About Me

My photo
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!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Banjo? Ordered.

Not in stock when I went there after work. However, we found a used one in Killeen, in good condition, with a hard case, for $100 less than a new banjo alone, thus saving me nearly $250. It should show up at the office within the week. They already think I'm eccentric. This will keep that reputation burnished.

I routinely do not buy new cars. I've bought a used recorder. (Which is a little like kissing some stranger on the sidewalk downtown.) A banjo goes nowhere near my mouth. I think I'll be fine with a few fingerprints and similar signs of wear. Plus, anyone who sees me with a thoroughly broken-in banjo is likely to assume I can actually play it.

I have so enjoyed saving up for this. I found a satisfaction in planning and following through that I could not have imagined in my younger years. I hope I enjoy learning to play every bit as much.

I bought the instruction book. It comes with a CD and DVD. And the guy at the music store said I should take back the guitar stand for a refund and keep my banjo in its case when I'm not playing it. So I will; I keep Olive in her case. I'll just continue the habit.

I wonder what the banjo's name will be? I have a car named Lorelai. A truck named Tardis. An olivewood recorder named, naturally enough, Olive. Although I suppose I could have named her Olivia, but she's really more of an Olive.

I'm hoping that the banjo does not turn out to be Mephistopheles. Or Jezebel.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why, hello Tuesday! When did you sneak in?

On my way home to meet the appraiser, I got a call from their office: would it be OK to push the meeting back to 7:00pm? Not the six hours I had wished for in the morning, but a nice three hour chunk that I put to good use.

The next load for charity is accruing in the truck. The shredder got quite a workout. Beloved's cowboy boots are actually in the closet, as are three pairs of my own shoes. The box of CPAP supplies is unpacked and its contents put to use. The empty box is in the trash, and the trash bin is on the curb. The pile of stuff on the fallow side of the bed is significantly diminished. The guitar stand is assembled.

I am about to tackle the contents of another smallish box. It looks innocuous. (This is the part in a movie when scary music starts to play and you yell at the screen.) The top of the desk by my bed is still ridiculous. That's OK. It can wait awhile longer.

I am hoping there will be time between work and the Primary presidency meeting to go get my banjo. That hope will sustain me through this morning's docket meeting and whatever piled up on my desk after I left the office yesterday afternoon.

Hey, box! Fear and tremble! You are no match for a future banjo player!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Quick! Slip me another day!

Preferably before 7:00am. I have thoroughly enjoyed my weekend of unaccustomed social-butterfly-ness. Had an unexpected and utterly delightful dinner invitation last night. Made a pan of brownies. We had pork chops simmered in apple juice with apples, alongside fresh homemade pasta. So good! I stayed for family scripture study and family prayer.

Made a new friend, the husband's aunt. We clicked immediately. She is a younger widow, having lost her husband in April. They have twin daughters, age 12.

I came home and ran a load of laundry. In a minute I will start another. I made great memories this weekend. My heart loves that. And my inner list-maker is twitching because of all of the stuff that didn't get done. (My inner list-maker can go sit in the corner. But that doesn't change the fact that I have about six hours' worth of things I would like to check off the list before I leave for work in a little over an hour.)

I am going to choose to dwell on what I was able to accomplish this weekend. And I am going to politely but firmly tell that minuscule part of me which fears judgment by others, and which is blessedly silent 362 days of the year, to stuff a sock in it. (I have plenty of clean ones!)

The appraiser will be here this afternoon. The appraiser is here to measure my house and not to judge my worthiness as a human being.

Ten minutes will get all the clean laundry hung up, and then the empty hampers can go out to the truck. A full bag of freshly laundered spare bedding is also waiting by the front door.

Fear? Thbppp! Take that!!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Progress. No, really.

I mucked out the linen closet yesterday. And under the desk by my bed. Emptied both of those plastic dishpans. They now hold light bulbs.

There is one small basket of rags, neatly corralled. I have about half of the cleaning supplies, beauty supplies, and otherwise noxious chemicals gathered onto a single shelf.

I found the rest of the short blue glasses. They will go to Squishy. Along with a large box of photographs. The green towels have gone to Fourthborn.

A travel iron is now with my carry-on bag. I found a third iron, this one reminiscent of the Starship Enterprise. Keeping it.

