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!

Monday, July 24, 2017

"and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

This was one of those days. The tiny bust of Beethoven arrived from the vendor in Canada (eh!). And my umbrella swift, which is gorgeous and looks to be well-made.

So when I left the office, I had my large knitting bag, with my lunch bag dropped into it, and my purse gathered up in my left hand (because I'm taking no chances with my right shoulder; it gets light stuff, only, until it has recovered from the last time I strained it), and the large but lightweight shipping box tucked under my right arm and resting on my hip.

I got us out to the Tardis, loaded in, and on the road without mishap. Picked up a couple of Rx's, ate the last of my mango sorbet while the pizzas cooked, and spent a happy evening knitting and noodling around on Facebook.

I'm eleven rows in on the second piece of the vest. Body is winding down for the night, but Brain still has other ideas. Am hoping that the cup of mac and cheese I just downed will tip the scales toward slumber.

Meanwhile, I'm going to look for a miniature bust of Pallas Athena. (Insert James 1:5 citation here.) One of my heart-sons thinks it would be cool to have a tiny Raven perched on Beethoven. I think it would be even cooler to stay true to the source. Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Nearly done with the front of the vest.

(Since this is more knitting-related than doll-specific, I'm posting here rather than on the doll blog.)

Less than ten rows remaining, and my tush was going to sleep. So I'm taking a break. I've done a little measuring, a little calculating, and a whole lot of head-scratching. My gauge is way off. I think it's due in part to the lesser elasticity of the alpaca yarn. The main portion of this piece is half again as wide as it "ought" to be, if dividing by one-third the measurements for the small size on the schematic drawing in the book. The vertical proportions are not half again as tall. So the piece is skewing wide.

I have not compared it to Justice's body, or to the modified American Girl doll that Middlest got as a birthday gift. Middlest is about halfway done passing (another) kidney stone and is resting at the moment. I'm not going in there and waking my kid up for something that can wait until Middlest is both conscious and relatively comfortable. I might grab Justice when I go back to my room and give myself a good laugh.

I've been good today: have eaten generous servings of blueberries, strawberries, and Rainier cherries. Also polished off some leftovers, eaten a reasonable amount of mango sorbet, and remembered to hydrate. I made sure my post-church nap was only a little more than an hour in length, so I should be able to sleep when I go back to bed in a couple of hours.

⸎ ⸭ ⸎ ⸭ ⸎

Curiosity got the best of me. I grabbed Justice (whose wig and cap decided they wanted to hang out on the dining room table) and took this picture:


It's not a bad fit after all. This is what it looks like in the book:


I think it's going to work! It will be a little more "Annie Hall" than the designer intended, but that's fine by me. So glad that I won't have to frog this and start over. Heading back to my room shortly to do those last few rows and cast on for the back half.

PS. I am inordinately proud of myself for coming up with that row of symbols and figuring out how to snag the HTML that centers my pictures so I could center it as well.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Good things that happened today.

I was rummaging around in the black bookcase in my room, and I discovered where my will and marriage certificate had gotten to; they'd slipped behind a magazine folder.


This is a photo of the two vest halves in progress, taken late Thursday night. As you can see, they are not quite the same size. The light green yarn, whose merino smoothness contrasts so nicely with the slightly more rustic dark green alpaca, is ever so slightly thinner. When I first cast on both halves, it looked as if they'd be equal in size. This disparity will only increase as each half approaches completion.

There are multiple solutions. I could cast on another light green half and use 000 needles, hoping that that would increase the half just enough, but not too much. I could cast on another dark green half using 00000 needles to tighten up the gauge and hope it would do the trick. One of my new Knit Picks yarns is almost exactly the same tone as the light green, and my experience with mixing the two yarns when I was knitting Avery's sweater suggests that the KP yarn might be just enough bigger in diameter that it would match the dark green.

I could block the heck out of the light green. I could block the dark green a little smaller than it's knitting up. I could use the black yarn that I found last night and knit a second half that would absolutely match the dark green in gauge (because it is the same yarn base) and also make it visually lighter in comparison.

Am I fussed about this? Not in the slightest. I cast on vest halves because I wanted to see what sort of gauge and fit I would get using laceweight. I haven't tried the fit as yet, because I haven't knit enough of either half to figure out what goes where, much less if it's too big, too little, or just right.

What else has gone right today, you ask? Drive-by fooding of the sister missionaries. Yes, I could have them in our home, but they don't have a car, and I don't want to subject either of them to the jump seat behind the passenger seat (where Fourthborn rides when there are three of us) because the sister missionaries are in dresses.

I have been thinking more and more about buying an inexpensive four-door car when I start drawing Beloved's SS next year. It would slow down my paying off of the mortgage, but I would once more have the flexibility of two working cars. And I could pick up the sister missionaries, or give Fourthborn a more comfortable perch when the three of us are out together.

Inspiration strikes in the most unlikely places. There was a lovely teenage girl at Costco this morning. A pair of white shorts peeked out under her long-ish T-shirt. The shorts had a lace hem. I complimented her, and she smiled. As I drove home I thought, Ms. Ravelled, you have that yard of vintage eyelet fabric at home, and you could probably make Justice a nice pair of bloomers with it.

Now I just need to figure out the "safe place" where I put my 10 to the inch graph paper. Because while I'm measuring her for bloomers, I might as well measure her for the sweater that is taking shape inside my head.

Gotta go. The yarn is calling, and I must obey.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Planning a deliberately quiet weekend.

The only items where I need to be someplace at a particular time, are feeding the sister missionaries, and going to church on Sunday. There will be a small Costco run in the morning, but once I'm home, it's back into jammies until late afternoon. And back into jammies again once I'm home.

I've spent an hour or so this evening rounding up my stash of laceweight yarn, sorting it roughly by color, and re-stashing it into clear plastic shoe boxes. Most of it was already stashed like that, but the colors were all jumbled. I am pleased with my efforts. And I am knackered. Looking forward to a good night's sleep and lots of happy knitting tomorrow.

Over and out, y'all.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

SemperFi took us to lunch today.

The reason? Celebrating my friend C's twenty-five years with the company. We went to a restaurant in the Bishop Arts District called Cretia's. The food and vibe are inspired by New Orleans. The service is leisurely. I've not had any of their desserts, because I usually take half my lunch back to the office for later. I had the crab cake salad (Ritz cracker crust, avocado, grapefruit, sweet corn, grape tomato and honey mustard dressing). It was amazing. I also burned 45 minutes of PTO beyond my allotted lunch break. But my desk was caught up, and the company was excellent.

Went to my Dallas knitting group after work and only stayed until a little before 7:00, because I was starving and didn't want to buy dinner somewhere.

Heading into my room to work on the doll vest and put my feet up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Riding a lucky streak.

Third really great day at work in a row. I'm sure that I wouldn't appreciate this nearly as much were it not for the frustration and overwhelm we were all feeling earlier this month.

Steady progress on the doll vest. Nothing worth picking up my phone and snapping a picture.

Looks like I'll be getting to bed much earlier than usual tonight. I'm not complaining. I love it when Brain and Body are on the same page.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Another really good day.

For which I'm immensely grateful. My Knit Picks order arrived, and I've ordered a wooden umbrella swift to replace my 33 year old plastic and metal one. I've made progress on the doll vest.

I was the only person who showed up for Knit Night, which on the one hand was a bummer, because I really like my knitting friends, and on the other gave me some much-needed solitude, fueled by tomato soup and a side of mac and cheese. I like Panera way better than our old venue, a cramped and noisy Starbucks across the freeway from where we're now meeting. I like Panera nearly as much as Bueno, and that's saying something.

I was mulling over how a long-term knitting project such as Avery's sweater is a pretty good metaphor for repentance and the Savior's Atonement. It's still bouncing around inside my head, but if it ever decides to come out and play, I'll share it.

Night, y'all. The yarn is calling.

Monday, July 17, 2017

An all-round good day.

All of the kids' appointments for the next two months are in my phone and on my calendar at work. The time off has been approved. I've made myself a couple of reminders for one thing and another.

The most recent order from FiniRibbon on Etsy arrived at the office today. It's gorgeous, as usual.

The vests continue to behave themselves. I'm 34 rows into the light green and 25 into the dark. I'm hoping to hit 37 or 40 before bedtime, but I am suddenly feeling very relaxed, and I may not make it that far. I'll play catch up on the dark half tomorrow.

I'm listening to 3 Nephi on my drive into work. I'm noticing how often the Savior repeats an idea three times to make sure that we get it. "How often would I gather you, how often have I gathered you, how often will I gather you." It reminded me that He called me at least three times before I cooperated.

When First Hubby and I had been married about a week, there was a knock on the door one Sunday morning. I was not exactly in a state to answer the door, so he did, and because he was raised to be polite, and to get the missionaries off our doorstep so we could return to the matter at hand, he said they could come back in a day or two and give us the first discussion.

