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!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Not as the world giveth.

I owe y'all a post. Thank you for your prayers. By the grace of Heaven that oncoming train has been shunted into the roundhouse for refurbishing.

I have had two successive plausibly good days at work. My focus is returning. My productivity is still nowhere near where it needs to be, much less where I would like it to be, but I have stopped twitching.

I barely did anything last weekend. Ate. Slept. Read. Napped. Prayed. Rinse and repeat. I got the trim taped in the dining room but did not so much as dampen a brush. When I was awake I was chiefly reading in bed, sitting up, legs stretched out. By the end of the weekend there was almost no swelling in my ankles, and the skin was soft and supple.

With the exception of four, two-hour sessions of General Conference next weekend, I am hoping for more of the same.

Knitting is also happening. I am working on the Anny Blatt kit: silvery grey ribbon yarn plus white angora.

Last night I rubbed a single drop of lavender oil on my forehead and temples, and lavender chamomile lotion on various dry spots. Slept like a rock. Will try it again tonight.

Sounds like a big storm brewing outside. Also sounds like we need to prune some branches on the tree outside the bedroom window. It's making all sorts of creepy noises.

Night, y'all.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

See that patch of sunlight?

That is where Beloved proposed. It is just inside the entrance to One Eleven Ranch Park and just before you get to the Pavilion.

After I joined the rec center a few blocks from the house, signed up for a point and shoot photography class in May, picked up cleaning supplies and more blue painter's tape at Home Depot, I drove to Arby's and got a classic sandwich, some curly fries, and a mint chocolate shake that tasted more like banana than anything else, and I drove to the park.

I rolled down the windows, ate my lunch, and talked to Beloved between bites. Nothing profound or earth shaking. Just some of the things I've been dealing with and how I felt about them. Some of the plans I am making for over the next few years. My gratitude for the kind of man he is and was. My thanks for his having helped me to find the truck title. And when I was done talking, I rolled up the windows and came home.

The situation at work is resolving. I had a good meeting with the office manager and my mentor. After work I went to Secondborn's for dinner, a bit of a visit, and then I came home and slept like a rock.

I am going to wash down the trim in the dining room. Everything is taped and ready to go except for a few grimy spots. Maybe I will go to bed tonight with three walls completely done?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Nephi. In the desert. With a broken bow.

This morning I read 1 Nephi 16 and 17. For reasons that I don't understand, the Spirit speaks more clearly to me when I read in French. We are encouraged to liken the scriptures to ourselves, to see the application or parallel in our own lives.

I realized last night that I have slipped into the angry phase of mourning. My body is rigid with unshed tears. I am not angry with God for taking Beloved. I am not angry with Beloved for dying. But I am bewildered and frustrated at how difficult work has become. (And I am still without a testimony of why I have been called to serve in Primary. Though I have asked. More than once.)

Work used to be the place where I went when everything else was falling apart. No matter what was going on at home, I could go to work and make discrete progress on one thing or another. And I could go home feeling as if part of my life made sense.

And now I feel like a kid who has wandered out onto the freeway on her tricycle in rush hour and is facing oncoming traffic. I don't even know where to begin to ask for help. But I have a meeting this afternoon with the office manager and my mentor. We will get this all straightened out.

(I have a new, not entirely positive, appreciation for the tithing promise of blessings coming so thick and fast that there is not enough room to receive them. Right now some of them are cattle trucks bearing down on me at 70mph.)

And then I will have one blessed day in which to do things at home that I know I'm good at, before I go serve in the calling that has me nearly as bewildered (if not as frustrated) as work.

I just have to make it through till 4:00. And then I can come home and create. The good news is, I am not depressed. I am a veritable delicatessen of mixed emotions, the strongest and most consistent of which is anger. But I am not depressed.

Heaven and I can work with that.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Beemers and Hummers and Jeeps. Oh my.

The lights in this suburb are screwy. I have lived in Texas for nearly 35 years,  and everywhere else the light sequences have been fairly predictable: green arrow for those turning left. Solid green light and you take your chances.

Not here.

