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!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday, blessed Friday.

Work went well. And I'm glad to be home. Productive day, followed by safe trip home (fueled by zydeco), a blitz through Bueno with Middlest, and a trip to Costco while Middlest finished up the laundry. The food is put away. We've polished off the last of the individual pizzas from the previous Costco trip, which made room in the freezer for a new batch. The Tardis is tanked.

Brain wants to stay up and play with spreadsheets. Body says nope nope NOPE. Phone is going into the charger, Ms. Ravelled is hitting the sack, and September is one for the books. Whatever that means.

Tomorrow is two sessions of General Conference, with a trip to the quilt shop in between, and maybe a quick drive-by hugging of a friend from the doll community whose father unexpectedly passed. Unless I decide to watch the Priesthood session of Conference, which became available to all six months ago. I've always been quite content to wait for the addresses to come out in the Ensign. The children's father used to say that that session was largely devoted to "brethren, don't be nincompoops."

G'night, y'all.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Diversity and the corporate mind.

The company I work for is big on diversity and inclusion, both in theory and in practice. In the past, I have been part of our office's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, responsible for quarterly activities to increase the appreciation and respect we have for one another. These are a couple of the posters sent out from corporate for the past quarter or so. (There are more, but these are the two I like best.)


As one of the brighter crayons in the box, both in terms of brainpower and force of personality, I rather like that poster. (Less so on the days when I feel not-particularly-sharp or downright dull, but that's why I take Lexapro, right?) I have a quibble or two with the next one. They get full points for choosing my favorite shade of yellow. And it's a nice sentiment. However, you'll notice that all of the pencils are yellow. The only difference is that one is doing yoga. If they really wanted to make a point [har, har], each pencil would be a different color and one would be standing on its head. The message I get from this poster is, it's OK to be a little different. Just don't be too different. Because that would be weird. And would make the rest of us uncomfortable. We still want you to be a well-behaved cog in the corporate machine. Squeaky wheels may get the grease, but cogs that don't mesh well with the other cogs might just be replaced.


Which is not to say that I don't feel appreciated and accepted at work, because I do. You just won't see me being fully myself between the hours of 8:30 and 5:00. Because I am one of the brighter crayons in the box, and I have short-term and long-term goals which require a dependable flow of income until I am safely dead, or retired.

In other news, the Eternal Pink Baby Sock is finished, even to the weaving-in of ends. And I have made it this far into the work week with the new timekeeping system without making fiscally fatal errors or throwing my monitor out SemperFi's window.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

In which your intrepid heroine learns a thing or two.

When I got home tonight, Middlest was sleeping, so I tiptoed into my room and started putting things away. A few minutes later, I heard some fairly vigorous nose-blowing (the pollen count has been high lately) and assumed that my kid was awake. So I stood at the open doorway and said, "Good evening!" which elicited a startled GAAAAHHHH!

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. Middlest told me the other night about the time when both ankles were broken and the medical advice was can't fix that; stay off your feet, which was not conducive to eating or keeping a roof overhead. So Middlest wrapped both ankles (gently) each night and put on socks to prevent the bandages from coming undone, only to wake up in the morning to neatly rolled bandages and socks halfway across the room. Middlest was sleeping on the couch during that time, and BFF/roomie actually witnessed the whole thing: Middlest yanking off the socks and flinging them, then methodically unwrapping each ankle, rolling and securing the bandages, and putting them on the end table, all without waking up.

Middlest lived with two autistic people for the better part of ten years and is still adjusting to living with a more neurotypical person, i.e., me. [I can't say that I'm completely neurotypical, since I'm on my third month of anxiety medicine and second month of muscle relaxer. The silver lining in this is, I could actually buy that sign I saw before heading East to pick up Middlest, the one that said Your crazy is showing. Might want to tuck that back in. Because it would not be exclusively pointing a finger at Middlest. Or Fourthborn.] But I digress.

The former living situation required profuse apologies, lengthy explanations, etc. I'm more of an OK, you've apologized, and I can tell that you mean it, and can we please be done with this because (A) I want to get back to my reading or (B) I need to count stitches or (C) I want to take my meds and go to bed. Middlest is working on shorter apologies. I am working on communicating clearly and politely that I respect Middlest's need to apologize, I've heard the real or perceived transgression, I appreciate the apology, I believe the apology, and this is taking longer than I'm comfortable with, in fact I'm starting to feel anxious and really really want to change the subject. And maybe eat half a box of chocolate covered ginger.

Thankfully, I know where all the Trader Joe's are, within fifteen miles of home.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I've been framed!

Well, not me, exactly. The custom frame which I ordered for the butterfly print I bought at Main Street Arts Festival this spring arrived in today's mail, and it is perfect, notwithstanding that once the package arrived in Mesquite, TX, it was handed over to USPS for final delivery.

I am not happy with the USPS at present. I contacted them last week because the new, pre-printed certified mail green cards are not trackable on the customer-facing tracking page of their website, although they are trackable in-house. I spoke with a most excellent customer service representative after being on hold for a minimum of half an hour, and I have a reference number. The following day, I got a "how was our service?" email, which I let sit in my inbox at work over the weekend. Yesterday I had time to respond, and I did screen-captures of the questionnaire and my responses and saved them to a Word document. I emphasized that Ms. CS Rep was stellar, everything one could wish: concerned, appalled, diligent. But that no one from USPS has called or emailed to follow through on my complaint, and the tracking application wasn't working when I replied to their survey. I have a reference number, and if the technical issue isn't fixed tomorrow, I may very well give them another call.

