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!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Again with the dead people.

I finished the email that I'd started last night and got midway through another, taking breaks to hang Christmas ornaments. I think we put another 82 on the tree, and the only ones that are left are the really tiny ones, some of which I'm probably going to plunk into the two large glass footed bowls that are waiting on the dining room table.

My Secret Santa did not run off to Club Med after all. When I got out of the eternal staff meeting, there was a bag on my bed, and it contained a wee sock monkey. I had all sorts of ideas for a dolly photo shoot but got waylaid by the need to eat (Middlest is on day 5 or 6 of the current migraine and hadn't eaten since about 1:00am) and the blessed dead people and my desire to finish decorating the tree so that we would have a clear field for staging the dolls and various props.

So, maybe tomorrow night after I come home from the Social Security seminar that I'm attending after work?

Right now my body is screaming for sleep, and I've burned through dinner, and I need to take my evening meds. Someone forgot to set the alarm last night, and I woke up fifteen minutes before I normally try to leave the house, which made for a mad scramble, and I've been a little off all day. I'm hoping that a full night's sleep will put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cleaned out another email of record hints

Middlest did two loads of laundry today, notwithstanding a migraine. I polished off the last load after dinner.

Work went well. We have the monthly staff meeting tomorrow morning, and I'm not particularly looking forward to it. My body has adjusted fairly well to the diuretic, but I'm still back and forth to the loo in the mornings. I will need to sit near the door. I'm hoping that this meeting doesn't run for two hours.

On my way home from work, I bought Christmas ornaments for the grands on my side of the family. (When I have a relationship with those on the Beloved side of the family, they will get presents as well. But since I'm persona non grata with one of the twins and have an intermittent but increasingly cordial relationship with the other twin, and since neither of the twins knows how to write a simple thank you note, I don't feel obligated. I'm not an ATM machine.)

While updating the mortgage information on my spreadsheet, I clicked on the "check your FICOS score" button and was astounded to learn that I now have excellent credit. This was not the case when I refinanced the house three years ago. As I build history with my credit card, I expect that the score will creep higher over the next three years.

Middlest has been snoozing quietly since I got home tonight. I hope to be emulating that good example shortly.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hung out with the dead people again tonight.

Finished the name that I paused on last night and have begun linking records to names in the subsequent email.

Had a warm response from the wife of a fourth cousin once removed. They live in Nashville. We are discussing a drive-by hugging when Middlest and I head to Tennessee next spring to pick up the rest of the stuff.

Emptied out the bag into which I had popped my sister's Christmas presents and discovered a book that I had browsed and bought on Halloween when Middlest and I fled to the bookstore instead of handing out candy to the thundering herd. Sorted through what was mostly junk mail, retrieved the bits that were important, chunked a fat handful into the bag by the front door where we temporarily stow the outbound recycling, and a thinner handful on top of the shredder. I've retrieved a roll of wrapping paper from my studio. The gifts may or may not get wrapped tonight. Right now I'm sitting down and resting my feet.

I schlepped all of the Secret Santa gifts to work today and managed to deliver one while the recipient was at lunch. I also wrote notes to the sisters on my VT letter route and got them mailed out with three handouts apiece, plus information about the Christmas program on the 18th and the sacrament-only meeting on Christmas Day. And I remembered to report to my VT supervisor.

We church folk are nothing if not a orderly bunch of busy bees.

I am fighting sleep. I didn't pack quite enough protein for lunch today, but I managed to keep moving and productive. The secretary who was out for roughly ten days was back at work today, and it was a pleasure to show her how little remained for her to do. I got all of my To Do's worked, answered a flobbity-jillion emails, and generally kept all of the plates spinning. It was wonderful to get in the Tardis at the end of the day, fire up my Eva Cassidy station on Pandora, and head for home.

Middlest has another migraine and is snoozing already.

I should be doing a spot of laundry, and it's just going to have to wait until tomorrow. We are abstaining from Knit Night until after the first of the year, because of the traffic around the malls, plural.

That's all I've got for you tonight. Sleep tight, and don't let the bedbugs bite. (Hard to believe that there's a resurgence of those little bozos.)

Yes, the dead people kept me up again.

I did get a two hour nap after church and the delightful monthly visit with the couple who are my home teacher and visiting teacher. Went to my inbox to cull out the fluff and decided to start working on the emails with hints from Ancestry. Cleared all the names in two emails and was able to delete those. Decided it might be more effective to drop to the bottom of the list (older emails) and get rid of them before I was overwhelmed with fresh hints due to the ones I worked tonight. Discovered three new cousins (via AncestryDNA) and sent each of them an email with "here's how we are related".