Green light as you watch oncoming traffic fly past you on your left. And then a very short green arrow before the light turns red. Or, alternatively, a flashing yellow arrow in lieu of the solid green light, followed by the green arrow and then the red light.

Weird.

If you're lucky the first car in the opposite left turn lane is like unto a Miata. So you can see the pickup that's barreling toward you in the next lane over. This morning there was a pickup. Followed by a box truck. Completely obscuring the beer truck that would have carried me into next Sunday. And you know the headline would have read: Mormon killed by beer truck.

The day I had was the emotional equivalent of getting hit by a truck. We got a *sixth* case for Mellow with the answer due next Monday.  I nearly cried. Thankfully it came to us settled. So I didn't have to create any outbound discovery.

Tomorrow I will do the answer for SemperFi's case. Also due next Monday.

My resilience has taken off for Club Med.

Turns out that I also misunderstood the date for what I thought I was supposed to do tonight. That was last night. And rescheduled for tomorrow night. So I made the visit by myself. Because I am finishing my visiting teaching tomorrow night.

From there I struck out to find the Bennigans in Plano. I desperately needed Death by Chocolate. They no longer carry it. Except as a cocktail. Ewww.

Thankfully there was a Coldstone Creamery next door. And I had a gift card. I am nearly done eating a pint of chocolate brownie ice cream with coconut and almond bits and white chocolate chips. I may not be resilient but I am *extremely* persistent.

I need a good cry. Preferably not while I'm at work.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mixed bag.

Work went well. I think. Two of this week's six cases are entered. I am pretty much caught up on Mellow's emails. Various reports got sent in a timely fashion. A handful of to-do's got crossed off. The urgent something for SemperFi got done. I delegated a task.

On my way home I saw a car with a dangerously wobbly left rear tire. I prayed to find a way to let her know. I was able to pull alongside her on a wide off-ramp and get her attention. Mission accomplished.

But this put me in a mandatory left turn lane. So left I went. Into a parking lot near SMU. Also near La Madeleine. Walked out with a sliced loaf of multi grain bread and a tiny creme brulee.

Made two lefts to head back to the freeway. Saw a beggar ahead at the light. Reached into the rear footwell for the bag. Handed him the creme brulee. He grinned. I grinned.

Not breaking my arm patting myself on the back. If I were truly Christlike I would have given him the loaf of bread. Or both.

Ah well. Baby steps.

When I got home,  there was a packet of paperwork to fill out to put the stock shares (all 10.something of them) into my name. I spent an hour looking for the stock certificates but will probably have to order duplicates.

And then I have to get a special verification of my signature. Just getting it notarized won't be sufficient. Once this is done and the stocks are transferred, my net worth will increase by approximately $330. And I will be the one getting $1.50 dividend checks like clockwork every quarter. And you can say you knew me when.

More baby steps.

Found a box under the desk with a printer cartridge in it. So now I know what kind to buy. And the computer will once again be more than marginally useful to me.

Found the mobile app for Ravelry.

Seem to have mislaid a bamboo knitting needle. Makes it a little hard to work on the current project. Good news is that it doesn't seem to be running wild in the bed with me so I'm at small risk of lobotomizing myself in my sleep.

The April issue of the Ensign came today. The new Pottery Barn catalogue came yesterday. So the question du soir is, do I want eye candy or a spiritual feast?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Laughing at myself.

But not too hard, because that would hurt. Where are the maximum strength Midol when I need them?

The good news is that this will pass. My neck, shoulders, back, hips, and knees will eventually forgive me. And as I continue to work on the house, my body will figure out that this stretching and pushing are part of the new normal and quit complaining.

After taking down the painter's tape, I had a cup of yogurt. And I nearly fell asleep while reading a distinctly non-boring book. So I thought a catnap might be in order. But every time I rolled over, I woke myself up.

We have no ibuprofen, because of the blood thinner Beloved was on. I checked both bathrooms and the cupboard in the kitchen where he kept a lot of first aid supplies. I have more acetaminophen than you could shake a stick at. They will expire long before I could use them up.

