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!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Feeling some time pressure.

Next weekend is General Conference. Also the first month of our block of the month quilt club. This will require careful orchestration. Because I want to spend as much time as possible with my daughters. And I don't want to miss a minute of Conference.

The week after that I have Time Out for Women, a joint effort of the (general) Relief Society and Deseret Book. And the Saturday night session of stake conference. A birthday party for my two eldest granddaughters has suddenly been interspersed between the two. I thought I could do all three in one very long day, but now I am going to have to choose.

I am not an indecisive person. (For most of my life I have dealt with the consequences of hasty or impulsive decisions. Mine, and others'.) I don't mind choosing between, say, eating chocolate and robbing a bank. I can do that in my sleep.

The older I get, the more my choices are between one good and another, and trying to figure out which good is the higher good at any given time.

We sing, "Choose the right, when a choice is placed before you. In the right, the Holy Spirit guides." I'm going to need some help here.

In other news, the laundry is all caught up except for folding the last load and matching the socks. I sorted more paperwork from the Dread Box Under the Desk and have about a three-inch sheaf waiting to be shredded. (Ironically, I found an exquisitely clear copy of the HUD statement on the prior mortgage.) I am up to the armscyes on Middlest's doll sweater and have made and double-checked the calculations for the sleeves. My bags are packed for work, except for my lunch.

Time to fold, match, shred, forage and sluice. (Hey, pretty good name for a law firm.)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A day in which stuff got done.

I love the vinyl words you can rub onto your walls. In the penultimate apartment, I had a Mae West quote in a gloriously funky font. Two weeks ago I picked up two tubes at $2.99 each. Yesterday I attempted to rub one onto the bathroom wall just above the light switch, but the walls are so heavily textured that the only thing that wanted to stick was the period at the end of the quote.

So I ran it up the side of the cupboard I bought from Brother Stilts before he moved to Missouri. This is the cupboard that Beloved drilled proper holes in for the shelf supports while I hung pictures in the living room, when I was living in the duplex in Fort Worth. Also known as the cupboard that was such a beast to install above the commode in the guest bathroom. But we got 'er done, and now it's embellished, and it makes me smile.

Because of where it hangs in relation to the light, I cannot get a picture of it in its entirety. I posted it in three smaller chunks on FB.

"A laugh is a smile that bursts." Love it!

I tidied the drawers in one of the dressers and picked up more organizing tools while I was out yesterday. Got caught in a cloudburst on the drive home, so the bag stayed in the trunk until after the RS broadcast. I did manage to pick up Grace (the Pukifee that I bought from Fourthborn and handed over to Mel for restringing) and get her inside unharmed, but she was in a box that I could stuff under my shirt.

I need to get Grace another wig. She's currently blonde, with those long anime ponytails on either side of her head. I will try the short wig (in my studio somewhere) that I bought for Chutzpah when I thought I would be selling doll hats on eBay, because I thought it would show the hats to better advantage than Chutzpah's wild curls.

I only got a load and a half of laundry done yesterday. The first load was still a little damp when I got home last night, so I hit reset and will need to give the second load a quick swish to refresh it.

Yeah, I know, you didn't come here for bulletins on the state of my laundry. OK, how about this? When I pulled into the parking lot at church last night, there were brethren standing ready with umbrellas to escort us into the building. I don't know who received and disseminated that bit of inspiration, but I was so impressed. The good brother sheltered my doorway until I could get my own umbrella open and step out.

But wait, there's more! They had set up one of the classrooms as Umbrella Central, organized into alphabet zones, with sticky notes taped to the handles. Found mine in about five seconds when it was time to go home.

It was so lovely and cool after the rain. I put some gas into Lorelai, mostly as an excuse to get a medium cup of hot chocolate at Racetrac.

The stiffness in my neck and shoulders is remarkably improved. I spent an hour or more yesterday going up and down the stepladder. Not sure if that contributed to the improvement, but my range of motion is nearly normal. Or what passes for normal chez Ravelled. After nearly a week of stiffness and pain sharp enough for me to notice it, I am thankful for the respite.

I am now going to grab the organizational stuff and put it to work, then wrangle that second load into submission and forage some breakfast.

A blessed Sabbath to one and all.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday is a special day.

According to the Primary song, it's the day we get ready for Sunday. The dishwasher is running. I will follow that with at least three loads of laundry. I just gathered up the supplies I will need to sew a button on my favorite jacket. (The one I have not worn in six months or more, because it has been waiting patiently for me to get around to this.)

There are more items to be mended, but they are hanging on the back of the door to my studio. I have no idea where most of my thread might be. I grabbed two random spools from the table and am hoping for the best. If I go back to my studio and try to find more, I may not get anything else done today.

I officially love my Ott-Lite. The overhead light in my room is as dim as my hopes for government reform. So it's wonderful to have a task light that folds away when not in use.

