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, June 30, 2013

Change worn socks at 50,000 miles?

That's what I thought the sign said. The game is on. It's an advertising banner. For shock absorbers. Because, we all agreed, socks that hadn't been changed in 50,000 miles probably wouldn't be worth the trouble of washing.

I love my family.

The knitting is trotting along. I think I brought enough yarn to get me home to Texas. I am nearly done with the sixth decrease round, which means that I have methodically jettisoned almost 100 of the nearly 600 I started with. I was a smart cookie and photographed several chunks of the instructions so I wouldn't have to pack the book.

If you're looking for profundity, you might want to check out MMM's blog. I'm fresh out. But I'm happy to report that the emotional eating has come to a screeching halt. Nor am I falling asleep in mid sentence from sheer exhaustion.

If you will kindly excuse me, I think I hear my pillow calling my name.

Theoretically, it's bedtime.

My sister, my brother in law, and the dog have all gone to bed. The dog, after taking a Xanax. Fireworks make her very anxious. I never knew that there was doggy-Xanax. She's a great dog. I'm glad that she doesn't have to be miserable.

We drove into Seattle and visited with the kids before they left on their cruise for Alaska. Then we went to lunch at a place called Endolyne Joe's. Excellent brunch. I had an omelette with chicken sausage, sun dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. Also some perfectly seasoned hash browns. And toasted Italian country style bread with freezer jam. After which I slept for three and a half hours.

Got my recorder practice and scripture study in while my family watched the last of the baseball game. Knitted a lot today. I am almost ready for the next decrease round.

Brother in law is dropping me off at church tomorrow. I get to sit through all three hours of grownup meetings. No Sharing Time. Just three hours of singing and listening and learning.

Bliss.

Having a wonderful visit. The bed is comfortable. The company is excellent. I sat on the deck just before dusk and savored the view, the smells, and the planes flying way overhead. So glad I came.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The likelihood of one's suitcase tumping over. ..

...is directly proportional to whether one remembered to zip it shut before setting it atop a mostly-empty laundry hamper. And increased if one has placed a superbag containing 20 snack sized bags of chips atop the suitcase. And the fallen suitcase is between one and the loo.

Not that I would know anything about that. Like Big Bird, I have a great imagination.

One of my friends is dealing with an 8mm kidney stone. I grabbed my knitting gauge for reference. That's a size 11 knitting needle or a size L crochet hook. Oye. You should pray for her.

I had good news from my dentist yesterday. The filling appears to be intact. It doesn't hurt to chew, but cold liquids flowing over that spot really get my attention. He said that sometimes the body has a delayed response to dental work. And for some people that response can last for days or weeks or sometimes up to a year. "Sensitive" toothpaste should help. And I'll just continue to drink with a straw until the nerves go off Red Alert.

Much, much happy knitting yesterday. I spent a little time with the Bitties. Bittiest ask if he could "do that." I told him I would be happy to teach him when he's older. He asked, how much older. I told him, eight. That I had learned when I was eight, and that eight was a very good age for learning how to knit.

BittyBit, who is eight, did not remind us of that fact. Which suggests that learning to knit may not be on her bucket list. But I think I saw BittyBubba's ears perk up. He's almost six. And I suspect that he forgets nothing.

This is the part where I eat breakfast and check those hypothetical chips for breakage.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Loving the current project.

Am very close to adding on the third ball of yarn. Her way of adding yarn (two stitches knitted with both strands) and weaving in the ends (duplicate stitch embroidery) is pure genius when one is working with Noro Silk Garden.

Had a good presidency meeting last night. This might have been the first time that I felt as if I had something to contribute. Opinions, even. Possibly a smidgen of inspiration. That can happen when one's attention is not consumed with temporal frustrations and drama.

Woke up to a Haydn symphony on the radio. Apparently there was once some question as to whether it really was one of his, but they (the ubiquitous and intermittently helpful "they") found his signature on it the year before I was born. Now the station is playing the second movement of Beethoven's Ninth. The part that Huntley/Brinkley used to have for its theme song. Looks as if this is going to be my lucky day!

