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!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Wow.

The concert was fantastic. Beloved would have loved it. You have not lived until you've heard "Greensleeves" in the style of Earl Scruggs. Afterwards I had a chance to speak with the banjo player.

ME: That was amazing! I bought a banjo last year.

HIM: I'm so sorry! (big grin)

ME: I live in Garland, and -

HIM: So do I!

ME: I was hoping you could recommend a teacher.

HIM: I can. I recommend me!

Y'all, he lives five minutes away. It would be like taking dance from Gene Kelly. Or a writing workshop with Orson Scott Card. Or knitting lessons from EZ.

A few words about the venue. Loved it. The Renzo Piano addition to the Kimbell Museum. Seats are narrower than at the Winspear Opera House where I saw "Carmen" last fall. Leg room is vastly better. Seats are upholstered in red. Acoustics are warm and intimate.

So very very glad that I went. It's quite a hike on a work night but well worth it. My knee didn't screech once on the drive home.

When the student is ready...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Plan B, and I can't wait!

Ordinarily, I would be getting a massage tonight. But my massage therapist is recuperating from a drive-by germing. And I had been toying with the idea of rescheduling so that I might attend a concert built around an interesting premise.

World class guitarist. World class banjo player. World class fiddler. And some dude who plays bass viol that they are not embarrassed to be seen with. Probably world class in his own right. What I don't know about music and musicians is a fairly constant source of humility. Example: I learned this morning that there is such a thing as a cittern. Which autocorrect immediately turned into a cistern when I wisecracked on FB.

You might think this would teach me. You would be wrong.

Anyway, these dudes will be playing stuff from classical to Brubeck. My knitting and I will be there, rocking out. And even my hair is having a good day. I am so sassy that I almost can't stand it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Happy teeth.

Happy dentist. Happy hygienist. Minimal lecturing. Happy me.

So on Sunday I thought about the various recent promptings I've had, and the need to organize them somehow so they all get a turn.

There are six divisions of provident living. Don't ask me to name them now. But six chunks of one's life which, if tended, lead to spiritual and temporal progress. Possibly even sanity or prosperity.

I need to take care of this body. I need to nourish mind and spirit as well. I'm sure the budget could use some tweaking. Work is an endless experiment in doing more-faster-better with less. I need social time and solitude.

So I'm dancing with the one what brung me: I created another page in my spreadsheet, like unto the one I used last year while saving for my banjo. I'm not trying to do everything all at once or even every day (except for scripture study and the like). But now I have a way to track what I'm doing, stay mindful, and see if my life is as balanced as I tell myself that it is.

We'll see how it goes.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Jottings and titles.

Autocorrect is really having a problem with that post title. Obviously, autocorrect has little to no familiarity with Biblical language and therefore does not appreciate a good pun. (Or a thoroughly bad one!)

The title to the Tardis arrived in today's mail. I have both titles bundled with a death certificate, for filing tomorrow. I remembered to check the mileage on the Tardis when I rolled the trash can out to the curb. I will write down Lorelai's mileage tomorrow as well.

I've grabbed the mileage log books to put in both vehicles to record medical mileage. I've found a home for the large roll of brown kraft paper that was in the hall closet.  I did not burn my garlic bread for dinner tonight. The salmon burger was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I wanted something warm for dinner, because it is colder than a bill collector's heart out there. I know this because I deposited $12.50 in rolled coins into my mad money account after work. My bank is inside a grocery store. They would frown on my driving Lorelai through the double doors to the back of the store, just to make a deposit.

Work went well. I stayed steadily busy all day without feeling overwhelmed. I think I've passed the 50% mark on my cowl. It only argued a little with me today. And it's Wolfie's 258th birthday. The classical music station has been playing nothing-but, all day.

And now it is time for me to make a little night music of my own.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

When is housework a sacred experience?

No, that's not a trick question. You know that this is something I struggle with. Two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes the other way around. I am mostly done with purging the hall closet. There are still a few items in the hall that I've pulled out, which must be dealt with. When I complete a part of this process and return the previously reorganized areas to their newfound order and let it stay that way before tackling another area, it is calming and deeply satisfying.

My living room throughout the holidays was a happy and peaceful place. It looked on-purpose. It's getting there again. The bag for Half Price Books is filling up. I just wedged more "keepers" into the bookcase. There's a book of cartoons from Scotland that I want to read, which will probably go to one of the boys when I'm done. I have finally cleared off the top of an occasional table which has been piled high with assorted books. It is sorely in need of dusting, but that can wait for another day.

