About Me

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

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Even more so.

But it's been a good day. I found a perfect little cupboard or buffet at Working the Flea. It's temporarily tucked in a corner of the living room but will end up (pretty sure) under the kitchen window where the round table used to be.

The cabinets over the fridge and the stove are emptied and cleaned. I sent the last Windsor-style chair home with Fourthborn. Two countertops are cleaned off. The microwave now lives where the toaster and breadbox were.

Some of the wallpaper border is down. The breadbox, made by YoungerTwin, will go to Scuba. We picked up paint chips for the kitchen walls and the front door. We dashed through IKEA (and the rain) to pick up the new catalogue.

Fourthborn spent the better part of an hour cleaning the blades and housing of the ceiling fan. It's now masked so we may paint the ceiling next Saturday. I've run the dishwasher twice.

Before this all began, I walked 3.16 miles at the gym. And tanked the Tardis.

I am so very, very tired. And equally happy. We got a lot done in a short time.

Friday, January 30, 2015

So. Flippin. Tired.

I basically tithed my waking hours yesterday. While Fourthborn was getting the last of her dental work done, I skipped the knitting in favor of linking more records to names in FamilySearch. Wore out my battery. Wore myself out as well.

We had soup and salad at Rockfish. I dropped her off at home and made a beeline for the temple.

One very happy great aunt. This work is real.

This morning I skipped the gym and did deathbed repentance on my VT writing route. I'll drop the envelopes into the mail on my way to work.

But now I have to sluice off and put on grownup clothes and remember to tank Lorelai.

Looking forward to about 6:30 tonight and maybe, just maybe, an exceedingly early bedtime.

Knit did not happen.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

If I release, it wouldn't be very Zen.

So I went to yoga tonight. And found a couple more things I can do, plus a whole lot more that I can't. But the year is young.

I've tried a couple of new foods this week, specifically (cooked) chia seeds and quinoa. My body isn't sure what to make of them. I looked about five months pregnant in my yoga pants tonight. I spent most of class focusing not on breath but on trying not to toot.

At the end of class, when he was walking us through a meditation, he kept encouraging us to let go. And I kept telling my body, "Oh no, please don't!!!"

There is this one pose called Happy Baby, which is like fetal position but sunny side up. He came by and asked how I felt. I told him my happy baby had colic.

I really hope my body gets this figured out before next Tuesday night.

In knitting news, I've got virtually nada. One row today. One. Row. I'm going to fire  up the washing machine. And then I'm going to fire up my needles. I am *this* far from finishing the front of Charity's sweater. I might do a little genealogy after stuff is in the dryer. But I want to knit. And I want to eat half a cow. And that's about it.

Namaste, y'all. Try to stay upwind.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Down the rabbit hole of genealogy.

kWell, if I'd ever wondered what on earth I would do to keep my wits about me during retirement, yesterday answered that. I came home from church, fired up my phone, and spent the rest of the day, minus lunch, a brief nap, and a Downton Abbey break at Mel and Squishy's, connecting public records to various ancestors and merging a few duplicate individuals on Family Search.

Absolutely no danger of falling asleep during the process. I was sufficient irritated by the intermittent internet connection on my phone that I remained awake and alert until nearly midnight.

Which meant that when my alarm went off a little before 5:00 this morning, I most uncharacteristically pushed it back an hour and promptly fell asleep. No workout for Ms. Ravelled this morning, so I will be building more movement into my workday and at lunch.

I tried something new for breakfast yesterday. Made a batch of oatmeal using cashew milk and throwing in some chia seeds and a spoonful of coconut oil, both of which are diabetic friendly. Also a cup of frozen mixed berries.

And of course it made more than two servings, so this morning I am eating the rest of the bowl I couldn't finish before church, and I have at least two more days' worth of purple oatmeal. The texture is a little weird: slick, mushy, chewy, crunchy.

The chia seeds blew up during cooking like my ankles when I've had too much salt. I think I like them better as a garnish in salad. And I'm not sure if the slickness came from them or the coconut oil or some combination of both.