Good news is, my ankles are being uncharacteristically docile. And for that I am grateful. Notwithstanding all of the walking I did yesterday, they are relatively limber and unswollen. I'm sure that the five bottles of water I drank during the day helped every bit as much as the constant movement.

Now if I could only get my eyelids to stay open.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Today.

I am sitting here in bed, waiting for my hair to dry so I won't have weird hair at church tomorrow. Ordinarily I wash my hair in the morning. But I knew I would be painting today, so I saw no point in getting cleaned up until I had finished.

Three walls are done. I am so impressed with this paint. As I cut in the edges this morning, I also painted over the stray bits of blue from when Fourthborn and I did the ceiling. After that bit of prep work and two proper coats, the walls are perfectly, consistently yellow. And the color is exactly what I had hoped it would be.

I'm not quite as stiff as last time, but then it's not morning yet. I have decided that painting is to step aerobics as tai chi is to martial arts: the real thing, just almost impossibly slow.

I got a lot less paint on myself this time.

Random thought: not sure that I have ever seen an obese house painter. I suppose they exist. But all the guys I see at Home Depot are little bitty skinny things. Maybe by the time I am done repainting the house I'll be one, too.

Or I could just move to Hawaii. My friend Sooz posted on FB that in Hawaii a 2X is considered a "medium."

But for now, the only place I'm going is to bed.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mostly successful.

I think. Sitting here in bed with my smart phone and blogging away. Cherry tootsie pop in my mouth. Ceiling fan humming. Furnace back on. It is 48°F out there, people!

Office manager asked me in passing how things were going. Told her I was getting a little less behind every day. Not sure that that was the answer she wanted to hear, but all she said was, "Good."

I wrangled three days' worth of mail for Mellow and five days' worth for SemperFi. The only to-do's that got done were directly related to the mail. And I didn't quite finish calendaring one last scheduling order. But at the end of the day I felt significantly less like I'd been stuffed in a sack and beaten like the proverbial stepchild. Or dragged through a knothole sideways.

We count all the small victories.

The Lane Bryant outlet was a wasted trip. Either the fabrics were shoddy or the cuts were sleazy. Sometimes both. I tried Avenue as well. A couple of sweaterish things I liked but more than I was willing to pay.

So I dropped off something I had borrowed from Fourthborn and headed home. Stopped long enough to let the cat in and grab a couple of hard boiled eggs. Then over to CJ Banks, where I was *not* disappointed. Five dressy T-shirts on sale and another deeply discounted sweater. Came home with a huge bag and significantly under budget.

Just about wound down enough to think about going to sleep. Am hoping that tomorrow will revolve around painting the dining room walls. With a side order of reading.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gnocchi, gnocchi.

Who's there?
Pasta.
Pasta who?
Pasta point of no return on fixing dinner tonight.

You may safely assume that I am having a better week. I am cooking (from scratch thus far) pasta with hamburger. A pound of dead cow into a medium pot with a generous dusting of granulated garlic and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Or as fresh as it can be when the address label on the jar of pepper berries is for a pre-2008 address.

Meanwhile, I heated water in two Pyrex measuring cups in the microwave and eventually poured it over the meat. Brought it to a nice rolling boil and tossed in the contents of a jar of geriatric mystery pasta, courtesy of my late mother-in-love,  or possibly Beloved. If you look at the pasta bits endwise they look like S's. About an inch long,  uncooked. Robust. 10 minutes is not long enough to tenderize them. So I gave them another 5 and am hoping they won't dissolve into mush.

They did not. Still feisty but not crunchy. Small (8 oz) jar of Beloved's tomato sauce, canned on Middlest's birthday. Just a whisper of sauce. And about half a bottle of pre-shredded Parmesan because (a) I suddenly realized that I was famished, and (b) I am out of the really good stuff and wanted to use this up so I could justify the purchase.

Verdict? Seriously yummy and reasonably healthy. With a week's worth of lunches to anticipate.

