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!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ms. Ravelled makes a plan.

I checked a voicemail last night while we were out shopping. It was for someone who wanted to lower my credit card rate. I deleted the message. Middlest just looked at me. "Are you on the Do Not Call list?"

"Yes, for years and years."

"You can report them. They're breaking a Federal law. The FCC will go after them."

So I went online and verified that I'm on the list and have been since 2003. Then I went into my phone log and made a list of all the numbers that I don't recognize since November 9, 2015. I'm going to go back into my phone and add the date and time of all the calls. There are 47 numbers on my list, after I removed the duplicates. And I'm going to report them to the FCC. It is theoretically possible that I could receive $500 from each number, which would buy a whale of a lot of yarn or pay for two or three planned vacations or cover most of the cost of the next phase of renovations.

And you bet your bippy that I'm going to document and report every unwanted call that comes in from here on out.

In other news, we flaked on Knit Night tonight. Middlest did not sleep all night, but packed both of our lunches, a knitting bag, a backpack of personal electronics and possibly art supplies, and would have caught up the laundry had I not filled the dryer with a load of whites, which I strongly prefer to handle myself. Oh, and took out the trash. And caught maybe two or three five minute naps during the day while sitting in the atrium in my office building as I worked. When I took our lunch bags down at 1:00, I was greeted by a determinedly cheerful but bleary-eyed blessing.

We ended up putting a message on the Facebook group, picking up Fourthborn, and going to our favorite sit down Tex-Mex restaurant, where we ate ourselves stupid (as Beloved would say). I have tomorrow's lunch in a to go box. Good food, great company, much laughter, and a fun server.

Middlest is snoring gently in the middle bedroom. I have done all I can do with the spreadsheet tonight and have tossed the load of lights that Middlest started, into the dryer. It's time for my meds, and I'm hoping to be asleep within a minute of my head hitting the pillow.

Oh, before I forget, I got the mess straightened out regarding the CPAP supplies which did not come. Somebody fat-fingered the shipping address, and the mis-addressed shipments have been or will be credited back to the insurance company. New supplies are on the way. So relieved to know it was a clerical error and not an attempt at insurance fraud.

OK, this time I really mean it. (Anybody want a peanut?) Night, y'all.

A frogging we will go...

So I worked the moss green baby sock to the final decreases and weighed the yarn that was left. Only 13.9g, theoretically enough to work the second sock but a little too close for comfort.  I frogged the sock back to the end of the cuff and removed five rounds. (Note to self: that's 35 rounds this time, not 40, if we want the socks to match.) Thankfully, Jitterbug frogs well, so I let it rest overnight and reworked the heel flap. That gave me enough knitting for Sunday School and Relief Society, and I will probably finish it tonight, with plenty of time after dinner to work on the charity scarf.

I've been playing with numbers. Specifically, dancing my way through the IRS publications in anticipation of filing my 2016 tax return. I confirmed several days ago that while Middlest is too old to be my qualifying child I can still claim qualifying relative. This afternoon I confirmed that I will be able to file as head of household instead of gloriously single. I've set up a section of my spreadsheet to estimate what my refund might be under two scenarios. Scenarii?

But now I need to think about dinner, and I need to step away from the computer, and I want some interaction with my kid.

I think the dear departed are getting restless. I've been having family members pop up in my dreams of late, and I rarely dream about the people I love. I will just have to dedicate one evening this coming week for family history research.

Just goofing off today.

Got the oil changed on the Tardis, and a new air filter. Ran to Costco for a handful of things and ended up spending less on food than on gas. I call that a win! Then to Paper Source for a miniature book for Blessing, who has claimed all of my miniature books for her own, and party hats that will be verging on Lolita-scale for the big dolls, to-scale for the MSD's, and charmingly clownish on my tinies or on Chutzpah and Grace. There is a Trader Joe's across the street from the paper store, so I restocked the gingersnaps and chocolate covered ginger. Then I came home, ate half of a blueberry muffin, put the rest into the freezer for later, and took a nap.

Middlest slept through all of this and woke up about the time I went down for my nap. We have since had a nice chat, and I am trying to figure out what to do with the rest of this lovely, lazy day. Which I needed, because yesterday was hellacious. Not the work part, which went just fine, but the unannounced fire drill. For all the years I have worked in this building, we have had one every quarter, on a Wednesday, and because my mobility is intermittently impaired, I just have to go stand in the stairwell and wait to be let back in when the drill is over. Because this one was on a Friday, I slipped into my walking shoes, grabbed my purse and keys and cell phone, and gimped down seven flights of stairs. I was livid to get outside and discover it was just a drill.  My hips and knees were screaming. Thankfully, I had acetaminophen in my desk drawer, because I can't take ibuprofen with my new meds. I just wanted to curl up and sleep it off. Or cry.