I was mildly intrigued with their presentation, but he was not at all interested, and he told me I had to tell them not to come back. So I did.

The second time they showed up on our doorstep, we'd been married about a year and a half, and there was trouble in paradise. I'd gone back to school and picked up a nasty case of radical feminism. I think I was beginning to process the rape, which had happened a couple of years before, and I proceeded to inform the elders how misogynistic their church was, and I wanted none of it, and by the way, men stunk.

The third time was after my divorce from First Hubby. I was subsisting on morning coffee and evening alcohol, quitting a job that was the last thing a grieving divorcee should have been attempting (tax auditor trainee; those tax lawyers chewed me up and spit me out alive), and imploding emotionally. I made a plan and called my favorite professor to say goodbye. He was smart enough, or inspired enough, to realize that I wasn't contemplating a hike along the Appalachian Trail, and he quite literally saved my life.

The third time, I asked for the missionaries, and I was baptized by my professor, ten days after I'd called him to say goodbye. That was the summer Elton John's "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" was playing, and for me it means something entirely different than the story in the lyrics.

I thank Heaven, often, for sending the cavalry, for not giving up on me, and for helping me to make something of this life I've been given. My capacity to love has blossomed over the years. I have learned all sorts of neat things about how the world really works.

Still learning. Still loving. Still falling down and picking myself up. And hope to be doing so for many more years to come.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Yes, that's me, out on the porch at 11:30.

Spray-painting the B for Blessing's area. I also zapped the wasp's and hornet's nests with bug spray while I was at it.

It's been a very mellow day. Enough spoons to not simply attend all of my meetings, but enjoy them. I've made some progress on the dolly knitting. Working on both halves of the vest in order to avoid the equivalent of second sock syndrome.

Short nap, not particularly sleep-wrecking, but enough that I'm functional at nearly midnight while I wait for the last coat of paint to dry. I devoutly hope that I'm done, because Fourthborn would like to go to sleep, and I am killing time here at my computer desk, well within swatting range. Not that she would.

Middlest appears to be done with Ritalin-withdrawal, and the new ADD med seems to be doing its job. No doctor appointments this week, but a bunch of them next week, so I am going to enjoy the relatively quiet pace for as long as I can. It's great not to feel so unRavelled.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sock stash enhancement.

Three completed pairs, with their ends woven in. The stripedy ones had been lurking in the bottom of a knitting bag for several months. They are nowhere near as pink as they look in this photo.

They are gold, brown, and purple. I blame my red plaid sheets.

Sitting here eating a salad composed of 50/50 spring mix and spinach, julienne carrots, julienne extra sharp cheddar, organic blueberries, and one small shard of something that looks vaguely like carrot but has the consistency of a toothpick and tried to shank me in the cheek. It was trying to hide in the ranch dressing; nevertheless, I thwarted its evil plan.

This has been a rather weird day. Slept in until 7:00. That was wonderful, not weird. Middlest was awake. That was kind of weird. We agreed to leave the house at 9:00 so we could be at Costco when it opened at 9:30. (Also not weird.)

We were home, food put away, and ready for naps by noon. (Middlest didn't sleep well last night.) I sewed the last snap onto Avery's sweater and wove in the ends on one sock. I will neither confirm nor deny that I may have played a lot on my phone as well. By then it was 1:30, and I was falling asleep sitting up. I was figuring on a two hour nap and lots of crafting afterward. I slept for five and a half hours, got dressed again, ran to Hobby Lobby before they closed, then to Braums, Racetrac, and Bueno.

I smuggled a bean burrito into the house in my purse, carefully zipped so as not to mock Fourthborn, who has been craving TexMex since she had her kidney/gallstone attack, or to wake Middlest, who was trying to sleep off a migraine. A purse that zips shut is handy not just during rainstorms.

It is now nearly midnight, and I'm not the least bit sleepy. Time to finish this salad and knit until sleep overtakes me again.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Gall bladder eviction notice.

We have a surgery date (late August). Fourthborn has a refill on her Zofran. Doctor recommended an endoscopy after Fourthborn has healed from the surgery. I continue to be impressed by the warmth and professionalism of the people in her new healthcare system.

We grabbed dinner at El Chico. Fourthborn got tortilla soup minus the cheese and the avocado. I inhaled a bowl of queso with a larger bowl of chips. I'm having ginger cookies and buttermilk for dessert because I actually ate two or three small slices of jalapeno.

And I don't want it jalapeno business. Or mine.

The second green baby sock is done. I now have six baby socks whose ends need to be woven in. I did not add the last snap to Avery's sweater. I'll do that tomorrow when I'm rested. And I cast on for a Cat Bordhi vest pattern with 0000's and laceweight yarn. As I think I said last night, it will fit somebody in the resin crew.

Body wants sleep. Brain isn't putting up an argument. I love it when they play nicely.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Avery's sweater is finished. I think.

Middlest might want one more set of snaps on the lower back. I attached four sets at my Dallas knit night this evening.

Work was really, really good today. I had my mid-year performance review, and I've apparently recovered from the lack-of-focus episodes that happened in first quarter. Office manager is pleased. I'm pleased. And so relieved. We discussed a concern I've had since then, and she reassured me on that account.

I'm so sleepy that I'm not making sense, even to myself, so I guess I'm done for the night.

Middlest says one more set of snaps, please. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll sew them tomorrow, it's only a day away.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Procrastiknitting.

Because I don't want to sew on a flobbity-jillion half a dozen or so 4-0 snaps onto the back of Avery's sweater. I'm nearly done with the second green baby sock, and I've been fantasizing about designing socks for Justice and wondering what sort of sweater would be both practical and feminine for a crossbow-wielding woman.

Work has been almost unadulterated joy this week. I'm on top of the incoming mail, the outgoing mail, my ToDo's, and my attorneys' calendars. This is what work is supposed to feel like. One of the secretaries is being promoted to paralegal (which is what she did at her prior job, but there were no paralegal slots when she was hired here). This leaves us with two secretarial openings, and we have two strong candidates to fill those slots. I'm hoping that the office manager is able to hire one in particular of the four candidates for receptionist that she interviewed a couple of weeks ago. Basically, I just want to wave my nonexistent magic wand and fill all of the slots with people we like as well as the folks who already work here, so all of us can have the kind of days I've been enjoying this week.

Of course, I wouldn't enjoy this week nearly as much if I hadn't had the past two weeks for comparison.

Right. Snaps. I'm on it.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Do you see what I see?

When I took this last Thursday night, I was worn to a frazzle and headed to knit night to maybe, possibly recharge a little.

Clouds were gathering for a storm, but every so often there was a brilliant bit of white peeking out from behind the darker layers. This is what I tried to capture as I was sitting at stoplights.

This one popped up behind the neighborhood ER at Skillman and Mockingbird.

This was at the same intersection, a little to the left (that building in the lower right corner is the western edge of the building in the picture above).

Various phrases popped into my head. "And I, God, said: Let there be light; and there was light." "There is hope smiling brightly before us, and we know that deliverance is night." For me, that brilliant white light shining off the clouds was a reminder of hope. And that if I just hung on awhile longer, the incredible pressure we'd all been under at work would ease up, and I would feel competent again instead of massively overwhelmed. And that God was mindful of me.

Because for the greater part of that day, I had two songs looping in my head:



And this:


Knitting helped. It almost always does. And when I got to work on Friday, the office manager said that if any of us wanted to work some OT to catch up, it had been approved. I left my desk on Saturday afternoon feeling back in control of that particular batch of spinning plates.

After the trial of your faith (and your patience) come the blessings.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Avery's sweater is done.

All that remains is to sew the grosgrain and snaps onto the back edges.


He looks rather pleased. If you're a knit-geek like me and want to see how I figured out the blocking, here you go.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Approaching the finish line on Avery's sweater.

I finished the second shoulder at knit night tonight and picked up the stitches for the neck ribbing. Still need to graft the underarm stitches on the second sleeve.

Work was frustrating. I wanted to knit as much as possible before taking Middlest to the doctor, so I postponed my shower until we were done with that and taking the new Rx to the pharmacist. It was after 11:00 when I got to the office, which I realize is entirely due to my wanting to knit, and I had the requisite hour at switchboard. That left very little time to do the stuff that keeps me in yarn and chocolate.

We will have all but one of our admins back at work tomorrow, and the secretary who has been out after surgery will return on Monday. Maybe then my workflow will resume some semblance of normality.

Meanwhile, I'm feeling uncharacteristically unproductive. At least at the office. And a little crabby about it. I should go knit until the feeling passes.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Not much to see here tonight.

Had a decent day at work. Not only did I repeat my inspired move to roll my chair to the front desk for my assigned hour, then roll it back, but I exercised a bit of subversion and tweaked the resolution of the monitors to make them friendly for well-seasoned eyes.

