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!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

In which we invent a new holiday: Black and Blue Friday.

There will be a Thanksgiving rant, but not just yet. A few minutes ago I finished upgrading my system to Windows 10, and I'm still sighing with impatience. I need to get that out of my system by counting some blessings.

My boudoir, to all intents and purposes, is done. I have several small stacks of Things Which Must Be Dealt With, and a few bags that need to be emptied. Eventually we will need to add the new baseboards. But the flooring is down, the furniture is rearranged, the new (old) drapes are up, and Fourthborn's thumb is not-broken after she smashed it with the rubber mallet while tamping planks into place. We finished the job; she decided she wanted to get it X-rayed; and so her first personal trip to the ER is now a memory. Thankfully, she has her own insurance (such as it is), so the only cost to me is a bit of gasoline, an hour or so of hanging out with her in the triage room while waiting for her thumb to get nuked, and a bushel of mommy-guilt.

Pain meds are utterly wasted on her. They gave her 800mg of Motrin in the ER, and it made no difference in her pain level at all. They splinted her thumb to help her remember to baby it, and they told her it will probably be bruised for a couple of weeks and swollen for half that long. We drowned our sorrows in bean burritos at Bueno.

I am reveling in the spaciousness of my bedroom, even with the little stacks and bags which march around the perimeter of my room. I think I will wait for a few days before hanging pictures. I wrangled one stack after taking Fourthborn home this afternoon. Found a handful of credit reports for Beloved, since shredded, and an envelope marked "honeymoon plans - confidential!" that mostly contained information on the place we stayed, antique shops in the general vicinity, and the like. Mostly. The non-mostly made me grin, then blush, then hightail it for the shredder.

I love that man.

I got another patchwork border attached to the medallion quilt in between other tasks this weekend. While waiting for Windows 10 to stop rebooting (and rebooting and rebooting) my computer tonight, I pieced eight strips together to make four plain strips for the next border. I am not in the mood to cut them to length and attach them. That will happen before or after work tomorrow, depending upon when I wake up, how many errands I need to do after work, and how badly I need to sleep once that is done.

We have gotten rain in Biblical quantities this weekend. A young father died in the flooding locally when his car was swept away. Tola emailed me to check for a pulse, and I reassured her that we were just fine.

Fourthborn got the routing filled in on the doors for the linen closet, and we bought the new paint. I'm not picking her up next weekend, because next weekend will be filled with church activities. But I hope to complete the painting and decoupage of the linen closet when we get together in two weeks.

I'm sorry that this post is all over the place, but about the only bits that don't ache are my tonsils (gone when I was three) and my gall bladder (gone in 2001). I may have said the same thing after last weekend, but this weekend we worked hard two days in a row, and we're both feeling it.

OK. Thanksgiving. I was able to gracefully excuse myself from picking up the children's father and his "wife" for the family dinner, because I'm not driving Lorelai these days (and will attempt to sell her for a fair but not negligible price before it's time to renew her tags), and it would have been cruel to try and fit them into the jump seats in the extended cab. 2BDH picked them up. We all had plenty of delicious and varied food. As we were about ready to fill our plates, the children's father asked where I would be sitting. My immediate, unvoiced thought was as far away from you and her as decently possible. He followed quickly with, "Because I'd like to visit with you and hear what's going on in your life." To which my inner, unvoiced snark retorted You had the chance to listen to me for 20 years, why start now? But my better self stifled a sigh and sat at the same table with him. It was fun (kind of) to tell him all the ways in which Heaven is blessing me. I think I managed to avoid smugness. I hope so, anyway.

He asked about LittleBit, who apparently comes to see him about once a month, now that she's cleared for driving again. I told him I didn't know, that we're not close. He asked why. I told him, quietly, about her choices and actions which have shattered my trust, and that we are working to rebuild a relationship, but it's very slow going.

As one of the sisters expresses it so ably, LittleBit shares her father's gift for thinking things are perfectly fine, when they're not, or if they're not, it must be somebody else's fault. As much as I have wept over Middlest's choice to join the transgender world, that choice does not feel like a personal betrayal. The relationship that I had with LittleBit, which I had thought was rock-solid, turns out to have been built on quicksand. Time and the Atonement will heal it. I have time. And I trust my temple covenants and the work of the Dear and Glorious Physician.

At another point in that somewhat bizarre conversation, the children's father said something mildly funny and moderately outrageous. I looked at his "wife" and raised one eyebrow. "Do you want to smack him, or shall I?"  She raised her own eyebrow and said, "That's my job now." I grinned and said, "Well then, you're falling down on the job."

