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!

Friday, April 29, 2016


Email exchanges throughout yesterday with my friend who owns the much-procrastinated quilt. A dash through Trader Joe's. 59-cent party tacos from Bueno, and several chapters in Clara Parkes' Knitlandia. I slept like a rock until a little after 3:00am, awoke with a vaguely unhappy stomach, sent down a toasted English muffin and a few sips of milk, and went right back to sleep.

Dreamed that Beloved and I were working on the house. I walked out into the garage, and he had cleared it entirely. Gleaming bare floor all the way to the garage door in front, and impeccably organized shelves. He was planning on a massive baking project, and he had needed something that was out in the garage.

Tonight I am planning to attend a BYU Management Society fireside with Brad Wilcox. But in order for that to happen, I need to get off the computer, put on my "know what I'm doing, I do" clothing, and scoot out the door.

I am hopeful that by the time I get to work, my bank will have fixed its technical issues, so I may double-check that my paycheck is in there and pay my tithing. Very frustrating to log on and be told that there was a problem with my log-on name and/or password. I even rebooted my computer. After the third try, I X'd out of the page and found their contact page, which had an OOPS, SORRY, WE'RE WORKING ON IT message.

Work. Yeah. I'm going, I'm going!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Who ate that week?

I finished the last small element of The Albatross tonight and have messaged its owner for feedback on how she'd prefer that I complete it. This is a king size quilt that I have been working on (or, mostly, not-working-on) for nearly a quarter of my life. All thirty-six blocks are done. But there's a spot along one edge where the backing doesn't quite meet the front, and I need to know if she wants me to patch the back or trim the quilt by half an inch all the way around.

I worked on it fairly steadily at first, interrupted by Secondborn’s wedding, then Firstborn’s, and then four of the eight CPCU courses, until late 2003, when Firstborn led me into Mary Kay. The children's father had been out of work for awhile (he was out of work for over a year, and thus we got no child support).

Selling makeup provided a faster source of income while also eating up huge chunks of time, during which I might otherwise have been finishing the quilt. And then LittleBit hit high school, and we were suddenly busier than I had been with four children still at home.

She graduated in 2008, I moved to Fort Worth a week later, and I rode the train to and from work in Dallas until Beloved came into my life. It's reasonably easy to knit on a train. Not so easy to lug a king size quilt onto the train and keep it from getting stepped on. It didn't help when I was called to be the RS president in my ward.

Every time I saw her quilt folded up and waiting patiently in my studio, both in Fort Worth and since I moved here, I reminded myself that I needed to finish it. At the first of this year, I found my thimble and the two spools of black quilting thread. I was dismayed to see that the blocks were only a little over halfway done. I've chipped away at them, some days only five or ten minutes, but something on it every day of the week but Sunday.

I cannot find the French bias binding that I carefully assembled and pressed, a decade and a half ago. I know that I didn't throw it away. But I cannot for the life of me remember which box or tub it might be in.

So I'll need to buy a yard of black patterned fabric and make more binding. My goal is to have the borders quilted and the quilt bound off and handed over before I leave to get Middlest. That gives me approximately a month and a half. I'm also returning the commission fee, with interest, because hello? For someone who used to be a quilting professional, not professional at all. I just checked her FB profile, and she's widowed, like me. This was supposed to be a non-surprise quilt for her husband, who was colorblind but could see these colors.

Oh bleep.

If you will all excuse me, I'm going to go beat myself up and go to bed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mostly calm and wonderful here.

With a side order of mild panic when I thought I'd lost the files I'd scanned after shredding the originals. So I did a test scan and found the folder. Whew! Also, sheesh!

Monday I dropped off the rectangular frame to have a mirror cut and glued in. Then I made a beeline for Guitar Center and spent the better part of an hour trying out their electric pianos. I found one I like and several that thrilled me not. I made notes in Evernote. I'm not ready to buy, but I am getting itchy.

I am on the home stretch with The Albatross. One more fiddly section, and then some fairly straightforward stuff, and I might be done before Labor Day. One can hope.

Yesterday I got to watch two of our attorneys in action. The downside is that between a long lunch and leaving two hours early on Monday, plus yesterday afternoon, I lost almost one full day of working time. When I got back to the office at a quarter to five, there were 65 emails waiting for me. So while I was sluicing off this morning, I was also praying like crazy, and Heaven came through as usual. Notwithstanding another hour lost for mandatory training in preparation for mandatory records management, I got the mail wrangled and my inbox whipped into shape.

Tomorrow is another long lunch, this one for Administrative Professionals Day. My guys are taking me to lunch somewhere, no idea where as of now. Last year it was the restaurant at Neiman Marcus.

