About Me

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Six 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!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Plan B night

Had planned to go to the temple tonight after work, but my friend texted me at dark-thirty to say her beloved had had a night of insomnia, which wrecked her own sleep, so we've rescheduled.

What did I do instead? A few rounds of knitting on the chemo cap I am making for a coworker's sister. Remember the green cap I made for Beloved, with the braided hem? The moths (or something) have nibbled on it over the years, but it was mostly intact, so this morning I frogged it back to the lowest hole, rewound the yarn, did some judicious spit-splicing, and am merrily working my way back to the top.

But mostly I tidied the dining room, which had become my default sewing room over the last year or so. The ironing board and iron are tucked into my studio. The Ziploc bags of quilt units are clipped together on two skirt hangers and have joined the numerically sorted remnants inside the armoire. The pattern is tucked into an open shoebox in the hall, along with the pattern for my First Saturday quilt. The boxes of sewing and quilting tools are tidied, closed up, and stacked on a shelf in the studio. I have not yet put the sewing machine into its carrying case, but that is likely to happen tomorrow night. A large recycled-plastic shopping bag has been emptied of miscellaneous painting supplies and tossed on top of the stack in a corner of my bedroom. A box lid holding art paper and printer paper (inherited from my mother-in-love) has been emptied of its contents, which are now atop a different stack in the middle bedroom, and the lid is in the recycling bin for two weeks from now. There are still a few small, random piles, but another night or two like this and I could actually sit down and eat at the dining room table.

Boggles. The. Mind.

Part of me wants to go to the gym and walk in the water for half an hour, trailing my hands, which are very tired and a little sore. But my eyes are telling me that I should be asleep no more than eighteen minutes from now.

I still have not bought shampoo. (But I can make doll clothes.)

Thirteen minutes from now. Night, y'all.

Monday, June 29, 2015


I got all but one of my To-Do's done today. Caught up a little on the stack of must-do's on my desk. I need to wrangle the rest of them tomorrow, and then whittle my inbox (which blew up like Old Faithful today) back down to a manageable level. Washed laundry tonight. The second load is about ready to go into the dryer. I've completed this portion of the medallion quilt and will have to wait until the end of next month for the next packet.

Going to the temple tomorrow night after work, which means that I need to go to bed now. My temple bag is packed and waiting by the front door. I need to remember to grab another pair of shoes and put them next to it. I know what I'm wearing. And again ~ again! ~ I forgot to run by the grocery store and pick up more shampoo, which means that I will be washing my hair tomorrow morning with shower gel, twisting it into a bun, and hoping for the best.

After work I dashed to the post office for more stamps (need to remember to report my visiting teaching, and that one of my sisters has moved or been translated or otherwise disappeared from the ward list). From there to Whole Foods in search of unsweetened flaked coconut. No dice, but I did get almost the last of their chickpea flour to try making a pizza with gluten free crust from a recipe I tore out of a magazine. Zig-zagged over to the new Trader Joe's for more crackers, because I know they agree with me. The plan was to come home, stow everything, then go out to the gym for a stroll in the pool, followed by finishing off my shopping list on the way home.

Instead, I grabbed a junior Arby's and snack fries and snack root beer on the way home from Trader Joe's and spent the rest of the drive trying to burp, with minimal success. If you hear reports of an earthquake from my part of North Texas tonight, you'll know that I've re-established some degree of equilibrium.

What I wanted was lemonade, but they didn't carry it, so I chose what I hoped was the next best thing, and it wasn't. Tasty, yes, but almost immediate talking-to from my stomach. OK. Got it. No more root beer. Sigh.

I could really use an extra 24 hours between now and morning. Over and out.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

More pondering.

I've kept this day deliberately simple. Well, mostly. I forgot to set my alarm last night and awoke naturally an hour before church was to begin. So getting ready was something of a Chinese fire drill, and breakfast was two cheese sticks in the car while driving around the corner to church, because I wanted to be there half an hour before church began. Followed by pistachios and Craisins gobbled down at the beginning of Relief Society.

I have a ride arranged to pick me up and take me to the airport when I leave for the family reunion. I have faith that sometime between now and when I fly home, I will have a ride arranged to pick me up at the airport and bring me home.

Church per se was especially good today. There is a hymn I have loved since I was a little girl and heard Anita Bryant sing it. "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy." It's in our hymnal, but arranged for a men's chorus. Between the choir director and me, we got four of the brethren to sing it as the rest hymn today, in lieu of a congregational hymn. Was it perfect? No. Was it perfectly lovely? Yes. Did I get a little leaky around the eyes? Yes.

That was one of the hymns I sang to myself when times were tough in Fredericksburg, and when my marriage was winding down. It helped me to pull myself up out of depression into the sunshine. And it is keeping me from being depressed or fearful about the recent decision by the SCOTUS that they (or at least five of them) are way smarter than God.