I think I am ready to tackle the contents of the last storage bin from the hall closet. It has a comforter in one of those vacuum sealed bags, and more stuff under that. The bin itself is that 1980's blue and must go. I want the run of the hall again.

Yesterday I helped to clean our chapel. I will willingly do for the Lord what I only grudgingly do for myself. He knows it's hard for me to be on my feet long enough to do my share. I cleaned the library, dusted the choir loft and most of the baseboards and all of the pews in the chapel proper, and counted wastebaskets and the hanger clips on the chalkboards in the classrooms. I probably walked more than a mile before I was finished. And then I came home and *died*.

Naps are a wonderful thing. When I awoke, I ran errands. Picked up goodies to try from Trader Joe's. And supplies to make valentines. Five dozen of them. It's still my favorite non-religious holiday. I have stage 1 done and am waiting for inspiration on how to finish them.

This morning I need to bake brownies for tonight's fireside. And I'm hoping for a nap before church. I have kinda-sorta  eaten breakfast and am still vaguely hungry. And I am seriously grubby from yesterday's labors.

But happy. That's the important part.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Tardis is paid off.

Title should arrive in the mail in the next few days. I'm hoping it will be here by Tuesday, when I take the afternoon off for a dental checkup. There is a DMV along the way, and I can get Beloved's name off both titles while I'm in the neighborhood.

Shortly after we married, we bought the Tardis from his mother. I've been making payments to her estate. When we put our names and the lien on the title, I also added him as an owner of Lorelai, in case I predeceased him. Changing it back will make the paperwork easier for my kids, should both vehicles outlast me.

I don't anticipate that they will, although there were a few hours yesterday when I wouldn't have objected too strenuously. My head, lungs, and ankles are all much happier today.

Sleep helps. I went to bed quite early after warming a bag of deer corn and tucking it into the crick of my neck when I pulled up the covers. When I come home from cleaning the chapel later this morning, I plan to do that again. I've been up since a little after 4:00, and there isn't time for a nap before I need to be at church.

I slept in Beloved's Packers shirt again. I will probably only take it off long enough to wash it and to go to church tomorrow. If I continue to stay well, I am going to the fireside in Arlington and will catch up on Downton Abbey next week. Although the DVD is supposed to be out on Tuesday. Adding that to the list.

Ravenous, two English muffins since waking to the contrary. And cold. And sleepy. All fiendish plots to keep me from keeping my word. But I will persevere.

Friday, January 24, 2014

New dwarf.

Itchy. I woke out of a sound sleep around 1am and idly scratched my left leg, provoking a major encounter with the Hive Fairy. I was up for about an hour until the lotion kicked in. So, maybe four and a half hours? I think it's psychogenic, triggered by my emotional response to the newer of the two new temple films. Because sobbing and wailing are not appropriate behaviors for the house of the Lord. My inner artist was calling out last night. The part of me that was quashed and possibly shamed by my 7th grade art teacher. The part that says calligraphy is nice, and craft is good, but honey, you are supposed to be an artist as well as a musician. You mean to tell me that you forgot?

So today I am at work, when I want to be home, crying and making music and making jewelry and thinking seriously about painting over my canvas from last week. And I am eating, to keep from crying. Tomorrow morning I will help clean the church. And tomorrow night I will do a drive-by fooding of the missionaries. And in between I'm pretty sure that glorious messes are going to happen.

Oh, and I'm planning on attending a hockey game in a couple of months. Wouldn't it be funny if I ended up being more comfortable at the hockey game than I was at the opera?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Another box and drawer sorted.

More scouting stuff. A couple of great T-shirts. All boxed up for the boys to sort through. One drawer freed up. A small addition to the shredding pile. All the wire hangers are now corralled in a bag for drop-off at the dry cleaners. I am torn between sorting another small box and hopping into the shower half an hour ahead of schedule.

I am just waiting for W-2's, and then I can file my taxes. It feels good to be on top of that again. Last year was just a mess.

Loving the current knitting project. It's a reprise of the cowl I made for my sister, but in a different yarn and color.

A cold front has moved through. Not looking forward to walking out the door this morning. I am heading straight to the temple after work. That, I am looking forward to. Two weeks ago I just nipped in and did some initiatories. Tonight I am planning on an endowment session. Anybody local want to join me?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Got 'er done.

Donations dropped off. Full day of work put in. Pie tested. Fourthborn picked up. Knit Night attended. Cooler picked up from Firstborn's. Sudden mutual craving for Arby's satisfied. Fourthborn dropped off. And then the long drive home.

