- Five 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, December 31, 2015
I've finished the first chapter of Mimesis, and I have to say that it's far easier going than the introduction. I read as little as possible of The Iliad and The Odyssey when I was in school. Now, I loved the Greek myths. I devoured Bulfinch's Mythology in fifth grade. I just didn't give a damn about Odysseus/Ulysses, although I had great admiration for Penelope. Still do. No, you bozos*, my husband's not dead. He's just not here, and I have no interest in dating any of you.
*These would be metaphorical bozos. Nobody is hanging around my living room, eating my food, and trying to get me to marry again. Any frogging of knitting projects is due to inattention on my part, and not the unwelcome attentions of one or more men.
When I finished that chapter, I resisted the temptation to start another, and I decided to crowd-source recommendations for good translations of Homer, because Auerbach juxtaposed his analysis of those classics against the Old Testament, and I have more than a nodding familiarity with that after forty years in the church.
It may take me years to read this book, if I keep getting intrigued by the source material.
I also worked a little on the stealth project for next Christmas, and I grabbed the other knitting project, worked a row and set it aside, then rooted around for a size 6 circ because one of my Options ends has a couple of rough spots where the wood might be thinking of coming de-laminated. I've been knitting a 7" wide scarf on 8" DP needles, which means that if I turn my back a few ~ or a lot ~ of stitches fly off one end of the needle or another. Fortunately, I had some size 6 ends in the new(ish) Caspian colorway, and I put a circ together and worked a final row and pronounced it good.
And then I colored a very little, took my meds, and went to bed, hoping for something like seven and a half hours of sleep. I woke about 3:30, near as I can tell (the clock and my glasses are across the room from my bed, and I could not see the one without the other). Since then, I have washed a load of laundry, which is now tumbling merrily in the dryer, made myself some toast, and played on Facebook.
The alarm goes off in half an hour. My toes are cold (it's 40 degrees out in the garage). I'm finally sleepy again, when there's no point in lying down. I am going to assemble my lunch, nuke the bag of deer corn that warms my feet when I go to bed, and go color for fifteen minutes or so. We get to wear jeans and sneakers to work today, and I'm hoping to have enough actual work to stay busy. I'm backing two extra attorneys today, which might keep me a little more occupied than might otherwise be the case.
What I want right now is two vats of hot chocolate. One for my innards, and another for steeping my feet. I may have to stop by Racetrac on the way to work and get a small hot chocolate, or swing by Kroger instead and pick up a half gallon of dark chocolate almond milk, which would be significantly more healthy.
Mmm, yeah. That's a plan. Later, gators.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
I have a few more pieces in place for my 2015 tax return. Next week I will be able to finalize earned interest, update the spreadsheet, update TurboTax, and be that much closer to submitting my return. I'm thankful that my medical expenses were low enough that I couldn't deduct them. Financially, that's a bit of a pain, but in the eternal scheme of things it's a plus. I spent less than $40 out of pocket on prescriptions. If I hadn't left my Metformin under the car seat, necessitating an emergency prescription when we were in Minneapolis this spring, it would have been closer to $25. I'm a little over a year away from official senior-citizenship. And I am in remarkably good health. And I am so, so thankful.
Work was interesting yesterday. The courts are kinda slow this time of year, so I'm waiting on a couple of dismissal orders before I can close more cases. The mail is lagging because of Christmas. The entire office got something like four pieces of mail yesterday, which makes me wonder if we are going to get a large bucket of oops-this-got-mislaid in the next day or so. I filed an answer on a new case for SemperFi. I worked as many of the To-Do's as I could, given that there was minimal mail. And I sent out a will type for food email, which resulted in a small but labor-intensive project for the office manager that I will finish sometime today.
Last night I attended a ring ceremony and reception for a young sister in our ward. She has consistently been one of the most friendly and affectionate Young Women since I moved in almost four years ago. Always there with a hug. I don't remember if she graduated this spring, or last year. But she's in love, and she's married, and she was radiant last night in a very simple dress. Long sleeved white knitted top. Big floofy white skirt. And a faux or otherwise fur infinity scarf around her neck. I got at least two hugs from her in passing, and I had great visits with several friends in the ward. Then I came home and crunched numbers until I was sleepy.