Just because something is now legal, does not mean that it is right or moral. Think slavery. Think apartheid. Think the extermination order signed by Governor Boggs of Missouri in the 1800's. Sometimes, as the Dickens character once stated, "The law is a ass."

Satan thinks he is winning. He and his minions are turning cartwheels. But I've read the book, and I know which side wins in the end. That's the side I choose.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. #mormonwomenstand

Friday, June 26, 2015


Some of my loved ones are rejoicing at the Supreme Court's decision. I was too busy at work to weep when I read about it, and since coming home I've kept busy one way or another, as random thoughts flitted through my mind.

I've got most of the pieces cut out for this new installment of the medallion quilt. I ironed them this morning before going to work. I'll finish cutting them out tomorrow. The organizing that I did last weekend, distributing the leftover pieces on hangers and arranging them in numerical order, has greatly reduced the chaos involved in choosing the right fabric for each successive set of pieces.

I also cooked up the spinach and portobello mushrooms with a dab of butter, a little olive oil, some freshly grated nutmeg, half a red onion, and at least a tablespoon of minced garlic. It's tasty, but nowhere near as garlicky as I had hoped. After I tired of standing and cutting, but before the spinach was done, I peeled several gold potatoes and simmered them in chicken stock with herbes de Provence and a bit of celery seed. When I went to make the white sauce to thicken the soup, I discovered that the milk (which I bought two weeks ago) had, surprisingly enough, soured. I was not in the mood to make cornbread or any other kind of bread, so I poured it down the drain (sob!) and tossed the rinsed jug into the recycling bin. I finished off the soup by stirring a couple of generous spoonfuls of cornstarch into the last of the Greek yogurt, then adding that to the soup and mooshing things about with the bean smasher.

Really. Good. Soup. The leftovers are waiting for me in the fridge, hiding out in the repurposed yogurt container. (I've taken to buying my Fage at Costco, where it comes in industrial sized vats.)

Last of all, I tried the three-ingredient Nutella brownies. 1 1/4 c Nutella, 2 eggs, 1/2 c flour, stirred together and baked in a sprayed pan at 350F for "15 minutes". Pan size is not specified, and I didn't think that would make very much batter, so I used my small Le Creuset pan. 15 minutes was not enough. An additional 10 minutes was not enough. I gave it ten more minutes, and I think we have a winner, although the brownies are so tender when hot that it's nearly impossible to cut them without winding up with confetti.

I took a stab at it, nibbled on a small chunk that refused to stay in the line of slicing, and will leave the rest of it for tomorrow morning. Have been reading back issues of magazines, thinking about what I want to buy at the grocery store tomorrow to supplement the good stuff in my pantry with new foods and old friends.

Hoping for healing, peaceful dreams for everyone on both sides of this issue.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


That's the kind of day it was. One task after another. My inbox blew up. I hope I can clean it out in an hour or so tomorrow. I have three answers to file for one attorney. SemperFi put out five reports today, all of which need to be copied to our clients, and we have a new and time consuming procedure to do so. By the time I left the office I was more than ready to hit the pool.

It was not a bad day. But I was sprinting through the office, picking up this, dropping off that. I blew through my breakfast by 11:00 and took lunch at 11:30, when I normally wait until 1:00 or later.  Hungry again by a little before 2:00, so back to the deli for the chocolate chunk cookies I had virtuously passed up two and a half hours previously, and a pint of milk, which I generally try to avoid because I don't need the extra sugar. But I was so tired that my brain ached. Not a headache. Nor a blood sugar induced fog. Just the sense that I was consuming fuel at warp speed.

I was hungry again at quitting time, so I hit the pool by way of Arby's, where I picked up a classic roast beef and had pretty much inhaled it within two or three miles. Nearly an hour of jogging in the pool set me to rights. I've been home for about an hour and a half, have prewashed the fabric for the fifth installment of the medallion quilt, and am joyfully finishing up a good-sized salad of julienne carrots, strawberries, grape tomatoes, grated parmigiano-reggiano, chia seeds, almond slices, and a fat handful of spinach, with the dregs of the Panera poppy-seed dressing.

Heading back to my boudoir, to read a little before crashing. I need to get up early in order to make breakfast and a big lunch and lots and lots of healthy snacks, because I think tomorrow is going to be rinse and repeat. This is way better than a few months ago, when I was begging for enough work and adjunct tasks to keep busy. And in spite of the prodigious amount of food I've eaten at work this week, I'm within a pound of my checkup last month, so that's good. But I'm still not feeling adequately nourished on a consistent basis. The time in the pool is just magical. I jog until I'm hungry, or shivering, or nature yodels.

Rambling. I'm outta here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Very quick post.

The only thing better than serving in the temple is showing up to find a longtime friend serving in the same capacity. One couple sealed. Three daughters from three other families sealed to their parents.

