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!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Couldn't find the list.

Went shopping anyway. Spent less than $150 at Costco. Bought whole nutmeg (planned) and a pot of paperwhites (unplanned) at Central Market. Came home and took another nap, because schlepping all of that from the car to the house flat wore me out.

Cleared the area in front of the dining room window so I could start painting. Opened the can of paint to find flecks of rust all over its surface. This guarantees a trip to Home Depot today. But I need to finish the grocery shopping first.

Dinner with Brother Sushi last night. Good input from him on my renovations. Updates on his China trip. Great food. Impeccable service. Much laughter. He is a most excellent acquired brother.

Goals for today: make the lebkuchen dough and refrigerate it. Make at least one batch of turtles for the gift baskets. Take the possum traps out of the back of the truck and bait them. Paint the trim.  Set up the big tree in the living room so I may decorate it tomorrow. I would, of course, like to do about 20 more things, but I am trying to be somewhat realistic.

Somewhat. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Making a list. Checking it twice.

My brain wants to go out in the dining room and start painting trim. LittleBit is working at the mall again, and I don't know when she is going to be able to break free to paint for me. And I want that room pretty for Christmas.

But I've been up for hours, paying bills among other things, and I'm ready for the first nap of the day. I came home from Secondborn's and slept for nearly eight hours! So, breakfast around 3am was a sliver of pumpkin pie, a brownie, and a handful of roasted pistachios. Washed down with cranberry pomegranate juice, because I'm trying to stave off another kidney infection. I got a blessing from my two sons-in-law yesterday, and the backache is gone. I am listening very carefully to my body, to see if I need to go pee in a cup while I'm out and about later today.

This week's major stressor was the distinct possibility of meeting the children's father's (new) fiancee at the tribal feast. So I have been talking to myself about that. It's not that I don't want him to be happy. And definitely not that I want him back. Or that I care about her opinion of me, because even if she does join the church, we are not likely to be neighbors in the eternities. But someone whose opinion I respect has met her, and the woman is bat-poop crazy. And planning to marry the family crazy-maker.

We have quite enough crazy in this family without importing more of it. Plus, I would hate for her mental health issues to be magnified. It took me years to climb out of that rabbit hole. I can't warn her, because I'd just be seen as the vengeful ex-wife instead of someone looking out for her welfare.

So that's all been bouncing around inside my head. She wasn't there yesterday. Maybe we'll meet at Christmas? I want to be kind to her, because I remember the people who were kind to me when I was rocking the crazy, all those years ago.

And lest you think I am perfect and just waiting for that golden chariot to swoop down and carry me off, some of this is hurt pride, because he shut me out for the last few years of our marriage. It's like when the kids found inappropriate stuff on his computer years ago (after the divorce), and my reaction was "oh, you only want to have fun with images that have no values or opinions?"

So glad that I'm sealed to a man who was *present* to his last breath.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dare I say "progress"?

All four walls are painted. I spent half an hour or so clearing the floor of everything that had washed up against the east wall over the past several months. My plan was to come home and start ripping up the carpet. Both Mellow and a brother in my ward cautioned me to be careful pulling up the tack strips, because apparently it's easy to crack the concrete or tear chunks out of it.

So I spent the evening perusing my copy of Renovating Woman, which I bought maybe a dozen years ago and have been lugging along from one temporary home to another until now. And which does not address the topic of carpet, except as a covering for squeaky floorboards that must be gotten out of the way in order to fix same. I also grabbed one of the home carpentry books which has survived the purge, to no avail. While not immediately helpful, both books stay.

I got more specific, immediately useful, information from YouTube videos. In which I saw just how easy it will be for me to float a vinyl plank floor without asking for help, except maybe in getting up from the floor. And that I will want to install the new baseboards first. I wonder if I have a nail gun out in that kluge of a garage? And I wonder where the miter box has gotten to? And the hand saw? I know where the clamps are for the miter box: in the small pile of miscellaneous articles on the cusp of dining room and entryway.

So my grand plans of getting the new floor in over Thanksgiving weekend might have been excessively optimistic. But I'm reasonably sure that I can make visible progress. I had hoped to have the carpet and padding ripped up and tied into small, manageable rolls to go out on the curb this morning. I know where the kitchen twine is, when I'm ready.

