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, May 30, 2013

Conversion story.

I think that if you click on the button at the left, it will take you to MMM's newest posts. My story went up yesterday. There are lovely comments both on his blog and on the FB link

Yesterday was interesting. And not necessarily in the Chinese sense. I should preface that. If we are friends on FB then you know I have bronchitis again (or still) and am on three heavy duty meds. That cough from April never entirely went away. And night before last it came back with a vengeance.
 
I had noticed something a little off starting just before the weekend. Not pain exactly. But a weakness and slight ache in my upper right arm when I had a coughing jag. And Monday night when I lay down on my left side, that same weird sensation.
 
So Tuesday night after dinner, instead of heading west to Knit Night or a drive-by hugging at Firstborn's, I packed up my CPAP, a change of clothing, my French BOM, the Conference issue of the Ensign, and my knitting. And since by this time the night clinic had closed, I took a little field trip to the ER.
 
I will wait for my kids to finish freaking out. I would have called you if it had turned out to be serious.
 
They took an Xray and an EKG. I do not have pneumonia. And the arm issue is most likely referred pain (although pain is too strong a word) from elsewhere in my body. My heart is healthy.
 
I repeat: my heart is healthy.
 
But since upper arm issues, even subtle ones, can signal heart trouble, and since women tend to ignore the warning signs until they wake up dead, I decided an ounce of sheepishness was worth a pound of my kids having to sing at another funeral.
 
You're welcome.
 
And maybe the real reason that I was at the ER on that particular night is because somebody I met while I was there, needed my prayers. (My dear friend Alison has stuff like that happen. A lot. I take it as a lovely compliment that Heaven entrusted me with this tender task.)
 
I am only bummed about two things: the ER ate my recorder practice time. And my banjo fund took a serious hit.
 
(What? I didn't tell you I've been saving for a banjo?)
 
I sent back the rosewood recorder after work yesterday. I stepped into my car just as the heavens opened up. Rain blowing sideways, mostly. What we call a frog-strangler.
 
I'm keeping the olivewood recorder. We had a lovely practice session last night. And something sent me to YouTube in search of The Cranberries' song, Dreams. Which I now have stuck in my head. Last night I sat on the edge of my bed and sang along. Clear and true. I haven't been in really good voice for months.
 
Thank you, Brother Hydrocodone. Thank you, Brother Prednisone. Thank you, Sister Naproxen. Please continue to play nicely together.
 
"All/oh/ah (the lyrics vary depending on which site you consult; her diction is not the clearest, but her voice is so charmingly quirky) my life ... is changing every day ... in every possible way"...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blogging after hours, from work.

If you look to the left of my page, you will see a new button. My friend, Middle-Aged Mormon Man, is featuring conversion stories on his blog. Mine will be one of them.

The interviews for my recommend are finished. I have confirmed that my dear friend, who is a sealer at the temple (he performs the ordinance that I need in order to be Beloved's into the eternities, not just for the blip that was our mortal time together) is both willing and able (and, seriously excited but maybe not quite as much as I am) to officiate.

Now we are trying to figure out when. I've heard from some of you. I'm waiting to hear from others.

I will be sending out notes or emails to various friends. Oh how I wish that my dearest LDS sisters-of-the-wool could be there in addition to the local friends and family. You have been and are such wonderfully supportive friends.

And I think we are nearly done gathering the paperwork for the estate.

I've made up my mind to keep the olivewood recorder. I will contact the vendor tomorrow, and I will also make arrangements to send back the rosewood.

Have spoken to my new Lawn Dude. He says the yard is much improved and will look even better next time, now that it has been properly edged. He remarked that it had not been edged in a very long time. I told him, "Well, my husband died in January."

I am torn between going home to check out the yard, and heading to Knit Night. I have a sweater to throw over my shoulders, in case it is as cold as last time. My favorites will not be there, as their schedules are all tied up with end-of-school-year stuff, but I like the other ladies. I have a little bit of a tickle at the back of my throat, so if I go I am not likely to stay very long.