The draft has cleared for my next monthly installment of the medallion quilt. I suspect that the kit will show up at work tomorrow. If so, I plan to prewash the fabric tomorrow night.

Really enjoying the book I got from interlibrary loan. "Vegetable Literacy". I have no desire to become vegetarian. But I need more veggies in my life. And I don't want to get tired of the ones I'm eating.

That's all I've got for tonight.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lots of good stuff today

A modicum of dots connected in Beloved's family. Vacuuming (I know!), dusting, rearranging of furniture in the dining room and living room. Two loads of laundry. Ten laps walked in the pool at the gym. Caught the matinee of "Inside Out" and loved it. I might have cried a little. A very little grocery shopping. Some general tidying. A bit of bookkkeeping.

I'm not done making changes, but I'm done for today. Three and a half new pockets of order. Part of me wants to stay up until 1:00a.m. as I have for the past two nights (there were naps both days that made it possible). I'm going to cheerfully ignore that part of me.

I know the next two or three micro-increments that I want to make happen. They will build upon the progress I made today. But if it takes the rest of the week to get them done, you know what? I'm OK with that.

Night, y'all!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day. No, I mean it! (Anybody want a peanut?)

I do not appear to have the same neuroses connected with Father's Day that I do with Mother's Day. I guess because I've never actually been a father, although I definitely wore both hats when I was a single parent. I did not have anywhere near the same issues with Dad that I did with Mom. (And to be fair to Mom, they were my issues, not hers. She was an exemplary parent.)

So it's easy to think fondly of my dad (as I do of my mom) and wish him the best on Father's Day and hope he gets to go fishing in Heaven, where I suspect it's all catch and release.

It's also easy to think fondly of Beloved. I wish he could have been here to hear the good talks and the music in sacrament meeting today. One of the best moments was when our bishop stood and gave a few remarks after the Primary children sang their obligatory Father's Day song (they were cute, and did a good job, as ever). He said that it was hard to think of himself as the father of our ward (one of the verses in the song referred to our bishops as that), but more as the red headed stepchild.

I went up to him after sacrament meeting and told him I have two redheaded stepsons, and he doesn't resemble either of them. (For one thing, I noticed only today that all three members of our current bishopric are young and bald. So when the problems of the individual members get to them, we have no way of knowing if we are making them turn grey.)

I also ma'amed up and wished the children's father a happy Father's Day on Facebook, because without him I would not have our five blessings. And they are. Intermittently in disguise, but blessings nevertheless. I am not FB friends with the children's father, but I am with his sister, and I am with our kids, and if one of them thinks it's appropriate to forward to him, they will. And in the meantime I can, without hypocrisy, thank him for providing half of their genetic material. And a fair number of their good qualities.

Home teacher and visiting teacher came over right after church, and we had a good visit. Love them both. They understand the challenges of remarriage and stepchildren and kids who wander.

Lots of rain earlier today. I lay down for a nap about two and awoke four hours later, much refreshed. As is my yard.

Since then I've read one of a stack of magazines which has been waiting patiently on the fallow side of the bed. I just scanned a recipe which I tore out, for pizza with a crust made from chickpea flour. I did not know such a thing existed. But I will definitely be trying that out.

I also ironed the fabric which I prewashed yesterday and stitched up the June block for my First Saturday quilt.

Spent a little time on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, entering names from the latter onto the former for Beloved's side of the family. That will also be my focus tomorrow, on our second anniversary of being sealed. But for now I'm getting sleepy again, so I'm going to take my meds and grab a small snack and play on Pinterest until I can't keep my eyes open one. moment. longer.

Really looking forward to my day off tomorrow, and to waking when my body is rested. Am planning to make a batch of potato soup for future meals. Feeling sad and disappointed because I got the rosemary ham out of the fridge when I was making lunch earlier today, and I forgot to put it away, and it was out all four hours that I slept. So I put it in the trash. Deep sigh of remorse. I hate wasting food.

Need to end this on a positive note. While I miss spending time with Fourthborn this weekend, as we'd originally planned, I keep getting quiet confirmations that what I needed was a weekend just to myself (except for church). I have a couple of small projects using stuff on hand, which I can do tomorrow as breaks from the family history work. And I made progress on the swatch for Middlest's doll sweater, which has been mocking me since last Sunday. So nyah nyah nyah!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A much needed goof-off day

In which I baked muffins for breakfast and bagged up the leftovers for breakfasts to come.

Stitched up the sub-units in this month's installment of the medallion quilt, counted my leftover bits to make sure there were the right number, and organized the remnants (there are a lot of them) on hangers in numerical order. The pattern features a key with thumbnails of each fabric. I realized only today that it might make sense to arrange the actual fabric in the same order, for when I get the next installment, sometime in the next ten days. My dining room table is saying "thank you".

