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!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Goodnight, my someone.

Remember these little necklaces? I got one as a Secret Santa gift, back when I was single. You wrote a prayer or a wish on a scrap of paper, rolled it up, and enclosed it in the box.

I found this among other pieces of forgotten jewelry over the weekend. My prayer was largely for my children. But at the end, I had added, "please bless my someone." I knew he was out there somewhere, but not his name or his situation. I would pray over him occasionally, asking Heaven to bless him in his marriage, if he were married, and in his search if he were not. Sometimes I would sing Marian's song from "The Music Man".

Three years ago, we were putting the finishing touches on our wedding. That seems so very long ago. Two years ago, I had the privilege of loving and serving that dear man up to his final breath. In two weeks I will observe our anniversary, followed immediately by his second angelversary. I think I will try to spend part of both days serving in the temple.

I'm not sad tonight. Just pensive. I love him more, if possible, than I did during the time we had together. And oh, what a year that was! I still feel his love and watchcare. There are some things stronger than death.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Plans.

The one for mucking off the kitchen table was successful. A little over an hour of actual work, with one knitting break and one snack break. So that's done. (Picture of naked table, soon to make like Elvis and leave the building, below.)

The trip to Madtosh was also successful. I came home with some yummy purple yarn for me, and the grey to knit a hat for a young sister who'll be attending BYU-Idaho.

Got the elders fed in a timely fashion. During the day a cold front moved in, so by the time I met them at the church, they were thoroughly chilled.

I was pretty cold myself, so I jumped into bed and napped for four hours. Knitted until 2am and went back to bed. Lots of lovely rest in two installments.

This morning I attached both sleeves and stitched down the first grosgrain band. I'm debating whether to do the second now or just call it a night.

Spent a significant amount of time with my spreadsheets. Submitted the music for the next two Sundays and penciled in the music for next December and the sacrament hymns for the entire year. Also brought my mortgage sheet up to date and estimated that I could have it paid off at the end of 2020, or approximately eight years ahead of schedule. That would be really, really cool.

Tomorrow I plan to set up another savings account, this one for a piano. By the time I have the money in hand, I should be done wrangling all the excess stuff around here and have some idea if and/or where a piano might fit. I noodled around on a Steinway yesterday. Drool... (I would be equally happy with an Essex or a Boston.)

It's not coveting if I am willing to work for it and save for it.

I am also looking into the feasibility of attending BYU Education Week next year. Maybe I could combine that with the trip I had hoped to make this year to go visit Tan? A lot will depend on how many other people want that time off, and how large my bonus might be. And, of course, on Tan's availability.

And maybe in 2016 I can combine a trip to visit Wes and Sarah in "Joisey" with a visit to Tola and the Church history sites in New York.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dervish.

It's 9.30am, and I am eating the other half of yesterday's sandwich for breakfast, because I am Not In The Mood To Cook. I've been to the gym and walked 1.77 miles and am revving myself up to excavate the kitchen table. It's about a foot deep in stuff. And I have a new home for the table.

My inner four year old looks at the clutter and whines, It will take *all day* to fix that! To which my inner mom replies, Probably less than an hour. Let's set the timer for half an hour and see how much we can get done. And then you can knit for 15-20 minutes. And when we're done, we can go to Fort Worth and spend the Madtosh gift card. And if you're *really* good, we can have lobster bisque at Lucile's.

My inner mom is pretty tricky.

In knitting news, the sweater body and one sleeve are done. The second sleeve is cast on and the first row of pattern worked. I hope to have it pinned out and blocking when I go to bed tonight. It would be great to finish this weekend with one Pukifee sweater done and the second underway.

Heading out to the kitchen. If you don't hear from me within two or three days, send over a St. Bernard with a cask of hot chocolate.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Perfect.

My amazing sister has done it again. She gave me this art tile, which picks up all the new colors I've incorporated into my home. (I sent her paint chips with her birthday present in October.) This can stand on a shelf or hang on the wall. I'm not sure where it wants to be, but I'll figure that out after I put away the Christmas trees.

Benaya Art Ceramics.

I spent a good chunk of Christmas Eve at Wes and Sarah's. They just texted me an invitation for biscuits and gravy, but I am full to the gills with salmon steak, a slice of Squishy's bread, and my Fage/Nutella jollop. Plus, I need to be sluicing off in preparation for the tribal feast, as I'm leaving the house in an hour and a half.

In knitting news, I was so sleepy on Monday and Tuesday that I dozed off midway through a row of 22 stitches, both nights. I did better yesterday. I have a completed sweater front and one back for Grace or Chutzpah and am a third of the way up the second back. I will probably get both backs attached while at Secondborn's this afternoon.

I am taking 40 oz of Wholly Guacamole, 80 white corn tortillas, and 40 flour tortillas. I realized a few minutes ago that I could divest myself of the limes leftover from the office luncheon last week.

Merry Christmas, all y'all!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Found my Nativity!

Puttered a lot yesterday. Went through several boxes. Mel and Squishy came over and took some stuff home for distribution. I set up the long folding table along the short wall. It is now serving as a staging area, but I am planning to set up my computer there, at least until I can turn the middle bedroom into an office and/or guest room.

Most of my tools are in my toolbox. The two grilles that the girls painted are now in place. I have a clear path to the microwave. And a bunch of stuff that's going out into the truck this morning for drop-off at the thrift store. There are swathes of uncluttered floor in the living room.

The finials are glued to the bedposts. And I found the lemon oil. I might rub down the doll bed after work. But first I will need to replace a headlight on Lorelai. I am driving the Tardis to work today.

The sweater front is done. My last conscious act before bed. And the trio went gloriously well at church. Got some nice feedback from our friends, but that was not why I did it. That was my Christmas card to Heaven.

I've mentioned here that I was a little shy about singing around the house when Beloved was alive. FirstWife had a glorious voice. He would never have said anything against my singing. But he never praised it as the children's father did. (I loved singing with that man.) We had far more important things to talk about than whether he liked to hear me sing.

So what I gave my Father in Heaven yesterday was my vulnerability. Because many of the folks in our congregation had heard FirstWife sing. Just typing this, I feel Heaven's love all over again.

Sniff.

This is the part where I get the clean warm stuff out of the dryer so I may load up the back of the Tardis with more stuff.

It's going to be a wild week at work. I will be covering at least two attorneys every day. I was juggling five on Friday.

Gentlemen, start your engines.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Honey-do's

Fourthborn and LittleBit and I made great strides on yesterday's list, as you can see.  I picked them up early in the morning and turned them loose while I prepared to go to a funeral for a sister in our first ward in Texas.

When I got home, LittleBit and I finished the floor inside the coat closet while Fourthborn painted. The flooring is now extended just into the kitchen. I don't want to take it any farther until I've dealt with the cabinets. The grilles for the short wall and the living room ceiling are repainted. I've brought my narrow folding table out to go against the short wall to hold my computer, once I've refastened the grille. But first the table will serve as a staging area while I declutter the kitchen.

I'm thinking that I want to take out the metal shelving unit that Beloved and I so carefully finessed into place. Floor to ceiling cabinets would be ever so much more attractive. And if I extended those cabinets along the window wall, maybe with a window seat, I could have more counter space and be able to get rid of the kitchen table, which is a clutter magnet.

The doll bed only needs the finials glued into place, to be done. I used two shades of wax sticks to touch up the finish. I will need to make a mattress, pillows, and bed linens, but that can all wait.

The big Christmas tree may not get decorated this year. It's in place, and the ornaments are at hand, and I may choose to do that today. I think I would rather knit.

I'm trying to figure out what to eat this morning that will not gum up my voice for singing our trio in sacrament meeting this afternoon.

That would be a honey-don't.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Long day, and I'm tired.

Happy, but tired. Fourthborn's dental appointment ran long, because somebody came in with a dental emergency, and our wonderful dentist did absolutely the right thing when he stopped working on my kid and helped the other patient.

My stomach was unconvinced. I neglected to grab lunch on my way to pick her up, so by the time we were done and could think about feeding our faces, we were both ravenous. Made a beeline for Boston Market and their meatloaf. (Yes, I was just there for dinner last night, and half of that is waiting in my fridge for tomorrow's lunch.) I figured I would eat half and save the rest for later. My stomach thought otherwise. It's been a long time since I ate that much at one sitting. Cleaned. My. Plate.

And then we stopped at Half Price Books, where I picked up BittyBit's birthday present before taking Fourthborn home.

I got about a third of a sweater front done. It helps that the finished piece will be two inches square. Not sure that I have enough energy to add any more rows before bedtime, as it took me nearly two hours to get home.

But I think I will try.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dolly fun!

I've posted these on FB, but for those of you who don't know my secret identity...

Note to self: what does Wonder Woman go by in civilian life? Diana Something. Fourthborn would know.

Two doll sweaters done. (That's Hope on the left and Temperance on the right.) Measurements taken and a graph made for wee Arans for Grace and Chutzpah.

The swing is new, a gift from a coworker whose husband works for Pier One.

That's all I've got for you today.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Found the rods and brackets.

As it turns out, I'm not using them. At least not for the front window. I got the three new brackets partially secured to the wall on Monday night and ran out of steam. Heavy drill + late hour = tired me. Wes came by on Wednesday night to finish the job so I could hang the new drapes.