In knitting news, I started the heel flap on the second baby sock yesterday. And I am now ready to turn the heel, once I get to the office. I will probably finish at Knit Night. I might even be able to pop them in the mail on the way home.

And now I'm wondering if I should use that nice expanse of uncluttered carpet to block Knit Swirl before I get busy with the utility knife? Maybe that was what held me back last night?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Best Charlotte's Web ever!

BittyBit was Nelly, one of Charlotte's babies. She spoke audibly and distinctly. The silly Goose was delightful as well. And Charlotte herself was everything one could wish. Third grade rocked that play! BittyBubba's class did the Three Little Pigs and What Does the Fox Say in Spanish. Twice each, so every child got to participate.

I came home, took a nice nap, knitted a little, and went to the middle school production of Night at the Wax Museum. My young friend Ky played John Adams, sometime POTUS and legal counsel to Anne Boleyn!!! The cast kept it moving, and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Today I finished the first baby sock and started the second. I also cut-in on the last wall in the dining room and brush-painted about 80% of the rest of the wall because I overestimated how much I would need for the cutting-in.

We are expecting severe weather overnight and into Monday morning. If church is cancelled, I will finish the wall and take down the painter's tape along the ceiling. Otherwise I will do it after church. Either way, I expect that I will be done painting in there by bedtime tomorrow night.

I am comfortably warm in my painting clothes. Had a quick nap this afternoon, so I'm good for a few more hours before I need to sleep. This would probably be a good time to catch up the laundry.

No excitement Chez Ravelled. I have yet to set foot outside the house. A friend came by to borrow the space heater -- they have two gas leaks, neither of which is fixable today -- and brought in my mail. I made a baked mac and cheese with cheddar soup, the last of the heavy cream from that mushroom tart I made awhile ago, the last of the grape tomatoes, and a can of Costco chicken breast chunks. It was amazing, and I have five more servings portioned out in the fridge. I nuked a sweet potato for dinner and had it with maple syrup, freshly grated nutmeg, and a dab of butter. It has been an eat /  sleep / craft sort of day. And I feel both grateful and remarkably relaxed. Although I might not be able to use my right arm tomorrow. I gave myself a pretty good workout this evening with that paintbrush!

Friday, November 22, 2013

It was probably subconscious.

Or maybe I was just wanting to inhale my breakfast. But I forgot to take the hummus out of the bag when I put it in the fridge at work. The people who set up the tables never saw it. I bought it home with me last night. And now I know what I'm taking to Secondborn's for Thanksgiving.

Random thought: I wonder how the course of history would have changed if Skittles had been the candy that ET followed, rather than Reese's Pieces? Maybe Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, and other child stars would have chosen to follow Annette Funicello's example. Maybe Russell Crowe would not be a homewrecker. Maybe we would have a balanced budget. Maybe the marketplace would have found an equitable solution to the need for accessible and affordable healthcare.

And a random question: why on earth is Dallas celebrating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy? There's going to be a parade downtown this morning. There have been cultural commemorations this week. We have Joshua Bell for three days. The only bright spot as far as I'm concerned.

President Obama was here a few weeks ago, to stump for Democratic contenders and to encourage signing up for his disaster of a healthcare plan. I prayed for his safety throughout the day. I do not like the man, but I wish him *safely* out of office at the end of his term. We do not need another martyrdom. And there are too many idiots out there.

On to happier topics. Today is Grandparents' Day at the Bitties' school. I will be hopping in the car shortly and heading that way, gleefully avoiding the road closures in downtown Dallas to watch my grandchildren be clever, polite, and and charming. I had a blast last year, even if Beloved was visibly winding down at that point. We ambled through the morning and caught everything we could. I am relatively non-creaky this morning, and I will just go until I can go no more. And then I will come home, perhaps to nap or maybe to tackle that last wall while the light holds.

Paint towards the light, Luke! (Oops. Wrong movie.)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hummus remember this...

A kiss is still a kiss. And I have chosen the cheap / fast / easy solution to the appetizer conundrum. Two small containers of hummus and a bag of tarted-up chips. Ta-daa!