Once here, I updated the spreadsheet with escrow information. My homeowner's  insurance premium jumped $300 over last year. I foresee at least a $25 increase in my mortgage payment in the very near future. Or the option of paying a lump sum, which is what I did last year. But in 176 payments, there will be no more mortgage, and that day will be here before I know it.

I am so thankful to have all those bags of stuff out of my living room and on their way to new homes. I have a box of paperwork and Scout stuff to sort through next. The hall closet is still not empty. I'm waiting to stow the Christmas bins until it is. Or at least I think I am.

On the one hand, I want to stow them once and be done with it until the day after Thanksgiving. On the other, I might feel less frustrated with how long this particular project is taking if I stowed now and tweaked later. That closet is turning out to be a clown car. Maybe I should rename it the Room of No Longer Requirement?

I envision it as a holiday closet: Christmas tree, tidy bins of ornaments and decorations, plus my smaller stashes of Easter and Halloween stuff. If there's room, a gift wrapping station squarely in the middle, although my bed serves well enough for that purpose.

Time to refuel and maybe set the timer for 15 minutes to see how much of that box I can sort out before I have to hop in the shower. I am home this evening. I am hoping that finish-itis will kick in. If not, there is Saturday, after helping to clean the chapel and before the drive-by fooding of the missionaries.

Girls just wanna be *done*.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Half a day's work, before breakfast.

The trash is on the curb. A load of laundry is in the dryer. Five large paper shopping bags are in Lorelai's back seat, along with two garbage bags and two briefcases. (I got that out to the car in two trips. Go, me!) A small envelope for Middlest is ready for stamps.

Last night I pulled more stuff out of the hall closet. Read a few pages in Preach My Gospel. Perused the paperwork for the refinance so I may add that information to my tax return. I am just about done with the itemized deductions. The good news is, out of pocket medical expenses were several thousand dollars less than in 2012. The bad news is that they don't appear to add up to 5% of AGI and will not be deductible. This is balanced by the fact that I will be getting a refund. And that after I file an amended return for 2012, I will be getting another, smaller one.

Tonight will be busy: stop by Jody's and taste test her attempt to replicate the pie I had for breakfast on our road trip. Pick up Fourthborn. Go to Knit Night. Take Fourthborn home. Come home. And somewhere in there, pick up the cooler I left at Secondborn's at Christmas.

This is the part where I grab the clean clothes, sluice off, run the donations to the thrift shop, and still get to work on time.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Crabby. Distinctly so.

I was able to catch up on the Downton Abbey episode I missed last week. It was hard to watch. Just made me livid. Poor Anna. (And my dreams were bizarre last night.) Last night's episode was another perspective on the topic. Anna's behavior is classic PTSD. Whereas Branson's response to being taken advantage of is far more healthy. Poor Mrs. Hughes, who is privy to both stories and only allowed to help in one.

I will be glad for the day when the Savior reigns, and women are safe from the worst sort of men, and men are safe from scheming women. There will no doubt still be misunderstandings, but there will also be purity of intent, so forgiveness will come much more easily when we trespass against one another.

Meanwhile, I might be a little twitchy until my ghosts are quiet again.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

On field trips and neckties.

Yesterday I went to Hico with my friend Jody. Field trip to Wiseman House Chocolates. Well worth the time and effort. Serious stash enhancement! Came home and had a nap, then some grocery shopping. Made pigs in blankets for the first time since marrying Beloved. (We did not do biscuits from a tube while he lived. I wanted comfort food last night, with zero effort.)

I am playing catch up on the Sunday School lessons this morning. Interspersed with puttering. I spent about half an hour sorting through Beloved's old ties, four hangers' worth. Kept almost all of the silk ones, either to turn into doll clothes or to repair my necktie skirt. The ties are now in a basket in my studio, and the back of the door to the hall closet is 95% uncluttered. Time for me to read last week's SS lesson, but what I really want to do is take a nap. I've been up for four hours already.

Quirk: I habitually wash my hands with cold water. For as long as I can remember. I have been wondering this week why I don't allow myself the few seconds it takes for the water to get warm so that I may wash them in comfort.

Time to move the books aside and set the alarm for a couple of hours. When I doze off in the middle of a post, that suggests where my priorities ought to be.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Back at work today.

Feeling a little snarky because I can't convince the computer here in the library to let me online. I will have to wait for 5:01 and log on from my desk.

I was drowning in emails when I came back. Have gotten through two days' worth of mail apiece for both my guys.