The rest of the towels in that closet, everything not a wedding gift but still in excellent condition, has gone to charity along with the crutches and the walker. And I mean gone to charity, as in loaded into the truck and dropped off.

I found another first aid kit, uncharacteristically filled with expired ointments and potions. I will remedy that.

When I was cleaning out under the desk,  I found a large paper bag with three unopened boxes of Lovenox (anticoagulant, for the blood clots in Beloved's lungs that were caused by chemo). I had found a handful of loose syringes when cleaning off/out his desk that I had set aside, and some insulin syringes for his late wife. I bundled it all up and took it to the fire station.

I never know what is going to start the waterworks. Apparently talking to kind young (gorgeous) men is a trigger. Those guys were so good to Beloved, the two trips to ER when they came and got him. I thanked them for that (not the first time). Who knew that a fire station could become holy ground?

Of all the stuff I hauled out of the linen closet, very little went into the trash. Lots of non-personal paper from the two dishpans. The rattiest of the rags. But I still managed to half-fill the bin. Two or three times as much stuff got re-homed.

The linen closet is now usable. I need to do two loads of laundry for me, and a couple more for sheets that I can then donate. They're clean, but they have that funky, unaired smell. If I bend the Sabbath, I can get that all done before bedtime and throw the two big hampers into the back of the truck for next weekend.

Got a little knitting done. Not as much as I would have liked, but some. And bought my banjo picks and a guitar stand on sale. More knitting will happen today. But now it's time for breakfast.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Analyzing my space.

As an alternative to actually cleaning it. The area in front of my closet is a disaster. Two open hampers with no permanent place of abode, so they get shifted about on almost a daily basis. A tall wastebasket topped with a laptop I currently cannot use because I have not replaced my internet provider. A desk I do not like and do not use, except as a flat surface for my CPAP and the surge protector. It slso collects scarves and earrings. A short cheapie bookcase stacked on top of the desk. I do use that. A small plastic dishpan holding paperwork that needs to be dealt with. Beloved's cowboy boots. Four pairs of clogs that never quite make it into the closet. Ditto my sneakers. My tote bag. My temple bag. A chemo cleanup kit that we thankfully never needed. Another dishpan in the kneehole of the desk, filled with I'm not sure what. Bifold doors on the closet. They've got to go. (But probably not today.)

At BittyBubba's party last night, I asked 2BDH (a certified appraiser) how they measure the insides of the rooms. He told me that they don't. They measure the square footage of the house from the outside. They just photograph the rooms (which I knew). So I no longer need to worry about clearing a path through each room to allow for measuring it. Which is going to simplify my morning greatly.

From here on the bed, I can see the linen closet in the hall. It has a space on the bottom to collect the laundry. It is crammed full of stuff. And will hold two kitchen wastebaskets a little taller than the ones I have. Maybe three?

I am fixin' to purge that closet. Get rid of the old towels. Reorganize all of the cleaning supplies from the kitchen and both bathrooms onto the upper shelves. And set up the lower space for its intended use. Then my tall plastic hampers can find new homes, and I can tackle this corner of my room. I think I have a third kitchen wastebasket this size somewhere in the house. I love home improvement projects that cost nothing but my time!

This is the part where I finish breakfast, put on some perky music, set the timer, and see how much I can accomplish in half hour increments.

Friday, July 26, 2013

To air (out) is human; to Elgar is divine.

After dinner last night ~ ice cream cone, salmon burger, and leftover potatoes O'Brien ~ I set the ladybug kitchen timer for half an hour and tackled the hall between my room and my studio. The bit that has three bookcases in it. And had an assortment of small boxes, bags, and large framed artwork.

The artwork I am keeping is now along the finished wall in the dining room, waiting to be hung up. The rest is by the front door and will go out to the truck tomorrow morning and off to the thrift store. Along with a pair of crutches that are miles too long for me and a walker, both of which could be doing some good in the world.

The living room needs maybe 15 minutes. I might tackle it after breakfast and before my shower. The dining room is navigable. Two minutes or less if all I do is put the thoroughly dry umbrella away in the closet. An hour or so if I finish emptying the bookcases on the west wall into the boxes I've brought home so I may finish painting in there. (Painting will not happen this weekend unless somebody slips me an extra day between tomorrow and Sunday.)

After I pried my eyes open this morning, I checked the middle bedroom. The one that will someday be my office. There is a path to the window. I'm making no apologies for that room, and I'm calling it done.