My small mirror in the bathroom has disappeared. I don't know if it fell into the wastebasket and is gone forever, or if I absently parked it somewhere while thinking about the next item on my list.

In a flurry of text messages, my massage therapist and I have moved it to Thursday nights. Which left last night open, except for my calling in the church library. I actually felt as if I were doing something useful last night. I alphabetized the DVD's. The English section takes up a shelf and a half. The Spanish section takes about a foot on another shelf. And the multilingual section is maybe eight inches on the shelf above that. I have no idea how to alphabetize the Asian language DVD's. I just admired the beauty of the fonts and am hoping for the best.

Got a little knitting done yesterday and a little more before breakfast. With the luncheon at work, there is likely to be little progress until after my massage tonight. If then.

I got the wall dusted in the dining room. Paint may happen after Grandparents Day at the Bitties' school tomorrow. I'll be taking the whole day off.

Productive day at work yesterday. Closed two files, opened another, moved two more closer to completion, kept up with my email, and got all the way through SemperFi's mail. Today I'll finish Mellow's.

Super casual day at work: jeans and sneakers, woohoo!

Please keep my friend Robi in your prayers, that she may find a mind-bogglingly wonderful job.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A good week so far.

Nice quiet evening at home on Monday night, after listening to a link provided by Middleaged Mormon Man (via FB) regarding the unexpected benefits of choosing to be generous.

Last night was Knit Night. I picked up two possum traps from my friend Jody before fetching Fourthborn. We had eggnog milkshakes for dinner, followed by Bavarian pretzels for dessert.

The clown barf scarf is done. I joined the ends together on Monday night, creating an infinity scarf. And yesterday I cast on (twice) for a baby sock for a friend's miracle baby. Got to the last stitch on the first round, and it leaped off my needle. So I frogged and started over with a less lively cast-on. I'm about six rounds in at this point.

I am crowd-sourcing ideas for an appetizer for tomorrow's office luncheon. Have had some good suggestions. It's interesting to see what some of my friends consider cheap, fast, easy, and low sodium. Tonight is massage night. (I will want to come home and putter a little, then sleep.)

And even if it were not, I really don't want to put any effort into this. I like to take desserts. But my half of the alphabet has been told to bring appetizers. Instead of the huge spread we traditionally do, we are having crockpots of soup, appetizers, and desserts. I'm all for changing it up. My tolerance for turkey is pretty limited.

I'm going to wait until tonight to see what other suggestions my friends offer. But right now I'm inclined towards a bowl of hummus and a fresh bag of lower sodium chips. If I can do this for $6 in cash and five minutes of my time, I'll be a happy camper.

Hoping for another day as productive as yesterday and Monday.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tithing settlement tonight.

I trird and tried, but I'm still unable to figure out the two cent discrepancy between the church's numbers and my own. I know it's a problem in my spreadsheet, because I added the numbers another way and came up with the right total. I reformatted the cells for 23 paychecks, and I still get the error. Weird.

I wish I could hug the person who decided that fabric + serger + wire = bendable ribbon. I spent maybe half an hour transforming 25 feet of ribbon into 16 perky red plaid bows for the Christmas tree. Right now they are waiting in one of those plastic washtubs. I won't know until I have the tree up and the bows and ornaments on if I will need to make more.

Painting did not happen, but after I dust that wall I can go full steam ahead. Everything but a handful of tools is out of the way. So maybe for FHE tomorrow night?

I had a blast with my friends last night, eating Chinese food in Uptown (just north of downtown Dallas), then carpooling to Fair Park for the Chinese Lantern Festival.

Well, I am yawning fiercely, so it must be time for bed.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Adventures. Thankfully, not directly *mine*.

I was planning on putting away the sewing machine and other items last night. Maybe tearing into my studio as well. But I got tackled by some rambunctious carbs at dinner, and I was in bed a little after 7:00.

Awoke about three and a half hours later. Got the iron, ironing board, and miscellaneous sewing supplies stowed. Put a serving of tots in the oven. Had my phone on and was checking FB periodically. Was about to pack up my sewing machine and fold up the table when I saw the post from a young sister in our ward.

She and her sibs were at the ER with their mother. The ward (phone) list was at home. They needed two brethren to come give their mother a blessing. Nobody was responding at the numbers they had on their phones.