Speaking of which, today is my Friday. But don't be envious. I am going back to the dentist tomorrow. I'm reasonably sure that I have cracked that new filling. Something is amiss, at any rate.

I was so sleepy last night that I skipped my (extra, French BOM) scripture study and recorder practice. Will attempt to pace myself better today. I really miss both of those when they don't happen.

Now I am hearing a tango, piano rendition  of "My Funny Valentine". One regret is that Beloved did not live long enough for us to learn the tango. That item is on my eternal bucket list. He was not mad for dance, in this life, which is how it usually happens. And there won't be a lot of time for personal interests on the other side, at least while we are all helping with preparations for the Second Coming. But surely sometime in the eternities there will be time and space for dance.

I am pleased to report that the eating-of-feelings is being taken over by small, snackly celebrations. Which reminds me that it's time for breakfast.

Monday, June 24, 2013

M is for massage.

I got one of those on Thursday night and slept like a rock. She said the change from the first massage to this third one is astounding. I woke up with one minuscule bruise on my arm. And I drank buckets of water all day.
 
Friday night I watched "17 Miracles" and tried to write each one down as it occurred. I came up four short because I was distracted by the plot and my tears.
 
Saturday was magical, and something of a blur. I am now Beloved's bride forever and ever, amen. I cried quietly all through the ceremony. The officiator had to start over, twice. He is a dear friend, and after the second halt he smiled and asked, "Didn't we have this problem once before?"
 
"Yes, when we did my mother's work."
 
"Ah, that's right." He was the officiator then.
 
We took family pictures afterwards, over by the fountain. And then we ate at Torchy's Tacos. Mine was delicious and way too hot. I couldn't feel my lips afterward.
 
Then I came home and slept for three and a half hours.
 
Went to ward council yesterday for my president, who had out of town guests. Then a good visit with my VT companion. She is well aware of last week's drama and not overly impressed with the other party's behavior. She says she's one of the few people able to influence his behavior. And that she calls him on it on a regular basis. So, we're still good.
 
And my attorney's office called this afternoon. All the paperwork has arrived safely. If it didn't get filed today, it will tomorrow. Once I have the conformed copies I will take them to the bank with copies of both death certificates and start negotiating for a new mortgage.
 
I am still crazy-tired though significantly less tense and stressed. I have a lot of work to do before the week is out. But I got quite a bit of it handled today, and I am optimistic about tomorrow.
 
Am up to 30 minutes on the recorder each night. Loving it. And I just finished my first decrease round on Knit Swirl.

Breathtaking.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lady in waiting.

Stonewall did a reply-all, attaching a PDF of the signed (Tuesday, not Monday as he told his sibling he would do, when they were together on Friday night), notarized deed. I am hoping to hear by close of business tomorrow that my attorney has it.  Again, I am not holding my breath.

Pretty sure any chance of a civil relationship with that branch of the family tree is shot to blazes, at least for a very long time and possibly the rest of our mortal lives. It was a calculated risk. But since he has been distant from the beginning, and downright chilly since we called his honesty into question last year, with no response to my calls or texts, or to my emails except when I wrote to the guys as a whole and his rudeness would be immediately apparent, the dynamic has been frustration on my part and what I interpret as thinly veiled contempt on his.

Jury is out on whether the relationship with his sibling is also damaged beyond repair. According to Beloved and from what I have observed, his wife can be a pot-stirrer. There is much about her that I like. And I haven't spent enough time with either of them to know them well. I got an interesting (not code for anything) email from her last week about what kind of relationship I would like or maybe expected, now that Beloved is gone, and it did not feel like something that was laden with boobytraps.

What would I like? To be as involved as they would like, with certain caveats. I don't expect anything per se, other than to be treated with respect. And I've generally felt respected by that branch.

My visiting teaching companion is tight with both of the twins. This could get interesting. I barely know her, but I admire her for taking on a special needs orphan earlier this year in addition to her own special needs child. Work of the angels.