I did get four packets of cut up T-shirts assembled before I left for work one morning. They will go out with the Christmas baskets/boxes.

Temperance's sweater is lacking only the snaps. The earlier attempt has its grosgrain reinforcements, and I've deconstructed one seam, removed the sleeve, and shortened it. When I left the ward Christmas brunch yesterday, I was ready to reattach the sleeve. I'll take care of that after I've posted.

My goals for today, bookending church, are to finish both sweaters, decorate the big tree, and finish assembling the Christmas boxes for mailing on Tuesday. Fourthborn and I are both sending stuff to Middlest, and Fourthborn has another dental appointment that afternoon.

I had a blast wrapping presents after work on Friday and again yesterday.

Did I mention that Wes and Sarah are moving to New Jersey? Tola, they will be in Mahwah, at least to start. Is that anywhere near your neighborhood? I'm trying not to think about how much I will miss them.

She's recommended a massage therapist, and my HT/VT couple will gain custody of my spare house keys. Because when she told me, I immediately tucked the messy emotional stuff into my pocket and went straight into single-mom,  problem solving mode.

In other news, I got the doll bed reglued and the random tiny streaks of white paint removed. I still need to touch it up with wax sticks and enlarge the holes at the top of each post to receive the new finials, which are small ceramic drawer knobs a la MacKenzie Childs.

Projects for the coming week include laying down the vinyl squares in the coat closet so I/we may extend the vinyl plank flooring into it, then moving the paint cans into a back corner. Eventually I will probably install shelving in one or both ends of the closet, but for now I will be content with stacking the paint cans out of sight but still accessible.

The living room is looking mostly civilized. And I am getting antsy to start decluttering the kitchen. I'd like to replace the steel shelving unit with a wall of cabinets. And replace the current cabinets with some I've seen at the Habitat store, moving them a few inches to the right so I may insert a narrow cabinet between the fridge and the wall.

But now? I need to figure out what I want for breakfast, and how to stay hydrated today without drinking our nasty tap water (will fire up a Brita pitcher for later) or breaking the Sabbath. Somebody was having too much fun socializing to take care of the grocery shopping, and I just polished off the last of the bottled water.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

We're calling it a design feature.

We couldn't figure out how to get the blinds down without damaging them. So we painted part of the window frame and left part of it coral. It's close in tone to the new paint on the fourth wall, and it will go with the drapes.

The second shot shows the flooring meeting up in the hall. I left the last two planks for Fourthborn and her OCD. I tried to give you a shot of one of the walls, but apparently Blogger thinks I should only upload two per post. I tried twice. There may be four pictures when this posts.

Tuesday I took Fourthborn to the dentist, and then we went to LittleBit's dance recital at the college. Friday I had my quarterly checkup, and a birthday party for 2BDH. Yesterday we picked up our December quilt blocks.

In between, I've laid a little more flooring, picked up a second floor lamp for the other side of the wing chair, finished the second sleeve of Temperance's sweater and attached it, blocked same, sewed the October and November quilt blocks, window shopped, set up both Christmas trees and placed their respective ornaments nearby, and dealt further with the power outage.

I have not been to the gym. All week. That will change, beginning tomorrow morning.

I found the curtain rods after taking Fourthborn home last night. I've yet to find the supports, but I trust they're in my studio somewhere.

Today there's church and the Christmas choir performance in my old stake. I will probably get the ribbon and snaps attached on Temperance's sweater. I'm picking up LittleBit, as Fourthborn is singing in the choir.

And tomorrow I go back to work, to rest. 

Monday, December 01, 2014

Semi-cyber Monday

So I decided last night that I wanted a duplicate of the swing-arm lamp by the wing chair in the living room. Came to work and pulled up the website. Took me a couple of minutes to find the model. Then I searched for a local store. Apparently I found the last lamp of its type within 25 miles of the house. Tossed that puppy into my cart and locked it up for pickup after work.

One more reminder that Heaven is in the Let There Be Light business.

In knitting news, blocking the two miniature stockings that I made during my Hill Country getaway helped me to figure out my electrical problem at home.

That's the thing I said would be a story for another day. I woke up early yesterday because my power went off, and my CPAP stopped, and I learned that even though I've lost nearly 40 pounds, I still need the CPAP.

I checked inside and outside the house. Eventually realized that I'd only lost power in half the house. Unfortunately, it was the half that reminds me to breathe. I went back to bed and kinda sorta slept, but mostly I woke up a lot.

So I got up for good about the time the sun had committed to a new day. Meanwhile, Older Twin had responded to my FB post with how to find the breaker box and what the problem might be.

Confirmed, as I said, this morning. On Saturday Fourthborn and I will clear a path in the garage so I may call an electrical to switch out a wall plug or two in the relatively near future, and install the hall lights while he's at it. There's a brother in my ward who does good work.

Update/correction: I started this post earlier today and came home to a cooling house and a faintly whining furnace. Mel helped me break a trail to the breaker box.  Wes determined that it was OK. Paul and wife came with his HVAC stuff and determined it was likely a power company problem, as I had one hot line and one cold one.

We locked ourselves in the garage. Wes had to come back with the spare keys. We called the power company on Paul's phone. They came out and did a temporary fix and will do a permanent one when it's daylight.

The house is warming up. I got the sleeve attached to the body. My nose is cold. I'm going to bed. I have to be reasonably alert for two and a half hours at work tomorrow, and then I'm taking Fourthborn to the dentist.

I need a good cry (relief) and to sleep for about three days. But my new lamp is pretty!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ask, and ye shall receive.

Not perfect, but here is the best shot of what we've accomplished. Bargain wing chair centered beneath refurbished barnwood shelf. The smaller Vettriano print in between. The floor lamp I bought last year. I'm going to see if I can get another just like it for the other side of the chair. Christmas tree up but not decorated. Impromptu end table from Beloved's 72 hour kit (green) and a suitcase we found in the garage. Teal footstool in place.

We painted the walls on either side of the short hall a lively coral not far off from the  original color of the baseboards. Fourthborn calls it the love child of a watermelon and a cantaloupe. It is *gorgeous*. When I sit in the wing chair and look into the dining room, all the colors play so nicely together.

I have the dining room mostly cleaned out. The trees are in place just inside the entrance. The dining room table is still piled high with stuff, but I can get to the sewing machine to do my quilt block before Saturday. The tabletop tree is in place.

Wes came yesterday and yanked out that obnoxious nail. He also brought a hammer in case the claw couldn't budge it.

It's been quite a day, beginning at 3:15 when my power failed and my CPAP shut off. But that's a story for another day. Time to take my Metformin and call it a night.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

So, we've been busy.

Fourthborn came home with me after Thanksgiving dinner at Firstborn's. She painted the stripes under the window. She helped me replace the handful of tiles between the sheet vinyl at the front door and the squares at the entrance to the dining room. At which point we called it a night.

Yesterday we finished the planks in the entry, all the way to the front door (in the middle of the day, when it was warm enough to leave the door open), and out into the living room. When we went to bed, the floor was about 80-85% done. We also discussed what color to paint the fourth wall: the darkest shade of green, some shade of turquoise, or whatever.

As we were sitting on my bed during a rest break, I looked out into the hall and saw the soft warm terra cotta of the mat to my picture of the Fredericksburg library. We took that to Home Depot with my swatches and picked a lighter value that would harmonize with it and with all the other colors and tie in with an accent color in the drapes.

We got one of the bookcases emptied, dusted, moved across the room to its new home, and refilled. The second bookcase is also emptied, dusted, and hanging out temporarily in front of the first. Once we repaint the wall, it will go back where it was.

We finished off a partial box of flooring and emptied eight more. Six of those boxes are standing upright in my garbage can, and it just now occurred to me that they would more properly go with the recycling box when it goes to the curb on Tuesday. So I think I will fish them out and put them on the curb next to the carpet.

I bought a package of smaller claws and pry bars yesterday. None were successful in removing one stubborn nail at the entrance to the hall. It has to come out in order for us to join the flooring in the hall to that in the living room.

I am hoping that Wes can swing by with his claw and maybe a sledgehammer and his superior upper body strength and vanquish that nail for us.

Today we will paint the trim around the window. Fourthborn will finish the cutting in at the ceiling which was blocked by the depth of the two bookcases. We will paint the fourth wall, rehang the art, and move the bookcase back. We will paint around the front door (and maybe paint the trim; it's not a priority). We will extend the flooring at least partially into the coat closet after removing the boxes with the Christmas decorations, and also into the entrance to the kitchen.

We are also doing a drive-by fooding of the missionaries at 5:00, and depending upon how much we get done before then, that might be the first leg of taking Fourthborn home, or we might come back and work some more.

Wish us luck.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful.

The shelf is done. I put another coat on after blogging on Tuesday and before going to bed. A fourth before going to the gym yesterday, and the final coat before leaving for work.

I rounded up the vacuum and the bottle of Murphy's Oil Soap. Threw some snacks into my bag, grabbed my knitting and a small deposit for the alternate bank, and hit the road.

I was running behind after accomplishing so much, so I took Central and was pleased to see how little traffic there was, and how polite and sensible everybody was being. I had enough time when I got to work, that I was able to knit a row or so before it was time to fire up my workstation.