There was knitting progress. I just completed another pattern on the second half of the yoke of Avery's sweater. There's a good chance that I might finish it at or after knit night tomorrow. (I don't know why I capitalize Tuesday's knitting group but not Thursday's. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little [knitters].)

Middlest has the monthly checkup tomorrow morning, which will guarantee at least a little extra knitting time.

We had some pretty spectacular thunder and lightning earlier tonight. I sat up in my bed and knitted and smiled. Body is ready to sleep. Brain has other ideas. Could get interesting.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Much fun today!

Progress on Avery's sweater. Cooking for LittleBit and her fiance, plus Middlest and Fourthborn.

Pre-dinner-party, Middlest polished off the last of the shredding, and Fourthborn helped me gather the ingredients.

I have to be in the mood to cook. I was in the mood today. It was fun.

My problem ankle is a little swollen, but it is not hot and inflamed. It's a cool mess, not a hot mess, and for that I am thankful.

This is the part where I take my meds and call it a day. I rather wish that I could take another day off, but it's only three more days until the weekend.

Monday, July 03, 2017

So we met the fiance.

And while we were all on our best behavior, initial impressions (at least on our end) were cautiously favorable. I think I unnerved him more than a little when he said, politely, "I've heard a lot about you," and I doubled over in peals of laughter. Middlest had to explain that every one of us worked really hard to establish a healthy relationship (parent to adult child) as each of the kids grew up.

They're coming back for dinner tomorrow night. And he said, after the fireworks display was over (I'm not being metaphorical here), "Oh wow. We have to get the moms together. That's scary."

Pretty sure I'm going to like her.

And it's past my bedtime, so I'm posting this and going to bed. Because my words are coming out all sideways.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Mawwidge.

It's what brought a whole lot of us together last night.

The little stickers say "Operation Dallas Storm" ~ his nickname for all the wedding preparations.

His family is Lebanese-American. Her family is Sons of the American Revolution. Appetizers included hummus, guacamole, and patriotic tortilla chips.

Dinner was a further melding of two cultures.


That bottom line reads classic King Ranch Chicken Martinis. (They served the traditional chicken casserole in martini glasses.)

Had the best conversation last night with a couple from his side of the family. We bonded over food and grandchildren.

Friday, June 30, 2017

How soon we forget.

Today I spent three hours backing up switchboard, between two separate turns. When I left the office, my ankles were swollen like nobody's business, and the remainder of my body was demanding a sit-down dinner prepared by someone else, with knitting and an early bedtime for dessert.

So I went to my favorite steakhouse, where I had the petite filet, a small Caesar salad (I stabbed it a lot), and a baked sweet potato with regular butter and not their trademark sweetened/spiced jollop. I polished off the steak and brought home half or more of the sweet potato and a few bites of salad. I've been trying to remember to force fluids, but mostly I've been knitting. The first shoulder is done on Avery's sweater.

I think I will be sleeping a lot tomorrow. I'll be attending SemperFi's older daughter's wedding tomorrow night and then the reception, but after we get home from picking up our quilt blocks in the morning, I'll probably go back to bed for awhile.

I don't know how I flourished for so many years as the receptionist in our office. This week I've been fighting minuscule fonts on monitors that are not mine to tweak, and depending upon others to show up to relieve me when my turn is over, so I may relieve myself. I don't miss that part of the job in the slightest. We've been down to two admin all week, from our normal six, and all of the secretaries and some of the paralegals have been covering switchboard.

There will be more of the same next week, but at least it's only a four-day week.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Curating

Last night I sent an email with that picture of Celeste in her new chair with the harp, to the artisan who created the chair. She replied, "Thanks [for letting me know the package arrived safely and] for the photo. Wow. The harp is wonderful and the gorgeous dress is perfect with the chair. Excellent curating. Thanks for letting me be a part of it."

I read that at lunchtime, so of course I had to google "curating" and this is what I got. I'd never thought of what I do in such glamorous terms. If I label it at all, it's more like "accessorizing" ~ and it's a gift from Heaven that I've worked on over the years. It's why I prefer separates to dresses or suits. I can put the bits together every which way. Different scarf. Different earrings. Different something to keep my hair out of my eyes. Does this go with that? Woohoo, it does!

I'd like to be in bed by 11:00, so I'm going to curate myself down the hall and finish clearing off the bed.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Doll chair hath arriven.

If you want to see pictures of the chair, Celeste in the chair, and/or Celeste in the chair with her harp, click on this. Knit did not happen at work today, but I did bang out notes for the sisters on my VT route, dash to the Post Office after work for second-ounce stamps, and get them all in the mail. I even remembered to report to my VT supervisor and the VT coordinator just now. I didn't appreciate how important "return and report" was until I was first, the VT coordinator in my Fort Worth ward and then, the Relief Society president.

Knit is about to happen, but first I need to figure out something for dinner. I am feeling ravenous and more impatient than usual. Weird food combo, coming right up.

Have I mentioned any time in the last week that LittleBit is engaged? We haven't met him yet. I texted her today asking when do I get to meet him, and she replied that I already have. He used to walk her to school in fifth grade.

I asked if he was the kid who blacked her eye, or if that was somebody else. Crickets.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Good report cards at the dentist's today.

Well, at least for Middlest and me. Fourthborn has one small cavity and two small "dimples" that Wonderful Dentist wants to fill before they turn into actual cavities.

We finished up too late to run back to my office to pick up Celeste's chair, which was out for delivery when I left to pick up the kids for fun and games at the dentist's. I was not in the mood to deal with the security code for our suite, so I'll just wait until I get to work tomorrow and try to remain productive until it's time to leave for the day.

More progress on Avery's sweater while waiting for Middlest and Fourthborn to get their teeth cleaned. I'm going to try to finish this half of the yoke and shoulder before bedtime.

Cue the peppy music. Later, gators!

Monday, June 26, 2017

In which your intrepid heroine learns the proper spelling of "capice"[sic].

I've been spelling it that way forever. Thank you, Tan, for politely setting me straight.

Here are the first eight rows of pattern on the yoke of Avery's sweater.

That's all I've got for you tonight. Be good, and remember Whose you are.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Yankee Doodle went to London...

That was displayed prominently on a wall at Tia Dana, the newest yarn shop (that I know of) in Fort Worth. I may need to type this up and print it in doll scale.

SemperFi has been in London for a week. He brought this back for me:

English toffee. If I'd had a quart of milk handy, I would have polished off the entire tin. Thankfully, I did not.

Saw this in a different yarn shop yesterday. Tiny knitting needles made from toothpicks and beads

Might need to replicate it, but with better-fitting beads.

Night, y'all. Avery's sweater is calling my name.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

This lane is my lane.


This lane's not your lane.
Get out of my lane,
and into your lane.

(With no apologies whatsoever to Woody Guthrie. If he were still mortal and had to drive Central Expressway, it would have its very own folk song. And possibly a double-platinum album.) Did a lot of driving today. Fourthborn came up with a lot of musical quips as soundtrack.

We had a great, incredibly productive day.

And we are both peopled-out.

And there is yarn.

And Middlest got Justice's new eyes put in while we were out.

And the plumber discovered that not only the P-trap was holey, so was the sink. We have a new, inexpensive sink, because I didn't have the time or the synapses to figure out how to remodel the guest loo while we were shuttling from one place to another. The new sink is not-ugly. Nor is the [shudder] chrome faucet. Both will last until I'm ready to put in the gorgeous vessel sink that I bought last year.

I got a lot of knitting done on Avery's second sleeve while we were out and about today. Enough that there's a decent chance I will finish it at knit night tomorrow night. (I don't know why I capitalize the Tuesday knitting group but generally not the Thursday one.)

Pictures maybe tomorrow night. Middlest took some great ones, and I'm not sure how to get them out of text and IM and into a post.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I meant to post this yesterday.

Part of my duty as ward sacrament meeting chorister is to deliver the proposed music to the bishopric and the person in charge of printing the bulletin for Sunday. We've had a dear woman serving in that capacity since I moved into the ward five and a half years ago. She was recently released in order to accept another calling. Various brethren are taking turns being in charge of the bulletin. I'm updating my distribution list every two or three weeks it seems.

I sent out the music through the first Sunday in July a week or two ago. Then I was informed that the Relief Society is singing a special number next Sunday. I updated my spreadsheet and sent a revised email to the current list of usual suspects.

Yesterday I got an email from a member of the bishopric, saying that there had maybe been some wires crossed, because the Young Women were supposedly singing a song they'd learned at Girls Camp. Could we have both groups sing?