But I could run over to Firstborn's and maybe use her computer to log onto my Sprint account from her landline and find a link to shut down the monthly billing emails on my old account. I cannot seem to do it from my phone, and I went round and round with customer service over the weekend. My final response was, "FINE. I will just log on from a land line and block your address." They keep looping into the new account (Firstborn's) and asking for verification data that I cannot provide. I cannot convince them to look up my old account. We had some difficulties along this line when I was trying to return the air rave.

They are not, however, even at their most frustrating, like unto my frenemy, Verizon.

The two conversion stories that MMM published today were wonderfully reminiscent of some of my own adventures.  For the picture, I wanted to use the sheep from here, or the picture I use on Facebook. He chose the one of me with Bittiest, the day of Beloved's memorial service. I look so very tired and sad and brave. Not exactly how I want to put myself out there. I did accuse him of unrighteous blogging dominion. It made for a lively and interesting exchange. I caved.

In the eternal scheme of things, not of great consequence. But those of you who read his blog, if you want to cast asparagus* at him, I wouldn't object.

*Or aspersions. Either/or.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

More decisions. I think.

Therefore I am? In music news, I have decided that I am not keeping the rosewood recorder. I have not quite decided that I am keeping the olivewood one. But I have yet to play it today. That's next.

In knitting news, I am pretty sure that one more repeat of the pattern will suffice. I will know for sure tomorrow.

In banking news, I deposited a whopping $10.50 into my local account. All from change received over the past few weeks. Not all of which was from the consumption of ice cream cones.

In ice cream news, I have tasted two of the seven new chocolate flavors at Braum's. Both were worthy additions to the menu.

In flooring news, I brought home a sample. It tones nicely with the walls and the furniture. I'm not done looking yet, but I got a good vibe in that store.

In eternally significant news, I have my interview with the stake president tomorrow morning before church.

This is the part where I wash my hands and brush my teeth and set the timer for 15 minutes of quality time with Olive.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

One interview down.

One more to go. I started this while waiting for my friend to come home so I could get that massage. I parked in front of her house, playing on my phone. Watched a great YouTube of a huge herd of last year's high school seniors (at *one school*) getting their mission calls. The church has had to open up 58 new missions to absorb the influx after they lowered the age for missionary service.

Had a good day at work yesterday. It felt like a cookies and milk day, so I stopped at Braum's on the way to work. Waylaid by seven new flavors. Had a scoop of chocolate chunk hazelnut for breakfast. Crackers and cheese a little bit later. Yogurt for lunch. I think it's safe to assume the dairy group was well represented yesterday.

And now it is more than 24 hours later. It was a good massage. We loosened another chunk of grief that had wedged itself into my musculature. I could not name that grief, but it is released. A gasp that startled both of us, a few seconds of intense but quiet sobbing, and then it was gone.

I coughed a lot during and after the massage. Just my body doing the bidding of my spirit and helping me get things off my chest. There have been a lot of petty frustrations of late, interspersed with all the tender mercies. (In other words, real life is alive and well chez Ravelled.)

I awoke this morning far less sore than last time but visibly bruised. Had a coughing jag right after waking that shook me all the way to my toes. And rumblies in my digestive tract that suggested it might be wise to stay home. (That particular revolt has yet to manifest, so it might have been related to the coughing jag.)

I called in to switchboard, emailed the office manager and my two attorneys, took a Zyrtec, and slept another four and a half hours. Up for three and then another nap.

I don't have a lot to show for this day. But I think I forestalled another upper respiratory infection. And I got a couple of rows of knitting done. Read a couple of General Conference addresses. Ate sensibly. Bought more Puffs and some frozen vegetables. Not my usual overstuffed day.

I was practicing with the new recorders at midnight. I liked the tone of the rosewood much better on second acquaintance. The olivewood one is definitely a keeper.

I'm winding down again. Time to get in this day's practice sessions. And then probably time to call it a night.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Updates.

The Verizon check was waiting when I got home from the Charlie Daniels concert on Friday and was deposited on Saturday.

The most important news of the past week is that I have my letter from the First Presidency, cancelling my sealing to the children's father and giving me permission to be sealed to Beloved. I will interview with Bishop tonight and the stake president sometime soon. And then I will call my dear friend who is a sealer and see if he is still up to it or if I need to call Beloved's dear friend who is also a sealer. And then I will call the temple and make an appointment.