Tonight I get a massage. I need one. The past two days went far better than I had any right to expect. Cheesecake with Fourthborn on Tuesday. Painting with a Twist with Firstborn and Secondborn that evening. I have an incredibly LOUD painting in Lorelai's trunk. Many of my favorite colors to wear. I had so much fun. And we all know how much I love palm trees. I will no doubt be painting over the canvas with colors that match my interiors.

Yesterday was more quiet. I spent most of it reading. I did take two packages to the post office. And myself to the movies.

Loved Saving Mr. Banks. Not a movie for kids. And would probably raise too many ghosts for several of my kids. I bawled.

I think I am going to make the two-days-off a tradition. I cried several times on Tuesday morning, because of some of my musical choices. I'll pick different music next year.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chaos 0, Ms. Ravelled a bunch

It was a good weekend. Lots of steady puttering, adding up to increased order with only minimal interim disorder. None of this "we had to destroy the village to save it" nonsense.

I got one of the bookcases moved into the studio. Another one (the folding one behind the door) moved out into the living room and filled with two boxes of cookbooks that had not seen the light of day since I left Fort Worth two years ago.

The Christmas tree is in three sections and tossed into the middle bedroom until I order and receive a storage bag for it. My spinning chair and the small Pottery Barn bench are occupying the space where the tree stood, to be joined later this year by a Lendrum double treadle spinning wheel.

The card making supplies and beading supplies are back in the studio. The laundry was caught up before I left for lunch with Br. Sushi on Saturday. I ran the dishwasher. And the shredder.

I picked up another item for my sister's Christmas box. Stocked up on milk and day-old baked goods. The leftovers in my fridge have been providently consumed.

Taught the RS lesson yesterday. HT / VT came over after church. Got a big hug from her and a blessing from him.

And now I go into work for one day, before taking two days off. I feel inoculated against the crazy that might erupt from back to back anniversaries. Hoping to be incredibly productive today, both in terms of what I get paid for, and in progress on my tax return during lunch.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

One more spinning plate.

Sleep is just a wee bit erratic at the moment. Nine hours (!) last Friday night. Five to six on a more typical evening. Sometimes my bladder wakes me. Sometimes I've slept funny, and it's my jaw. Sometimes I have kicked off all the covers. And just frequently enough to keep me both hopeful and unbalanced, sometimes I get to sleep and wake up like a normal person.

I'll wait while you stop snickering.

During my lunch hour yesterday I started entering information into TurboTax for 2013. It is a whole lot less complicated than last year, in part because the sheer volume of paperwork is significantly reduced. I have three fat manila envelopes of supporting documentation for 2012. I have two slim envelopes for 2013. I could probably cram it all into one fat envelope and be done with it, but having it divided has made it easier to pull something back out if I needed to.

Anyway, I discovered that I made a small error on last year's return. I either entered $42 of expense that I shouldn't, or I should have entered $742. Either way, I will have to file an amended return. It would be really cool if I got back the $191 I sent them last year. Or maybe a little more. And it won't break the bank if it's the other way around.

I'm not done entering items on Schedule A, but it looks like I will get a refund this year. If so, it will go into savings to build my emergency fund. I had thought that I might want to buy a doll to celebrate paying off the line of credit for the second time in two years. For the moment, I do not.

I want to build on the progress I made last year while transitioning into the new, old filing status. Last year I used the life insurance to pay the mortgage so I could use my earnings to pay off the line of credit. Obviously that could not go on forever. This year I want to continue living very simply, refining my spreadsheet and improving my budgeting skills.

I have two short vacations planned: a trip to Nauvoo, and one to visit Tan. I am starting to think about where I want to go in 2015.

I've also spent some time this week working on the RS lesson for Sunday. I'm excited to be teaching again, if only as a substitute. And since I've cut back the massages to every other week (yay for progress!!!) I think I will resume going to the temple on alternate Thursdays. Starting tonight.

I love how the Lord teaches me a little at a time, as I'm ready. When I lived in Arlington and Fort Worth, the doctor and dentist were more or less on the way to work. I would go in the morning. Now that I live in Garland, it makes more sense to go in the late afternoon. And now that I go to Arlington most Tuesdays for Knit Night, it makes sense to schedule my appointments for Tuesday afternoons. I rescheduled my first dental cleaning of 2014 accordingly. I will keep this in mind when I schedule next year's well woman. Too much hassle to reschedule this year's, and I didn't want to put it off any longer. The one next month should have taken place last summer. Fall at the latest.