And suddenly I knew why I'd accepted that friend request a few months ago, from a young woman I barely knew. I did what a friend did for me last year when Beloved had his first trip to the ER. Packed a bag with bottles of water, grapefruit cups (this is how I know that Heaven was in charge, because I also remembered to toss in some spoons), a large bar of Ghirardelli, and half a dozen mini-bags of Halloween candy. In the other hand was my bag with the phone and my knitting.

Ate my tots, got dressed, and went. Once there, I pulled up the ward list on my phone and started pushing buttons and waking people up. The brethren arrived just after the mother was admitted. We all cooled our heels in another waiting room while the staff got her settled. Then the guys went back, administered to her, and the three of us went to our respective homes.

I got almost another five full hours of sleep. The guys will not have been so lucky: one is a Saturday morning temple worker. His alarm goes off at 4:30. The other had to get up at 6:00 to take a child to an early morning school activity.

But this is what we do for one another, because of the covenant we made at baptism to bear one another's burdens. And because of our temple covenants, which deepen our love for, and connection to, Heaven and our brothers and sisters. Much of what we do that has eternal significance happens when we are just barely awake enough to do one small thing. Or a handful of small things. We might not even know why we are doing them. But later we get a glimpse of the greater pattern.

Beloved popped in briefly last night. I was sitting in the second waiting room, and my eyes prickled up, and I knew. It's happening again as I write this.

Hi, honey. Glad you caught me being good.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday. Payday. Tree bling.

And more culture to come this weekend.

I love playing with my spreadsheet. Since I visited my sister earlier this year, I have paid off over $4,000 in debt!!! Watching that balance come down a little (or a lot, depending upon what else was going on) every two weeks has been so hope-inducing. Three more paydays and a small extra payment, and I'm done paying off the line of credit. I couldn't have done this without Heaven's steadying hand.

Last night I drove straight to Hobby Lobby for their 50% off on all Christmas decorations. I picked up hangers for the miniature trees and a package of tiny red ribbon bows. Also several boxes of glass ornaments for the big tree, which is still in the back of the Tardis. I have a sheaf of florist wire to attach the ornaments when I'm ready. And I even know exactly where it is.

There is a Chinese Lantern Festival this weekend. I'm meeting friends for dinner and carpooling. They will go on to the singles dance afterwards. I will come home and make stuff.

Mel and Squishy and I have a work date tomorrow morning. Costco run, more books to sort, and sundry schlepping. I told him to eat his Wheaties.

Please keep my friend Robi in your prayers. She was laid off yesterday. She's a jewel. We just need to find her the right setting.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Plan B. But in a good way.

My thinking was to dash into Hobby Lobby between work and my massage, case their selection of people-sized Christmas ornaments, and pick up a few packages of the green miniature hangers that will be nearly invisible on the tiny trees.

But I got a text from my massage therapist: taco soup. I'm not stupid. I've eaten her food before.

They were feeding the missionaries. I got there when some people were having seconds on the soup and others were making inroads on the brownie bites. But they saved me enough of both, and I pushed away from her table well-fed in every possible sense.

Really good massage. Almost entirely biomechanical. I think we cleared out the last of the stuff from the enforced immobility on Friday night. My feet, ankles, and legs were not happy during the cleanout process. When we were nearly done, I started having shivers that rose up from deep within my trunk. But she was prepared for that and put another blanket on me. After the massage, I drove to two Racetrac stations before I could get a cup of hot chocolate. Finished that off and went straight to bed.

Feeling pretty good this morning. Hungry. Thirsty. Starting to get a little shivery. But I have one last tablet of Abuelita (Mexican hot chocolate, with cinnamon) in the cupboard. That should take care of the problem nicely. I could also bump up the thermostat a degree or two. I think it's set at 68 or 69, enough to take the edge off without giving me a ridiculous utility bill.

Our utility bills last year were all over the place, as Beloved got more and more ill. One of the things they don't necessarily tell you about cancer. (Or know to tell you about.) The commodes are getting less of a workout. My internal thermostat is pretty consistent. So I'm not toggling between AC and furnace.

Small consolation for the loss of the sound of his laughter. Oh damn. I'm crying.