I have no idea why playing with numbers is so calming and satisfying. But it is. I love watching my mortgage balance go down. I love watching my tithing and other contributions increase. I like sitting down when I get my yearly raise and figuring out how much more to add to my 401K each payday, how much more to savings, and which buckets. It looks as if I will get another tax refund, and I know where some of that will go.
When I inspected the house Saturday night after the tornadoes struck nearby, I saw that the temporary fix that Wes did to my garage door in back, is coming undone. He used interior plywood and screwed a panel on either side of the door. Et voila! No more possum romping in my garage. When I get my refund, the first item of business will be a new back door to the garage. And, depending on how big my refund is, possibly a new garage door in front as well.
Projects for the coming year will include repainting the cabinets in the kitchen, new countertops if my bonus is large enough, and ripping out the carpet in the middle bedroom. When Middlest moves home at the end of spring semester, that room will have to serve as a functioning bedroom as well as food storage central. I want to buckle down and get the new baseboards in place. If all goes according to plan, the kitchen will be done, the middle bedroom will be done, the studio will be reorganized, and I can spend 2017 working on the bathrooms.
This is the part where I pack my lunch for today and get ready for work. Although today it is more like, ready or not, here I come. So glad that I will be off on Friday. I need to go to Secondborn's and pick up the folding chairs we left there on Christmas Day, and spend some time with J so he can practice his driving for his driving test in February.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
We are under a flash flood watch until noon tomorrow (it is 100%-ing out there, again, with varying amounts of Wagnerian thunder) and have been bracing for a blizzard or an ice storm, although the current forecast from the National Weather Service says maybe just mixed sleet and snow, with some quarter sized hail for punctuation, and everything melting away tomorrow.
It has been so heartening to see the people of North Texas offer their homes, their backs, and their pickup trucks to help and comfort the afflicted. I love living in the Bible Belt, where religion is not just a Sunday thing or a Christmas thing or an Easter thing, and so many of our fellow Christians walk the walk.
For me this has been a day of relief and gratitude. Fourthborn and I were safe last night. We actually took counsel and sat in the guest loo for half an hour while the tornadoes went around us. I was able to get her safely home after church (it’s about an hour’s drive on clear roads, and we were driving into the leading edge of the next wave of rainstorms: cats, dogs, little fishes, the occasional rhino as we passed under an overpass with water cascading over its edge) and to return home safely as well.
Bonus: the Relief Society lesson was one of the most serene I have experienced in 40 years of church membership. The wife in our senior missionary couple taught from Neill Marriott's address at the most recent General Conference. The sisters shared pertinent stories about answered prayers and Heaven's timeline and patience. I thought about when it felt as if some of my prayers were never going to get answered in this lifetime, and then they were, and it was always worth the wait.
I feel wonderfully blessed. We didn't sleep well last night. At one point Fourthborn and I were both awake at the same time. I caught a nap after taking her home, and I'm half an hour late in taking my meds, so I'll take care of that and read a few more pages of Mimesis and call it a day, I think. The house appears to be unscathed. Lorelai and the Tardis, ditto. There are still a few stubborn leaves on some of my bushes. I joked last night that we felt pretty safe, because there are so many dead people waiting for me to get their temple work done that they were watching over us, and that may very well be true, but I think the fact that I live about two blocks from the chapel as the crow flies, had a good deal to do with it as well.
Saturday, December 26, 2015
Found a framed print of a Chris LeDoux quote: "Saddle up and follow your dreams." (I miss that man. So gifted.) Purchased a one of those sproingy metal frames for displaying ornamental plates. I already had one, but Firstborn and 1BDH gave me two lovely small rectangular plates with scriptures on them, and they will go up on the wall with all the representations of the Savior. [The plates, not the kids.]
Found my belt sander, which was hiding behind the toolbox on my Mormon bar cart, and roughed up the finish on the frame and doors to the linen closet. Did some prep work on a stealth project for next Christmas. Knitted a little.