We had 250+ at our wedding, (350+ at the memorial service), and the largest sealing room only holds 53. I have dear friends whose sealings I was honored to attend, whom I will not have room to invite.

In a way it would be harder if Beloved were still here for the discussion. Might even have led (somewhat ironically) to our second fight. Right now I am trying to make sure that people I love from all eras of my life are included.

Oh how I wish that my LDS knitting sisters from here on the blog could be there with me. You have each been such stalwart friends over the years.

In legal news, revised versions of various bits of paperwork went out in yesterday's mail. We might actually be approaching the end of that particular tunnel. But that's just about stuff. None of which will march with me into the eternities. Being sealed to Beloved is the most important item on my honey do list. I have been aching for that since I fell in love with him two years ago.

In musical news, I have two recorders here on approval. Over the course of the next few days I will gradually break them in and get to know them. And then I will likely (and reluctantly) vote one of them off the island.

In taking care of Ms. Ravelled news, I am getting a massage tonight after my interview. And incorporating hand exercises into my day. But I would just about kill for a bowl of baked tater tots this morning. And I've been out for a couple of weeks now.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Good (Monday) morning, world!

I had a wonderful Sabbath yesterday, which bodes well for today. Sharing Time was an absolute blast! I got to teach them about tithing, a principle about which I am passionate.

The manual suggested taking ten pieces of fruit. I went that a few steps better. Ten seductively fragrant nectarines, a fruit new to some of the kids but one of my favorites, because you get the flavor of peaches with none of the thbppp. And ten grape tomatoes, nine of them tiny and fairly uniform, the tenth being the Andre the Giant of grape tomatoes. Plus ten clean white socks.

I also brought in my friend Wes, who is in the bishopric, to receive the tithes. The kids came up, ten at a time. Each held a piece of fruit. I had them hold up the grape tomatoes to show the relative sizes, then had the kid holding Andre the Tomato give it to Wes.

Taught them that we give the first-and-best to the Lord. Told them how farmers would go first into the best part of their field and fill the wagon to take to their bishop for tithing, back when people tithed in kind. And that we pay our tithing first and then our other obligations.

They were rather more reluctant to tithe the nectarines. Particularly in Senior Primary, where we were able to dive more deeply into doctrine. I taught them that the Lord always blesses us for tithing. Sometimes the blessings are financial. But sometimes honest tithepayers lose their jobs.

I shared with all of them that during a 13 year period in which we had no health insurance, we had no major illnesses and no trips to the emergency room until Firstborn was 16.

With the older kids, I shared that during a time of great financial need, I had walked out to collect the mail, paused to remark that it would be so nice to open an envelope and find money in it instead of a bill, and opened one that contained a $100 bill. The envelope had a Missouri postmark. We knew no one in Missouri.

Someday I will find out how He did that.

The lesson went faster in Senior Primary because there are half as many kids. So after the object lesson I told them stories about tithing miracles in my life and bore testimony to them.

I did not make the kids hold one of my clean socks, but Wes graciously accepted one and put it into the "tithing pocket". I had explained that if you were not a farmer but maybe made socks for a living, then you would give the bishop one tenth of your socks.

Oh, and before Wes left, I turned ten of the big kids into chickens, one of whom trotted over to him as the volunteer tithing chicken. Hilarious! When my chicks got a little too noisy I told them that noisy chickens went into the stew pot.

We had very little problem with reverence in Senior Primary yesterday. Fancy that.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

And a little more unstuck.

I was home Wednesday. Dishwasher arrived safely and works like a champ. I cleaned out and reorganized one cupboard and parts of two more. Moved the microwave cart out of the path of the delivery crew and have just about decided to put it out in the garage. It's serving mainly as a bookcase at the moment.

Eventually I would like to put the dehydrator on top, for easier schlepping. I think the largest Coleman cooler will also be making like Elvis and leaving the building. Just having moved the cart three feet has really opened up the space where it had stood.