I think probably less coconut oil next time.  I guessed on the quantity.

And if I don't scurry, I won't be able to knit before work. Later, gators.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bobeche. And too much salt.

I am ready to sort through more boxes of stuff. I've been making incursions into the middle bedroom for about a week and a half. The typewriter has gone to a homeschooling family with some of my favorite kids in it. My computer and printer are out in the living room. The keyboard is still in the bedroom but in plain sight. Eventually I will find the box with the cords and the modem. By eventually I mean "I hope in the next couple of weeks."

Kitchen progress, thanks to Fourthborn, one of the YW, and my own intermittent efforts, has been faster than expected. We'll work on it some more next weekend. Maybe to the point of clearing the counters and painting the ceiling? (That would be really cool.)

Meanwhile, I keep finding stuff to go through. There is a box of storage containers which needs sorting. A box which says "candles" that I packed for the  move to the penultimate apartment, seven-plus years ago. A box with candlesticks and bobeche (candle rings and bling) from the same era. Those are boxes which could transport items to new homes or to charity.

I have So. Much. Paperwork. I made a good start at digitizing it when I lived in Fort Worth. My computer, the one that 2BDH helped me put together, has two terabytes of memory. That would hold a lot of genealogy. And that, I've realized, is a major factor in this impetus to set my house in order.

Moroni may not be tap-dancing on my front porch (telling me it's time to start dating), but Elijah is*. And there's a whole chorus line of my ancestors singing backup. They want their temple work done. They want to be found. And I can do that a whole lot faster with home internet and an uncluttered house.

*Elijah held the keys to the sealing powers and passed them to Joseph Smith. Those sealing powers are what link families together for the eternities, through temple ordinances.

I said I would talk about the most recent temple work I've done. Five baptisms a week ago yesterday. Five confirmations as members of the Church. I did the initiatories for the three women before leaving the temple that day. My sons in law will do the initiatories and priesthood ordinations for the men. On Tuesday I went back to the temple and did the endowment for my great grandfather's second wife, who died while pregnant with their first child. And then I had her sealed to him.

I've grown accustomed (as much as one can be) to sensing the presence of the sisters I serve in the temple. I don't feel all of them by any means, and I've never seen them in vision or had them come to me in my dreams. But the ones who want their work done, they head straight for my tear ducts like Beloved does when he's nearby.

With the exception of my dad, I don't remember sensing the presence or emotions of the men as their work is being done. Until the baptisms last weekend. I come from a long line of farming people. Hard-working. Pragmatic. Not particularity demonstrative. Those guys were there. And they were feeling things. It was tender, and sacred, and almost overwhelming.

The same when I was helping Phebe get sealed to my great-grandfather. I've thought about her a lot. What would it mean to a woman who died before giving birth, to now have the ability to bear untold numbers of spirit children in the eternities, and to rear them in the presence of Heavenly Father and the Savior?

On a lesser note, what was her life like in mortality? What was her favorite color? Flower? Did she like to read? How did she meet my great-grandfather? Did she get along with his kids from his first marriage? Am I going to be able to find her parents and any siblings and connect her to them?

This work is real. These people are real. They are closer than we realize. And I  need to link them with census records and other public records and eliminate the duplications and get their work done.

But today I am going to content myself with sorting two or three boxes in a leisurely and orderly fashion. Baby steps. Sabbath appropriate baby steps.

(The "too much salt" observation relates to the food I ate while watching the Harlem Globetrotters last night. They oversalt the food so people will buy sodas and adult beverages. Good marketing, but hard on my kidneys, which were seriously unhappy with me when I woke up this morning. I'm going to be guzzling water all day.)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Progress before breakfast.

The middle shelf has looked like this for a year or more. Ditto the right corner of the bottom shelf. But until this morning the top shelf was a jumble of mugs, glasses, and chimneys for kerosene lamps. The left corner of the bottom shelf was not much better.

