About Me

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

Friday, 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.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I was right. (I *love* being right!)

First of all, thank you to Anonymous and Sherry for your comments on last night's post. And the rest of y'all? Please keep Sherry in your prayers. She's one of the most patient and Christlike people I know. Good all the way to the bone.

Today was a fairly fractured day at work. Got there on time, worked through my emails and ToDo's, and still managed to get the form filled out for a replacement birth certificate for Fourthborn, a cover letter created, the whole packet for her application for JPS Connection assembled and scanned and password protected and emailed to the hospital.

Office manager graciously approved PTO at lunchtime so I could dash to the post office, buy the money order to pay for the replacement birth certificate, a return Express Mail envelope, and a larger Express Mail envelope to enclose everything, and postage both ways. Got that mailed off. Took a full hour.

Back to the office, where I took a full lunch, starting 15 minutes later than usual. Which meant that I had a whole hour to print off the signed mail, deal with the emails that flew into my box while I was out, and skim the incoming mail before leaving for the funeral. (More on that, later.)

The wages of disorganization are exorbitant, as I have learned in my own life. $23 for the replacement birth certificate. Just under $24 each for two stamps to get it there and back. I have faith that we can get my kid's physical and mental health stabilized. Today I have faith. The past few days I have been just this shy of full-on panic. But it's definitely better today.

I dropped Middlest at school for a final exam on my way to work. As we rode along, Middlest informed me that Beloved has been literally at my back for the past several days, and that since Fourthborn has been staying with us, there is a guardian just inside the front door and another standing at the entrance to my bedroom.

Which makes me wonder, when L spoke about the presences in her hospital room last night, how many of them were assigned to her, and how many to me?

The funeral was lovely. It was my first Catholic funeral, and I have to say that the responses are different from when I was in love with a Catholic boy my first year of college. Not a lot different, but different nonetheless. I stood and sat, stood and sat, declined to kneel, and finally just sat with my arms reverently folded because my knees whined enough already!

I meant to stop at the grocery store on the drive home, to pick up two dozen flour tortillas for our Doce de Mayo party at work tomorrow. And half a block away I had a stupor of thought and drove right past the store, not realizing it until I was three blocks north. I conveniently decided it was a sign that I should just go on home, hug the kids, and take a nap. So I did.

I may have mentioned getting a letter from the company that administers the stocks which I inherited from Beloved, that there were a few unclaimed dividend checks from 2013 (the year he passed) that were in danger of being claimed by the State of Texas. I filled out their paperwork, and when I got home there was an envelope with a check for $19.06 waiting for me.

I love it when the window envelopes enclose "here ya go" instead of "gimme, gimme."

So I woke up around 9:30, have eaten a simple dinner and taken my evening meds, and I think my muscle relaxer has kicked in. Night, y'all.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

In which your intrepid heroine screws up. Repeatedly.

We will take it as a given that I am by nature somewhat tightly wound. Not as tightly wound as SemperFi, nor the brother at church I nicknamed Brother TightlyWound almost twenty years ago. I think I was a happy little chatterbox as a child, but that was way more than twenty years ago. My parents would be the best judges; however, they are inconveniently on the other side of the veil and unavailable for comment.

I learned the fine art of keeping it together while married to the children's father. I was certainly the glue that kept his world together, even when I was falling apart inside. It has been a long slow struggle to recognize and own my feelings instead of stuffing them. The good feelings are fun to share. The painful or ugly ones get told, "I'll deal with you later," so they find a quiet corner of my body and burrow in until I can no longer ignore them.

I've had this knot in my back for maybe a month and a half. It showed up around my birthday, just to the right of my spine and about kidney level, but it's not a UTI. I knew that it was at least partially psychogenic, but I didn't know what incident(s?) had prompted it. I had a flash of what I hope is insight last night and am going to chew on it awhile to see if it makes sense. I may or may not choose to share.

I have been feeling a quiet but growing panic about money the past two weeks. Every time I turn around, I am buying more food, or more medicine, and the kids are emphatically not being piggy. The $50 a whack for PT has been the straw chafing this camel's back. There is simply not an extra $200 per paycheck, and I've been robbing Peter to pay Paul, which is how I found myself last night over-limit on my credit card with barely enough in savings to knock that down somewhat, leaving me at the pharmacy for Middlest's Ritalin this morning with $10 to spare.

The PT is strengthening my body, and I am thankful. But it cuts into the peace of my early morning hours. My scripture study has fallen apart. My study for Sunday's lessons has fallen apart. I don't have time to manage my finances properly. I don't have time to read, or putter. Monday night I wanted nothing more than to come home, eat dinner with the kids, and spend the evening quilting. Instead, I spent three hours on autopilot, hangry after the first two, and just wanting to get everything done so I could collapse in bed.