Middlest delighted me yesterday morning (I can't believe it's Monday already, and yes, I'm going to bed shortly) by announcing a desire to attend church with me, followed by the caveat that I was not to get my hopes up that this would happen every week. Message received. And I'm so proud of my kid for overcoming a hovering migraine and major social anxiety to hang out with a bunch of benevolent strangers for three hours and even volunteer to read a scriptural passage in Sunday School.

Doesn't get much better than that.

Over and out.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

So the new piano is plugged in.

The kids moved the new end tables in as well. One is in Middlest's room, and the other is in my closet, topped with the small blond bookcase, and spiffing up my room considerably. Yes, I'll get you some pictures. No, it's not happening tonight.

I've safely delivered Fourthborn to her home. Middlest stayed here and tried to sleep off a migraine. I picked up contact cases for Middlest, another pint of half and half to make a second batch of potato leek soup, and two cases of water.

We didn't make any more progress in getting the small tree decorated, and I haven't knit a stitch all weekend. My bed is still piled high with all the stuff I hauled up off the floor and out of the bookcase so we could move the end table in there. I've found new, logical places for a few things, but basically when I go into my room in a few minutes, I will make new piles on the bedroom floor and worry about it over the next few days. Or weeks.

Still, it's been a great weekend so far, and I'm looking forward to church tomorrow. I'm physically and mentally tired, although peaceful and happy. And maybe allergic to something I've eaten, but that just might be the diuretic arguing with my ankles. I'm going to do some discreet slathering with a vitamin E cream, take my meds, and call it a day.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Oye with the poodles.

Fourthborn and I watched all six hours of the Gilmore Girls marathon while Middlest mostly slept.

I found two clear plastic containers into which I could decant the cake/cupcake stand from my wedding reception and get it out of the house. Along with the larger Christmas tree, they are massively in the way, because we haven't actually opened the door to the garage and schlepped them.

I've hung two items on the dining room wall and temporarily shoved the armchairs which normally occupy the head and foot of the table to either side of the piano so that we have clear access on both sides to the small Christmas tree, which is set up on the table in front of the window, just as it was last year and the year before. The tree is skirted and partially decorated, which we did between episodes of Gilmore Girls.

The house smells like potato leek soup, because we have been eating cookies and milk, or pumpkin pie with the last of the squirt whipping cream, or hummus and crackers, all day long and wanted some real food. It also smells like Scentsy, because I've had the small burner going in my room most of the day.

I'm girding myself to go back into the kitchen and put the last of the soup into pint jars for my lunches next week, then feed the dishwasher and oh holy cow, I'm half an hour late for my evening meds. Be right back.

Except the Oh Look Shiny kicked in, and I went out to the kitchen and fed the dishwasher. And then I got my meds and discovered that the only bottled water left was out in the car. So I put on my shoes (but not my bra, because it's dark-thirty out there) and schlepped a couple of bags out to the recycling bin. They've been breeding like tribbles by the front door.

Unlocked the car on my side, only to discover that the bottles were under the jump seat on the passenger side, so I clicked again and walked around the Tardis. Grabbed the partial case of water, and the bottom of the wrap died, and two bottles made a break for it. I found one at the side of the driveway. Came back in and took out the rest of the recycling. (Sorry, tribbles.)

Got in the car and drove it as far forward as I could without hitting the garage door. No bottle. Just a vague gleam in the gutter across the street. So I crossed the street and sure enough, it was my runaway bottle. I showed it who was boss: brought it into the house, set it down on my desk, and carefully took the cap off. This batch of bottles has been consistently more full than the usual lot, and Middlest and I have frequently ended up with wet shirts or laps while wrestling with them.

So it's after 11:00, and I'm waiting for the muscle relaxer to kick in so I can maybe get some sleep. I'm a little wired from six hours of Gilmore Girls and virtual coffee. But I'd call it a successful day. I may have set foot outside of the house, but I haven't gotten out of my pajamas.

Take that, Black Friday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hemming and (yee)hawing.

I just finished hemming the first pair of Middlest's new slacks. It's a task I don't mind doing if there's no hurry. Pin baste. Try on. Thread baste. Try on. Now with the other shoes, please. No, I insist. I want to see how they hang in taller shoes. Yes, you're right, they do need to be a quarter of an inch longer. Pull the basting threads. Re-pin. Thread baste again. Press the hemlines so they're nice and crisp. Turn the slacks inside out and pin baste two inches from the new hemlines. Trim off the excess. Pull the basting threads. Fold the raw edge to meet the pressed line. Pin baste. Fill a bobbin. Thread the sewing machine. Stitch the first hem. And the second. Press the creases with a nice burst of steam. Unplug the iron. Hand the slacks off to a pleased and grateful Middlest. Ta-daaa!

Just enough fiddliness to be satisfying. An evening well spent.