Went to IKEA to get one of those Billy bookcases with the yellow shelves, but they've been discontinued (the nerve!), so we came back by way of Costco, as planned, and tanked the Tardis after picking up the last bits of stuff I needed to restock fridge and pantry.
Did a drive-by fooding of the missionaries.
Before the sky clabbered up, Fourthborn got a coat of paint on the moulding for the doors in my room. She brought everything inside when we had the tornado warning, and we hung out for half an hour in the guest loo, making bad jokes and posting them on Facebook.
We didn't get any actual painting done on the linen closet because of the tornado warning, but after the skies cleared, Fourthborn taped off the frame, so next time we just need to jump in with the brush and git 'er done.
I'm edging into crazy-tired land and am hoping the washer is done so I can toss everything into the dryer and call it a night.
The improvised tackcloth? Numerous sheets of antibacterial wipes to get the dust off, since it was raining dogs and cats and little fishes, and I was not about to dash out in that mess to Home Depot for the real thing. Those wooden bits are cleaner than at any time since Beloved passed.
Sorry. You just get random brain droppings tonight.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
The gifts for the grandchildren on my side of the tribe are wrapped and gathered up in a tote bag. The adult gifts are mailed out (my sister and Middlest) or boxed up and collected in more totes. The birthday gifts for LittleBit and BittyBit are bought and wrapped. I'm done shopping. I'm done cooking, at least for awhile. I blitzed through Costco last night and picked up a five pound bag of clementines, two ginormous bags of organic tortilla chips (as opposed to the inorganic kind?) and two vats of Wholly Guacamole, all for the tribal feast on Friday.
Work has been going well. We are a skeleton crew this week. Tomorrow I will be wrangling SemperFi, handling both halves of my other attorney's docket, and backing up three other attorneys whose secretaries (and their backups) are out. Only three of those attorneys will be in the office and likely to ask me for something, and the courts are all closed tomorrow, and the post office closes at noon but deliveries and pickup will happen as scheduled. So I may still be looking for stuff to do, and ways to help.
Fourthborn will be coming back with me after Christmas dinner, and we will spend Saturday working on projects. I'm looking forward to that.
I may be picking up a waif-and-stray from the ward and dragging him along to the tribal feast. Yes, I said "him". No, this is not a romantic thing. I do notice him as a disturbance in the Force, for lack of a better term, but I'm not feeling flirtatious toward him, and I'm pretty sure he's not feeling flirtatious toward me, either. But he's a long, long way from home, and I got this prompting, and the next thing I knew I was asking him if he had plans for Christmas dinner. Secondborn has a huge house, and her philosophy has always been "the more, the merrier". There are already 23 confirmed attendees. One more will not mean that we have to hang by our toes from the banister.
If this turns out to be another rich, platonic friendship like the one I have with Brother Sushi, I will be over the moon. Romance would be a Volkswagen-sized spanner in the works, and I just flat don't wanna. I have a job to do, and a mortgage to pay off, and art to pursue and a house to finish and and and and. Not lonely, thank you very much.
Thankfully, I do not hear Moroni tap-dancing on my front porch with this good brother (or any other good brother) in tow, so I think I'm safe.
And now if you will all kindly excuse me, it's time for me to try to wind down and go to sleep. I've already decided that the charming small knitting project will be an excellent start on next Christmas and have firmly instructed the Ooh Good Idea Fairy to knock it off, because la la la la, I can't hear you.
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Note: I drafted this on Saturday night but couldn't scrape together enough internet to publish it. Trying again on Sunday morning. And fed up with trying to change all of the time references. You're on your own.
So Friday was all about traffic snarlups, miscommunications, and Plan Z in general. It started out well (and it wasn't a bad day; just didn't turn out anything like we had planned).
I bought what I thought were the rest of the Christmas ornaments for the grands. Discovered that the T-rex which I bought for Bittiest was severely damaged. So when I got to Arlington, I headed to Hobby Lobby to see if I could find another one. Nope. Two triceratops: one with a broken foot, and one with all four feet but a broken front horn. Apparently it's not been a good year for dinosaurs anywhere in North Texas. Found something else that I think will please him.