Another pleasant, productive day. I was nowhere near as busy as on Tuesday, but there was enough to keep me occupied. I even created 30 vacation letters for one of the other secretaries. And I got to leave an hour early, thanks to the hour of PM (permission morale) I scored at the last support staff meeting.

After work I made a beeline for the grocery store which houses my alternate bank, made my minuscule deposit, and picked up a few groceries. Brought them home and put them away, then hopped back into Lorelai and headed to Hobby Lobby.

I had seen something on Pinterest that spoke to me: a ragtag collection of letters plus a wreath, spelling out N-O-E-L. I wanted some to sit up on the shelf, in place of the Nauvoo pitcher and bowl I inherited from Beloved. I also bought three small bottles of craft paint in the palest neutrals, but for now the letters and wreath are up on the shelf in unadorned glory.

From Hobby Lobby I ran by In-N-Out for a burger to eat on the way to Wes and Sarah's. They were hosting a marshmallow roast at their firepit. I visited with a few of their neighbors and some friends from church. Restricted myself to one perfect s'more. Got a little chilled, properly warmed, and came home.

Wiped down the finished side of the barnwood shelves with Murphy's Oil Soap, then lifted them into place and started the screws by hand. Fired up my drill and finished the job. Still getting used to being somebody who owns power tools and knows how to use them. I was still grinning when I went to bed last night.

I also got more of the tack strips up. I had hoped to complete that task before bed, but tiredness and a modicum of common sense won out. I'll finish that after breakfast, sweep the floor to get up the big chunks, then vacuum before heading to Firstborn's.

There are a handful of nails that I haven't been able to pop up, but I think they will be more accessible once we get the baseboards off. I have one where the head broke off. Not sure what to do about that. A rasp? Because the broken part sticks up just enough that it would poke through the new flooring if I left it.

Fourthborn is coming home with me after dinner. I need her help to get the blinds down without damaging them. Or me. And back up again after we repaint the window trim. We also have two bookcases to empty and move so we can get that last bit of carpet up.

While I would very much like to put up the trees and decorate them tomorrow, in reality that may not happen until Saturday night, or even Sunday morning before church. I need to have her home in time for choir practice in her stake.

I am hoping that when we are done with our labors this weekend, I will have a finished living room and a tidy dining room and hall. And I could spend December being crafty and socializing.

That's the dream, anyway.

I am thankful for the new skills I've acquired this year. For kids who aren't too bossy, and who have great ideas. For friends who share their tools. For how this collaboration has blessed and strengthened my relationship with Fourthborn. For the fun I had with Firstborn and Secondborn and Spring and their families last weekend. For Middlest, who worries about me more than is needful and checks on me on a regular basis. And I'm thankful for the good years with LittleBit. (I hope there will be more of them someday. It's not fun to be a tough love mama.) I'm thankful for Squishy and Mel, that there is peace and love and respect between us. And I'm hopeful that sometime before I kick, I can have that with their brothers.

Because I am an inconvenient truth, and I am not going to just quietly go away. So I'm thankful that for the moment there is polite silence and distance, and not active wrangling. When I pray for the family, I pray for all of the kids and grandkids.

Today I'm praying to be civil to the children's father and to the crazy lady who thinks she's his wife. Somebody from her church said words over them, but they didn't bother getting a marriage license, presumably so one or both would not lose their benefits.

I should probably also pray not to be self-righteous about this, but I think I've already lost that battle.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Nostomania.

An irresistible compulsion to return home. So says dictionary.com. I experienced a little of that last weekend. Firstborn leaned over to me during church and murmured, "do I have to go home?" I was right there with her.

I could move back to Fredericksburg after retirement. For at least part of the year anyway. Spring in Fbg. Summer in Taos. Fall in ... New England? (Don't know. Haven't been. It's on the list.) Winter in Galveston. Sounds like a well-rounded year to me.

The stripes are up on the living room walls. Tonight I put two coats of paint on the brackets. I'll put on another coat in the morning when I wake up and maybe a fourth before leaving for work. By bedtime, that part ought to be done. I've pulled up almost a third of the tack strips. And worked a centimeter of Temperance's sleeve. And put Grace's new wig on her.

Had a good day at work. 37 emails waiting for me, all of them dealt with and more that followed. Three days' mail wrangled. My to-do's worked. I was steadily busy all day but not snowed under. Loved it.

And now I'm at the point where I'm dozing off mid-sentence, which suggests it might be time to go to bed. Night, y'all.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Frigorific.

I'm not sure where or why or how, but dictionary.com decided I should get the word of the day. And this is the word of the day. (As Inigo Montoya said, I do not think it means what you think it means.) Most of the time, the chosen word is already in my vocabulary. Today's was a welcome exception.

I saw it and thought "flippin' wonderful?" But no. It has to do with producing cold. Rather like when you use childbirth words in the chapel during sacrament meeting.

Yesterday was a Mary Poppins day: practically perfect in every way. Two movie references in three paragraphs. This Tootsie is on a roll! (Make that three. I think maybe too many carbs for breakfast.)

I would like to take this bed home in my pocket. Ditto Firstborn's white noise machine, but she told me where she bought it, so that's actually something I can acquire.

Lots of happy walking. Took some great pictures. We are about ready to go to church. I'm fed and dressed and packed and reasonably well fed (not a big fan of reconstituted powdered eggs), and I have my protein snacks and church knitting in my purse.

(Later) church was even better than Saturday. I had the most marvelous sense of homecoming. One of the boys who used to mow our lawn is the branch president, following in his father's footsteps. The man who was our branch president was delighted to see us. And I got to hear his maniacal cackle again. His wife was ill, but he took my love and my contact information. And one of my Merrie Miss girls came up after sacrament meeting and did the same.

I am finishing this up from Firstborn's. We are back from the Hill Country. I am eating a nice bowl of chicken tortilla soup. And not quite looking forward to the drive home from here, but very much looking forward to sleeping in my own bed (once I unpin the Knit Swirl. I will weep if that sweater is not dry.) The fingerless gloves are done. Two miniature stockings are ready to block (if I could only get to the ironing board).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

It's so quiet here.

I slept in a room that cost more than I have ever spent for lodging in my life. And it was wonderful. The bed was like a warm hug, and the commode is just the right height, and there's a gym downstairs. The desk is too high for its chair, but there's an easy chair in the corner with a reading lamp behind it! I caught nearly six full hours of sleep. And there's WIFI. (Humor me. I have a better connection here than I do at home.)

Tonight I will share this room with three other people whom I love dearly. But for now I am savoring the solitude. I was so tired when I hit the sack that I didn't complete even one row of knitting, and there aren't that many stitches on my needles.

Speaking of which, l lost a 4" DP yesterday, probably in the auditorium at the Bitties' school. It made for some creative finagling on the increases for this fingerless glove. I'm nearly done. I'll be able to give Sarah a finished pair when I'm back home.

I got Knit Swirl blocked on the bed before leaving for Firstborn's yesterday. I'm hoping it (and the bed) will be dry when I get home tomorrow night.

I brought two other small projects to work on: the miniature Christmas stocking for Steadfast, which should be perfect church knitting for tomorrow, and Temperance's sweater, which is waiting for me to design the sleeves.

The forecast is 100% chance of rain, so as of last night we had cancelled our plans to climb Enchanted Rock. I'm not sure what we will do instead, but Firstborn assured me there's a Plan B.

We left this town 21 years ago with our tails between our legs. Jobless. Momentarily homeless. It feels so good to sit here in this room with 20 years of gradual but sustained progress under my belt.

I drove past the place where we lived, but it was so late, and the town was so dark, that I couldn't see it. I want to get a picture of it before we leave tomorrow. We made some happy memories in that house. It was also the place of my greatest personal fear. But that's a story for another time.

The kids are an hour away, and I desperately need a shower, notwithstanding the soaking I got last night from the rain that blew in sideways under the tarp.

By the time I got in Firstborn's car to come here, I was cold and weary and tired almost to the point of tears. And then I drove an unfamiliar car on dark, unfamiliar roads, the last  30 miles behind someone who couldn't maintain a consistent speed but whose tail lights serve as an erratic beacon to keep me awake and in my own lane. I hope that I didn't frustrate him as much as he frustrated me.

Last night's dinner was perfect. I didn't stay for the Dutch oven cobbler, but the burger baked with onions, potatoes, and carrots was delicious. I brought the Greek yogurt and strawberries I bought in Burnet, but I left the Nutella back at camp.  So my midnight snack with my Metformin was hummus and crackers. I need to eat breakfast, and I need to do it soon. But I need a shower more.

I don't ever want to go camping again, even for five or six hours. I'm grateful for the beauties of this earth. And I would have made a lousy pioneer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Influence

I noticed something while watching choir practice before sacrament meeting on Sunday afternoon. The choir director is my visiting teacher (that's not what I noticed; I already knew that!), and she was wearing a multicolored jacket that closely toned with all the new colors in my house.

The last time I drove under the High Five (an interchange in Far North Dallas that soars to the sky) I noticed similar parallels, although the High Five picks up the warm tones, and my friend's jacket picks up the cool tones.