Time to go make that hot chocolate. Looks like it might be lightly salted this morning.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Whoosh.

That was my yesterday. Work, pick up Fourthborn, pick up new-to-me tree from Leslye (wherein Fourthborn served as minion in getting it down from on top of the freezer and schlepping it out to the truck), on to Firstborn's to drop off her quilt blocks, impromptu dinner with her and 1BDH at Double Dave's (very tasty, with a side order of hilarity*, and more sodium than is good for me), Knit Night (complete with chocolate frogs made by the friend who took Beloved's sweater off my hands), take Fourthborn home, drive home alternating bites of rice crispy treat with sips of water to make sure I stay awake.

*About that hilarity: Firstborn is the YW president in their ward. Which means she has stewardship over girls 12-17. 1BDH has served in the YM presidency and still lends a hand to the youth as needed. A whole bunch of whom work after school at Double Dave's. Our server was one of the YW. The following is my reconstruction of their conversation.

1BDH: Are you going to be at the youth activity tomorrow night?
Girl: No, I have to work.
1BDH: But you'll miss my class.
Girl: Oh? What are you teaching?
1BDH: I'm teaching knitting.
(Insert peals of helpless laughter from Firstborn, Fourthborn, and me here.)
Girl: I'm guessing by their reaction that you are *not* teaching knitting.
1BDH: No. Really. I'm teaching knitting. Look at this face. Is this the face of someone who is not a knitter?
Girl: I think it *is*. So what are you teaching, really?
1BDH: Car stuff.
Girl: Now that I believe.

We had a hard freeze last night. When I got home, the drop light was on behind the washing machine. It comes on when the temperature drops below freezing. I remembered to leave the taps dripping overnight. And I threw another blanket on the bed.

I think we are finally done with August, here in Texas.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Considering the possumbilities.

So last night I was catching up the laundry. Walked out into the garage to get the first load out of the dryer and put the second one in. Heard something out in the middle of the garage and turned my head just in time to see a huge pinky white tail disappearing over the top of a box.

I've lived in enough substandard housing to know the difference between a rat and a possum. This tail was over a foot long and bigger than my thumb at its base. I did not want to meet up with the bitey end. Especially since I was standing between it and the door. So I beat a hasty retreat and sat on my bed and thought about chocolate and Christmas trees and other happy things.

Then I prayed really hard for its safety and my own and went out to rescue my clothes. I sent out an "Ack! Help!!" message on FB. Mel's mom said to contact animal control. Which opens at 10am. Looks like I will be coming back to the house in the middle of the day or making arrangements for tomorrow.

If I want clean socks today, I have to go back out there. How badly do I want clean socks?

In other news, I used up a bunch of tiny purple beads and some of the larger root beer colored ones to make ornaments for the dolls' tree(s). And I got quite a bit of knitting done during the day. Wonderful to satisfy my creative urge. Not so good in terms of sleep. It was after 1am when I went to bed. And I woke ahead of the alarm.

I think the possum has opened a bowling alley in the attic. And I think somebody just earned his 200 pin.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I made myself be good.

The quilt block was mostly-done when I left for church. I finished it when I got home, before taking my nap. After my nap, I emailed and texted various folks. Wrote a letter for visiting teaching. Read through a book of Christmas decorating inspiration that I bought shortly after separating from the children's father and have come to the conclusion that the book, while lovely, reflects the sensibilities of the first incarnation of Victoria magazine, and not my own. Into the box it goes. Others may follow. I've made a list of what needs to happen, when, this week. Am ridiculously overbooked for tomorrow night and am looking forward to every blessed bit of it. Had a truly bizarre stress-dream just before waking, and it seems to have wrung every last drop out of my system. Wrote a little in the middle of the night and looked up to see the clock reading 2am. Realized that I hadn't bothered to reset it last weekend and probably won't. You get stream of consciousness this morning. Welcome to Monday brain.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Naproxen is my friend.

I kept yesterday blessedly simple. Time with Fourthborn. The driving necessary to pick up the quilt block kits. Eggnog milkshakes for lunch, made with Braum's egg-cellent (couldn't resist) eggnog and their eggnog ice cream and a generous dusting of nutmeg. A slightly roundabout drive home so that I could swing by the jewelry store and have my rings inspected and cleaned.