In knitting news, I blocked my swatches on Tuesday. When I was putting most of the needles away yesterday before work, I discovered that the largest swatch was not knitted on 5s as I had thought, but on 7s. And it was just that much too big. So I grabbed the 6s and have a little over half of the 585 (!) stitches cast on at this point. Wish me luck. I am half sick of swatching,  cried the knitter of Shalott.

We had ward temple night last night. I grabbed my temple bag as I went out the door, not knowing how the day would play out at work. About 4:00pm I started coughing a little, but I told my lungs to put on their big girl panties, and I ended up going and having a lovely experience serving there. It was a sorely needed respite.

I have a lot to do at work today. I may get a massage tonight. Or I may just stay home and knit.

Two days. And then maybe life will calm down for awhile?

Not holding my breath on that one either.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Plan B it is.

The paperwork was not in my mailbox when I got home. (Tola, you get your wish.) I texted all three of the boys. Left Stonewall a voice mail, and one for his wife. Ate some dinner. Then I sat down and composed an email to all eight kids and the five spouses.

Stonwall is specifically disinvited from the sealing ceremony on Saturday. I likened his current behavior to that which his father and I experienced over the lack of communication, or payments, on the furniture he (Stonewall) purchased for their new home.

I stated that until I have his signed, notarized deed in my hands, no further items of sentimental value will leave the property.

I told him that the one-eighth portion of my estate which would have gone to him upon my death will be held in trust for his son and any future siblings and administered by a guardian ad litem should I die before my grandchildren reach their majority.

I asked his brother to give Stonewall's wife a ride to the temple if she is still willing to come.

And then I hit "send".

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A good Sabbath.

I bound off the second swatch before church. Unblocked, it hits gauge right on the button for stitches per inch. I have no idea how much it will grow after wet-blocking. I am currently working on swatch number three, using the smallest needles so far. I do not plan to make it as long as the first two; I'll use up what's left of the ball and wet-block all three of them at once.

Sibling did, in fact, speak with his brother on Friday night. Brother says he has a copy at work and will get it notarized and bring it to me after work tomorrow. If he does, it will be a step in the direction of regaining my trust. He will get a handshake and my thanks. If he does not, Ms. Ravelled puts Plan B into action.

Some of you will have seen a movie that I have not. Beloved said it contained perhaps the only legitimate use of the f-bomb in cinematic history. Adventures in Babysitting. With the classic line, "Don't (bleep) with the babysitter."

Sibling will have heard his father make that comment, more than once. I referred to it and added that his brother would do well to cease trifling with my patience.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day. I don't know what the babysitter did to protect her charges. But I have a pretty clear idea of what to do next if the brother fails to keep his word. (Again.)

And if Plan B doesn't work, I just might Firstborn loose on him. But I think Plan B is inspired, and if so then Heaven and I have it covered.

Tune in tomorrow night for more of "As the Estate Turns."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Updating my updates.

I had posted, a week ago Thursday, about my frustration with a family member who is stonewalling me. After speaking with his wife on Saturday morning, I felt somewhat better and edited that post to give him the benefit of the doubt. I have now removed that edit. It reads as originally written.

I slept like a log last night. I'm not sure if I moved at all, because I woke up not-coughing but stiff and creaky. I will be drinking vats of water today.

This is the five month anniversary of Beloved's death. I need to restock the fridge and pantry; I plan to be at Costco when the doors open. I also need to hit the American Girl store for a gift card for the youngest granddaughter, who turns eight next week.

I suspect that there will be sporadic naps throughout the day. No painting. And very little knitting. We shall see.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A great insult that I will probably never get to say.

I heard it at Bar None last night. "The proctologist called. He found your head." I know someone who richly deserves to hear it.

I am quietly livid this evening. Coughing so hard I can feel it in my ankles. (So, maybe NOT so quietly livid.) Tired from being up too late last night. And twelve kinds of sick and tired. The penultimate piece of paperwork is on its way to my attorney. The last piece is being held up for reasons I do not comprehend.