Thankfully, Fourthborn and I each got peopled-out at about the same time, said our goodbyes, and came home for much needed naps. We both find dealing with him to be heartbreaking and exhausting.

So it's Sunday night, and I think it's raining again, and I hope that when I put out the recycling tomorrow night it does not turn into a big mass of papier-mache. There's a whole bag of shredding, which is in no danger of that, but there are three boxes that contained vinyl plank flooring or the junk tile we put down between the concrete and the planks, and we've had winds strong enough to blow the empty plastic bottles (of which there are a plethora) from here to Louisiana in a heartbeat.

I think I'm going to nuke the deer corn bag for my feet, take my meds a little early, and call it a night.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Be careful what you ask for!

(Sometimes it's even better than you thought you wanted.)

The activity at what I lovingly call Chilton Academy was delightful as always. Hard to believe that all three of the Bitties are now in school. From there I picked up Fourthborn, and we came back here and started work on the house.

We had to make another trip to Arlington when I discovered that the transfer I had made on Thursday went into the wrong account. The bank where they'll let you transfer money in, but not out. So we dashed to the grocery store which houses that bank, pulled cash, and drove back to deposit it in my main bank, because it was cheaper to make the round trip than to pay an NSF fee, and there's an automatic debit which should hit this weekend. (Not to mention I wanted/needed to pick up a few things for the house.) So thankful for the ability to laugh at myself.

When we got home, we tried to remove the bifold doors from the closet in my bedroom and quickly discovered that while we could do part of it, some of it would require that vaunted superior upper-body strength that men have. Posted that on Facebook and decided that I would emulate Miz Scarlett and worry about that "tomorrow". Went to bed.

Worked a little on the medallion quilt while Fourthborn snoozed on Saturday morning. Looked at my phone to see that I'd gotten a call and voicemail from an unknown number with the same area code as the third cousin I discovered earlier this year. The one whose family reunion my sister and I attended  this summer. The call was from a son of my cousin, in town with his son, and needing the name of a skilled family lawyer. Could I help?

I called him back and told him I'd get in touch with people and get him a list. He asked if there was something he and his son could do for me. Yes, as a matter of fact. Want to come extract a pair of bifold doors? They agreed to come over in about an hour. I rousted Fourthborn from her hobo nest on the living room floor. We put on bras. I started making calls, texts, and emails.

Our cousins made short work of the bifold doors. They helped us (mostly Fourthborn; I'm still convalescing) take the bed apart, get rid of another small section of carpet, and get the flooring down where the new bed would go. They did the heavy lifting to move the bed, which is wider and longer than I had thought. There's a gap of about six inches between the end of the mattress and the footboard. Maybe Beloved could have slept in this bed after all? We all worked together to set up the bed. Then we went to Bueno and grabbed a late lunch and talked for four hours. (Yay for mini family reunions!)

I’ve got the list of possible helpers ready for my cousin. Just waiting for him to get back to me with his email address.

When we were at Bueno, Fourthborn was chatting easily with both of the cousins. This is a miracle on the order of the loaves and the fishes. She freely admits to being the poster child for social anxiety, and there she was, alternating war stories with the rest of us. It was so much fun to compare notes, find out all the ways in which we are similarly broken, similar tastes in music and art, how we cope with stuff. Love those guys.

One extended family, made stronger through mutual service. This, folks, is how we build Zion. It has put the most marvelous glow on my weekend.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Grandparents Day

First up: I had a great day at work yesterday. I prayed like crazy on the way in, because I needed to do Wednesday's work (from when I was home, sick), yesterday's work, and as much as possible of today's. Which meant dealing with the emails that had invaded my inbox, going through two days' worth of mail, calendaring anything that the mail or the emails had generated, mailing copies to our clients of items I had printed off after the mail went out on Tuesday, printing copies of other items to go out in yesterday's mail or when I get back to the office on Monday, staying focused, remembering to take my meds on schedule, and fielding phone calls. By the grace of Heaven, I got everything done that absolutely had to be done, and I know where to start on Monday. So, whew!

Alison had posted all sorts of Trader Joe goodies on her Facebook page, and I already needed to make a TJ run, so that's how I went home from work. Came home with two boxes or packages of everything on my list or in her post and the comments appended thereto. Kind of like the ark, only edible.