On an ordinary day, that would not have required nearly six hours. Yesterday it did. By the time I got home, I was ravenous again. So I had a snack and a Naproxen and another bottle of water, and I took a little nap. For six hours. When I got up, I made dinner: garlic toast and the penultimate salmon burger.

I am pleased to report that my knee is no longer cranky. I will swill water all day to wash the Naproxen out of my system, and I will continue to take it easy today, even if my muse is tormenting me with all that I hoped to get done yesterday and what I could get done before and after church if I just pushed myself a little. Peace, woman!

I wasn't far off when I posted on FB that my honey-do list had been decimated. The other 90 percent will get spread out over the next few weeks. I will, eventually, have a finished dining room. I will have a new Christmas tree. Preferably this year, but I have a perfectly serviceable pre-lit tabletop tree out in the garage. I can use that one more year if necessary.

I will get my studio picked up and reorganized. I will finish my closet. (And the one in the dining room.) I will get the other two dressers in my bedroom cleared off and reorganized. One might end up in that dining room closet to hold serving pieces and holiday decorations.

But today? Today I am going to worship, and read, and study, and write a letter or two, and knit, and make more lists. I may or may not get the new quilt block sewn up. The fabric is washed and hanging from the shower rod. It would be nice to check that off the list. And getting it done is not essential to my eternal salvation.

The lists are made for Ms. Ravelled. Not Ms. Ravelled for the lists. Today I am going to focus on being more of a human being and less of a human doing.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

So glad I went.

Opera is cool. Opera-goers are amazingly friendly. A lot of them are knitters, or were before age and arthritis decided otherwise. The seats are wide enough, and the rows above the box seats are too close together. I understand the economics of it, and my knee still hurts like sin. Although it is somewhat better this morning. I will be icing it a lot today.

My honey-do list has gone to the mental shredder. I will drive to Arlington, pick up Fourthborn and her quilt block, drive to Lewisville with her, my block and Firstborn's, pick up the kits for our new blocks, take her home, come home, and go back to bed. Home Depot has the same quarter-tree as Kohl's, for about $10 less. I might check that out along the way, but I will not be buying tons of stuff and schlepping it home.

Old Spanish proverb allegedly says, "Take what you want, says God. Take what you want, but pay for it." I suspect that I will be paying for it all weekend. This is looking like a Naproxen + no grapefruit day.

Still, I am thankful. Last night was glorious.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Opera = Christmas? Really???

When I was a girl, I would wake up ridiculously early on Christmas morning. Three o'clock. Four o'clock. Dad would get up a little earlier than usual and go take care of things at our laundromat. When he came home, we would have breakfast and then open presents. Usually between six o'clock and seven.

This morning I awoke about a quarter to four. I have a tunic to press. And my makeup bag to find. (I've been just quietly not wearing makeup since the memorial service. And I have no idea where my lipstick might be. There's a small pile near my closet door that might be hiding it. Otherwise, I'm going to have to venture into the middle bedroom. In which case, wish me luck.)

Tonight Ms. Ravelled goes to the opera. Opera is almost my least favorite form of classical music. (That spot is shared by twelve-tone nonsense and fidgety, scratchy violin playing. Both of which inspire me to holler "BLEAGHHH!!!!!" and flip over to the country station to see if there's anything I like better.)

Where was I? Tonight I will be absorbing culture with a capital C. As in "Carmen". And all dolled up. And hoping to stay awake until it's over. And trying not to sing along on the parts I kinda know.

So it's feeling a lot like Christmas this morning. Only I won't get a nap after lunch.

Speaking of Christmas per se, I spent a little time yesterday looking at pre-lit trees. Not cheap! The shortest ones that Costco carries are seven and a half feet tall. I was hoping for something shorter. Not sure if I still have the star I bought fifteen years ago. We purged pretty ruthlessly last year.

One thing I like about the Costco trees is that you can toggle between colored lights and white ones. So I could do a white Christmas one year and a red one the next. Kohl's also has something intriguing; a quarter-tree that you put in a corner. You get the illusion of a massive tree without giving up half a room.