Re: other technical issues? The timecard/time off website at work, was functioning properly today. I got the rest of my requested and approved time off entered into the system, as well as my time worked for today.

Middlest and I went to have the potholes filled today. Our dentist is a lovely man, warm, gentle, and kind. As well as a good listener, and a superb technician. He navigates Fourthborn's neuroses, and Middlest's, and my own. I wasn't aware until today that I had any, at least in terms of dentistry, but I kept trying to fold my shoulders up and around my mouth. At one point, with my jaw up on blocks, I managed to garble, "Good thing I'm taking anti-anxiety meds!" and we all cracked up.

Afterward, we picked up Fourthborn (who had no cavities) for ice cream sundaes in lieu of Knit Night. None of us had the spoons to deal with people. We took her back home, came back here, and I'd guess that Middlest was asleep within the hour. I've been piddling around on Facebook but finally gathered up all the bubble wrap and bagged it, then moved the empty box over by the front door to go out with next Tuesday's recycling. I need to clear some paperwork off my bed, and in theory I'd like to sew or knit, but I think I'll just stick my nose in the October Ensign for awhile, take my meds, and call it a night.

Tomorrow I'll go to Hobby Lobby and see if they'll cut me the glass for my frame. And maybe find a frame for the other print, cranes against a full moon and reflected over the water.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Every whit.

That word jumped out at me when I was listening to 3 Nephi 8:1 last week in preparation for yesterday's Gospel Doctrine lesson. I made a mental note to look it up as soon as possible, then promptly forgot it. Because: middle-aged, and many plates spinning madly.

 Dictionary.com says: “n. a particle; bit; jot (used especially in negative phrases): not a whit better.” And says that the origin is Middle English, somewhere between 1470 and 1480A.D.

The British Dictionary definition is “n. (usually used with a negative) the smallest particle; iota; jot: he has changed not a whit. And says that the origin is 15th Century: probably variant of wight: a human being, or a supernatural being, as a witch or sprite, any living being, a creature; this meaning going back to Old English, before 900A.D.

“smallest particle,” 12c., in na whit “no amount,” from Old English nan wiht, from wiht “amount,” originally “person, human being”

It's a word that shows up in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 13:16; 1 Samuel 3:18), the New Testament (John 7:23, 13:30; 2 Corinthians 11:5), the Book of Mormon (Helaman 11:19; Alma 34:14, 42:25, 3 Nephi 1:20, 1:25, 8:1; 4 Nephi 4:19), and the Doctrine and Covenants (33:4), and the Pearl of Great Price (JST, John 13:10). That's a lot of presence for something that's barely there.

We started the new timekeeping system at work today. I was able to log on just long enough to enter the time off request for tomorrow, when Middlest and I are getting three fillings between us. I tried many times throughout the day, in between other tasks, and was only able to log on shortly before quitting time. I got my hours worked and my lunch break entered, and a couple more pre-approved times I'll be out of the office. I hope to get the rest of them entered tomorrow. Apparently there was a wide swath in the middle of the country that had problems accessing the system.

Technology is wonderful, except when it's not.

Middlest got to spend a few hours with Mel and Squishy today but ran out of spoons and came home early, staying up until I got home in order to pass on hugs and love. My poor beleaguered kid is snoring softly in the middle bedroom. I am sitting here, typing away in between bites of cornbread, which is all that I really wanted for dinner. Well, maybe an apple for dessert.

Normally on Tuesdays, Middlest goes to work with me and hangs out in the atrium of my office building with a backpack full of games, art supplies, knitting, or whatever. We discussed it via text and decided that the best thing for tomorrow is for my kid to stay here until the last possible minute, and I'll leave work earlier than originally planned, race home and pick up Middlest, then scoot over to the dentist. Knit Night is almost certainly out, so we'll just grab Fourthborn and get ice cream cones, drop her off, and come home after the worst of rush hour is over.

Time to put away the leftovers, wash any traces of butter off my hands, and decide whether I'd rather sew or knit. It would be fun to finish the evening with a completed dress for Gracie. Pretty sure she's tired of being bald and half-naked (which is an improvement over much of the past week, when she was bald and totally naked on my sewing table, while Blessing clucked over her disapprovingly.

Haven't found a pair of Marian-the-Librarian glasses for Blessing yet, but I've found a cute pair for Celeste. Both of them are such bookworms that they really need decent specs. Besides, who could be afraid of a near-sighted vampire who faints at the sight of blood? (No, she doesn't sparkle. Don't be silly.)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A metaphorical house-cleaning.

Weird dream this morning, in which I was back visiting the house in Irving. It was owned or inhabited by my parents, and Mom had just bought a sleek new minivan that was parked on the wrong side of the road, partway into the ditch, with no gas. Firstborn was the age she is now but needed to use the car to go to early morning seminary and then high school, because her career track required that she have certain classes that she didn't take in college. So, my old house, but Mom's kitchen about where my bedroom would be, and I was looking for a snack and unable to find it. I was also slightly in trouble because I had eaten up the last of something.

After I awoke and went out to forage in the kitchen, I realized that the children's father was nowhere in that house. Yesterday would have been our 39th anniversary, and I felt absolutely no neurosis, depression, nostalgia, angst, whatever. Yesterday was just a day for resting up after the excitement and exhaustion of Wednesday-into-Thursday. The swelling is mostly gone from my left ankle, and the inflammation is what is normal for me, judging by the color.