This was my (somewhat irreverent) response: "Why don't we let the RS and the YW thumb wrestle? I don't have a dog in this hunt. I just need to know who's singing what, when, so we don't sing the same things over and over and over again, and so that whoever is in charge of the program** has the latest and greatest information. Let me know what y'all, or the sisters, decide so I may update my spreadsheet accordingly. Thanks!"

Yeah. I did. The good brother in the bishopric responded an hour or so later that another member of the bishopric said that the YW were not prepared to sing, so let's just leave it with the RS.

To which I replied: OK, thanks!

**The reason I am sharing this is because I swyped my response on my phone. I love swype. Except every so often it offers a guess that is nowhere near what I thought I was typing. In this case, it thought "program" was "org@sm". I'm really glad that I proofread my emails before sending them!!!

When I shared this with my kids, Fourthborn quipped, "Well, music is supposed to make you happy!"

Middlest retorted, "I love music, and it's never made me that happy!"

Monday, June 19, 2017

A seriously weird day.

So, SemperFi is out of the country until Thursday. When I got to work today, there was an email from TheKid saying he was taking two days of PTO. I sent out several pieces of mail he'd signed over the weekend. I worked Saturday's mail. I worked my inbox. I worked their calendars. I worked my ToDo's. I asked the IT guru if she had anything I could help with. And then I sent out my usual "will type for food" email to the other secretaries. The office manager replied with a task that required maybe 45 minutes. I ate my lunch. And then I posted a copy of this sign on either side of my cubicle.


After which I pulled out my phone and finished reading the book on anxiety with a clear conscience. Our office is remarkably free from busybodies, but in case somebody came by and saw me not-working, they couldn't miss my signs.

After work I hit Costco for gas and a few groceries. I've been hanging out with my kids here in the living room, and I need to make a dash to Braum's for milk, buttermilk, and orange juice.

Thankfully, even if there's nothing much to do at work tomorrow, it's a short day for me. I'm leaving at 3:30 to scoop up Fourthborn, my CPAP, and an overnight bag. We have important stuff to do in Arlington and Fort Worth on Wednesday, so I'm taking Fourthborn home after Knit Night, and I'm crashing at Firstborn's.

Living la vida loca, that's me.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Crafting today.

I made a floor cushion for Blessing and a sign which reads Do not feed the Alchemist!

I've also woven in all those straggly ends on Avery's sweater sleeve and added maybe an inch to the length. It feels good to making progress again.

In order to rearrange the top of the dresser where Blessing hangs out, I removed my radio alarm, the white noise machine, the electric pencil sharpener, and a couple of wooden boxes. After dusting the dresser, I added another placemat as area rug, seated Blessing on her pillow, and found a place for the clipboard with the sign and a new spot for her breakfast tray. While shuffling things around to be able to get at the wall outlet, I discovered a bag of books from a few months ago, when I was collecting miniature books for the alchemist's bookcase, as well as two books on how to use a serger.

No, I haven't bought a serger to replace the one I inherited from Mom which I gave to Fourthborn. Yet. But it's on my radar.

This has been a lovely Sabbath. I had enough spoons to attend all three hours of church. I had enough spoons to be engaged in the lessons and the sacrament meeting talks. I've had enough spoons throughout the day that I've been able to avoid a sleep-wrecking nap.

I need to go back into my room and finish putting away all the stuff that got shuffled around, because most of it is on my bed, specifically in the part where I do my PT and catch my Z's. That's kinda important.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sari Ribbon


It followed me home. I'm keeping it.

Today I took it with me to Fabrique, an upscale fabric shop which I learned to my dismay is closing because its owner is retiring. I did find some lovely stuff that tones nicely with the ribbon, although you'd never guess it from these photos.


Another picture, this time with some feathered trim that I could not resist. I have no idea how I'll use it, but it called my name.


It's late, and I've not knitted or sewn or anything. I have time to fix that before the Sabbath or bedtime, whichever comes first.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Cooking up trouble.

Specifically, baking a dozen brownies in muffin cups to take to my friend Beth's house tomorrow morning (after helping to clean the chapel) to be bagged up as Father's Day gifts to the brethren in our ward.

I substituted a third of a cup of buttermilk for the water and stirred in half a teaspoon of cinnamon. I guessed that 25 minutes would be enough, but they need more, so I'm trying another ten and hoping that I don't overbake them. We have a great bunch of men in our ward. I would hate to contribute defective brownies.

Yes, I am helping to clean the building tomorrow morning. Now that we have only two wards sharing the building, our turn comes every other month instead of quarterly. So I've set myself multiple alarms on my phone (because of that time I utterly forgot) over the past two days, and I've set my morning alarm, and I'm just waiting for the brownies to be out so that I may exercise, take another stab at meditation (I crack myself up) and call it a day.

Once I'm done at the church and have handed off the brownies, I think it will be safe to jump back into my jammies and spend the rest of the day crafting. Or napping. Or both.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Two day old bruise.

Remember how on Tuesday I said this? I also nearly dropped a half-full jar of mango marmalade while making my PBJ for dinner tonight, and in the effort to keep hold of the jar, I torqued my neck and back. I also smacked my wrist with the jar. I only noticed the bruise today. I don't know if that means it's already starting to fade, as witnessed by the lovely green orbiting the center, or if it's waxing Technicolor on me.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to take a picture one-handed? (Yeah, you probably do.)

In other news, I paid the last bit on doll #17. I've had all the money sitting in my primary account, but I couldn't remember if there is a daily limit on PayPal, and I was always so tired when I made the payments that I didn't have any desire to find out for sure. At any rate, he's paid for and should be here in approximately three months, weather permitting. Monsoon + resin = lousy batch. I have no idea when monsoon season is in Korea. And it's not like I don't have plenty of resin kids to play with until Valor gets here.

In knitting news, I've finished the heel flap on the second green baby sock. I've also made a design decision on the sleeves of Avery's sweater. I'm going to reverse the Fair Isle pattern until I get to the armscye and figure it out from there.

I've been to Knit Night 2.0, Costco, Half Price Books, Kroger, all since leaving work at 5:00. I am more than ready for meds and a light snack, meditation, prayers, and sleep. Later, gators.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Phone is pouting in the charger.

Bra is pouting on my bed. I was sitting in a meeting this morning and realized that there was a sore spot on my side under my left arm. There were no guys in the meeting, so I discreetly reached up while everyone was focused on data projected onto a screen and discovered that the side stay had chewed its way out of the channel and was looking for lunch.

I can do a little minor surgery on that hole in the binding until new bras arrive. I hate shopping for bras. Manufacturers think that if you have a wide band, you have breasts that require their own ZIP code. And as Gershwin wrote, it ain't necessarily so.

What I want is a front-fastening bra with back support, straps that don't slide off my shoulders or creep into my neckline in front, adequate lift, and separation without underwires. I think I'm just about over underwires. I've worn them for 45 years, first to scrape everything out from behind my shoulder blades and move it up front, then to wrangle the aftereffects of having nursed five children, with the additional complication of weight loss, weight gain, weight loss, weight gain, weight loss ... you get the drift. (And I've never been a yo-yo dieter.)

My skin is old-lady soft and a little fragile. I will not look 25 again until I get my resurrected body. I have more little rolls than a French bakery, and I'm tired of extenders in the back that accentuate the tendency of shoulder straps to head for my elbows, and I'm tired of pooching out beneath my bra band and spilling over the sides at the top. Underwires either break or escape over time, and soft-cup bras create a shelf or allow the girls to slump like a fallen souffle. Neither of which is the look I'm aiming for.

There has got to be a better system than the brassiere. One that allows aging bodies a modicum of grace and respect for their battle scars.

Mumble mumble rassen frassen. I'm gonna go knit. And once my phone has stopped pouting, I'll see how much meditation I can manage tonight.

Postscript: I had dinner tonight with one of the sisters I send visiting teaching letters to every month. We ate Mediterranean food, which you would think would have mellowed me somewhat. Hummus is definitely my happy place. She said that I looked great, very relaxed. I told her "anti-anxiety meds and a muscle relaxer". She didn't know quite what to say.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Day Two

I felt slightly less silly this evening, and I made it through ten minutes and 32 seconds of breathing, followed by a session in which I was supposed to experience what was going on in my body from crown of head to tip of toe. (Gas, twitching, and the random mild ache. I didn't need meditation to tell me that.)

In knitting news, I'm approaching the heel flap on the second baby sock, and I've done nothing on Avery's sweater since Sunday night.

Nor have I quilted, but I've been faithful at doing the basics of my PT homework at least once a day. So that's something.

I also nearly dropped a half-full jar of mango marmalade while making my PBJ for dinner tonight, and in the effort to keep hold of the jar, I torqued my neck and back. Not badly (I hope) but dishearteningly.

If I'm already anticipating my resurrected body at my current age, I can only imagine how sweet the anticipation will be in another 30 years.

Work went well. I'm going to take my meds, maybe use the thumper on my back and neck, and call it a day.

