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!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I used to say to him...

“I know that you’re the one who is, theoretically, terminally ill. But I could get hit by a beer truck tomorrow.”  (So we needed to prepare.) The other day, I nearly was hit by a beer truck that was turning right/east while I was sitting in the left-turn lane to head south. Thankfully, he made his turn slowly and skillfully, but there was that one moment when his grill swept past, less than a yard from me, and all I could manage was, “Uhhhhhh????” I thought my eyebrows would fly up right off of my face.

I dropped Middlest at the airport yesterday morning before work, then came back this way and hit Wally World for some fresh vegetables and two new pairs of work-appropriate slacks before heading into the office. Made for a long day, especially since I drove up to see the newest grandchild after a quick trip to Shabby Sheep (see below) and grabbing a burger and shake at In N Out.

The cat was very happy to see me when I got home. He had been in the house all day and had gotten used to going in and out as he pleased while Middlest was here. He dashed out for a comfort break, then right back in for a full bowl of food (there were maybe five kibbles in his bowl when I got home), then back out again.

Note to self: Ms. Ravelled, you are owned by a cat. The days of not coming straight home from work are over, unless said cat is outside.

I finished casting on StellaLuna again, this time with markers to denote the pattern repeats, instead of putting them in later. I also bought two different kinds of point protectors to keep the stitches from leaping off the needle.

I am still wrangling paperwork in preparation for our tax return. I got my W-2’s earlier this week.

It’s almost 5:30. I have been up for an hour and a half. I got a good six hours of sleep last night, which bodes well for the day.

I think we are going to paint the ceiling in the dining room Tardis blue, as the background for an approximation of “Starry Night.” We have a plethora of artists on both sides of the family. Then something light and wonderful on the walls, with maybe some sconces for additional light, and crown molding, and I have a friend at work with 700 sq ft of surplus, high quality, pre-padded laminate that might look wonderful in there to replace the carpeting, which was trashed by two large and lovable dogs and a small, less lovable one. I think there might be enough to take care of the halls and the living room as well, especially if I redo the entry with a nice tile or terrazzo.

The inside of my head? Think of water droplets bouncing on a hot griddle. But it’s getting better.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

“Cremains?!”

I got a call from the funeral home yesterday. Beloved’s ashes were ready to be picked up. The woman referred to them as “cremains,” which strikes me as an elegant but odious conflation. (I guess every industry has its jargon.) My mind instantly leapt to the Anthony Hopkins / Merchant Ivory / Kazuo Ishiguro classic. But I don’t think anyone would line up for a movie entitled “The Cremains of the Day.”

I had an almost normally productive day at work. I only had to double-check my work product before sending it out, as opposed to the triple-checking, and more, that I did last week. The brainfog is slowly but steadily lifting, and I am grateful.

In knitting news, I really should have inserted that lifeline when I thought of it, because I am methodically tinking back to Row 2 and will probably end up just frogging the lot of it and starting over. I dropped half a dozen stitches while pulling the circ out of the bag. Oye to the veh.

Middlest and Fourthborn and I went to Knit Night last night. LittleBit met us there and took Fourthborn home. It was good to get out with friends for an hour or so. I am not ready to do this on a weekly basis, but I missed them while I was attending to higher responsibilities, and it was very nice to see them again.

I am getting a little more comfortable, using the laptop (but I am blogging from Beloved’s computer). Middlest showed me how to bookmark last night, and I will slowly build on that. I am still writing thank-you notes in the morning before doing almost anything else. The answered cards go into a bag to share with the family. The pile of unanswered cards is gradually diminishing.

Nice man at the bank finished getting my debit card to work yesterday. I was able to use it to buy dinner last night. (Over-salted black bean burrito from the nearest Bueno, for me. I ate about a third of it and think I will not go back to that particular Bueno.) Also picked up some cream cheese to go with the bagels which are nearing the end of their useful life, so we know what I’m having for breakfast today.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Win/win.

Our cupboards and shelves are groaning with a surfeit of plates and kitchen supplies. Most of the dishes I brought into this marriage are still in moving boxes in that kluge of a middle bedroom. The Relief Society president sent out an email on Saturday: a sister is moving, and two brothers are moving out on their own.

Exit two sets of dinner plates, two sets of salad plates, two sets of cereal bowls, two sets of dessert bowls, a large and a small plastic mixing/measuring cup, a medium and a small crockpot. Also two sets of flatware in Ziploc bags and marked for their intended recipients: the sister’s is as closely matched as I could make it; the guys’ makes the word eclectic a wild understatement.

The leftover bits of flatware have gone into the newest, generic donate-to-charity bag, as they consist only of knives and forks. I still have plenty of Corelle dishes in which to nuke leftovers, but the ranks have thinned considerably, and more will leave the next time there is a giving opportunity.

I have been on the receiving end of charity many times since joining the Church (more particularly, while married to the children’s father). My condescension meter is hyper-vigilant as a result of those years of poverty; consequently, I am adamant about giving things that are still useful and attractive, things I would not be embarrassed to wear or to put on the table when company comes. I have used every one of the items which are going out the door, within the past two years. They are good, sturdy, attractive, and still have years of useful life.

I am still receiving charity, but this time it is less tangible: cards, notes, smiles in the hall at church and at work, hugs, phone calls. We all miss Beloved. His passing left a hole that can only be filled with many acts of kindness, both the ones I receive, and the ones I am able to give.

The book on grieving is beautifully written. I read it and weep, read a little more, weep some more, and it is good. It helps me to keep some balance between tasks/minutiae and the need to express my sorrow in healthy ways.

Knit did not happen yesterday, and Downton Abbey nearly undid me, but I slept like a rock and have written another handful of thank-you notes since the alarm went off. Now it is time to get ready for work. I am hoping for greater clarity of thought today and something approximating half of my former level of productivity. (The age of miracles has not passed, regarding the latter.)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Better(ish).

A very productive session at my primary bank yesterday. New savings and checking accounts set up, debit card theoretically linked to the new accounts but not yet functional. I learned this at the grocery store last night; thankfully, I had sufficient cash. Since I transact no business on the Sabbath, I am fine for today, and I will double-check with the bank tomorrow.

The senior banker who assisted me was wrangling with computer issues (do we sense a trend here?) and had to escalate to a VP-on-call, in order to retrieve my new online banking log-in and help me reset the password. Last Wednesday the online banking system was upgraded, and I had created a log-in that I thought would be unforgettable. I am chuckling gently at myself, because it wasn’t.

The banker also set up the accounts so that I retain the ability to view the closed ones, should I ever again need to print off copies of an old check, as I did when I got that collection notice for a bill which I had already paid.

The fog lifted a little more yesterday. I spent much of the rest of it at Firstborn’s, where I finished that transitional row I had been nibbling away at for several days. I think I am on row 4 of the pattern now. And while the yarn is not particularly slippery, I think this may be the first pattern wherein I employ a lifeline. I dropped a stitch on the second row of pattern, when I dropped my work to untwist the yarn, and a stitch fell off one of my needles. Sadly, it was a double-decrease stitch, and it frogged back to the cast-on, so I just made up something plausible and hope it won’t be too obvious when I block the shawl.

Thankfully, I am using my KnitPicks modular needles, and I remember that sundry friends have used the hole in the ferrule which is meant for tightening the join, to hold a carrying thread. I have a lifetime supply of #10 crochet cotton (very skinny thread).

I wrote a bunch of thank-you notes before leaving the house. I will write more in a few minutes. Some will get delivered at church today. And I am suddenly reminded that it is the 27th, and I/we have not done our home teaching / visiting teaching for the month. The January Ensign, which contains both the HT and VT messages, is out on the coffee table, buried under more cards. I can grab it when I grab more cards to answer.