Yesterday was worse. The office manager called me in for a kind but serious discussion. Since the first of the year, there have been four instances where I dropped the ball. Individually, each would not have been significant. Taken together, they are troubling, both for her and for me.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and heal Middlest and Fourthborn of their physical and mental challenges. Middlest is a considerate housemate. Fourthborn has been a quiet and considerate guest while we are sorting out her paperwork. I wonder how they will survive when I am called Home. I don't need the other kids to bail me out financially. I just need more energy and more wisdom and an extra half-dozen hours in the day to get everything done.

I am feeling a little like I did when my marriage was falling apart: diffuse anger, inertia, frustration. Complicated by forgetfulness, lack of focus, exhaustion like I experienced when Beloved died. It is safe to say that I am going through a soul-stretching period, and at some future time I will be able to look back and be grateful for what I learned. But at the moment it doesn't feel as if I am learning anything. And it's pretty safe to say that the promotion I was hoping for next year will be deferred another year unless Heaven sends me some workplace manna and quail.

I accidentally ran a red light on the way home from the pharmacy this morning. And I found out yesterday that my best friend has cancer. It helped to go to Knit Night last night. It helped tonight to go visit my friend L in the hospital. I am going to a funeral tomorrow afternoon for the mother of a coworker. Each of those things pulls me out of my mental hamster cage and into a brighter part of the world.

I want my mom. I want my husband. I want the Savior to come and heal all the people I love. I want to see (or at least feel) the angels that are standing between me and the abyss. Side note: when I was visiting L, she remarked that there were presences over by where I was sitting, and another over by the door. I couldn't see them (nor could she), and I couldn't feel them. I'm pretty sure that mine are working overtime.

I've taken my meds. I'm going to bed. Knit only minimally happened today, quilting not at all. But I made and ate spaghetti with my kids, and I spent time with a friend, and I sent up a lot of random prayers throughout the day. Today was better than yesterday, red light notwithstanding, and tomorrow will be better than today.

Monday, May 08, 2017

I definitely need more light in the dining room.

And in my studio. The yarn which I thought was some shade of blue, by dawn's early light was clearly green. I've cast on for a baby sock and worked two rounds.

This is what I did after work:
  1. Trader Joe's for more ginger cookies.
  2. Sprouts for more fresh fruit; specifically, grapes, bananas, and cherries!!!!
  3. Dry cleaners to pick up my scarf.
  4. Pharmacy to pick up three Rx's.
  5. Braum's for half a gallon of orange juice.
  6. Home to put things away and inhale some dinner.
  7. Costco for TP and Middlest's contacts and two boxes of mandarin orange cups.
I am so done with this day. Remind me to tell you about how a spider and SemperFi both scared the dickens out of me today, hours apart. It's pretty funny.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Progress and regress

Behold a finished block. It was supposed to be finished yesterday, but wasn't. I put this together before church this morning. There's a second finished block now, and it looks roughly the same on the front, but all of the blue/white half square triangle blocks are Frankenblocks. The white parts are intact, while the blue bits are cobbled together because I didn't cut out enough of them, and I had to get creative with my remnants.

I had to frog about half an inch on the body of Avery's sweater, because I dropped a stitch several rows down. There wasn't enough give in the fabric to use a crochet hook to ladder it back up and slip it onto the needles. I'm letting the frogged yarn rest for a day or two before resuming work on the sweater.

So I grabbed the blue sock yarn I bought at Fleece a month or so ago, with the idea of casting on a pair of baby socks. My vintage umbrella swift refused to stay clamped to the table. I draped the hank around two chair backs and wound a cake in something like half an hour. If the swift had cooperated, it would have taken maybe five minutes. Maybe.

Church today was pretty awesome. The testimonies of my fellow Saints were instructive and moving. I was able to lead the music in sacrament meeting without any squawking from my shoulder. Zero pain. It's twinging a little now, but I've just given it a half hour workout, winding the blue yarn and rewinding a ball that a shop had wound for me when I bought it, but more tightly than I like to work with. I was able to attend all three hours of meetings and go visit a friend after church.

After which, I came home, had a PBJ washed down with a mug of buttermilk, and took a moderate nap. I would really like to sit down and knit on Avery's sweater, but it's better if I don't. So I guess I will cast on a baby sock and knit until my muscle relaxer kicks in.



Saturday, May 06, 2017

A deliberately low-key day. With a side order of oops.

I woke up early enough, and throughout the morning I alternated between quilting on the big project and cutting out pieces for the blocks that needed to be done for show and tell today, so we could get the next blocks for free. I got the blocks mostly put together, as Middlest and Fourthborn took turns pressing seams for me, but along the way discovered that I'd mismatched some of the bits, so I set the blocks aside and paid to pick up our new ones.

Picking those half-square triangles apart and resewing them to their proper mates is going to take time. Lots and lots of time, as the stitch length is set to Oh My Heck What Was I Thinking?

 From the quilt shop we went to Arlington, as this is Free Comic Book Day. Ordinarily, Fourthborn would be one of the artists drawing for tips, but the kidney stone and gall stone put paid to that. She's feeling significantly better but still sleeps a lot. Fourthborn and Middlest got to see (or meet) friends, and we all got hugs from J.