We are going to Firstborn's tomorrow for Thanksgiving dinner. I picked up the makings for my sweet potato and mandarin orange casserole. I'll do that tomorrow. I also picked up a 10" pumpkin pie for Middlest and Fourthborn and me to share.

The big rolling chair that has been hulking in a corner of my studio, works very well as a sewing chair. Especially after I hiked the seat up a good six inches. Because I am not twelve feet tall, and it's hard to sew when the sewing surface on my machine is about eye-level.

I slept so well last night. Hoping for more of the same tonight.

Happy almost-Thanksgiving, y'all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

In which Middlest sleeps, but Mom does not.

I went to bed as soon as decently possible last night. And woke up at least twice. Once around three, when I wandered out and played three hands of solitaire. Again just before five, and I was more or less able to go back to sleep. At some point I had thrashed all of the covers off and sent them slithering to the floor. Bed 1, Ms. Ravelled 0. To say that I was something of a Momsicle would be an understatement. I'm only glad that it didn't happen night before last, when it got down to 40F outside.

I am stiff, and a little sore. You would think I helped moved a piano last night. Oh, wait. I did. It's still not plugged in or screwed together, and frankly scallop I don't give a clam. My body has been screaming for sleep all day.

Tomorrow we get to wear jeans and T-shirts and sneakers to work. I'm kinda wishing that I still owned my "Baroque: when you are out of Monet" shirt, but I gave it away (to skinnier people) after Katrina.

I just realized that I didn't bring in the trash can after work. Not happening before morning.

Middlest was asleep when I left the house this morning, and sleeping when I came home by way of Trader Joe's. I was a little envious until said child woke up and told me (I promise I did not go in there banging pot lids together) that there'd been a long stretch of being vertical and conscious that corresponded with regular people's hours.

Friends, if you were looking for wit and wisdom tonight, you might want to look elsewhere. I'm going to take my meds and my heavy eyes and my crabby knee and mosey on off to bed. My heart is happy and grateful. The rest of me says PHBBBBT!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Yes, we have a piano! We have a piano todayyyyy!

Picture to follow as soon as practicable. It's set up (sortof) in the dining room, but somebody needs to screw the keyboard and the stand together again. Neither of us has the spoons to manage that tonight. Middlest saw a lot of keyboards like this while working at a resale shop in Virginia and says that this is no rinky-dink keyboard, but a real electric piano. It's a little worn, which pleases me. My knit-sib sent a sheaf of piano books home with me, so I will have an orderly way to teach myself how to play.

I also have two gorgeous new-to-me end tables, one of which is likely to end up in Middlest's room, and the other in my studio(?). Pleasantly worn, and more than a little quirky. Right now they are still in the back of the Tardis, because no spoons.

We went to Target and found two nice pairs of dress slacks for Middlest, and a V-neck pullover. Plus a surge protector for the piano, because my friend had owned it for twelve years, and their kids (now grown) were still kids, and the "on" button is permanently on. And two Kind bars, because it was nearly 9:00, and big gut was chewing on little gut. We hit In N Out on the way home, for burgers only, and I just ate a sliver of pumpkin pie.

I am going to take my meds and play a couple of games of solitaire while dinner settles. Hoping to be in bed and unconscious before midnight. Am thinking that Knit Night is fast becoming a dim possibility this week.

Night, y'all.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Need feedback, please

If you are reading this from somewhere in the EU, can you see a notice which Google says they've put on my blog?

The following three paragraphs have popped up on the nuts-and-bolts page of my blog:

"European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent.

"As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to explain Google's use of certain Blogger and Google cookies, including use of Google Analytics and AdSense cookies.

"You [Ms.Ravelled] are responsible for confirming this notice actually works for your blog, and that it displays. If you employ other cookies, for example by adding third party features, this notice may not work for you. Learn more about this notice and your responsibilities."

While rooting around, I discovered that somebody in France (or several somebodies) has/have accumulated 2109 pageviews. Merci beaucoups! How on earth did you / y'all find me?

In other news, when I wake up tomorrow morning I will PayPal $50 to a friend in my local knitting group. After work I will drive to her house and bring home a full-sized keyboard with weighted keys. Once Middlest and I have set it up, I will proceed to hang any number of pictures and quilts on that wall.

In preparation for this, I bent the Sabbath slightly. A couple of weeks ago I pulled the bins which hold my considerable stash of wrapping paper out from under the table in front of my dining room window. Those bins are now stacked neatly in a corner of my studio. Before church, I shoved eight of the thirteen boxes of food storage that were lined up against a dining room wall, under that table. After church I moved a rolling cart a few feet north in my studio, and I stacked the other five boxes where the cart had been. I've moved the basin sink (which I devoutly hope will be installed next year) into my studio, atop a stack of storage tubs, and an impressive pile of fabric for doll clothes is sitting inside it.