I don’t think I will be making personal visits this month, but I think I can manage to get everyone a copy of the messages with a personal note. I have no particular preparations to make for Primary this morning, so if I get busy now, I can be obedient (and a good friend) for the two of us, rather like Orson Scott Card’s comment that if one who has no food storage, lives next door to a family that has a two-year supply, both families will be, on average, obedient.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Slog.

I remember the thrilling days of yesterweek (with apologies to the Lone Ranger), when my morning prayers of  “Please help me to be productive, and effective, today” resulted in the ability to dance through my work like Gene Kelly in a rainstorm.

I opened a case yesterday and finished a case that a co-worker had opened for me in my absence, and it took me half an hour to create and proof a document that ordinarily would have taken me minutes. After which I called my attorney, who was working remotely, and told him that I was done, and had gone over everything two or three times to make sure I did it right.

He had to make some changes to the new pleadings because of special circumstances in the case, and in the process he changed the spacing and pagination and eliminated my footers, and part of the system kept going down, so I couldn’t save the finished documents in the docketing system but had to save them elsewhere until Monday.

I was ready to pinch his head off, and smart enough to know that it was displaced anger. Monday has got to be easier.

I processed my mail half an hour after everyone else’s mail had gone downstairs and been picked up by USPS. I hit the fax machine to send copies to opposing counsel, two minutes before I was supposed to leave for the day. I had already shut down my computer; no way to email my office manager and tell her I had done so. I put a sticky note on my desk to remind me on Monday. Seventeen minutes of overtime which will make none of us happy.

I dropped the mail off at the Post Office on my way home, then headed to the church bookstore to pick up the book on grieving that I had ordered. Came home with that, and another one on adversity, made a light dinner for us, and watched the premiere episode of Downton Abbey with Middlest.

Read for a few minutes and was in bed by 10:30, the earliest in days. Slept for six and a half hours. And now I am up. Have downloaded and saved three statements from a bank account I am closing, and ordered archived PDF’s which should show up in the next 48 hours or so, after which I will email the bank to shut everything down. I also need to download the statements for my primary account, where I have banked for nearly twenty years, preparatory to closing it as well and opening new accounts later this morning.

Got paperwork in the mail yesterday to update beneficiaries on one thing and another, and more paperwork regarding the setup for the insurance proceeds. I have options. Ordinarily, that would be a blessing, but at the moment it is just One More Thing. I’ll take that paperwork with me to Firstborn’s later today and get their input. One thing I can do, before I go, is log onto my credit union and see if the interest rate they are paying is higher than the one on this paperwork.

I did not get over to the courthouse yesterday on my lunch hour, to file those affidavits of heirship. One of my girlfriends picked up a sandwich for me, and I sat and ate and visited with them, and that was lunch, and then I went back to my desk to wrangle my workflow.

Knitting did not happen. Again. I think I will fix myself a bowl of cereal and read a little in the new book, then get comfortable and see if maybe I can finish the row. It’s a lovely, lovely pattern, and I like the yarn, and I think I will really enjoy knitting it up, if I can keep the urgent from messing with the important for an hour or so.

Middlest and Mel are heading to the American Girl store later today to look at doll accessories. I am intentionally not going, as I don’t want to be tempted. I bought three sweaters night before last, at 70% off the lowest price on the ticket, and so I got $165 worth of upgrade to my work wardrobe for $35. I don’t need anything else at this time, other than breakfast.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ground fog.

I love the fog. We have it so rarely here, and admittedly it is a pain in terms of driving because of the benighted souls who insist on driving the speed limit, or faster. But it is beautiful. When I drove in yesterday, I was sitting at a light just east of downtown. I could see a bit of park to my right, another bit of park to my left, and absolutely nothing beyond the traffic lights in front of me. It was as if there were no buildings, and I was entering a great and spacious* preserve. Fifty feet past the intersection, the skyscrapers reappeared.

Magic.

I now have a laptop, and Skype. The sons fixed up his mother’s laptop for him before he passed, and Middlest tweaked it for me. The Nook that Squishy gave Beloved for his birthday last September is charging, and we will get that set up for me when I come home tonight. LittleBit might be here when I get home. That would be seriously cool.

I got those three small tasks done that were on my list, and it’s on to the next few. While I am at work today, Middlest will shred the check blanks from an account I am closing. I am a little sad to say goodbye to the John Wayne checks we ordered last year, especially since there are so many left. But they made Beloved smile, and that was the point. [I just realized that I also needed to shred both debit cards. Done.]

*great and spacious: not in the Book of Mormon sense. (It’s in 1 Nephi. Look it up.)

Still no knitting, and it’s not because I’m not feeling the love, but more that everything is taking so much longer than I’m used to. I had a moment of frustration at work yesterday at having to switch from one task to the next before I had finished the first. I can do task-task-task, albeit not with my usual lightning speed. I am not quite up to toggling, but I am sneaking up on it. I get a little more done at work, every day.

When my father died in 1990, I was a stay at home mom, and the children’s father was in chiropractic school. That was a season of overwhelming grief. When my mother died, I was midway through earning my Associate in Applied Studies. Mom’s death was a little easier to grieve, because I did not have hours and hours at home to ruminate.

I am being careful not to let myself get too busy to feel. I worked really hard to arrive at a place where I could safely acknowledge my emotions, process them, and use them to help me make informed choices. I tire very easily just now, but it’s physical and emotional weariness and not depression. There is only so much that I can do in a given day, and this whole past decade has been one of learning to recognize my limitations, work to that point or just a smidgen past, and then stop.

I am hoping to walk over to the courthouse on my lunch hour today and file those affidavits of heirship. At the very least, I will take them to work and lock them safely in my desk.

I did a little retail therapy last night. I had given Beloved’s mother a gift card to Barnes and Noble last year for her birthday, which she had not spent. When the sibs were here helping us deal with the influx of boxes from her storage unit, his sister found the card. Beloved was going to spend it on himself, but never did. In excavating a corner of his desk, I had also found other cards we received as wedding gifts. Last night I went to Barnes and Noble and bought the first season of Downton Abbey. That ate the Barnes and Noble gift card. I handed over a VISA card, with no indication that there was any value left on it.

To. The. Penny. The clerk and I both went, “Wow!”

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Another day with no knitting.

But I have clean, happy teeth, a better understanding of my financial situation, and three small tasks to accomplish today, in between my responsibilities at work.

Middlest and I grabbed dinner at In N Out after I got home, and then we watched Brave together.

I am feeling less foggy, thanks in part to another good night’s sleep. I actually slept until the alarm went off. That hasn’t happened in weeks, or so it feels.

I have a Primary presidency meeting tonight. And a sudden craving for blueberry muffins (with a mix out in the kitchen, and more blueberries in the freezer).

I’m trying to eat a balanced and reasonably sensible diet. There has been far less emotional eating in the past week. Consequently, my rings are a little looser this morning, but not so loose as to be annoying. I don’t like it when they slip and slide. Same for my watch, when I wear one. Drives me nuts (and as Mom would have said, not a drive, more like a short putt) to have the face of my watch resting on my wrist bone, or slipped around to the inside of my wrist, or the stone on my engagement ring turned so as to dig into the next finger.

It is very nice to have Middlest here when I come home.

Muffins. I still have time to bake the muffins, if I start now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tender mercies and a modicum of dark humor.

My cell phone had a hissy-fit yesterday, just in time for lunch, so no surfing while I ate my tamales and my friends read their Nooks and Kindles. The icon at the center of the page (no matter the app) pulsed but would not morph into anything useful.