There are probably other layers to that dream, but I'd rather talk about the dream I had during my nap yesterday morning (after eight and a half hours of sleep). Middlest and I were in a large auditorium, quite near the stage, and one of the members of the First Presidency walked onto the stage, then made his way over to me and shook my hand. I asked if he would have time to meet with Middlest and discuss some points of doctrine that are currently a struggle for my child, and he said that he would try to do so. Shortly after which Middlest and I got separated, and I spent the rest of that dream walking halls and corridors trying to find my kid.

My take-away from that is that the Savior is quite aware of my concerns, and Middlest's. I wept in that dream, great tears of relief and comfort, and awoke dry-eyed.

I wonder if that good brother dreamed that he was in Texas, talking to Middlest and me?

When I went to bed Friday night, I determined that yesterday was going to be a day of rest (which it was, in spades) and finishing small projects. I completed the second doll sock for my little Hope. They remain to be washed and blocked, but I am pleased with them. I also tried them on Temperance and have guesstimated how much wider around and how much longer they need to be to fit her slightly stockier frame. Iplehouse dolls, from the bitties to the adults, are very solidly built. When I briefly owned a Jessica, I could barely span her waist with both hands, and at nearly 2kg, could not lift her without pain. They make some of the most beautiful sculpts on the market, and sell some of the most beautiful clothing for their dolls, but mostly they just inspire wistful sighs on my part.

I also sewed the snaps on the two bloomers that I made earlier in the week and picked out fabric for dresses and aprons for Chutzpah and Grace. Grace's nether bits are now properly and cutely covered, but she's shirtless and bald on my sewing table.

I realized yesterday that the lovely yarns my sister gave me for Christmas, which have stumped me for nearly a year, will go well with my newest skirt (which arrived on Friday), and I went to Ravelry and found a pattern that I like: the Geology Shawl by Verybusymonkey. It has multiple sections and several stitch patterns, and I think I'm going to work it in alternate colors, because I don't think I have quite enough of the darker yarn to work the whole thing.

My line of credit is paid off. And I am hungry again, so heading back to the kitchen for a substantial breakfast. I miss the days when I could fast, but I've been praying for what our bishop asked us to fast for, and I've been trying to listen for inspiration.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stone is out of the kidney.

When I got home from work today, Middlest reported that while there is residual tenderness in the kidney, the pain has moved forward and down, into the groin area. We're hoping that it passes in the next 24 hours.

In other good news, I was able to take PSF (paid family leave) for yesterday instead of having to burn a day of vacation.

In fun but not particularly important news, the teal skirt that I ordered earlier this week arrived today, and it is gorgeous, and at least one of my turquoise shirts goes perfectly with it (I can't lay hands on the other one), and there are multiple pairs of earrings that will go, and I have tons of teal Gloss Lace to make a cowl or a shawl or maybe even a loosely knitted jacket. Plus quite a bit of yarn that was originally cut for warp, 25+ years ago and still in good condition. I foresee all sorts of crazy knitting fun.

Did I mention that I finished the first beige doll sock while we were at the ER?  I'm midway through the calf decreases on the second one, and I may get those completed before bedtime, but I'm not holding my breath.

Taking it easy this weekend, because I took a spill in the parking lot at the grocery store tonight. Nothing injured but my dignity. I was pulling a cart out, stepped funny against the curb and wobbled, steadied myself with the cart, cart said nuh-unh! and flipped on its side, and since I hadn't let go of the cart, I went down slowly and softly, in stages, landing squarely on the backs of my thighs. A nice gentleman helped me up. A nice store employee ran up to check on me. I righted my cart, did my shopping, came home by way of KFC, and Middlest has wrapped my ankle as a precaution. I tore a bit of my thumbnail on the handle of the cart, but I wasn't dumb enough to try to break my fall with my hands, so my thumb's a little tender but my wrist is undamaged.

I will probably be a little stiff in the morning. And I plan to do nothing more strenuous than knitting or sewing. I've studied the Sunday School lesson and read the Relief Society lesson once through. So more of that tomorrow, while I sit up in bed and make the needles fly.

Night, y'all. I'm going to check out Book of Mormon Central, take my meds, and hit the sack.

Edited to add: I read this to Middlest, who said that as long as "a little stiff" doesn't mean that I'm dead, that's perfectly fine.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

And it shall come to pass

One of my favorite phrases from the Book of Mormon. But in this case it refers to Middlest's kidney stone, mercifully a small one, and with no accompanying infection. When I got home from work last night, we hopped into the Tardis, armed with enough healthy snack food and bottles of water for a small siege, because we were going to the county hospital's ER on the advice of Middlest's wonderful new doctor.

Have I mentioned how impressed I am with him? And with the pharmacy he suggested we try?

I was hoping that we would be done with intake, treatment, and discharge by breakfast time this morning, and I was not far off. We were discharged a little after 2:30, made our way to their pharmacy on the other side of the building, only to discover that the medicine was exorbitantly expensive. The woman at that front desk suggested we go back to ER and ask to speak with a social worker to get a coupon. Security by that door wouldn't let us back in and sent us to the security dude at the other end of that lobby, who called the social worker, who called back, who told Middlest sorry, no discount.

I could see frustration and the beginnings of panic in my kid's eyes, because one of the medicines is a pain reliever, and the other is designed to open up that impossibly tiny channel and make it easier (and less painful) to expel the stone. I gave the second security dude my frustrated mom who is remembering her manners smile, and we walked back to the other security desk. One of the security officers graciously escorted us back through the ER waiting room to the exit. And I do mean graciously. She was warm and kind and just what we needed after roughly eight hours all told.

Once we got outside, I told Middlest, do not worry about the prescriptions. I am not going to work tomorrow (meaning this morning), and after I get a few hours of sleep, I will take the Rx's up to the nice pharmacy we've been using, and I'm pretty sure they can do the job for less.