We hit Costco on the way home, for more things that Fourthborn can safely eat. I'd picked up a few items at Braums after dropping the kids off at Wild West, and we made short work of a package of grissini before proceeding to the samples at Costco.

Once we got home, the kids unloaded the Tardis. I had a mug of buttermilk and a handful of gingersnaps and set my alarm for when I normally take my evening meds. I've made a late night run for four cases of bottled water and some steamable veggie packages, and Fourthborn unloaded and stacked the water while I shoehorned the veggies into the freezer compartment. Fourthborn has been subsisting largely on bread in all its permutations for over a week, and only now occurred to me that frozen veggies would be a healthy choice for all of us. (I even found some sriracha green beans for Middlest, who is currently snoring quietly in the middle bedroom.)

It's an hour until the Sabbath begins, and I've started a load of laundry. I'm also now an hour late to take my meds, so I'm going to take care of that, eat something reasonable, and quilt until I turn into a pumpkin.

Friday, May 05, 2017

PT had unintended consequences today.

I'm there to strengthen my back, primarily, and loosening up my hips will help that, as will strengthening my knees. Apparently the "shoulder needs work, too" did not make it into the Rx for physical therapy. One of the (new as of today) exercises intended to strengthen my back and hips has thoroughly peeved the shoulder I banged up a few months ago. It is currently not speaking to me. It is, however, yelling (childbirth words) and throwing ninja stars at me.

It is not fun to try to shift the Tardis into park. It is not fun to raise my right arm. (I'm sure.) Middlest has offered to rub IcyHot on the affected bits if I can't reach them. I'm calling the pain a 3 on the Ravelled Scale, which is probably a 7 or 8 for ordinary mortals. Remember: I'm the one who walked around on a broken femur for two and a half months. This would probably fell an ox. For me it is more like hugely annoying with a side order of holy cow!

 Time for me to change into my jammies, pop an ibuprofen, and knit or quilt until I can take my evening meds and call it a day. Sometime between now and 1:00 tomorrow afternoon, I need to sew two quilt blocks. I have zero interest in doing that now.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

I slept so well last night!

And I woke up again this morning, so all the meds appear to be playing nicely together. No weird dreams, and no feeling drowsy at work. It was maybe not my most productive day, but it was nowhere near as frustrating as Monday.

I've been watching a new Sprouts go up on the route I take to and from work. Their grand opening was yesterday. They specialize in really good produce, quite a few bulk items (flours, nuts), and a respectable bakery, plus the usual assortment of healthier-than-thou vitamins. It's a nice blend of uptown grocery store and health food store, with prices somewhere between Kroger and Walmart: i.e., very affordable. I shopped at the one in Fort Worth a lot when I lived there, and when I first moved here, I would drive several miles to the one in Murphy before life got complicated and it was just easier to buy everything at Kroger.

On the way home from my knit night in Dallas, I stopped in and bought a pound of strawberries, a two pound bag of clementines, and a small bag of grapes. We have devoured the strawberries, and Fourthborn and I are enjoying some of the clementines as I write. Middlest has a hellacious migraine and has gone to bed.

I will be doing that shortly, as I have PT in the morning, which seriously cuts into my knitting and/or quilting time. I don't think I have enough oomph to quilt another small unit on the border of the quilt. But I did add another six rows to Avery's sweater today. So that's something.

Night, y'all.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Riffing off a FB post

In which your intrepid heroine discovers another heretofore unsuspected muscle group and that that which physical therapists refer to as "your core" is largely composed of cotton candy, barbed wire, and leftover snippets of yarn.

I am there, in theory, to strengthen my back and my shoulder. Turns out that there's a lot of peripheral stuff which goes into it. Remember the juggling acts on the old "Ed Sullivan Show"(?), in which a guy would stand on a board balanced on a barrel, rocking sometimes frantically from side to side to keep his balance, and then complicated matters by juggling balls or pins, or by having another acrobat stand on top of his shoulders?

I got to try that today on a much smaller scale. Balance board (there's probably some nifty jargon for it, but I'm calling it the Wobbler from Hell) with the rolling part firmly attached to the board and parallel to my hips and/or shoulders. My goal? To stand on said board, find my balance, and rise up and down while keeping my core straight. I was allowed to touch the half-wall in front of me. I did fairly well.

Then she added the flaming chainsaws: I was to stand on the board, keeping it level, without using my hands to stabilize myself. This is when I discovered that my core is largely a Fig Newton of my imagination. I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. The best I can say about that little experiment is that I did not fall off the board. My goal for Friday's session is to fail better.

My goal for this evening is minimal interaction with my beloved children, and an early bedtime. I managed another two rows on Avery's sweater throughout the day. Fourthborn is reading quietly behind me. Middlest is snoring softly in the middle bedroom. As soon as the batch of rice is done for Fourthborn's meals and snacks tomorrow, I am heading for my jammies and my bed.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

What I wrote + what I said + what Fourthborn wrote.

It's been an altogether weird day. I was three minutes late to work. This is what I sent to my office manager: "Middlest overslept, and it’s a school day, and I forgot to turn right where I usually do on those days, so we drove through three school zones. This day can only get better."