The acetaminophen worked. Within an hour or two, my joints had hushed significantly. But my neck, shoulders, and traps were still whining. Since that was probably stifled anger, it took longer to go away.

Oh, and we failed the fire drill, because not everyone had cleared the building within five minutes.

When I got home, I dug out my floofy yoga mat (that I used maybe four times for the yin yoga class) and put it up on my bed, then lay down with my spine centered on it and chilled for several minutes. When I rolled off, my back was much happier.

I'm on the home stretch of the moss green baby sock. I nearly finished the gusset decreases while the Tardis got her oil changed. So that's definitely on my honey-do list for the rest of the day, and I want to work on the charity scarf as well. But I spent fifteen minutes browsing the Etsy shop where I bought the lovely specialty ribbons for doll clothing, wishing for both more time and more money. I saw a mug at Paper Source that perfectly expressed my philosophy: "I need a day between Saturday and Sunday."


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Yarn chicken, reprised.

Last week I finished the second sock and had this much yarn left. We knitters call that playing yarn chicken. As the end of the yarn approaches, you knit faster and faster, hoping to outwit your stash. In this case I cut things pretty close. Photo by Middlest, which is why I couldn't find it on my phone.

Because I like a good challenge, I'm playing yarn chicken again. I had a small ball of leftover Jitterbug in a dark mossy green. I wondered if there would be enough to make two socks, or only one and a half. So I weighed half a dozen finished baby socks. The heaviest weighed 14g. I have 30g of this yarn, and no color in my stash that plays nicely with it, so I couldn't cast on half of the stitches with this and half with another, as I've been doing for the past several pairs. I'm more than halfway up the cuff, and I'll weigh this sock when it's done. If I'm lucky, there will be a little over 16g left for making the second sock.

I am now within spitting distance of finishing that cuff. I may get that done tonight and start on the heel flap, or I may choose to go tweak things in my studio while dinner digests. I'm a little sleepy, maybe a little goofy (hush!), and it would probably be a good idea for me to move around gently for fifteen to twenty minutes. Not enough to keep me awake when I lie down in an hour or so, but enough to feel that I've accomplished something here at home tonight.

The charity knitting project is approaching completion. I will probably finish the scarf on Saturday, and tonight Middlest helped me to find a compatible yarn to make a hat, as the original yarn is apparently discontinued. One of the downsides to stashing yarn from a big box craft store.

Speaking of staying awake, when we got home from Knit Night on Tuesday, the city was tearing up the pavement where I would normally turn onto my street. They were still running the jackhammer at 10:00. So I turned on my white noise machine in thunderstorm mode and cranked up the volume significantly. (It still wasn't as noisy as the fan Middlest has going in the middle bedroom, so I wasn't being a rude mom.) I think we were both asleep shortly after hitting our respective pillows. I know I was.

And if I don't get moving right now, I will be sleeping here in my computer chair, accomplishing nothing but a sore neck.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's been a week already?

Sorry, y'all. Our evenings seem to be taken up by grocery shopping, picking up Rx's, a whole lot of driving, some of it in driving rain (pun intended), leaving little time to sit at the computer and blog.

This week we have a dental appointment for Middlest followed by a re-check of the new contacts. I spent an hour or so today sorting through the stuff that had piled up on the footstool by my desk, and then clearing all manner of stuff off said desk.

I'm starting to feel like myself with the Lexapro. Middlest, who has been on one sort or another prescription since middle school, says it takes about three weeks to find out if a new medicine is effective, or if something else needs to be tried. In my case, I could not be more pleased. My emotions are still there, and my speed of thought is almost what I'm used to. I just don't feel frazzled.

The nightly, low-dose muscle relaxer is doing its part. I'm now aware of when I'm tensing up, and I can consciously choose to stretch and relax, or flex, or whatever needs to be done. A serendipitous benefit is that it no longer hurts to rise from a sitting position, or to descend into a seated position on, say, a standard height commode. I've been using the handicapped loo whenever possible, both for the grab rail, and because there is less whining from my knees and hips. I noticed today while rising to lead the music in sacrament meeting, that my joints were not grumbling. Those choir seats are not designed for aging bodies, because my hips rest lower than my knees, even if I take my shoes off, which mostly I do.