Except for a small box of makeup and the disassembled large Christmas tree, that wall is now bare. It should be easy to bring the keyboard in and set it up. Another hour or so of work, and the dining room / conservatory will be usable as such.

The age of miracles is not past.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

New doll

Joy arrived at work on Wednesday. I had fun dressing her at lunch, after switching her human feet out for sheepie hooves. Here she is with the stapler, which she appears to be trying to heft one-handed while appealing for help.

This is a close-up, showing both her elfie ears and her sheepie ears. And the leggings with tiny bells.

Here she is at home, having ousted Middlest's doll October from the papa-san chair and relieved Chutzpah of her bear. (Grace is still hanging out half-dressed in the studio, waiting for me to finish her dress.)

I awoke today with every intention of finishing Grace's dress, or at least creating the lace which will finish off the hem of the collar. I got as far as shuffling things around in my studio, liberating the large rolling chair to use at my sewing machine, and determining that #30 crochet cotton is not fine enough to make lace in the proper scale for a Pukifee dress.

I bought groceries, and I picked up what I need for my Secret Santa gifts. Also a piece of sheep folk art and some blindingly white #80 crochet cotton. And nuked a sweet potato, which I split with Middlest for the main part of our dinner. And discovered after slicing up the goodies to go in our salad, that both the baby spinach and the mixed greens were no longer edible. So, two of the weirder salads I've made, ever.

It's nearly 10:00. Just enough time for me to clear off my bed, take my meds, and dive under the covers. The house has been a comfortable 68-69 degrees all day. I suspect I'll sleep like a rock.

Friday, November 18, 2016

In which your intrepid heroine signs up for a Medicare seminar

My HMO provider recently sent me a flyer on their Medicare Advantage options. I turn 65 next spring (I know, right?), and I understand pretty well how insurance works, and I am going to have to create a spreadsheet to investigate my options and keep them straight. I will just state for the record that my HMO provider's Advantage options do not seem all that advantageous to me. I now understand why so many elderly folks have to choose between food and medicine.

I'm reasonably sure that once I retire, I will not need the Lexapro and muscle relaxer. The diuretic is most likely a temporary thing, and the Metformin will be with me until I rejoin Beloved in the sweet bye and bye. But if I were to take all four of them from now until I kick the bucket, we are looking at $360 to $600 a year just for insurance premiums and somewhere between $4,000 and $5,500 for total out of pocket.

Which only confirms the wisdom of my paying off the mortgage early, so that I will be able to live on my pension, my 401K, and my Social Security. And suggests that I might want to keep working beyond my currently estimated retirement date of eight years from now.

We shall see. Meanwhile I have signed up for a free insurance seminar that allegedly explains the benefits and disadvantages among 20 different companies in an entertaining fashion.

In knitting news, I put a few rounds on the current baby sock while waiting for Grandparents and Special Friends Day to start at the bitties' school. And Firstborn brought me back three lovely balls of wool from her recent business trip to Germany. Achtung, baby!

Secondborn's TV has been re-homed to Fourthborn, as the stand wouldn't fit on the table which Middlest uses. It's still a win/win in everybody's book, as Middlest's TV is very nice, just smaller.

Trying to hit three kids' classrooms today was more complicated than toggling between two kids' rooms in the past. BittyBit is a 6th grader and comes up to my shoulder. BittyBubba is a 4th grader and is catching up fast. Bittiest is a 1st grader. The first two made the honor choir and will be singing in Philadelphia in March. I'm hoping that finances and workload cooperate so that I may tag along to the city of brotherly love. And Fresh Prince. (Don't be silly.)

I had a big old nap when we got home from Fort Worth, spent a couple of hours mucking out my inbox, and am going to sew a little. My muscle relaxer is kicking in, so I don't know how productive I will be, but I'm definitely in the mood to stitch, and if I do some of that tonight, it's far more likely that I will finish Grace's dress tomorrow and she can come out and play.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Doll should be here tomorrow!

She left Denver last night and is en route. Apparently there's a bug ~ malware ~ on the USPS tracking site, because my dragon with the boiling oil and the moat says I can't go there.

I managed to add two rows to the shawl.

I did not touch the baby sock.

While I got ready for work this morning, Middlest assembled three lunches and three dinners. I still have some of my food left.

Enjoyed about an hour of Knit Night before Middlest and Fourthborn were done [signs "finished"].

One of Middlest's critical Rx's is out. I called the pharmacy last week, and it requires authorization. I called again this morning (left a voicemail) and didn't hear back. So I've emailed the pharmacy, and Middlest's wonderful doctor, and my office manager. I may be doing a whole lot of running around tomorrow morning, but Middlest cannot miss a second dose of this medicine. I don't know if it was filled and has been stolen (heading to my card's website to check) or if wires got crossed between the pharmacy and our doctor.