Time to draw up my honey-do list so I can start crossing things off.

Friday, September 27, 2013

When the going gets tough...

Some of the tough go shopping. I've chosen that solution in the past. It was my response to the breakup of my second marriage and the need to express myself in a horrible apartment that I wasn't ready to leave. As if decorating it meant that we weren't living one step up from "the projects".

I have very few objects left from that time.

The giant Christmas tree bought and assembled just before midnight on Christmas Eve stood, largely undecorated, in a corner of the living room until we moved a year and a half later. I gave that to the apartment manager.

The red and pink glass candlesticks got donated to charity when I was living in Fort Worth. I gave all but my favorite holiday decorations to ward members while living there.

Beloved was astounded at how much stuff I had in that small duplex. Vertical storage. I made the most of every inch. And I made it work.

My current vision is to have everything I need for daily living, and for my multifaceted creative life, pared down and impeccably organized, so I don't leave a mess for the kids.

At this moment, there is food storage scattered throughout the house, the natural result of merging three households. A case of canning jars under one of the wicker chairs in the living room. A #10 can of butter powder in the dining room closet. The vast majority of the food storage filling one wall in the middle bedroom from floor to ceiling. Before he passed, Beloved organized those cases by type and age so we could rotate the contents effectively. Open #10 cans in use on the shelves in the kitchen. A pantry containing who knows what. I think eventually it will hold cookie sheets and the like.

So shopping was not the answer for the current crisis. As much fun as it is to find just the right thing for "that corner over there," the phrase no room at the inn is understatement so profound as to provoke peals of helpless laughter. Which is wonderful for the immune system. And I'm thankful.

Yesterday I just needed to have Beloved hold me while I cried. I did have a good little weep while washing my hair. (Because I am a woman and excel at multitasking.) And a lighter cry while driving to work. Both of which helped somewhat. But they weren't him.

So I went to the temple, and I did for someone what she could not do for herself, and as I sat waiting for the session to begin I could feel that holy peace descending opon me. I could turn my head to one side or another with less pain and stiffness. Some of that stayed with me overnight.

As an aside, do you have any idea how much you use your shoulder and neck muscles when getting up out of bed? Not pretty. Not as bad as yesterday. But still not pretty.

Mellow is at the State Fair today. I got our answer that was due on Monday out in the mail. Yesterday I got another one due on Monday, this time for SemperFi. No question what I will be doing today.

Tonight there is a doll meet after work. I haven't been to one in over a year. Much as I love Fourthborn, I will not be swinging by to pick her up after work and then driving to Plano, back to Arlington, and then home. I have not been home any night this week. I am going to eat pizza, ooh and ahh over others' dolls, visit a little, then come home and crash.

Tomorrow is the annual Relief Society broadcast. Can't wait! That will do me more good than a thousand weeps.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I can do hard things.

Yesterday began well. I awoke pain-free, organized, and determined. As I drove into work, I began to feel twinges in my neck and shoulder. They increased throughout the morning. Nevertheless, I got an enormous amount of work done in the time available.

When I left for the dentist's office, I could barely turn my head in either direction. It wasn't as bad as the time I had to borrow Firstborn's cervical collar (from an auto accident in which she'd been a passenger) and wear it for a week due to anger I had swallowed. But it still wasn't fun.

As I lay there having my teeth cleaned, I had to keep consciously relaxing my shoulders. My feet were clubbing, as they sometimes do when I am stressed. Again, not fun, even though she was not hurting me.

I ignored the temptation to stop by my favorite antique shop and see if there were any bookcases or maybe a hutch that wanted to come home with me. Drove straight here, had a very light snack, and napped until it was time to leave for my massage. I did use the thumper on my shoulder before I crashed, and it seemed to help a little.

Last night's session was far more about releasing old griefs than simple biomechanics. I relived my rape yesterday. It's been over 40 years, and every so often it jumps up and bites me before going back to sleep. I got some perspective last night, and a generous helping of peace and comfort. I slept fairly well.

This morning I feel as if I had been physically beaten. Neck is stiff again, almost as if we hadn't worked on it. My massage therapist says that people frequently have neck and throat trouble because they can't speak of things. I know that was certainly the case when I was wearing Firstborn's cervical collar.

What I would like to do is take a mental health day and spend it writing. And then, if necessary, take a Naproxen and make my body shut up for awhile, even though I know it's only trying to help.

What I am going to do is fix a good sensible breakfast and lunch, stand in the shower and let the water pound my "owies", cry if I can, then go to work and plow through my day. Maybe get my nails done after work. Or maybe put that off until Saturday morning and head straight for the temple.

Maybe the solution for hurting like hell is to go hide out in a little corner of heaven for a few hours.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bags are packed.