And while I was puttering in the kitchen, the Young Men's president was mowing my yard. One of the older teenage boys will be taking this over. And I will be contributing to his mission fund. I don't want to be a quorum service project. And I don't want to hire an undocumented worker like so many folks do. I want a kid I know and trust, and whose family I know and trust, so I can give him a clearly marked key to the gate and a check every week or two. And everybody wins.

Time to put away the leftovers and go curl up with a small stack of good books. Tomorrow will be here before you know it. And I will be bargain hunting after work. So it's not so much a matter of beauty sleep as it is of girding my loins.

My goal is to bring home a nice assortment of basics and accessories for my wardrobe and spend less than $100. Got an email from my sister today. She is tossing a bunch of scarves into the box with my birthday preset. I get to raid her closet from  2500(?) miles away!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A little like a kid at Christmas.

Today I will be able to go online and see how much Friday's paycheck will be. Why is this exciting? Because there will be a big fat bonus included. And I'm not sure how much I will need to write out for tithing. But it will be a nice fat check, and that makes me grin.

There is only one bill to pay. And I am buying one of Fourthborn's dolls, another Pukifee like Chutzpah. (So, not a lot of money out of pocket.) I am planning to put about a third of the balance into savings. Another third as an extra payment on my line of credit. A trip to Costco (the list is nearly complete). And then I will hit EBay for one or more pairs of clogs, new or gently used.

I don't need a new spring wardrobe. I will head to the Lane Bryant outlet to see if there are new colors in their dressy T-shirts for work. And see if there are any cute jackets on sale at CJ Banks.

I'm really glad that I came up with my informal balance sheet a few months ago. It is a major source of hope. Since the two major credit cards and the two remaining gas cards are now a liability of the estate and will be paid off when I refinance the mortgage in my own name (that's the plan,  anyway), I am officially in the black, if not by much. I have had to tap into savings only once this year and will repay that on Friday.

For two or three years I have been able to put 10% of each check into my 401k. And I realized the other day that I am putting only a hair less into one savings bucket or another. Now that I have my hands on the truck title I can proceed with selling the truck. That will free up more than half of the driveway,  not to mention what it will do for my bottom line.

I will have money in my emergency fund for later this year when the electric bill goes through the roof. I already have more in savings that I have personally saved (i.e., electronically moved from checking to savings, not an automatic deposit from my paycheck) than I have ever saved in the previous 60 years.

This is not to break my arm patting myself on the back. This is to show how the good habits learned during the years of poverty, plus the gradual and continual overcoming of the bad habits learned during those same years, is now blessing me wondrously.

Not counting the mortgage, or the bonus, for this month and last my savings will have increased almost exactly as much as my liabilities decreased. That, my friends, is a beneficent double-whammy.

If I can keep this up, I will have the line of credit paid off, comfortably, by the end of next year. And a good chunk saved toward the purchase of Lorelai's replacement when that becomes necessary. And in ten years' time, at least in theory, I would have a year's supply of money. (Well, a girl can dream.)

Tonight is ward temple night. I don't care if the waterworks flow if I'm just there as a patron. I'll put a handful of tissues in my pocket. I have so much to be thankful for that the best place to show it is in the temple.

Monday, March 18, 2013

How I found the truck title.

I was looking for my copy of The Plan B Workbook. I wanted to collect all my banking information in one place. So I walked out to the living room and looked at the table where I last remembered seeing it. Not there.

Then I looked at the top layer which has accumulated on top of the coffee table. Not there either, and probably not in one of the lower layers either.

I turned my attention to a box that is wedged between the coffee table and the entertainment center. Books, mostly, and a very large, very dead bug, and a sheaf of papers. Medical receipts. Stuff pertaining to Beloved's treatment at the facility we fired. And just below that a blue-bordered piece of paper. Could it be? It was.

I had commented to more than one friend at the wedding or the reception that while it was nice (if a little unnerving) to feel Beloved's presence there, what I really needed was for him to tell me where he'd put the title.

Thank you, honey. I am so grateful for a husband who is as thoughtful and helpful after death as you were in life.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tender moment(s).

The wedding was wonderful. (Of course.) It was good to see so many friends. We sat outdoors. One of the ribbons tied to a lamp post kept batting me in the face.

