About Me

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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A day for pondering.

I've spent a good chunk of the day sitting up in bed, reading one thing and another. I was able to re-read tomorrow's Sunday School lesson without the distraction of other drivers (one reason why I took to listening to the week's lesson in the Book of Mormon over and over during the week, so that I would have the chance to catch what I might have missed in other "readings").

I tweaked my study spreadsheet for the year, adding the information for the Teachings for Our Times lessons (fourth Sundays in Relief Society) through April, the dates for the two stake conferences, and which of the Gordon B. Hinckley lessons will be taught when.

I also read several chapters in what I think is a decidedly inferior biography of Orrin Porter Rockwell, who is my 9th cousin 3x removed. A friend in my ward has expressed interest in it, but (to quote the Spaniard) "I do not think it means what [she thinks] it means." There is another biography of him, which I hope does not read like church history in the style of People Magazine. I will try to track that one down.

I read the preface and part of the first chapter in Sheri Dew's biography of Gordon B. Hinckley, which is an altogether more pleasant reading experience. Well-written, well-edited, and spiritually hypoallergenic. By which I mean that it doesn't irritate the hell out of me. (As I get older, there is incrementally less hell to expunge, for which I'm grateful. And you're welcome.)

Middlest is still honking madly. I stocked up on Puffs with lotion while I was gathering a few items before the drinkers got on the road. My neighbors kitty-corner across the alley ~ the ones due south from Shut Up Maggie ~ have begun their annual New Years Eve celebration, which is family style, melodic, and punctuated with fireworks but not firearms. They are good neighbors, and I enjoy their family karaoke because it seems that all of them can carry a tune.

It's a Southern tradition to begin the New Year with black eyed peas, which I loathe, so this year I've begun a new tradition: lentil soup, which Middlest and I both love. Remember the batch of carrot soup that was an experiment a couple weeks ago to use up the shredded carrots before they went south? It's been residing in the fridge in several pint mason jars, and I decided to use it as the basis of the lentil soup. Added some onion powder and granulated garlic and dried parsley, then stirred in a pint of lentils and put the pot on low.

I forgot how quickly lentils cook. We nearly had a culinary catastrophe when I went back to stir for the third or fourth time. The lentils had all blossomed, and the soup was the consistency of mashed potatoes! I turned off the burner, moved the pot to a cold burner, stirred in another can of chicken stock, and let it all set for a few minutes. I was able to scrape up the stuck but not burnt bits, and it tasted wonderful.

I took a short nap, which means it's nearly bedtime and I'm not the least bit sleepy. So I will do my impression of a responsible adult, unload the dishwasher, and reload it with the glasses that have piled up during the day. Middlest has been chugging Airborne off and on all day, using more glasses than either of us would ordinarily use so as not to have the undissolved bits of powder bond to the glassware.

And I have been combing the internet for people who make doll-scale accessories. I'm thinking I need to buy a lathe and start making my own doll furniture, because I have a vision of a proper dining room table, chairs in scale, and glorious holiday tablescapes with drawnwork linens, chargers, goblets, and the like.

I've said it before: what I really need is Hermione's time turner.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Dug out the flannel sheets.

Cleared a bajillion items off the fallow side of the bed. My gorgeous paisley Pottery Barn sheets (a wedding present) are tangoing in the washer. I have kinda/sorta eaten dinner, played a few hands of solitaire, had snippets of conversation with Middlest (who would probably have liked more, but I have the attention span of a flea and the self-preservation instincts of a British grenadier at the moment).

I am thoroughly peopled-out. I pushed and pushed and pushed at work today, got seven or more cases into the closed column, got through all of the incoming mail for 2.5 attorneys, calendared a few things for the one I'm backing up while her secretary is out on medical leave, pretty much ignored my To Do's, and got the mail out for two out of 2.5, maybe all of them. It was something of a blur. Kept hammering away at my inbox and sent items, and it was more or less under control when I logged off. All of which leaves me in fairly decent shape for Tuesday.

And knackered. I couldn't have accomplished this much without help from Above, so I'm thankful for answered prayers, and Heaven knows how many ministering angels reminding me to eat, to stay hydrated, to step away from the desk for a minute or so and just move.

I blasted my Gordon Lightfoot station on Pandora on the drive home, and I was surprised to find that I could sing along with Hootie just fine, and in his octave not my own, except for one or two of his deepest notes. This evening, Ms. Ravelled is a baritone.



Too tired to cry. Too busy grinning at Willie playing backup.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Another pretty darn good day.

One case closed, two answers filed, inbox starting to blow up on me, SemperFi's signed stuff mailed out, ditto for the attorney I'm backing up, various things calendared, and a fairly clear idea of what I'll be doing tomorrow.

Middlest is feeling puny, so I hit the alternate knit night solo, unless you count Hope, who tagged along so I could show off her Aran sweater and knee high stockings. Sat at a different table tonight and got to know two new-to-me ladies a little better. Knitted for about an hour and a half, long enough to work the pinky on Middlest's fingerless glove.

Came home by way of the pharmacy to pick up some Airborne for Middlest, and Bueno for party tacos and a couple of cheesecake chimis. Dinner is down the hatch, hands are washed and the glove tried on. Hope is back on the settee with her chums, and I am just about ready to call it a night. Breathing was a joy today, and not a chore.