This got me thinking about Alma 37:6 (you should go look it up) and the importance of little things. Big things are typically composed of lots and lots of little things. Jigsaw puzzles, quilt blocks, needlepoint cushions, sweaters, compound interest, fractals, battles lost because of a missing horseshoe nail.

The great thing about creativity is that it pulls from all over. The simplest explanation for why I am painting my rooms in colors I once would have told you I didn't like (hello: Not Red) is that I flipped open a Christopher Lowell book that belonged to First Wife and read about a project where they painted a starscape on a dining room ceiling. He did not show a picture, but the idea stuck with me.

And grew on me. One of my attorneys gives me her old copies of Real Simple. Where they are big on painting the insides of things a contrasting color.

And I like Behr paints. Their or Home Depot's website has a widget that helps the timid (not me, but I play one on TV) pick three colors that go together.

So: starscape gave me all sorts of color possibilities. Walls are one of the yellows from the stars. Alcove is painted one of the colors from the next paint chip down in value from the walls. Contrasting greens were found using the widget. Toss in the months I spent working part time in a quilt shop while pregnant with Middlest, and you have an appreciation for what a little color dissonance can do for the composition as a whole. Which is why I have an alcove and long hall painted baby poop yellow, clearly not the most attractive color in the world. But it works.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this post. I am now, several months into repainting, seeing my new colors everywhere. And not twitching. So I am wondering how long this had been building inside before it found expression?

I have not broken up with red. But I am definitely holding hands with teal.

All the little things we do. They matter. My friend's jacket. The High Five. The quilt shop. The widget. Our daily kindnesses, to others and to ourselves. Our prayers. Our talents. Recycling. Fair trade chocolate. We bless, or we place stumbling blocks.

This is my Friday. Tomorrow I go see the Bitties at "Chilton". And then I head to my beloved Hill Country with some of the kids. We'll climb Enchanted Rock and worship on Sunday with old friends.

Tonight I will pack, and maybe paint stripes on the living room wall. I think the last of the touchups are done. I skipped the gym to paint and to write. Tonight I will also inspect my Knit Swirl to see if the bugs chewed on it when they got my red scarf prototype. If it's intact, I'll block it at dark thirty tomorrow morning, and it can dry on the bed over the weekend. If not, I will frog it and reknit it in the smaller size. Not a tragedy either way.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Woohoo! Loads and loads of progress!

Notwithstanding the fact that I picked her up around 9:30 and we didn't get to the house until 2:00, Fourthborn and I knocked it out of the ballpark yesterday. She got the carpet and tack strips out of the coat closet after I offloaded most of the contents onto my bed.

She got the shelves off the brackets in the living room and finished the first round of cutting-in on that wall. She touched up the window wall and cut swathes of carpet around the perimeter of the room so we could Tetris the furniture out of the middle of the room and eliminate most of the rest of the carpet.

I got the closet reloaded and moved 18 boxes of flooring singlehandedly and again with her. I also finished taping the long wall in preparation for the alternating stripes of eggshell paint in the same color.

The matte paint is very low. I hope I won't have to buy a quart to finish the job. That paneling is mighty thirsty. We (mostly she) schlepped the carpet and padding out to the curb.

And then we went to Firstborn's for crafting and conversation. It was a really, really good day.

Only downer was that I ate something that woke me with hives after I'd slept for about an hour. I wish the little bump beasties would have the courtesy to spell out the culprit so I could avoid it in future. I haven't had an episode like this since last year.

I slept until 9:30 and made myself a good breakfast and am now going to scramble to leave for church in half an hour. Sarah's first glove is nearly finished. I will make 20-24 cards for Relief Society after church. All the makings of a good Sabbath.

Note to self: don't scratch.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hey! Who turned on the winter?

I was just getting cozy with fall. Tuesday morning I went to the gym in my shirt sleeves. Today I had to toss a sweatshirt on over my gym clothes.

Lots of happy knitting. I am nearly done with the increase/decrease portion of Sarah's first fingerless glove.

Bought a few Christmas ornaments this afternoon. Got a coat of paint on the wall under the picture window. I keep falling asleep while writing this. It's been a most excellent day, and I'm ready to put it, and myself, to bed. Night, y'all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The incredible vanishing VT-ee.

The apartment manager called me at work yesterday afternoon. There are two Hispanic and one Asian family living in three of those apartments. A guy lives in the fourth. She did not have a forwarding address for my VT-ee.

I reported it to the RS president and the ward clerk.

In happier news, I made noticeable progress in the living room last night, with a bit of followup this morning. Part of me wants to see how much I can get done before it's time to leave for RS. The rest of me strongly suspects that I would get sucked into flow and forget all about RS, and this is an activity I've been looking forward to. So, no.

But the odds are great that when I come home at the end of the activity, I will hop right into my painting clothes and see if I can finish this second wall and around the front door.

We shall see.

In happiest news, BittyBit made it into a prestigious choir. She had to audition in order to audition. The grand finale is next spring, out of town, and I've already gotten the time off approved.

This is the part where I brush my teeth, grab a sweater (and my knitting), and head to Relief Society.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Feeling a little like a bum.

But not in the British sense. Took Secondborn her finished fingerless gloves after church. The Bitties reprised their Primary sacrament meeting parts for me. And Secondborn helped me extract my home dec photos from various Facebook posts and toss them into an album. I wouldn't say they are exactly *organized*. But they are now in one spot. I can go back on some mythical "someday" and tidy them up. Or not.

I also responded to a bajillion messages that had been piling up since FB introduced its messenger program and I opted not to install it on my phone.

By the time I got home, took my Rx, and got ready for bed, it was 11:30, and me with no nap. So I pushed the alarm back an hour. And woke around the usual time, laughing a little at the irony of it.

No gym for me this morning, hence the title of this post. I will cheerfully walk up the stairs from the parking garage and try to move around as much as possible while at work.

Dinner tonight with the Empty Nesters. And then home to paint some more. I didn't touch a roller all weekend, so I'm hoping that a divide and conquer plan like last week's will get me where I want to be at the end of the week. I have RS tomorrow night, and I'm looking forward to that.

If I seek first the Kingdom, all the other stuff will either fall into place or fall off the list. I spent yesterday morning putting together the packets for my VT route. And I determined that the reason one of last month's envelopes came back was because we don't have an apartment number for her.

So I drove to the complex and dropped the packet with a note through the mail slot where folks drop their rent. And followed it up with a voicemail to the management office explaining what I had done and why and asking them to call me if she is no longer a resident, knowing that they could not or would not give out her apartment number.

We'll see how that goes. I'm hoping that maintenance will tape it to her door or something. I didn't put a stamp on it, so it might go right in the trash.

If that doesn't work, I'm thinking four postcards or notes, each with the address and a possible apartment number. There are four units in her building, and I am nothing if not persistent. If I mail four and three come back as undeliverable...

In knitting news, I cast on for Sarah's first fingerless glove yesterday and got part of the first row on the second section done. I'm on a roll. Why stop now?

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Two men. Make that three.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf is a member of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I learned this morning that he is one month older than the children's father. It gave me pause.

President Uchtdorf fled political persecution as a child in East Germany and has consistently followed the Savior. He has served humbly, in positions of increasing responsibility, and is loved and respected by 15 million people.

The children's father joined the Church in California two weeks to the day before I was converted and baptized in Idaho. He and I have had our individual struggles to remain faithful and active.

(I never lost my testimony, even when I was struggling hardest to apply the principles I've come to love, in daily life.) I've managed to "stay in the boat" [see the October 2014 General Conference talks on lds.org to appreciate that reference].)

The children's father has splashed and flailed and nearly drowned at times. He was able to regain the privilege of a temple recommend a few years ago.

It was weird and uncomfortable to run into him -- frequently -- on Thursday nights when I was serving as a temple worker, even after I remarried. Once, while waiting for my sealing cancellation from him, he asked how that was going. I told him it was stuck in Salt Lake. He exclaimed, "What the hell's wrong with those people?" Loudly. In the foyer of the temple.

No filter. One more thing lost to his diabetes and the multiple strokes. Our children still love him. As they should. They have no use for the (truly) crazy lady he "married" (no license, just some words said over them by somebody at her church). I will be biting my tongue at Thanksgiving.

Thankfully, I will come home to the peaceful house provided for me by Beloved, who in his own less public way followed humbly in the steps of President Uchtdorf and the prophets and the Savior and is now serving and blessing others in the world of spirits.

We all get to decide who we'll be.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Thank you, Susan!

I'm glad I'm posting more often, too. My life has felt all lopsided lately. Too much "home" work and not enough music and other good stuff.

I mostly just played today. Had a blast visiting and shopping at the Dallas Flea. Brought home a turquoise glass bowl that resembles an oversized brandy snifter (who came up with that word, anyway?). A small steampunk wall hanging that pleases me enormously. And a couple more prints to frame.

I also picked up my November quilt block and the tool we ordered last month. Tanked Lorelai and the Tardis. Put together my standard wedding gift (note to self: buy more small glass candle holders and candles) and went to a reception. Had dinner with the local widows and widowers. Which deserves its own paragraph.

We met at an area chain restaurant, and the food and service were uncharacteristically *off*. There were six of us. Three dinners were served cold. Mine was one of them. One woman's dinner was inedible, so she ordered fresh. It came with a big chunk of plastic from the mushroom packaging. I am not naming names, because the manager really did everything he could to make it right. So the company was excellent, and I won't go back to that location, but neither will I diss it online.