It did, and it didn't. I was reasonably productive, and I fought almost all day to remain awake. About two hours into the day it occurred to me that I should go to drugs.com and check for interactions, as I switched my antihistamine yesterday. Bingo! Moderate interactions between my antihistamine and my muscle relaxer, between my antihistamine and my anti-anxiety med, and between my muscle relaxer and my anti-anxiety med.

This was not noticeable when I was on fexofenadine, which keeps me awake at night if I take it with my other meds. Which is why I was taking it with my morning prescription. It is extremely noticeable when I am on Zyrtec. So I messaged Fourthborn: "Next time you bubble to the surface please write or print me a note that says 'don't take the @$%# Zyrtec in the morning, wait until evening meds' and put it on my bed. Thanks!" [I used symbols instead of swearing. If I knew how to pronounce them, I'd use them in real life in lieu of childbirth words.]

This is what my polite child wrote and left on my bed.

I trust that she's taking her meds with greater compliance than she's taking dictation.

PT in the morning. Body is screaming for sleep. Brain is going pingety-ping. Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Observations from the Momiverse

It's weird(er than usual) at the moment, chez Ravelled. The Friday night post didn't get published until after midnight yesterday, and I don't like to post twice in a day. I have no idea what wants to come out, but I might explode if I don't write.

Fourthborn is feeling marginally better. The kidney stone is moving, slowly, towards freedom is out, we think. She surprised me last night by requesting a priesthood blessing, and I caught my home teacher after he'd put on his PJ's but before he'd gone to bed. He grabbed another brother, and they were here forthwith.

I made it to sacrament meeting, only, ate half of a spare bagel with cream cheese and Italian ham that Middlest had made and bagged up, and slept for at least six hours.

I've spent this evening mucking out my inbox. There is nothing in my "social" folder, which is great. I'm not feeling particularly social [insert laugh track here]. My "promotions" folder is down to about 150. I've unsubscribed from a newsletter, read all of the blogs associated with another one out loud to my kids, laughed uncontrollably for about five minutes, and attempted to eat sensibly. I am chomping through a snack bag's worth of baby carrots in between phrases.

Although there was certainly enough time for quilting progress yesterday, there was, in fact, none. Instead, I cleared and rearranged a few piles in my bedroom, enough that I could spread out the hooked rug on the floor just inside my doorway.

I widened the path around my bed so that if Middlest and Fourthborn required a loo simultaneously while I was sleeping, Middlest could safely navigate through my room and use mine. In the process, I banished a whole lot of overwhelm to wherever it goes when it's not hanging about to trip people

There have been exactly two and a half rows of knitting since Friday. Throwing up my hands (but thankfully not anything else) and going to bed now.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

In which the three of us have adventures.

I had just finished my ToDo's on Thursday before lunch and was wondering what I would do to stay awake busy until quitting time, when my work phone rang. It was Middlest, calling to say that Fourthborn was quite ill and was also willing to have me take her to the emergency room. Symptoms strongly indicated a kidney stone. We know a little bit about kidney stones.

So I sent an email to my people, and I went. Having learned my lesson with the charity hospital in Dallas County when Middlest had kidney stones last fall, and a much better experience earlier this month with the local ER, and knowing that the charity hospital in Tarrant County (where Fourthborn lives) would quite possibly be harder to navigate than Parkland, I took her to the hospital closest to her apartment.

(If this post is less coherent than you've come to expect, it's because I got to bed at 3:00a.m.)

It took five hours to get taken aside for blood work, during which Fourthborn wore a trail to the loo and back. She hates to barf. Barfing and sweating are her two least favorite things to do. By the time the phlebotomist fetched her, she was so dehydrated that they had to go in through the back of her hands, and it took three stabs to get (barely) enough to run the tests. The phlebotomist was very kind, very good, and very apologetic.

Once we were settled in an examining room, and the excellent nurse was in charge, I took myself to the cafeteria and had a sandwich, a bag of pretzels, and a fruit cup, washed down with one of those marvelous mango smoothies that Naked makes. Which reminds me, there's half of a fruit cup still in my knitting bag, and I should probably retire it. And there's a bag with another bag of pretzels that I bought for Fourthborn, and a slice of cherry pie which she can't eat. Why? I'm glad you asked.

In a competition that neither of them thought they were engaged in, Fourthborn is currently ahead. Or behind, depending on how you look at it. Yes, the sonogram and CT scans revealed a very small kidney stone, which will pass on its own. They also revealed a significantly larger gall stone. We are now in the process of filling out paperwork to get the latter taken care of at the charity hospital in Fort Worth. Meanwhile, she has pain meds and Flomax to help ease out the kidney stone, and she is camped out in our living room.