The Second Final Notice has arrived from Verizon. I celebrated by posting Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and dedicating it to them. Followed this morning by a very young Linda Ronstadt singing "When Will I Be Loved?" To be followed, eventually, by her singing "You're No Good." Lots of good breakup songs out there.

This weekend is the Wildflower Festival in the next suburb over. I have my golden ticket. Gretchen Wilson and Charlie Daniels tonight. Grand Funk Railroad tomorrow.

In the humility department, I printed off the Dolmetsch fingering chart and discovered that all these years I have been using the wrong fingering for F natural. (Including for the past three and a half weeks of tootling.) Therefore,  I will be relearning half a dozen songs over the next month or so before learning new ones. The proper fingering produces a note that is richer and sweeter, so it will be worth the effort.

In knitting news, the "scowl" approaches completion. I am more pleased with each pattern repeat.

My campaign of mailing back what junk mail I can (in their prepaid envelopes), marked "deceased" with the date of death, yielded an apologetic response from one company. Maybe the word will filter out to the other companies.

Yes, I could go directly to the mail preferences list and enter Beloved's name and that of his mother. Eventually I will. But for now it's immensely satisfying to send back some of the mail at the leeches' expense.

I have had a really good week at work so far. SemperFi settled another case, and I friended his lovely wife on FB. He groaned comically when I told him. We are starting to close some of Mellow's cases as well. I love working with the other secretary.

Am hoping to have a moment of spare time in which to call my personal attorney and check the progress on settling the estate.

Don't remember if I mentioned it, but the art print that I ordered arrived safely on Monday. I took her to Michaels in search of a ready made frame but found nothing that spoke to me. Hobby Lobby will be next. I found several that were visually pleasing, but they were resin or plastic. This is not a poster. This is a signed and numbered print that I have waited for, for years. She deserves better.

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Stuck. And not.

A bunch of stuff came unstuck last weekend. I made a decision about the dishwasher. Not my first major appliance purchase, but my first as a homeowner. (Mom and Dad bought the washer and dryer we had in the house in Irving, and our first TV.) It will be delivered tomorrow.

I'm keeping the truck. It is actually becoming fun to drive. And useful for hauling things like the area rug I bought last Saturday. Plus, Chris LeDoux blasting in a pickup truck just feels more authentic than in a little red Lancer.

Lorelai is likely to hit 200K miles later this year. I can pay off the truck more cheaply than buying a new vehicle. And it has about 72K miles on it and has been far more consistently maintained than Lorelai. For now I will just drive it around town on the weekends and to church, to keep the battery charged.

Road trips to visit my kids will be Lorelai's job. With care, she should last another two or three years. And the truck for another five or ten before I have to start thinking about car payments again.

Those two decisions have unstuck me in other, lesser areas. And it was a very healing weekend, emotionally, notwithstanding Mother's Day and my attendant neuroses.

I had an absolute blast at Empty Nesters last night. Better than average Tex-Mex and great conversation. Although I may have given the impression that I had been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Update. Ish.

I'm down with the update? OK. I'll stop.

Have been working on the itinerary for my vacation. My time off for this year and next is confirmed. I sent out a bunch of emails this morning before work and am starting to get responses.

I have also narrowed down to two, the type of wood I want for my next recorder. Thankfully I do not have to make a decision today.

I had an amazing massage last night. Part of me feels terrific. Part of me feels like I was hit by a truck. But my head and chest are significantly more clear. My neck is tightening up again. But both shoulders have dropped a little. I count all the small miracles.

I haven't consumed enough water today but am making up for it now. I might drown before quitting time.

Knitting continues. Music is a distraction. (Mental soundtrack is something out of August Rush.) I want a nap. Trying to think, and write, here in the break room is looking like a lost cause.

Heading back to my desk.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Happy Wednesday.

My non-evil plan is progressing. Adding an electronic chore chart to my spreadsheet and color-coding my progress is keeping me on track with two of my goals. It does not give me any more hours in the day. It does not keep me from spending too much time on FB. But it documents that in at least a few areas of my life there is quantifiable progress.