My sister's cowl is approaching completion. The Christmas tree is nearly undecorated. And it's almost time to make the birthday cards for February.

You wanna give that plate another spin as you walk by?

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Life on the edge.

(Of the bed.) Sleeping with a CPAP means that I hug the edge of the bed all night. There is only so long that the cords and tube may be, without my running the risk of strangulation if it's a particularly restless night. Sometimes I wake up in almost the same position as when I slid under the carefully arranged covers. I am warm. Or appropriately cool. My muscles and joints are relaxed. All is well in this little tabernacle of clay.

Other times it's as if I had been moving furniture in my dreams. I awake with half the covers on the floor or hanging off the side of the bed. My left shoulder aches from the effort to keep myself in a warm, cozy ball. My right elbow grumbles because that arm has been thrown back at an unnatural (but apparently quite sustainable) angle. My right knee is screaming that we are all going to die from hypothermia. My feet are two small igloos.

I awoke ahead of the alarm this morning because the ice cubes in my bladder wanted out. And then I went back to bed with only one desire: to thaw. I jumbled up the blankets into a plausible heap and inserted my cranky carcass beneath them. The classical music came on. I stayed put, thankful that it was real music and not twelve-tone nonsense, for nearly half an hour.

At this hour, I have improved to the point of feeling freeze dried. We count all the small victories. This morning there is no question of dawdling in my bed with my knitting. I will spend that time in the shower, poaching as the jets beat down on my trigger points. If wishes were horses, I would spend the next half hour in a hot tub, or walking in shoulder deep water in an overheated pool. If I had either. Which, sadly, I do not.

Because I am still not entirely warm. I foresee a trip to Racetrac on the way to work, for the largest hot chocolate that money can buy. OK. Pity party is over. I'm off to felt Ms. Ravelled.

Monday, January 06, 2014

New tricks.

This morning I turned on the audio feature  of the scriptures on my phone and read along.

Watched the first two episodes of Downton Abbey at Mel and Squishy's last night. Can't wait to get to work and do the Monday morning quarterbacking with my seestahs. Squishy and I were unable to get my TV to go from video to TV reception. So you'll know where to find me for the next several Sunday nights. Oh darn.

And I will be buying another TV when I'm ready to redo the living room. Oh darn.

I got lots and lots of knitting done yesterday. The cowl is approaching six inches in length, and the ball of yarn is only a little smaller than the size of my fist. That was one generous skein of sock yarn!

Heading into the office shortly for my first full week in awhile. That could get interesting about noon on Thursday, when my brain asks the musical question, "Shouldn't we have had a day off by now?" The major counties in Texas have just moved to mandatory e-filing. So we are learning new ways of doing old things. I've already had to spoil a check for a jury fee, for a case in a county that I thought hadn't made the switch.

I had a couple of lovely and apparently necessary weeps in the past 24 hours. And my ankles are looking amazingly girlish this morning. If this keeps up, I may be able to wear those ankle boots I bought awhile ago.

Over and out.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Yay! for 1:00 church!!!!!

It's my favorite shift in the rotation. I don't have short people who need naps. I get to have a leisurely morning and then go worship. I can still sneak in a nap, either before church or when I get home.

Today I will be sustained in a new calling. It's a dangerous thing, being friends with a member of the bishopric. I ran there Monday night for a blessing after the news about LittleBit. And he grinned and said, "While I have a captive audience..."

And I said, "Oh cr*p, are you going to complicate my life again with a new calling? Is this instead of, or in addition to? And I warn you, if it's Primary, the answer is not only no but HELL no."

It's in addition to. And intermittent. And will be fun. (Well, at least for *me*.) That's all I'll say for now. He had just unclogged my vacuum cleaner. I could hardly tell him no. Even if it *had* been Primary.

It is now later. I have been sustained by the congregation and set apart for the calling. After which I reminded him, "You know this was my original calling in the ward*, until you yanked me out into the Primary, and now I've come full circle." Implying, of course, that he could have just left me there and saved me a lot of confusion and frustration. To which he replied, "Yes, but now you have new experiences and perspective to bring to the calling."

*Oh yeah. Forgot to mention. Substitute RS Teacher. And I'm teaching next Sunday. I wasn't a substitute before. It was a regular monthly calling.

I quipped that it seems to me that the assistant librarian calling is chiefly to ensure that I will be on time for sacrament meeting. And this one to ensure that I will read the RS lesson every month. He said that was one way to look at it.

He's going to be a great bishop someday.