After work I found a phone store (right next to Charming Charlie, where I was hoping to find a turquoise headband on closeout, but did not), and the very nice young man took out my battery and put Humpty Dumpty together again. Until that point I was all oh please don’t be broken Idawanna buy a new phone just-yet!

Whew! My contract expires in April. I have dead spots in my house, and sometimes roaming as well. I have been with this provider since 1998, and they have done well by me, but I would get better reception if I moved to the company that provides our land line, TV, and internet.

I got all sorts of electronic confirmations on the changes I’ve made to my benefits package at work. They did, indeed, dial back my medical expense reimbursement account to a rational-for-me level. There is also a big envelope that came in yesterday’s mail that I did not get around to opening. Also a box from a friend out of state with a lovely surprise in it. I read the note to Middlest. We both got sniffly, but in a good way.

Exchanged emails with the funeral home on the status of their responsibilities to us and was, again, reassured that all is proceeding in an orderly fashion.

Middlest found my French scriptures, and they are not Greek to me!

Sleep continues to be much improved. Five and a half hours of it last night, with no interruptions. I awoke just minutes ahead of the alarm. Appetite is still erratic. I polished off the last bit of ham and potato soup yesterday, and two tamales with sour cream and guac, and I was full. That is a normal, sane portion for a healthy person. A little later I had a few bites of chocolate but did not want the entire small bar. Dinner was a bowl of chili at Braum’s before my appointment with the bishop. I wanted not-a-whole-lot of something not-fast-food-y, and it was excellent, and I enjoyed every bite. After I got home a couple of hours later, I made an omelette for Middlest and me, and some tots. And then we skyped with her best friend back in Virginia.

Warning: dark humor ahead. We have been getting collection calls, due to some mix-up when Beloved’s late wife was alive. He owed them nothing, so he has ignored those calls. I took one last Monday, when I was home making arrangements for the end, before we knew the end was hours away. I told them that I had a terminally ill husband and not to call back.

They called again last night. As you may imagine, I was not pleased.

“Hello? Hello??

Click and whir and human voice. “Be-love-ed? Is this Be-love-ed?”

“Beloved died last week.” (Not “My husband died last week.”) In my chilliest steel forsythia voice. I am not Southern. Steel forsythia is the best I can do.

“Oh.” Click.

(To Middlest) “That was fun.” We snorted. Coincidentally, I got something in the mail from them yesterday, which will make writing a complaint letter to the power or powers that be, should they contact me again, ever so much easier.

Note to self: block that number. Of course, the problem will go away on its own if I decide to do away with the landline.

Bishop gave me a wonderful blessing last night. I didn’t need him to fix anything or talk to anybody; I just needed to tell him where I am financially and emotionally, and he said that it sounded like I had a good plan, and then he blessed me with the health and strength and comfort that I will need in the days and weeks to come.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

“...the desire to beat others.”

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” ~ Ayn Rand

So said the motivational note in my chair when I returned to work yesterday; it was signed by the office manager and the managing attorney. I put it on my desk in front of the keyboard. For most of the day I would glance at the note, smile at the intended sentiment, and refocus.

Toward the end of the day, the note was partially obscured by a document relating to another one I was creating. So all I saw was the last phrase, and it struck me funny, because every once in awhile that primal urge surfaces, and I have to apply large dollops of reason, prayer, and the odd childbirth word, until it passes.

I had one of those moments last night. I did manage to avoid the childbirth words. (I think, but I may only be deluding myself. My short-term memory is intermittently challenged.) I have, most likely, put several items of critical importance in a safe place which I currently do not remember. Another item of lesser importance has also vanished. The critically important items can be replaced, but will take time. And maybe a modicum of embarrassment, but I learned years ago that I will not die from that. The loss of the lesser item is merely an annoyance, like an itch on my back just out of reach.

So I did what any sensible woman would do under the circumstances: I grabbed the bag of receipts which I will need to turn over to our accountant as soon as I get my W-2, and I began to organize them. I am not quite finished. I think I went to bed at 2:30???

(I should probably add that this vanishing act also occurred at work. As I approached the scanner which lets me into our parking garage, I noticed that the prox card had fallen off the holder, and I was gripping only the one which admits me to our suite. Thankfully there is a workaround, and more thankfully, I found the missing card in my bag at the end of the day but before I paid the management office $15 for a new one.)

It is probably a good thing that I put a two-liter bottle of Cherry Coke in my cabinet at work yesterday, and that another bottle is waiting patiently for me in the trunk. Today could get interesting. I have an appointment with the bishop tonight. I will ask for a blessing while I am there.

I wrangled the garbage can to the curb and stacked several boxes and bags atop it, before the kids got home last night. Squishy wrangled Beloved’s chair out to the curb for me. There is more trash that theoretically could go out, but none of it is stinky, so it will just have to wait until next week.

This is the part where I figure out what I am wearing to work today, accessorize, and go.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Going to work, to rest.

The courts are closed today, so there is a good chance that I can wrangle a week’s worth of email and get some sense of what is going on with our files.

I will be taking tamales, two by two like the ark, for lunch all week. This will not be a hardship.

I loved Middle-Aged Mormon Man’s post. I have some huge dominoes in the path ahead of me, and I have enough experience with life, and with Heaven, to know that sooner or later I will be able to work with the pattern as it unfolds and not work against it.

I still have no idea what to knit. I cannot lay hands on the next size needle for StellaLuna, although I do remember preparing it. Perhaps it is on the table with the lamp in the living room, amid the rubber stamps I was going to use to make birthday cards?

I slept last night, really truly slept. I still have not figured out this appetite thing.

I found Beloved’s senior portrait from high school and the related report cards. Yang to my yin: the man so obviously adored history, whereas I do not, the legacy of my having taken it from a succession of junior varsity coaches.

Downton Abbey rocked. I am so glad that our PBS station is showing last week’s episode first, and then the current one. I caught up on the episode I missed last Sunday when I was being obedient and attending my Primary presidency meeting.

I need to pick up a bushel of thank you cards on my way home from work tonight.

No profundity today. Not even close. The inside of my brainpan is one ginormous honey-do list.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

352

One of our friends handed me a program, after the service, with a number on the back. That’s how many of our friends and family were there yesterday.

As late as ten minutes before the service, there were only a few people scattered around the chapel. Mormon Standard Time being what it is, fifteen minutes later the chapel was filled (we started five minutes after the hour), and somewhere in the middle I heard the dividers to the overflow area being pulled opened.

My five sang “How Great Thou Art,” the last verse a capella. It was magnificent. Younger Twin and a friend sang “Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel,” which so exemplified the life Beloved led, accompanied by another friend on the viola. I got through my remarks without squeaking or sobbing. The other petri’s sat on my left and on my right, at my request.

Grandson arrived Friday afternoon. I met him yesterday. He is perfect.

The siblings have been wonderful. We went out to dinner Friday night and to breakfast yesterday. They have carted off the genealogy to be copied and distributed. Three of them fly back to California this morning and are probably nearing home as I type. Trucker will be heading out again tomorrow. We are in agreement as to what needs to be done with the truck that Beloved and I were buying from his mother’s estate.

I went to the Social Security office bright and early Friday morning. I left in tears. As one would expect, Beloved’s disability check will no longer arrive each month. And because I am a young(ish) widow with a good job, it would not be helpful to apply for my widow’s benefit at this time. I have marked my calendar for five years from now, when I can draw that benefit without the earnings offset. I would continue to accrue credits toward my own retirement benefit even after I start receiving my widow’s benefit.