Which leaves both bathrooms. Both of which need a serious scrubbing. Guest bathroom needs to be divested of a plethora of cleaning products which were cluttering up the vanity and have been cluttering up the floor for longer than I am willing to admit. An hour would have both rooms spotless.

My bedroom needs something between one and two hours. Same for my studio. The breakfast nook area is a shambles after the kitchen window episode. I'm thinking three hours for the kitchen, given how overstuffed it is. And how much I dread tackling it.

But all of it eminently doable. And probably before lunch tomorrow, even with rest breaks.

Last night I rewarded myself by watching the rest of "August Rush." The music finished what the massage had started: big tears, real sobs, and an increased sense of peace.

Did I mention that on the way home from Knit Night, I listened to a glorious recording of an/the Elgar cello concerto? And recognized that it was part of the soundtrack to "August Rush?" I thought it came at the beginning, but it's part of the finale. And it is perfect. On its own, and as part of the whole.

There is something about the cello that opens my heart. Classical violin can be lovely. Fiddling is more satisfying. But cello (and to a lesser extent the harp) touch my heartstrings in a way that not even Charlie Daniels playing "Orange Blossom Special" can match.

Breakfast is done. Umbrella is folded. Bagel for lunch is sliced and bagged and in my purse. The rest can wait until tonight, after Bitty Bubba's party, or tomorrow.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Doots and doodles.

Massage last night was very intense. Parts of it were physically painful, and other parts were emotionally difficult. Tears to the eyes but never quite released. Eardrums burning from unshed tears. Dry sobs. Sinuses partially filling but not loosening up enough to be cleansing.

Still, I think we are making progress. Shaking up old griefs and letting crumbs of them go. Me being me, I spend more time trying to figure out what is going on than I do simply accepting the process and letting it flow through me.

It just occurred to me that perhaps one reason I lost Beloved so soon is so that I would have an opportunity to (finally) process a lifetime of griefs that I have either not had time to work through or have had to be The Strong One through. Or the little losses that didn't or don't seem worth bothering the Savior for.

OK, tears now. Still not spilling, but not burning my eardrums either. Honk! Sniff!

Re: doots and doodles. When playing the recorder, one says doot while shaping most notes. Doodle for short notes played in quick succession, such as a run of eighth notes. I realized night before last that on a song I recently learned, I was dooting along madly regardless of the length of the notes. So I went back and started trying to doodle in the flurries. Not pretty. My tang(ue) got toungled. Massively.

Last night I gave the actual playing fairly short shrift. I spent most of my time sight reading for doots and doodles, saying those words out loud, over and over and over. Gradually picking up the speed. Gaining a little confidence. Tonight I'll practice some more, in the hope of doodling smoothly at the speed I had formerly achieved with doots alone. When I am able to do that, the melody will flow more naturally.

Successful doodling on this piece will prepare me for sixteenth notes when they begin to pop up in my lessons. Because you know they will. Eventually I will be wrangling Telemann. Bazillions of itty bitty quick notes in a blizzard of sound. While giving thanks that I am not a violin player faced with a Rossini score.

I once asked another music lover if he thought Rossini hated violinists.

"Clearly."

Doodle-doodle doodle-doodle doodle-doodle doot!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Call from the appraisers.

Could they come by this afternoon at 2:00? Umm, that would be a no. I have a job. And I took off two hours on Monday. And 45 minutes yesterday. Three consecutive days would be a bit much.

Plus, there is the matter of the appraiser needing to measure and photograph each room. The living room and dining room would not present a problem. The kitchen is still a little out of array from my having climbed in through the window, but easily tidied.

The hall is full of boxes from when hospice came. The middle bedroom is filled with boxes. I haven't looked in there in weeks. There might be a path through the middle of it.

My studio and bedroom will require maybe an hour apiece. All eminently doable, unassisted, but not between last night's Knit Night and leaving for work this morning.

So I told them "next week." And they will be here late Monday afternoon.

The meeting with the mortgage company went well. Disclosures are all signed. Closing sometime in the next 30 days, most likely.

They have to order copies of my tax returns, a legible copy of the HUD statement from the prior purchase by Beloved and his late wife from somebody's archives because my copy is so faded as to be useless, and who knows what else.

But on paper I look remarkably solvent. We should alert the Guinness people.