I am still waiting on the blankety-blank Verizon refund. On Friday they will generate their "second final" statement. Allegedly within 10 to 15 business days they will actually cough up my money. Which will go straight to savings for one of my short term goals.

And now if you will all excuse me, I would like to finish reading the fifth chapter of Jacob. (The longest chapter in the Book of Mormon.) It isn't any shorter in French than it is in English. And then I need to finish clearing the floor in the dining room. My friend S is bringing her massage table tonight.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Adventures.

I was a Good Do-Bee yesterday. (Anybody else remember Romper Room?) Lorelai got an oil change and a new air filter. That was quick and easy. I dropped off the contents of her trunk at Salvation Army. And two pairs of clogs at the shoe repair shop. And then my day got a little more complicated.

I had not driven the pickup since the day that Beloved died. That's what the oil change sticker on the window said. Funny. I only vaguely remember taking it to the shop around that time. I do remember that Squishy was with me. Mostly I remember sitting, stunned, in my attorney's office and signing my will and related paperwork.

Anyway, the pickup quite obviously was reluctant to start. It made little kkkkkkkk noises. Not the dead-starter noise. More like the groaning of a child who does not want to get up for early morning seminary.

I called Squishy's cell. I called Mel's cell. I walked next door to the neighbors' house. He rolled the truck down the driveway and into position. I got the cables out of Lorelai's nearly empty trunk and inched her forward.

Once we got the pickup started, he counseled me to drive it for 50 miles without stopping, to reset the sensors so it would pass inspection. I drove around town for ten miles, including a second trip to Salvation Army to empty out the camper in back, then zigged and zagged my way to Farmersville, which is only about 25 miles away.

By the time I got there my bladder was full and the gas tank was nearly empty. And gas was 20 cents a gallon more than here. I had spent 15 minutes or more sitting in a line of traffic, two cars back from the officer who had us stopped, with expired tags and the new ones in an envelope on the front seat, trying to figure out how to explain to him if he pulled me over. And hoping not to run out of gas before I reached 50 miles and a gas station, in that order.

(They had the highway down to one lane through Lavon, for utility work.) Thankfully, the cops were too busy to notice my windshield.

I struck it rich at the yarn shop; 18 balls of Noro Silk Garden followed me home. They will become a Knit Swirl, just as soon as I finish the current project. Which I made a lot of progress on while sitting (twice) in the waiting area at the service station. I am calling it a Scowl: it's my basic scarf pattern with short rows to make it curve gently. When it's long enough I will put buttonholes along the second end. There is still quite a bit of yarn left. It might end up being a collar. (Scollar? Scapelet?)

Once the truck was legal, I stopped at the store and picked up four cartons of key lime yogurt, two tubs of strawberries, and a tub of blackberries. Made a parfait and put it in the fridge while I cleaned myself up.

Dinner at SemperFi's last night. Met his mom. Talked ballet and choir with his younger daughter. Ate myself silly. His mother lives in a retirement community that keeps kosher. SemperFi's family is Christian. So it had been awhile since she had enjoyed a good pork chop. SemperFi grilled. I am pleased to report that the pig did not die in vain. The parfait was well received. We ate it while watching "Bernie," a movie based on a true story and set in East Texas. Spot on. There is a murder. There is language. A whole raft of actual townspeople have bit parts, playing themselves. Including Matthew McConaughey's mother.

Came home, put the leftover parfait in the fridge, and called it a day.

In proofing this, I see that I forgot to mention the adventure which my bank caused. Tanking Lorelai with gold-plated gas? No problem. Buying the Noro? No problem. Paying for the safety inspection on the truck? Declined. Twice. Thankfully I have that second account and its debit card.

Tried again at the grocery store. Rinse and repeat. And it was after 1:00pm, so I couldn't reach customer service at the bank. The clerk at the grocery store suggested that I call the fraud hotline on the back of the card. I did. Verified that I really had spent that much money on yarn. And that it was I who had attempted the other three purchases.

Electronic benediction: the fuss is ended. Spend in peace.

(Remind me to alert the bank when I go on vacation. Because there will be a car rental. And souvenir yarn.)