So after about four hours of sleep on my part and three on Middlest's, we were both awake at the same time and drove up to Wylie and actually got to meet the lovely man I've been speaking to for the past week and a half. He asked if the prices that were hand-written on each Rx were what Parkland had been going to charge us, and I confirmed that they were. He filled both of them for about $10 less than the cheaper one would have cost us.

On the way home, we ran by the doctor's office so he could copy the medical records we took home, and then we both crashed. I don't know how long Middlest slept, but I got another four solid hours before waking a little before afternoon rush hour. Middlest was still asleep. I played on FB and on my phone until traffic was down to a manageable level, hopped in the Tardis, and hit Costco and Trader Joe's before running out of spoons.

The perishables are stowed, and Middlest will wrangle the rest of it (there isn't much) during the next waking period. I have killed the cottage cheese and am ready to take my meds and call it a night. The swelling and inflammation in my left ankle are much reduced, and the itching from Monday night's mosquito bites has ceased. I feel utterly weary and incredibly blessed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Spit happens.

So I got bitten by the skeeters last night. Quite a bit, actually. By bedtime, the bites on my hands and arms had calmed down. By morning, I couldn't tell that they had ever happened.

Not so with my ankles, however. I posted a picture on FB of my poor cankle, red as a first degree sunburn and itching like fury. I got lots of advice: dryer sheets (don't have any); hand sanitizer (have some, somewhere); and spit.

Spit? Well I knew it worked for blood. Old quilter's trick: your spit has the power to unlock your own bloodstains, and I've found through experience that it will even work on dried blood. It's useless on anybody else's blood. Note: it even works on menstrual blood, if you've been surprised while wearing your favorite pair of skivvies. You might get dehydrated while working up enough spit, but spit spit spit, rub the spit into the bloodstain(s), then rinse in cold water and launder immediately.

I am here to tell you that spit has another magical property, because I tried it, and it worked. Took me a couple of minutes to make enough spit to go around both ankles (right one wasn't as bad as the left), but the itching has stopped. It's been more than an hour, and zip zilch nada. Of course, my ankles probably smell faintly of gingerbread, as I had just finished eating some triple ginger cookies.

I know, I know, TMI.

Middlest, clever child, has created an avatar for one of the many computer games now in residence. It resembles me as closely as pixels will allow. My weapon is a giant paintbrush, and I have some fairly impressive moves, and my secret power is "boundless intelligence" or something like unto that. Middlest was in the middle of a battle when I wrote that and couldn't look it up for me, but has since verified.

I took a short video, but my phone is tucked in for the night, which is what I hope to be shortly.

We had the monthly checkup with Middlest's doctor this morning, decided to move the appointments to Thursdays, because fasting for bloodwork + hanging out in my lobby till I get off work + Knit Night + getting home late is a bit much to ask of my kid, who recently had a two week migraine and is not sleeping well at all. We decided to bag Knit Night. I took Middlest home, went to work and dragged most of the day but still managed to get the necessary stuff done. I came straight home and made smoothies for dinner and folded the whites and am Done.

But thankfully, no longer itchy. I was trying to figure out how to rig a tent over my legs so nothing would touch my ankles while I slept.

I'm working on the ankles of the first heathered beige doll sock for Hope. Theoretically, I would like to finish the ankle and maybe the sock this evening, but I'm knackered, so my intelligence and I are gong to bound to the boudoir and collapse, after carefully removing the knitting needles from my bed.

Monday, September 19, 2016

All because two people fell in love

This is one of my favorite Brad Paisley songs. I grin and maybe cry a little every time it comes up in rotation on my Pandora.



And this is one of my favorite memories: fishing with Beloved, about six weeks before he proposed.


That would be a seven inch striped bass. Not big enough to keep. But bigger than the one he had to throw back! I am sneaking up on the fifth anniversary of the night that he proposed. This picture popped up on my FB feed today.

I lifted this picture of us from Secondborn's FB page. He was visibly melting away, but still so full of life. She took this the day that his eldest and beloved were sealed in the Dallas Temple.


I am just in a sentimental mood tonight. Happy. Peaceful. Reminiscent. And so blessed.

It's time to throw the clean, wet stuff into the dryer, take my meds, and call it a night. Part of me wants to finish the calf decreases on the current doll sock. And part of me says we've done quite enough today, thank you, and please don't be pigheaded.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Squirrel!

You can't really tell from the picture, but that faint shadow on the windowsill behind the curtain is a squirrel. I was sitting in my bed yesterday afternoon and saw something run by on the ledge. I could just make out a fluffy, waving tail, so I knew it wasn't Ghost of the Possum. He ran back and forth, back and forth. I could hear him brushing against the screen. At one point I could see him sitting up, and I could hear him gnawing away on a pecan. Nom. Nom. Nomnomnom.

I got up and carefully made my way to the window, drawing the curtain back. He scrambled for the safety of a branch on the pomegranate bush, about two feet from the window, then turned around and glared at me. I opened up a space between two slats of the blind to get a better look. When he saw that I wasn't going to leap through the window and eat him, he very cautiously inched his way forward. I cooed nonsense to him, and eventually he stopped a little over a foot away and just looked at me. I've never had a wild thing make deliberate eye contact with me. It was a sweet moment.