I have deputized one of his siblings to reemphasize the message I sent to all three of them earlier this week. I want the signed paperwork no later than Sunday evening after church. That gives him tomorrow morning to get the fresh copy that I left with his wife last Saturday, notarized at the bank.

I am hoping that his brother will be able to exercise moral suasion on him. I texted the holdout on Wednesday and requested a response. I sent him a message on FB requesting him to respond. He read that Thursday morning at 12:21. No response.

I absolutely believe his wife, that she saw a signed, notarized deed which went out the door with her husband. I do not necessarily believe that he mailed it.

And while I wait to see if the sibling is successful, I am steadily braiding my whip.

Not a lot of knit happened today. Taking a dose of Hydrocodone cough syrup and calling it a night.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chooseday.

Found myself arguing with my need to be right yesterday. Still crops up from time to time. One of my less attractive characteristics. Maybe by the time I am ready to leave mortality, the Spirit and I will have beaten that sword into a plowshare.

In other news, the paperwork that I need to take to my sealing is done. It was lacking two dates. Since I have no idea where my book of remembrance is (as Beloved would say, "It's in the house"), I had to log in to Family Search again and look up the date I was sealed by proxy to my parents. And I had left off the date that Beloved and I were wed.

No, I don't think that's my subconscious. Just one more sly dig from Below.

I knit a handful of stitches on the swatch. A bunch of us took Mellow to lunch for his birthday. I have half a slice of most excellent meatloaf in the fridge for my supper tonight, if I choose not to attend Knit Night.

Lawn Dude will be here today. I put the the key to the gate in my shoe before bedtime. I can't forget to unlock the gate if I have to handle the key right before walking out the door. When I called to say how nice the yard looked after his first visit, he said it would look even better after a second visit.

Cat is driving me nuts. (Hush.) Mel and Squishy started moving into their new place last weekend. Soon they will come get the cat. Who is turning into the feline equivalent of a four year old. Stands outside the bedroom door and whines. And is seriously, perpetually underfoot. I take two steps. And stop. Three steps. And stop. One step. And stop.

I have reached the point where I get when I've been told that I'm getting released from a calling at church. Excited. Antsy.

Gimme three steps, gimme three steps, Cricket.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

He who shall not be named.

No. Not Tom Riddle. The other one. Apparently he has friends at the post office.

My daughter in law watched the signed, notarized deed go out of the house to be mailed to my attorney. There has been a long history of miscommunication with her husband. There are frustration and hurt feelings on both sides.

So easy for the Adversary to make hay with that. So easy for me to be skeptical. But when I sat in her living room yesterday (he was out, helping with a youth activity) I believed her. And I still do. She loves her husband. But she loves the Lord more. I left a second copy of the deed. Once he has signed it I will hand carry it to my attorney's office. And that will be that.

And I will not be fighting feelings of ill-will on what is meant to be one of the happiest days of my life.

Whew. Deep cleansing breath. Sometimes being wrong about what is going on is a lovely thing.

Thunder and lightning out there. Enough to set off somebody's car alarm. We really need this rain. We are currently under stage 3 watering restrictions.

Whoa. That one was close. Car alarm went off again.

This is my third house. (I tend to forget our experience in the Hill Country.) And it has a slab foundation, which needs to be watered approximately once a week. Drought notwithstanding, we have had enough rainfall each week that I have not had to use the soaker hoses. Or go discover where the outside faucet is.

And because Beloved and his late wife were obedient and provident, I have a plethora of umbrellas in the hall closet. So it doesn't matter that my favorite umbrella is in Lorelai's backseat.

Knitting news: knit did not happen yesterday. The closest I got was to grab the book and page through it until I reached the pattern. I will start swatching with a needle three sizes smaller than the pattern specifies. And probably work down from there. The disheartening thing is that she recommends an eight inch swatch. Which is roughly twice as wide and twice as long as a typical swatch.

Le sigh. Well that certainly qualifies as sufficiently mindless for church knitting.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Blessings.