I will definitely check both out. Possibly as early as tomorrow after Fourthborn and I pick up our quilt block kits. The Costco tree weighs 65 pounds. And there's something else at Costco I'm interested in. It weighs almost 70 pounds. If Fourthborn is willing, and I decide they are worth the asking price, we could wrangle both into the truck and then into the house without having to radio for backup. (Otherwise I will have to ask Squishy. Who can probably hoist one in each hand without breaking a sweat.)

This is the part where I turn on the iron and ransack my studio for a pressing cloth. But wait! I think that travel iron I found a few weeks ago is a steamer. That might be even better.

Edited to add that I found my lipstick in my overnight bag, along with the travel iron and travel Waterpik.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Shopping therapy.

My massage therapist has company. And last night was the only time this week that I could go shopping for a nice, dressy top to wear to the opera with my rockstar tuxedo pants. So after my stint at the ward library, I drove to the mall and found one.

My new suburb has one of those open, outdoor malls. They don't make me claustrophobic or slightly paranoid like the big-box malls that started popping up all over the country when I was a (very) young adult. They seem to attract families rather than roving packs of bored teenagers.

On a Wednesday night in North Texas, most families are attending midweek activities at their respective churches. So parking and shopping are a breeze. I left the church parking lot at 7:11 and was on my way home at 7:58. Not bad!

I found a simple, modest, long-sleeved tunic with a bejeweled collar and lightly embellished shirt front. It will look amazing with my rockstar tuxedo pants. I also found a pair of earrings to finish it off, and to bring the total up to where I could use the $25 off coupon.

And then I came home and made a salad for the rest of my dinner. (I'd grabbed a chunk of cheese and some bread before leaving for the church.)

Tonight we are having a Mad Hatter Tea Party at Relief Society. I will be wearing the gorgeous red hat that Fourthborn gave me a dozen or so years ago. I have no idea what to take for a treat to share. Not in the mood to bake. Won't have time after work. Maybe some mini croissants from the nearby grocery? Maybe I should get ready now and swing by when they open, so I won't be too tired to think about it when I get off work?

I've been to only a handful of RS activities since moving into the ward almost two years ago. Thursdays used to be my night to serve in the temple. And this year has been flat-out crazy. I was sick, or uninterested in the activity, or peopled-out near the end of the week, or had something going with one of my kids, or what have you. But I have been looking forward to this activity since they announced it Sunday before last. Just food and friends and sitting around talking and getting to know one another better. This will be the last hurrah for the recently released presidency and a good way to welcome the new one.

So I'd better get moving and find something yummy to share.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Knitting mojo.

Might be back? I wound the last ball from the Seattle trip, grabbed some fat needles, and cast on 19 stitches for a simple garter stitch scarf. The yarn has little blobbies about every two inches plus the hand painted effect. In every bright color you'd find in my closet. So a complicated stitch pattern would be as lost as the Children of Israel in the desert for 40 years.

I am hoping for a scarf that is four to five inches wide by Dr. Who long. If I have cast on too many stitches and this turns out to be an oversized bookmark, it will have to be tinked rather than frogged. The blobbies are about half the size of a TicTac and will not take well to rough treatment.

Yesterday was damp as Monday but not as puddle-y. The drive home from Knit Night was far less exciting. (This is not a complaint.) Work went reasonably well, I think. I ate the last of the potato leek soup for lunch.

Hoping for another calm, quiet, productive day at work. And maybe some thoughtful shopping afterwards. I still haven't figured out what I'm wearing to the opera. And that night is fast approaching. I did check out a dressy top I'd seen in a catalogue last week, but it was uninspiring when examined at closer range.

Breakfast is calling my name. Quite insistently, as a matter of fact. Time to refuel and seize the day.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Maybe I shouldn't have cooked quite so much.

Last night's storm was pretty intense at times. Particularly when I was driving home from Secondborn's and FHE. There was a patch of standing water !!!on the freeway!!!

I hit it at about 45mph. My fellow Texans (I'm naturalized) were being uncharacteristically sensible while driving. No one was trying to go 95, except maybe in his head. I could see the car ahead of me hit the water and keep moving. I hung onto the steering wheel and prayed. When that water hit my windshield, I could see nothing.

Courage really is fear that has said its prayers. I'm glad that mine were answered positively last night.