That disability check is what paid the mortgage, the truck payment, the larger of our two credit cards, and the utilities. My paycheck will soon be adjusted to reflect my new reality, which will give me a few hundred dollars a month more, net. And I will pay off as much debt as possible when I receive the proceeds of the life insurance policy. I have a lot of financial decisions to make in fairly short order, but I am not helpless, nor am I alone.

I have a dental appointment on Wednesday afternoon, and another appointment with our personal attorney following that. I have a honey-do list like you would not believe, and I hope that I will be able to dial back my medical expense reimbursement deduction to reflect what is typically my individual annual out-of-pocket expense, rather than what we set it for, to allow for Beloved’s medical expenses.

Please continue to pray for our family, as you are moved by the Spirit. Thus far his children have been nothing but respectful and kind. There is an opportunity for the financial details to sort themselves out seamlessly. There is also the possibility that we will all forget our manners, in our grief. (I’m trying to be like Jesus, as the song goes, but sometimes I am merely trying.)

This is the part where I get ready for church, which begins in something like an hour and a half. One of the things we will be doing after church, is resetting all clocks to the same time, thank you very much. And I need to figure out my church knitting, because obviously there is no point in finishing the second half of the fake vest to Beloved’s sweater. Middlest has suggested putting the sweater into a shadowbox, with a nice picture of Beloved. I rather like that idea.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Technical difficulties

Kristen, I fixed the link on my email. I think. I cannot find a link to email you, on your page. If you have Tan’s or Alison’s or Tola’s email, they have mine, and I know at least two of them have my physical address as well. If you want to send me a comment not-for-publication, I can glean your email address and then delete said comment. I think we did that once before. This time I will save your email to my contacts.

Everyone? Thank you, and bless you, for your loving support. Just because something is invisible, doesn’t mean it’s not real. Some of the following post is from my response to an email Tan sent overnight.

Cat woke me up a few minutes ago. Apparently he had important prowling needs. When I let him out, I discovered that I had not locked the door last night. Fixed that. Also fixed myself a snack consisting of a tall glass of milk and two fat slices from a mini-loaf of excellent chocolate pumpkin bread that the younger twin made for Christmas. He had wrapped two loaves to a fare-thee-well, and I have been enjoying the first loaf for the past several days.

We home teach/visit teach the family of the compassionate service leader. This is the family from Fort Worth which moved here before I did, whose middle daughter I taught in Primary. He was the elders quorum president who supervised unpacking my truck when I moved to Fort Worth, and the friend who came and watched the Packers game with Beloved last Saturday. She is bringing dinner tonight.

Other friends, the ones who lived in my Arlington ward when LittleBit and I moved there in 2003 (the wife is the RS president; truly I have friends in high places*) brought me the packet of ceremonial clothing yesterday, and I slipped it into the white hanging bag that holds Beloved’s temple-worker stuff. There is an unopened package of other temple garments in one of the dresser drawers. I had planned to put that in the bag as well, but I see that I have two tops, not a top and a bottom. I will delegate the fixing-of-that to one of my kids.

Facebook has blown up with love and support. It is almost overwhelming. Middlest was able to get her tickets changed and will be here tomorrow. Beloved’s truck driving brother got here yesterday and is staying with Squishy and Mel. (Mel lost her dad on December 15, exactly one month before Beloved’s passing; he and Beloved had a great friendship.)

I have compassionate leave all week. I have the support of Beloved’s wonderful siblings. Not to mention the new sons and their wives, and my own kids and their spouses and significant or insignificant others. Firstborn wants to come help. Secondborn has made brownies. I suspect I will see one or both of them today.

Today I will make a few more phone calls: Social Security, HR at work, the funeral home once I have figured out how many copies of the death certificate we will need. (A lot.)

I still don't know where the breaker box is located. And I didn’t knit a stitch yesterday, but I hope to remedy that today.


I told Tan that I had just realized that I didn’t tell her how I am, only what I’m going to do. I am mostly-OK, a little teary at the moment, but utterly confident in the Lord.

My honey-do list is growing by leaps and bounds. Internet on the left monitor, Word on the right.

Time to get busy for awhile, and then maybe a nap. I got my best night’s sleep in weeks. Five blessed, unbroken hours. My spirit and heart would prefer to have Beloved here in the flesh. My body, ungrateful wretch, is purely and simply relieved. Squishy worked on my neck and shoulders last night. Even before that, I could already begin to feel an easing. Heaven is merciful. I am blessed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

And ... he’s gone.

When I began this post, it was a quarter past ten. Our first (and last) anniversary was filled with adventures.

The intake person was lovely, warm, and immensely helpful. Everything is 100% covered. I hoped that Beloved was basically OK, but he threw up the half-bottle of Ensure I gave him yesterday morning and had eaten nothing else since then. She told me not to worry about that, that he would eat when he was hungry and it would be more of a strain to force him to eat.

The twins were here, and 1BDH, and three brethren from our ward’s elders quorum (elders in our church can be as young as 18, which makes them not particularly elderly elders), and later another friend and his teenage son, plus three Relief Society sisters who cleaned both bathrooms and the kitchen. This was in order to make room for the hospital equipment.

The guys mucked out the dining room. I vacuumed most of it. Everything, including the very long church pew which normally occupies the eastern wall of the dining room, is stacked neatly in the garage. The genealogical stuff which the siblings will take or send home to California, is clumped together for easy accessibility. I managed to rescue a large box full of my stuff (including the yarn for StellaLuna), and it is safely here in our bedroom. The Legos and boxes of toys have all gone to the Beloved-grandchildren’s house.

The cat was indignant that his hiding places in the dining room had vanished. He curled up in a corner of the bedroom for awhile, and I planned to oust him once I went to bed.

The tech set up the hospital bed, showed me how to run the oxygen tank (not sure if Beloved was needing it, but he was making funny noises, so I called for a nurse to come by and check on him when she finished attending to her current patient. We have a potty chair and a shower chair a big oxygen tank and an emergency oxygen tank, and no rolling table, although more were on order, with a considerable waiting list. I made the bed. There is an inflatable mattress pad with chambers that emptied and filled alternately; it is designed to prevent bedsores. I remembered to turn it off a few minutes ago.

I think the updated paperwork is just about ready to go to Salt Lake. The former spouses were asked to give updated statements. The children’s father told Secondborn to just update the old letter (it might have an electronic signature?). Bishop has also spoken with FirstHubby. At this point, getting some uninterrupted sleep is a far greater priority than being sealed to Beloved. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is plumb tuckered out.

I had asked Younger Twin to accompany me to the funeral home, but Beloved threw up just before YT got there, so I asked him to stay with his dad, and I made the drive on my own. So impressed with that place, other than the lovely rolling chairs in the meeting room. I didn’t know they rolled (I was simply shown into the room by the receptionist), and when I lowered myself into one, it scooted out from under me and ricocheted across the room BAM! into a credenza, while I went down in stages: tush, then back, then elbow, then shoulders, legs flailing in the air like an upended turtle.

Just as well that YT was not there to witness, but once I caught my breath and rubbed my elbow, I had to laugh a little. The director came in a couple minutes later and was both horrified and apologetic when I told him. No real harm done: I had YT put a couple of bags of frozen peas across my back and then I lay sunny side down for 20 minutes. I didn’t ice my elbow, and I suspect it will be bruised and stiff in the morning. [It’s spectacularly bruised. We’ll see how stiff it is when I wake up.] As I was walking back to the kitchen with the thawing peas, I warbled to YT, “Let there be peas on earth, and let it begin with me.”