I'm not heading into work at the usual time tomorrow, so I'm not setting my alarm. And I'm taking my meds, playing one game of solitaire while they kick in, and going to bed. Perchance to dream.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Oh dear. I should be in bed.

I just looked at the time. I'm about to turn into a pumpkin.

Exciting news: my little sheepie girl is on-shipment. The package was picked up from Denver Doll this afternoon. I wasn't expecting her for another three months!

Knit did not happen today. But I did make a pot of potato leek soup for tomorrow's lunch or dinner. Fourthborn is still here (yay! and she and Middlest got to hang out with Squishy and Mel today) and will go home after Knit Night tomorrow.

I signed up for next year's health plan. My basic premium has gone up $50 a month, and I'm taking the maximum amount possible out for my healthcare flex spending account. Which means that until my raise kicks in, we are back to the amount of take-home I had before I paid off the line of credit. Middlest and I have started brainstorming about ways to economize, and the three of us figured out what to do about lunch and dinner tomorrow. Hence the leek and potato soup.

Bueno will not be getting a lot, or maybe any, of my business for the next four or five months. I'm hoping for a good raise and a generous bonus and a decent tax refund.

I'm not worried. I've lived on far less and thought myself well-off. But we're going to have to start menu planning and not simply flying by the seat of our pants. (Which will probably be a blessing, but still...)

Way past time to take my meds and go to bed. I'm so excited about the doll that it might be difficult to fall asleep.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Not much to report here.

Fourthborn is spending the weekend with us, and we've invited her to stay through tomorrow night and to go to the office with me on Tuesday, as Middlest does, and hang out in the atrium while I slave over a hot keyboard. After which we'll go to Knit Night and take her home.

It's been a rough week, with welcome intermittent bright spots. We three are stunned-to-appalled that the election went the way it did. I have hope that good people, some moderate and some conservative, will be appointed to the Supreme Court. I am reluctantly appreciative that the POTUS-elect is emulating Presidents Kennedy and Hoover in abstaining from his salary. That is the first classy move I've seen from a man I've cordially despised for decades.

(When the Church does a complimentary search of his genealogy, I will probably discover that he is some sort of cousin. I'm related to most of the former presidents, righteous or rascal. But we all have family connections that are a little unnerving or downright embarrassing. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that I am related to some of the Missouri mobbers in Joseph Smith's day. I had family in that part of Missouri at that time. And I would imagine they were surprised to get on the other side and discover that they'd fought against a true prophet of God. But I digress.)

I am wryly amused at the folks who said that a vote for a third-party candidate would be a vote for Hillary. I was hoping against hpe for enough of a turnout among the independents that it would go to the House, and maybe they would pull a moderate out of the hat. (The day of miracles is not past.) I didn't care which party.

I am concerned about some of the hate speech voiced by his more obnoxious followers. Especially for those who asked on Tumblr "what are we going to name the Mormon holocaust?" Dudes! Do you not realize that we are the designated drivers for conservatism, and for those among us who are impassioned liberals, of the stamp that is not so open-minded that their brains have fallen out? I am concerned that the loonies on both ends of the political spectrum will see this election as an opportunity to drive the last nails into the coffin of civility.

Given that at least two of my kids, and I, take medicines to keep our personal demons muzzled, I have to wonder if we fall under the umbrella of "those who would be better off dead": the mentally ill, the gay, the members of religious minorities.

So my reading and pondering for Sunday School this week has been a lifeline to peace and sanity. We reviewed 3 Nephi 27-30 and 4 Nephi, which were the scriptures that began my testimony and conversion. I love the Lord's promise of peace, not as the world giveth, but peace nonetheless. And His promise to protect us, or avenge us, as need be.

I guess I had something to say after all.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Doll meet last night, followed by doll ordering. I waited too long on the PukiPuki Ante, and someone had bought her. So I ordered the Pukifee Zoe full package with a faceup on the sleeping face, two dome caps for Middlest's dolls, a killer pair of boots for Celeste, and two pairs of shoes for Middlest's boys.

Today I woke up at dark-thirty, ate a quick breakfast, cut the pieces for our quilt blocks, and sewed while Middlest pressed. We had sandwiches then drove to the quilt shop to pick up the next blocks. From there to a new yarn shop which is on my way home from work (this could be a problem). I bought matching skeins for my sister and I, to go with the matching books I picked up after her birthday last month. Then we hit Bueno for dinner and came home.

I had just kicked off my shoes and was preparing to lose the bra when I got a text message from the pharmacy. On with the shoes, out the door, picked up the Rx, drove to Braum's for more milk, buttermilk, and orange juice. Then to Hobby Lobby, where I found a simple and relatively inexpensive frame for the other print I bought at Main Street Arts Festival in April. Headed for home, then looked at the gas gauge and pulled into Racetrac.