In knitting news, I have finished the sleeve increases and am working back and forth towards the back of the neck. The jacket is still an unwieldy, colorful amoeba. Turning it at the end of each row is rather a production. I'm about to add on another ball of yarn. I've lost count of how many so far.

So I counted.

What's left? Five whole balls plus a tiny partial one; half a ball from that last disconcerting knot mid-ball; and the one that's in my knitting bag to be joined somewhere along the next row. Roughly six and a half balls. So approximately twelve and a half balls have gone into this jacket. Because I just remembered the ball I used up while swatching.

Time for breakfast and then out the door. Massage tonight, because my knees have been cranky all week since the last one. I can't decide if it's a healing sort of cranky or not. (It feels a lot like when I broke my femur line dancing. And I can't take the Naproxen because I've been eating grapefruit.)

Breakfast. Breakfast would be good.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Six hours.

That's how much time I put in at the office yesterday. We work a 38.75 hour week, so the first hour and a quarter were straight time, but yes. It very much looks like I will be bringing my banjo home two weeks from this coming Friday.

Tan has counseled me to find a teacher. One of my church friends told me today that her father plays. And that there is a banjo group in Dallas. I've asked her to ask him if he or his friends can recommend a teacher.

I do, occasionally, follow advice. It keeps you all off-balance.

I completed the sleeve increases on my jacket before church. Now it's just back and forth, back and forth until I get to the back of the neck.

But first there will be a nap.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Call from the mortgage people.

They need two more pieces of paperwork. And I knew which folder they were in. And found said folder quite easily. One item is printed on that slick, shiny paper and quite faded. I do not think it will fax well. The other is on regular paper and is marginally more readable.  But I happen to work at a place where I may scan them, or ask a friend to, and then email them.

The disclosures are nearly ready for my signature. I have the option of having them emailed to me and then faxing them back. But I told him that I am just sufficiently old fashioned that I would like to meet him and shake his hand. Buying a house is a Big Deal in this woman's book. Even if essentially it is an amazingly uncomplicated refinance of an existing mortgage.

When the children's father and I bought our house in Irving, it took ten days from start to finish. Unheard of at the time. And we felt very blessed for that. I wonder if it will take even less time for this house?

I'm fine if it doesn't. I waited so long to get sealed to Beloved, and to get the last of the paperwork for the estate, that waiting to close on the house is a non-issue. (Well, so far. That could change.)

In knitting news, I've begun the serious increases on the sleeves. And I've come to another knot in the yarn. One of the few things I dislike about Noro is the frequency of knots in a premium yarn. Another is their tendency to grab a strand that doesn't match. For a yarn whose beauty comes from long, gradual color transitions, this is jarring. So now I need to undo the knot, plug in my Ott-Lite, and start comparing ends on the remaining balls of yarn. When I would much rather be eating breakfast.

Hrmph.

It's Friday. Huzzah! And I am working overtime tomorrow (most of the support staff will be) to knock out a special project. That should give me the rest of the money for my banjo. And it will not be an all day project. So I will be able to attend the 65th birthday party of a friend I thought was younger than I. (Clean living, people. Clean living and good genetics.)

Squishy went with me to field-test new chairs for the dining room. Found them at World Market. They won't be coming home with me anytime soon. Not until the painting is done and the flooring replaced. But they are solid: mahogany-stained acacia, and I like their lines.

There were some gorgeous chairs at Pier One, but those were lightweights. Unbraced Queen Anne legs are my favorite, aesthetically, but there are few of us on either side of the tribe who would not make short work of such delicacy. I want chairs that are likely to outlast me. And I plan on being here another 40 years.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PBJ as lemming.

The spilt milk of night before last was the toe in the door for more mishaps. Yesterday as I was assembling breakfast (schmear on a cheese bagel) and lunch (PBJ), I was zipping right along. Bagel was sliced and slathered. I had spread a generous layer of peanut butter on one slice of bread. And plopped a big blob of our homemade pomegranate jelly on another.

I picked up the slice with the peanut butter, intending to set it atop the bagel so as to have more room to wield the knife in spreading the jelly. And it leaped out of my grasp, landing sunny side down on the area rug.

The cat has walked on that rug. Three second rule does not apply. New slice of bread.

Silver lining: I was able to use up the last of the peanut butter. And successfully transfer the slice atop the bagel. At which point the blob of jelly made a break for it, landing almost exactly where the bread had landed. (The second slice, however, stayed put.) And I was able to finish making my PBJ.