I just finished cooking dinner: one of the over-spiced pollock burgers (I'm halfway through the bag, and they're still not growing on me) and two yellow potatoes boiled up and mashed. I will have potatoes for at least one more meal, possibly two. I'm a little sad that the discounted spinach which I bought two or three weeks ago (I know, I know) had given up the ghost before I remembered that it was in the fridge. I had my mouth set for some homemade garlicky spinach. I did try some of my new pink Himalayan salt on the potatoes, and pronounce it, and them, excellent.

I've run the dishwasher once already, but now I need to empty it so I can start loading it again. But first I am going to pre-wash the fabric for the June block on my other quilt. And after that I am going to do a little bookkeeping that I've been putting off.

After which, I will dash to WalMart for some of the liquid starch that Susan suggested. Somewhere in the studio I have a lace tablecloth that the mice got to when it was in storage between late 1998 and early 2000. I've been cannibalizing it for the tops of Christmas stockings, a set of placemats, the lapels and collar of a denim duster that I have been embellishing with silk ribbon embroidery (when I remember) since 1998, etc. There might be enough of it left, in big enough pieces, that I could applique it to the kitchen window.

I may not find the bag of lace before bedtime, but I'd like to have the bottle of starch sitting on the floor in the hall next to the ModPodge, which is waiting for a different project.

After WalMart, I'm going to the gym, which is across the street, and I am hoping that Mr. Chatterbox will be elsewhere this evening. I'm a long way from being able to walk on the water, but I'm quite content to face down my water-related anxieties by walking in the water. This pool is not as deep as the one at my former gym in Fort Worth. I don't get as rattled when I walk through the 4'4" part as I did when I tiptoed through the 5'0" part over there.

My rule is, I don't put my head underwater. I don't even want to get my face wet. I got splashed by two drops on my cheek the other night, and I jumped as if I'd been shot.

"Courage is fear that has said its prayers." ~ Dorothy Bernard

Correction: not going anywhere. The sky just opened up. Although I suppose I could walk around the block two or three times in this downpour and get almost the same workout, as long as I kept far from the storm drains ... nahhh.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Boho who? Me?

Because I do not watch the decorating shows (no cable) or buy most home decorating magazines (I confess a fondness for "Cottage Style" and used to love "Victoria" and "Cloth Paper Scissors: Studios") - desperately in need of a verb here, folks - I am blissfully unaware of what is trendy. Or what it's called. But I spent some time playing on Pinterest while eating my dinner tonight, and apparently my tastes are squarely in the "boho chic" camp. Or maybe just the "camp" camp.

Layers. Yes. Textures. Yes. Color. Absolutely. Pattern upon pattern. C'est moi. Longtime readers of the blog will remember my raving over the interior of the heroine's home in "Stranger than Fiction" with its granny square afghans, jewel-toned walls, and pale lavender kitchen cabinets.

Got some great ideas tonight, things that will require more time than money, repurpose items already on hand (somewhere; I'm pretty sure) and seriously up the quirk factor without making my house unsaleable when I kick.

Which I hasten to remind you, I'm not planning to do anytime soon.

In other news, I finished cutting out the pieces for this installment of the medallion quilt. And have zero interest in staying up until all hours stitching some of them together. I am about this [   ] far from shutting down the popsicle stand for the night. No alarm clock for the next three days.  And I will probably not turn the ringer on, on my phone. If all goes according to plan, I will only leave the house for church on Sunday, and I will spend the rest of this weekend stitching, puttering, and hanging out with the dead people. Monday is the second anniversary of my sealing to Beloved, and since the temple is closed on Mondays, I hope to honor that by getting a ridiculous amount of research done. Interspersed with naps and a modicum of cooking.

Night, y'all.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Speaking of "enough"...

It was just about this time, 20 years ago, when I said "enough" in my second marriage. Twenty years later, at least four of the kids agree that it was a reasonable choice. It was certainly not an easy one. The fallout has been worse than I could have imagined. Only two of my five are still active in the Church. There is a palpable schism between my believing children and my nonbelievers, with scattered bridges here and there that are built and maintained by common interests. And I am a living bridge, with love enough for all and a battered but unquenchable hope that there will be no empty chairs in the eternities.

But I do wonder what will happen with my wandering ones when I go Home to be with Beloved, in the time between my passing and their own. I respect their agency, even when I cannot necessarily comprehend their choices. (Some of their choices I understand entirely too well, having made similar ones in the days before I joined the Church nearly 40 years ago.)

The prophet Alma was right. Wickedness never was happiness. Poor choices bring sorrow, sooner or later, and not only to the chooser. Look at all the misery that has come into the world in the last 3,000 years because a maidservant got uppity with her mistress. I wonder if Sarah and Hagar are still at loggerheads in the spirit world, if Hagar grieves every day over her mortal choices and those of her descendants?