We got the paperwork set up, everything but the date, to be paid for out of the small insurance policy I have on Beloved through work. Very reasonably priced, and I will make sure to include that contact information with the wills and the other “if I should die” stuff because if I turn out to be as impressed with their follow-through, I want them to handle my cremation when I go.

The nurse returned my call and estimated she would be here in half an hour. The plan was for her to check Beloved thoroughly and help me wrangle him into bed.

Our lovely neighbors (they of the incredible tamales) came over to thank Beloved for all he has done for them over the years. It was a brief and tender visit. They don’t know me, so they were a little shy, but I thanked them profusely. She was nearly in tears. Yeah, me too.

Once the nurse got here, Beloved’s breathing was loud enough that she could hear him while she stood at the door. He was unresponsive: couldn’t keep his eyes open or respond verbally. All of a sudden he stopped breathing, and his eyes popped wide open. She confirmed that he was dying, and I called Squishy and then YT, who called his twin, and the kids all got here, with wives, in short order.

He died at 1:36 this morning. I have spoken to four of my children and left a voicemail for the fifth. I have emailed my sister, our bishop, and the Relief Society president. We have spoken to all but one of the siblings. One will be here tomorrow oops, sorry, later today.

Beloved passed quietly and painlessly into the next world. He is with his cherished first wife, his mother, and several dear friends. The boys were speculating that he was chatting up his hero, John Wayne, and that one of the friends had already found all the honey holes for fishing in Heaven. I told him I would catch up with him in 40 years or so.

Thank you all for your prayers and loving thoughts. I will put something on FB after the last sibling has been notified. This is going to be another long day. I suspect I didn’t get all the verb tenses fixed from the draft I started six hours ago. So grateful for all of you.

I think this is the part where I become the crazy cat lady.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mobility.

I hope that I never take it for granted again. It took somewhere between ten and twenty minutes to get him from his side of the bed out to the car for church. He nearly passed out at the foot of our bed. I took one tall stool and set it out in the hall, and another halfway from there to the front door, in case he needed to sit down and rest, but he didn’t need either of them. I had to tuck his right foot into the car (I remember several years ago, when I needed both hands to lift my left leg into the car, so it was easy to be patient with the process) and help him wrangle the buckle on the seat belt. He said he was going to pass out, on the drive to church, and I think he might have, because I looked over at a stoplight and his eyelids were open, but I don’t think anyone was home for a moment or two.

He got out of the car under his own power, and a nice youngish man helped him get up the sidewalk, into the building, and onto the couch in the foyer. By that time, they were passing the sacrament, and I was really irreverent in responding to the boys’ earlier, where-are-you-is-he-OK texts, to let them know we were out in the foyer and would need help getting into the chapel when the ordinance was over and we were free to enter.

I didn’t knit a stitch. The speakers were excellent. After the meeting, I handed Bishop our tithing envelope, grinning hugely because his talk had been on the principle of tithing; he handed me the notarized affidavit of heirship, one of the two we need. The boys took Beloved home and stayed with him until I finished my responsibilities in Primary and picked up the prescription I forgot on Saturday.

I also found out what happened to the sheepie glass. One of the new daughters had been washing it, and it came apart in her hand. I reassured her that I hadn’t paid more than $1.50 for it at World Market, and that it was far from being a family heirloom, and that I was glad she wasn’t hurt, and that obviously it had gotten stressed at some time in the past or it wouldn’t have done what it did. No harm done, and mystery solved.

I tackled the fridge late last night. I was reasonably sure that there was a partial package of cream cheese in there (there was not; it might be in the outside fridge), and we have a new sleeve of bagels. I was positive that there were containers in the inside fridge whose contents were going feral. I was not far wrong, and the bag of trash is in the kitchen sink, waiting for me to take it outside.

I got the bed stripped and remade, the sheets put through multiple wash cycles, and all of the blood out. Same for my old quilt. Then I wrangled the flannel sheets onto the bed and made a batch of brownies to take to the Primary teacher training meeting. I was torn between attending the meeting like a good first counselor, and just taking over a hot pan of brownies and staying home with Beloved. He told me that several people had expressed an interest in wanting to come see him. I didn’t want them to wear him out.

I ended up going to the meeting, and I don’t regret it. I stayed a little, afterward, and visited with people, and was able to speak freely about how beautiful and wonderful and messy this all is. Real life is messy. I learned that a long time ago, and this is just another reminder. Most of the brownies got eaten last night, and I came home with a couple of peppermint sugar cookies drizzled in chocolate, one of which I ate last night, the other of which is in imminent danger.

It is nearly 8:00a.m. on our anniversary. We were both awake around 4:00. Beloved had the dry heaves, his first experience of that and not one he cares to repeat. I got him some OJ, and it stayed down. We both went back to sleep. When he sits up on the edge of the bed, fluid weeps out of the soles of his feet. When I had hepatitis all those years ago, my skin itched like fury, but it seems as if he is being spared that, for which I am grateful. The hospice people will be here in a couple of hours, and one of the dear young sisters at the meeting last night says that if the hospice people need the dining room cleaned out today, her husband gets off work at 3:00 and can bring a bunch of his Marine buddies and get it done in no time.

(Mmm. Marines. Firemen, squared.)

I have no idea what adventures this day will hold, but it already qualifies as the least-boring anniversary, ever.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

This is what I do.

At his request, two bottles of water on his desk, so that when he awakens in the middle of the night, mouth parched as the Mojave Desert where his mother lived until she came out to Texas, he may take a few sips and calm the cotton-mouth that is one sign of a liver run amok.

Two loads of laundry washed yesterday, folded, put away, because lifting a full laundry basket after we have merely dumped in load after load clean clothes and pulled out what we need, as we need it, is a nuisance at best and a back strained at worst. When we go to bed at night, the laundry basket (full or otherwise) rests in the seat of his office chair, with the chair facing snugly into the corner of the L so that he may use the back of the chair as a support if he needs to get out of bed.

The days when we would sit on our respective sides of the bed, folding our own things and stowing them, working in companionable silence or sharing stories of who we are and what we have known (this is still such a new marriage that we have only touched the surface in many respects), those days have slipped away.

He dozed, off and on, during the Packers game. It is a measure of how weary his body is, that sleep overcame his passion for the team, and while folding his Packers sweatshirt, I realized that I want to keep it when he goes. The cheesehead, too. I may never watch another football game after this season, but in caring for these perishable tokens of my husband’s zest for life, I see again the man that I married.

It is a different pain than I feel when I see the children’s father, because my husband may be battered, but he is not broken. He tells me that he is curious about death, hoping that his last days or weeks will not be spent lying in bed in the fetal position, as happened to one of his dearest friends, wondering if one night he will go to sleep and just not wake up. I am hoping for something closer to the latter, but also hoping that he will be conscious and pain-free to the end, and we can just kiss goodbye and let him go.

I found myself dragging, again, around 8:30 but hanging in there until the clothes were dealt with and the laundry basket stowed, temporarily, on my side of the bed. I was so tired that I fell asleep, bolt upright, while sitting on the commode, re-reading a chapter here and there from Rachel Naomi Remen’s book on death, dying, and healing, Kitchen Table Wisdom, which has taken up permanent residence on the footstool in the guest bathroom, filled with the sticky notes he inserted because he read it before we became engaged, and I wouldn’t let him write comments in the book. Now I rather regret that; I think it could have been another insight into the thoughts and feelings of this man I love so dearly.

I tidy the bed every night, tucking in the bottom of the sheet and the bottom of the quilt I made in three weeks, twenty years ago, for my fortieth birthday, then laying the afghan his late wife’s stepmother (I think) made for him on top of both. We sleep warmly, but not too warmly, under one layer of Pottery Barn and two layers of love. By the time he is up for good in the morning, I am long since out of the bed, and he has mummified himself in all that fabric, but starting the night with everything just so, minimizes the chance that he will trip over the end of the quilt, or the blanket, and go flying.