When I got home, the final dividend check for 2015 was in my mailbox. This is the packet of shares I inherited from Beloved and got switched over into my name at the end of 2013. Since then, the quarterly dividends have risen from $3.00 per quarter to a whopping $3.80. I noticed that the company was really clever this year. Instead of the usual formatting of the page attached to the check, it's my 2015 1099-DIV. I don't remember it being like that last year, but it may well have been. At any rate, two birds with one stone, and no doubt a massive savings in postage.

I suspect there will be another tax refund for 2015. No idea at this point how much. But if so, I may use some of it to buy another ten shares of the stock. Something to think about, anyway.

I've preshrunk the fabric in the October kit for my medallion quilt. While I was home on Wednesday, I finished attaching one of the borders, but not all at once. I awoke ahead of the alarm yesterday and got the pieces cut out. I may get the plain borders pieced (they are now a smidgen longer than the width of fabric, and from here on out will have to be pieced) and attached before it's time to leave for the Bitties' school.

Secondborn emailed me the class schedules. This year will be a little more complicated, because now all three of them are in school. BittyBit is a fifth grader. BittyBubba is in third grade. And Bittiest is in kindergarten. When I'm done in Fort Worth, I'll pick up Fourthborn, and we will go to town on my bedroom floor. Today we will finish the north end of the room, into the closet. I'm hoping that tomorrow we can finish the rest of the room and set up the bed frame. We will need to be well rested for that, because it is massive, and if we're too tired it would be easy to hurt ourselves.

I've eaten a token breakfast but am still vaguely hungry. Will sluice off and grab a little something on the way. I want to leave in half an hour to beat the morning rush. The fun in Fort Worth starts in two and a half hours. If I'm clever, I can eat breakfast at Ol' South Pancake House just like the good old days. I'll just have to opt for a Dutch Baby instead of the full-on German Pancake.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Camille. As in the last act of.

The drainage did not just go away. But more on that in a bit.

We got an incredible amount of stuff done on the house done, last Saturday. Carpet ripped up from the doorway along the just-painted wall to the bathroom door, and down the middle of the room to the opposite wall. Junk vinyl tile laid down on the newly freed concrete. And vinyl plank flooring extended through the doorway to where the closet begins, and into the room far enough that we could have set up the new bed frame on it if we hadn't been so tired that we were afraid of injuring ourselves. That new bed frame is heavy.

Dragged myself to church on Sunday. About the only bits that didn't ache were my tonsils, which have been gone since I was three, and my gall bladder, which went bye-bye in 2001. Skipped choir practice in favor of a nap. Home teacher and another good brother gave me a blessing. We had raised a lot of dust, pulling up the carpet. That didn't make me feel any better, so I took the first steps in getting well by calling in the priesthood.

Monday was a good day at work. Coughed a little but sailed through my work. Came home and emptied out the black bookcase, moved it to the newly painted wall so we may yank the carpet there and in the closet this weekend, and refilled the bookcase. Yesterday I was coughing more. I could tell that the yuck was trying to dig through to China by way of my lungs, so I called my doctor to see if they could fit me in. She was booked all day but scheduled to work the night clinic, so I took off early, picked up my remade glasses (which seem to be, finally, correct), then Fourthborn, who accompanied me to the night clinic with the plan that we'd go to Knit Night from there.

I was seen pretty quickly at the clinic, but not by my doctor, and I was able to pick up two prescriptions at a nearby pharmacy instead of at the one around the corner from my home. By that time it was a quarter to eight, so we blew off Knit Night (I did post a message that we wouldn't be there, after all), and I took Fourthborn home.

Have just taken my second dose of both medicines. The cough medicine is a little gel cap with an advisory not to drive or operate machinery. I've called in sick (my voice is convincing testimony of that) and am planning to sleep as the impulse strikes and will hope to be back at work tomorrow, as I'm off on Friday for Grandparents Day at the bitties' school.

I've eaten an English muffin with some Wholly Guacamole. Time to take my vitamins, maybe grab an apple, and settle in with one of my library books. I'm currently reading The Medici Effect and pondering how my life has been lived largely at what he calls the Intersection. Twyla Tharp's book on creativity is next on the list, and the library has notified me that the autobiography of James Michener is waiting for me. I've added the latest dozen Prismacolors to my inventory list on Evernote. If I get really ambitious, I may attempt to shake hands with my EQ7 program and begin entering the last series' finished quilt blocks preparatory to redesigning the sashing strips.