I am home, Middlest is sleeping, Fourthborn is three-fourths of the way through the second Magnus Chase book, and I am setting the alarm for 10:00 and taking a nap. After I pay the light bill, which is what I came to the computer to do in the first place.

Oh. Look. Shiny.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

All righty then.

Spent some time cooking with Middlest tonight. Browned a pound of ground beef. Added a package of sliced mushrooms and half of a red onion. Tossed in a pinch of granulated garlic, some black sesame seeds, some dried parsley, a bit of Mrs. Dash. When the meat was brown, we tossed in maybe a cup of sun-dried tomatoes and a (drained) can of black beans. Just about perfect. I'd made a pot of brown rice last Saturday, so we served the jollop over rice, had a few bites, and decided it needed a dollop or two of sour cream.


I've been staying with the hydration today. There's very little swelling in my left ankle, and hardly any redness.

For dessert, Middlest and I pored over the FairyLand and Denver Doll websites. We have an order cobbled together, and I'll call the store tomorrow while the attorneys are in their monthly meeting, or maybe when SemperFi is at lunch so I can go into his office and close the door. I'm going to do a three-month layaway: 25% down, and 25% each month until it's paid for. Which means that three dolls, a wig, two silicone dome caps (which fit between the head and the wig, to keep dark wigs from discoloring a doll's head), two pairs of boots, and two pairs of shoes will all hit Chez Ravelled at approximately the same time. Or more accurately, hit my office and then come home to Chez Ravelled if they arrive while we are en route to Tennessee to get the rest of Middlest's stuff.

Time to take my meds and call it a day, if I can resist the call of the current novel.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Princess and the P

Quarterly bloodwork yesterday, and when my doctor asked how my feet were doing, I said my feet were doing fine but my ankles not so much. In spite of all the sleeping last weekend, the left cankle has remained more cankle-y than usual. I pulled up both pant legs, displaying bright red bands of crabbiness and significant swelling on the left. She pushed gently with her thumbs (it didn't hurt), looked up and said we should try a diuretic.

"Bumex?" I queried, as that was what my mother was on at one time.

"Bumex is way stronger than you need. You'd pee like a racehorse. No, this is a mild diuretic. We'll try it fora month and see how that goes."

I have to take it in the morning or risk waking up all night to the call of nature. Took my first dose at 11:11 yesterday morning. Middlest observed, "It's the magic hour. Make a wish."

"I wish the swelling in my ankles would go away."

"No, Mom, that's what the medicine's for."

I took my second dose at 6:00 this morning, and I weighed myself when I got to work. I'd already lost 3-4 pounds since weighing in at my doctor's yesterday. I spent much of yesterday sprinting to the loo, or holding it and praying like made the last few miles before we reached whatever destination. (I did two round trips to Arlington yesterday.) The kids are used to me hitting the loo before we leave the house and as soon as we get home, but yesterday it was like every 45 minutes to an hour. Today has been easier on my shoes and my kidneys. I am now lugging a case of bottled water in the space behind the driver's seat, and I've drunk well over half a gallon today alone.

Time to grab my bottle of water, take my evening meds, and hope that I've wound down enough to sleep before 11:00. Middlest and I watched "Secondhand Lions" tonight, which helped us both immensely. I am not ready to talk about the election yet.

Monday, November 07, 2016


No, not personally. Just angry that in this country, moms and their little ones go hungry. (I'm not happy when men go hungry, either, but frequently they have more options to solve their problems.) There was a dear young woman outside the grocery store tonight with a sign. Two babies. I didn't have cash to give her (and I'm almost never prompted to give cash, anyway). She was still there when I came out with my groceries, so I loaded up my truck, moved it a little closer to the store because of the rain, and went back to where she stood, hoping that she spoke English.

She did. I told her that I didn't have cash to help with her rent, but I could buy food. What did she need? Bread. Juice boxes. Back I went. Two loaves of honey wheat, wishing I could give her my Dave's Killer Bread but knowing that her little ones probably wouldn't like it. The big box of Capri Sun, since that's what she said her kids like. A couple of those fruit cups with fruit juice instead of syrup. Flour tortillas. Corn tortillas. She'd said she didn't have a stove. So peanut butter, hoping her kids weren't allergic.

Other people had been cleaning out their wallets of small bills and change. A man had bought baby food and was getting ready to walk away when I put my bags down at her feet. I told her, I've been there. I raised five kids. The man looked at me, put his hand respectfully on my shoulder, and said something kind. I looked him in the eye and told him, Nobody goes hungry on my watch.