I slept really well last night. Or at least I think I did. I woke a little after 5:00 and gave the stuff in the dryer a few minutes more. Which reminds me that I need to go gather that up. Fifteen or twenty minutes' work would have all the laundry folded and put away. And a smaller mountain on the fallow side of the bed.

I have a small craft project for Primary today (something for me to do, not something for the kids to do, to replace items that were taken out of our Primary closet two weeks ago). And a drive by fooding of the elders later today. I am almost in the mood to cook.

I'll wait while you pick yourselves up off the floor.

The Scowl/Scollar is done, all but weaving in the ends and blocking. I am not sure if I am ready to cast on Knit Swirl. I will absolutely have to swatch first. And we all know how much I love that.

But you cast on 700+ stitches. A minuscule difference in gauge could give me something that would fit Audrey Hepburn or slipcover a couch. It's not knit traditionally in pieces or tubes. It's knit on the bias from the outside edges in. There's no way to try it on and check the fit as I go. And I have $200+ of yarn that may or may not frog well. (Noro Silk Garden.)

In financial news, when I spoke with my sister in law the other night, she told me there'd been a distribution from her mother's estate. Beloved's share was applied to the balance on the truck. So I now owe significantly less. There will be another distribution in two or three months which might zero it out entirely.

Pretty seriously cool.

At the end of 2011, for about six weeks, I was debt free. Then came wedding preparations, including the purchase of Beloved's ring. Size 15. Lotsa gold. And taking on his medical expenses last year. By the end of this year I hope to have only the mortgage.

When I am frustrated and discouraged about how long it is taking to settle Beloved's estate, I look at where we were financially the week he died, and where I am now, and I feel somewhat safer.

When I walked out of the Social Security office with the knowledge that I would have to wait several years for drawing a widow's benefit to make sense, I sat in Lorelai and howled in despair. Counting the mortgage, I was approximately two years' worth of gross income in debt.

And I just now realized that if I do achieve this year's financial goals, then when I start drawing my widow's benefit, I can throw it into principal payments on the mortgage and be entirely, blessedly debt free by the time I am 70. And could think about retirement and serving a mission. And doing a lot of good with the money that is now going into paying off debt.

Meanwhile, I will fold laundry and start swatching.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Stressed? Less.

But not as much as I'd like. Had another good, productive day at work yesterday. All but one of my to-do's done. SemperFi's mail read, worked and filed. Mellow's mail read and my half of it worked. Attorney B's mail read but not worked or filed. Just a good close examination to make sure there were no hot potatoes. One file closed and three more that I will close today.

Last night I spoke with my sister-in-law, who has one of the two remaining pieces of paperwork we need to file for the estate and has been lugging it in her purse for a week. She has been even busier at her work than I; she's the president of her company, a woman of impeccable integrity, and will get the document to my attorney shortly.

And then I will focus my energies on securing that last piece. One of my friends posted a Will Rogers quote: Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find a rock.

I loathe confrontation. And I loathe dealing with passive aggressive people. (I thought I was done with that when the children were grown and I no longer had to co-parent with the children's father.) And I loathe feeling lied-to. And I think I have been patient just about long enough.

I fired a warning shot over the bow earlier this week. And unless the Spirit tells me otherwise, the next time I take aim there will be metaphorical rock salt pointed at somebody's derrière.

It has been an interesting process to ponder this. Sometimes we are supposed to be patient and wait for Heaven to fight our battles. Sometimes we have to roll up our sleeves and work it out. I try to follow Brigham Young's counsel to work as if it all depended on me and pray as if it all depended on the Lord.

I listened to the part of the Book of Ether earlier this week when the brother of Jared was building the barges. He got specific instructions on how to put them together. When he brought up the question of how to light them inside, the Lord told him to figure it out.

So in my situation am I supposed to be patient? (See above.) Because if I am supposed to do the heavy lifting, I want to do it in a way that strengthens the family. I want to have a peaceful relationship with this individual. And I would also like to move forward financially. Which is hard when my calls and emails are not returned.