Not holding my breath on that one. (Because that would make me cough.) I crack myself up.

In the time required to more or less proofread this, the sleepiness has kicked in from my cough medicine. So it's likely to be vitamins and a very light snack, then back to bed.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Down the rabbit hole.

Brought home a book from work a day or two ago. Read it in two nights. No sewing. No knitting. Just quality time with the written page. About 500 of them.

I think if I had not been taking my antihistamine every night for months, I might be feeling pretty miserable now. As it is, I have a bit of drainage but no sign of infection. Which is good, because I have a lot planned for Saturday. Fourthborn will go with me to the doll meet tomorrow night. And I'm hoping to get enough of the carpet ripped up and the flooring down that we can set up the bed. I think I'm also feeling brave enough to try replacing an outlet or maybe all three in my bedroom.

But for now I need to call it a night.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Door is done.

One of the guys at Home Depot was able to do what two friends at work, and I, had been unable to accomplish: he got the brass thingie separated from the pretty part so that I could connect the two halves of the lever handles with long screws. When I went to bed last night, it was in a room with a door that could be locked if I so chose, which I did not.

Today I assembled the first block in what will become Fourthborn's quilt and picked up the kit for the second block. I also assembled and attached two of the four checkerboard strips on the medallion quilt. The third strip is laid out on my ironing board for when I'm ready to sew again.

I've mailed my visiting teaching letters, dropped off the exceedingly boring library book in the night slot. (It was about some weird new theory of architecture and probably better as a textbook than for casual reading. My attention span is recovering from widow brain. I can read longer articles without chasing rabbits in my mind. But my patience for jargon and/or gobbledygook is probably gone for good.)

I am taking my meds and going to bed now, because it is after 10:30 and my left eyelid has begun twitching. I'm taking that as a hint that it would like to lower the shades completely and call it a night.

Very much looking forward to church tomorrow. We have a bonus, broadcast session of stake conference. Something on a regional or area level, because multiple stakes are involved. Our stake will be meeting in three of our buildings. I declined the opportunity to sing in the choir. I want to go, and sit, and knit, and ponder. Sitting in the choir seats would put a definite crimp in the knitting department. (The only downside to my current calling as sacrament meeting chorister is that I don't think it appropriate to sit up on the stand and knit.) What functions as a "quiet book" for me should not be a distraction for the others in the congregation.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Momentarily stymied.

I need stronger hands than mine to disassemble one half of the lever. The bolt is screwed into the door, facing the right direction. The fourth coat of paint last night was all I needed to call it done. I've popped the recalcitrant lever half into a Ziploc bag to take to work, in hopes that somebody there will be able to wangle the bits apart. The Tyvek pulltab just isn't getting it for me. (And this will have to be repeated six more times, just for the interior doors.) I'll hold off on replacing the strike plate until I've repainted and replaced the door moulding.

Tonight I will sew up the October quilt block so I may hand it over to Fourthborn tomorrow. Which means that I had better stir my stumps and preshrink that fabric.

I made a great, simple dinner last night. Salmon burger, big salad, and one potato, mashed and divided into two portions. A little later I mixed some Greek yogurt and Nutella for dessert.

Big announcement from the Church yesterday, equating same sex marriage with apostasy, and outlining how it will impact the children of same-sex parents. I may very well lose some friends over this, but I stand with the prophets. Children are best served by parents who are in a covenant relationship with one another, with God, and with their children. Same sex unions frustrate the eternal plan of happiness, because they cannot in and of themselves bring children into the world. And children have a right as the spirit children of Deity to be born into the covenant of eternal marriage.

As Cecil B. DeMille said, we cannot break the commandments. We can only break ourselves against them. #mormonwomenstand

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Almost there.

I think one more coat will do it. The vinyl plank flooring is going on sale today, and I plan to pick it up tonight or tomorrow, as well as the new handle for this door. Still need to repaint and replace the moulding.
I colored last night, between the first and second coats and while doing a load of laundry. I figure that by the time I've finished this coloring book, I'll be quite comfortable with colored pencils and can think about moving on to original work.
Sometime between tonight and Saturday morning, I need to preshrink the fabric for this month's series quilt so I may hand it off to Fourthborn when we pick up our  next blocks. She has plans for Sunday, so she won't be coming home with me to help on the house. I need her phenomenal carpet ripping-up skills.
Time to pack my lunch and decide what I'm wearing today.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Blogging from my phone.