I wonder if I have borne my testimony often enough, if I have taught my children well enough, so that they cannot possibly misunderstand true doctrine when they hear it? I wonder if I did them a disservice, marrying a man who had worshipped idols for 15 years before his conversion, and who returned to his idol worship for several years after our divorce. His sister is a Hindu nun, one of the kindest people I know. His brother also practices Vedanta. His mother did until her death in 1982, but we did her temple work as soon as it was appropriate, and I know that she accepted it and is once more a Christian.

I think my feelings are more tender than usual because I've spent two successive evenings in the temple, rubbing shoulders with eternity and feeling the joy of the people I've been serving. They know it's true. I know it's true. I wish I could pour my testimony into my wandering ones' hearts. But testimonies are built by many small actions over a period of time, and lost in the same manner, until people may no longer remember that they ever believed.

I was so tired and wound-up when work was over that I grabbed Bueno on the drive home, finished it while sitting on my bed, then grabbed my swimsuit and towel (forgetting my soccer slides in my haste to be in the water) and went to the gym. I only walked ten laps, a little less than a third of a mile, but I feel a little less tired, a little less achy, a little less fraught. My hands want to make things. The rest of me just wants to sleep. I think I will compromise with a few pages from the book at my bedside, take my meds a little early, and call it a day. I've already texted Fourthborn to say that I don't think I have two roundtrips in me this weekend. I think I will just come home tomorrow and be a hermit until it's time for Church on Sunday morning.

The classical station played "Simple Gifts" with Allison Krause and Yo Yo Ma this morning. Moved me to tears. But that doesn't take much movement, lately. I know I'm not deeply sad. And I'm definitely not depressed (I remember that feeling all too well). I'm just worn to a Ravelling.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A different sort of "not enough"

I am not one of those women with the self-hate tape playing constantly in my head. I have a pretty fair assessment of my strengths and my weaknesses. So the "not thin enough, not pretty enough, not young enough, not whatever enough" tape is nowhere to be found, Chez Ravelled. For which I am most profoundly grateful.

But I've had a nagging sense of "not enough" in recent days. Not enough sleep. Not enough protein. Not enough of the right kind of calories. Not enough energy on a consistent basis. Not enough time to do everything I should be doing, much less all that I want to be doing.

I'm not feeling unwell. I am feeling a little out of sync. I made a beeline for the temple after work today. I had an appointment to join a baptismal session at 6:00. I made it with sufficient time to have more cards printed up (these for a marriage sealing and three sealings of daughters to parents) and to inhale a sandwich and an oatmeal cookie.

The baptisms were awesome, in the non-cliche sense of the word. This was my great grandfather's first wife, their two sons, their daughter, and a daughter in law. I realized tonight that Amanda was 15 and a half when she married, and not yet 17 when she had their daughter. I completed the next set of ordinances for the women. I was getting ready to seal the second wife to her parents when the fire alarm went off. Neither the building engineers nor the fire department could get it to stay off. So they sent everybody home.

I drove home feeling a little flat. I don't know if it was simple physical tiredness from the wonky sleep I've been getting this week, or a fluctuation in my blood sugar, or if maybe I was picking up the disappointment of four women who had been anticipating my finishing their work tonight, and now they have to wait until the next time I go to the temple. The veil (between mortality and the spirit world) is a whole lot thinner for me since Beloved passed.  I definitely felt the joy of the other women when they were baptized by proxy tonight. Not sure I felt anything from their brothers.

I came home, had a small snack and noodled around Facebook. And now I am going to take my meds and try to sleep. My hands want to create. My brain wants to find people. My eyes are hollering "uncle". The eyes have it.

Much happy stuff going on.

Went to the temple last night with my ward. Got some name cards printed up and will join a baptismal session tonight. This morning, while reviewing cards for people whose work is done, I discovered a couple of sheets I had not taken to the temple, and printed a third one. Tonight Phebe should get sealed to her parents. She's the second wife of my great grandfather, the one who died from an accidental gunshot while pregnant with their first child. She was 20. It was a tender moment when I completed her personal ordinance work and sealed her to my great grandfather. I expect another one tonight, because I am *this* far from tears as I type.

In other news, I have been trying to be good to myself. Not in a self-indulgent way, but simply being a good steward of this body. I did not sleep well Monday night. Woke up with TMJ that took a few minutes to soothe away, and slept fitfully after that. When the alarm went off, I knew that I needed to get some form of exercise because I had a long day ahead. So I walked in the pool for about half an hour, and it was so wonderfully comforting. Just enough shock to wake me up (mostly). And the quiet satisfaction of knowing I have enough strength in my arms to haul myself up and down the ladder at the side of the pool, because somebody else was using the first lane, the one with the steps.

I still fought sleep all day, and I was concerned about staying awake during the temple session last night, but by the grace of Heaven I stayed awake and engaged.

I think I just heard the sky opening up outside. No watering for Ms. Ravelled this morning!