My shins are itching like fury. Doesn't feel like hives, just crazy-dry skin, so I am going to slather down, medicine up, and call it a night.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Did one of you get the number of that truck?

This was my first day back at work. I'll be supporting 2.5 attorneys for the next two weeks. Today wasn't bad, but picking up milk and buttermilk on the way home, dashing to the church for tithing settlement, and attempting to weed my inbox have totally wiped me out. If I had a magic wand, I would wave it and sit down to five bites of filet mignon, glazed carrots, a small Caesar salad, and a scoop of horseradish mashed potatoes. Instead, I'll pour a mug of buttermilk, grab a handful of chocolate covered ginger, and cut a sliver of the sriracha gouda that I bought for Middlest the other day.

Sleep last night was interrupted. I'd been down for not quite two hours when nature called, most insistently. And once I'd dealt with that, I was suddenly ravenous. Middlest was still up, playing some sort of video game, and I stood in the doorway and queried, "Mashed potatoes?" Which is how I found myself in the kitchen at a quarter to 1:00 nuking two cups of water and grabbing a packet of instant. Served mine up with a generous dollop of sour cream, went back for a dab of seconds, and left the rest for Middlest.

Breathing is much easier today, and my brains have stopped trying to leak out of my sinuses and down into my lungs. I'm just tired.

SemperFi was out in depositions today and will be on vacation the rest of the week. I got my inbox thinned out (65 new ones) and my To Do's worked or done, and another secretary's worked while she and her attorney are out. More of the same tomorrow, and I hope to get caught up on everybody's mail. I'm also hoping TheKid won't need much of anything.

My goal is to be totally caught up by the end of the week. Prayers and positive thoughts are welcomed. I'm going to fix that aforementioned snack and work on Middlest's fingerless glove until it's time for my evening meds. Night, y'all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Still breathing.

I coughed a lot yesterday, enough that Middlest was concerned about pneumonia. Having had it before, I was pretty sure that that was not the case, although there was a lot of stuff trying to migrate down into my lungs.

Made a late-night run to a 24-hour pharmacy and picked up some non-drowsy Sudafed. Big mistake. Had the devil of a time falling and staying asleep. When the alarm went off this morning, I half-heartedly started getting ready for work. At a few minutes until 7:00, I still wasn't dressed, and my voice was unmistakably in 1-900 territory, so I called in sick, played a few hands of solitaire, and went back to bed. Slept until the alarm went off at 2:00 for the next round of antibiotics.

So, overall, a remarkably intelligent decision.

I have felt significantly less drippy today, with nowhere near as much coughing, and what there was, not as bone-rattling. I had enough spoons to make a double batch of risotto for dinner tonight.

Note to self: do not even think about working a complex cabled pattern while getting up to stir the risotto every three to five to ten minutes. Two hours of knitting, frogged in less than a minute. I'm nearly to the point where I stopped, but I haven't read my scriptures today, and it's time to take the handful of meds which are my pre-bedtime routine. And, praise be, I'm feeling sleepy again.

Here's hoping that I'm well enough to go to work tomorrow. I promise not to be stupid about it.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Not what I thought my life would be at 60+


Something to subdue my blood sugar. Something to subdue my cholesterol. Something to subdue the revolt in my sinuses. Something to subdue my anxiety. Something to calm my muscles. I snapped this picture, and took these prescriptions, before I remembered that I also needed to take the Mucinex.

Took a five hour nap this afternoon-into-evening, waking at ten when my alarm said that it was time for the above. Made a pot of spinach and chive linguini, lightly dressed with pesto sauce. Enough left to fill one of my lunch containers and about two tablespoons more.

Me to Middlest: Hey, come eat these last two tablespoons of linguini so I can wash the pot.
Middlest to me: Nope.
Me to Middlest: No???
And then mutual laughter, because nope was promptly followed by the explanation that there was no room at the inn, Mary.

We opened our presents at 12:01, and I am getting sleepy again. Alarm is set for 6:00, for the next round of meds. I have no idea if I will sleep the entire night, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

Merry Christmas, all y'all!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Hidden treasures + changing a light bulb, musically and otherwise.

While home today, I did the usual things: ate, slept, took my medicines, knitted. I also chose to catch up on the KnoWhys from Book of Mormon Central. And because there was no time crunch, I read some of the footnotes and followed links to other articles. I posted one link to Facebook. I suspect that I will never read the Book of Mormon in quite the same way again. Here is another, an exposition by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled "Rending the Veil of Unbelief". It is sublime. You may want to have a box of tissues handy, if the Spirit moves you to tears as so frequently happens to me.

In other news, I needed to make a run to the pharmacy for my anti-anxiety Rx, so I left a little after 5:00, forgetting entirely that other folks would be coming home from work (that thing which I would ordinarily have been doing) or scrambling to find last-minute gifts. It was getting dark, and it was foggy, and cars were everywhere. Getting to the pharmacy wasn't much of a problem, other than waiting for my light to turn green already. Getting from the pharmacy to In N Out was a little wild. It was as if everyone in my suburb who owns a car had decided that they needed to be on the road with tired office workers and crazed shoppers and people with a sudden craving for dead cow.