As I sat there I suddenly felt Beloved's presence. I'm glad that he got to play hooky from Heaven for a few minutes. He really loved (and loves) those kids. I can only explain the experience as an overwhelming feeling of tenderness. And I do mean overwhelming. In retrospect almost identical to what I felt at the temple the other night. It's similar to what I feel when I'm moved by the Spirit but more immediate. If that makes any sense.

On the drive home I called my friend J who was widowed a few years ago. I asked her what it felt like when her sweetheart checked in with her. She confirmed that I wasn't imagining things. And that I could trust the impression.

It was only later that I remembered how I had felt in the temple. So that was a second witness. But really??? I would prefer that he pop in when I'm not out in public so that people don't just think I'm being sad. Because it's not the same thing at all, although it looks the same on the outside.

J said her husband popped in a lot for the first six months or so. And that she always knows when he's near.

It is a wonderful thing to realize how thin that veil can be between this world and the next. I know that Beloved has not forgotten me, any more than I have forgotten him.

And I am completely convinced that it was he who dropped that bug down my shirt to dry up my tears. *You* just try to sit quietly while wondering if you are about to get bitten or stung! When I sprinted to the loo after the "I do's" were I-did, whatever it was had flown or crawled away.

Squishy came over last night and taped the ceiling for me and took home a bagful of stuff. I spent the better part of an hour emptying shelves in one bookcase and am not quite half done. I hope to finish that after church today and maybe get a wall or two painted.

If not then tomorrow night after work and after I attempt to straighten out the cable company. They sent a box for the return of stuff *I carted to their storefront*. So I will take their empty box and my receipts and the invoice that says they owe me money but can charge me up to $650 for the cable box. And I will smile sweetly but be relentless until this is taken care of.

Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Eagle Court of Honor

I have only been to a handful of these. The ones in our ward are very simple and straightforward. The one last night was, well, more symbolic and poetic. Perfectly suited to the personalities of the participants. And yet another testimony to me that frequently there is more than one right way to do things.

Yesterday was another mixed bag at work. I backed up two attorneys in addition to my two. Made for a very busy day. I opened up three cases. Including one that was past due for one of the other attorneys.

By the time I left the office I was so tense that I could barely move. But the evening's festivities went a long way toward remedying that. A good night's sleep has also helped.

I have been up since a little past 5:00 and am waiting for the rest of the world to follow suit so I can get something done.

Meditation on the theme of small repeated actions bearing much fruit. It's been a dry winter as far as my skin is concerned. About ten days ago I started keeping a tube of Aveeno on the passenger seat. At some point in the morning commute I take off my rings and clamp them between my lips. Then I lotion my hands and put my rings back on. There are enough red lights between home and the freeway that I can do this safely. Consequently, my hands are consistently softer than usual. Sometimes I even remember to swab at my elbows.

My feet and ankles continue to be problematic. There is no graceful or safe way to care for them in the car. And I don't want to gunk up the sheets at night. But I will eventually figure something out.

If you came here for profundity this morning, you are barking up the wrong blog. My ankles are itching like crazy,  and I am going to do something about it. And then I am going to figure out how to cleverly wrap a wedding gift without making a trip to the store for a gift bag. After that I am going to find the first of a handful of tasks that will make a visible difference around here and get cracking.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Trying the Android app.

In theory I am at RS tonight. In reality I have had as much dealing-with-people as I can manage for one day. So I am waiting for my tater tots to finish baking. And I am enjoying the last bites of toaster waffle liberally jellied with some of our pomegranate jelly. If there is still room at the inn when I'm done with the tots, I will think about a small omelette. Or maybe a chunk of cheese.

I had a good day at work yesterday. That was yesterday. Today was last Thursday redux. With a two and a half hour staff meeting thrown in for good measure.

And an email from the office manager asking why I had not completed the mandatory training for the new phone system. I told her I had gotten partway through and would get it completed eventually.

That's probably not going to make her happy. Any more than the raft of other emails I *haven't* answered because I am scrambling to get the most urgent stuff done.