The dietary restrictions are different for kidney stones and gall stones. Thankfully, I remember what needs to be done. I wasn't blogging in 2001, but I have several pages in a scrapbook devoted to The Gall Bladder That Ate July. Fourthborn is currently enjoying (ha!) three-fourths of the BRAT diet: no bananas, haven't cooked the rice yet, applesauce reluctantly, and lots of dry toasted English muffins. We (including Middlest) are presently eating something new I brought home from Costco: seasoned sweet potato bites that are maybe a little over-seasoned, but extremely low fat and mostly delicious.

Knit happened. A lot of knit happened. About an inch on Avery's sweater, at approximately twenty rows per inch. I would give you a visual, but Fourthborn's cot is set up behind me in the theoretically open space here in the living room, and stepping around it to take a picture is currently not in my skill set. And my kids are both awake and fighting battles in their video games while making commentary and flinging out bits of pop tunes.

Needless to say, I didn't make it to PT yesterday morning. I took my evening meds five hours late, and three hours of sleep was insufficient to clear the muscle relaxer out of my system, so I left them a message and went back to bed for another three hours. I didn't make it to work either. I spent the day running (loosely speaking) to the pharmacy, buying four cases of bottled water and two ginormous bottles of applesauce, going back to the pharmacy for an emergency refill of Middlest's pain meds, and eating when I remembered. I went to bed at 5:00, set the alarm for 10:00 for evening meds, fired up the white noise machine because the kids were visiting quietly in the living room, slept until 11:00 because the white noise machine also masked the alarm.

It is now after midnight on Saturday morning, and I've eaten maybe half of my sweet potato bites, and there is a slice of cherry pie that I bought for Fourthborn which she can't eat, which is probably still safe to eat, and my beloved kids are talking (and talking and talking), so I'm going to put my food in the fridge and pour another cup of buttermilk and fish out my debit card and order a wig for Adela, because I've adulted beyond all reasonable expectations, and I deserve a treat that will not jack with my blood sugar (I'll save the pie for another waking period).

And then I'm going to go hide in my blanket fort, because I am worded out and peopled out. We are not going anywhere today. I will take a stab at my PT homework, and I may knit a little, and I want need to work on the quilt.

Calgon, take me away.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Better than yesterday ~

~ but maybe not quite as good as Monday. Still, I'll take it.

I like my physical therapist. I have homework. And, given that my copayment is $50, I have incentive to do my homework.

I discovered a muscle in my abdomen whose existence was a complete surprise to me. She taught me how to find it by doing a particular breathing exercise. And one of the subsequent moves uses that muscle to strengthen other parts of the body.

I'm going back Friday morning, and probably twice a week for five more weeks.

I wonder if I'll be able to get out of bed in the morning? Tune in tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A slightly less wonderful day at work.

Still productive, and lunch out with SemperFi and two other coworkers was delicious, even if the service was glacially slow. But I discovered an oversight in scheduling that I cannot explain, and the office manager was freaking out, as I would have been had I not been so infernally weary. I've fixed the scheduling, and I'm sure there will be a private discussion with the office manager in the near future. She's good about praising in public and criticizing in private.

I picked up what turned out to be two prescriptions on the way home, then wholesome beverages (milk, buttermilk and OJ) at Braum's, which is across the street from my pharmacy. Middlest had a three-item shopping list for me, but I didn't have the spoons to deal with it.

First PT appointment is at 7:00, and they want me there twenty minutes early. Le sigh. I can't decide if I want to nap until time for my evening meds and then go back to bed, or tough it out for another hour and a half.

Later, gators.

Monday, April 24, 2017

An amazingly wonderful day at work.

Got all the way through my inbox, the incoming mail, stuff that's been lurking in my ZZ-Sec (pending) folder, and my To Do's. Even had time to start working on vacation letters for SemperFi. Reimbursement for the first half of the medical expenses I submitted last week, hit my account today, so off to Costco I went. The fridge, freezer, and pantry are restocked to my satisfaction, and on the way home I picked up more of Middlest's migraine-battling soda. When I got home, Middlest was zonked out (and is still sleeping as I write); I wrangled everything into the house and stowed it without hurting my back or my shoulder. I have an appointment for my first physical therapy session on Wednesday morning. Am nearly done with the second corner motif on the quilt, and it's calling my name, so this is all you get tonight.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A mostly wonderful day, with a side order of crabbiness (mine).

Middlest continues to mend slowly from the kidney stones that came to pass.

I had enough energy to make it through all three hours of church today, the first time that has happened in about a month. And not quite enough oomph to keep from coming home with ankles that were swollen into folds that Middlest said looked like cake batter. I tried to sing a line from "MacArthur Park" and only ended up confusing us both.

I've posted the following picture on the doll blog but wanted to share it here as well. Half an inch of progress on both the body and the third sleeve. Hoping for more progress tomorrow.


I got crabby with Middlest a few minutes ago, after I'd sat down to blog and my kid needed a quick favor that was not at all unreasonable. But I was a little tired, and I reverted almost immediately into I just put you to bed ten minutes ago and no, you can't have another drink of water mode. Which Middlest did not deserve, and I need to go apologize before we both crash for the night.

Apparently I haven't outgrown the need for training wheels on this motherhood buggy.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Eating. Sleeping. And not much else.