I finished Secondborn's second glove today. I've wound the yarn for Sarah's but am thinking the best thing would be to publish this, brush my teeth, and call it a night. I took a little catnap before leaving for dinner, but that has worn off.

I just want to curl up in Beloved's sweatshirt and kiss this day goodnight. Paint did not happen. At all. But I did ponder the next steps. And I looked up the names of some architectural salvage places.

Did I mention that Steadfast's wig is just that much too small? Consensus at dinner last night was that the manufacturer has made recent batches a smidgen smaller. Mel can loan me a wig until I can buy him a new one.

Bed. I said I was going to bed.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Paint on a wall.

I spent yesterday afternoon at the dentist with Fourthborn, who doesn't drive. I got a lot of knitting done. I will definitely finish Secondborn's second fingerless glove today or tomorrow.

Delivered the empty bookcase to its new home. Attempted to buy a new grille for the ceiling, but Home Depot did not have one in this size. Beloved said that the builder was known for making things a non-standard size so people would have to come to them for replacements. I will go online when I'm at work to see what I can find.

Provisionally, I love the new color. I wasn't sure I would when it first went on. I didn't bother to cut in. I just went with the roller and took it somewhat near the edges but not enough to endanger the new paint on the ceiling. A second coat will improve things considerably.

Tonight I have a doll meet up. I'm taking Steadfast, to get his wig from the group order. Right now he looks like a pediatric chemo patient. And I'll get to meet Middlest's friend Ashbet, who organized the group order.

I have all kinds of sweet mischief planned for tomorrow.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Ceiling is done.

My non-evil plan succeeded. I painted the second coat in three sections, and it's done, unless Fourthborn sees placed I've missed.

Sarah came over after YW and picked out yarn. When I am done making Secondborn's second fingerless glove, I will crank out another pair, to exchange for a massage.

It was so good to have my friend visit. I loved showing her the progress on the house.

Tonight, unless I am prompted to do otherwise, I'll start painting the walls in the living room. That should be a breeze compared to the ceiling. It will definitely use my muscles differently that the ceiling did. I have all sorts of interesting creaks and stiffnesses in my neck, back, and shoulders. (No real pain. Just moving a little more slowly than usual, but still moving.)

I brought home a box to mail the cupcake shaped cookie jar to Middlest. When I got the jar down from the storage shelf in the kitchen, I discovered that it had been broken and glued back together. Maybe more than once. So I regretfully pitched it.

This morning I have cleaned out a small bookcase on the cusp of the living room and the kitchen. Three partial packages of Thrive freeze-dried fruit that will get incorporated into a smoothie or a baking project in the very near future. Two packages of Brita water filters.

Three #10 cans of food storage. A square vase I saved from the memorial service. A two-years-expired packet of taco seasoning. An unopened bag of cheesecloth (for making pomegranate jelly). The red wooden box with my eBay silver service. A green leaf shaped plate my aunt helped me make the day my parents moved us from Wilder to Boise. (Still unbroken more than 50 years later.)

A coffeepot with hinged lid that must have a story to tell, because Beloved and his mother were faithful, observant members of the Church, and we don't *do* coffee. A ginormous bar of Italian soap in a scent that makes my nose crinkle but does not quite make me sneeze.

A soft-sided briefcase containing an extension cord. (I have no idea.) Two small coolers: one collapsible, one not. The latter one containing stuff that Beloved took along when he went for chemo. Whew! Not ready to sort that out.

One of those plastic sleeves that holds 10 to 20 business cards, this one with cards for his team at the Cancer Center. A whole shelf of cooking magazines (some dating back to 2003) and more cookbooks to add to the stash. Some of which are diabetic themed.

Bookcase is now emptied, approximately dusted, and strapped to my luggage carrier for easier schlepping to the car. It will go to its new home after work, and the light fixture will go to Habitat.

That's a hunka hunka Elvis leaving the building. And I've freed up one of the two short walls in the living room. The other is covered up with the two tall bookcases stacked back to back. As soon as I've finished breakfast, I'll put on some shoes and load the car before sluicing off for work.

Work has been a little frustrating of late. I am scrambling to keep busy. Thankfully, today is a short day for me, because I'm ahead on my To-do's for the week.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Visibility.

I've posted more than once about the fact that in a culture which worships the young and the sleek, a middle aged woman is frequently nigh unto invisible, at least for middle aged white men. This was brought home to me even more strongly when I was walking with a cane after I broke my leg line dancing. (Thankfully, this is Texas, and there were plenty of young men whose mamas had raised them right, who opened doors and spoke cheerfully to me.)

Men of color seem to have better vision. I cannot say why this is. The young ones, of course, are as susceptible to idiocy as any full grown Bubba. But once they have outgrown the "hey, baby, baby" stage I've found their appreciation to be leavened with respect.

It has been at least 15 years since anybody hollered, "¡Ay, chiquilina!" to me. I'm fine with that. But let me tell you what happened on the way to work yesterday.

I was driving down the road, one hand on the wheel, the other gently finger-combing my hair. It's by far the easiest way to untangle it, as it's nearly to my waist. This takes me about three-fourths of the way to work, and then I comb it with my wide tooth comb to get anything I've missed.

Anyway. As our story begins, I have begun to comb my hair at the stoplights. I roll up to a light and hear a quiet whistle. I don't think anything of it, but as I am waiting for the light to change, I happen to see a guy two or three cars back in the next lane over (in my right mirror), and he is definitely looking at me, and smiling. The light changes, he passes me, as his lane is moving much faster than mine. I am focusing on not-hitting the bumper of the car ahead of me. He zooms on while I try to figure out if I am putting one and one together and getting three.

As I pull up to the last major intersection before turning downtown, I catch up to him. He turns to look at me, nods courteously, and smiles. I smile back, astounded.

I am visible.

We make our turns. He goes his way. I go mine. And I spend the rest of my commute asking Heaven's blessings upon him and the people he loves.

It's the small kindnesses we give, that make someone's day.

Busy. Busy. Busy.

Work. Costco. Tom Thumb. Tank Lorelai. Start a load of laundry.  Stow the groceries. Tank the Tardis. Shuffle furniture. Start a second load of laundry. Paint. Run the dryer again. Paint some more. Run the dryer *again*. Finish painting for the night. Put that stuff away. Knit three rounds on the thumb. Doze off. Call it a day.

This morning, the first load was finally dry. And I discovered that the second load hadn't spun out completely. It's now on its second tumble in the dryer. I've cleared the decks for tonight's paint-fest, which will happen after I vote. Which will happen after work.

Staying awake at work might prove to be a challenge. When I left the office last night, I had pretty much done my To-do's through Thursday. I sent out a "will type for food" email but got no takers.

I would love to just stay home, go back to bed for an hour or two, and spend the day knitting and painting. The finish-itis has subsided a little from Saturday night. I made enough progress last night that the frustration I felt on Sunday has nearly disappeared.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Where we are.

"We" being me + the house. Fourthborn did two rounds of cutting-in on the perimeter of the ceiling in the living room. I got the first coat of paint up, and about 20% of the second before we ran out of paint. At which point we were both ravenous, so we combined a paint run with dinner and a yogurt run, getting home just as daylight was fading.

We work well together, and as she remarked, we tend to forget how often we need to take breaks. So we didn't get anywhere near as much accomplished as I had hoped, but what we did was good solid work.

More importantly, we enjoyed the process and the time together.

So during the coming week, I will finish up the ceiling in the evenings after work, and maybe get started on the walls. I am trying to figure out how to remove a shelf that Beloved put up. It is very solidly attached to the wall, with no visible clue as to how. (There are none of those little wooden buttons that people use to hide countersunk screws.)

It is a great shelf, and there is another in the kitchen, and each has supports painted the most lovely shade of red. The shelves are barnwood from a barn that belonged to someone in Beloved's first/late wife's family.

I would like to keep the shelves, and I would like to *move* the shelves, and those red supports are not likely to play well with the shade of green that I am repainting the walls. (Or they will make my living room look like Christmas 24/7, which is not the look I am going for.)

The chandelier-ish lamp is down from the ceiling. I will probably donate it to Habitat for Humanity. It is absolutely lovely, and it gives great light, and it is absolutely not-me.

I discovered another wall plate after we took down the curtain rod and brackets, this one for a co-ax cable. I may be stuck with it, as I don't think the manufacturer makes those in the Texas star pattern I am using, any more than they make blank ones. I will probably just have to paint over those, or hide them with furniture.

I had originally planned not to get together with Fourthborn next Saturday, except to meet her and Firstborn to pick up our quilt blocks. I had planned on having solo adventures. And that still might happen.

But I had also hoped that we would get as far as ripping up the carpet yesterday, and we're a long way from that, and Thanksgiving is in less than four weeks, and one of those weekends I'm going to be making a getaway with some of the other kids, so time is of the essence if I want to have enough space to set up the air mattress so Fourthborn can spend most of Thanksgiving weekend with me, playing with dolls and helping me decorate for Christmas.

Whew! Pausing for air.