I have a distinct memory of being three or four, out on the patio or back step of my Aunt Meb's house. My uncle had halfway tamed two or three of the squirrels in the neighborhood, and one of them came up to me looking for a handout. I dashed inside and firmly declared from the opposite side of the storm door, "I'm not afraid of squirrels. I'm not afraid of squirrels." I was terrified of them, because they moved so quickly, and I didn't know if they would bite me. Now that I'm older, I love them, and I'm always sad to see dead ones in the road. I'll brake for them, if it won't cause an accident with the car behind me, and if I see a little daredevil dashing out ahead of me, I'll holler, "Run, squirrel, run, you can do it!" and say a quick prayer of thanks when I don't hit him.

Today was another deliberately quiet day. I turned the heel on the current rose baby sock and gladly abandoned it for a nap when I got home from church. Middlest and I watched "August Rush" after I woke again, and I cast on for a LittleFee knee sock for Hope. I've just begun the calf decreases. She's been barefoot all the days that I've owned her, and eventually I want to buy shoes and maybe even boots for her, but at least she will have socks to cover her tootsies.

I still haven't sewn the snaps onto the bloomers that I made last night. Not likely to happen before I go to bed, either. I had a five hour nap after church (!), so who knows if I will sleep tonight, but I'm trying to wind down enough to make it a possibility.

It feels good to be writing regularly again.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Today was interesting.

Woke up again about 5:00 and had a light breakfast. Still tired, so I went back to bed and slept until a little after 9:00. Stripped the bed and washed the sheets. Washed a load of lights. Cleaned my CPAP reservoir and hose, changed the filter and nosepiece (they call it a "pillow" but you wouldn't want to sleep on it), played on my phone a little, read a little, saw the message from the elders about today's drive-by fooding, which I had entirely forgotten even though I'd put it in my phone.

Felt inspired to cook instead of picking up fast food. One pint jar of lentils that I inherited from my mother-in-love (which got me to hearing the line from Funny Girl: When a woman's incidentals are no bigger than two lentils, all she ever gets is pity and a pat...). The leftover chicken broth in the fridge, and another can. A tablespoon or two of dried parsley. A tablespoon or two of dried onion. A tablespoon or two of taco seasoning. Are you seeing a pattern here?

All of that simmered until the broth had been absorbed and the lentils were in danger of burning. Another can of chicken broth stirred in, somewhat frantically. More simmering. Then  I nuked a packet of quinoa and brown rice and stirred that into a fragrant but somewhat watery pot. Not quite enough. Nuked another packet. Perfection. I grabbed two disposable mini loaf pans, filled them within half an inch of the top, plopped a thin slice of smoked Gouda in there, then wrapped each in a generous square of foil. I had a shopping bag just the right size to hold them, one atop the other. A layer of paper towels, then two small cups of mandarin oranges, a small container of ranch dressing, and the last of the baby carrots, topped with a sandwich bag holding four of Braum's chocolate chip cookies.

When I got home, Middlest was awake and had opened the package that Best Friend had sent, which I had set down well inside the front door as I left. I ladled out two small containers with cheese for my lunches next week, a larger container for Middlest, then divided what was left into two latte cups, sliced some cheese for each of us, and enjoyed a cheap, fast, easy dinner.

I bought and downloaded four new patterns in PukiFee size and whipped up two ankle length bloomers from a white fat quarter with tee-ninetsy stars on it (they're not even 1/8" in diameter). All that's left is to sew on snaps, but I am fading fast, and that will have to wait until tomorrow or whenever.

I am momentarily tired of knitting baby socks, so I plan to cast on a pair of knee socks for Hope before church tomorrow.

And I had a nice conversation with a squirrel that was outside my bedroom window. He held eye contact for the longest time. That was really cool.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Good day: now to fall asleep.

Got through all of the mail and the tasks it generated, worked my To Do's, and generally kept up with things. Mucked out my inbox and sent items. Breakfast tacos as part of the quarterly Mentoring & Development meeting. Enough food to get me through the day, and a doll meet with pizza after work.

Saw some lovely dolls tonight. Took a couple of pictures of Grace being mischievous with Middlest's Robbie.

Drove home to my Gordon Lightfoot station on Pandora, ate a handful of chocolate covered ginger, brushed my teeth, and lights out.

I was almost asleep when: abdominal pain, probably reflux? so I got up and drank half a mug of buttermilk and sent down some ginger cookies. Updated the medical expense spreadsheets. Eyes are tired, I am sleepy, but not sure if it's quite safe to lie down just yet.

I think I'll work on the studio tomorrow, and maybe even play in the studio tomorrow. I'm in the mood to sew something for Grace, and Middlest is going to make her some bloomers. All she has to wear are two sweaters and a dress that Fourthborn improvised from a Barbie tube top and no panties and a pretty crystal necklace.

Oh dang. Stomach-adjacent is still grumpy, so I should probably drink a couple more swallows of buttermilk.

Yaaawwwwnnnnn.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

95% Yeehaw crawdaddies! 5% Mumble mumble rassen frassen.

Overall, an excellent day. My scarf arrived at the office, and my new skirt arrived at home. We got a call from the court coordinator, and we are not called to trial next week after all, so I don't have to prepare trial notebooks or book a flight for our client or find him/her a hotel room for two or more nights.

The drive home was rather fun. Took a different route and stopped at Charming Charlie, where I bought two pairs of earrings in different shades of olive green.

Next was Arby's, where I behaved myself and only got a classic roast beef sandwich, washed down with bottled water left over from lunch.

From there I drove to Half Price Books and picked up a gift card for Bittiest, who had a birthday last Saturday, but that part of the family was out of state for a family reunion.

It looked as if my day was going to fall apart at Wally World pharmacy. The clerk couldn't find Middlest's Rx refill, even though we had notification that it would be ready after 7:30, and I had dawdled and puttered long enough to get me there at 7:47. I spelled Middlest's name twice, gave the birthday twice, wrote everything down on a piece of scrap paper, and still the clerk couldn't find the bag.