I didn't take my phone, so I couldn't play Sudoko while stuck in the drive-thru. I turned on the classical station and was rewarded with a Magnificat by Monteverdi. I'd not heard it (or him; apparently he invented opera) before, and I've been a little weirded out by people going ho-ho-ho while singing the Hallelujah Chorus in some of the versions I've heard this month. There was a lot of ha-ha-ha-ing in this Magnificat, and my only-partially-housebroken musical brain told me to try a run of notes both ways: ah-ah-ah and ha-ha-ha and see which was easier.

Dudes, it's way easier to stay on pitch and at speed if there are consonants preceding the vowels. Old mezzo. New tricks. (Except with the work I've been doing on my lower register while driving home in the evenings, I think I might be a contralto. I can sing along with [most of] Josh Groban in the same octave, except for the lowest of his notes.)

Middlest and I worked together to change a light bulb in the kitchen. The one over the sink had burnt out, and Middlest avoids ladders whenever possible because of the POTS and the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome but was nervous about my getting on the stepstool while taking Mucinex, which makes my kid woozy but just does what it's supposed to do, for me. So I got up on the two-step, and Middlest put a hand in the small of my back, and I got the globe out (dead hornet lying sunny side up inside it, arms folded in prayer) and the old light bulb out and the new one in, and the globe mostly on before my hands said done. Middlest traded places with me, put one knee on the edge of the sink while I did the hand-at-the-small-of-the-back thing, and finished tightening the screws.

So that's how many of us it takes to change a light bulb. And I have three rows left of this pattern on the Geology Shawl, so that's what I'm doing next.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Good news: the decongestant is working.

Bad news: I feel worse than before I started taking it.

I've had that vague off sensation for two or three days. Not a sore throat. Not a fever. And I really didn't feel all that congested, but when I went to the doctor this morning, he said that I was. A lot. So he phoned in an Rx, and I went back to work by way of Bueno for a bean burrito and CVS for some Mucinex and a third type of antihistamine. I took an Allerclear last night, thinking that maybe the Zyrtac was becoming less effective.

Doc (mine was out, so I saw one of her male compatriots) says that my instincts were good, but that for maximum effectiveness, since I take an antihistamine every day, I should take one for a month, take another for the next month, and take the third one the month after that. Minimal chance of any of them becoming ineffective.

Scathingly brilliant, and I had no idea you could do that, but now I know.

I managed to be reasonably effective at work today, including filing a past-due answer in JP court via fax. I took my lunch at 3:20, nuked the chicken and rice I'd brought from home, and played Sudoku, because I didn't have enough oomph to knit.

On the way home tonight, I picked up another half gallon of OJ and a tube of pork sausage. (If I'm well enough to leave the house tomorrow, I'll get some arborio rice to make risotto. Heaven knows that I have enough chicken stock.) Then to Panda Express for some orange chicken. (I gave Middlest half of my brown rice.) Then to CVS, where the drive-through was not functioning, so I had to go inside to pick up my Rx. Then, finally, home. Middlest put stuff in the fridge for me while I sprinted for the loo.

We are almost out of Q-tips. I am not up for a Costco run. At this point, prepping for a colonoscopy sounds more appealing than going to Costco, and I love going to Costco. My give-a-damn is on life support.

I know this because I am missing the holiday party at the new yarn shop, and all I want to do is take my meds, nuke my deer corn foot warmer (which I found skulking between the mattress and the bed frame last night), and pass out.

The back of my mouth has that horrible metallic feel/taste that comes with sinus trouble.

I will weep bitterly if I have to miss the Christmas program on Sunday, or dinner with the family after church. Because Middlest and Fourthborn would also have to miss out, since neither of them drives.

Speaking of which, Middlest and I got one another's fortune cookies tonight. Mine said, "Following inner promptings brings quiet accomplishment." Duh. I've known that since joining the Church 41 years ago. Middlest's said something like, "You belong in the driver's seat." Metaphorically it's true, but my kid has too many physical and mental obstacles to feeling comfortable behind the wheel of a car. Middlest and Fourthborn both feel that the world is a safer place because neither of them has license to drive.

OK, y'all, I'm outta here. Be good, and remember Whose you are.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

St. Aindriu of Trader Joe's

We were out of ginger cookies, and Middlest had been unwell last evening and throughout the night. I didn't have time to make a shopping run before work, so I hit TJ's after leaving the office. The gentleman who checked me out had an interesting face and an even more interesting name. I looked at him, raised one eyebrow, and asked, "Variation on the theme of Andrew?" and he said, "Yes, exactly, and that's how you pronounce it." Turns out he has an Irish mother and a father from San Someplace. So he has a Gaelic given name and a Spanish surname, but he looked vaguely Eastern European to me. Skinny, not slavic.

Well, as my mother often said, we're all duke's mixture.

I came home with two tubs of ginger cookies and another of chocolate covered ginger, some tiny cinnamon stars, and a bag of magic beans. On my way up Greenville, when I was almost to Mockingbird, there was a sudden thwack to my mirror by a passing minivan.

Whatthehell? I switched lanes, followed to the light, turned left after her, and saw with relief that she was turning in at the first available parking lot. She walked back, concern all over her face. I rolled my window down cautiously.

"Are you OK?" she asked. "My car is OK, I think our mirrors are the only parts that collided, and mine's OK."

I thanked her for being honest, told her that my immediate reaction was Whatthehell? and she laughed and said hers, too. My mirror had been popped back but was unbroken, because we couldn't have been going more than 15 or 20 mph.

I wished her a merry Christmas. She did the same. She got back in her car and went one way. I went the other.