From there, off to Container Store to get small boxes to hold the ornaments. From there, off to J's work to pick him up for his driving test. Got to the warehouse. Called him. "Marco." He didn't come out. About 20 minutes later I texted him again, "I'm getting nervous." He texted back, "We have plenty of time." Finally, about 15 minutes before he was supposed to take his test, I see a missed call and call him back.
No, I am not in front of the apartment. I am in the next town over, waiting for him to come out of the warehouse, which he is not in, because he took the day off. I'd been so good about confirming that he was testing at the same location as last time. I neglected to confirm where I was to pick him up. I assumed that, because it was the middle of the day, he'd be at work. He assumed that I knew he'd taken it off.
We know what happens when you assume.
He's rescheduled again for late February, on the afternoon of the day when I have my well woman, because I have no more spare vacation days before the first of June. I have a calendar entry in my phone, with a reminder to confirm where I'm picking him up.
So I took him home, and I picked up Fourthborn and her laundry, and we came home by way of Bueno, because I was ravenous, and I was in bed a little after 8:00p.m., utterly knackered.
I woke up yesterday at 3:30 after nearly seven hours of sleep, but still. Puttered for an hour and went back to bed. We were both up a little after 6:00. I cooked up my first batch from the multigrain oatmeal, which I think I will really like once I get used to it (it was way better than not-bad, just different from what I'm used to.)
Since then I have hung pictures and other stuff on various walls. The second short wall in the living room is completed, and I love it. I also hung a picture on my bedroom wall, replaced one of the switchplates and had Fourthborn replace the other, as it sits smack up against the underside of a shelf on the black bookcase. I was afraid that if I got down on the floor, I might not get back up again.
The eagle shelf is hung on the wall above the pictures of Dad that FirstHubby's dad took on a fishing trip. I've tackled two bags and one pile from the perimeter of my room. I found a flobbity-jillion keys in an old cigar box, and I warned a friend in our stake that I would either hand off a quart ziploc bag to them at the special stake sacrament meeting tomorrow, or drop it on their front porch afterward. Either way, it is leaving the building.
Today (yesterday, and I've given up trying to update the time frame) we went to Home Depot to get more of the replacement rollers for the handy tool we use to cut-in on the walls. Apparently it's been discontinued, or they no longer carry it. So I decided that we should go to Lowe's and see if they had it, and I decided to take the back route to get there and avoid traffic. Hah!
We found ourselves stuck behind a parade by a school on a residential street. I posted that on Facebook as well. I was torn between laughing and swearing.
Tonight was the ward Christmas dinner. I didn't want to go empty handed, and I didn't sign up to make any of the assigned dishes. I am just rebellious enough to not want to be told what to cook or how to fix it. So I nuked four packets of the brown rice and quinoa mixture, put it in an old Tupperware bowl I wanted to get rid of, and took it to the dinner. Just before Fourthborn and I were ready to go (I looked over to my left and saw a good brother scraping the last of the rice onto his plate. Success! Vindication!)
We left before the musical part of the evening. The food was good, and the company was better, and Fourthborn was not the only one of us who was peopled-out. So we scuttled on home, and I can't quite decide if I want to bang a few more pictures onto the wall, or just take my meds and call it a day. I ate sensibly and am vaguely hungry for something but not sure what.
All the stuff that I ordered on Amazon yesterday will be delivered to my office either tomorrow (boo) or Monday (yay). Note to self: once it's all safely here, cancel the free trial of Amazon Prime.
Feeling both wonderfully blessed, and more than a little crabby tonight. What's up with that?
Postscript: still crabby. And it's raining.
Friday, December 11, 2015
I ripped back the current knitting project to almost the first row, because I was doing the yarnovers wrong. Ordinarily, it doesn't matter much how they're done, but for this project they need to lie on top of a slipped stitch, and mine were wrapping around it, creating a faux cable that just looked junky. So I frogged and reknit sixteen rows, and I went to bed a happy knitter.