This has been an unproductive day for the most part. Composed a letter to the administrator for the stock shares I inherited from Beloved, because I got a notice that the unclaimed dividends from when he was so ill are in danger of being forfeited to the state. I spoke with a customer service representative yesterday, who told me what the letter needs to say in order for them to reissue the dividend(s) in my name and to my account number. So that's done. I'll mail it from work on Monday.

I loaded and ran the dishwasher. Middlest accidentally pushed the start button when closing it again after removing something, and we've had a grin over that. Those dishes are now very, very clean. I'm about to empty the dishwasher and load it with the things that didn't fit into the first load. Having a third person in the house, while delightful, uses up dishes exponentially faster than when it's just the two of us. The kids caught up the laundry on Thursday. It was my turn to do something about the sink. We had the doll meet last night. And I am still running on empty from Middlest's latest attack of kidney stones.

We agreed last night, on the drive home from taking Fourthborn back, that today would be pretty much nonverbal and dedicated to rest. I had a decent night's sleep and have since had two long naps. I've been vertical for maybe five hours since waking to take morning meds at 6:00am. Middlest has been napping off and on all day and is currently sleeping.

I took Blessing from where she was looking trapped between her chair and the harp, and set Celeste in her place. I need to get Celeste a proper straight-backed chair in which to sit and play, but she looks as if she were made to play that harp. I've already shared to the two doll groups I'm on, on Facebook, and have gotten good feedback. As well as from my two harp-playing friends on my main FB page.

If you want to see the resin characters who showed up at last night's doll meet, here is a link. They are a group every bit as diverse as their owners.

I need to reload that dishwasher, clear some stuff off the bed so I may work on the quilt at least a little, and listen to my Book of Mormon. I want to wait 45 minutes, take my evening meds, and go back to bed. I'm not depressed. Thankfully, I'm not ill. And my back and shoulder are both mercifully quiescent. I'm just feeling distinctly unRavelled.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Two day work week.

I could get used to that. I had another wonderfully productive day and I am definitely ready for the weekend. With the exception of picking up a prescription tomorrow, and maybe taking Middlest to Half Price Books, my goal is to stay home in my pajamas and not talk to anyone until church on Sunday. Since Middlest is feeling much the same, I suspect this will be a quietly productive weekend.

I should go to a funeral tomorrow afternoon, but I think I will just send a card and pray like crazy instead. I am all peopled out.

We are under a severe thunderstorm warning for the next hour or so and a tornado watch until 1:00a.m. The sirens went off at the fire station maybe 15 minutes ago ~ five years in this house, and it's the first time I've heard or noticed them. And the weather radio is screaming every five to ten minutes. This may be a very long night...

I'm going to pray that if we really do need to take cover, the Spirit will wake me up and help me to roust Middlest.

Over and out.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Back at the salt mines

This was my first day back after a five day weekend. It went far better than it could have, given that there were 99 emails waiting for me. SemperFi walked in a little after I did and gave me this card:


I save his cards every year, because they're so spot-on.

The repaired/restored harp arrived safely from the Etsy artisan, and I've got it set up on the dining room table for the moment, with Blessing perched in her chair looking distinctly unenthused.

I made a (very) little progress on Avery's sweater today. I did reach my quilting goal this evening. Am hoping that I can finish out a second corner on the border and start working toward a third. We have PieFive with the doll folk tomorrow night, and I have a funeral on Saturday. Another of Heavenly Father's noble sons has gone Home. Comforting his beloved is more important in the eternal scheme of things.

I've just lost half an hour noodling around in settings on the doll blog. Night, y'all.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Quiet, steady progress today. At least for me.

Got the Tardis safety inspected, which involved fixing the third brake light on the back of the camper shell. Not cheap for them to run a line from there to the brake switch, but she's legal, and more importantly, the state cannot object to her being used for J's driving test. I spent a lot of time last year trying to help him make it happen, only to be foiled by picky people at the DMV.

Also paid the light bill (almost forgot to, but then it's been crazier than usual around here for the past week or so) and picked up more milk and orange juice.

I've made respectable progress on the quilt today and added at least eight rows to the body of Avery's sweater. It's now sixteen rows and 7/8 inch long. If my calculations are correct, it will be something like 105 rows long when I reach the armscye. The fabric is gorgeous, but that much stockinette is visually boring, so I'll spare you. If you're that curious, head over to the doll blog for a beauty shot.

When I get to work tomorrow, the reconstructed harp should be waiting at my desk. Tracking says it was delivered at 12:07 this afternoon.

Middlest is still puny. The second kidney stone is out of the kidney and slowly carving a path to the outside world. We can track it by the Morse code of bruises along my kid's upper abdomen.

I've spent the evening in my room with both lamps blazing and the door closed, as Middlest's migraine continues to rage, and that much light would only make it worse.

I've enjoyed my staycation, and I'm ready to go back to work tomorrow. Fourthborn is staying to watch over Middlest, and I haven't decided if I'm going to the Dallas knit night after work, or simply coming home by way of the grocery store for more bottled water.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Why are you giving me a dead person’s sheep?