Purse, knitting bag, stuff for the bank, mileage log for trip to the dentist, blank address labels for ward library tonight, checkbook for tonight's massage.

Healthy breakfast is down the hatch. Uplifting and non-guilt-inducing article on physical and emotional health is read.

I have a short day at work and a long day of tasks after that. I will drive at least 100 miles today. And I have no idea what I want to wear. But at least I have clean clothing and a clear path to the closet.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

So it's Tuesday.

I had a great day at work and a lovely FHE. Although I wasn't strictly home for much of it. I ate a simple dinner then ran a couple of errands. I needed glue sticks, first and foremost. I wanted mechanical pencils and click erasers. And a finishing detail for one of the birthday cards. Missions accomplished!

Last night I spent an hour or more making paper candy corn for a garland that will hang either here at home or in my cubicle at work. This, from the kit I bought on Saturday. I went to bed tired but happy.

This morning I finished the card and traced around a doll cape I borrowed from Fourthborn when I bought Charity to celebrate getting (briefly) out of debt almost two years ago. I'll return the cape when I pick up my human kid for Knit Night tonight.

I'm making steady progress on Middlest's doll sweater. And thus far thoroughly enjoying the process of adapting the pattern for Chutzpah's sweater.

Time to figure out what I'm wearing to work and taking for lunch.

It's a good thing I've asked National Geographic to stop sending catalogues. The last one arrived in yesterday's mail, and there are several items I would love to have. Into the trash it goes, with a "Get thee behind me, NG!" And one small sigh of regret.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

And *I've* been busy.

I gave myself a honey-do list as long as your arm yesterday. And I got most of it done. All the important stuff, anyway. There has been a box in the garage that kept catching my eye. So I brought it inside. And another open one filled with poly stuffing that was probably contaminated by bug yuck and is now waiting for the trash man on Tuesday.

The first box had vitamins and OTC pain meds and some of my late mother in law's meds. All of which had spent nearly a year in her storage unit and another eight months in my garage. I consolidated ten bottles into five and mailed them off for proper disposal. Sharps went to the fire department for disposal.

Took another ten water bottles for recycling points and the two empty five gallon bottles back to the store. I know that Beloved wanted to refill them and use them for emergency storage. But since I can no longer lift a 40# container, and since they have been occupying prime real estate in my living room from the day I moved in, I got them hence.

On my shopping run, I hit Costco, Trader Joe's, Paper Source, and Sprouts. I did not get to the restaurant supply shop (for a second magnetic knife rack), Wally World, or Tom Thumb.

And I cannot throw anything else away until after the trash man comes. That bin is full. Yesterday was almost a two bushel day.

In the afternoon I met my BFFE of nearly 20 years at a boutique chocolatier in an old neighborhood in Dallas. Lovely shop, lovely staff, hellacious traffic, minuscule dedicated parking lot. Next time I will (A) not be driving the Tardis and (B) go during my lunch hour, when traffic might be somewhat lighter. I brought home some Flower Child Truffles, flavored with bergamot, orange and jasmine. I sampled their hazelnut spread, which makes my beloved Nutella seem very sad and wan.

Took a catnap when I got home. In the evening one of my friends from serving in the temple came by before the singles dance with a T-shirt and a story. She had been to an old Southern city on business. One of the restaurants shared Beloved's given name. So now I have a T-shirt that says (Beloved's) Heart and Soul.

Well, I have been up for an hour, and my stomach thinks my throat's been cut, and in all my running about yesterday, I did not read any of my lessons. Time for me to post this and take care of business.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

They've been busy.

The Three Nephites, that is. I think one of them, or some other errand-of-angels being, might very well have snuck my missing stylus onto my desk last night. I don't remember its being there while I played on the computer as the rice cooked. It was approximately where my right forearm would have been. You'd think that I would have felt it as I played Free Cell.

However it got there, I am grateful and happy. That's almost $250 saved in the past week. First I found my DP's, and now this.

Knit did not happen yesterday. But I did read more than one chapter in my French BOM.

We are watching a movie at lunch. One I had kinda wanted to see when it was in the theaters this summer: Epic. It's cute, *and* I'm glad I didn't spend money on it. Thus far, it's Ferngully Lite, with Steven Tyler in the Robin Williams role.

We'll finish watching it today. I don't anticipate dashing out to buy a copy tonight. Is that damning with faint praise, or praising with faint damns?

I tried an experiment from Real Simple last night: I put a pair of ultra-light socks on before bed. The ones that don't come all the way up past my ankles, so no heavy elastic constricting my circulation. The ones that, when I wear them during the day, slip down under my heels and bunch up in my arches as I walk.

Sometimes when I first wake up, the toes on my right foot feel a little off. I consulted the Google and Thummim. Reasonably sure that when I have my well woman later this year, the lab tests will continue to confirm no sign of diabetes. So I'm not worried about neuropathy in that sense. Also quite sure that none of the other dire diagnoses apply.