The Packers lost. I popped a button off my favorite denim jacket and will have to reattach it. One of my sheepie glasses got broken yesterday; I found it wrapped carefully in a grocery sack but left on the kitchen counter. I suspect that might have happened while we were at the bank. I was a little sad for a few seconds, but it was made of glass, after all, and glass eventually breaks. (This is why I am not keen on collecting crystal. Melted sand, artfully crafted, ridiculously priced, and destined to become shards, if not in my lifetime then in somebody’s.)

There was a modicum of progress on the second part of the fake vest for Beloved’s sweater. We have stayed up far later than usual, ever since we got the word from his oncologist that there is so little time left. It is as if we do not want to waste what we have, sleeping. Although Beloved dozes from time to time in his chair. That’s OK. I’m with him, and for now that’s all that matters. When he is awake, we talk, we laugh, we cry, we talk some more. I eat. Not a whole lot, yesterday, and healthy stuff for the most part. I fought sleep all day.

I had coupons for, and brought home, seven six-packs of Ensure at $3 off per pack. Heaven’s blessings upon the dietitian who thought to give us those coupons!

When I awoke yesterday, before all the to-ing and fro-ing, I sat on the edge of the bed and got my jeans up to my knees, then just sat there for fifteen or twenty minutes, thinking about stuff. We didn’t finish the day with another closet emptied, or anything like that. But friends came over to visit, and nobody stayed too long, and I made a decent if uninspired pot of risotto for dinner, and Beloved managed to eat about half a cup of it (no room for the buttered baguette slices, so at great personal sacrifice I polished them off). No romance yesterday or last night, but lots of love in our house.

It was a good day.

He woke me about 4:30. He had spent most of the night sitting upright, when he wasn’t emptying a bagful of blood into the commode. Finally, finally, he nudged me awake, and we got sufficient pressure applied that it stopped, and I prepared a colostomy bag for his use, for the first time, and we did all this together, without having to call in the paramedics or make a trip to the hospital. There wasn’t anywhere near as much blood to clean up as last time, and that’s all done, with washcloths soaking in the bathroom sink to be laundered later this morning.

I really can do blood. Can’t do mucus in its various applications, but I can doctor and bandage without turning a hair.

A bit of (darkly) comic relief: at one point, while he was getting back into bed, he caught his foot on the edge of the plastic carpet protector under this chair, slicing his toe. (That’s not the comic part. Thought I should reassure you.) So for a few minutes I was on my hands and knees, applying pressure to his toe, while he was applying pressure at the stoma. The comic part was when I was laboring to stand up again. I was laughing so hard at myself that it was hard to leverage.

I pulled twelve messages off our phone yesterday, before the game, writing down the numbers and who called before deleting each message. The oldest one went back to Christmas Day, a call from his sister who was visiting her daughter in Wisconsin. Most of the messages were for things we had already dealt with. Two were notifications from the pharmacy that a prescription was ready. I picked the first one up on Wednesday. I forgot to go pick up the second one last night. Feeling very much like the Bad Wife, because it was for his hydrocodone, but thankfully he still has two left after I brought him two about an hour ago. I will pick up the refill on the way to church today. Definitely an ox in the mire, and I’m sure that Heaven will both understand and forgive.

I still haven’t prepared my lesson for Sharing Time today, but I did find the 2013 manual, and I am heading out to the living room in a few minutes to work on the lesson. I also found the safe place where I stowed my copy of the second credit card after it arrived, several months ago, and I tried to activate it from a different phone than it was expecting, and it laughed at me. I will take care of that tomorrow.

I. Am. So. Tired. Not depressed, just tired. Maybe we will get to bed before midnight tonight. That would be nice.

He is moaning less. The hydrocodone must be kicking in. His shoulders are giving him fits, more than the wounded toe, or the aching and distended liver. He has downed two Ensure in the past hour or so, because all the boys are planning to come to church with us today, and he is determined to make it to church. We will have one of them bring him home after sacrament meeting.

I want my mommy.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

So the boys came over this morning.

And we all traipsed over to the bank to get their signatures notarized on the quitclaim deed. Once it is filed and we have a file-stamped copy, I will make a copy for each of them, for their records. And probably a copy for each of my kids as well, now that I think of it.

One of Beloved’s sisters, and our bishop, are each signing an Affidavit of Heirship on our behalf. Turns out that in Texas it has to be signed by two disinterested parties. So we did one for each of them. Same deal. We file that first, everybody gets a file-stamped copy, then we file the quitclaim deed, then we take file-stamped copies to the mortgage holder and find out what happens next, in order to get my name onto the mortgage. If they want to give us a lot of grief (the balance on the mortgage is small enough that they do not want to refinance it) then I will talk to the credit union at work, where we might have more flexibility.

Lorelai is in the shop, getting an oil change and a once-over to find out why the trouble light came on Thursday night, was on all day yesterday and during my 5:00a.m. run to Wally World, but mysteriously disappeared on the way to the mechanic’s.

Spoke with Beloved’s same sister last night when she called to talk with him. She confirms that our idea of using part of the insurance money to pay off what we owe his mother’s estate on the truck, and then selling the truck, is a good one. We should be able to recover almost everything we will have paid on it, making it nearly free for however long we will have owned it. 1BDH will help me get a good price on it. He and Firstborn and Older Twin are putting their heads together to get me some home defense weapons. The other guns are spoken for. (I know that makes some of you shudder. I’ve been raped once, in the dark distant past. Not gonna happen again without a fight. Right now all I have is a hunting knife, and no real concept of how to use it, except to Bobbitt-ize someone after the fact. I do have a little experience with guns.)

With the truck paid off, that lump sum should pay off the lesser credit card if I haven’t already done so at that point. Which would leave me with the larger credit card and my line of credit, and dibs and dabs on three gas credit cards. Also a reasonably workable cash flow (I will be in what is, for me, hog heaven once those debts are paid off) given that between having taxes taken out on a single-person basis to make sure that next year we are not in our current position re: withholding on Beloved’s disability check, plus the return to the former level of FICA withholding, I am down $150+ a paycheck every two weeks. Not helpful.

The bill for the ambulance ride a couple of weeks ago, arrived in this morning’s mail. I will send out a check in Monday’s mail, and I am hoping there will be no more trips to the ER between now and whenever Beloved graduates from earth life. I like PBJ’s, and I like ramen noodles, and I would like a wider variety of options for my lunches and my dinners between now and the inevitable. (I suspect that Beloved will be shaking his head, up in Heaven, as Lean Cuisines and casseroles and leftovers fill up the freezer in place of all that dead meat on the bone that I have no idea how to cook. We have a turkey out there, as we speak, and you all know that I refuse to stick my hand up a turkey’s butt, ever again. His sibs were able to exchange their plane tickets to next weekend. I propose that one of them, or Beloved, is in charge of a turkey dinner sometime while they are here. Failing that, I will be sending lots of frozen dead critters to live in our children’s freezers.

It is raining cats and dogs and little fishes out there. Beloved is dozing out in his chair. Our friend Tom, from church, will be here in a few hours to watch part of the Packers game. We are going to make him wear the cheese head.

I am a little tired, and a little hungry, and I’m not sure whether I should fix a snack or take a nap. Am waiting on a call from the mechanic, and then I will need to call a friend to get a ride over to the garage to pick Lorelai up. The boys, who have been and are being extraordinarily helpful, are otherwise committed this afternoon. (Squishy helped me get the car to the garage this morning.) I really ought to tackle one of the closets, bring down a box or two and figure out what’s in there, but the bed is calling my name. As is the fridge.