Poor Tardis. Shaken and stirred, but not a scratch on her.

I think I've figured out the problem with my arm last night. I think it was the way I stood when I used the long-handled shoehorn to put my sneakers on at the end of the day, because I don't remember hurting before then. By the time I was ready to change shoes today, my arm and shoulder had loosened up significantly. And they were a little tender again after I made the switch.

I think I'm on the verge of a respiratory thing. I bought some nasal saline yesterday and used it a few times, but left it on the bedside table this morning. I'm not congested or draining, but my sinuses feel tight, for lack of a better word. This weather has been so variable.

I added five or six rows to the Geology Shawl today and tonight. There are seven rows left of this pattern, and part of me wants to stay up however long it takes to knock them out. Instead, I'm going to take my meds, get off the computer, and bundle myself into bed. I'm hoping I don't have to resort to Mucinex. It gives me really weird dreams, and I have enough of those without it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tympannic Tuesday

Actually, it wasn't drums, just my heart going bangety-bangety-bang when the smoke detector started hollering "fire! fire! fire!"

First good thing: the smoke detector works, and if I had been asleep, it would have awakened me.

Second good thing: it was overreacting. There was no fire, just a bit of smoke from a burner on high. Actually, four burners on high, simultaneously, and the oven set to 450F because I was trying to cremate a roach that skittered down into the burner well when I missed smashing it. Haven't seen one of those in-house since I moved out of apartments eight years ago. It shall not live to reproduce.

Third good thing: I figured out how to shut up the smoke detector. Middlest slept through all the excitement, which suggests that earplugs were firmly in place. Otherwise I would be calming my kid down from an apocalypse-level panic attack.

Fourth good thing: I got my heart rate up into the target range while scrambling for the stepstool.

Fifth good thing: there is Christmas chocolate to calm my jangled nerves.

Sixth good thing: I am now very, very awake, and I do believe I'll knit another row (or twelve) on the Geology Shawl.

Middlest and Squishy hung out today. Middlest's school registration complications have all been unscrambled, and both of them sweetly insisted that I open my present from Mel and Squishy: two fair-trade chocolate bars and a really cool plate with a sheep on it. I went looking for the smaller of my wooden plate stands, and it is in use, so I will have to swing by Hobby Lobby and pick up another one. Picture later; phone is sulking in its charger.

I have no idea where my deer corn foot warmer has gotten to. It was in bed with me last night and is nowhere to be found. There are a lot of things in my room, but I didn't think a black hole was one of them.

I have done something to my right shoulder / upper arm. It happened at work this afternoon, and I noticed it just before quitting time. It's not terribly painful, but it twinges when I am leaning on it as I roll into bed, or when I push a shopping cart. I'm hoping that rest will take care of it. My grip strength is unaffected, so I'm pretty sure it's muscular rather than vascular or neurological. Seventh good thing: it doesn't hurt when I knit.

And on that happy note, I'm taking my cold feet and warm heart to bed.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Miraculous Monday

The chief one being that I made dinner mostly from scratch tonight. Two frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of the pot, two cups of brown rice, five cups of chicken stock for the rice and another can for good measure, some dried parsley, onion powder, and granulated garlic. Set the timer for 25 minutes, then realized halfway through that the rice would need at least 20 minutes more. Which it did, and another 15, and some more while I lifted out one neatly poached chicken breast and shredded it.

Dumped that back into the pot and fished out the other one. Shredding that one went somewhat faster. I don't know if it was a learning curve thing or just a smaller piece to begin with. Stirred that all up, then the remaining half (tall) can of cream of chicken soup leftover from making funeral potatoes for the ward dinner weekend before last (hence that extra can of broth), half of the remaining jar of pimientos for a bit of color, and a big glob of sour cream.

I'm not sure what happened to the frozen peas, if I sent them home with Fourthborn one weekend, or gave them to Secondborn or somebody in the ward. I am slightly allergic to them, which is sad because frozen peas make just about anything taste better. (Well, not ice cream, but anything along the grain-and-vegetable spectrum.)

All of which meant that we ate dinner around 9:00, which should probably make me feel refined and cosmopolitan, but mostly I'm just tired. It was worth waiting for however, and I had two ladles' worth in a red latte cup. Middlest had seconds, and we still had enough left to fill four small storage containers for me and a significantly larger one for Middlest. I put the lid down on the washer, and those five containers are cooling their heels out in the garage. It's supposed to get down to 27F tonight. I think we're pretty safe as far as microbes go.

It feels as if I hadn't knitted in days. So I'm going to take care of that. Later, gators.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

In which we think aloud about stuff.

Middlest and Fourthborn and I went to the party at our friend T's house last night. He moved earlier this year. Several of us in the knitting group helped with packing or schlepping or both. This was a combination housewarming / Christmas party. Most of the folks there were his ren-faire friends. There were four of us from the knitting group. People came and went. Most folk seemed to be quietly drinking their dinner while waiting for the terducken to finish roasting. We nibbled on hors d'oeuvres until the lamb stew was ready.

You may or may not know that I loathe lamb. It was not something that I grew up with, and I ate far too much lamb burger at fifty cents a pound when the children's father was getting his MBA at BYU, because we couldn't afford hamburger at a dollar a pound. And me pregnant with Firstborn. I've carefully avoided lamb ever since. But there were two huge crockpots of lamb stew: one with carrots and no onions, and the other with onions and no carrots. I had a small bowl of each, and I told T (and D whom he allowed to make the stews) that I liked both of them. I will have to get T's recipe, because that was something I could get used to. Maybe not often, but more than once a year. That cracking noise you heard on Saturday night was my palate expanding.