I purged my beloved red-stemmed goblets. Attrition had reduced them to two water glasses and four flutes. Just very simple glassware, Libbey I think, definitely from Wally World. I kept three sets of big glasses, the five surviving sheepie juice glasses, and a bare handful of mugs. In the dining room, I have the handblown goblets from Pier One that go with my plates. I think we're covered.

I've filled a box to donate. It can wait until next weekend, when Fourthborn will be here, to make it into Lorelai or the Tardis for donation. Although I noticed the other night that my upper body strength is much improved over a few years ago: I brought my printer/scanner and computer out of the middle bedroom. The printer was awkward but not heavy. The computer was lighter than I remembered.

Heading out to the dining room to sew up my quilt block. I set up the sewing machine and the ironing board last night but did not get started. Why?

One of the YW, her younger sister, and their mom came over. The girls attacked the cabinet which had contained the tin of feral peaches, the floor in the pantry, and a once-over of the lower walls in the pantry.

The pantry looks amazing! The cupboard is much improved, but they were unable to get all of the fossilized peach juice off. Which means that, oh drat, I will have to get some of those nice cabinets from the Habitat resale shop.

Big fat juicy crocodile tears.

So: quilt block while the dishwasher runs. And then some knitting. I'm about halfway up the front of Charity's sweater. I need to do a very little grocery shopping. And buy some notions for the doll skirts. But mostly I want to craft and ponder and plan. Tonight I'm meeting Firstborn at the American Airlines Center to see the Harlem Globetrotters. Sounds like the makings of a lovely, restorative day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Breather.

Lots of good stuff happened yesterday. The two and a half hours that I was at work, went smoothly.

I ran to Jo-Ann before picking up Fourthborn for her penultimate dental appointment. Bought four yards and a large remnant to make doll clothes. That should clothe the whole resin tribe with enough left to make a few gifts.

I discovered a friend request on FB from my dentist, and grinned because it told me he was friends with LittleBit.

I added nearly an inch to the current doll sweater. And took a catnap in the spare dental chair adjacent to Fourthborn. (But they tell me I did not snore.)

We split a footlong combo at Subway. I dropped her off and headed for the temple. Got there in time to join my ward for temple night.

Completed the work for my great grandfather's second wife, including their sealing. The brother who served as proxy then did some work for his wife's family, and I recognized one of the surnames.

His wife is an ordinance worker, and the other sisters helped us connect afterwards. She said that her mother is the "real" genealogist. She will give her mom my contact information. One of the daughters of this great grandfather married (briefly, I think) into that line. Truly a small world.

Then I came home, had a small snack, and crashed. I skipped the gym this morning in favor of blogging and some much needed practice on the song I'm teaching the YW to sign for New Beginnings. And breakfast refused to wait, so I've been noshing on cheese, a small apple, some turkey bacon, and a couple of hard boiled eggs as I write. It's a particularly good apple. A few more bites and then I can wave my hands around for ten minutes.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

More progress on the house.

I deleted the truly awful photo of the #10 can that used to contain peaches. They had eaten holes in the can and fused it to the side of a cupboard in the kitchen. Fourthborn had to use a crowbar to free it. The contents were mostly gone.

I posted that picture to our RS Facebook page, with some snappy patter. The YW are selling candy (not interested) for Valentines Day. Some are also offering service, all of it to raise money for Girls Camp. I am paying $25 towards that to have one of them, or a pair of sisters, sit on my floor and lean into that cupboard and clean up the residue. Also that last stubborn spot on the floor of the pantry.

It will be money well spent.

Fourthborn is standing by my very full trash bin to illustrate a point. She was trying to explain to her roomie two weeks ago that we got rid of so much stuff, it was the functional equivalent of a body and a half in volume and weighed about the same as an average adult. We took this picture yesterday to illustrate her point, and I texted it to him. (Roomie is he who was formerly known as Fiancé. They are still the best of friends. And I still love him dearly and consider him family.)

It weighs significantly less this time, and I'm hoping that the trash dudes have an easier time of it and will not be taking my name in vain.

We (she; I mostly supervised) mucked out three cupboards yesterday and went through three shelves on the steel rack. We're getting there. Next time we'll tackle the cupboards above the stove and refrigerator, plus the last couple of shelves, and maybe even clear off the counters.