Yes, I think we should definitely make Tom wear the cheese head. I don’t know why I didn’t think of wearing it, myself, the last time we had a morale day at work and could wear team jerseys and sneakers. That cheese head is almost exactly my shade of yellow.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Burning love.

I have to agree with MovieMom: this is my favorite Elvis song, too. (Dedicated to Beloved.)



Elvis, honey, sorry I missed your birthday. It’s been a little intense chez Ravelled.

Yesterday’s sonogram confirmed that there really is nothing more that Beloved’s medical team can do, other than keep him comfortable. He did get to bring home the mask that held his head still while they were zapping the metastatic mass, and they gave him a graduation certificate for completing the treatment. (That + $4.00 or so will get us a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.)

Yesterday was a remarkably productive day at work. In addition to the stuff they pay me for, I prepared a draft for the affidavit of heirship from the patterns we use to create documents at work, and I emailed it to the attorney who put together the quitclaim deed for us. He was out of the office for most of the day but will be there today, because the monthly firm meeting for the attorneys is a command performance, unless they are in trial. I got through all of my tasks for my attorney and typed two reports for Attorney B.

We have a verified case of flu in the office. Thankfully, I have had my flu shot. She is home, and I am her backup, which will keep me out of the pool halls again today. I find that if I take it one task at a time, complete the task, and move on to the next task, my powers of concentration are near-normal. I can do one thing very well, if I do not get distracted by an allegedly urgent item. And then I can do the next thing very well. [My attorney handed me my copy of his evaluation of my performance for the latter half of the year, and I told him he wasn’t supposed to make me cry, but it was a good cry and not much of one at that.]

Yesterday was also a pretty soggy day at work. The metaphor which comes to mind, is a waterbed. If you get into a waterbed all by yourself, there’s a whole lot of up and down at first, and the waves calm down pretty quickly. If you are sharing the bed with somebody, and you are all settled in, when they join you in that bed, there is another big whoosh of up and down, and your ears go a little funny, and eventually it settles down until somebody rolls over. But over time you get used to it, and if you have the bed long enough you learn to sleep through the changing elevation.

My team is all aware of what is transpiring, and by the time I get back from two days’ vacation (a little sad that we will not be heading back to that honeymoon cabin, but oh well) the entire office will know. There are three of us in the hospital with husbands who are fighting cancer. Beloved has been fighting the longest. We both have a sense that he will be here for the blessing of the new grandbaby, and we’re hopeful that we can get the sealing taken care of as well. Last night he did what was on my mind to ask him about: he spoke with one of his sisters and suggested that if there is any way they can move their tickets up a week or two, that would probably be a good idea.

So we will have Middlest with us, and the others staying elsewhere, and it will be a loving madhouse, and we will just roll with it. Best time to have a wake is when the guest of honor is still here to enjoy it.

Beloved did not sleep much, if at all, last night. He is dozing, sort of, while I type. I am trying to type quietly, but I learned to type on an old manual typewriter, so my keystrokes are pretty much BANGITY-BANGITY-BANG.

I’ll leave you with another video. Don’t know if you’re into country music, but this one by Kenny Chesney has been a favorite over the past couple of years. It’s a little closer to home now, as is Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying, which I also love but will spare you. (Our equivalent of skydiving would appear to be jelly production. A friend is coming over later this morning to help Beloved dispatch the last of the pomegranate seeds. I am going to have the best-smelling house on the block!)



(Ignore his reference to adult beverages right at the end. My beer has roots in it.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Our fortune cookie fortunes got switched.

Mine says, A refreshing change is in your future.

His says, A new challenge is near.

When it really should be the other way around: he is fixin’ to (grand old Texas verb, that) graduate from earth life. I am fixin’ to say adieu to him for the next 40 years or so.

The doctor says it is time to arrange for hospice care. We will interview the most likely company while I am off work next week to celebrate our anniversary (yeah, the irony is not lost on me).

His liver is basically shot. They are doing a sonogram tomorrow, and one last radiation treatment for the metastatic mass, but the Stivarga (his last chemo drug) would polish off his liver in no time flat. They may be able to go in through the top of his liver and draw off some of the fluid that is making him so uncomfortable. We should know that tomorrow.

Please pray that they will be able to keep him as comfortable as possible. Please pray for our kids and grandkids. We have a new grandbaby due next week. Please pray that I will think of all the things that need to be thought about in the next few weeks (maybe a month, maybe two?) so it will all get taken care of in good order. And please, please pray that I am able to be with him when he goes.

And now if you will all kindly excuse me, I’m going out to the living room to love on him some more, and to work on the second vest piece for his sweater. Tempus fugit.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Very very very quick post.

Because I am was about ready to fall over. (This is the post I wanted to publish last night, but Blogger was having a hissyfit, so I copied it to Word and called it a night.)

I came to the computer to work on bills and make sure that I had the right days for this month’s birthday cards. I found an email from our bishop, asking me to update the letter I wrote to the First Presidency last year requesting the sealing cancellation. Once more, the paperwork is moving forward. I spent something between an hour and an hour and a half retyping the original letter, then editing and updating it. Four pages, single spaced, emailed to the bishop, then printed off with an original signature. I dropped off the hard copy on my way to work today.

Bishop will need to write a letter. Our stake president (this stake) will need to write a letter. And then it goes to Salt Lake where the prophet himself will have to read it all. When I shut down the computer last night, I was feeling approximately the way Beloved’s knee looks: messy, raw, and ready to bleed at the slightest opportunity. My thoughts were chasing round and round like a nut-crazed hamster on a squeaky wheel.

I headed back out to the living room and had a bowl of ice cream, then made a birthday card for one of my newly acquired (Beloved) sisters, whose birthday is Thursday. Then I did one for the eldest grandson. This morning I made a third one, for 1BDH.

I did remember to pay a bill which had come due.

I went to bed around 1:00a.m. and got through the day powered by constant snacking and the last of yesterday’s Coke. We had no phones at work yesterday and for much of today. It made for a blessedly quiet office, and I got a surprising amount of stuff done, but it was weird to have faxes coming in and not be able to send faxes out.

I think I have finished the first fake vest panel. When I publish this, I will head back out to the living room to stitch it onto Beloved’s sweater and cast on the second panel. I will also need to calculate where the buttonholes should go.

All that ruminating last night, surprisingly enough did not infest my dreams, at least not that I remember. But it made for a very tender, thoughtful drive into work today and a nice, stress-busting five minute weep. By the time I got to work, I was clear eyed and peaceful again.

Not sure what I want to do tonight, except spend whatever hours Beloved is awake, out in the living room with him. Maybe I’ll find a movie for us to watch. Maybe we’ll crash early. Later, gators!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Epoxy on both your houses!

A big part of yesterday’s presidency meeting involved decoupage. We are making birthday gifts for the Primary kids and their teachers. I managed to get a narrow swathe of epoxy on the inside of my thumb. It will be there awhile.

The boys did indeed come over; they barfed out the garage, as Beloved would put it, carted off a bunch of stuff, and stacked a crazy amount of it neatly on the curb for trash day. It will be interesting to see how much of said trash disappears between now and Tuesday morning. When we put the dead fridge out on the curb a few weeks ago, it was gone by the time we got home from church.

One of the found objects was Beloved’s yearbook from his senior year of high school. It is near my chair in the living room, the better to be savored in the very near future.

The nearest LYS had the needle tips I wanted for StellaLuna. Also the last kit like the one I gave my sister for her birthday, but at 30% off.