The vibe at his new place is far different than the party Fourthborn and I attended at his old place two years ago. Earlier this year his partner moved out, taking the teenage son who was like a second kid to T. The landlord was making noises about selling the house, so T found a place that was slightly closer to work and made a fresh start. The new house is larger and better designed. There is wonderful north light for T's studio. But throughout the house is a feeling of peace and welcome and hope.

We talked about that on the way home. Middlest and Fourthborn are empaths, and they picked up on who the other empaths were in the room, the people whose gift last night was making everyone feel welcomed and safe. I got a big bearhug from T when we arrived. Another good brother there brushed my cheek lightly with his knuckle as he walked past while I was sitting with my kids, and far from flinching as it happened, my body and spirit recognized the purity of his intent, and I smiled. He was careful not to touch Middlest, who was migraine-y and for whom touch would have been just another layer of pain, but he gave the same mindful, innocent care to Fourthborn, who would ordinarily have decked someone, especially a man, who touched her without advanced notice or permission.

It was a good evening in every sense. We left the party a little after nine, got home somewhere around ten-thirty, and I think it was midnight before I settled down to sleep. We left before the terducken was served, so we each had a small snack before bedtime, because we'd just been piecing at the party.

My dreams were interesting, to say the least. T and I were sharing an adventure, rescuing somebody from something. I couldn't find my car in a parking lot (I've had variations on this part of the dream before), and I really need to start keeping a dream journal, because there was more going on than the bare facts of the dream, or random synaptic firings. I read an article on Segullah recently by an LDS counselor who advises her clients to keep dream journals and to pray over them, look for patterns, and parse out with the Spirit's help things that Heaven is trying to tell them that are not getting through during waking life. I think that might be one of my projects for the new year.

It's nearing 10:00, and I need to clear off my bed from when I was looking for a stapler before church. I'd like to knit a row before I crash, and I'm not sure that I have spoons enough to make that happen, after teaching the RS lesson, heating up chili, visiting with my home teacher and his wife (my visiting teacher), and making the roundtrip to take Fourthborn home. I don't feel knackered, praise be, but I am deliciously tired, and there are thoughts dancing in my head just out of reach.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Made it to Thursday.

Variation on the theme of "the days are short, but the weeks are long." Middlest had the routine monthly checkup this morning. Discussed with the Good Doctor the advisability of upping the migraine meds to the next level, because this one has been going off and on (mostly on) for the better part of a month. So the thinking is, new dose early in the day and maybe a pill cut in half later in the day, to see if that's enough of a boost to encourage the migraine to go and stay gone awhile, without drastically increasing any side effects.

I had a remarkably productive day at work, once I got there (I mailed my sister's Christmas package after dropping Middlest off at home). That was so funny. I was taking the usual route to work and had gotten maybe a mile from home while pondering whether to go to the big post office before work or afterwards. I suddenly realized that we have a perfectly good post office a few blocks from the house, and it wouldn't be much of a circle-back to get there, so I did. I was in and out in maybe five minutes, and I got to my desk five minutes before my scheduled PTO was over, so I piddled around and sorted out my vitamins, etc., until 10:30, powered up my workstation, and emailed my office manager that I was at my desk and ready to go.

In late afternoon, we had the annual party put on by the building management. This year it was catered by a local Tex-Mex restaurant, and I limited myself to one party taco and one black bean chalupa. Then I went back upstairs and finished up some work until it was time to go. I also reminded TheKid that we have two answers due on Monday. He's been so busy settling cases that he hasn't had time to sign off on the new ones. I think SemperFi settled three or four this week. It will be a few weeks before I can actually close them. We can dangle the money in front of Plaintiff's counsel to encourage them to have their clients sign the release. We have very little sway over the clerks in the courts, or the honorable judges.

After work I came home, put away some stuff, and then Middlest and I headed back down to the new yarn store for Knit Night. I recognized two of the women from last week and remembered the name of one of them, and there were new faces, but only half as many people there as last week, which was good for Middlest's anxiety levels.

It helped that Middlest found a yarn that doesn't send up hives, so that I can knit some mitts with intricate cabling and half-fingers. I even let the shop owner wind the balls for me, just in case the urge to cast on once we got home was overly compelling. (It wasn't. But probably tomorrow, and I managed to put two rows on my shawl, which hasn't seen any effort on my part in at least three weeks.)

And now it's time for me to take my meds, shut out the world, and crash. I am determined to be in bed by what I laughingly call my normal bedtime. Which is neither normal, nor regular.

Night, y'all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Story problem.

Pantone divided by E.T. = the love child of brioche and fruitcake. SemperFi gave me a delicious and ridiculously expensive PanETtone for Christmas today. (I suspect it came from Neiman Marcus. He accidentally left the price sticker on the hangtag, and I almost swallowed my tongue.) I had not brought breakfast from home as I normally do. Nor was I in the mood to get breakfast from the deli, because we were having our Christmas potluck today, and I knew I was in for sodium overload. (I'd eaten half a Costco muffin right after waking and before I finished binding off the second Fetching and working the thumbs on both.) I spent about an hour and a half, between legitimate tasks, weaving in the ends this morning, so that I would have it to the admin in charge of Secret Santa well before our lunch hour.

