoise into our house.

One of the things we have been discussing, is taking the two back-to-back closets (one opens into the dining room, and the other into the hall) and turning them into a meticulously organized walk-in closet for me. I am getting tired of having my clothing divvied up among three closets. And Beloved is tired of my stuff spilling out of his closet onto the floor by my side of the bed. One big closet with lots of shelving built in, would take care of that. I find it sweetly ironic that his shoes reside with their toes tucked under my lusciously painted dresser. (Not sure that mine would fit under there, anyway.)

A walk-in closet that was electric turquoise on the inside, and lighted up like Christmas, would be such a lovely surprise every morning when I walked in, and to show our friend Ms. Neutral. I don’t know about your schadenfreude, but mine is color-saturated.

We got the cabinet up on the bathroom wall tonight. The slightly shorter screws did the trick. We do need to put new hinges on the door, eventually, as it does not hang straight and the hinges are all rusty.

In the dining room, on the bi-fold doors that are soon to be history, are two small ceramic knobs with an apple design. His late wife was fond of apples, as am I; the sampler I did with probably every shade of red that Anchor embroidery floss comes in, will look right at home once I get it framed. Anyway, those little knobs will be moving into the guest bathroom after we refinish the cabinet beneath the sink.

Life is good, and I want sorbet, and the yarn is calling my name. The Chinese woman has been blessedly mute all day. I am thankful!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Woohoo! Tuesday!

I was hoping for a nice, quiet evening at home, and that is pretty much what I got. Pan-grilled salmon, mashed potatoes, buttery carrots steamed to perfection, cantaloupe, salad, and once that had settled, half of the last bit of Sunday’s blackberry cobbler. No TV, after we turned off the news at dinnertime. I finished reading the last ten or so pages of that book, and then I knitted, and I was in bed a little after nine.

I’ve decided against Knit Night tonight, and I’ve changed my mind about attending the World Wide Knit in Public Day activity with my knitting group on Saturday. I had a total blast last year, and I’m sure I would enjoy it every bit as much this year, but I just want to chill at home with my hubby all week, as much as possible, and get our home/visiting teaching done next week, because the week after that is the family reunion on Beloved’s side. Some of his ancestors were early settlers in East Texas, and the reunion is being held in Dallas this year, instead of closer to where they settled. I am looking forward to this, and I am thankful it is being held in a hotel, not outside under a tree in the middle of August.

Because we know how I am about the great outdoors.

I promised you a story. I came home Friday night from card-shopping in multiple senses, and as Beloved was still wrangling his mom and her stuff home from the airport, I made a pot of risotto to suit my own taste. Beloved had left me a sweet note on the computer monitor, letting me know (among other things) that there were chicken breasts and leftover peach cobbler thawing in the kitchen, and that the Primary secretary had dropped off my lesson manual and notebook. Closing with mushy stuff, which I am not going to share.

I grabbed an orange highlighter and scribbled the following response on the back, then put it on the floor between his chair and the hall: “[Mushy stuff]. There is very mild risotto in the fridge. One large container for you to desecrate season as you choose. Three small for my lunch...”

He thought that was pretty funny, and he enjoyed tarting up his portion of the risotto with pepper and who knows what else.

I am on the home stretch on the first back section for the pillow cover, and I am coming down with a really bad case of finish-itis. It was hard to choose between blogging and knitting, but if I hurry up and inhale breakfast, I can knit another couple of rows before the mad scramble to get ready for work.

Uh-oh, Beloved is up. I can hear his wheels turning. I have a feeling that I just lost control of my morning. Also that I don’t [much] care, because we have such great adventures together. Happy Tuesday, everybody!

Monday, June 04, 2012

“Who was that masked [weekend]?”

“I don’t know, but he left [these] silver [cankles].”

I need a weekend to rest up from my weekend, but it was a happy, glorious blur After work on Friday, I picked up gift cards for Lark, my great-nephew, a girl in our ward, and the son of one of Beloved’s former bishops who has moved elsewhere in Texas. Also three greeting cards. And I matched up gift cards to greeting cards, stamped some envelopes, and set others aside for hand delivery. Got a call from Lark, asking how they were going to get me my ticket for her graduation. I learned that the time she had given me via text message was two hours later than her graduation. Good thing she called, right?

I then made a pot of risotto a la Ravelled (i.e., not tarted up with pepper), enjoyed a bowl and a smaller portion for dessert, and was in bed, ankles already protesting, by 10:00.