Which brings me to an amusing story. I posted it on the Widows and Widowers group last night. A tender mercy to make you smile. First, the backstory: I am not an outdoors girl. Much of it makes me sneeze. And much of the rest of it wants to chomp on me. A few weeks ago I put a five gallon bucket down into a hollow stump in my front yard and filled it with sun loving plants. Which are still alive, I'm amazed to say. The first week or two, Heaven watered them for me. The past week or so I've been watering them from a hose (tethered to the back of the house) that does not quite reach the stump. Today was trash day and recycling day. I decided to pitch the cracked upside down bucket that was cluttering up what is theoretically a flower bed. And discovered a spigot. Which means that I don't need to buy a rolling hose cart this weekend. Or a 150' hose. How cool is that?

Truly, Heaven is in the details. Which saved me about $100 for a really cool rolling cart and maybe another $35 for a replacement hose.

Gotta scoot. Being kind to myself, this morning, involved sleeping in an hour. And I've spent most of the time since waking, here on the computer tidying up temple stuff. Time to sluice off and hit the road.

Monday, June 15, 2015

I go blogging ... after midnight ... in the moonlight ... just the way we used to do.

Part of this is going to be a re-posting of my Facebook post from Sunday morning. And then I will pontificate.

Thinking about our pool experience [Saturday] night. There was a couple on the other side of the lap lanes. He was walking the laps, like me. She was mostly swimming. And he was talking, somewhat loudly, almost the entire time we were there. Nearly two hours.

He had opinions about everything. I can't remember one of them that I agreed with. I was having mild flashbacks to my Near Dating Experience* of approximately ten years ago. (It is just not natural for a man to talk that much, unless he's the POTUS and it's time for the Presidential Comedy Hour, otherwise known as the State of the Union Address.)

I found myself alternating between irritation, low-grade anger, pity, and frustration. More than once I found myself praying to have charitable thoughts toward this man. Occasionally, I succeeded. [Edited to add, only occasionally. Mostly I just wanted him to hush.]

It is so easy for us to assume that our take on the truth is the only possible way to view it when, in the absence of revelation on a particular topic, the truth can be richly textured and complex. I do believe in absolutes. I do believe in the revelation which confirms them. And I do believe that most of us are stumbling along as best we can, looking through those famous glasses, darkly. Joining the church, nearly 40 years ago, has helped me wipe the worst of the grime off my lenses. But I am still learning. [Edited to add, sometimes with painful slowness. The lesson is repeated until the lesson is learned. And then it's on to other lessons.]

And I need to be both patient and *kind* to the people I perceive as blind, or ignorant. Blindness can be healed. Ignorance can be lovingly enlightened. I may not have yelled at the man, or told him to hush. But my thoughts toward him were not perfectly kind and gentle. And I need to work on that. [Edited to add, boy howdy do I need to work on that. At the end of my laps I got out of the pool to go sit in the hot tub for five minutes, realizing three steps in that to continue would undo the work of two hours, wherein the inflammation in my legs from these blankety-blank bug bites, which had been mercifully calmed, would return and bring reinforcements. I hot-footed it out of that tub, apologizing to myself sorry sorry sorry sorry. And padded slowly and carefully over to the bench. As I did so, Mr. Chatty re-entered the pool area from the men's dressing room and remarked to me, "Please be careful, it's really slippery when you're barefoot." Which was a lovely, Christlike thing for him to say, and bless him (retrospectively) for it. I murmured a thank you while thinking, "I do not want to hear one more word from you. Not one." Charity fail on my part.]

*the Near Date Experience was with a guy from one of my old wards. Could. Not. Get. A. Word. In. Edgewise. Made me so mad that I gave myself bronchitis. He called me to talk (and talk, and talk), and we were interrupted by a coughing fit on my part. When I got my voice back, I told him that I needed to get off the phone and go to bed and rest. And that the next time we spoke, I would very much like to do half of the talking. Woke up the next morning to a voicemail from him saying, "I thought about it, and you sound a lot like my ex-wife. I don't think this is going to work out."

A saint is a sinner who keeps trying.

Blog post title this evening/morning is because after I took Fourthborn home, I was in severe need of a nap and did not want to miss the Eagle court of honor for the son of my friends. (This is the son who, with his dad, sang with me at Christmas. I kinda like this kid. And this is their last Sunday in our ward. Dad is finally done with his schooling and will be a radiation oncologist in another state. Good people, all of them.) I carefully set my alarm for two hours and closed my eyes. Only to waken five hours later to a dark house and a missed opportunity. I've been up for almost three hours, after a five hour nap, and I think I'm about ready to try horizontal-and-unconscious again.