Barefoot, but distinctly non-pregnant.

Thursday night after work I had driven over to Arlington and picked up Fourthborn, because we had planned to go to the doll meetup at the pizza restaurant; however, I drove home in a deluge that was nearly as intense as the frightening one when we were driving along the Great Lakes in June. By the time I got home, I was tired and anxious, and the Tardis had wet brakes and squeaky belts. So we did a Plan B dinner at home. No way was I going back out in that. I took her home last night, after we all had worked a bit more in the studio.

Middlest graciously stayed home, instead of accompanying me as usual, because I needed some alone time. And I got just enough of it.

Yesterday I picked up the red scarf that I started months and months ago from the red bulky acrylic yarn that Wes and Sarah gave me for my birthday a couple of years ago. Our stake is working with a local synagogue to provide hats and scarves for the homeless. I already had half of a scarf, and yesterday I reached almost the 3/4 mark. I will finish it this week and block it, then see if I have enough to knit a hat, or if I will need to buy more yarn.

Had an interesting experience with overwhelm yesterday while we were working on the studio. We got nearly another quarter of the floor cleared, and a shelf emptied and reorganized, and one of the "Mom needs to wrangle this" piles reduced by half. I thought it was my overwhelm, and it crept into my room, but it turns out that the majority of it was contained in one storage tub full of stuff a friend had given me when she was decluttering (in the days when I had not yet learned to say "no, thank you"). There was some seriously crabby juju in there, but I got everything sorted, and there's a nice pile by the door that will go to the thrift store on my way to work one day this week, and my house feels clear and safe again. Middlest was able to take a few items, and we sent more home with Fourthborn, and I kept the felt and one pillowcase charmingly stamped with little houses.

I got a nap after church, and I am blessed and happy, and I am sleepy again. So I am going to turn on the white noise machine, say my prayers, and call it a day.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Fun and games. No, really.

Last Friday we had a quarterly team building activity that was side-splitting fun. Beforehand, we had to answer eight questions and tell the organizers our favorite song and the name of the artist. When we assembled in the large conference room, we found ourselves playing the Office Spouse Newlywed Game. One person sat with his back to the screen. Three others faced the screen, and as the first person asked a question, had to reply convincingly as if it were his or her own answer. The questioner had to figure out which of the three was the source of the answers.

A surprising number of my coworkers, when asked "What did you want to be when you were small?" replied, "Big." One of the women responded, "Big. And now I want to be little again." SemperFi's answers had us doubled over. I thought the managing attorney was going to bust a gusset, as my mom would say.

So here are the questions, followed by my answers, followed by my song.
  1. What is your biggest fear? Heights.
  2. What makes you laugh the most? My kids and grandkids.
  3. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? Create (knit, draw, write, etc.)
  4. What did you want to be when you were small? A mommy.
  5. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Grilled salmon, glazed carrots, red beans & rice, Caesar salad.
  6. If you had a warning label, what would yours say? I have sharp, poky sticks and I know how to use them.
  7. What was your first job? Sorting lima beans on a conveyor belt at Birds-Eye during the summer.
  8. If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which one would it be? Mama bear.
And my song? This.

It's been a really good, productive day, but I'll share that another time. Night, y'all.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

And a muscle relaxer.

It's been a long day for Middlest and me. I had my quarterly diabetes check this morning, and before heading there we stopped at the community college so Middlest could find out why there was a sudden glitch in plans to register for fall. I circled the parking lot until I absolutely had to leave. Middlest's phone is a WiFi phone. I was unable to connect via text, so I sent a message via FB saying that I had to scoot and would be back.

I missed my kid by probably less than a minute. Made it to the doctor's office with minutes to spare, to find a series of FB responses indicating panic attack. Messaged back that I would return as soon as possible, which I did. Drove back to Arlington so Middlest could get fitted for contacts. Knitted. We did a lot of (helpful) talking on the way to Arlington and back again.

There was time to kill before picking up Fourthborn for Knit Night, so we went to the bookstore, where I found two ridiculously expensive magazines that spoke to my artist heart. Middlest was looking like I felt, so I paid for the magazines, and we headed back home, making our excuses to Fourthborn and to the knitting group. No spoons.

We beat the rush hour home. I think Middlest fell asleep almost immediately. I set the alarm for my usual bedtime so I would take my meds on time, and I slept for two and a half hours.