But wait, there's more. I've mentioned that I am taking an alternate route to work. I have been trying different approaches so as to learn where the school zones are.

Yesterday I took a new southbound street, got to my westbound street, and when I reached the southbound street I had been taking, turned south again. Because that's the street I turn south on, right?

I had driven maybe half a mile before realizing my mistake. And I didn't know how to get  from where I was to where I wanted to be, so I turned around. I still made it to work on time with time for knitting.

In other news, I faxed three smallish chunks of paperwork to the bank and successfully navigated their online application to refinance the mortgage. Exciting. And a little scary.

I'm getting another massage tonight. I seem to have worked out the kinks from climbing through the window the other night. The massive bruise above my left elbow has faded and is only barely tender.

I've managed several instances of organizational purging chez Ravelled since last week's massage. And I think I am hoping that another massage will encourage more of the same. Strengthen the body, increase the exit of toxins, boost the energy, increase the endurance, and see the increasing physical health manifested in greater order in my environment. That's the plan anyway.

I also made a quick run to the bookstore last night for a copy of C. S. Lewis' "A Grief Observed." I am not aware of feeling particularly grieve-ish. I only realized last night that Monday was exactly six months after Beloved's passing. It was simply experienced (at least consciously) as the day between Middlest's birthday and Dad’s. Yesterday I got the quarterly mailing from the funeral home, a pamphlet which is heartfelt and well-meaning but not especially well-written. And I had read a reference recently to Lewis' book about the death of his wife, Joy. So I dashed out and bought it. It's a lovely edition, made to look like an older book with deckled edges. And the foreword is by Madeleine L'Engle, another favorite.

It may turn out that I've bought the book for someone else. But for now I am going to read it and learn from it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Spilt milk.

No. Literally. From a glass still half full, dislodged from its precarious perch on the corner of my desk, by my non-London derrière (a musical pun to start your day) as I sorted through a bin of miscellaneous paperwork in search of my tax return for 2011. I picked up the glass, threw an old washcloth down onto the puddle, and kept searching.

I had already found my W-2's for last year, in with the piles and piles of stuff on Beloved's desk, as well as our marriage license, the conformed copies just received from my attorney, a copy of both death certificates, and copies of the letters to the creditors of the estate.

That was my FHE last night. I hope yours was less messy but at least equally fruitful. Why all this activity, you ask? Because I got a call back from the officer at the mortgage department telling me that the title company said,"Bring it on!"

He didn't specifically request a copy of the marriage license, but I vaguely recall another man at that bank telling us we would need it, when we got them to start listing Beloved's late wife as deceased on the monthly bill.

Belt and suspenders.

During the course of the evening, I shoved tax-related paperwork for 2012 into three manila envelopes. I'm still not done. But I think I'm out of envelopes for the moment.

I skimped a little on recorder practice last night. I seriously skimped on reading in my French BOM. I will repent of both tonight. But since I was so tired that I forgot to set the alarm, I need to fix lunch and inhale breakfast and decide what to wear and take out the trash and see if there's one last virginal envelope so I can mail the truck title to my sister in law in California.

All, ideally, in the next 33 minutes.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A very quiet weekend.

I went back to Trader Joe's on Friday. Came home with bargains and some new things to try.

All the bills are paid. All of them. Tithing check is written and in my bag for church. I am nearly $450 less in debt than I was last Sunday. In four weeks I will have paid off a smidgen over half of the balance on my line of credit. If you had said to me, that morning I sat sobbing in my car in the parking lot of the Social Security office, that six months later I would have paid off or otherwise dealt with 75% of my non-mortgage debt, I would have sent for the men in the white coats.

These are tithing blessings. Heaven could not have enabled me to make this kind of progress had I not been writing that check each payday. I sit with my spreadsheet and watch the good numbers come up and the bad numbers go down. And I say,"Do You see what we are doing here?" Because I certainly could not have done this in the past, or alone. When I was young, I had minimal financial self-discipline. When I was married to the children's father, we had no predictable, steady income. As a single parent, I had intermittent child support. Even when I was empty-nesting in Fort Worth, I still struggled to break old habits.