I'm not sharing this so that you think I am some sort of angel. If you've been a reader for very long, you'll know that I am a feisty middle-aged (how many more years am I going to be able to get away calling myself that?) woman who has risen by the grace of Heaven out of a third-world life. Poverty makes me want to braid whips and kick over tables. I cannot save the world. (They already have a Savior.) But I can give my widow's mite here or there, not for praise or glory but so that when the mortgage is paid off and I'm rebuilding my savings, I will be minded to use my surplus to help others rise.

I only wish that I hadn't been so crabby because my sister needed to beg for help, that I forgot to remind her to trust God, to follow Him, and He would lead her, a little at a time, out of her present struggles.

Just as he's done for me.

Sunday, November 06, 2016


This morning I caught up on my KnoWhy's at Book of Mormon Central. I have used a spreadsheet to keep myself on track with the Sunday School lessons and Relief Society lessons. Somebody wonderful created the Book of Mormon Central website, and it has deepened and enriched my understanding this year. I hope there is a corresponding one for next year, when we study the Doctrine and Covenants + church history.

I also added pages to my spreadsheet for 2017, 2018, and 2019. The completed lessons for 2016 are color-coded to match my entries this year on my financial spreadsheets and on the spreadsheet I use for conducting music in sacrament meeting. Yes, I'm a geek. And an artist. And I need to keep both aspects happy. Color-coded spreadsheets serve me well.

In listening to this week's chapters from 3 Nephi while driving to work, I was impressed that I need to follow the Savior's counsel to the Nephites and make time now or very soon to read Isaiah, in addition to everything else I'm reading and doing. There is a new book available from Deseret Book that I may add to the several already on my bookshelf (and maybe get all the way through).

I've noticed that since Beloved's death, my desire to deepen my understanding and discipleship has grown, while my ability to focus on serious matters for any useful length of time is somewhat iffy. Hence the spreadsheets. There are times when even reading light fiction is difficult because Oh Look Shiny. I have been blessed beyond measure for the manner in which the study spreadsheet has kept me more on track than at any time since the early months of my conversation, when as a college student I gradually dropped one class after another and majored in Institute (for at least one semester) while working part time. I was starved for gospel knowledge, and I feasted and drank deeply.

I love my job, and the people with whom I work. I look forward to Monday mornings (especially when I've had a reverent, restful Sabbath). And during a particularly dull segment of a mandatory meeting on Friday, I made notes of all the things I would like to be working on here at home, and how best to accomplish them. Naturally, I got distracted and left that list at work, but it's waiting for me when I get back to the office tomorrow morning.

At church today we had testimonies, and one of the grand old brethren in our ward bore his, specifically about how he had correlated the six segments of General Conference with the six months between sessions. One month to study the addresses from the General Women's Session, another for the Saturday morning session, etc. I could hardly wait to get home and add a column for that to my spreadsheet. (Because we know what is paved with good intentions.) My November issue of the Ensign arrived earlier this week, so I will spend some time with it before bedtime. I had a four hour nap this afternoon, with a vile dream that woke me, so reading Conference talks will be a good preventative for more of the same when I'm finally ready to go back to sleep.

Saturday, November 05, 2016


Continuing with the critter theme, I present the wildlife du jour. This is the smaller of two prints which I bought at Main Street Arts Festival in April. I ordered the frame from Jerry's Artarama, because my beloved Hobby Lobby told me they couldn't get me a frame less than five inches wide. Jerry's had no problem delivering just what I wanted: a basic black frame that wouldn't overpower the print. I bought this print specifically to hang in this space, between the alcove in the dining room and the entrance to the hall that's near the door to my studio.

The next piece to be framed will be the cranes silhouetted against a full moon. Might be awhile, though. I need to finish clearing the bits from the medallion quilt out of the dining room and get that set up in my studio, get the Christmas tree out of the dining room (which will probably not happen until we set it up the day after Thanksgiving) and figure out what to do with the half-dozen boxes of food storage that are stacked against one wall.

Just had a flash of inspiration about the wrapping paper. If I mount a narrow basket (or two) on the inside of the door to the big IKEA wardrobe in my studio, and attach curtain rods or towel bars a couple of feet above them, I could get rid of the rolling tub and the red and green bin. Be right back. I need to go see how that is set up.

OK. Have created a new folder in Evernote and have put the door width and the height of the shelf from the bottom of the wardrobe. Have determined that the pre-fab Elfa solution is more than I want to pay, but at least it gives me a starting point. Will let this marinate until a frugal alternative makes itself known to me.

Muscle relaxer is kicking in. Night, y'all.

Friday, November 04, 2016


This is what I sent my sister for her birthday. The flamingos are a reference to a long-running joke that she had with our Aunt Meb. These flamingos are paper clips. The chocolates are from an artisan shop west of downtown Dallas. I made the button bracelet I-don't-know-how-many years ago. And bought myself a copy of that book when I bought hers.

