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!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Changes at work. Big changes.

When I went back to work today, there were 177 emails awaiting me. And a file from Mellow's docket, which I took over to the next cubicle.

"I think this is your file?"

"No," she said quietly, "he's not here anymore. The file's been reassigned to your attorney."  I've only gotten snippets, and it's not my story to tell. But I will miss him. He was a good friend to me, and I wish him only the best.

We also had a software upgrade, which will probably be wonderful once I learn my way around, but there were several small glitches today that hampered my productivity.

I got about 40 of the emails dealt with. Maybe more. There were a few new ones throughout the day. I got all the way through both attorneys' calendars, and I got all of the emails from SemperFi wrangled, and reports saved for both of them, and was led to catch a couple of things that I absolutely had to do today, but as far as formally touching my To-Do's or working the mail, that did not happen. And unless the Court grants our motion for continuance, I will have to assemble trial notebooks tomorrow afternoon for a trial that will take place on Monday.

Tomorrow could get interesting, in the Chinese sense, in a Noo Yawk minute. But I will pray like crazy and work like crazy, and hope that I am working smart as well as working fast. And I am not going to give it one more thought until morning prayers tomorrow.

I'm off on Monday for my quarterly bloodwork. So next week might be crazy as well, at least until I get new cases opened and old cases closed and wrangle seven days' worth of mail and catch up my To-Do's.

For now I am going to open the package of quilt fabric that was waiting for me when I got to the office today, and I am going to knit at least one row on the stealth project. I finished reading Standing for Something, by the late Gordon B. Hinckley.  I highly recommend it.

Last night before bedtime I finished the travel reading, a first novel that was mostly wonderful but had one foul-mouthed character and his mother who continually admonished him, "Language." while ironically harboring murder in her heart. Interesting bit of irony, there. I cannot explain why I continued to read the book. I'm not going to recommend it to you. But I am going to continue pondering plot details and literary devices.

Ack. It's nearly 10:30. I meant to be asleep half an hour ago.

Did I mention that I shredded my toes in the pool last night?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hopkinses 246; Ms. Ravelled 0

My brother-in-law has several meticulously organized notebooks of family group sheets. I innocently picked up one on Thursday. Entered those people onto ancestry.com. Started linking records. And family started pouring out of the woodwork like ants at a picnic. I have one pile of new family group sheets in which all the parties have been entered and matched to records. Another, smaller pile that I am actively working on linking records. And a third pile that I hope to finish before going home. All of these will stay here. And I will tag a bunch of sheets for him to photocopy and mail to me. I need to remember to ask cousin Norm if he wants them when I'm done.

I've walked with my sister every morning except Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday we walked with one of her friends. I am taking home a couple of that friend's recipes; she dropped them off earlier this morning.

Making steady progress on the stealth project. It's a pattern I've worked before, and I'm tweaking the decreases a little. My flight home tomorrow is nonstop, and I have to guess whether, if I knit up to and including the next beaded rows, there will be enough knitting to keep me occupied until I get home. 'Tis a puzzlement.

Today we're going to Powell Gardens, the site of a former gravel pit. I love how lush and green it is here. My sister's fuchsia blossoms are somewhere between the size of ping pong balls and golf balls. Unopened, they're the size of large cherries.

I think I will go tag the family group sheets that I want my brother-in-law to copy for me. And then knit a bit. They'll watch the Mariners game tonight, and I'll listen to them having fun (or groaning) while wrangling the dead people.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I'm on vacation. And loving it.

The new (living) cousins are delightful. Everything you could wish for: smart, funny, kind. You know that's a home run for me.

(Sorry. Sister and brother in law are watching the Mariners game downstairs.)

Stealth project is coming along.

Body is tired. Going to bed after I read my scriptures.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The dead people are ganging up.

Brother-in-law and I spent several hours on genealogy today. My mind, heart, and spirit would like for me to stay up all night connecting more dots. My common sense (stop laughing) tells me to put down the phone, turn off the light, and go to bed, dadgummit, because tomorrow we are driving to Olympia and then heading toward Portland for the family reunion on Saturday.

There has been minimal knitting on the current stealth project. There will be more while we're on the road tomorrow.

Walked a mile with my sister this morning. Uphill both ways, as her neighborhood is all ups and downs. But only 61F, so I didn't even break a sweat.

Bed. Now.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Learning curve.

I realized yesterday that I had forgotten to water the air plant mid-week. I scooped it up and took it to the kitchen sink, where I cradled it in my hand and spritzed it like crazy. I think it's forgiven me. Maybe.