Last year's counseling over the bills with Beloved, helped me to turn the corner. And I am so thankful. Now, the Lord continues to get His cut, right off the top as He has for years. Slightly less than 10% goes into my 401K's. Another 10% goes into short-term savings. And I live on what's left, using the scrimping skills I've polished to a fine art. And I don't feel as if I were missing out on anything.

Next year, when I will have only mortgage debt, the vast sums that currently go for debt reduction will go into savings. And when Lorelai gives up the ghost, I hope to pay cash for her replacement. I have saved almost all I will need for my banjo.

So blessed. So very, very blessed.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Never a dull moment, chez Ravelled.

Well, I figured out how to copy text from a message but not how to paste it here. And it's a long story. You might want to take a comfort break and make sure that you don't have a mouthful of milk before you read any farther.

OK. Ready?

I had to break into my own house last night. It would have made a great Youtube video. I took a pillow case filled with whites and a measuring cup of water and the night's serving of cat food into the garage so I could kill three birds with one stone: run a load of laundry, feed the cat, and not let him into the house.

Poured his water. Refilled his kibbles. Started the washer. Turned the handle to the kitchen door. Which, for the first time in a year and a half, I had not carefully unlocked first. Realized my plight.

Tried to force the door. I am (now) pleased to report that the lock held. Looked about for something with which to break the window, after first making sure that I would be able to reach the deadbolt on the other side. Spied a monkey wrench. Started banging on the glass. Made a lot of noise but no progress. That glass might be bullet-proof. Or possibly resurrected.

So I walked out the back door into the back yard and cased the joint. To my delight, the window by the kitchen table looked low enough that if I could get it open and extract one of the chairs, I would be able to stand on the chair and go in through the window.

Opening the window was easy. (I will fix that this weekend.) Pushing a table piled high with *stuff* forward enough to wrangle the chair out? Not so much. No leverage. It must have taken me ten minutes. Maybe more. And then another five to get my hot, sweaty, and thoroughly uncooperative legs through the window. Partly because by this point I was laughing so hard.

Once in, I unlocked the door, walked back outside to the window, carried the chair inside, and retrieved the measuring cup and container with the leftover kibbles from the garage. The cat had gotten so spooked by my banging on the window that he was sitting under the bois d'arc tree giving me the fish eye.

As well he might.

I looked at the clock in my bedroom and decided that there was probably time to go find the Trader Joe's in Plano before they closed. A little free trade chocolate seemed like just the ticket to salve my dignity. I got there 20 minutes after they closed, but now I know where they are. And I will probably go back there tonight after work.

I also found the Sprouts in Plano, which may be a little bit closer than the one in Murphy. And some other places I want to check out.

So I got an adventure. Some exercise. A nice drive. New restaurants to try. A better grasp of local geography. An ice cream cone on the drive home. And enormous fun with Olive the Recorder once I got back.

This lesson is replete with eighth notes and dotted quarter notes. I am getting to play scraps of folk songs and simple dances. Some of which are just lovely. I'm a long way from being able to play a Telemann recorder concerto. And I miss noodling around with the children's songbook from church, or my hymnal. But this very basic stuff feels like the right thing to do.

Time for me to go get the clean clothing out of the dryer. After making sure the door is thoroughly unlocked. *And* I have my keys. And my phone.

Belt and suspenders, as SemperFi would say.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Good week so far.

I only had 117 emails waiting for me at work on Monday. I was down to 14 or so when I left last night. I completed my mandatory training for this quarter. I was working yesterday's mail, having caught it up for one and a half dockets from the 27th.

I got a massage last night. The hip inflammation is back on my right side. Less so on the left. Both ankles are inflamed, left more than right. Right knee more than left. Shoulders tight but neck much improved. Overall, significantly more relaxed notwithstanding the flare ups. She said the anxiety is gone from my face and my voice.

She floated the idea of acupuncture. I am open to it and will see if my insurance covers it. She also suggested that if I had any anti inflammatory meds, that I take some last night, which I did. Slept like a champ.

I'm up to 40 minutes on the recorder each night. Loving it. And I have over $400 saved towards my banjo.

Much progress on my jacket. I am ready to start the increases for the back yoke and sleeves.

Sent out three of the letters yesterday to creditors of Beloved's estate. Faxed a fourth which did not go through. Will follow up on that today. Am waiting on the conformed copies of the paperwork, which are in the mail to me, and then it will be time to have a little chat with the mortgage company.