I've been up for an hour, and sensation in both feet is normal. Foot color is good. Both ankles are dayglo red but not particularly stiff, and I'm not registering any pain. That redness will fade quickly if I eat the right foods for breakfast. (That's actually kinda cool to watch. Yes, I'm easily amused.)

So maybe the Grand Sock Experiment was a success? Even if both socks worked themselves down into my arches during the night?

At any rate, I have my stylus once again. Blogging is ever so much easier this morning.

And it's time to toast the waffles. The sausage smells done.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Poor elephant!

Last night Fourthborn and I had dinner at Cheesecake Factory again. This time I had the mango key lime, which was terrific. She played it safe with the chocolate raspberry and thinks that the white chocolate raspberry is better balanced in terms of flavor.

At one point I recognized the music overhead (barely discernible above the growing din of conversation around us) and commented "that's Ella Fitzgerald."

Blink. Pause. "The elephant's sterile?"

Definitely my kid.

Have I mentioned that a week or so ago on the way to Knit Night, we passed a place called Prime Injury Clinic and decided you could go there the first time you were hurt. And the second, third, fifth, seventh, eleventh, but not the ones in between.

It now occurs to me why I've never seen a Fibonacci Injury Clinic. You could die before seeing a doctor.

In technology news, I have apparently lost the stylus to my smart phone. I checked my purse last night but was too tired to think about ransacking my knitting bag. That's next. And Lorelai once it gets light.

I wonder how much Sprint thinks a stylus is worth? I probably don't want to know. And hopefully won't have to find out.

In knitting news, I am suddenly disenchanted with the current stealth project. More precisely, with its gauge. But I have all the components to design the modifications to Chutzpah's sweater. So I think I will start and see how it goes.

My nighttime routine has fallen to bits. It used to involve my French BOM, the recorder, and the banjo. I am really struggling with the issue of pretty nails vs. the banjo. I haven't been able to fret the banjo properly. At all.

I've worn acrylic nails continuously for 15 years. My natural nails are thin and brittle, with a tendency to tear at the side, just below the quick. Not fun. A layer of acrylic protects them. Long nails make me feel feminine. I like having pretty hands. I like not having pain from a torn nail.

I haven't touched the banjo in three weeks. Or the recorder. Partly in order to finish the scarf for Squishy's birthday. Partly because I'm trying to decide what to do with my nails. And partly because I'm tired of staying up until midnight to get it all done.

But I miss my music. And I miss how the Spirit speaks to me when I read the scriptures in French (the insights come in English). So I need to get this figured out.

Meanwhile I think I will rustle up some grub and curl up with a Good Book.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Two more bags out the door.

One to Squishy. One to Half Price Books. More bags came in the door, but they contained food, including about a month's worth of a bread, most of which is in the freezer. I was running like the Energizer Bunny: an errand with Squishy, then Costco, Braum's, the gas station, and someplace else but I forget. Needless to say, I slept like a rock last night.

Am having a good day at work and looking forward to Knit Night. Just about ready to resume the position. Later gators.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mystery solving mode.

Twice last week I washed a load on the regular cycle and had to run a second spin because the washer had failed to drain completely. This morning I did a medium load on the permanent press cycle. It ran perfectly. The next load will also be a smallish one on the lighter cycle. I am curious to see if it runs normally or if there are issues. I am also curious about the next regular load. I remember that both of the problem loads had something slightly caught under the agitator. I wonder if that was the source of the problem?

While searching for a box of file folders, I found my missing box of DP's. Also my Eva Cassidy CD. This morning while looking for the components of my sweater drying rack, I found the box that contains several of my favorite pieces of jewelry. I was not, however, successful in finding the stretcher bars for my sweater drying rack. Any more than I was in finding the file folders yesterday. I will still rejoice in the sweet, small miracles that pop up like mushrooms after the rain.

It's Monday. Anxiety dreams last night and fitful sleep. No idea what I want for breakfast this morning, except that I want a whole lot of something.

I think I will brown some sausage while shredding that pile and take it from there.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Chaos 0, Ms. Ravelled 1.5

I have one trash bag entirely full of shredded documents and another that I topped off with same. They will go out to the bin as I leave for church. I just put another 2.5" stack of paperwork on top of the shredder for later.

I am currently tackling the Dreaded Box Under The Desk. My original goal was to grab a handful of file folders and stow contents of the significantly smaller Box On The Corner Of The Bed (which is also significantly less intimidating). But I have momentarily run out of file folders.

I know there's a box of them somewhere, because we inherited one or more boxes from Beloved's mother when we emptied her storage unit. (Unless I've already given it/them away.) My thought was to repurpose file folders from the Dreaded Box. Except there are none, save a few legal-sized ones that will not fit into the file drawer. I did find neatly organized stacks of old bank statements, paperwork from when one of the boys totaled a car, and informational booklets from a former health insurance provider.