Picked up beads for a stealth project yesterday. I may be picking up more beads on Friday. I've started collecting the items that will need to be packed for my vacation: vitamins, toiletries, et al. And making a honey-do list for Fourthborn, who will again be house-sitting for me.

I've been a scanning-and-shredding fool this week. There's a full bag that will go out with the recycling, Tuesday after next.

The July quilt block is done, after a blunder on my part. When I was cutting out pieces last week, I cut the red ones 3/8" too short on all sides. So yesterday I had to make a run by the quilt shop and purchase another block kit.

I would really like to finish the scanning before I go to bed tonight, but I think sleep will win out over diligence. I did not sleep well Friday night, although I got a respectable night's worth last night. But I'm still feeling as if I had been dragged through a knothole, sideways.

The house is warm. Very warm. I keep meaning to call the AC magician and ask him to drop by a copy of the manual, or send me the link. I don't know how to program my smarter-than-I-currently-feel thermostat, and the ambient temperature is now 83F. Which is several more F's higher than I would like.

I am working on another stealth project: supervising drive time for Turnip (Fourthborn's nickname for her former fiance, previously referred to here as Fiance. You get Turnip instead of an unpronounceable symbol.) His mom and stepdad are lovely people, with good intentions of giving him driving hours so he may get his license. Something always comes up. So as of yesterday I am quietly furthering his ambition. When he's officially licensed, his grandfather is giving him one of his cars. And then I hope to be able to see more of him, because he's one of my favorite people. We spent an hour and a half in the parking lot of the church, while he practiced turns, head-in parking, back-in parking, and approximations of parallel parking.

Then he came back here with Fourthborn and me, because he's never seen the house, and I parked the Tardis on the street, and he practiced parallel parking some more. I took them home and came back by way of the gym, where I walked in the lap pool for half an hour. I spent six-plus hours in the car yesterday, two two-hour round trips and some miscellaneous stuff around town, with none of the whining from my right knee that used to be a given, anytime I spent more than an hour or so behind the wheel. This tells me that if I choose to drive to Galveston for my birthday next year, I will not arrive so crippled that I cannot enjoy myself.

Now that is a happy thought on which to end this post.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A little stuck.

I just realized this morning how thankful I am that Secondborn and 2BDH have sons. They are too little to help with the temple work at present, but in a few years they can do proxy baptisms for the dead, and a few years after that I can work them like the Hebrew slaves, doing the greater ordinances for my male ancestors. (BittyBit turns 12 next year and will be able to help with the baptisms.)

Firstborn and 1BDH, and Secondborn and 2BDH, all have far more demanding callings than I did when I was their age. So this is in no way intended to be a criticism of their unavailability to help me wrangle my (pushy) ancestors who are wanting their work done. There is a time and a season for everything, and this is my time to do family history research and temple work. Their time will come later, and then we will progress faster.

Last week I did the temple work for my great grandfather's first wife. I have seldom felt such a pervasive sense of joy as I did in the temple that night.  Last night I did the work for their daughter. That feeling did not come until I finished her endowment. Some other kind soul did the work for Alice, the daughter-in-law. And I will have to sweetly press-gang the brethren in my ward to do the work for the two sons so I may seal this family together. Mama Amanda wants it done.

These people are very much alive, just out of sight. They have feelings, and opinions, and are begging us to pay attention to them. I'm just glad that I'm at a time and place in my life where I may cooperate with them.

In other news, 2BDH was recently ordained a high priest and set apart to serve in the high council of my old stake. (This is a big deal.) I don't have time to go into the theology, or how the church is organized, but it's a position of great trust and responsibility. The kids invited me to be present for his ordination and setting apart. Much leakage of the eyes.

This is the part where I grab the bags which I've set down by the front door and drive like the wind, Daniel-san.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

So I apparently like brussel sprouts.

But then, almost anything would taste good basted in avocado oil and balsamic vinegar, hanging out with carrots and taters and the odd parsnip.

There is a phenomenal article in the July 2015 issue of "The Ensign" which is directed at young adults but applies equally to this less-young one, on the virtues of arising early (check!) and going to bed early (oops!)

I tried last night. I really did. Picked up Fourthborn for what I thought was a doll meet, only to discover that I had gotten the date wrong (for the second time in ten days), and we were at PieFive one week early. So we went across the parking lot to In N Out for burgers and were reasonably content. The dolls aren't speaking to us (dolly joke). Came home and went almost directly to bed.