The cat has been banished to the garage with plenty of food and water. Monday night I saw that the scatter rug in the bathroom was all bunched up. He had left me a present. I've let the kids know. I hope they can come get him soon. He gets no further opportunities to poop in my house. At least he was not like the dogs that used to live here and did not leave it for me to step in.

There has been no emotional eating in two weeks. We should call the Guinness people or get it notarized or something. Taking three and a half bottles of water to work with me today. And some of that lovely peeled grapefruit from Costco. And maybe half a bagel if I can manage to swing by Walmart or Braum's for some cream cheese on the way to work. Those bagels are almost the size of a salad plate.

There is nothing on my calendar for tonight. I think I just might come home and put in a movie. Or go to bed early.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Home again, home again, jiggety jig.

If the purpose of vacation is to clear the mind, then I succeeded perhaps a little too well. I left for church two hours early, having gotten it into my head that we are meeting at 9:00am this year. I was ready to turn into the parking lot when I realized my error. So now I am home, pondering a quick nap with the alarm set.

There's a hornet or one of its cousins in my bathroom. I shut the door, taped a note to it, and stuffed my pajama bottoms into the gap at the bottom of the door. In the cornucopia of poisons in the kitchen and garage, surely there is a can of wasp spray. And if not, I'll pick one up tomorrow.

Traveling is hard work. I love to fly, but getting around an airport has become difficult. My right hip decided that it did not want to play, early on at PDX (Portland). I sat down to rest partway, which helped somewhat. I got escorted to the secure elevator when it was time to leave.

I managed the stairs fairly well at my sister's house. But apparently my body had had quite enough when it was time to come home. My feet and ankles are still swollen. My right shoulder aches a little. I want to curl up and sleep for three days.

I have made a lot of progress on the jacket since Thursday. It just gets prettier and prettier. When I finish the current set of decreases, I will have jettisoned 385 stitches from the 585 which I cast on. By the time this section is done, I will be down to 102 stitches. The rows go faster and faster.

Wish I could take tomorrow off and restock my fridge and pantry. I picked up a few things on my way home last night. Enough to get through the day. But I did an excellent job of clearing out the fridge before vacation. Costco run tomorrow after work. And maybe Trader Joe's after that, if I'm not too tired.

I've decided that next time I fly anywhere, and I'm the one paying for the ticket, I will spend the extra to go first class. I am so grateful to the kids for giving me this vacation. My seat last night was quite comfortable. But on the way up, my seatmates played an obnoxious video on their phone for the last 15 minutes or so of the flight. Next trip I will have my iPod and/or noise canceling headphones.

So glad I went. So glad to be home.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy birthday, Uncle Sam!

I was awake before the birds again this morning. Coughed myself awake, actually. Not the bone-jarring coughs of April and May. But enough to inspire stifled giggles: cough toot cough toot cough toot cough OK I'm up. Downstairs. Glass of juice. Cheese stick. Upstairs. Round of knitting. Catch up on the Yarn Harlot's world. And now here I am. About ready for a second round of sleep, because today is going to be a long one.

Back home in Texas the parade is about to start. A bunch of my friends will be gathering along the streets of downtown Arlington. I haven't gone since I moved to Fort Worth and then Garland. So, six years at least. My favorite part of parades when I was a kid was the floats. But for the past 20 years it's been the high school marching bands. *Love* drumlines. Love them.

Hard to believe it's been 20 years since we left the Hill Country with our tails between our legs. So much has happened. Four marriages. Two divorces. Surgeries. Births. Miscarriages. Deaths. Poverty. Love. Hope. Healing. Hard work. Repentance. Laughter. Self-discipline. Education. Persistence.

I spent some time sifting through old family photos yesterday. I look so much like my great-aunt Maria (pronounced maRYEuh). The Germanic bone structure. The fierce intelligence shining in our eyes. The "do not start with me" set of our jaws. Two tough cookies, born and bred for hard times. There is one portrait of her with her husband at a very great age. Her eyes have softened, and she is almost grinning. As if she has outlasted almost everything life could throw at her.

She was born in the 1850's and was gone decades before I got here. I did her temple work over 20 years ago. I did not feel any particular witness that she had accepted it, although the children's father did, and I took his word for it. But the spirit of my ancestors is very strong, here in my sister's house. And yesterday I felt that connection. I am feeling it again as I write.

Love lives here.