Our goal is to transfer the microwave to one counter or another so we may take the shelving apart and start getting rid of the wallpaper, which once upon a time was charming (I am not being snide) but has begun to come free in spots. I hope that bodes well for removing the rest of it.

With that wall and at least part of the window wall freed, we can paint the kitchen ceiling and begin painting the walls. And then I could make a decision about whether I want cabinets along both of those walls, and a window seat, or maybe bookcases, or green IKEA linen cabinets with room above them to hang art or kitsch or whatever.

Which will determine how much of the remaining vinyl plank flooring I will use, and whether I replace the existing cabinets or just repair and repaint them and properly rehang the upper ones, which are merely nailed into the walls and are beginning to edge their way toward second base with the idea of stealing home.

I'd like to forestall that.

The kitchen is still mostly set up for a 6'4" man who loved to cook from scratch and feed an army of growing boys. The boys are well and truly grown, with kitchens of their own, and I am a 5'4" empty nester who wants to entertain frequently but in a small way, and who suspects that family history and temple work will soon be taking over my life in a big way.

I need a home that is warm, welcoming, functional, and uncluttered. As I said, we're getting there. I sent a bunch of glassware home with Fourthborn yesterday, and the spare double boiler.

I think we have finally gotten rid of the last of the expired food. I bought a *petite* bottle of olive oil yesterday. We threw away vats of it in industrial sized containers, some of which were several years past their prime. That nearly made me weep. And a gallon of geriatric cider vinegar. The recycling bin is also full.

We found several items that Fourthborn said looked like medieval torture instruments. I will have to ask Squishy what they're for and who should get them.

I'm heading out to the kitchen now to figure out breakfast. I need to be at church a little early today for a choir run-through before ward conference. And I need to wrap the completed hat to go in a care package to the young sister at BYU-Idaho. And decide what I'm doing for church knitting.

I'll share about yesterday's temple experience soon.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Survived. Maybe thrived.

The original idea, last year, was to take both anniversaries off in case I had a meltdown. Which I did not, nor did I this year. I had some lovely, tender moments, and a modicum of progress on the house, and I'm calling both days a win. I'll go back to work today and type like a madwoman and do some more mucking out of the kitchen with Fourthborn tomorrow afternoon.

I spent a couple of hours each day at the family history center. I now know the name of the ship on which my great grandparents sailed to America, and I have two alternate spellings of his name, but I am still no closer to having the names of their parents. So I asked Beloved if he could search them out and help get that information to me. And I prayed that somebody, somewhere, would digitize the parish records. I'll keep looking. And praying.

I had two great workouts. Yesterday I did another 5K, this one from the comfort of the treadmill, in a little over an hour. Felt great. Feel fine this morning.

Knit did not happen, once I finished the hat. I did go to the quilt shop on Wednesday morning and order my finish out kit and another tool.

More stuff left the house yesterday: a typewriter, a lamp, a bud vase, and a banana hanger. I was able to access some of our wedding gifts (!) and some of the decorative items I brought into the marriage. A couple of things came into the house: the ampersand in this picture and a reel of lighter weight picture wire. I hung a few things up.

I finished reading " Life of Pi". Weird. Will either give away my lavishly illustrated copy or sell it at Half Price Books. No idea what I want to read next for fun.

I did buy a few things on my anniversary that would typically get a husband in trouble if he gave them as anniversary gifts: new fluffy cover for the seat of the commode, new ironing board, new (modestly cut) yoga pants and coordinating shirt, cheap pair of gloves.

Well, it's 5:01, and I've been awake for an hour, so there's no excuse not to go to the gym. Happy Friday, y'all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It's the 13th? Already?

I can't believe it's been almost a week since I posted. In that week, I've gone home sick (or something) from work, glossed the new 2015 youth theme song to teach the YW how to sign it for New Beginnings, and just realized that I've double booked myself for tomorrow night. I can't teach them at 7:00 and be in the temple at 8:00 for baptisms for a couple of my ancestors. Oye to the veh.

