About Me

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Four years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Sunday, 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.