I'm yawning. So I'll do the sensible thing and make myself a mango yogurt smoothie in lieu of a third chocolate chip cookie. And then I'll work on The Albatross for a bit, pick up the dropped stitches on my church knitting, and call it a night.

Monday, April 18, 2016

More from the Main Street Arts Festival

There was another artist who did amazing needle-felted landscapes inlaid into blocks or chunks of wood. My favorites were the ones felted onto weaving shuttles.

A man who does portraits composed of word collages. The print I liked best, of a couple reading together on a couch, surrounded by books, is not on the website.

A woman who reverse-paints on glass, just a riot of colors.

And one who had ceramic coasters, nightlight covers, and sculptures like piano keys, but Fourthborn reminded me that I have a plethora of coasters. Le sigh… Note: that gorgeous mural at the Park and Ride on I-30 just east of Belt Line? Her work.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Two from the Fab Four

I'm picking up Fourthborn after church, and we're heading to Firstborn's. Hilarity, and brownies will ensue. I told them, I don't want cake. I don't want cupcakes. I want cheesecake. Or brownies.

And next year I want a huge (inexpensive) party.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

And, briefly, he was there.

Fourthborn and I went to the Main Street Arts Festival in Fort Worth after working on the house today. I was leafing through prints in one booth when one knocked the breath out of me. Two cranes silhouetted against a full moon, over water, the moon’s reflection forming a heart.

I murmured to Fourthborn, “Aren’t cranes symbolic of eternal love?” And as she quietly replied, “Yes,” Beloved’s spirit was there. Tears welled up as I said, “He’s here.” Fourthborn gently scratched my back as the tenderness washed over me.

Foreverglades” by Lisa Loudermilk, an artist from Austin, TX

Yes, it followed me home. As did one similar to this, but smaller, in blues, and unframed (i.e., affordable).

I'll post links to the other artists I liked, some other time. It's 9:00pm, and I need a light dinner, and then I'm going to bed.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Busy. And maybe a little crazy.

Mostly terrific day at work. By the end of the day I had about had it with SemperFi, who was balking at a new bureaucratic procedure. If Bennigan's still existed in its old format, dinner would have been Death by Chocolate. But the one remaining Bennigan's within driving distance (assuming that it's still open since the last time I was in) has reinvented Death by Chocolate as an adult beverage, and that was not an option for Ms. Ravelled.

As it was, I lugged home everything I'd taken to work and went back out to look for a shelf/ish/like something to go between where the wainscoting will top out and where the mirror will go. World Market. No luck. Pier One. No luck. Hobby Lobby. No luck. By which time I was starving, so I fired up Waze and headed to Saltgrass Steakhouse for another of those delicious smothered sirloins. Mine was more medium than medium rare tonight, but it was still tasty and tender. I brought home half of it and more than half of my baked sweet potato for tomorrow's lunch.

And now I'm going to take my meds and set the timer for 15 to 20 minutes and stitch. I can't go to bed right away without risking a visit from the Indigestion Fairy, and I just got myself back into my usual good mood.

There are days when retirement is the loveliest goal in my future. Today was one of them. With a side of order of "let's hang all the lawyers." Tomorrow is just about guaranteed to be better. It's Friday. It's payday. There's a doll meet with Fourthborn at PieFive. And we'll make more progress on the house tomorrow night and Saturday.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


This is what the master bath has looked like (structurally, at least) since I moved in four years ago. The amount and category of clutter has varied from time to time.

The walls of the shower stall are some sort of paneling, and Beloved told me that he'd erred in not taking them farther down the wall when he put this in. As you can see, mold and who knows what are there and need to be gone.

The sink obviously needs to be replaced. Yesterday I bought a one-piece vanity top in a warm white, and a sidesplash to go along with it. They will hold an oil-rubbed bronze faucet and handles. The old vanity is sound, and will stay.

The little red shelf, toothbrush holder, and medicine cabinet will go. The dated and boring beige tile is also going. It will be replaced by beadboard paneling on that wall and on the window wall facing it, and will be painted creamy white to match the trim throughout the house. The large mirror that I got from Wes and Sarah when they moved, will go up on that wall, unless I decide to spring for the mirror-trimmed one at Pier One, as it is still available (on sale!!! which presumably means on closeout) at the Garland store and may come home with me tomorrow after work. I'll have to ponder that and take my swatches with me.

The new shower stall will include a new shower pan, a place to sit, no tile or grout, and improved grab rails. All part of my plan to age in place. And there will be a place to plug in my blow dryer for those rare times when I feel impressed to use it.

I also trekked to Fort Worth to buy the vessel sink for the upgrade to the guest loo, which will not happen until next year, when I get that tax refund and bonus.