About an hour before lunch, I carefully unboxed the panettone and cut myself a sliver. May I state for the record that panettone is to any fruitcake but my late mother's as blackthorne needles are to craft store bamboo needles. Or cashmere is to hemp. Or Trader Joe's triple ginger cookies are to the scalloped-edged rock-hard ginger cookies of my youth.

You get the idea.

Lunch was amazing. I took small portions of almost everything that was offered. (This is not to imply that I took gargantuan portions of some items, although I was certainly tempted.) The only biofeedback I got was about 3:00 this afternoon, when my body realized that someone had spiked the mac and cheese with finely diced jalapenos, and what the H-E-double-hockey-sticks had I done to us?

Thankfully, part of the final gift from my Secret Santa was a package of TJ's dark chocolate covered ginger. I ate a couple of those every few minutes until my innards stopped grumbling. The rest of the afternoon passed without incident.

I bought the first item for the family gift bags after work. The first place I looked for it had sold out during the day, but a kind man called one of the other locations, and they had enough for my purposes. He told them to save them for "Christmas Lights" (me) because I was wearing my jingle bell earrings and a necklace of miniature Christmas lights that a different Secret Santa gave me last year or maybe the year before.

I smuggled everything into the house, toasted an English muffin and slathered it with the last of the Wholly Guacamole, washing it down with buttermilk. My meal was interrupted briefly by caroling from my ward's youth with one of their leaders, a Christmas card from the RS presidency, and a plate of cookies. I ate one and gave the others to Middlest, as the idea of eating anything sweet right now just feels rather gross.

I'm sure I will have recovered by morning.

But for now I am going to play one last hand of solitaire and stagger off to bed. I was up until 12:30 last night, knitting my fingers to the bone. No further knit will happen tonight, even if I downloaded a pattern for fingerless gloves that Middlest wants, to Ravelry. I should feed the dishwasher, but that's just going to have to wait until tomorrow morning.

My name is E.T., and I am phoning home.

Monday, December 12, 2016

A mostly terrific weekend.

For me, it was unadulterated joy, mixed with naps. Fourthborn also had a good time with us, and happily escaped injury. It is, after all, 2+ weeks since Black and Blue Friday. I think we're good for another year.

Middlest made up for it. While stowing the sleeping bags that make up the foundation of Fourthborn's hobo nest when visiting us, Middlest inadvertently head-butted the freezer, resulting in concussion. This is not the first one, so my kid knew what to do: ice, ibuprofen for the swelling, anti-nausea meds, and determined wakefulness.

Several hours later, pupils are equally dilated (by the migraine which has been hanging about for roughly two weeks), Middlest is lucid, bump is smaller, and sleep sometime before the Second Coming appears to be a reasonable option. I insisted that an email be fired off to the doctor, because with the migraine there's a chance that when we go for the scheduled visit on Thursday, both of us will have forgotten about the concussion on Sunday.

In knitting news, I am ready to work the final cable on the first Fetching. I'll finish it off, except for the thumb, and get cracking on the second mitt. Wednesday's Christmas lunch and the final gift exchange will be here before I know it.

Yes, I really am posting after midnight. I took a measured nap after church so that I would be safe to drive Fourthborn home after our stake's annual Feast of Carols.

Night, y'all. I'm outta here.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

So, Fourthborn and I made seal-barking noises.

And then I tried to balance a chocolate orange on my nose, which was a little too small, and the chocolate orange was a little too large and heavy, but it stayed on the bridge of my glasses just fine if I held my head still. Which was not easy, because of the peals of helpless laughter from the three of us.

It is not all philosophical meanderings around here. The seal-barking occurred because Middlest was talking about how hard it is to break the seal between the slices, which you have to do before you open up the foil and divvy out the slices. The word "seal" takes us back to when the children's father was still fun. If I said that something had my seal of approval, he would put his arms together, elbows loosely touching, and wave/slap his hands together like a trained seal, barking all the while.

I guess you had to be there. But it's pretty much a Pavlovian response for the kids and me, even if Fourthborn is sitting behind me and I can't see her because I'm typing. Up come the arms. Out come the barks. And we laugh like idiots.

If my phone weren't sulking in the charger, I would share some cute pictures of the dolls and those mini-doughnuts that I brought home and tossed into the freezer for safekeeping. (The doughnuts, not the dolls. Just to be clear.) I posted the pictures to Facebook, but they look prettier here if I post them to a draft from my phone.

It's been a really great day. I slept in until 7:00 and got the errands done and the food put away within two hours. There has been knitting. Don't faint. I've read one and a half more books that will be going to BittyBubba (who now comes up to my shoulder in his stocking feet).

My children are being exceedingly silly (they may have company in this: see seal-barking noises, above) because we had funeral potatoes at the ward Christmas party. I really should do more cooking, because I had to guesstimate how big an onion to buy in order to create three cups (I typed cops) of chopped onions, and I have about three-fourths of an onion left. Beloved would have known how big the onion should be. Apparently "the size of a pregnant grapefruit" is too big.

Also: the mini food processor does not want to shred cheddar (it would help if I had a shredding disk). It just wants to smear the cheese around the side of the bowl. So I had to shred four cups of cheese the old-fashioned way.