Friday, May 03, 2013

Tree!Tree!Tree!Tree!Tree! ... Forest???

Did you ever do that thing where you stand in a doorway and press the backs of your hands against the frame with all your might, then step forward and watch in amazement as your arms lift like airplane wings?

That's what this week has been like. Especially today. I have pushed and pushed and pushed for the better part of three months. And today I nearly took off and flew. All the mail. All the calendaring. All the tasks flowing from that. All the email. Including winnowing out more of the old stuff.

I left the office with two empty boxes in which to temporarily store the loose books on the dining room floor. A nearly clean desk. A clear picture of where to begin on Monday. And a bushel and a half of gratitude in my heart.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

In the comic relief department: I thought I might have found a used bagpipe from a reputable source for a song (couldn't resist). It had already been sold. I just thought it would be a cool thing to take to the family Christmas party and surprise the grandchildren. And annoy the cat in the meantime.

I was smart this morning. I put his bowls out in the garage before opening the fridge. I think he must hear that door opening from three blocks away. I had already relocked the door when he realized I was up. So he was outside with provisions. And I was inside with nobody underfoot while I scrambled to get ready for work.

He was waiting when I got home tonight. Pretty sure he was cussing me out in Tomcat. He tried to slip into my room, but I pulled the door shut, and he klunked his head. After he spun on a dime and lit out, cussing me soundly, I reopened the door and came in.

Poor little guy. I don't know what he thought he would find in here.

This is the part where I read three verses of scripture and play one verse of a Primary song on the recorder and call it a night.

Tomorrow, as that brat, Miz Scarlett, once said, is another day.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Do you ever wish?

That you could hang a sign on the door of your life that said, "Closed for Maintenance"? Yes. I know. It's called vacation. And I will have one this year. I'm looking forward to that. But in the meantime? Oye!

Work continues to become easier to manage. We had a couple of days of exceptionally heavy mail because of vacation letters coming back from the courts. But for the moment I am juggling fairly well. I have a handful of urgent tasks to do today which came out of yesterday's docket meeting. But I don't have a *whole day's worth* of urgent tasks. (Unlike, say, for the entire month of March.)

Today I can print off Friday's pay stub and calculate my tithing on the new, improved base salary. I can also gather the amounts of interest received on one account or another and update my spreadsheet. King Midas would not be particularly impressed. But I know how far I have come in terms of money management skills. I have enough for my needs. And a plan to achieve my wants.

I am struggling with my inner snark. One of the side effects not listed on the pharmacy printout is sarcasm. I have completed both meds and am feeling better. Not well, but better. I just want to go to work and check off tasks methodically and not have to interact with people except on my own terms. I'm impatient with how slowly I move. And how easily my concentration is broken.

You know those double decker metal inboxes with the brown rubber feet? Over time those feet can deteriorate and start to melt. I have two. One for each attorney. And the one pertaining to SemperFi has started to drop bits of goo on any piece of paper that rubs against it. If I am careful I can get enough of the goo rubbed off that when I file the paper it won't stick to its neighbor.

So last Friday I made a sign asking that nothing go in that bottom slot. And a note to bring the GooGone from home. And I rested a wooden inbox carefully on top of the metal one. SemperFi and Mellow are the last two paper-cherishing holdouts in our allegedly paperless office. On Monday I was working on something for Mellow when SemperFi came up to my desk and started fiddling with the boxes and asking why there was a sign and couldn't he just move the wooden box?

No, thank you.

I was so not in the mood to discuss it. It was a perfectly rational question on his part. And if I had been typing on something of his, I could have asked (nicely, I hope) if he would rather I type his X or explain about the inbox. But I was not. So I gave him a discombobulated answer that didn't really satisy either of us.

I took the GooGone to work on Monday. Maybe today I will have time to use it. Because I need to clean brown goo from between the inbox and the shelf before I put the new wooden box in place. No sense messing up a perfectly good box. And maybe while I am scraping and scrubbing goo, some of the snark will go with it.

Note to self: grab the putty knife. It may or may not be useful in terms of the brown goo. But it might dissuade certain people from attempting to rearrange my work area.

I've got a putty knife. And I know how to use it.