This has been a stellar day. I was one of the winners of an enterprise-wide contest and was startled to see my name at the top of a list of 30 winners. (So far as I know, 15 minutes of fame is the sole reward. Made the office manager and managing attorney very pleased, at any rate.)

Late in the afternoon, a complicated case (with our answer due Monday morning) was assigned to SemperFi. Our valiant admin got it mostly entered into the system and will finish that task on Monday. Another coworker got our team linked to it so I could generate documents. I was quite happy to stay late to file the answer after SemperFi went over it. I got 28 minutes of OT, which will come in quite handy, as I've found a doll I want. Two, actually. I think I've mentioned the one with the wee mandolin. There's another, a mini-me of Chutzpah, and there's a Leia-bun wig available for that size.

I finished the first volume in Riordan's Norse trilogy about half an hour ago. I'm torn between starting the second book or finishing the gusset decreases on the current baby sock. My primary goal is to stay awake until 9:00, take my meds an hour early, and crash. I've been up until 11:30 for the past four nights, and I'm feeling it. Planning a deliberately quiet day tomorrow, punctuated with a dash over to the airport to visit with a friend who has a substantial layover. And then back into jammies I go.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Chicken nuggets of sorrow and regret.

We were taking Fourthborn home from the performance at Bitty-Bit's school. And I said something or did something that caused Middlest to say, "I'm going to throw something at you. Chicken nuggets. That's what popped into my mind to throw at you."

Fourthborn queried, "Chicken nuggets of victory?"

And Middlest replied in a mock-somber voice, "No, chicken nuggets of sorrow and regret."


A couple of minutes later, out of nowhere Middlest said, "So when I heard the Cubs won the World Series, the first thing I did was check Snopes (insert uproarious laughter from Fourthborn and me here). And the second thing was make sure it wasn't an Onion article that got reported as real news. Because that happens sometimes."


In other news, I adulted today. Our wonderful dentist is paid in full for all three of us. I told myself sternly that I couldn't order another doll or put one on layaway until that was taken care of. I've fired off an email to Denver Doll, and now I am going to bed.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

A calculating woman.

What have I done tonight, you ask? I have played with spreadsheets and numbers and receipts and the like. Tomorrow I will pay off the dentist for this year, for Middlest and Fourthborn and me. I've also figured out what to do about the flex account for next year. In two words: max it. It will effectively negate the cash-flow improvements I've made over the past two months, at least until the reimbursements start flowing back in. I'm hoping for a good raise next year, because next year I will also have to start paying Medicare premiums. I'm not worried. We will make it OK; it's just going to be tighter than either of us would like. And it will ease significantly in 2018.

After work I'll head to the Bitties' school, as Bitty-Bit has something or other going on, and I want to see it. This is not the annual grandparents' day (otherwise known as, isn't our school great, and don't you want to give us all of your retirement money?) but a play or a concert. It will be fun.

Speaking of fun: The Piano Guys' mashup of Pachelbel's Canon with U2's With or Without You.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

So, I looked at Squishy's doll.

He's cute, and he's not for me. I spent five minutes or more wrangling a pair of slightly too small britches over his thighs. The waistband kept getting caught in his mobility joints*, then at his bum, and the whole process was Not Fun. Dolls are supposed to be fun. I peeled him out of the britches and swaddled him up again and put him in his box. Somebody will love him.

*Some dolls are cast with mobility joints. Every doll company that uses mobility joints, designs them differently. Picture a string that circles a thigh. Now picture a horizontal plane bisects that thigh where the string is, so you have two circles that touch, or a ball in a socket, and you can rotate the lower leg in or out. Squishy's guy has one like that. My unicorn girl, Faith, has a different type which enables me to balance her in various positions when she's wearing her hooved legs. Temperance has one in her trunk which enables her to sit up straight, slouch forward, or lean back. She doesn't sit well, so I need all the help I can get.

It's been a good day. I got a new answer ready for SemperFi and another one for The Kid. I picked up two new-to-me skirts from a friend in the ward, and an ethnic-embroidered shirt and a really cool knitted vest. Also one of my Rx's. And a box of padded envelopes because six or twelve of them were one price, and 25 of them were a dollar more. And bananas and apples and tomatoes.

I found out tonight that the Ante sculpt (Chutzpah) is available in an even smaller (PukiPuki) size. I knew she was available in LittleFee size (like Hope and Charity), and Middlest informed me that from time to time she is available in MiniFee size (like Steadfast). She has one of the sweetest faces around, no matter her size. And the tiniest size has a wig with Princes Leia buns, which would be perfect for someone who grew up into Chutzpah's exuberant mop.

I need to get the mortgage paid off so that my doll budget can increase without impacting my quality of life, or my desire to help lift the downtrodden and frazzled (because I have been both).

Bed. I am going to bed now. Or soon. Ish.