And I ate something that my body does not like (probably three days' worth of salt from the green bean casserole), and I had to slather my legs in vitamin E cream to get the nerves to shut up. And eat one-third of a chocolate orange. I feel much better now.

My kids are playing Pokemon, and Middlest showed me a 3D Miltank (cow monster) that was standing on its hind feet and dancing (or something) as its udder bounced from side to side in 6/4 time.

OK, I'm done.


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Doll stuff and a tablescape.


First the doll stuff. We bought these at Daiso last weekend. Four little chairs, one little table. Middlest and I talked it over, and we will probably go back and get another table, so that the tables, which are not quite tall enough to fit dolly knees under, could function as end tables in two groupings of two chairs each. That will probably not happen until after the Christmas ornaments are put away. I need to make or find little tablecloths or thin glass circles to fit on top of the tables (maybe circles of the kind of plastic you put on top of steel shelving to keep things from falling through?) so that the plates and cups will not wobble. These chairs are the right size for Chutzpah and her cronies.

And next, the tablescape. I wanted to bring some red into that center bowl, and I think we were successful.


In other news, I now have a tatting board on Pinterest. And it's 11:00, and I meant to be in bed an hour ago. Good night! (Take that any way you like.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

O Tannenbaum!


After nearly two weeks of fiddling around, we are done with the tree. I used the small LCD up-light that I thought would be such a good idea to illuminate the arrangement of forsythia in the French flower bucket (and wasn't) to spotlight the tree before snapping this on my phone. It evened out the light remarkably well. And possibly blinded anyone walking by on the street

There are other pictures, but I will save them for tomorrow night.

I've worked through one email of hints, and I am done playing with the dead people for now. I need to put my lunch dishes in the sink, lay out my clothing for tomorrow, take my meds, and call it a night.

I was able to sync and automate most of Middlest's meds, and those were delivered this afternoon. I also picked up my refill on the diuretic from my own pharmacy. I will miss working with them, but they are no longer on the vendor list with my insurance, so I am hoping that Middlest's pharmacy is.

Tomorrow after work I am going to stop in at the new yarn shop that's on the way home. They are open late on Thursdays for knitting, and that will go a ways toward keeping my socialized until the holiday madness is over that the Tuesday night location.

Fading fast, y'all. I'm outta here!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Chili and cornbread. No, we didn't save you any.

I messaged Middlest just before leaving the office building, "Shall we have chili tonight?" Immediate response was, "Yes, that sounds delightful," with a big smiley face for emphasis. So we opened up the small vat of chili that we brought home from Costco (took me forever to get the blasted lid off), and I set it to simmer while stirring up a batch of corn muffins. Once that was in the oven, Middlest unloaded the dishwasher and stirred the pot, then I went into the kitchen and fed the dishwasher with everything that had piled up since breakfast yesterday. (We rinse and stack. It's not like an episode of Hoarders.) By the time the muffins were done, the chili was hot.

1 empty red latte cup + 1 cup of incredibly good chili + 1 split corn muffin = culinary peace on earth, goodwill to digestion. We had enough leftovers to fill five small containers for future lunches with a muffin in a baggie for each serving, and two muffins in two additional baggies for random snacks.

Knit only marginally happened today, and when I log off here, I will probably grab the wrapping paper and wrap the last of the Christmas gifts. Or I may do that after work tomorrow night. I'm feeling uncharacteristically relaxed, and I may just go to bed instead.

I volunteered myself for one of the committees next year: quarterly secretarial meeting. Have sent out the first Doodle invitation. I love Doodle. Not as much as I love spreadsheets, but quite a bit.

Middlest spent the day with Mel and Squishy, always enjoyable for all. Squishy will pick up Middlest on Friday and deposit my kid at the college to meet with a counselor and (hopefully) get registered for classes.

Yup. Nodded off for a moment at the end of that sentence. Bed it is.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Mandatory fun.

SemperFi's word for it. I completely forgot, until I got to work, that we were having the office team-building outing and Christmas activity, a reprise of last year's bowling. I was smart enough this year to opt out of the actual bowling* and spent my time cheering my friends on, eating mediocre pimiento cheese and indifferent guacamole with Ritz crackers. (That will give my anti-cholesterol meds something to talk about.)

Came home long enough to eat a bagel and shmear, then dashed out again to Half Price Books, hoping to find something for the boy-grands. Scored half a dozen "Who Was" books for BittyBubba and one of the suggestions for Bittiest, then drove across the highway to B&N to see if I could find one of the others. Bingo, and at a much better price than the book I got him last year.

I just spent half an hour or so looking up and printing off pedigrees for the three "Who Was"-es to whom I am related. I'll enclose those with the relevant books.

Middlest's migraine appears to be easing slightly. When I got home tonight, all the lights were on in that bedroom (as opposed to it being lit only by the nightlight as it has been for the past two or three days).

I have to submit mileage for the field trip today. What a lot of paperwork for a four-mile round trip. $2.16, less taxes. I was mildly amused to learn that the mileage rate for business is $0.54 per mile, while medical mileage is $0.19 per mile, and charitable mileage is $0.14 per mile. Mammon appears to be winning by (dare I say it?) a mile.

Yesterday, while cleaning out my inbox, I managed to save a dozen or more spinach recipes to Pinterest. I think my body is trying to tell me something. Meanwhile, I am having a small bowl of mashed potatoes as a cushion for all the meds I'll be taking in less than half an hour to land on.