Today I am helping Fourthborn's roommate (he who was formerly known as Fiance) get his driver's license. Yes, I know we tried doing this month before last, but the VIN number on the Tardis did not match the VIN number on my proof of insurance, and they stopped us flat and told us to reschedule. We drove immediately to my insurance agent's office and got that little problem corrected on our end. I'm hoping that today goes smoothly for him.
I woke an hour ahead of the alarm, happy as a kid at Christmas, because today is payday, and I get to finish buying and/or ordering the Christmas gifts. At least I hope I will be done before the end of the day. I need to make a list so everything gets dovetailed neatly.
Now if you will all excuse me, I need to go drop a small bundle on Amazon.
Saturday, December 05, 2015
Middlest has made the entirely sensible suggestion that we abstain from the tribal Thanksgiving festivities next year, and while I am at least slightly tempted, I want to see my grandchildren. And if being kind to the children's father and his "wife" is the price of seeing my grandchildren, then I will pay that price. We can always come back here and do fun, palate-cleaning stuff when the tribal feast is over.
It's been a mostly terrific day. On the way to the quilt shop, I hit a run of sentimental songs on my favorite Pandora station, and I got a little misty-eyed. There are songs that I've never exactly associated with Beloved (one of which I only heard for the first time this week) that nevertheless bring forth a sweet and tender longing. I'm not sad. I'm definitely not depressed. Nostalgic would probably be the best word for it.
I didn't quite complete my block in time to take it to the shop with me, because when I ironed the white background fabric after pre-washing it, it was a pronounced rhombus, and I lost just enough in the truing that I could only get six of the eight larger pieces out of it. So I paid for the next month's block, and I bought a quarter yard of the white, in case there are other glitches in future blocks.
On the way home, I stopped at Hobby Lobby (Fourthborn: the one with the funky entrance that we went to when we were buying Christmas ornaments last year), and there is now a Trader Joe's in the same parking lot (what a mess that was to navigate!). I picked up the last Secret Santa gift, two boxes of the multigrain crackers I've come to love, and a box of seasoned pita crackers to try (they are delicious, but one serving is eight crackers, as opposed to 14 for the others).
My last stop was at the art supply shop, where I bought another dozen Prismacolor pencils at the 40% holiday discount. I've acquired the last of the greens, I think, and am edging into the brown tones. They're all entered into Evernote.
My own Secret Santa at work gave me a lovely BH&G quilting magazine. My technical skills are way beyond anything used for the featured quilts, but the photos and sketches are wonderful eye candy. I couldn't be more pleased.
I came home from all my gadding and took a shortish nap, maybe an hour and a half? Since then I've polished off the last of the leftover roasted veggies from Thanksgiving, enjoyed some hummus with the pita crackers, read a nice chunk in the Michener autobiography, and finished the November quilt block and the last of the piecing for the current installment of the medallion quilt. I've remembered to take my medicine, and as midnight draws near I am just about ready to call it a night.
After last Sunday's near debacle, when I awoke an hour before church was to start (half an hour before when I prefer to leave the house), I am definitely setting the alarm tonight.
I wish the children's father a happy birthday tomorrow. I am grateful for our children. They wouldn't be who they are if somebody else were their father. And, carefully tucked away, there are any number of good memories with that man. It is painful to see the shell of a human being he has become, although my pain does not begin to approach the pain our children feel in seeing him or dealing with him.
I hope I may be privileged to keep my marbles until my dying breath, and to be lively and feisty and not a burden, but a source of amazement and wonder and joy to our children. Something to strive for, anyway.