Monday, June 12, 2017

In which your intrepid heroine attempts meditation.

Stop snickering.

One of the hazards of reading a book on your phone is that the phone narcs on you. The author recently mentioned various apps that help some folks to decrease their stress and manage their anxiety. So my Facebook feed offered one of those apps to me today, and I downloaded it.

After I got home from Trader Joe's and Costco, and Fourthborn and I had stowed the groceries, and I'd eaten some leftovers and put a small load into the washing machine, I decided to fire up the app. The first option it gave me was "breathing." OK. Breathing is good. I'm a big fan of breathing.

The app presented me with a circle like a clock face without hands; it instructed me to inhale deeply as a dot went from high noon to approximately 5:00, hold my breath until approximately 7:00, and exhale deeply while the dot climbed up towards 12:00. After about two and a half minutes of this I got bored, put the app on pause, and saw that it wanted me to breathe for another seven and a half minutes.

Not without some knitting in my hands, bossy little app. Which I'm sure would have defeated the purpose.

So I poked around a little and found the meditation section. There's a one-week beginner's program, and I managed to stay engaged for the entire twelve minutes of Day One. It feels a little weird ~ OK, a lot weird ~ to pay that much attention to my breath. Tracing it in through my nostrils, down the back of my throat, into my windpipe, feeling it quickly warm until I can't feel anything except an urgency to get rid of it now and inhale a fresh batch of cool air. I did that for twelve whole minutes. Just me and my lungs and Soothing Female Voice.

We have a date for tomorrow night. I can't say that I'm any more relaxed than I was when I sat down, but the incessant chatter in my head made itself scarce for the duration. We count all the small victories.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

♪On my phone, I'm in the lane beside me♪

(Blog post title courtesy of Fourthborn.) A car in front of us drifted to one side, and the car in the next lane over took exception to that. There is hardly anything that we can't find a musical phrase for, or something that will lend itself nicely to parody.

Fourthborn, yes, ALT-13 works here as well as in other applications (to create that single musical note). Does anyone else know how to arrive at the double note?

I learn stuff from my kids every day.

I spent a good chunk of yesterday sleeping. The upside was that I had abundant energy and a pain-free body for church today and was able to enjoy all three hours of the block meeting. The downside is that very, very little got done: one load of laundry, the dishwasher loaded and run, drive-by fooding of our missionary sisters, and a quick trip to Half Price Books to pick up a reserved copy of The Hidden Life of Trees, which I took off my wishlist at Amazon earlier today. The most creative thing I did was to press all the fabric I've been unearthing for the past few days with an eye toward making a skirt (or tabard, or something) for Justice, the doll I've re-homed from Fourthborn.

I am continuing to read, enjoy, and learn from On Edge, Andrea Patterson's account of her struggle with anxiety. She writes beautifully, and I hope to learn a few tricks that could eventually enable me to manage my own without the Lexapro. I've already learned that I'm not ready to step down my muscle relaxer. Both may have to wait until I've retired. Or I may be on some variation of both until I kick. But at least I'm getting a feel for what's going on in my body/mind/spirit. And why.

I also realized something this morning. For most of my life, I have read fiction. I still love it. There is nothing like escaping into another world for a few hours, seeing how others resolve their problems and grow in character, and coming back into the real world better for the adventure. I certainly enjoyed reading three series of young adult novels written by Rick Riordan last year! But now? Now I seem to be drawn more to non-fiction, which would have been incomprehensible to my younger self.

There's a biography of Gordon B. Hinckley, which admittedly I haven't touched in months, but it's there if and when I want to, a doctrinal book by Elder Bednar, both of which have been joined by the tree book, and I picked up another coloring book last night.

Dinner's over. (Yes, I do my best eating while at the keyboard. Don't you?) Middlest has a migraine, Fourthborn is watching something and playing something, and I think I'll go knit for awhile.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saw Wonder Woman with my kids.

When we got to the theatre a little before 8:00 to buy tickets for the 9:05 show, everything was sold out except for the two rows right in front of the screen. I did not want to spend two hours and twenty-one minutes staring up Wonder Woman's nostrils. So we got tickets for the 9:50 showing and walked to the other side of Half Price Books, where there was a taco shop that sounded intriguing.

Taco Joint. We were able to get some tortilla soup for Fourthborn (minus the avocado) and to determine that there was no cilantro in the soup, so Middlest had a bowl as well (with the avocado). I had the best queso and chips I've eaten in the last five years, and possibly in my life. One of those times when I wished that I had a hollow tongue like a butterfly, because there were a few stubborn drops of queso that refused to be scooped up.

It is now nearly 1:30, and I haven't had my 10:00 meds, and I'm not sleepy (although I am tired).

Also, I bought another doll. A boy. Steadfast will be so happy. Right now he's outnumbered fifteen to one.

Over and sorta out.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Fun at Knit Night 2.0

I put a couple of rounds done on the baby sock. And I've nearly caught up the third sleeve on Avery's sweater to where the second (improved) sleeve ended.

I came home to find a happy financial surprise (instead of the other kind). A windfall, of sorts. I've already planned boring responsible things to do with most of it, but there will be a bit of a splash as well.

Beginning, if the three of us have sufficient oomph when I get off work tomorrow, with going to see "Wonder Woman."

I've officially graduated from physical therapy and have the T-shirt to prove it. I got it a size larger so I may use it as a sleep shirt.

Now if you will all kindly excuse me, I want to pull the green fabrics out of the bargain kits that I bought last Saturday, in preparation of preshrinking them once Middlest is out of the shower.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The June quilt blocks are done.

And pressed, and folded, and inserted into their Ziploc bags until the first Saturday in July.

I then went into my stash and pulled out all of my green Thimbleberries scraps and remnants. They are piled on the flat extension of my sewing machine, looking forlorn and a little confused as to why they are seeing the light of day after a dozen or so years in purdah. In another shoebox were three bags containing 100 four-inch squares each, dating back to 2000. I pulled all of the plausible greens out of them, and they are soaking in the bathroom sink. I'll go in after I post this, wring them out one by one, and hang them to dry overnight. Tomorrow night or Friday night I'll pull all of the greens out of the eight discounted kits that I bought last Saturday and preshrink them. And then I think I can start piecing a skirt together.

I was stuck in traffic for quite awhile after work tonight, so there are several more rounds on the second green baby sock. I'm going to add another pattern band to Avery's sleeve before calling it a night.

I added another Pandora station tonight, starting with Piano Guys, adding Helen Jane Long, Dallas String Quartet, 2 Cellos, and thumbing-up anyone else who sounded as if they belonged to this bunch.

Dinner was small and simple: a bowl of Fage, mango salsa, and rinsed black beans, scooped up with relatively low-sodium tortilla chips. This makes up for the gourmet grilled cheese sandwich I enjoyed for lunch: two kinds of cheese on sourdough bread, grilled onions, avocado, bacon, tomato, and apricot mayonnaise. I asked her how she made that, so I could try it at home. I'm thinking it would be heavenly (and far less caloric) if mixed with Fage.

Later, gators. I want to knit, and I want to read, and I should have taken my meds 12 minutes ago and and and.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

As I suspected, a very long day.

Did a slightly shortened version of my PT routine today, then took Middlest for the monthly checkup. From there to the pharmacy in Wylie for a refill of the Ritalin, after which I dropped Middlest off at Squishy's. Squishy had already picked up Fourthborn.

I came home, quickly updated my spreadsheets, hung a small picture of Beloved and Squishy in the doll area in my room, took my shower, and went to work. Was feeling a little anxious, so my first stop once I'd parked the Tardis was the deli, for three chocolate chip cookies and a pint of milk.

Got lots done in a little over half a day of work and dithered over whether to go to Knit Night or just come home and make a blanket fort. When it was time to decide, I turned right and headed for Grand Prairie. Ate most of my dinner (soup and salad) with my phone turned off and while reading the current issue of The Ensign. My friends started arriving, so I put the magazine away and enjoyed some great conversations.

It's nearly 11:30. My stomach has settled. I'm going to bed, knackered but content.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Not much to see here.

Work went well. SemperFi took me to lunch today to celebrate 18 years with the company. My friend C came along because we like her, and because we are both careful to avoid the appearance of evil. I told him I wanted a big salad at the Rodeo Bar and Grill, a restaurant owned by Walt Garrison, a famous rodeo cowboy and former Dallas Cowboy, set in a corner of the Adolphus Hotel in downtown Dallas. It's a few blocks from my office, just at the edge of my comfort zone for walking. I had a Southwest salad, substituting ranch for a cumin dressing because cumin, ugh! and managed to eat about three-fourths of it in the restaurant and the rest of it at my desk while getting the mail out for SemperFi and TheKid.