I will take my progress where I find it. The stuff that had bummed me out so, last weekend, when I had to stack it in front of my closet, is now 97% dealt-with. After church today I may spend more time on the Dreaded Box. Or I might grab my tape measure and start redesigning the interior of my closet.

I had a blast at Bittiest's party yesterday. I picked up a handful of embellishments on deep discount and made more birthday cards. I also picked up two small canisters with vinyl wall mottoes. One for the dining room or possibly the guest bathroom. The other for my studio.

And after I was done making cards, even though I could barely keep my eyes open, I put my supplies and tools away. Because sometimes I don't. Which is why the fallow side of the bed has been such a wreck, for far too long.

But I'm gaining on it.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Seven hours, my friends.

I went to bed at 10:30 and awoke when my alarm would have gone off, had this been a work day. And I feel really good. There's some residual swelling in my left ankle, but I think if I spend 20 minutes with my legs up the wall most of that will go away. I will be driving a lot. So anything I can do to make my legs happy is time well spent.

I played in my spreadsheet last night. Yesterday was a non-payday Friday. So the numbers didn't change any. But sometimes, in the spirit of counting my blessings, it is good for me to study how those numbers have changed since the first of the year, and to ponder how they've changed over the past decade and a half.

Fifteen years ago I was freshly divorced from the children's father. My good credit was history. I had no bad credit, thankfully, but it had been 25 years since I was a young woman with my first good(ish) job and my first car payments. I had no credit at all.

Fourteen years ago I went to work for this company, in another department. I set up a 401K and stretched to make the $75 a month contribution which would maximize the company match. Over time I have increased my contributions, to the point that last year I was putting in 10% of my gross into either a regular 401K or a Roth. I did not adjust my contribution when I got my raise this year, because I felt it was crucial to eliminate all debt other than the mortgage. When that is accomplished I will tweak those numbers accordingly.

I have gone from no credit to momentarily bad credit* to acceptable credit. If you take the value of the house (which appraised much higher than I thought it would) and the value of my 401K's and the fluctuating balances in my bank accounts, I am officially, astonishingly, solvent.

Heaven gets the glory. These are tithing blessings. By first-world standards I am a woman of modest means. My cash flow sometimes doesn't. But I can look back and see the progress and witness Heaven's fingerprints all over it.

*If the other parental unit is out of work and the child support dries up, do not, I repeat DO NOT, put a year's worth of child support, no matter how little that might be, on plastic. That piece of financial insanity finally dropped off my credit report earlier this year.

Today we celebrate Bittiest's fourth birthday. I will knit. Maybe even cook a few things. Nap. And try to bring a little more order to my world. But for now it's time to load some of those holiday M&M's into Chutzpah's red wagon and give thanks that that was not a budget buster. Because there was a time when it would have been.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lucky day?

I have had four consecutive really good days at work. Days in which I kept up with the mail, wrangled my email folders into submission, generated new paperwork to go out, further tidied my physical desktop, connected with the people I was calling, and on and on.

This is Friday the 13th. Traditionally a good day for me. (And this year I even have a black cat, but he's banished to outside.) So maybe the perfect day to deal with something that's been on my mind for several weeks.

In the meantime, the current small knitting project is going well. It's a stash buster, sweetly mindless, and will end up as a birthday or Christmas gift.

The refund check from my earnest money on the refinance has arrived and will be deposited today. That puts me at 80% for the doll sofa if I choose to buy it for my tinies. I was discussing that with Fourthborn either going to or from Knit Night. If I do end up buying it, I want to do so before Christmas shopping season begins. Navigating to that shopping center is crazy enough at the best of times.

I am more interested in decorating for fall. And I haven't felt that way for years. I did a lot of that in the penultimate apartment. And a very little when I lived in Fort Worth. While there, I gave away much of my holiday stuff because space was at a premium, and so many of my friends were in serious need of festivity.

I don't want to buy anything new. But I do think I'll pull out a couple of my favorite things and spring for some holiday M&M's. I think I still have that candle that looks like a giant candy corn.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hands and feet.

But mostly the hands. That's what we worked on last night. We keep uncovering old griefs, new fears, and metaphors I didn't know I contained. Some weeks the massage is all about biomechanics. Other weeks we are chasing my marbles.

I cried readily last night. And then I came home and sobbed as I read my French BOM aloud. And it wasn't even one of those parts where one of my spiritual heroes dies. Just verse after verse of badly and noisily enunciated French and buckets of tears, to the point where only Heaven could have made any sense of it.

But I slept. (Well. And long.) And my ankles are only faintly red this morning, and barely swollen. The healing process continues.