I am using the same husband/wife handyman couple who did my friend Sandy's bathroom remodel. If I had known (A) what I wanted in a remodel and (B) how reasonable the change is going to be, I might have done this a couple of years ago. But Fourthborn and I have been having so much fun working on the house, and up to this point we've been able to do everything that needed to be done. If I'm as pleased with the work as I suspect I will be, I'll be having these two back to upgrade the guest loo and help us finish out the kitchen.

They will probably start in two weeks, and it should take about a week. So in a month or so, I will have more pictures for you.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Song of the sleep-deprived

I got less than six hours of sleep last night. My knitting was exciting, but not so much as to account for that. I got through this day by grit and prayer. It was not a bad day, and I accomplished a lot, and because I was able to help a friend who had been off for several days (by calendaring trial dates and a scheduling order), I stayed productively active for most of my workday.

I cancelled plans with a girlfriend for tonight. Picked up Bueno on the drive home, ate that, washed my hands, and worked on The Albatross for a little over an hour while doing a load of darks. Knitted a couple of rounds on the stealth project for Christmas. Listened to classical music. Finished another chapter in the library book on the seven basic plots. Updated my spreadsheets and transferred money from my checking account to my savings account to cover the tank of gas I put in the Tardis.

It is weird to look at my balance sheet and see that I have more money in savings that I have saved, personally, than at any time before.

I haven't heard back from the guy who upcycles furniture. I'll have to give him another call tomorrow, assuming that I still remember in the morning. I would really like to have that church pew gone on Saturday.

In other happy news, my mortgage payment on Monday was the new, lesser amount, reflecting the change in my escrow payment. I wasn't expecting that to happen until next month.

Going to bed now. Hoping for better sleep tonight.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Saturday is going to be wild

Taking the Tardis in for safety inspection, including fixing the hyperactive left turn signal. Bulb out in the left rear, for about a week now. Sounds as if someone had poured cappuccino into the carburetor. And fixing the brake light that's part of the camper shell. And checking the brakes (I've had a couple of hard stops in the past few weeks). And checking the alignment.

The first handyman will also be coming over to give me an estimate, once I get home from the mechanic's.

And I've put a call in to the guy from whom I bought the console table which serves as my computer desk, and the corner chair, because his ears perked up last fall when I asked if he might be interested in the church pew that used to live in my dining room. I hope to hear back from him in the next day or so.

Plus the usual laundry, and we're hoping that the weather will be perfect to start mucking out the garage so that we can move a few items out there preparatory to ripping up the carpet in the middle bedroom and laying down vinyl plank flooring.

And Fourthborn has one or two doors left to paint, but mostly we will be attempting to clear the decks to turn the middle bedroom into, well, a bedroom.

I've just finished another installment of The Albatross and am giving my hands a rest from that. Will knit a smidgen on a stealth project for Christmas, but mostly I want to work on Middlest's doll's sweater sleeve, now that I have more color options. I'd like to get a pattern started so I'll know which balls of yarn to throw into my knitting bag for Knit Night.

Made some progress on the shredding pile last night. And the Sunday sessions of General Conference were amazing. But the cherry on the top was a quick visit from some friends, because I had posted a chinstrap for a CPAP on the ward's RS Facebook page, and they thought it might work for the husband. More stuff productively re-homed, huzzah! And he shared a little story with me. I mentioned how thankful I was that they had been on Team Me from the moment they found out that Beloved was dating me, and the husband said that in his conversations with Beloved when they went fishing, it was only ever me.

So now I want to know when Beloved knew that he was in love with me and wanted to marry me, even if he didn't have enough medical information (i.e., a good-enough prognosis) for him to think it fair to ask me. It's not an answer that's crucial to my eternal salvation, but I am curious.

And on that happy note, I'm going to log off and go play with yarn.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Oh dudes and dudettes, I am such a tired Ms. Ravelled

General Conference was splendid. The music was perfect. The talks were perfect. I got some answers and/or spiritual nudges. I worked on the stealth Christmas project. And worked on the Fair Isle sweater for Middlest's Avery between and after the sessions.

Ran to the store in the evening for some fresh fruit. Also splurged on a copy of HGTV magazine, which was $3.98, fun, and probably won't be coming home with me again.

I've done some scanning and shredding today. I've eaten reasonably intelligently. I was so emotionally wrung-out after this morning's Conference session that I had to set the alarm and take a short nap. During which I was doing obscure things with maps. I don't know. It made sense during the dream.

My head kind of exploded this weekend. At first I thought it was the spinning oils, but after checking the pollen count I think it's more likely that all of the trees and grasses in North Texas are having their way with my sinuses. I was amused to realize that my nose more or less behaved itself during all four of the Conference sessions that I watched. And it's been relatively calm this evening.

The veil was very thin today. I'm OK, but I am tired. Night, y'all.