Because last weekend's winds and rain have messed with my cable. Again. I was a little too busy at work yesterday to call the cable company and set up an appointment for a service call. Maybe today?

In Elvis is leaving the building news, I have found new homes for the faucet which has been hanging out on top of the bookcase in the middle bedroom since I moved in almost four years ago. The son of a coworker may or may not have broken theirs. And a friend at Knit Night mentioned that she needed to find another memory foam pillow for one of her dogs. I said, "the kind that goes bump swoop bump (gesturing)?" Exactly. I have two. I'll keep one for when Fourthborn spends the night, but the spare will go to work with me as well, because that friend works in my building.

When I pulled the painter's tape around the wall in my room, I also pulled up a bit of the new paint behind the door. That's fixed. And I've decided to use the coral from the short walls in the living room to paint the back of the bedroom door. I think it will be a nice pop against the dark cherry wall. I hope to start that tonight. If there's time, I'll wipe down the door before heading to work.

Played a little with my spreadsheets this morning, particularly the one for 2016-2017. I've eliminated some of the pages from prior years. I don't really need to track the activity in each savings bucket each month when I now have the capacity to check into my work related accounts from home and download the electronic statements to my computer. Just plug in the totals onto my balance sheet page at the end of each month and let those speak for themselves.

Line upon line, precept upon precept.

The knitting, you will be pleased to note, is not arguing with me. I spent a few minutes at Knit Night weaving in ends, so it looks a bit more tidy on my needles.

Lunch is packed. Outfit is picked out. Time to log off, sluice off, and hit the road.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Play day.

That would be my yesterday. I love Halloween. I woke up at ridiculous o'clock, ate some breakfast, and went back to bed, waking again a little before 9:00. Got dressed and hopped in the Tardis for a Costco run, so there would be sufficient candy for the little monsters at a price I was willing to pay. (I think last year I spent $40, but maybe that was the year before.) Ginormous bag for $15+. That, I could live with.

Came home and sewed. And sewed. And sewed. I made substantial progress on one of the borders of the medallion quilt. When I go back to my sewing machine, I will assemble the checkerboard border, which actually comes before this one. But this one is composed of 60 blocks that needed to have corners attached, turning a 2.5" block on point so that it became a 3.5" block. We are talking 120 2.5" squares that needed to be cut on the diagonal. I broke that up into increments and had cut maybe a third of the triangles that I needed a couple of weeks ago. So before I sat down yesterday I had a bit of a running start. (Would we call that a jogging start?) I did not have all of the blocks sewn and trimmed to a square before crashing last night, but I did quit just after it stopped being fun and started being work. So I'm getting better at that.

I finished sewing those blocks after my post-church nap today. Sixteen of them are not squared, yet, but they are essentially done, and I have emptied the Ziploc bag that was dedicated to them while I was gathering 1.5" squares over several months to begin them. I have the totally finished pieces lined up in four columns on the seat of a chair by the head of the dining room table, so that when the checkerboard border is assembled and attached, I may lay out the next border one side at a time.

My Facebook friend (and distant cousin), Middleaged Mormon Man, has a thing every Sunday night where he asks us to post the best single thing that happened this Sabbath. This was my post tonight:

Three years ago, as my husband was completing his mortal journey, I was dragged kicking and screaming into Primary. For a while, I taught the nine-year-olds, who this year have entered the youth program. Today, the lone boy from my class was sitting in the “gopher” seat behind our bishop. A dear sister, who has been a friend since she lived in one of my old wards, has had a number of health challenges this year. As she slowly made her way to the front of the chapel, “my” deacon quickly walked down the steps and escorted her up them. When she finished bearing her testimony, he escorted her back down them and returned to his seat.

He is going to be an effective missionary if he keeps this up. And he will make some young woman very happy when he's old enough to marry.

I am trying to figure out how much to eat today before I call it a night. Tomorrow is my quarterly diabetes check, and I have to go fasting (ick!) for the blood work, and my appointment's not until 8:50. So yes, there will be cheese sticks in my purse when I leave, and I will head straight for breakfast when they're done stabbing me. I printed out my list of questions to ask, before bedtime last night.

Please keep Middlest in your prayers and positive thoughts. I got a text yesterday: my child was in the ER after blacking out at the cash register from a massive migraine. Diagnosis is atypical migraine on top of the bipolar disorder, with a referral to a neurologist.

At some point in the future we will look back and see how this was part of a series of events intended to bless my child. At present it is an occasion for prayer and pleading on my part, and endurance on Middlest's.