I also made a trip to Home Depot, where I got a replacement latch for the storm door. I made a pretty good start at putting it together but lost patience (and was a wee bit lacking in hand strength to drive in the screws), so one of the twins finished the job for me. Picked up a tube of wood putty for the vanity in the guest bathroom, and purchased one lonely vinyl tile to bring home and see how it goes with the paint (wonderfully) and what Beloved thought of it (thumbs-up). Since I plan to paint the vanity a shade or two darker than the tile in that bathroom (a warm medium beige, I think), the tile should not darken the room too much.

Beloved tripped over, or stepped badly around, one of the boxes between where he was sitting and the front door. He went down hard onto his right knee. Good news is, nothing appears to be broken, and we can get the blood out of his jeans. I really do handle blood well. Got him cleaned up and Neosporin’ed and bandaged without turning a hair. Other good news is that we already had a nice stash of hydrocodone, which helps with the pain if not the stiffness.

Our lovely neighbors, the ones who make the terrific tamales (never thought I would use those two words in the same sentence, much less adjacent to one another), brought over dinner for Beloved and me: pork chunks and refried beans and rice with a fiery green chile sauce. Oh my!

The second scariest thing that happened yesterday occurred last night, while the Packers were playing. Beloved was out of the room, grabbing the Neosporin and the band-aids, when #85 got the ball and very nearly scored a touchdown. Some deranged woman in our living room was hollering, “Go! Go! Go!”

We start the new schedule today, 11:00 to 2:00, which I loathe nearly as much as the 9:00 to noon schedule. My favorite continues to be 1:00 to 4:00, which Beloved despises. Oh well, we can’t expect to see eye to eye on everything.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Ruana is done!

I wore it to work yesterday. Definitely need to trim the only-slightly-lunatic fringe (tassels, really). Or miraculously grow three inches overnight.

I woke up at dark-thirty and finished casting-on for StellaLuna. Yes, the needle size required for the body is the one inside the partially completed hat that slipped off a pile in my studio, and underfoot. Sigh... I am hoping the nearest LYS has the Harmony points in that size. If not, will probably use my gift certificate to Shabby Sheep to score an Addi Lace needle, plus whatever yarn happens to fall into my basket.

I would not have picked the colorway my sister chose for me, for StellaLuna, but I love it. As one of my friends at work said, sometimes you just want to have something a little understated. Even Ms. Ravelled has the occasional Audrey Hepburn moment.

I have cast on twice, and frogged twice, the fake vest portion of the sweater I am making Beloved. I think I finally have an idea that will work. I do know that I have a Primary presidency meeting in twenty minutes, so I best get moving.

The boys are supposed to be here in an hour or so to start mucking out the garage. Squishy got the new mirror hung in the guest bathroom yesterday. I am in the mood to research faux finishes for the vanity in there. That sounds like a nice weekend project which would keep me out from underfoot while the big boys lug and grunt and schlepp.

Beloved is looking distinctly perky these days. His headaches are mostly a thing of the past, and other signs tell the doctor that the radiation seems to be working. Still waiting for Beloved to start glowing in the dark...

Thursday, January 03, 2013

When an “Oh-Look-Shiny” person binds off, in pattern…

This was one of those days. The computer at work was misbehaving again. Or, more precisely, not behaving at all. I could access one of the programs I needed, and I could email, and I could create a document, but I could not save it where my attorney would expect to find it so he might add his electronic signature to it.

Most of the people in my office were audibly frustrated. On any given day, intermittent sighs rise and fall throughout my part of the office. Today my cubicle sounded as if I were surrounded by ocean breezes. Punctuated with the occasional cough. And the more than occasional childbirth word.

I, however, was relatively content. Every few minutes I checked to see if the system was up again. In between those reality checks, I knit. I finished the gusset at the back of the neck on the ruana, and then I began binding off the inside edge. You would not think this a particularly difficult proposition. And you would be right, except for the fact that my little breaks to test the system, or to read a post on a knitting blog, kept interfering with my ability to count stitches.

I determined, early on, that a normal bind-off would be too tight. So I tried inserting an extra loop after every two bound off stitches, something like unto a Russian bind-off. Too floppy. Picked it back and tried it every three stitches for a few inches. Still too loose. Tried it after every four stitches. Too tight. So I wound up doing 4-loop-3-loop, etc., and it worked pretty well, except for the part where I had to stop every three stitches and look at the previous bit to see if I needed to add another stitch before making the loop.

I’ve taken calculus, folks, and I was reasonably good at it. You’d think I could count to three, then four, then three again. (Maybe what was lacking was a football game in the background.)

I wonder what my coworkers would have thought, had I started counting out loud? Especially since I had to switch back to 2-loop-2 to make a nice curve around the edge of the shawl collar? I got all the way up the first inside edge, and all the way around the collar, before the system was restored around 2:00p.m., which left me three hours in which to do a day’s work. Which I did, at least the most important parts.

After dinner, I bound off the other inside edge and spent an hour or more tying the fringe into tassels. It fits, it’s gorgeous, Beloved likes it (and would like me to knit him a gunslinger poncho like Clint Eastwood wore in all those spaghetti westerns, but I told him no dice), and it’s done. Next up is the fake vest for Beloved’s sweater, and then it’s back to selfish knitting for awhile.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Observation at the start of a year.

I had a brilliant draft here, entitled "Observation at the end of a year." And I hit a wrong button while editing it, just a minute ago, and lost the whole thing. Oye. Control-Z couldn’t bring it back.

2012 was, overall, a good year. I got married! [OK, any year in which I get married (1973, 1977, 2012) is officially a good year.] And while they joke that remarriage is the triumph of hope over experience, I really do believe that this time I got it right, or perhaps more accurately, that this time I was properly prepared and mindful, and therefore able to contribute toward its being right.

We have had a fairly quiet New Year’s Day. I woke up at the usual ridiculously early time and bound off the side of the ruana, then went back to bed for a couple of hours. Got up again and picked out the waste yarn so I could open up the front of the ruana and start knitting the gusset that traverses the nape of the neck and provides something of a shawl collar. I’m supposed to stop when the gusset is 100 stitches wide. I’m halfway there, which means that the gusset is one-fourth done. I am using up a ball of purple yarn, very soft and lush. If I run out of it, I will switch to the red silk blend I bought at the same shop, several months ago. Either will feel good against my neck when this is all bound off and wearable.

We have a portrait of Beloved, painted by a family friend when they lived in California in 1975 (coincidentally, the year I was baptized). He is alongside a trout stream, favorite fishing pole in hand (still has the pole), with trees and bushes in the background. I am going to hang it by the small ficus in the corner I have been working on for the past few days. I think it will look as if he is truly surrounded by nature’s wonder.

Mel and Squishy came by today and took a small load of stuff with them. The menorah is gone. The mezuzah is still on our doorjamb and will remain until I kick. The picture of Beloved with “the Pope” ~ in reality a standee at some shop in New Orleans ~ is also gone. The top of the entertainment center is nearly cleared off.

I asked Beloved where he got the bookends (which will remain), representing the Liahona (1 Nephi 16:10) and the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. His answer? A white elephant gift exchange at Empty Nesters. Truly, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure; I think the bookends are well designed and aesthetically pleasing.

Dinner tonight was black eyed peas and rice a/k/a Hoppin’ John for him, red beans and rice for me. I did eat one black eyed pea. It was significantly less vile than the last one I ate, roughly a quarter of a century ago. But I will not be raiding the fridge at midnight, for seconds.

Beloved would like to get on his computer (imagine that!), so I will post this and go dish up some ice cream.

Happy New Year, everybody!