I took a gift card that I found in Beloved's desk and have been lugging around for several months, and I bought new athletic shoes on my way home from work. The old shoes are on a shelf in my closet, in case a dirty, nasty job comes up in the next few months. I remember reading about a guy who kept three pairs in rotation: the new ones, last year's pair, and the year before that's. A new pair every year, and always the right shoe for the job.

Seems like a sensible plan to me. And in the meantime I am simply rejoicing at having a much better pair of shoes that cost me less out of pocket than the cheap ones I bought last year, when our money was going for co-payments.

I am so blessed. Scattered marbles and all.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Finished. Next!

I just bound off what I thought was going to be an infinity scarf. Nope. Cowl. And gorgeous. Into the drawer it goes until the weather's cool enough. This is some of my Seattle yarn.

Beloved's sweater fits my knitting friend perfectly. He removed the waistcoat panel. All that's left is for him to find buttons he likes. I don't remember if I bought buttons for it last year. I kinda think I did. No idea where they might be.

I think the washer might be about to give up the ghost. This is the second load in a row where I had to manually run the spin cycle afterwards. It is so cool to be in a position where I can pull money out of an account and buy a new washer if it's necessary without having to eat ramen noodles for the rest of my life, or to put it on a charge card.

No idea what I want to knit next. Maybe an idea will come to me while I'm in the shower. I seem to have lost my notes for the modifications to Chutzpah's sweater that would make it fit Middlest's new doll. I have the yarn all wound for that.

'Tis a puzzlement.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I am on the home stretch of the infinity scarf I am knitting from some of my Seattle yarn. I need to figure out what's next. Tonight is Knit Night. And the thought of sitting in the midst of my knitting friends with empty hands just makes me twitch.

I really enjoyed the Italian restaurant kast night. I have enough leftovers for three lunches. And my ankles have not blown up. So I think it's safe to go back and try more of the menu. I got the pasta plate, with generous servings of lasagna, cannelloni, and (drawing a blank here) the big round tubes that look like straight macaroni. Filled up on minestrone and salad first. The garlic rolls are amazing. Next time I'll get my dressing on the side. It was delicious, and there was too much of it.

No profundities for you this morning. Just a bajillion thoughts racing around in my brainpan. Which strongly suggests that it is time to refuel.

Monday, September 09, 2013

A little less nutsy.

On the one hand, I am thankful that clutter now bothers me. Particularly when it is new clutter that messes up a space I have recently uncluttered. On the other hand, it is not fun going to bed with a new mess to deal with, or waking up to find that it did not magically sort itself out while I was sleeping.

I got almost all of the paperwork shoved into my A-Z accordion folder. And I got most of the magazines and catalogues shelved or otherwise dealt with. I am about ready to tackle another batch. I also wrangled a bunch of receipts and balanced my checkbook and caught a mistake before it became a disaster (middling-sized deposit that was entered twice, *shudder*).

So tonight I will go to dinner with the Empty Nesters with a clear financial conscience.

I tackled all that after lunch but before my nap. Which meant that by 6:30 I was just barely dragging. So I grabbed a quick snack and crashed. Seven (!!!) hours later I woke up. Sliced one of those enormous Costco/Einstein bagels in half and put one half back in the fridge. The other shook hands with some Nutella and is down the hatch. Which reminds me that I haven't finished my milk.

I think I will set the timer for 10 minutes and tidy like crazy and go back to bed.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

I behaved myself. Well, mostly.

I am pleased to report that I did not run amok financially while I was out and about yesterday. Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts.

Lorelai has a new battery. Not a cheap one, but also not a gold-plated one. It may very well last the remainder of her useful life. And an oil change, and her 180K checkup. No bells and whistles there because we had so much remedial work done on her last year.

I have some lovely cream-colored stationery that I bought several years ago. I recently used up the last of the envelopes, so I went back to that new shop I visited two weeks ago and purchased a small package of envelopes the color of  pumpkin chiffon pie. And a bolt of the green leafy ribbon.

Then I went to the Container Store, planning to buy more hangers of a particular type, which they did not have. I was luckier in finding two drawer organizers that fit neatly on the top shelf of the bookcase by my bed. I have some of my CD's in one and the petite Mason jars that hold my spare change in the other.

I have found a new home for Beloved's sweater. A man in my knitting group said he'd be honored to wear it. So it's waiting in a bag by the front door.

I also found the recycling center that Mel told me about. It's very specific: uncrushed aluminum cans and water bottles up to 2L. No milk jugs. I got rid of 11 plastic bottles yesterday. I now have 11 points towards a gift card. (There are several options for those.) And it's on the way to Trader Joe's. I now have a paper bag in each vehicle for this purpose.

I think I've gotten the last of the paperwork off the fallow side of the bed. It is now in a pile on the floor in front of my closet. And it makes me anxious just to look at it. I think I will finish clearing off the bed first. I can probably get that done before church and still read my lessons.* And then I could deal with the paperwork after church and lunch and a nap.