Still no inspiration on the knitting front. I'm going to wind two balls of yarn and see what happens at Knit Night. (I did get plenty of ideas for trimming a Christmas tree, however. And I need to write them down before I forget.)

Monday, November 04, 2013

Cooking up a storm.

Made a small pot of leek and potato soup. Also a savory mushroom braid from that newest cookbook. Had a bowl of soup while the pie/tart baked. Am about to head out to the kitchen and warm a slice of the braid for breakfast.

I'm going a little nuts: the ward clerk handed me paperwork to prepare for tithing settlement. All my numbers match up, but the totals differ by two cents. I've gone through them three times with the same results. Will have to bring in a second pair of eyes. Maybe when LittleBit is here to paint the trim. She's mathy like me.

Heading to Secondborn's after work for Family Home Evening. I'd better grab that handmade card to enclose her belated birthday gift. I just couldn't get myself over to Fort Worth on Saturday, but part of that was intentional. I didn't want to leave the house until Costco and the clothing stores were closed. So I puttered in the dining room all day until the temptation had safely passed.

That's it for today. Sorry, y'all. Fresh out of profundity. But they tell me it's on backorder.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Woohoos all around!

I finally, finally got the bookcases emptied and out of the dining room. One is in the hall, and the other is partially cluttering up the entryway. Major incentive to finish the job.

I set up the ironing board and pressed the fabric for the quilt block. Set up my long, narrow folding table with my sewing machine, cutting mat, scissors, straightedge, and pincushion. And the bobbin box. Could I find my two Olfa cutters?

Which is why I was marching my cranky self into Wally World at 9:30 last night. Notwithstanding what the Google and Thummim said, the only brand of rotary cutter they did not have, was Olfa. So I came home with an ergonomic Fiskars cutter with automatic blade guard. I have multiple pairs of their scissors. And two of my three cutting mats are Fiskars. They've held up better than my first, Olfa, mat back in the 80's.

Sometime today I will sew up that quilt block. And I might even tackle some of the mending. I have a brown skirt with mesh overlay that's been repeatedly trashed by my rolling chair at work. I've had it basted for months. And last year I bought two pairs of those dressy leggings to wear under it, which would ameliorate the side slits that I keep stitching up.

Yeah. This feels like a Stevie Nicks kind of day.

Friday, November 01, 2013

So I was Frau Blucher yesterday.

There was no whinnying in the office, however. I wish I could say that it was a productive day. It was not. Definitely fun. Definitely unproductive. Costume contest in the morning. Dessert contest as I was creating my goodie bags for the trick or treaters on my lunch hour. (All but nine of which went unclaimed last night. I wish that chocolate didn't bloom when frozen. I would be set for next year. And maybe the year after that.)

Today we have a diversity and inclusion activity that will chew up half the day, and a box lunch provided, which means that I will be having lunch at the same time as the noisies. Quelle joie.

This, after a two hour staff meeting on Wednesday. I think I got more done during the weeks that I was sick.

Today we get to wear our favorite team jerseys and sneakers. It is only because of Beloved that I possess the former. I have a BYU shirt. And a Packers shirt. (And, for colder weather, a Packers sweatshirt.) I think, since this is traditionally a Christian holy day, and since I am a Christian (no matter what some of the Protestants think), I will wear the BYU shirt. Especially since the Y beat UT a few weeks ago and both SemperFi and Mellow went to Texas.

Pit? What pit? Neighbors? What neighbors? I don't know what you are talking about.

Today is also payday. Four more of them and one small extra payment, and the line of credit will be paid off. I love it that today's interest portion is less than a quarter of what it was at the beginning of the year. I am so thankful for the inspiration on how to accomplish this. And the sweet confirmation each payday that I am on the right track, at least in terms of my finances.

I just definitively solved the mystery of the Creature in the Garage. It's the big grey cat that roams the neighborhood. The one who tried to wander in when I was doing laundry earlier this week. Huge cat. Very small meow. If it were human, it would sound like Dianne Wiest. It jumped down from somewhere in the garage and tried to hit me up for breakfast. I gently but firmly shooed it outside.

So relieved that I won't have to hire an exterminator and set traps for a possum or raccoon. Once the new back door goes on, end of problem.