I smiled the smile that used to make my kids scatter to their rooms and told him I would wait. In a couple of minutes, he called me over and suggested that I speak with the pharmacy tech. She was able to find the order, and the bag, immediately. I thanked her genuinely and profusely, paid for the meds, and left.

Middlest's phone has been intermittently uncooperative lately, so my texts and FB messages arrived home about five minutes after I did; i.e., after the problem was solved. We agree that we are not going to use that pharmacy again. We've had the same clerk the last three times, and while he is a very pleasant man, he always has trouble finding the Rx's.

Onto happier news: The new skirt fits. (Barely, but that will help me continue to make sensible eating choices.) Haven't tried on the leggings yet, but since they are strictly for wearing at home, fit isn't as crucial.

Sitting here with a mug of buttermilk, trying to decide if I want an apple for dessert, a handful of grape tomatoes, or both. (Yes, I would like to dive headfirst into a tub of triple ginger cookies. That's how frustrating the Wally World experience was until I spoke with the pharmacy tech. But I would also like my new skirt to fit whenever I decide to wear it, so reason clobbers eating my feelings tonight.)

I got a (very) little knitting done today, but more importantly, I finished hand-writing the letters to the sisters on my VT route and reported to my district supervisor. Which is probably why the skirt fits, and the scarf arrived almost a week before the shipper said it would, and there were two pairs of earrings that I liked, and one pair was on sale for less than the (wee) quarterly dividend check for my TI stock.

Yawning. Prodigiously. This bodes well for a relatively early bedtime. Night, y'all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Implicit bias.

No, it's not the lovely drape and swing of a dress designed in the 1930's. It's the things we don't know that we think or feel about others. There was a link to a TED talk by Jerry Kang on a work-related website. I copied the link and sent it to myself at home, because I didn't have fifteen minutes or half an hour or whatever to watch it at work, and I wanted to watch it when I could have uninterrupted time to listen and ponder. I listened to it tonight.

And then I went to another website and took a test to see what was hiding under the rocks inside my brain. Mom and Dad were careful to rear us to see people as individuals. Thankfully, I was not taught to be prejudiced. But I do live in the world, and I was pretty sure that some of it had crept in, no matter how careful I thought I was being. There are thirteen possible tests at that website, as of this writing.

Here are some of my results:
  1. Your data suggest little or no automatic association between Weapons and Harmless Objects with White Americans and Black Americans. Well, that's good. Responsible weapon ownership and idiocy are, I would say, pretty evenly distributed.
  2. Your data suggest a moderate automatic association for Male with Career and Female with Family. My data was fouled up because the test kept telling me that I was giving wrong answers. This test was frustrating.
  3. Your data suggest a moderate automatic association for American with White American and Foreign with Native American. Banana oil. I just got faster at responding as the test went on.
  4. Your data suggest no automatic preference between Old people and Young people. True. I like nice people.
  5. Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for Thomas Jefferson over Barack Obama. Also skewed. I certainly don't hate the POTUS. He is, after all, a cousin (13th cousin 1x removed), as is Thomas Jefferson (4th cousin 8x removed). It's bad manners to hate your relatives.
I haven't taken any of the other tests yet, but I probably will.

And I am out of spoons. Tomorrow and Friday are likely to be crazy-busy, as SemperFi informed me late this afternoon that the trial we were pretty sure we were not going to be reached in, is suddenly looking as if we are extremely likely to be reached. So I will spend a good chunk of the next two days preparing trial notebooks, because this is a huge case, and then it will settle at 4:55 on Friday afternoon, and I will take opposing counsel's name in vain.

Night, y'all.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Green socks are done!

And I have been making mischief on eBay. I just ordered a vintage Vera scarf, which should arrive at my office a week from tomorrow. If the monitor color is anything like reality, it will play nicely with my new olive shirt and slacks.

I've cast on yet another pink sock, although, come to think of it, I rather like that yarn, and I should be able to make myself a simple cowl with what I have on hand. But I'm too sleepy to think about that tonight.

Dinner was cottage cheese, a cup of grapefruit sections (from Costco), multi-grain crackers from Trader Joe's, and hummus. Dessert was triple ginger cookies washed down with milk.

I had a good, productive day at work and was not too wound up at the end of the day. Right now I am feeling strangely comfortable (as opposed to comfortably strange). It's like those mirages when I drive through Nevada. I think I see relaxation, but I'm not sure it's really there. The muscle relaxer is definitely helping, as is the Lexapro. But I didn't get wound up tighter than a tick overnight, and I don't expect to completely relax my neck and my traps short of the resurrection.

I said I was sleepy half an hour ago, but it took half an hour of brushing to detangle my ponytail enough that I could braid my hair for the night. This is the part where I brush and floss, turn on the white noise machine, fill the CPAP reservoir, say my prayers, and hope for a solid night's sleep. We have a busy day tomorrow: dental checkups for Fourthborn and me, eye exam for me.

Over and out.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

White noise.

My Christmas gift from the corporation's catalogue last year was a white noise machine. (This year I've chosen a small, high-quality food processor.) It has six settings: thunder, ocean, brook, summer night, rain, and white noise. I've been using the machine fairly regularly for the past three weeks, because it muffles the murmurs of Middlest and Fourthborn when they are up all night gaming. They are careful to speak and laugh quietly, but after nearly 40 years of motherhood, I have ears like a bat. So I dusted off the machine and put it to work.