Stonewalling is one of the most hateful things we do as imperfect human beings.

Two weeks from tomorrow all the individuals on both sides of the family who are (theoretically or actually) temple-worthy will gather at the temple for my sealing to Beloved. I would like to have this settled before then. I do not want to be harboring resentment against one of my family members.

Oh how I wish I could counsel with somebody's mama. I want to be good to her child. But I also want to pinch his head off.

Beware the anger of a quiet ma'am.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Jottings

Monday was splendid. Great productivity at work. Sunny attitude on my part. Came home and had a meaningful Family Home Evening activity.

Yesterday was interesting. Pretty much in the Chinese sense. Mild to moderare headache all day. And while I can usually distract and amuse myself with the reminder that it's better to *have* one than to *be* one, yesterday I had trouble holding that thought. And my Naproxen was in a drawer here at home. So I had to make due with extra strength acetaminophen.

Today it appears to be the Reflux Fairy's turn. I've been up for about 45 minutes with a hunka hunka burning gut. Just slugged down a little buttermilk and am waiting for it to settle before lying down again.

More later.

It is now "later". Took awhile, but I did get back to sleep. The headache has returned, although it is much weaker than yesterday. And today I remembered to grab the Naproxen.

This is likely to be a somewhat unproductive day. I have a phone conference later this morning, and I leave shortly thereafter to see my dentist and get a filling.

In the good news department, one more piece of necessary paperwork has arrived at my attorney's office. We are now waiting on only two more, and then we can file the whole shebang.

And last weekend I was playing with my spreadsheet. I think I have come up with a reasonable plan to pay off both the truck and the line of credit by the end of the year. I will try it for two or three months and see if it's as workable as I think.

Next year my Federal withholding will go back to the single rate. If my only debt at that time is the mortgage, I would still have a livable cash flow.

If you still have not prepared your will, consider this a urgent, friendly reminder. What you spend on the paperwork will be more than repaid in peace of mind.

Later still. At the dentist's. Mouth about half numb. Love how my teeth don't quite meet properly on that side. Normal occlusion on the other side. Weird.

What? You don't come here for pure stream of consciousness? No knitting to report. Although I did browse eight or nine knitting magazines between leaving the office and showing up here. Bought not a one of them. Not even tempted.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Important stuff. And less important stuff.

I will toggle back and forth between the two. I spent a few minutes sitting in the lobby of my former bank yesterday, waiting to solve a wee mystery. Beloved and I had more than one account there. And last week I got notification that one of them was overdrawn, which was interesting, as both of them are closed. The letter said that they had made multiple attempts to contact me. News to me!

Mystery was solved quickly and painlessly. Because of how we set up the account, when it zeroed out it began to generate a $20 per month service charge. The bank promptly closed the account and had already reversed the charge before I got there to investigate. And they are canceling the various notifications I am getting, from paper statements to emails to miscellaneous correspondence. Yay!

We have a sealing date and a time. I have a fresh sheaf of new paperwork to fill out and bring with me when I go to the temple. Max capacity of the largest sealing room is 53. We'll be very close to that limit. The brother I wanted for our sealer is available that day. I have my proxy for Beloved. And an escort for me. And two guests of honor as representatives for our respective mothers. And an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of acceptances, regrets, and pendings. And who knows how many loved ones from the other side, filling in the spaces. (Thankfully, none of whom will require a chair.)

I am calmly expecting chaos of one sort or another until this is accomplished. The work we do in the temples is true, and the Adversary hates it. So I will be studying harder, praying longer, spending as much time serving the living and the dead as possible, consistent with rebuilding my health. And I will gratefully accept all prayers and positive thoughts you care to fling my way.

This is where the rubber meets the road.

I found the right frame for my art print yesterday. She is leaning against the bookcase in the living room. I won't post a photo because of the copyright. But when the dining room is done you might catch a glimpse of her. In the meantime: Jay Long in Austin is the artist. Look for "The Heroine". There are curliques in the carving on the frame that echo her tresses. Feeling really good about that. (And it was 50% off.)