Things I want to accomplish this week: I want to re-frame a cross stitch piece that I did 20+ years ago. It's stuck to one of those flat mounting boards, and I want to gently pry it off and attach it to a padded one, after carefully washing it and pressing it flat. I did the best I could with what I had when I finished it, but my resources are considerably enlarged since then. It's all scarlets and golds and illuminated manuscript inspired, my favorite verses from Isaiah that Brother Handel put to music: "His name shall be called: Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace". I cannot read those words without hearing the music. And the framed piece is just the right size and shape to go on what I semi-reverently call my Jesus Wall, which has the print of the smiling Christ, the Liz Lemon Swindle print of Mary holding the infant Christ, and that "Lamb" print I bought a few months ago of the baby Jesus wrapped in embroidered swaddling clothes and lying in a stone manger. So it will be in good company. My framed copy of the testimonies of the Twelve Apostles hangs on that same wall. And there's another Liz Lemon Swindle print that is on my list.

I want to get started on painting the small window above the kitchen sink. I had planned for Fourthborn and me to move the exercise bike from the back porch to the front sidewalk, so the guys who come by looking for scrap metal would find something lucrative, and I would have an easier time getting the hose from the back of the house where the faucet is, to the front of the house where the plants are. I've also been researching rolling hose carts. I would like to have an attractive, tidy way to corral the hose and reel it out for use, while protecting it from the lawnmower when the Yard Dudes are here. And I need a hose that's about 10 feet longer than the one I have. There are relatively inexpensive carts that will hold a 150 foot hose. Ideally I would pick one up after work tomorrow and be all set when the Yard Dudes come on Tuesday. Realistically it will have to wait until next Saturday at the earliest, because the back of the Tardis is full of the taken-apart standing desk that I swapped with Fourthborn's roommate, which I don't want to wrangle until next weekend. Not sure that I would be able to get a hose cart into the back seat of Lorelai. I think she might find it a little beneath her dignity.

This is getting silly, even for me. I'm going to pour myself a cup of dark chocolate almond milk and take the medicines that I should have taken when I awoke three hours ago, and read a very little, and hit the sack. Again. My hands want to sew. My eyes say, Oh knock it off. We're done. Seriously.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Oops. Yeah, I've missed y'all too.

Work has been beyond crazy-busy. Not bad. At least not 99% of the time, and for something that most people appear not to enjoy, but strangely enough I do, I figure that's pretty good. Just really really really intense. Which is way better than before I got another half of a docket, and I was trying to avoid chewing off a paw from the frustration of trying to look/stay busy.

So I've been working a lot on the medallion quilt. As of this writing, the first three months' worth of instructions are checked off. I awoke about the usual time yesterday morning and prewashed the fabric from the fourth kit. Later in the day I pressed the fabric.Still later I started cutting out pieces. I am nearly done. I suppose I have just enough energy left to finish the job, but I'd rather not. I'd rather tell you about my crazy day.

There is a brother in our ward who lost his wife to cancer a few months after I lost Beloved. He is putting his home (condo) on the market, and Friday and Saturday he and his kids held an estate sale. I hit the jackpot. Brought home two gorgeous armchairs upholstered in what looks like grey herringbone wool, but Fourthborn assures me that the fabric is a good quality fake (i.e., she can sit on the chairs without having her body freak out). Queen Anne style, deeply tufted upholstery, seriously yummy. Also brought home what is essentially a bar cart, a set of nesting tables, a red picture frame, and a small drafting table that I am trading to Fourthborn's roommate for his larger one.

From there we went to Costco, picked up a few things and tanked the Tardis, swung home by way of Kroger and got a few more groceries, put everything away, and then I took a nap. Got up and started touching up the paint in various places. Fourthborn helped with that. We watched the original Star Wars movie. I cut out more pieces. And then we went to the gym, where Fourthborn swam (mostly) and I jogged laps in the water.

There was a guy on the other side of the pool who Would. Not. Shut. Up. We were there for nearly two hours, and it was as if an invisible hand kept dropping nickels in him. It was almost, but not quite, a flashback to my Near Date Experience of approximately ten years ago. It is just flat wrong for a man to talk more than a woman, unless he's the POTUS and it's the night of the Presidential Comedy Hour, otherwise known as the State of the Union address. This guy had opinions about everything. Think Archie Bunker in swim trunks.

So now it's half past midnight, and I'm waiting for my burger and fries to settle so I can go to sleep. We hit In-N-Out after the gym, and just before midnight. We did not get a whole heck of a lot done yesterday, and I am strangely fine with that. Or maybe just finely strange.

Fourthborn says she invented some new swimming styles while at the pool: Zombie Rockette, Ballerina Crab, Lazy Jellyfish, Reverse Bunny Hop, and Jet Propelled Dead Man's Float. Coming soon to an Olympics near you.

You're welcome.

Over and out.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

My plants are still alive!

Y'all, this is a miracle on the order of the loaves and the fishes. First, that they did not drown during the deluge of the past two weeks. Second, that the planter was not washed down the slope to the sidewalk. I discovered on Sunday morning that there had been enough rain to dislodge some of the railroad ties where my front yard meets the sidewalk. I was able to ma'amhandle them more or less back into place, and I've emailed a friend who is an architect. He says that more railroad ties are the cheapest and easiest answer. I would love something prettier.