After work I drove through drizzle and surprisingly thoughtful traffic to Costco and then to Braum's and the pharmacy. I have a refill of my Robaxin, and in 16 minutes I will take it. With any luck I'll be asleep well before 11:00. Tomorrow's going to be a long day: PT for me, monthly checkup for Middlest, trek to the pharmacy in Wylie for a refill of Middlest's Ritalin, drop Middlest at home or at Squishy's, and go to work to play grownup all day.

Plus, tomorrow is Tuesday, and Tuesday is Knit Night, and I haven't been for a couple of weeks, and I miss my friends.

The kids were wonderful and schlepped all of the recycling out to the bin while I was at work today.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

A bit of sewing today.

I got all of the block components put together some before church and the rest of them before and after my nap.

All that remains is to sew the components together and pop both blocks back into the bags the kits came in. The finished blocks will be a bit more colorful than this; the light in my studio leaves something to be desired. (As does the organization of my tabletop.)

Then, since there will be no last-minute rush to assemble the June blocks in time to pick up the July blocks, I will be free to work on other projects. I'm designing a doll skirt in my head. There may be some Seminole piecing. We shall see. I am contemplating the purchase of a basic serger sometime after I finish the quilt and Avery's sweater. I would have time to take a bonehead beginner's class. I inherited Mom's serger when she passed, but I gave it to Fourthborn, and I wouldn't dream of taking it back.

It's been an uneventful Sunday. I went home after sacrament meeting, because my back was twitching slightly, and my arms kept tingling and trying to go to sleep while I sat on the stand between gettng up to conduct the hymns. I figured it was my body's way of telling me that I should come home and go back to bed, so I did.

I have zero desire to work on the quilt blocks any more tonight, so I think I will go work on Avery's sweater for a bit, read a little more, and call it a day. I'm hoping that my Robaxin gets filled while I'm at work tomorrow and that I can resume taking it tomorrow night. I've done hardly anything today, and there's a little buzz under my left shoulder blade, and I want it to go away.


Saturday, June 03, 2017

Blocks. And not necessarily more blocks.

Fabric preshrunk and drying for the next blocks.

As I write, all of the pieces are cut out, and I've begun to sew the flying geese components. My shoulder blades started to tingle, so I pressed what I'd done, marked diagonal lines on the next series of squares, and turned off everything in my studio.

I figured it was my body telling me (A) the table has become too high to work comfortably ~ although I didn't have this problem when I was sewing into the wee hours this morning ~ or (B) I needed to stop crafting and get myself something to eat.

So what have I done instead? Posted pictures on the doll blog of the quilt block kits from last year's two series quilts that I picked up for $1.50 each because they'd been unclaimed and the shop wanted to make room for more stuff. Why the doll blog? Because they are going to become doll clothing and maybe some doll-scale accessories (or even a quilt).

But now my stomach is rumbling. I'd probably better get serious about sending down some fuel.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I set myself a goal.

A modest one, but a goal nonetheless. The quilt on which I am working my fingers to the bone is composed of thirty-six blocks in jewel tones with a one-inch wide border and sashing of pale but saturated yellow, and then a wider border in bright teal green to finish it off. The two long borders and the shorter one at the top are all quilted. The bottom border is twice the depth of the others.

I quilted the inner edge of the yellow border as each block was completed. I quilted the outer edge of three sides of that border as I quilted the teal. Yesterday and this morning I turned the remaining two corners of the yellow border, and tonight I finished off that line of stitching.

My left forefinger and middle finger are sore and crabby. There is a small divot in each that would bleed if I were not giving both of them the Mom Look. The quilt is put away for the night, and tomorrow morning I will aim to quilt one small motif before leaving for PT. I don't plan on touching the quilt again until Friday morning. I'm hoping that two days of quilting-lite will be enough to heal my fingers so I can make significant progress on Saturday.

Tomorrow is primarily for knitting. I am hoping to have enough "spoons" to go to the Dallas knit night after work and to stay there until the owners kick us out.

Work went well today. I had rather more emails waiting for me than I would have liked, but in the course of the day I got them all wrangled as well as my ToDo's. Tomorrow I will catch up the mail. The best and funniest thing that happened was that SemperFi got a call from our client, who was due to be deposed in our office. Her babysitter had bailed, so she would be bringing her infant to the deposition. SemperFi was as close to in a panic as I can imagine him being. His paralegal and I were snickering. I told him I was available for grandma duty if need be.

That was until I met the mom and the baby, both of whom were lovely. And ill. I smiled, flirted with the baby, and beat a strategic retreat, telling her that I have a kid at home who is immuno-compromised.

I asked him later how the depo had gone (i.e., if the baby had behaved). He said it went well, except when he told the mom to raise her right hand and swear to tell the truth, the baby raised both hands and smiled. I told him we were all looking forward to when he has a cute little granddaughter and turns into a pile of mush.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Another marginally productive day.

It's 7:39 as I sit down to write, and I have about two and a half hours in which I may eat. I just finished uploading a month and a half's worth of medical bills for reimbursement. I had to photograph some of the receipts two or more times. This was after I couldn't log on, on my phone, so I came over here to log on to the mother ship and discovered that the system has upgraded since I last submitted receipts, and they have a fancy-schmancy authentication system. Which is why the app on my phone was telling me my password was wrong, when I knew darn good and well that it wasn't. Upgraded my password, created a PIN number, and was able to log onto the app. An hour to an hour and a half later, I think I finally made them happy. When the reimbursement is deposited, that will make my credit card balance happy. Meanwhile, I am tired and still a little frustrated and somewhat hungry and wondering what I can eat that will be healthy and stick with me until after I've peed in a cup and given blood tomorrow. I will be heading for IHOP about fifteen seconds after they slap that bandage on my elbow. I've actually gotten some quilting done and will do more before I go to bed. I have no solid idea of how I want to quilt the extra-wide border at the bottom of the quilt. There are a couple of images rattling around in my head, but mostly what I'm processing is, food! now! without any hints as to what my body wants, other than a pint of ice cream, which it's not getting. Because that would require my getting out of the pajamas I've been wearing all day.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

I've also posted this to the doll blog, but since this is knitting...

It feels really good to have this part done. I'll be back at work on the sleeves in the near future.

My talk in church was lots of fun. I used two pages from the Bible Dictionary, three General Conference addresses, and my own experiences. I knew when I left for church that I only had enough oomph for sacrament meeting, so I hugged various people after the meeting, came home, ate a simple lunch, got in my jammies, and took a nap.

Feeling gently tired. Middlest and Fourthborn are watching Mama Mia. I love it but am not in the mood. So I'll have a small snack, take my meds, and call it a day.

Looking forward to a quietly productive day tomorrow.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Strange little day.

Today has been a weird one. Woke up a bit before the alarm would normally go off, grabbed my morning meds, did my PT homework, fixed a healthy breakfast, ate it, knitted one row on Avery's sweater while listening to the Book of Mormon on my phone, finished the chapter and paused my phone, and promptly fell asleep sitting bolt upright.

Whined a little about that on Facebook, went back to bed and slept another three hours. Got up, made a PBJ, washed it down with buttermilk, and got dressed sufficiently to make a run to Kroger and Costco. Schlepped the groceries to the front porch. Fourthborn brought them in. Middlest put them away. I headed for the shower, because it was hot and humid and icky out there.

I got another row onto Avery's sweater and measured it. I think six more rows, maybe seven, will get me to the stopping point.

Have I quilted? Nope. Have I finished my talk for church tomorrow? Nope, but I have made notes and read all of the Conference talks I printed out. I have been so oh-look-shiny today. I could tell you how to craft a bow for an MSD, given the proper raw materials. (I've downloaded the pattern.)

My muscle relaxer has kicked in. I think I can post this before falling asleep.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Fun with SemperFi (and others)

We were encouraged to wear red white and blue to work today, in honor of Memorial Day, and allowed to wear sneakers. Which meant that I was deliciously comfortable all day. Thankfully, I did not have to fight sleep all day.

I wore my red "keep calm and pick on" (bluegrass, not bullying) T-shirt. No, you don't get a visual.

This is what SemperFi chose to wear. I was really surprised that he let me take a picture for the blog.

The managing attorney loved it. So did I. It's so him.

I volunteered to help muck out the big and little fridges in our break room. Another legal secretary, our IT guru, and I made short work of that. The big fridge is old, and about once a year ice builds up behind the crisper drawers. This model has the freezer on the bottom. If we don't empty the fridge periodically and unplug it over a long weekend, the crisper drawer creeps closer and closer to the door, and it eventually reaches a point where the door won't stay shut.

The small fridge was originally brought in when we had two nursing mothers in the office, and the then-managing-attorney, a lifelong bachelor, freaked out to find bottles of breast milk chilling with the pickles and stale pizza.