I originally attempted to post this last night, but there was a glitch and the entire bushel of brilliance nonsense vanished into thin air.

This had to qualify as the most interesting birthday to date. Middlest and I both had irregular sleep and found ourselves up at the same time. Since it was after midnight, I opened my present from my sister: a charming print, a pair of earrings, and a scarf knit up from yarn that I slipped into her Christmas package last year. Here's a beauty shot of the unopened box.

Once we were officially awake, I took Middlest for the monthly doctor’s appointment, then up to the pharmacy in Wylie to fill a couple of Rx’s. We came home, dropped off the things we didn’t need, and headed to Arlington to pick up Fourthborn and begin the day’s festivities. We pulled into Whataburger to get them sustenance while I was having lunch with Fourthborn’s former fiancé who is still a member of this family whether he likes it or not. This is when I discovered that my wallet had gone missing.

We ransacked the truck. I dropped my kids at Barnes & Noble with the snacks they’d brought to while away the afternoon, had lunch with J, and drove back home to check the house. The wallet wasn’t there. I checked the Tardis again. Still not there. So I fired up my phone and discovered that the pharmacy had been trying to reach me for four hours.

Ahem. I drove up to Wylie again, sheepishly picked up my wallet, tanked the truck, and picked up my kids after hitting the drive-thru at In N Out, because I didn’t want to face the nice people at Whataburger again.

I should mention at this point that it had been raining off and on all day, in varying degrees of intensity, and that my left side got a good soaking at the drive-thru. By the time I got a block or two west to pick up the kids, it had subsided ever so slightly. Oh, and Middlest is in the process of ejecting a second kidney stone so is not moving all that fast.

We stopped at Home Depot to use the loo. At which point I discovered that my phone was now missing. After ransacking my purse and the poor Tardis again, we discovered it just over the horizon of the dashboard.

They inhaled their burgers and fries while I hobbled into the party store to order balloons for the dinner. I’d bought a Grim Reaper balloon online because I couldn’t find one locally. I have wanted this particular balloon for twenty-five years, ever since I spotted it just before my 40th birthday.

We hung out at Half Price Books until it was time to pick up the balloons, then crossed over the freeway to the restaurant. They seated us at the table for 16 which I’d reserved, and Fourthborn helped me free the balloons from their protective wrapping. Family started trickling in. Firstborn and Willow, Secondborn and 2BDH and the Bitties and a young cousin who is living with them, 1BDH, LittleBit and her roommate, Mel and Squishy. I took these before everybody showed up, but this is most of the tribe.

We filled every seat prepared for us.

Middlest’s pain crested, so Mel and Squishy took my kid home to their house while I took Fourthborn back to her apartment to pack for a brief stay with us. Lots of hugs. I remembered my take-home, largely because Middlest and I put Fourthborn in charge of it. We had to circle back as we were leaving the parking lot to grab Mel and Squishy’s leftovers just as the staff was clearing the table.

Because it was my birthday, the staff “serenaded” me while I wore an enormous purple velvet sombrero. (My respect for the vaqueros who ride in the Fourth of July parade has gone up tenfold. Those hats are heavy!)

When I got home, I discovered that one of my new earrings had gone walkabout. I put new batteries in the flashlight and checked the Tardis, but it was nowhere to be seen. I almost lost both of them, but I found the other dangling like a pennant from my hair and caught it just in time. This, after crimping the hooks twice while wearing them. The good news is, I have a Murano glass earring (somewhere) in the same colors that was orphaned a decade or more ago, and I can wear them as a mismatched pair.

Oh. The sheep. I almost forgot. LittleBit’s gift to me was a resin sheep that she found at an estate sale. Hence the title of this post.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Utterly defeated by a packing box.

I've got the first lamp (the one that was the floor model) in place in my room with a 100w bulb, and it is glorious. After sitting here and thinking about it for maybe half an hour, I decided to open the other box and get it plugged in as well.

The good news is, I was able to use the box cutter to open the box, without sacrificing any body parts. However, I was unable to get the contents out of the box, because it would have required actual box-slashing, no small amount of grunting, and perhaps a childbirth word or two. Middlest is sleeping. Sleep has been frequent but fragile since coming home from the ER on Thursday, and I have no intention of rudely rousting my kid.

We made it to Costco this afternoon and got out slightly under-budget. We picked up KFC for the elders and for our own dinner and dropped theirs off on the way home, then unloaded the Tardis, ate our chicken (fingers for Middlest, pot pie for me), and sat in our chairs, stupefied.

Middlest went to bed. I grabbed my wallet and keys and made a quick run to the party store, hoping to find something suitable for Easter baskets for the dolls. To my delight, it was not a wasted trip. Came straight home and have been dragging around the house ever since.

I've got a bit of sinus drainage and have been popping the odd Ricola to minimize the hacking, which alarms Middlest every time it happens. Yes, I'm taking my antihistamine faithfully, and it helps. But nothing short of a resurrected body is going to stop this nonsense permanently.