Feeling quietly happy, quietly tired, and quietly grateful for a day that was 99% pure pleasure.


Sunday, December 04, 2016

Sabbath blessings.

I have foregone the usual Sunday afternoon nap in favor of wrapping presents for my grandchildren and my sister. I need to pick up a book for BittyBubba and Bittiest, but I am otherwise done, and it was so much fun to cut and wrap and tape. I have four large brown grocery bags labeled with names, as I've not yet added ribbons or tags.

Middlest has been fighting migraine all day, but we spent a lovely couple of hours visiting quietly before and after the First Presidency's Christmas devotional.

While at church, I turned the heel on the baby sock I've been nibbling away at. I got most of the way through the heel gusset decreases during the last couple of talks in the devotional.

This morning I roughed out the program for Christmas Day, but the brother who will be performing on the cello was not at church today and thus far has not replied to my email.

Looking forward to a busy week at work, knitting at the new yarn shop on Thursday night, picking up Fourthborn on Friday night, family fun on Saturday, and the ward Christmas party on Saturday night.

I am gently tired, vaguely hungry, minimally achy, and ready to clear the wrapping debris off my bed and throw myself into it.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

The itching has subsided.

The swelling has not, entirely, but my ankles no longer look sunburned.

We've had a good day. I pre-washed the quilt fabric last night before going to bed. Woke up once during the night and felt the fabric before going back to bed. It was still somewhat damp, so I must not have been asleep all that long. When I awoke at a proper hour this morning, all the bits were nicely dried and ready for pressing.

Firstborn and Fourthborn checked in at the quilt shop, then came over here to visit for a bit while Middlest and I worked on our blocks. They left, we left, and a day-long series of errands began. First we picked up our new blocks. Then we went to Costco by way of Tuesday morning and Ross, looking for a new duvet cover for Middlest. I also found a bowl that is the perfect size for the centerpiece on the dining room table. Picture to follow, eventually. We are still decorating the tree, and the table is covered with storage tubs and half-emptied containers.

We got out of Costco under $100, always a win in this woman's book, and drove up the road to Daiso, a Japanese store that opened recently in Plano. There are a handful of them scattered around the Metroplex. Scored four chairs and a table in Chutzpah size.

On our way home, we stopped at the consignment store where Fourthborn and I discovered "the slutty pig" a couple of years ago. It still has not sold, but the Mardi Gras beads that had been draped around its neck ~ and inspired its name ~ are gone. The pig is every bit as charming as when I first saw it, priced at $895. (I know!) Picture a finely carved carousel animal, complete with saddle, but mounted on rockers and beautifully painted. I was amused to see that the price tag had been marked up to $998 and then lined through and marked $750.

The food is put away. I've eaten my leftovers for dinner, followed by rather too many ginger cookies washed down with buttermilk. Middlest has polished off the last dab of eggnog, which was necessary in order for me to have room to stash the buttermilk in the door of the fridge. We have wrangled the duvet into the duvet cover, and Middlest is settling down for the night. I'm about ready for that myself, but I have to clear a bunch of purchases off the bed first. I don't want to risk any of them crashing to the floor in the middle of the night.

Hoping for some solid sleep and a restful Sabbath tomorrow.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Home, safe, well-fed, and itchy.

I think I may be allergic to something in the apple cider that I bought, because mid-afternoon, while I was typing up a storm, I suddenly realized that my left ankle hurt. I pulled up my pantleg and saw that my leg was as swollen as if I had not been taking a diuretic for the better part of the month, and it nearly as red as a perfectly cooked lobster. There was an indentation an eighth of an inch deep all the way around, right at the level of my sock elastic. And my ankles itched like fury. I put some lotion on them and got back to work. The swelling has gone down considerably, as has the redness, and they don't itch any more, but both ankles are still distinctly unhappy.

It's 8:30 on Friday night, and I've just figured out the music for church on Sunday. I realized while in the shower this morning that I had neglected to do so. Can't blame this one on the dead people. I had to leave voicemails for the YW president and the choir director, as I didn't have a final copy of the choir program for the 18th. The YW president called me back, then emailed me what she had. Couldn't open it here on my desktop, but I could from my phone, so I got to work. I still need to put together the program for Christmas Day, but I need to find out if the cellist has his solo that day or the week before.

Middlest reminded me that tomorrow is the day we pick up our new quilt blocks, and I haven't even pre-shrunk the material for the current blocks. So I will do that before hitting the sack, and cut things out early in the morning (because I'll probably wake up at the usual time), and then Middlest and I will work together to get the job done.

I'm not quite as tired tonight as I was last night, but much as I would love to work on family history, taking care of this crabby body is a somewhat higher priority.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Checking in before I check out for the night.

Went to the Medicare seminar and am impressed. I'm keeping his business card for when I'm ready to sign up (i.e., three months before I retire). Completely demystified the various options, and my nonsense detector didn't go off, so although I haven't prayed about using this company, I feel pretty good about trusting them. When push comes to shove, I will, of course, pray about it.

Came home, ate my Arby's, nuked a cup of milk and ate some ginger cookies, hoping that the warm milk would work its magic, and it has. I did not get all the way through linking records to one of my second cousins 2x removed. Sorry, Matilda, I'm waltzing off to bed and will catch up with you tomorrow.

Night, y'all.