Thursday, December 03, 2015
I need to do more of that. I am finding the holiday sweets ridiculously tempting, and I am losing muscle tone. But I did do a couple of good things: I resisted the temptation to hit Bueno on the drive home. I made a simple dinner of salmon burger, spinach-based salad, and the brown rice quinoa mixture I get at Costco. And then I filled a small basin with warm water, set the timer for 20 minutes, and soaked my feet while reading more of the Michener autobiography. Timer went off, and I gently scrubbed my feet with a very soft washcloth, dried them off, trimmed my toenails, and curled up on the bed with some lavender-laced lotion and a pair of white cotton socks
It may not happen again for three years, but I feel as if I have done something deeply nourishing for myself tonight. (And I'm not talking about dinner.) I take my feet for granted. They are battered and scarred, but they do a remarkable job of getting me where I want to go. And I understand, at least on an intellectual level, that as a diabetic I need to be more aware of them, and to take better care of them. I can't stand to have a professional manicure. I didn't mind when Sarah worked on my feet as part of a massage, and I didn't mind if a husband rubbed my feet, but while I've tried on three or four occasions to comprehend why most women like pedicures, I would frankly rather eat cauliflower. Or clean the commode. (The last time I got a pedicure, I also got a resurgence of the athletes foot which had taken two or three years to eradicate. So, no.)
I would love to turn this into a parable for you, but I am tired in both mind and body. I've worked hard all week. Today I got everything done. All of it. A scheduling order calendared. Drafts for letters regarding trial dates in a couple of cases, either already sent, or drafted with tomorrow's date and ready to pop into SemperFi's outbox when I hit my desk in the morning. One case closed. Copies of reports to our clients. Copies of various documents forwarded to claims. All of my To-Do's, to-did, that were doable. I have a running start on tomorrow, and I've made arrangements to leave the office early on Tuesday to pick up Fourthborn so we may attend the Bitties' choir concert in lieu of Knit Night, and I've figured out token Christmas gifts for my attorneys, and delivered the first Secret Santa gift when the recipient finally stepped away from her desk for more than fifteen seconds. When I left the office, I was tired, I was sleepy, and I felt as if I'd earned my keep.
I have not knitted. Not one stitch. I'm going to do something about that: last night while waiting for tithing settlement I bound off maybe a dozen stitches. I'm going to put my library book up, get the bed ready for sleep, take my meds, and bind off at least a dozen more stitches. I'd like to be asleep in twenty minutes, so there's no chance of finishing that cowl tonight.
I think I will be skipping the doll meet tomorrow night in favor of some quality time with my sewing machine. I haven't touched the quilt block that I need to take to the quilt shop on Saturday morning in order to pick up block number three. But I feel well-tended. And maybe within spitting distance of something like refreshed. I wouldn't go so far as to say relaxed. That's not likely to happen until I've been dead for two or three weeks.
But hey, I'll take every scrap of progress I can get. Night, y'all.
Wednesday, December 02, 2015
My new attorney has two trial settings for next Monday. I have been working on trial notebooks. It is fiddly work. The first one was about five inches thick when I was finished. The second one is going to be that size, or possibly a bit larger. I couldn't find a jumbo notebook like I used yesterday, so the second one will be in two parts: I got the main part done this afternoon, and I'll finish the second part tomorrow morning.
SemperFi was on a tear this morning. He loathes technology. Our paralegal and I have been discussing the possibility of getting him a "Rage Against the Machine" shirt for Christmas, or something similar. I sent her one link. She sent another, but I was up to my ears in the trial notebook and didn't have a chance to check it out.
I signed up for the office's Secret Santa exchange this year. Got my name this afternoon and have picked up and wrapped two of the three gifts, which I'll smuggle into the office tomorrow. I haven't done this in several years. First there was the engagement and wedding plans. Then Beloved was dying. And that year I had just enough oomph to put up a tree. Last Christmas there were massive, unexpected expenses toward the end of the year, but this year I have both the means and the desire to participate.
And in knitting news, I am binding off the dark cerise mystery yarn cowl. I started while waiting for tithing settlement tonight. I don't think I'll finish before bedtime. I would rather read a few more pages in the Michener autobiography. The first half covered his life as if he had never become a writer. The second half is written as if he had never done anything else. Right now he's talking about how he figured out what kind of writer he wanted to be, what his native gifts were, how he's worked around his shortcomings. The first half of the book was interesting-to-fascinating. This half is riveting.
As the house draws nearer to organization and completion, I can feel the creative juices starting to simmer, drawing me in multiple directions at once. I am feeling a bit like an amoeba.
A sleepy one, so this is what you're getting tonight, and I'm going to grab a handful of chocolate covered ginger, pour myself a small glass of buttermilk, and go learn something.