Having my workload more than double two and a half weeks after my husband died is wonderful in theory. At least I am not sending out will-type-for-food emails anymore.

By the end of this month I will probably have opened a dozen new cases for my new attorney. Plus the ones for SemperFi. I normally open six to eight cases for SemperFi each month. It depends on how many we closed the month before. I managed to close one each for them today. Looks like this month it will be five or six for SemperFi and closer to a dozen for Mellow. I see that I said that already. I'm going to have a slice of cheese and then go stand in the shower and poach for awhile. Or maybe I will paint a wall and then go poach.

My knitting mojo has apparently run off to Club Med. And taken my marbles with it.

I am supposed to ask for help when I'm drowning. But I'm too busy drowning to know where help would be most helpful.

Chocolate. Chocolate would be helpful. Night,  y'all.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Finally starting to get a handle on things at work.

I am not caught up yet, not by a long shot, but I am less far behind than I was. We count all the small victories.

Our new phones are live, as of today. I just barely have an idea of what to do with mine. I got maybe a tithe of the online training done because I was up to my ears entering new cases for two weeks. And this week I have been doing the things I had to set aside when I was entering the cases. I cannot believe that tomorrow is Thursday. I will have two cases to enter, but at least I whittled down my outstanding to-do's from 45 or some ridiculous number, to 13.

My desk is a wreck. My house is less so. I played catch-up on laundry last night. One load, I think, left to go. And I sizzled a steak in a cast iron skillet on the stove.

There has been no knitting since I finished StellaLuna on Sunday. I know what I want to work on, but I don't want to spend the money on the yarn until I get my bonus. So I am reading (!) and disposing of more paperwork (!!) and carting bags of clothing to the back of the truck and bags of trash out to the garbage can.

My new visiting teacher came over last night. Surprised me with a visit. It wasn't as if she could have gotten me, as I hadn't turned the ringer on, on my phone. We had a great visit. A real visit.

I am going to post this, such as it is, and then toggle over to Deseret Book's website and see if I can spend my gift certificate. There's a book by Elder Bednar that my ward and stake leadership keep quoting, and I'd like to read those quotes in context, because the bits I've already heard are wonderfully comforting.

And then I am going to go home and eat leftover pierogies.

Friday, March 08, 2013

The day from *where*???

(That would be yesterday. Today has been just fine, thank you very much.)

Work has been incredibly intense. We got slammed with new cases, five with the answer due next Monday. I had to radio for backup on the fifth one, but all the rest of them, I took care of myself.

By close of business today, I had caught up seven days of mail on one attorney and half a dozen of his emails that needed to be filed.

Last weekend, Fourthborn spent the night on Friday and Saturday. We painted the ceiling in the dining room. There are a handful of pictures on Facebook. Tonight I will take one of my little yellow heart-shaped dishes to Home Depot and match that yellow. I had originally thought of texturing the walls in the dining room but upon reflection have decided that that would be overkill. We worked too hard on that ceiling for it to have to fight the walls for star billing. Besides which, I will be covering up most of three walls with bookcases, so all that labor would be hidden.

My new thought is that we will texture the paneling in the living room, which has been painted. I do not know if it will come down easily, or if we should just slap the texturizing medium all over it and paint our little hearts out.

I am nearly done with the fourth and final repeat of the second motif on StellaLuna. I may very well finish tonight. But now I am going to shut down the popsicle stand, put on my comfortable shoes, and figure out something cheap, fast, and easy for dinner.

(I am the antithesis of the maxim that you are what you eat.)

I did go back to the temple last night. My leave of absence was officially over. And emotionally, it was too soon for me to go back, so after discussing it with the temple president, I have been released.

The affidavits of heirship are filed. I have heard back from three of the four credit card companies, wanting to know the name of the executor of the estate. Something I will have to discuss with my attorney next week, while one of my attorneys is on vacation and I have a chance to catch my breath and return my desk to something like unto its former pristine (and exceedingly organized) glory.

I said I was going home. OK, now I am. I mean it. (Anybody want a peanut?)