Since then, I've had a tuna fish sandwich, some gingersnaps, a little buttermilk, my meds, and a couple of bites of chocolate covered ginger. I've washed a load of laundry and will pull it out of the dryer in the morning. I've emptied and filled the dishwasher, which is whispering to itself in the kitchen. (If ever a machine purred, it would be my dishwasher. I chose well when I bought that one a few weeks or months after Beloved passed.)

OK, back to my health. Doctor was pleased to see that I've lost five pounds since I went in for the infection that was beginning on my toe, which has since healed nicely. I was astounded. I was pleased to tell her that the Lexapro seems to be working nicely. I'm thinking more slowly than usual, as marked by my times on electronic Sudoku, but I'm thinking clearly. Except for the part yesterday where I got distracted while listening to a friend as I was slicing a banana onto my cereal at work, and I sliced at least half of it right into the trash. As my friend Trish remarked, ten second rule definitely did not apply there!

Since coming back from vacation at my sister's, even though I'm feeling less snappish, the habitual muscular tension in my neck, traps, and upper back has been marked. I can feeeeeel my muscles tensing when I'm at my desk. And this morning, when I was driving to the doctor's office, I felt a twinge on my right sitter, under the bone, about (I think) where the sciatic nerve ties in. So I inquired about muscle relaxers, and my doctor nodded, grinned, and e-faxed the Rx to my pharmacy. I've just taken my first dose, along with the regular lot, and I've read the possible side effects and interactions.

It would be nice to wake up some morning feeling completely relaxed instead of merely less-tense.  It was interesting to talk with my sister and find out that she has always carried her stress in her neck and shoulders, too. My doctor is not one to over-prescribe, and she knows how much I dislike taking pills. I've tried yoga. My toes are too badly broken for it to be at all useful to me, even with major modifications. (The best part of yoga for me is lying on my back with my legs run up the wall and my arms extended to either side, breathing quietly.)

I'm fed up with being stiff and sore, knowing that it is more emotionally-based than age-related. I'm hoping that modern pharmaceuticals will give my body enough of a rest that my spirit can take over and help Heaven to bring about a healthier balance.

For the moment? Gonna go knit. Trusting the universe to keep the plates spinning while I try to wind down enough to go back to sleep.

Life is (still) good.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Comparing notes

One of the quiet pleasures of the trip to visit my sister was asking her questions about random things and finding out that her experiences have been similar to mine.

Me: Can I ask a weird kinda personal question?
Sis: OK?
Me: How come your eyebrows are neat and orderly, and mine have turned into old man eyebrows?
Sis: Because mine have almost completely disappeared, and I draw them on.
Me: Oh.

In the past five or six years, my over-plucked eyebrows have gone feral on me. Every so often I pull out the white ones, and sometimes even the dark ones have grown to an inch or more in length. Sleeping with a CPAP tends to ruffle them up every whichway, and mostly I try to ignore them, but eventually I reach a point where Something Must Be Done. I suspect that the time will come when my eyebrows, like my ankles, will have five hairs apiece.

Shoulders. My sister recently had a second surgery to repair a macular tear, and as part of the recovery she had to spend 75% of her time face down, and then 50%. The first time, they rented a special chair that kept her in the right position. This time, they did not, and she had to support herself in the face-down position, causing tremendous strain on her neck and shoulders. I remarked that I carry most of my tension in my neck and shoulders, and she said she did as well. It was one of those "you, too?" moments. She had to take muscle relaxers briefly.

I wonder if I should as well. Thursday was my first day back at work, and by the end of the day I knew why Atlas shrugged. My neck, shoulders, and upper back were stiff as a board. It was not quite so bad when I went home yesterday, but even after almost nine hours of sleep I am not relaxed.

The Lexapro seems to be working. I don't feel as snappish, and it doesn't seem to interfere with feeling happiness or joy.

Middlest is off on adventure today with Squishy and Mel. They have gone to a doll convention in Austin. I'm waiting on a call or text from Firstborn to let me know when to meet her and Fourthborn at the quilt shop to pick up our penultimate blocks in this series.

The kids did a yeoman job of tackling the chaos in my studio. The actual moving-of-stuff took longer than they had expected, because there was so much overwhelm (mine) in the room. I am going to try to deal with the "Mom needs to look at this" pile on one shelf today. It's not huge, but it is messy.

The doll socks are done, blocked, and on Sarabelle. They fit her perfectly. Middlest is pleased. So am I.

I'm going to knit a little, and then I'll work on The Albatross for awhile.