*Or maybe I will seek the kingdom of God first (i.e., read my lessons) and see what I can get done in the time left. One of the few instances in which procrastination might equal godliness?

I took a little field trip to the American Girl store with one of my tinies, to see if the Victorian sofa would be a good option to seat all four of them. They are approximately half the height of an American Girl doll.

There were two sofas in locked display cabinets, and the individual sofas are in sealed boxes, so I couldn't plunk Hope down on one. I had to look at the length of her legs and visually compare it with the depth of the seat.

I think the sofa would hold all four of them, and they would look like very small girls sitting primly on their grandmother's sofa; while they'd look more comfortable than riding around in a basket as they do now, I'm not sure the sofa is quite the look I'm going for.

I have almost half the money saved towards the sofa. I'll have most of the rest of it in a week or so when the surplus earnest money is refunded to me. Thankfully, it's not a decision I have to make in the next five minutes.

I popped into the Sprouts that's between Trader Joe's and me and picked up some sharp (!) Provolone to try and more of the hummus I love and some rosemary sourdough bread.

And that was my Saturday.

Saturday, September 07, 2013


That's my plan for today. At the moment it's ten minutes of up and about, followed by a round of knitting. That should keep my ankles happy while ensuring a steady flow of productivity on multiple fronts.

I put a microfleece blanket into the washer on hot, hoping to dissolve spatters of candle wax that dripped down onto it when it was folded under a shelf last fall.

I am assembling a small pile of mending. It would be nice to get that checked off the list today. There is also the matter of Beloved's unfinished sweater, which has floated to the top of the deal-with-it pile. Maybe take it to Knit Night with the unused yarn and offer it to the knitsibs? Middlest suggested putting it in a shadowbox, which is an excellent idea. But all that good wool could be warming a living being this winter, and that might be a higher use.

He loved Packers green and gold. And they are distressingly similar to my high school colors and the ugly pep club uniform I wore the first semester of my sophomore year, which I sold for cash to buy my mother's Christmas present as soon as football season was over. So I will not be frogging his sweater to make one for myself, or an afghan for the living room.

I will pick Lorelai up later this morning. And I need to replace my sneakers. It's an order from my massage therapist, who thinks that might be a factor in my foot pain.

One trip through the washer barely budged the wax splatters. If this second trip does no better, I will cut the blanket down to nap size and buy another for the upcoming winter.

It's been a productive morning so far. I feel a nap coming on. Life is good.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Friday, blessed Friday!

I've had three really good days at work this week and am hoping for a fourth. At lunch several of us will be going to a restaurant in an old, old part of Dallas for dessert, to celebrate the refi and the start of a new chapter in my life.

I want to spend money. (I get that way sometimes.) So I came home last night and fixed myself a salmon burger and some baked tater tots and worked on the spreadsheet instead of going out to eat. Later I went out and bought a half gallon of milk and a turtle sundae.

Since I have no mortgage payment this month, I wrote a check toward the line of credit and will mail that out today. That way I don't have a big chunk of disposable income tempting me to spend it. And I'll be that much closer to having no consumer debt. The truck will be paid off soon, and I'll split that payment in half and add it to what's being taken out of each paycheck for the line of credit.

This is my best year ever for sticking to a budget. I am so thankful for the inspiration that has come along as I needed it, and for the Heavenly assistance in following through. I couldn't have accomplished this much on my own.

And at this moment I am thankful not to have home Internet access, except on my phone. I am going to focus on clearing off the fallow side of the bed this weekend. Including pitching out every catalogue that has crept into the house. Maybe I can get the last three or four boxes of my clothing unpacked and sorted through, instead of using coupons for X% off on new items.

It's so easy to tell myself that I've been financially responsible all year and the new clothes are so cute (well, some of them) and it's time for a splurge. I'm going to drown out that little voice by keeping myself busy tonight and all day tomorrow. I certainly have enough to do around here. And I love how I feel when I create one more pocket of order. (Thankfully, I have no temptation to shop on the Sabbath.)

I love to bag up stuff and set it by the front door. I love delivering it to one of our kids or dropping it off at a thrift store and seeing that space in the living room open up again. I love seeing the financial progress I've made this year. With Heaven's help I can continue.

So if you feel inclined to send up a prayer for my continued progress, I would very much appreciate it. (Yeah. I know. I just asked for help. That's progress of another sort entirely.)

Thursday, September 05, 2013


Not to the same degree I will be when the mortgage is paid off, but now it is my name on the line. Scary-but-wonderful. Next step is to ask the home teachers to dedicate the house. I'm sure that Beloved and his late wife did that when they were here, but I wasn't part of the picture then.

No house payment until next month. That might give me enough time to sort through everything I signed yesterday and find what I need in order to revamp my spreadsheets.