This is the first evening of my four day weekend. I've eaten something to which I'm allergic, and my left ankle is inflamed. So I sent down the cavalry in the form of buttermilk and ginger cookies, and I'm about to head into my room and quilt a little.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Looking for dolls in all the wrong places.

I spent some time at the Mint on Card and Alice's Collection websites tonight. Alice's Collection is perhaps the best-organized and most user friendly doll site I've seen as yet. I saw a pair of Docs in three choices of floral patent leather in SD scale. No, I did not buy them.

I'm amazed at how the design aesthetic can vary so much within a company from size to size. There are a couple of companies whose MSD dolls I find very attractive, yet their SD facial sculpts leave me cold. And I am frustrated to find what I think is a sweet, smiling girl's face and discover that it is a boy doll. Not that I dislike boys. I got over that (albeit gradually) once the ashes of my second marriage cooled. I carefully avoided going to FairyLand's website, lest I fall in love with an SD girl that would cost me an arm and a leg and my non-existent firstborn male child.

In knitting news, I've finished the first green baby sock except for weaving in the ends.

In quilting news, there was a morsel of progress before PT this morning, and I look forward to lots and lots of quilting on Saturday and Monday.

And I finally remembered the snippet of song that I parodied when the package of doll wigs arrived on Monday. But I will share that over on the doll blog, tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My kids are so clever.

They cleared off this little corner of the kitchen, then put the cross stitch done by or for Beloved's late, first wife front and more or less center. My life: closed captioned for the housekeeping impaired.

Wondrous things, indeed!

The following was read to me by Fourthborn. Transcribed by me. I am just sufficiently wiped out that I laughed uncontrollably. Source: incurablenecromantic on Tumblr.

"Being a florist is essentially a lot like what I imagine being a mortician is about. You're basically keeping dead things looking good for as long as possible. You keep the product in the fridge so it doesn't rot and look horrible by the time the family gets a whack at it, and in the meantime you put it in a nice container."

Taking my sorry, not sorry self to bed now.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Licensed, medically prescribed torture

Body is quite crabby with me this evening. Had a good PT session this morning before work ~ best part was hearing my name called, and it was a sister in my Relief Society who is also getting PT ~ but did ask my therapist if she has a special machine for sharpening her elbows between therapy sessions.

I was able to mail the two wigs that didn't suit my newest doll back to the shop. There is a 5% restocking fee, and I had to eat the shipping, but they gave me my choice of refund or store credit. Needless to say, I chose store credit.

No Knit Night tonight. I picked up Fourthborn's replacement birth certificate and came straight home. Kids are up. I've transferred my notes for Sunday's talk into Evernote, and I'm going to try to go to bed now, rather than later.

Tomorrow I'll scan and encrypt the birth certificate and email it to JPS and give them a little push to see where we are in the process.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Poster child for crazy-tired, yet again

Good day at work. Lots accomplished. After work, I got my split ends trimmed off (and lost about 5" in length, but it will grow out again). From there to Costco, home by way of Kroger and Braums. The kids brought in the groceries and helped put them away. I ate dinner at 9:30.

There's doll news; hop on over to the other blog if you're interested.

Tomorrow will be a long one: PT then work, then over to Arlington to pick up Fourthborn's replacement birth certificate (and hang out at Knit Night). On Wednesday I'll scan it and encrypt it and forward it to JPS.

All of that lovely sleep which I got this past weekend has vanished like ice sublimating off the windshield when you've set the defroster on high. So glad that I have a four day weekend to look forward to.

Ms. Ravelled, over and out.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Yesterday's mail

Yesterday's mail, which I did not grab until I was out the door for church this morning. Nissan wants to sell Beloved a truck. Avenue wants to sell me a new wardrobe. And the school that The Bitties attend would like me to donate.


Laughter: it's good for the immune system.

It was a good day at church. Y'all know that I'm the sacrament meeting chorister. Sometimes, because of how incredibly busy they are, the bishopric is unable to get me the topics for the next week's meeting until the Sunday before (so I may pick hymns that align with the topics). This was one of those Sundays.

After sacrament meeting, I approached our bishop. He grinned, because he knew what I wanted. I asked him if we had a topic for next week. He grinned again, deftly avoiding the subject, and remarked that it had been awhile since I’d spoken in church.

I asked if he wanted me to speak in church. He asked if I wanted to speak in church. I asked if he wanted me to speak next Sunday.

He asked if I were willing to speak next Sunday. I asked if he had a topic in mind.

He asked what I thought a good topic might be. I replied, “the power of music in our lives,” and his face lit up. He gave me some counsel as to how to approach that, and then he said, “There’s your topic. Pick the hymns accordingly.”

I love our bishop. He takes his calling seriously. And injects humor whenever appropriate!

Because of Facebook, I've already added notes and references to the Word document that will become my talk. I am really looking forward to studying, pondering, writing, editing, rinse and repeat.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Lazy day ...

... doesn't even begin to describe it. I have eaten, quilted a very little, eaten some more, and slept. A six and a half hour nap, to be specific. Obviously, I needed it.

I've read through a PDF to make a doll-scale corset, noted the author's supply sources in a sidebar on the doll blog, and drooled over a full option doll that costs nearly as much as my first car (c. 1972). Who is, thankfully, too large a doll to shoehorn in among my others. Nevertheless, it's a good thing that she wasn't offered when I got my bonus earlier this year, or I might have been tempted above my ability to resist.

This is the sink that greeted me when I awoke from my nap two and a half hours ago:

Three people who thoughtfully rinse their dishes and wait for whichever of us whose back is spasming the least to empty and reload the dishwasher. Last night it was me. Tonight it will probably also be me, as Middlest is severely migraine-y, and Fourthborn has joints that are popping in and out of socket like pistons in a race car.

Last night I succumbed to the blandishments of Amazon for Samsung and downloaded the app, then a book written by the daughter of a longtime friend, then the most recent book by my friend Sooz. I stayed up until 2:00am reading them both. This morning I bought another book. I don't know that I will ever cough up the funds for an actual Kindle. I don't mind reading on my phone.

First load of laundry is in the dryer. Second load is in the washer. Two chicken pot pies are in the oven. And I guess it's time for me to work some magic with the dishwasher. I'm still feeling distinctly unambitious. The knot in my right calf from Wednesday's charley horse is smaller but lingers. As does my gratitude that I'm not experiencing boils or a plague of locusts.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tonight.

I am sitting here, reading blog posts and eating fruit leftover from the retirement party for one of the nicest attorneys in our office. I've chewed my way through my share of the cantaloupe. I took my bowl back out to the kitchen to cut the hulls out of the extremely ripe strawberries and thought of Alan Rickman. "Locksley, I'll cut your heart out with a spoon!"

At this rate, it may take me until midnight to finish my "dinner" ~ I have three huge and one small strawberry left, and I haven't even begun on the grapes or the fresh pineapple which is lurking beneath them.

I'm quite enjoying the process. Chew on some food, chew on an idea, delete an email.

It was a good day at work. The vertigo appears to be ambling off into the sunset. I'm continuing to move a little more slowly, a little more deliberately. I feel a bit like the good guy in a 50's cowboy movie: "No sudden moves, podner, and keep your hands where I can see 'em!" The bad guy would be my inner ear, wearing an infinitesimally small black hat.

The most recent upgrade of my cell phone has give me a feature that irritates the fire out of me. When I plug in my phone to recharge (if it's still live), there's a banner that asks if I know that my phone is on silent, and do I want to still get my calls anyway, or is it OK? Yes, phone, I know that I've got you on silent. I do this because I only turn the ringer on when I'm expecting a call that I want or need. I might be a little forgetful from time to time, but I'm not likely to forget that I no longer enjoy visiting on the phone. That joy made like Elvis and left the building after eight years on switchboard to keep food on the table. Text me. Email me. IM me. Sit down and write me a good old-fashioned letter. Or we could meet for dinner and hours of face to face conversation.

I have to make and receive phone calls as a legal secretary. I get that. And I'm good at it. But on my personal scale of want-to-do-this, it's a notch or two below getting my teeth cleaned.

In knitting news, I picked up all of the stitches along the heel flap in order to begin the gusset decreases. There may or may not be more knitting tonight, but it's been an hour since I began this post, and I still haven't finished my grapes. Well, I've finished the ones I brought home from the party, but I haven't touched the ones that I took to work in my lunch bag this morning, nor the last of the grape tomatoes which accompanied them. I feel wonderfully refreshed by all this fruit, and if I don't send down something else to serve as an anchor of sorts, 2:00am may get interesting.

I'm thinking a moderate serving of Fage + Nutella, with maybe a handful of granola thrown in for good measure. Not too heavy for someone who hopes to be in bed in another hour, but enough to remind my body who's boss.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Heel!

Turned the heel while waiting for the second half of my temple recommend interview with a member of the stake presidency this evening.


No matter how many times I do this, it still feels like magic.