Fourthborn had been up since 1:00a.m., and I had slept in until 5:30. So I said my prayers and called it a night, only to wake about two hours later by the warbling call of nature. Back to bed. And awake about every hour and half after that, for one reason or another, notwithstanding that at the end of the midnight comfort call I dabbed my forehead with lavender massage oil, which usually does the trick.

When I reached for my phone this morning to wake it up, I discovered that I had not quite plugged it in. So when I did, it registered at 43%. Which is about where I feel at the moment.

The day will get better. I will figure out breakfast. Fourthborn will stop reading hilarious Tumblr memes at me, and I will be able to complete a sentence without cracking up. We will pick up our quilt blocks with Firstborn, then come back to Garland to check out the flea market, and an organic gardening store somebody told me about.

I have a short but comprehensive honey-do list in my head, but items keep flying off because I am snickering. I need to get off the computer, forage in the fridge, take it into my room (the food, not the fridge) with a notepad and pen, and close the door. Love my kid, but she is literally too fun for words.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Peeling potatoes to Alison Krauss

Not a bad way to spend part of the evening. Half a bag of brussel sprouts, one parsnip, two carrots, a carton of baby bellas, four small red potatoes, one yellow squash, one red onion, a good slosh of avocado oil, and several "goodies" of the (formerly) white balsamic vinegar that goes back to my Fort Worth days, if not earlier. Some celery seed. Some dill weed. I just realized that (as I did on my maiden roasting voyage) I forgot to salt this. I am so out of the habit of salting that it just does not occur to me, and within reason, it should. I am cooking from scratch much more often, not getting help from mixes, and

Now roasting in an oven near you. Me? I'm taking a little sit-down break before heading back into the kitchen to finish loading the dishwasher and to pre-fab as much of tomorrow's lunch as possible. I've got the timer set for 40 minutes and will test the parsnips at that point. Notwithstanding I just washed my hands, they are still vaguely redolent of herbage and vinegar.

I'm a little frustrated at how long it takes to make things from scratch. I spent the entire length of an Alison Krauss CD, and more, on that finicky task. Maybe I will get faster with practice. The parsnip was certainly easier to wrangle than my first one, last week.

I am juggling, juggling, juggling, and trying not to break any plates. Reading more lately than I have in a long time, and learning stuff. Want to keep that. Need to keep up, and vary, my physical activity. Do my church callings. Get enough sleep. Eat properly. Find the right balance of food, rest, activity, and supplements to reduce the inflammation in my body. Shake hands with new vegetables and herbs. Make peace with old ones that I've loathed for years, unless there's a diagnosed allergy. Listen to my body. Listen to the Spirit. Socialize. Cherish my solitude. Earn a living. Plan for retirement. Continue to set my house in order, literally as well as figuratively.

Oye. Y'all, I'm tired. Not depressed, praise be, but down-to-my-toenails (what's left of them) tired. Stick a fork in me. I'm done. (The parsnips might not be, but I am.)

Monday, July 06, 2015

Stuff I am learning

1. A roasted parsnip, in the company of carrots, potatoes, and onions, is tasty, and worth repeating.

2. I do not loathe ginger. Now I've always loved gingersnaps; they're one of my favorite cookies. But actual ginger, fresh or candied, has not been at the top of my list. Until I brought home the dark chocolate covered ginger from Trader Joe's. The first time I tried it, I could not taste anything but the chocolate. Since then, I've become able to distinguish the ginger, and I really truly like it. I bought it for its anti-inflammatory properties, and I'm eating it for the taste. At great personal sacrifice, I have not emptied the entire container down the hatch at one go.

3. I made my first wrap tonight. Ultra-thin whole grain tortilla, lump crabmeat, romaine, a thin layer of balsamic mayo. Not pretty, but also not bad. It needed something. But for a first effort it was acceptable. And you can learn just about anything on YouTube.

4. Neil Sperry (the Texas gardening guru) says that rhubarb does not do well here in the Lone Star State. The googling I did beyond his website, says that rhubarb likes temperatures well under 80. Yeah. Not happening here, except maybe in February.

5. The rhubarb sauce that I made when I was home on Friday, was so good that I wept when I tasted it.

6. I'm braver than I generally give myself credit for. I brought home a small bag of Brussels sprouts and will try them roasted. I had hoped to be able to only buy three or four of them, in case they are as awful when roasted as they are when steamed or boiled. My mother was a fantastic cook. But Brussels sprouts and broccoli and cauliflower and cabbage all smell wet and metallic to me when they are steamed or boiled. I am trying to make friends with cruciferous vegetables, because they fight inflammation. I can eat broccoli without gagging. That is major progress. I will concede that the little heads of raw Brussels sprouts are very pretty.