I've been leery of using the pseudo-water-based settings because of suggestible kidneys. The point of running the white noise machine is to help me sleep through the night, not to wake up at dark-thirty needing relief. I can do that on my own. So my setting of choice has been thunder, because it is more boom and crackle than drip drip drip. I turn it on a few minutes before I climb into bed, when I'm washing my face and brushing my teeth, as a cue that lights-out will be happening shortly. Most of the time it works like a charm.

I was knitting knitting knitting last night, trying to finish the gusset decreases before bedtime. My eyelids grew heavy, so I put my knitting away and went through my routine. Put on the chinstrap, eye mask, and harness. Turned on the CPAP, rolled into bed, and turned off the light. (So glad that I sprung for the chain pull extensions when we got Middlest's.) Lay down. Closed my eyes. Brain decided to yammer at me. I grew more and more awake. After twenty minutes to half an hour, I threw off the covers, sat up, turned on the light, and freed my face.

Down the hall I went, nearly colliding with Middlest, for a healthy snack. Knitted four more rounds. Put my knitting up again, switched to the rain setting, and tried again. Noticed that the rain setting sounds a lot like bacon frying. Hoped it would not make me hungrier. Rinsed my mouth, plugged myself back in, and feel asleep.

I've only used the rain setting two or three times, and while it's nearly as good as thunder for lulling me to sleep, apparently it does weird things to my subconscious. I think I've written that when I was married to the children's father, I bought him two environmental cassette tapes that could be played on endless loop: one of a city rainstorm, and another (my personal favorite) of a country rainstorm, complete with baa-ing sheep. Those went with him in the divorce.

The last two times I've used the rain setting, I've dreamed that I was still married to him or that life was otherwise falling apart. A week or so ago we were fighting (which we didn't do) and duking it out (which we definitely didn't do), and I was trying to take the kids and leave before he killed me (not in his character). Last night was one of those work/school dreams, in which I couldn't consistently find the room where I was supposed to be, and I was wandering around a neighborhood, and people from different stages of my life were making cameo appearances. Very disorienting, and I'm still feeling a little spacey.

So here I am, typing away when I'd rather be asleep, and I need to be at church, alert and prepared, in a smidgen less than two hours. I just caught myself dozing off, bolt upright, notwithstanding a high-protein breakfast. All of which suggests to me that I'm going to learn something, or connect more dots, when I get to church, and that the Adversary is fully vested in my zoning out or coming home early.

Not gonna happen. Heading back for a catnap with the alarm set.

On this fifteenth anniversary of 9-11, God bless America.

And Ms. Ravelled, and those she loves, and those who love her. And all who stand for truth and righteousness, no matter how they understand our Maker.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Ordered a skirt online last night. And a pair of psychedelic leggings.

Fell in love with the leggings when a friend wore them to Knit Night when it was chilly, earlier this year. Went back to the website, and they were still in stock, along with a witty skirt. If both are as nice in person (i.e., on me, as they are being modeled by women of various sizes on the website, I will put up pictures and tell you the name of the website.

I left the house a little early this morning and hit Wally World on the way to work. Bought six pairs of slacks (I love the ones by Just My Size and have worn them for maybe a decade) and still made it to work on time.

Called Middlest's new doctor and asked him to call in an Rx, which was ready after work. But first I came home and ate half a baked potato which Middlest prepared. I'll have the other half for lunch tomorrow. Then we went to Wally World and got the Rx, drove to CJ Banks to check out the new corduroy jackets, which feel like microfiber washcloths rather than real corduroy, so no. But they had fall colors in the dressy T-shirts I like, and four of them came home with me because they were two for $30.

Pretty much everything goes with everything else. I have dark olive pants, black pants, black with closely-spaced pinstripes (think of wide wale corduroy, only not fuzzy), cranberry pants, and two pairs of jeans. The shirts are a lighter olive, a bright teal (not turquoise, more green than that), a slightly lighter berry one than the one I already had, and a milk chocolate brown. And I have scarves that go with everything, and a tweed turtleneck sweater that goes with the olive pants.

I still need more skirts. Almost enough to dip into my fabric stash and sew some. But not quite yet, although either Middlest or Fourthborn would be an effective helper when it came time to mark the hems.

So dinner was half a tater, then a one-scoop cone when we finished shopping, and now I'm tucking into a salmon burger while my new jeans canoodle with the old ones. I learn from my kids all the time. Sixty-plus years of life on Planet Earth, and this is the first time I'm paying attention to the label that says "wash before wearing" because one pair is inky blue, and I don't want to look as if I were tattooed in woad when I take them off tomorrow night. Middlest offhandedly remarked that one should always wash jeans before wearing, and that throwing the old jeans in with the new ones frequently refreshes the old ones. So that's what I'm doing.

I'm also theoretically going to bed in nine minutes, but there's laundry to tend, and I want this last snack to settle, and I only remembered on the drive home that I need to get the music for next Sunday to the sister who does the programs, so as soon as I eat two more bites of fish, I'm grabbing my hymnal, praying like a madwoman, and hoping to be in bed by eleven.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

More stuff checked off the list. With a side order of miracle.

So I started making a list this morning of things that I want to accomplish or buy in the next few days. Fresh produce. A load or two of laundry. Prescriptions for Middlest and me. New (cheap) slacks for work. A sleep mask to block out the glow of the charging phone, my CPAP, and the white noise machine at night. Some nights I'm so revved up that I feel as if I'm taxiing down a runway. I had a lovely sleep mask that I bought at Bath & Body Works nearly 20 years ago. Fifteen at least. It was a soft grey-green, filled with buckwheat (which tastes lousy to me, but which made a lovely weight against my eyelids). I wore that one almost to ribbons.