Tomorrow is my third anniversary. Thursday is Beloved's second angelversary. I'm taking both days off, as I did last year, but this year my focus is on service. I plan to spend a good chunk of one or both days in the temple and/or the family history center.

There will, of course, be knitting. I will finish the hat for my young friend who is attending BYU-Idaho before I call it a night.

Am home from my second yin yoga class. It was a little less crowded this week. And my body still laughs at me. I don't mind the full classroom. The full parking lot is a little annoying, and having to walk through the weight room to get to the yoga room reminds me of having to walk past the jocks in high school. There are no catcalls. Everyone is too focused on their own workout to pay attention to a middle aged woman. So that's a blessing. But it still makes me uncomfortable.

This is the part where I give my flannel sheets another 10 minutes in the dryer so I may go to bed wrapped in warmth.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Planning a little mischief.

The managing attorney sent out an email that said, in honor of the football game this weekend, we could wear our Cowboys jerseys, jeans, and sneakers tomorrow. I popped back, "Would I get lynched if I wore one of Beloved's Packers shirts?"

So I washed it tonight. Not the sweatshirt, because I'm sleeping in it, but the long sleeved shirt I wore under my hoodie and coat on the 5K last week.

You know me. I am the anti-sports. I don't care who wins (Beloved would be rolling over in his grave, if he had one.) But I'd love to be at least marginally warm tomorrow, and that shirt would help.

The second tiny sweater is blocking. Time to wind the yarn and cast on for a human-size project. This would be a hat for the young sister who just left for BYU-Idaho. I found a pattern on Knitty with tons of cables.

If I can stay awake that long.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

And ... the next teacher has shown up.

There were only a couple of the positions that I knew better than to try. No hands and knees. No downward dog. And pretty much everything else was severely modified. Maybe the wrong word. I think maybe severity and yoga are antithetical. Although we were warned that our hips might be talking to us sometime in the middle of the night. Hey, my bladder has no compunction about yodeling until I'm awake. What's one more body part?

But when class was over, I was able to stand up without assistance. Maybe not gracefully, but adequately. You know me. I count all the small victories.

Mostly my muscles yelled at me and shook, while I tried to keep enough space to breathe. There were a couple of moments where I could actually feel some yielding. Grudgingly, perhaps, but real nonetheless. My left side was a little more cooperative than my right. My right just hung in there and held on for dear life. I suspect my ego is right handed.

I like the teacher. I trust him in the same way I trusted my banjo teacher last year.

My mat is hung up to dry (I knocked over my friend's water). I'm going to clear off the bed and call it a night. No knitting. No reading. Just me, becoming one with the mattress.

Namaste, y'all.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

More blessings.

A friend in the ward posted some of her honey-do projects yesterday on Facebook. When I was talking with her in the hall between meetings, she mentioned that she had some frames I might want.

So I went over before Downton Abbey at Mel and Squishy's, and while the frames were not what I needed, I came home with the flushmount lights that will go up in the halls. They have the amber lights I wanted, but I will need to repaint the brushed nickel bases to match the oil rubbed bronze I'm using throughout the house, or the cream of the woodwork. Either would be lovely.

The shoulder seams are done on the sweater, and the first sleeve is cast on. I read a few more chapters in The Life of Pi. Still liking it.

SemperFi is back from a holiday trip to Old Blighty with his family, bringing me real English toffee in a little red tin that looks like a double decker bus and could become a bank when it's empty.

I had a flobbity jillion emails waiting for me this morning, which I mostly had whipped into shape by lunchtime. At the end of the day, they were under control, my To-do's were done, and my calendar items were marked off.

After I finished at 5:00, I logged onto Ancestry.com and Family Search, where I found two names ready for ordinance work and connected a bunch of dots for my paternal grandmother and maybe found a distant cousin through Grandma's mother. Also found out where my great grandmother was born in Bavaria. Got a little sniffly over that.

This is the part where I stop even pretending to engage in the real world and dive headfirst back into The Life of Pi. Later, gators!