Last night after work I went out into the backyard and carefully uncoiled the hose from where it has been languishing since the summer of 2012. I threaded it across the back of the house, over the patio, behind the exercise bike which has been rusting, past an assortment of yard tools neatly stacked against the back of the house, through the gate, around the front of the garage, past the Tardis, and into the front yard, ending up about ten feet short of the stump and the planter.

Then I went into the house, grabbed my tape measure, and figured out approximately how long my hose is. Roughly 100'. This morning I put the container I used to schlepp water from the kitchen sink on Monday night, outside the front door while I went to the gym, because nothing tells me that I need to do something than a thing which is in a new place, blocking access to what I want to do. (This is why, when I take something perishable to a friend's house and there are likely to be leftovers, or there is a container I want to bring home, I put my keys in her refrigerator with whatever it was I brought. Can't go home without my keys.)

I unlocked the house, put my keys and wallet on the bed by my bag, and marched my happy self back outside. Put the end of the hose into the watering container (which used to hold Cricket's cat food and has been kicking around the kitchen floor, empty, for at least a year and a half). Walked through the gate into the backyard and turned on the water. When I got back to the front yard, the container was nearly full, and I had a smaller one to stick the hose in while I emptied the first one.

My plants are happy, I had some weight-bearing exercise, I did not waste any water, and I feel officially virtuous.

Last night I researched new hoses (don't think I need one, yet) and hose reels (on the list for next payday). The night before that I researched cling window film that mimics lace curtains. I've found some that I like, to go into the large window in the kitchen.  PVC-free, no off-gassing of nasty chemicals, and guaranteed for a minimum of three years, by which time I might have crocheted actual lace cafe curtains for that window. Or have saved up for new cling film. The paint we did (the argyles! the lovely argyles!!!) is a little fragile. An actual tension rod tends to tear it up. Right now I have the white floaty cotton gauze curtains thumbtacked over the window in a double layer. I want light, and I want privacy, and I want to see the argyles we so carefully crafted.

I also began researching water barrels. Just in case it ever rains again in Texas. I had no idea that they now make them with flat backs, a built-in planter on top, and a hose in the bottom, neatly solving the musical question, how to I keep the mosquitoes out, and how do I water the plants? I think it would be cool to have one between the two front windows, with some nice geraniums or something growing on top. Yet more curb appeal.

I am going to have to replace at least some of the soaker hoses that are meant to go around the foundation of my house. My sons-in-law and my stepsons instructed me (years ago) to water the foundation once a week. Have I done so? Not so much. (In my defense, apparently Beloved did not always do this, either.) One more item on the list of Things A Responsible Home Owner Does.

Baby steps.

Monday, June 01, 2015


I could not get the Internet to cooperate last night, so I read instead. This, from the book I purchased when in Minneapolis in March (which has been languishing by the side of my bed since then):

The French have always known what I have long suspected; there is nothing sexier than watching a woman eat. Men love this. I'm positive that I owe many a second date in New York to a chocolate cannoli or a late-night coupe of rice pudding with whipped cream. It's simple: Women who pick at their food hate sex. Women who suck the meat off of lobster claws, order and finish dessert ~ these are the women who are going to rip your clothes off and come back for seconds. I have a friend in the States who never considered herself a very good flirt, but I never worried for her, because she is a fabulous cook and an adventurous eater. I never doubted that when the right guy she would devour him like a hot fudge sundae, and I was right. (Elizabeth Bard, in Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes, which I am reading with a bottle of White-Out because her language is intermittently atrocious, and the recipes are intriguing. The bottle got a good workout in the past half hour.)

I am also reading Gene R. Cook's Searching the Scriptures: Bringing Power to Your Personal and Family Study as a palate cleanser. I borrowed it from my home teacher several months ago and want to finish it so I may return it at their next visit.

And I have begun The Time of Their Lives: The Golden Age of Great American Publishers, Their Editors and Authors by Al Silverman. I borrowed it from SemperFi in April.

Why all this reading, you ask? because Ancestry and FamilySearch were not playing nicely last night. See "no Internet cooperation" above. I don't know if it's due to all the rain we've gotten, and maybe my cable is gargling, or if it was Sunday night deathbed repentance from the other Saints.

The house appears unscathed from all the recent storms, but I noticed that the railroad ties that serve as a retaining wall at the front edge of my property have emulated the Guess Who song and come undone.

I put together a four hour playlist on iTunes. Kinda proud of myself.

And that was my Sabbath. In spite of a good night's sleep and a decent breakfast, I ran out of "spoons" midway through Sunday School. Stuck it out for all three hours and was glad that I did. Once I got home, I ate the barest minimum of something and headed straight for bed.