Where's the miracle, you ask? I left my list in the truck when I walked into the grocery store, and by the grace of Heaven I bought every item on that part of the list: baby carrots, shredded carrots, schoolboy sized apples, bananas that are so green they might not ripen before Christmas, half a gallon of milk, a small container of organic butter lettuce, one huge avocado, and another box of Wholly Guacamole mini's. I spent almost the entirety of the drive from the grocery store to the pharmacy giving thanks about that, plus various other things.

Picked up my Rx and a sleep mask, came home and put away the perishables, and scooted off to my room to listen to a broadcast about Dvorak and his music. Rolled up my yoga mat and centered my spine along it for fifteen minutes, and I mostly did some good, except for the part where I tried to drop my hips and knees, and my knees started bouncing, and I kinda pulled something ever so slightly on the right side of my lower back.

I've safely begun the second moss green sock, and I've entered my receipts on various spreadsheets. Middlest made a batch or two of egg salad at my request. One seasoned more heavily, to my kid's preference, and a plain batch for me. I'm not sure if six or twelve eggs got used up. After the Dvorak program was over, I made us each a sandwich, and then I added a bunch of herbes de Provence to mine and stirred it thoroughly. Everybody wins.

When I was at the grocery store, I was seduced by a four-pack of baking potatoes. Tomorrow afternoon Middlest will preheat the oven and bake two them to be done about the time that I get home. I'll stop at Braum's and pick up some sour cream, because Middlest loathes Greek yogurt. It's a texture thing.

And after dinner, if I'm not groaning contentedly in my chair, I'll go back out to Wally World and see if they have my favorite brand of inexpensive jeans and chinos in colors I like and in my length. The ones I've been wearing will get laundered, then cut up and divided four ways to make doll clothing.

I also need new skirts for work and for church. One of my favorite skirts dates back to 1998, and the waistband is more frayed than not, and there are some stains that I can't get out. So I either need to replace it or to spend a couple of hours tatting flowers to applique over the stains.

This is the part where I post, then go online to look for boho maxi skirts, because the regular ones I've seen over the past couple of days are rather uninspiring.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

More progress in the studio.

I did this on Monday. Seemed appropriate to be laboring on Labor Day. The spool racks have been kicking around in boxes or on various surfaces since I moved from Fort Worth four and a half years ago.


Now the thread is off the dining room table and sorted by fiber and approximate color spectrum. Mel's mom has another one, which she will give me when she repaints her sewing room. And then I can put greater degrees of separation between the classifications.

Tola posted on FB that there is a special edition collaboration between Karl Lagerfeld and Faber Castell, in a wooden box like a Chinese wedding box, and it's lovely, and it's also $3K. I am fresh out of firstborn male children (I'm not even tempted to offer one of the redheaded stepsons), and I'd like to keep both kidneys. So I guess someone else will be getting my box. But it sure is pretty.

I finally got the moss green baby sock whipped into shape yesterday. I started with 40 rounds of cuff, then frogged back to 37 rounds, finished the sock and weighed it, frogged back to 35 rounds, rinse and repeat, frogged back to 30 rounds. This time it is well and truly done, except for weaving in the ends. I haven't quite gotten around to casting on the second sock, but I am fading fast, so it's probably not happening tonight, either.

In other happy news, I went straight to Costco after work and brought home some items I hadn't been able to pick up over the weekend, plus tanked the Tardis. Middlest helped me empty the truck, then we heated two of the individual pizzas I bought. Which was an adventure in itself. Got the oven heated and the pizzas on the baking pan. Set the timer for 15 minutes. When it dinged, went out to the kitchen and realized that I had forgotten to put the pizzas in the oven. Did that, walked into my room to reset the timer and came back to the living room to work on my spreadsheets. Then I asked Middlest, "Did I actually set the timer, or did I just think that I did?" Walked back in to a silent timer. Guessed that the pizzas had been in about three to five minutes, and set the timer for ten.

So. Good. Even if I underestimated how long they'd been in the oven before I remembered to set the timer. They were nice and crisp, but not burnt. And tasty, and I think they will be a regular inhabitant of the fridge freezer from now on.

Once we'd eaten and I'd checked their website, we hopped into the Tardis and made a quick run to Academy. Middlest and I both needed new sneakers, and we found one pair on sale and another on clearance, so we got two pairs of shoes for less than one pair would normally cost. I wanted a pair with dark soles, since I am tired of taking Magic Eraser to my sidewalls to make them fit to wear into the office on uber-casual days.

OK, I'm done. Night, y'all.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Almost there.

When I step away from the computer and go to my room, I have five rows of pattern and four rows of garter stitch before I bind off the charity scarf. And depending on how much oomph I have left, I might even get the hat cast on before calling it a day.

I'm off work tomorrow to celebrate Beloved's birthday. (Every year I take my birthday off, and since I remarried I've been taking his off as well.) I'll be spending a fair part of the morning taking Middlest and Fourthborn to get routine blood work done, and then we need to get some paperwork signed and faxed to one of their providers, and then maybe we will go to Firstborn's house so she and Fourthborn can finish their quilt blocks.

And sometime before Saturday morning I really should stitch mine up as well.

Squishy is off tomorrow and would like to get together with my two. He was (intentionally) born on his dad's birthday.

OK, I've planned our routes tomorrow morning, and I'm going to grab a mug of milk and a non-sensible amount of cookies and retreat to my room, because my blessings are fasting until it's time for the vampire attack, and I don't want to be that mom.

Later, gators.