After.

We mucked out the pantry yesterday. The trash can is full to the brim with dead food. Twenty year old canned fruit(?) with some or most of the canning liquid gone. Four jars of mystery meat. Two boxes of herb tea (that I brought into the marriage) bought when Fourthborn was in high school.

I was still working on getting the Mystery Spill up off the floor in there when I went to bed last night. I'll tackle it again tomorrow, but for today I'm really glad it's the Sabbath, and I can say, "Nope. Not gonna touch it."

The sister from church who borrowed my belt sander brought it back yesterday. I sent her home with the spare immersion blender and the can of paint stripper I did not need for the doll bed. I'm taking two candy molds to church today for another sister. Fourthborn took the Sunbeam hand mixer home with her. I'm keeping the Kitchenaid.

I had been dreading that pantry. And now it is nearly ready to receive the vinyl plank flooring, but that won't happen until later this year.

Fourthborn also took home three emptied rolling carts last night. There are five to go, but I am currently out of clear plastic shoeboxes. I will pick up another case of them later this week. The empty box will join its brother at Wes and Sarah's, for their move.

My fabric is preshrunk for the next quilt block. I would start it after breakfast, but this year we have 9:00am church. That will take some getting used to. I console myself with the fact that next year we will switch back, as the Spanish branch keeps the middle time slot. Always. Which is fine with me, because the only thing I like less than 9:00 church is that 11:00 or 11:30 slot. Just. Makes. Me. Twitch.

In knitting news, I am nearly done with the second back. I will probably finish it at church and get the shoulder seams bound off and a sleeve begun. I love working at dolly scale.

I started reading "The Life of Pi" again, night before last. Thus far it's going well. I don't know why I couldn't get into it before. And Downton Abbey starts again tonight, huzzah!

Friday, January 02, 2015

Good day at work.

I wrangled four attorneys today, although three of them were out of the office. Opened a case and got the answer filed. Organized some personal financial stuff. Stayed busy. Stayed awake. Stayed reasonably warm.

The 5K was an amazing experience. It won't be my last one. And I am trying a new flavor of yoga on Tuesday. (There will be no film at 11.)

Am nearly halfway up the second sweater back. Tomorrow's quilt block is done and waiting by the front door. I'm thinking an early bedtime is in order. Looking forward to a great workout tomorrow morning. And I have no idea what to put on the honey-do list. But I'm sure we'll think of something.

Night, y'all.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year!

I spent a good chunk of last night going through my yarn stash and subdividing it into 20 clear plastic shoeboxes. I'm not done. I need another case of boxes. What I don't use for yarn will get used productively elsewhere. Fourthborn will cheerfully take the empty three-drawer rolling carts off my hands as I get them emptied.

I am sitting here in bed with the remnants of breakfast, waiting to see if my first 5K is postponed. Freezing rain seems to be the order of the day. I have enough bits and bobs to stay warm if it is merely cold. I'm not exactly equipped to walk three miles in crossing-the-plains style.

And if the roads are unsafe to walk, I will also not be going to Secondborn's to help bind a quilt for BittyBubba. Which would be an even bigger disappointment.

I am loving the new relative degree of order in my kitchen. There's so much work left to do, but just getting the breakfast table cleared off and out the door to its new home has made the task seem less daunting.

I took a big bag of soft goods to Salvation Army on the way to work yesterday, along with a smaller bag of miscellaneous stuff. Did I mention that I found two pairs of slacks that I hadn't worn since Fort Worth, and they were too big?

In knitting news, I finished the front of the second Pukifee sweater last night. I've yet to cast on one of the backs. If I don't leave the house today, I could very well end up with a sweater pinned out on the ironing board before bedtime.

There was a nice stretch of nothing-to-do just before quitting time yesterday. I spent it in the back issues of Knitty. And I found a gorgeous hat to make for the young woman who's heading up to BYU-Idaho shortly. I will see if I can get that yarn wound this weekend and the hat begun. It would make a nice change from knitting at doll scale.

Time to check the weather again.