It will all get done. Maybe I won't be able to put up two trees (one big, one little). Maybe we will be painting and ripping and planking the floor right up to the very last minute. Maybe it's unrealistic to think we can redo the living room in three weeks when it took a month and a half to do the hall.

Maybe.

But we can try.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Plan Q?

Got a call from one of my kids who is as fiercely independent as her mother. She needed a little help with something. It is such a pleasure to serve people who know their strengths and when it's time to call in reinforcements. I try to be that kind of person.

The second back to Temperance's sweater is done and attached at the shoulder. Now I need to design a sleeve.

My FHE project tonight was about equal parts wonderful and frustrating. I wound two balls of yarn. The first one cooperated and is now an elegant cheese of teal and midnight goodness. The second skein was just that much too long to stay put on the umbrella swift. It leaped off and somersaulted to the floor. The first was wound in less than five minutes. The second took nearly one full hour to untangle. It's 9:00. I'm knackered. So much for casting on Secondborn's birthday present tonight.

Have found a home for the entertainment center and the TV. Am hoping that tomorrow night I'll get another bookcase emptied and moved. Trying hard to stay awake until 10:00 but am not sure I'll make it.

Lorelai is less than ten miles away from 200K miles. There's a miracle on the order of the loaves and the fishes!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A whole week of progress.

Again I ask, who thought it would be a good idea to put seven doorways in the halls? Only six of them touch the floor. Trimming the vinyl plank flooring to fit around the door moulding is fiddly work.

I spent the better part of two hours cobbling together the floor inside the linen closet, mostly from scraps leftover from other edges. It looks really nice now. I managed to dislodge the center dome from one of the decorative door pulls. Hot glue will fix that, once I find the glue gun and glue sticks. Or I could look for teal buttons the same size, pry out the other four domes, and customize the knobs.

Wes and his boys (13 and 3) came by on Tuesday night and wrangled the hot water heater closet for me. The sill is sawn off. The paint cans are stacked neatly in a corner of the kitchen. The trunk is in the living room for now. The boys rinsed off the AC filter, and I can do that myself from here on out. I haven't built the shelves yet.

I got the smallest, empty bookcase moved back into place in the hall. I put maybe a dozen books on a shelf before cleaning myself up for the Saturday night session of stake conference. I think today I will unpack all the DVD's and stow them there. Maybe add my boxes of CD's. That would come more under the heading of puttering than real work.

During the week ahead, I'll start clearing the living room so Fourthborn and I may paint the ceiling next Saturday. I also want us to rip out the carpet in the hall closet so I may extend the flooring into it and finish that doorway. We can pull up the carpet in the living room after I've repainted the walls.

My Wall Words arrived in Friday's mail. That box will sit on my dresser until I've repainted the double doors, which won't happen until I've sanded a couple of rough spots on the sill and dealt with the moulding. But it's incentive to keep moving forward.

Today I will go to stake conference, make the November birthday cards, maybe finish the second back piece of Temperance's sweater, and pick out music for sacrament meeting for November and December. Not necessarily in that order.

Have a blessed and peaceful Sabbath, y'all!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

More progress!

We ran a lot of errands yesterday. Multiple trips to Home Depot. Bittiest's soccer game. Drive-by fooding of the elders. There are two coats of paint on the ceiling in the hall, and I don't think it will need a third.

Fourthborn got the piece cut for the missing triangle of flooring at the corner of the alcove in the dining room. It looks wonderful. (And had defeated me three times, back in July.)

I've hung four pictures and a shelf this morning. Posted some pictures on Facebook. Taken the three small Willow Tree figurines and placed them atop the shelf (which hides the botched wall patch I'm pretty sure was botched by somebody other than Beloved, because the man was meticulous).

Tomorrow after work I will tackle the flooring. I am so excited that I can barely sit still. When that is done, and Wes has trimmed the sill on the water heater closet, I can paint the trim on that doorway, paint both doors in that section of hall, and empty the big closet of Beloved's footlocker and a bajillion paint cans.

It just occurred to me that I might be able to install shelving on one wall in there, which would provide an orderly place to keep the paint cans and my stash of Costco TP. I need to be able to access the AC filter, which is blocked by the footlocker and the clutter. It has not been tended since before Beloved passed, so it is long overdue.

Most of those paint cans will disappear when I have the outside of the house repainted. I will *not* be doing that myself. I don't mind climbing up and down stepstools to paint the interior. There are plenty of places to grab, when the day comes that I feel a little unsteady. I draw the line at tall ladders and tree branches. If the kids are willing and able to tackle the outside, fantastic! Otherwise, I will wait for a bonus and hire it done.

When I lived in the penultimate apartment, I had a Mae West quote along the top of my dining room wall in burgundy vinyl lettering. On Friday, I reordered it in the same font in a new color that I think will tone well with the color I'll be using on the double doors to the water heater closet.

One of the joys of having my own home is the freedom to paint the walls in a riot of colors and then "write" on them. These walls are too textured to accept wall words, but the doors are more cooperative. This company has a sign language font (finger spelling hand shapes). I am toying with getting L-O-O for the guest bathroom. Or "room of requirement" in their "Parry Hotter" font. Either of which would please me immensely.

So grateful to Fourthborn for helping me to get past the creative block and resume forward movement.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cats, dogs, fishes, and a tornado watch.

It's Monday. It's raining. And the tornado watch expires at 7:00am. The only reason I know about it (I turn my phone off at night) is because I awoke from the beginnings of a nightmare around 1:00am and needed a distraction to clear my mind before going back to sleep.

I hear thunder out there. And dripping. And the gurgling of my stomach. I barely ate yesterday. Healthy breakfast. Didn't need my snack during church, so that was late lunch or pre-dinner once I got home. Then a catnap so I would be safe driving back from the birthday bash. (I drove almost 200 miles on Saturday. I'm tired.)

Slice of Tillamook while throwing on my clothes after my nap. One bottle of water down the hatch on the drive to Arlington. Four bites of dried pineapple, one cupcake, and two small cookies at the party. No Arby's on the way home, because it was the Sabbath. But another bottle of water. Ravenous when I got home. Nothing sounded good. I fixed an English muffin, took my Metformin, and called it a night.

My stomach thinks my throat's been cut. I just finished an English muffin with almond butter. My clothes are laid out for my shower. And I'm about to head back to the kitchen to rustle up a salmon burger sans bun. Thank you, Costco. I will probably follow that with bacon and eggs and a biscuit once I get to work. And I have the last pint of soup to take for lunch. Maybe by the end of the day I will no longer feel 10,000 calories behind.

The front of the new incarnation of Temperance's sweater is about half an inch from the neck shaping. I plan on leaving in about 45 minutes and taking the freeway to avoid any downed trees or misfiring traffic lights. As it's Columbus Day, traffic should be minimal. Ergo, plenty of time for knitting progress once I reach the office.

Tonight it's "Keyboard Conversations" and Mozart's variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Cannot wait!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Glad to know I've not been recalled.

"This email is to notify you that an important patient recall/reminder message has been sent to your account at (notification provider). Please login at your earliest convenience to review this information."

I wasn't sure what to think. I've been reasonably lively today and thought I was healthier than I have felt in weeks. I hoped it wasn't a case of their knowing something that I didn't know.

Turns out that they just wanted me to schedule next year's well woman exam. Which I did. Glad to know that my warranty did not expire when I wasn't looking.

I am going to see "Meet the Mormons" tonight. Picking up one of the sisters in my ward and going to mingle with the fellow travelers. It's supposed to be a good film. (The church doesn't do anything boring or tacky, and this is allegedly both entertaining and edifying.) At any rate, I am in need of, and in the mood for, a little company and something other than knitting or painting to occupy my mind: i.e., culture.

Which is why I am also going to the Keyboard Conversations concert on Monday night, bypassing the evening with my beloved Empty Nesters in favor of Mozart's variations on "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." I have loved that piece since I was a student wife at BYU. And the pianist is quite engaging; I attended his Chopin presentation last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The sweater I made for Temperance was too tight in the shoulders, a result of my following Alice Starmore's instructions to decrease my cable stitches (two into one, four into two, etc.) just before binding off, in order to prevent the cables from flattening and splaying out. This sweater was more heavily cabled than the first two, resulting in greater compression where I joined it to the sweater body. It fits Hope just fine, but it isn't her turn, so it's gone into a baggie with detailed notes until I am ready to take apart the side seams, shorten the sleeves by the depth of one full "fish" repeat, and put it back together.

In the meantime I have commandeered the start of what I thought was going to be a sweater for Steadfast, which is far less heavily cabled, and Temperance is likely to end up with the little-girl equivalent of the boyfriend sweater.

I am picking up Fourthborn tomorrow, and we will paint paint paint until it is time to head over to Dolloween. I have been stuck in terms of painting for the past two or three weeks, and having her assistance may mean that we finish the @#$%&*! trim in the hall, once and for all.

Because I am so ready to be done in the hall and move on to the living room. And I am jonesing to decorate for Christmas but have settled for displaying one small fall-themed item in a bookcase in the living room.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Good morning!

Not much going on chez Ravelled. Attached the first sleeve to Temperance's sweater yesterday and got started on the second sleeve. Paid bills for the upcoming two weeks. Shredded a small batch of receipts.