7. I was craving an artichoke, so I bought one. Steamed it over water liberally laced with balsamic vinegar, and in lieu of hollandaise or melted butter, threw together a sauce of Greek yogurt, a couple of splashes of balsamic, some dried dill, and a whisper of dried thyme. Since I'd already eaten my wrap, I did not have enough appetite for the whole artichoke. What's left is hanging out in the fridge in a Ziploc bag, as is the jollop. They were really good together.

8. I made a batch of sun herb tea yesterday afternoon from the gold-plated tea bags I brought home from my first massage in April. Aveda. Which is ayurvedic for spendy. Put some into one of those little mason jars with a handle and took it to work this morning. So. Good.

9. My energy levels were fairly stable all day. I did not run out of things to eat. I had no particular cravings. My left ankle, which is the more cankle-y of the two, is relatively normal in size, and the habitual heat and redness is almost entirely absent. If it had not taken so long to fix dinner (and then eat it), I would go walk in the pool tonight, but I can feel myself gently winding down, and I think I will be horizontal and unconscious in half an hour or so. I need to check my email first, to see if I have the topics for the rest of this month's sacrament meetings.

Night, y'all.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Birthday, America!

This week got away from me. But it's been a good one.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day off yesterday. Puttered and knitted and visited with various people and bought groceries and cooked like crazy and ate and napped (I think I napped; I'd have to check Facebook to be sure).

I am in the midst of re-knitting Beloved's chemo cap to fit the sister of my new attorney, who is battling lymphoma. There were a handful of moth (or something) holes in it, as it's been hanging out on the fallow side of my bed and elsewhere in my room for the better part of two and a half years. I frogged it back to the lowest hole and have been knitting and spit-splicing for the past several days. I'm working on the final decreases and may get them done before bedtime, or not.

When it's done and the last end is woven in, I will carefully wash it. Because Malabrigo felts if you look at it funny. And because, while I am more than happy to forward the love that went into this when I was making it for Beloved, and the love I am adding while I am reknitting it, I don't think somebody battling lymphoma necessarily needs the DNA from my saliva. Even if it's awesome.

I bought an air plant while I was out and about yesterday. I washed a fat handful of red glass vase filler thingies in the most recent load of the dishwasher, and they will be going into one of my miniature vases (for individual flowers at a place setting). The flared top of the vase is just the right size and shape to cradle the derriere of an air plant and keep it up out of the water.

Went back to Arlington for the Fourth of July parade, after an absence of several years. Picked up Fourthborn, and we sat with Willow and Firstborn, in the shade, just east of the midpoint of the parade route. Nice little walk from Lorelai to where we sat, punctuated by visits and hugs with old friends from the wards we lived in. Lots of horses. Two troupes of belly dancers. Drumlines. Definitely my favorite part, even above my love for horses. The Wheeling Elvises (or Elvii, depending on whom you ask). A friend from my single days is dating one of them. People on unicycles. People on really tall unicycles who have figured out how to high-five (really high, high-five) the crowd as they zip past. Lots of entries from the local churches. And one from the local atheists' association.

Willow, who is either a bartender or server at the place where her high school graduation party was held (the place where my kids learned to their surprise that Mom knows how to wield a cue stick), says that these folks meet once a week where she works. And that their membership takes an uptick every year after the Fourth of July parade, because of the stony silence in which they are received by the (allegedly) Christian parade-goers. (One year the city "lost" their application.) So we decided to cheer the atheists' club for their patriotism.

I do not understand how somebody can look at this miraculous Creation and not believe in the Creator. But, upon some thought, I've decided that I absolutely have to respect the thought processes of somebody who decides to behave in a decent and ethical manner with no scriptures or faith system to back him/her up.

I did refrain from hollering, "God bless America!" to them, even though I was hollering it in my heart. And I didn't look to see if we were getting any nasty looks from the other parade-goers. Maybe if more of us who profess to be Christian do a better job of behaving like one, it will give the atheists something to chew on.

Went to the fireworks here in Garland for the first time. Found a decent spot to see them, after the place I had in mind had also been had in mind by several hundred other people. I've put it in my calendar for next year, with a note for where I sat this year.

Notwithstanding the great nap I had after coming home from the parade, from which I woke with a rogue sinus, I am sleepy again, so I will bid you all a gracious good evening.