The people at the title company were lovely. I was pleased (and a little irritated) to get a call when I was halfway to Denton, saying that that was a long way to drive to sign paperwork, and did I want somebody to come out to the house?

Not when I've converted half a day of vacation to personal time so I could take care of this, no. (Insert the cough which blew up out of nowhere and means that I feel stuck and angry. So maybe a little more than a little irritated.)

Let it go, Ms. Ravelled, let it go.

When I got that call, I was sitting in the parking lot at the quilt shop, preparing to go inside and sign us up for the block of the month club. Firstborn, Fourthborn and I are doing it. Secondborn has three small children and has wisely abstained. I think Middlest may participate via mail order. I also picked up adjunct software (60% off!!!)for Electric Quilt 5, which was installed on my old computer but not the new one, which is depreciating quietly in the middle bedroom.

Lorelai is ready at the shop. She needed a new battery, an oil change, her brakes unsquealed, and  her 180K mile checkup.

Time for breakfast. I made a batch of tapioca for dinner last night and ate half of it before my massage and the rest when I got home. I'm ready for something to chew.

I also need to tank the Tardis. It's running on fumes after yesterday's jaunt. But first I think I will knit, just a little while I decide what's for breakfast.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Maybe the last of the paperwork.

Maybe. I'm supposed to close on the refi of the house this afternoon. Last word was that there would be no cash due at closing, presumably because they changed their minds last week and had me make the August payment after all.

They did instruct me to bring a picture ID. Should not present a problem, as I will have to drive halfway to Oklahoma to get to the title company.

I plan on swinging by the quilt shop in Carrollton on the way there, to sign Fourthborn and me up for the block of the month club.

Dinner last night was a slice of cheesecake before Knit Night, in memory of Beloved. I think we have just created a new tradition. (I wonder if Tevye has text messaging?)

Dinner notwithstanding, my stomach thinks my throat's been cut. Time to figure out something for breakfast.

So glad that this is Wednesday. I suspect I will really need a massage after all the driving that's ahead of me. My ankles are already bright red. But my foot hurt less yesterday than it has since last week's massage. Maybe that means that the overall progress continues. My rings are a little looser as well.

Monday, September 02, 2013

"Do you know if you still have Dad’s flamethrower?"

No, I don't. It could be anywhere in that garage. Or it could have gone home with one of Squishy's siblings. There are all sorts of toys out there. Beloved was the ultimate Good Scout, prepared for nearly anything life could throw at him. Including weeds too stubborn to yield to a weed whacker.

I finished Squishy's birthday present this afternoon and took it to his all day board game party, rolled up and wrapped in gold tissue paper and stuffed into his dad's camp cup. Both of which were received with jubilation and an exuberant hug.

The stealth knitting for the past nine days has been a long woolen scarf. A very long woolen scarf. Measured flat on the bed, six feet in length. Knitted a little loosely for the sake of my sanity. So when Squishy unrolled it and held it up, it was suddenly longer than he is tall. He just grinned.

There may not be a whole lot of knitting for the next day or so. I have some of my Seattle yarn wound into a ball and ready to go, but no idea what to make from it. Maybe a cowl or an infinity scarf. I think I will log onto Ravelry and see how others have used it.

Or maybe I will just sit here and read.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Coming out of the closet.

No, not like that. But sometimes it's fun to make my kids splurt milk out their collective noses.

What came out of this closet? A broken laundry basket mostly filled with junk. I emptied it into one and a half garbage bags and got rid of the basket.

A storage container (blue) that is now in the back of the truck for donation; it contained half a dozen pairs of wool socks whose elastic had gone to the Great Rubber Tree in the Sky.

A pair of very ugly, very heavy, wool slacks, probably dating back to when Beloved was in the sheriff's department in the mountains of California. Out they go.

His FFA jacket. It stays. It's hard to believe he was ever that skinny. In almost all the pictures I have seen of him, even as a young father, he is this ginormous Viking. It may be that the only way I recognize him come resurrection morning is by his hands, and his voice.

Of course, the only way he might recognize me is by my voice, or my laugh. Time, poverty, cheap food, and childbirth have had their way with me. (On the other hand, nobody could accuse me of hiding my talent so as to return it to the Giver in mint condition.)

When I am in pain, I miss the body I had in my 20's. But I love and respect and appreciate the body I now have. We have had some grand adventures together.

I used a recipe for chocolate pudding in Cooks Illustrated - Comfort Foods and put it in a chocolate graham cracker shell. There was a little left over. It was amazing. I hope it set up sufficiently in the pie shell and that Squishy likes it.

I got virtually no knitting done yesterday. And no musical practice. I must remedy both, today. But my closet looks terrific, and it's ready to be customized, once I decide how I want it. Graph paper, here I come!