Big weird storm moved through the area yesterday afternoon. Straight line winds of 60-80mph. Arlington, where I used to live, got trashed. There is a building in the FW Stockyards that is a pile of bricks spilling out into the parking lot. I really hope it was not the Star Cafe, which serves the best chicken fried steak I've ever eaten. (I go back every couple of years just to make sure.)

Lots of trees broken or down. Lots of traffic lights out. Because I decided I was smarter than Waze and ignored its attempts to shunt me onto the freeway, it took me two hours to get home last night.

Here at the house, all appears to be well. A number of my friends were without power last night.

Really looking forward to General Conference this weekend and quilt club sandwiched in between sessions and quantity time with Fourthborn and dropping off birthday presents for Lark and Willow.

This is the part where I figure out breakfast and what I'm going to wear. Lunch will be leftover Subway, because I had to dash into one (that had power) last night for a much needed comfort break. A bladder with no sense of humor is not the best companion for a two hour drive home!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ms. Ravelled buys a bed.

I thought maybe I'd mentioned it here, but I can't find it. Maybe it was over on FB. Or maybe I put it in a letter to someone recently.

Anyway. On my way home from the doctor's office last week I stopped at the estate sale consignment store where I bought the plant stand that's in the alcove in the dining room. And there was this bed.

It is massive. Probably oak. A light but warm finish. Headboard has a deep ogee curve at the top (like an old secretary or armoire). It and the footboard are fashioned to look as if they were made of plantation blinds or shutters. There are four heavily carved bedposts, not tall as a four-poster but nevertheless impressive. This bed is solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. (Please don't tell me that that icon has been carted away and dry docked next to the Queen Mary.) One could found dynasties in this bed if one were not postmenopausal and if one's DNA coprovider of choice were not post-mortal.

Ahem.

When I saw the bed last week, it was priced well out of my comfort zone. I called today, to ask if they could let me know if or when the price dropped. She said it was marked down as low as it would be. I said that it was a gorgeous bed and that I could not afford to pay X. She said, "Oh, didn't you know? It's marked down to Y."

Y was 10% lower than the top of my comfort zone! The kids will help me get it home on Saturday, and it will live in the garage until I'm ready to repaint my bedroom, somewhat earlier than I'd originally planned.

In painting news, there is progress on the trim around the doors, and I am hopeful that I may get it done before I crash on Sunday night. Once the halls are done, there's really very little fiddly stuff left until I have to repaint or replace the kitchen cabinets. Just acres and acres of flat surfaces.

Seven doorways in these two halls. Really?

Time, I think, for a smidgen of knitting and then lights out.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Priorities.

I testify that when help is prayerfully and sincerely sought, our Heavenly Father will help us to give emphasis to that which deserves our time above something else. - Ian S. Ardern, A Time to Prepare, General Conference, Oct 2011

The front of Temperance's sweater is done. I do not have enough brain cells to rub together to design the back, before bedtime. Last night I finished the trim on the door to the middle bedroom. Tonight I ran a few errands and got another coat on the trim for the bathroom door. In theory I could put on another coat before bedtime, but it's a quarter to eleven, and all I want is to be horizontal and unconscious.

Lest you think I am bummed, after work I brought home four new drapery panels and another teal backless chair for the dining room. More on that later, maybe, but definitely not tonight.

Prayers tonight are likely to be of the "Lord, bless Heber; he is so very tired" variety.

The right place, the right time.

The Savior... gave us a great example about not waiting to administer relief to those who have lost a sense of happiness and joy. - Jose L. Alonso, Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time, without Delay, General Conference, Oct 2011

Last night's General Women's Conference was another great example of this. I'm in pretty good shape emotionally. And very grateful for that. President Uchtdorf's talk lovingly illustrated the difference between visiting teaching as a box to be checked off each month, and as Christlike, loving service.

I have a writing route, because coordinating with a companion and making actual visits would be just One More Thing at the moment. By the time I come home from work I am pretty much peopled out. But I can take an hour or two and write letters to send out with copies of the RS newsletter and the VT message from the Ensign, and I can remember birthdays and Valentines Day and send Christmas cards.

I hope when they get my letters they feel Heaven's love for them. These are hard times for many. In the broadcast last night, a woman who lost six of her children in the earthquake in Haiti when her neighbor's house fell on them as they played, bore testimony of God's love for her and the comfort she takes in knowing she will see and have her children again.

Puts my own small struggles in a proper perspective. And makes me all the more grateful for the life I have. Part of the impetus to focus on setting my house in order is so I may have the time, money, and energy to serve my family and others with greater effectiveness.

And the house is a little more chaotic than when I woke up yesterday. There was no room for the new bed in the garage, so it's leaning against a wall in the dining room. When we were there to pick it up, I found a wing chair that wanted to come home as well. It is solid enough for the largest member of the Beloved family, expertly upholstered in a fabric that doesn't make me cringe, was reasonably priced, and I got another 25% off that!

Here I am, trying to curate and simplify, and Heaven is telling me to incorporate more beauty into my life. Affordably. This comes under the heading of blessings so abundant that there is not room to contain them.

In knitting news, the second back is attached to Temperance's sweater. Today I will figure out the sleeve design and get to work on that. And maybe I will also finish the dresses for the twins.

But first there is breakfast. Have a blessed Sabbath, y'all.

If you don't know where you want to go...

In our day many people are living in the midst of sadness and great confusion. They are not finding answers to their questions and are unable to meet their needs. Some have lost a sense of happiness and joy. The prophets have declared that true happiness is found in following the example and teachings of Christ. He is our Savior, He is our teacher, and He is the perfect example. - Jose L. Alonso, Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time, without Delay, General Conference, Oct 2011

Can I get an "amen"? I am so thankful for last weekend's General Conference sessions. I am glad that I wanted to go sit and listen for four, two-hour broadcasts. I am looking forward to the November issue of the Ensign, which will have all five sessions (there is one just for the priesthood brethren; the children's father used to call it the "stop being idiots" session) and the Women's Broadcast from the preceding Saturday, all printed out for study and review.

Last week was weird. A short week of exceedingly long days. I spent chunks of it looking for things to do and ways to help. Mostly, I succeeded. This coming week, I will be doing some training-of-others on two projects, which will be both fun and interesting. I'm part of a two-person team for one project and driver of a four-person committee on the other.

The Culture Fairy has put her oar in the water. I'm going to a concert tomorrow night. A bluegrass festival on Friday night.  The opera with Firstborn a week from Friday. All that has been largely set aside while I work on the house.

So I'm glad that Fourthborn and I made some noticeable progress on the painting yesterday. Two of the doors in the hallway are done. Two more are nearly done. I'm hoping that next weekend we can finish that, plus the ceiling, and lay in the flooring. Tuesday is ward temple night; I will only have Wednesday and Thursday (theoretically) available for painting.

I did get Lark's birthday present finished after work on Friday. And her card and Willow's begun. The butler's tray table is piled high with gifts, which makes me happy. Soon to be joined with more, because I was successful yesterday in finding birthday and Christmas gifts for my sister.

I love wrapping presents. I love making presents. One of the things I have enjoyed most about this year (and the "new normal") is that I've been able to make several of the birthday gifts.

Part of me wants to sit here and write all morning. But I have cards to finish and lessons to study, and I have no idea what to wear to church, and I need to write the notes for my visiting teaching route.

Have a blessed and peaceful Sabbath.

Reading the instruction manual.

The most important way to teach is to be the kind of parents to our children that our Father in Heaven is to us. He is the one perfect parent, and He has shared with us His parenting manual-the scriptures. - Lynn G. Robbins, What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?, General Conference, Apr 2011

So, General Conference is over for another six months. My spirit is fed. My body was exhausted until I came home and took a nap. The music was superb. Much of the counsel seemed just for me, and only some of it made me squirm.

Two most memorable phrases? One I didn't have to write down: Stay in the boat (a parable about river rafting). And one I did: The process of gathering light is the quest of a lifetime. (Elder Uchtdorf)

In mundane news, I made a killer pot of soup. There are five pint jars of leftovers in the fridge. And I finished the second sleeve to Temperance's sweater and attached it to the body. It's ready to be blocked, and I've cast on for the front of Steadfast's.

I've tried to eat sensibly all weekend and have pretty much succeeded. Enjoyed my first shawerma yesterday. Will go back for more. If I were not out of Greek yogurt, I would be having some with Nutella and finely chopped pecans and berries (which I'm also out of). I want something sweet but not stupid.

It's officially not-the-Sabbath. I started a load of laundry and will go back to bed once the shirts are hung up and the socks are in the dryer.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

He's quoting my mom.

The single most important principle that should govern every home is to practice the Golden Rule - the Lord's admonition that "all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:12). - M. Russell Ballard, Finding Joy through Loving Service, General Conference, Apr 2011

I heard that a lot, growing up. My parents, though not outwardly religious, were two of the best Christians I know. Mom said the Golden Rule would get you through pretty much any situation in life. I have to agree.

Work has been going well. I haven't had that much to do for SemperFi, so I've been helping the other legal secretaries with one thing or another. Just when I think I have run myself out of work, something else pops up.

Paint did not happen last weekend. At all. But Firstborn and 1BDH helped me get the new bed home, along with a wing chair, and I had a spiritual feast at the General Women's Broadcast on Saturday night. Sunday was restful. A sleep wrecking nap and lots of knitting.