Beloved still wasn’t home from delivering his mom, whom he had picked up at the airport earlier that evening, up to his eldest’s house, and our birthday gift to eldest’s wife. This was the first time since we married in January, that we did not have family prayer at the end of the day. I hope it will be the last, but I could not keep my eyes open one moment longer.

I was up at dark thirty, knitting a little, cleaned up, and drove over to Secondborn’s, to meet Firstborn and get my ticket and follow them to TCU. We found a relatively shady spot in which to wait until the doors opened for seating. (I parked myself on the edge of a planter and knitted.) Given that there were 800+ graduates, it was a blessedly brief occasion.

I did not stay for family pictures but came back home, by way of an increasingly frantic search for a gas station. It took me two hours to get home. I finally gave up on the idea of using my gas card and just went to Racetrac. Shortly after I got home, we hopped in the truck and went to our friend Rosa’s wedding reception.

We tried to hang the cabinet on the wall in the bathroom and kept running into technical difficulties, so we did the intelligent thing and went to bed. Beloved will see if he can pick up shorter screws that will fit the thingies we have installed in the wall. The thingies went in like a charm, and we were able to screw in one screw completely, but two of them ran into something on the other end and stuck out by about half an inch. And we ran out of thingies. So we carefully took the cabinet off the wall and called it a night.

Yesterday was another blur. I started the day with cankles. Went to church, taught my lesson, came home, helped with some of the preparations for dinner, went to Lark’s party at the home of other grandparents, hugged a lot of people, stayed half an hour, and came home so I could be here when our guest (one of the former petri’s) came to dinner.

We had a blast! She is a lovely woman, inside and out (I know some of you think it strange that I like his other, former girlfriends). And I have leftovers for lunch today, including blackberry cobbler.

My ankles were screaming by the end of the evening, so I dug out my foot roller and worked on the soles of my feet, then ran a massage ball up and down my lower legs and ankles. I need to do a little more of that before getting ready for work today, but I feel ever so much better than I did. I will be drinking lots and lots of water today.

And now if you will all excuse me, I need to help Beloved install the tolltag in the truck, so he can make the drive to Denton and use the Ondamed machine.

I am reading a marvelous book that Beloved brought home, written by President Hinckley's daughter and her husband, about how to learn more while serving in the temple. It’s a quick read, a little over 100 pages, 90 or so of which I read last night while working on my feet and legs. I can probably finish it before breakfast.

I am nearly done with the first part of the pillow back. It should be done in the next day or so, and the second part cast on. I think I may very well crochet the pieces together. It would be ever so much fun to finish the second bit and have the putting-together already half done.

Anyway, that’s where my head is at this morning. I am achy and tired and stiff, but I am not in pain, and I am looking forward to a nice rest-up at only full tilt at work today.

Remind me to tell you about the sassy note I left Beloved about the risotto...

Friday, June 01, 2012

Could use another long weekend.

The last one was so nice. And the one which begins when I shut down my workstation tonight, will be filled with friends and family. I would love an extra day, just for sleep.

Lark graduates from high school tomorrow afternoon, over at TCU in Fort Worth. (She attended the rich-kid public high school in Arlington, and apparently Nokia/Verizon/whatever they call it these days is not good enough for those kids or their parents. [Firstborn and Secondborn graduated at the Arlington Convention Center, if memory serves me right. Fourthborn and LittleBit graduated at Nokia in Grand Prairie. I think I graduated with my AAS from TCU because (then) TCJC did not have a large enough facility. That was May of 1998, and I have slept since then.] Maybe everyone is graduating from TCU this year, but I rather doubt it: at that school, many of the kids drive more expensive cars than the teachers.)

There is only one ticket, for me, because she has a plethora of grand-folk. Beloved is quite understanding. And I am touched to be invited (while wondering if the woman Firstborn calls Egg Donor got an invitation; you might need to pray for me to remember my manners).

After Lark graduates, we have a wedding reception tomorrow night, for a lovely friend who is graduating from the singles program. (I keep telling you, we started something back in January.) And I also need to mail off a card to my great-nephew. Thankfully, we have a savings account just for birthday and wedding gifts.

Yeah, I know!

I need to scoot, because in a little over an hour I am picking up Mel and Squishy to ferry them downtown for A-Kon, the big anime convention in downtown Dallas this weekend. Made no sense for them to have to pay to park their car all weekend, when I am already going downtown. Besides which, I like them.

In knitting news, progress has been slow and mostly steady on the first section for the back of the pillow. I have had two, maybe three, times when suddenly the cable pattern was off, and I realized that I had inadvertently short-rowed. Looking forward to some uninterrupted knitting time this weekend.