I'm pleased to report that there was significantly less vertigo today. It remains to be seen if that's the case once I lie down. I've cancelled my RSVP for the Pie Five meet tomorrow night, in the spirit of driving as little as possible until I've returned to what passes for normal.

My physical therapist made hamburger of my hips today. I asked her if, when she was a girl, she thought she'd grow up to stick her pointy elbow into people's joints. She said no, it hadn't occurred to her at the time. She's very good at what she does. My hips, however, are muttering mutinously and taking her name in vain.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Chicken Little has taken up residence in my head.

Hard to believe this song is almost 50 years old.



Here's another good one.



And one that's good, silly fun.



What's the impetus for all this nostalgia, you ask? Well, it's been quite a day. I awoke about half an hour ahead of the alarm, starting awake from a dead sleep with the sensation that I was going to fall out of bed to the floor on my right. I immediately spun to my left, tweaking my right calf into a charley horse as I did, and the room spun like a merry-go-round. All of the hamstring stretches I've been doing as part of my PT helped me ease out the worst of the knot in my calf, and I was able to sit up and stagger to the loo.

I'm really glad that we installed grab bars last year.

After work, I went to the night clinic to get my ears checked. There's no sign of fluid in the middle ear. The doctor had a wonderfully droll sense of humor. He said the only way to determine that there's a problem in the inner ear, is to do an autopsy, and most patients aren't excited about that.

After determining that I had no pain in my ears, no headache, no nausea, no fever, no sore throat, and that I wasn't feeling as if I were going to pass out, just keel over, he checked my eyes, throat, and lungs, felt my lymph nodes. Nada. He had me flatten my hands and splay my fingers as wide as I could, then resist him trying to push various fingers together. Nothing worrisome there.

Then he said that while I certainly don't look my age, the fact is that I'm 65 and sometimes weird stuff happens as we get older. His best guess is that this is benign something something vertigo, and he wrote a prescription and told me not to drive any more than I absolutely have to until this resolves, probably within a couple of weeks. He also said that, looking at me, he would have guessed me to be 15 to 20 years younger than my age. I asked if I could adopt him. (When I texted this to Fourthborn, she said she thought I had enough kids already. I can't argue that.)

Here's a link to a Johns Hopkins article on benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. So basically, it's all in my head. But we knew that. And there's a physical therapy move that can fix it. I was mildly amused to read that this type of vertigo frequently happens when old people roll over in bed.

I'm planning to set up my nest right smack in the middle of the bed tonight. There's a six-foot hose on my CPAP, and I'm planning to take advantage of that.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What have I done today? Not a whole lot.

Took Middlest to the monthly checkup at Wonderful Doctor's office.

Physical therapy.

Dropped Middlest at Mel and Squishy's. Squishy had already scooped up Fourthborn.

Ate a lunch composed of orange things: salmon burger, sweet potatoes, mac-and-cheese flavored bean puffs, and orange juice

Spot-treated and laundered some doll clothing.

Took a nap.

Accidentally locked my kids out of the house.

Apologetically let my kids back into the house.

Posted this to Facebook and tagged all four kids:



Played Gunga Din and brought home four more cases of water and three of Mountain Dew Voltage, which is part of Middlest's migraine regimen. (It's like silver or garlic for vampires.) Also gummi candy for Fourthborn and caramel M&Ms for Middlest and me.

Collapsed gratefully in this chair. I need to figure out something sensible for dinner, and then I have a date with the quilt, as I'm definitely on the home stretch quilting the second long side.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dinner with the empty nesters tonight.

I have missed them enormously, but didn't realize how much until I went back tonight.

In doll news, the custom order arrived today, when I wasn't really expecting it until tomorrow, and it's 99.7% perfect. I've written to the vendor about that .3%, and I have no doubt she can make it right, so that I can then give her a glowing review.

The wig arrived for my newest doll (She Who Has Not Been Named), and it's pretty, and it's not the right one for her. It might be meant for the next one. It's definitely the right color for that.

Leftover tacos for lunch today at work, and that was very nice, not to mention frugal. Tomorrow is monthly checkup for Middlest, and PT for me, and I'm taking the whole day off, and I may spend the rest of it in bed. Knitting, quilting, dozing, reading, whatever. I'm a physically tired but thankfully not depressed Ms. Ravelled.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

My annual Mother's Day neurosis continues to subside. (Chocolate almost always helps.) Behold the contents of a small but perfect bag handed out to all of the women age 18 and up at the end of sacrament meeting today. I shamelessly ate mine during Sunday School. Hey, I also paid attention to the lesson. Don't judge.

We were in Lesson 17, The Law of Tithing and the Law of the Fast. We spent most of the lesson discussing the finer points of fasting, that it's not just going without food for two meals (24 hours) or paying a fast offering (equivalent to the cost of those meals, or more if we can spare it), but that we need to prepare ourselves to fast, maybe pray over what we should fast for, always fast with a purpose. One sister said that when she was growing up and learning to fast, her mother said that every time her stomach growled, she should say a prayer to bring her mind back to the purpose of her fast.

What came to me, and what I shared with the class, was this. We need food and drink for our mortal bodies. It's a very necessary and very telestial thing. It keeps us in the world. When we fast, we literally run on the power of our individual spirit in tandem with the Holy Spirit. I wondered if maybe we are temporarily lifted out of the mundane, the telestial, into a terrestrial state of being (as Adam and Eve were in the Garden, before the Fall). We subdue our mortality to our spiritual nature, and it's easier to feel the Spirit and hear His promptings. Others commented that when they fast, they think more like Heavenly Father thinks, they feel more like Heavenly Father feels, and they love more like Heavenly Father love.

I miss fasting. Between the diabetes and the medicines which must be taken with food, for me it is a thing of the past. I was one of the lucky ones who did not get headaches. For me it was a joyful thing. Here is the Lord's commandment to His children in the latter days (Doctrine and Covenants 59:13-14): 13 And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full. 14 Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.

Mel and Squishy came by in the late afternoon with more chocolate goodness, and lots of hugs. Middlest made chili for dinner. I got a bit of a nap. Life is ever so much calmer chez Ravelled than it was, say, Tuesday through Wednesday. And I am grateful.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

This made me snort. I have really needed to snort.

Sunny side up is not my favorite way to eat eggs. I like mine scrambled, soft-boiled, or over easy. (Anyone who says you are what you eat is gonna get smacked. You have been warned.)


This absolutely begged to come home with me. I may not ever use it, but now I have the option. I also have eggs, but I haven't bought bacon in a couple of years. I'm not sure why.

And now I want soft-boiled eggs over toast.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Things that pleased and/or amused me today.

Picked these up at the post office yesterday, when I was mailing off the Package of Disorganization and Expense (says the woman who still has not located the "safe place" where her will is hanging out.) I would have shared this yesterday, but my phone was sulking in the charger.


I think I will be using some of them to mail out visiting teaching letters this month. Seems a pity to waste them on paying the few bills that require an envelope and stamps.

This greeted me in the top of one of the trash cans in the break room. One of the attorneys brought breakfast tacos from Taco Cabana for the monthly attorney meeting. So of course I had to take a picture of it.

This is what greeted me when I got into the Tardis this morning to go to physical therapy. I've put roughly 40,000 miles on her in the last four years, most of those since I sold off the utterly worn-out Lorelai early last year. Two round trips to Tennessee, a minimum of 150 miles a week just to get to and from work, and all the trips to Knit Night in Arlington, quilt club in Carrollton, and visiting family in two counties.


We had a taco lunch to celebrate Doce de Mayo, since everybody was busy on Cinco de Mayo. I will not need to take my lunch to work on Monday.

In knitting news, I put a few more rounds on the cuff of the not-blue baby sock. After working on Avery's sweater for so long, knitting with 00 needles (as opposed to 4-0's) feels like knitting with telephone poles, or one of those videos that's making the rounds on the internet where people are arm-knitting with tubes the size of my ankles.

In physical therapy news, after five sessions I can tell that it's making a difference for the better. (Side note: when I was done with the lying-on-my-back part, she wanted to check my alignment. And with permission, after rearranging my feet, touched me near my hipbones. At which point I barked a giggle [I don't know any other way to describe it] and came up off the table just a little. I don't think anyone fell off their table or one of the machines. I didn't hear any thumping, skidding, or cussing.)

I came home, made a PBJ, washed it down with a mug of buttermilk, had a handful of cherries for dessert, and headed for the shower to rinse off the ick of the earlier part of this week. I am now hanging out with my kids in the living room, where they are instructing me in the alignment theory of Dungeons and Dragons. [Middlest says I am Chaotic Good; Fourthborn does not disagree.] And 3-D printing of tiny, implantable dialysis machines that might make kidney transplants unnecessary.

I'm going to play a quick hand of solitaire and leave them to it.