I got blindsided at fast and testimony meeting when the father of one of our young husbands stood and bore his testimony. He is recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and a short time frame. They are traveling around the country to see the kids and the grandkids before he goes Home. And I just sat there in the choir seat with leaky eyes and barely got through conducting the closing song.

"I Am a Child of God" does not typically make me cry. I warned them when they called me as sacrament meeting chorister that music affects me deeply, and that I never know if or when I will get hit by a wave of grief. They said that's fine.

I'm holding them to it.

In knitting news, I am nearly done with the first sleeve on Temperance's sweater. She will go to work with me today, because I'm leaving early for my four month dental cleaning, then picking up Fourthborn for Cheesecake Factory. Having Temperance along will make it easier to fine-tune the length of the sleeve. And if Fourthborn brings MoMo, they can have a dolly tea party while the humans are feasting and laughing.

I miss Knit Night. I'm more rested on Wednesday morning, but I miss Knit Night.

Retrenchment

Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions. - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Of Things That Matter Most, General Conference, Oct 2010

I can't complain of any adverse conditions chez Ravelled at the moment. I have enough to eat. A closet full of clothing that I like, that still fits reasonably well. A year's supply of yarn. Or more.  Nevertheless, I am intentionally slowing it down a bit. On the one hand, finish-itis is starting to kick in, in terms of the hall. I did a little more painting tonight. A second coat on the grilles. The strip that will show between them when that wall is finished. Two coats on the door to my studio. If I had Hermione's time turner, I would stay up all night and paint the trim on the doors. But I don't. So I won't. As Tevye said, "There is no other hand." At least not tonight. I am going to focus on getting a decent night's sleep. Maybe I will wake just enough ahead of the alarm that I can put a third coat of paint on the door before hitting the gym.

Salt of the earth

God knows that some of the greatest souls who have ever lived are those who will never appear in the chronicles of history. They are the blessed, humble souls who emulate the Savior's example and spend the days of their lives doing good. - Dieter F. Uchtdorf, You Matter to Him, General Conference, Oct 2011

People like my dad. My mom. My dear, feisty Beloved. Any number of my friends. People who didn't, or don't, think of themselves as anything but ordinary.

That's the kind of person I want to be when I grow up. I am wonderfully blessed.  I am intermittently humble (i.e., teachable). I can only hope, like J. Golden Kimball, that I "repent too damn fast" to go to hell.

This is not false modesty. Nor is it an attack of self-loathing. It is merely an acknowledgement of human frailty. Like every person but One who has lived on this beautiful earth, I sin and fall short on a regular basis. I have gotten a little better at learning from my mistakes. And I take ever greater joy in doing right (and in insisting less on *being* right).

We made some progress here yesterday. Fourthborn got Steadfast's faceup mostly done, ahead of the humidity. She also got the first coat of paint on the grilles. I got one side and both edges of the bathroom door painted. She cleaned the door to my studio. Those doorknobs are bagged and set aside.

Memo to self: time to invest in another box of Magic Erasers.

Wes came and used a different claw than the one I'd borrowed to get rid of the rest of the nails in the hall. He also analyzed the arrangement of the grilles and the baseboard. I won't have to buy new grilles. (Hence the painting.) Once the flooring is down, I can attach the new, taller baseboard, move the grilles up about an inch, and install fresh molding above them to cover where the sill sticks out. (He forgot to bring his oscillating saw to cut that off.)

And while we were doing inside stuff, his eldest was out in my backyard picking up horse apples (the bright green fruit of the bois d'arc tree) and chunking them into my trash bin.

I need to hit Costco after work tomorrow. But after that I should be able to do the last bit of painting where the grilles were (mostly in between them) and get another coat or two on the grilles themselves. And maybe even paint the studio door, if I don't run out of paint. That would give me Tuesday through Thursday to paint the trim around four or five doors. Then Friday and Saturday I could paint the ceiling and install the flooring.

I don't want to replace the door handles until the doors are painted, front and back. I know what I want to try on the inside of the door to the loo, and it will have to wait until I buy the paint for the living room. I have no idea what I want for the insides of the other doors. Or for the vanity in the loo.

In knitting news, I will probably finish the left back section of Temperance's sweater sometime today.

In sewing news, all the fabric is preshrunk to make Halloween dresses for all the dolls. I may very well get started on those today, if I have the right thread colors. I ordered a pattern for Steadfast on Friday. There will be enough fabric to make him a shirt, as well.

The October issue of the Ensign arrived yesterday. Time to curl up with a snack and improve the shining moment.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Stealth mode.

I stopped at JoAnn's after work and invested in a five-pack of Olfa blades. It was getting to the point where I could have chewed my fabric into strips and pieces faster than cut them. Pitiful.  

If last night was about serving the dead, and it was, then tonight was about serving the living. I whipped up Willow's birthday present. Just totally lost myself in the flow, and before I knew it, I was done.

Had another good, productive day at work. The office manager cancelled the monthly support staff meeting, so I did not lose an hour and a half to two hours right in the middle of what is frequently my most effective stretch of the day. I closed two cases, finished calendaring a scheduling order I'd begun last week before I got sick, dealt with the day's mail, and got several items e-filed, e-served, or e-faxed, even started a grocery list for tomorrow night.

Tan suggested a combination that I tried for dessert tonight: Fage yogurt, nice blob of Nutella on top, and a generous sprinkling of roughly chopped pecans on top. I tossed ten or so fresh blackberries on top of all that.

Oh. Wow. The Nutella and pecans play nicely off one another, and the yogurt keeps it from being cloying. I wanted seconds, but that would have led to thirds.

Not a whole lot of knit has happened today. I've enjoyed what little there was.

Tomorrow night is for a modicum of grocery shopping and a whole lot of writing to the sisters on my VT route.

Night, y'all.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Struggle

Our testimonies fortify us and strengthen us as we face challenges in our daily lives. Some people struggle with difficult health problems; some experience financial problems; others have challenges in their marriage or with their children; some suffer from loneliness or unfulfilled hopes and dreams. It is our testimony, combined with our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and our knowledge of the plan of salvation, which helps to get us through these times of trial and hardship. - Barbara Thompson, Personal Revelation and Testimony, General Conference, Oct 2011

I can check all of these items off, at one point or another. Illness, cyclical depression, marital troubles, financial chaos, rebellious children, broken hearts, broken dreams. And yet, life continues to be worth living, because of my faith in Christ and His continuing demonstrations of faith and trust in me. (Oh d@mn. I'm sniveling in Starbucks.)

I got to meet Sr. Thompson in the spring of 2009. She was the keynote speaker at a regional singles conference, and she also met separately, beforehand, with a horde of local Relief Society presidents. I was a newly called but yet to be sustained RS president. It was so much fun, and so needful, to attend that early meeting and see many of my friends there. And to see "well, of *course* you would be here" on their faces before the flurry of hugs.

This, in marked contrast to the "poor dear Sr. Ravelled, however does she stand it?" expressions I was used to. Sometimes we are called because we have an aptitude for the calling. Sometimes we get a calling to shake things up a little. And sometimes we get a calling so Heaven can say, "This. This is how much We trust you. This is who you are worthy to stand among. No matter what anyone else thinks. Ours are the only opinions which matter."

But I digress. I had an insight while sluicing off in the shower this morning. Whether the respiratory yuck has been contagious or allergic, I think it is at least partially psychogenic. I was reviewing other instances of similar disruption: the first serious asthma attack on my 16th birthday, in part because of my sister's cat but more because my best friend was so beloved by my family, and I was jealous. The bronchitis related to my near date experience, when I was so frustrated at not being able to get a word in edgewise that I could not breathe for a week. The illness last year related to communication issues with the twins.

So what triggered or contributed to this? I think it not coincidental that I began to sneeze on Tuesday afternoon, now that Knit Night meets on Mondays (better for the majority, but not for me). Compounded by the news on the previous Saturday that Middlest's name change is final, and it's time for me to keep a promise that when my child went to the time, trouble, and expense involved, I would begin using the preferred name.

I read that post while Fourthborn was visiting, and Fourthborn is totally supportive of all the changes that Middlest is making. So I couldn't follow my instinct, which was to cover my face and howl. By the time I got back from taking Fourthborn home, I was too weary to cry.

It feels as if my sweet baby girl has died. Not in that horrible, vindictive "you are dead to me" way. The goodness, decency, and personal integrity are still there under the shell which still startles me a little, even after five years of metamorphosis. So it is still very easy to love my middle child. And it is *not my child's fault* that I am sick.

Feelings are not good or bad. They just *are*. And I have worked hard to recognize and own mine with increasing promptness, and to express or wrangle them appropriately. I just got hit out of nowhere with a double whammy and insufficient time and space to process both. The Adversary is good at that.

So the trick seems to be, to find a way to honor my feelings, without letting them bully others, or me. Sounds like a job for the Holy Spirit and the priesthood of God.

I get by, with a little help from my Friends. Gonna try, with a little help from my Friends. Gonna fly, with a little help from my Friends.

To my kids: keep following your dreams. I'll support you when I can. And even when I think you're misled, nothing, *nothing* you can do will ever break my love for you.

Somebody hand me another box of Puffs.