I finished the first stab at the sweater body for Avery by knitting six rows of garter stitch and binding off. It's pinned out on the ironing board, where I gave it multiple shots of steam along its length earlier this afternoon.

My brain wants to do stuff. My hands are itching to create. And the rest of me is struggling to stay awake another 20 minutes so I can take my evening meds and call it a day.

I'm happy. I'm peaceful. I'm even verging on joyful. I'm also sick-and-tired. Night, y'all.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Buzzwords I heard in a business meeting last week.

  1. Full stack technology - this does not involve transferring the entire batch of pancakes on a flattop to one customer's plate.
  2. Accelerator - this is not the gas pedal in the Tardis.
  3. Incubator - this is not a device for hatching healthy chicks.
  4. Quantum computing - this is not Sam Beckett with a calculator.
Google if you care. I did, and I like my "this is not / this does not" definitions better.

We are both a little extremely punchy from lack of sleep. I got through this day at work through sheer bulldog stubbornness and other people's prayers.

Middlest: "I feel like there's something weird along my spine."
Me: "Well, they did pump you full of all sorts of chemicals yesterday."
Middlest: "They sure did!"
Me: "Stand up and turn around. Maybe your derriere is glowing like a lightning bug's!"
Middlest: [gets up, turns around, resists the urge to moon me] "Well?"
Me: "Nope."

This was about fifteen minutes after my giggle-fest when I heard Middlest barking at Shut Up Maggie.

Me: "Are you barking at the neighbor's dog?"
Middlest: "Yes, why?"

In knitting news, I may have mentioned that I got bored knitting 150 stitches per row in stockinette on 0000 needles once I realized the piece was going to be too large to serve as the body of Avery's sweater. So I googled "knitted spiral scarf" and started decreasing. Once I'd bound it off, but before breaking the yarn, I took a good long squint at it and decided nah! and frogged it back to where the decreases began. I'm going to listen to some General Conference addresses, finish picking up the frogged stitches, and complete it as a proper rectangular scarf. At which point it will probably be time for bed.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Adventures with Middlest.

Sometimes CTRL+Z is not my friend. I meant to undo a small change and ended up erasing the entire first draft of this post.

I came home yesterday from work after a productive day, wishing nothing more than a shower, a bite of dinner, and an early bedtime. I was greeted by a very polite Middlest, requesting that I inspect my kid's lower back for bruising and/or a difference in texture between the sides at kidney level. Which I found.

I politely requested time to process the inevitability of an ER trip while the oven heated for pizzas, and more time while the pizzas baked. I was still processing when the pizzas came out, so I put Middlest's on a plate and took it back to my kid's room. I ate mine here at the computer desk, playing solitaire and trying to get a grip.

I had started a load of laundry before dinner prep (such as it was), so I fed the dryer and the dishwasher, then sluiced off in the shower to rid myself of any remaining negativity. Middlest packed snacks for us and bottles of water. I gathered what I thought would be enough yarn to get me through the night. By 8:00pm, we were on the road to the local ER which had cared for Beloved before he passed, Fourthborn on Black and Blue Friday year before last, and me when I drove myself there about three years ago because of a symptom that scared me a little. No more Parkland for us after the frustrating experience with their billing office last October.

The first CT scan confirmed a kidney stone that was still bouncing around in the kidney, unwilling or unready to come out and play. And a probable pocket of air in the abdomen that shouldn't have been there. So they did another CT with contrast, which confirmed the anomaly but didn't show any perforation(s). And they decided to admit Middlest for observation and possible exploratory surgery. At which time I asked what I should do, and everybody told me to go home and go to bed.

Since I'd now been up for 22 hours, I did not argue. I'd taken my usual evening meds at 10:00, except for the muscle relaxer, and I took that when I got home and slept through my 6:00am alarm for morning meds, waking an hour later. (Sleeping through the alarm is possible because I awaken to classical music, not heart-stopping electronic screaming.) Took my meds, checked the phone for messages, turned on the ringer, and went back to bed for another three hours.

I had run out of contrast yarns for the Fair Isle sleeves on the doll sweater while at the ER. I guesstimated how many stitches I'd need for the sweater body in plain knitting, figuring that if I'd guessed wrong, one of our dolls would be getting a monochromatic scarf in Doctor Who proportions. Before heading back to the ER this morning (a room hadn't opened up overnight, so Middlest was still in the isolation room), I wrapped the knitting around Avery and discovered that it was going to be a scarf and not a sweater body.

When I got to the hospital, I learned that the surgeon and the floor doctor had been wrangling decorously for two hours regarding the necessity of surgery, the surgeon wanting to keep his knife in his pocket rather than split Middlest from sternum to pelvis (neither Middlest nor I had envisioned major surgery with the prevalence of laparoscopic surgery nowadays), and the floor doctor wanting to leave nothing to chance.

I'd like to buy that surgeon a cheeseburger. Especially since Middlest related in a quiet moment that the surgeon had said my kid would have a zipper-like scar down the mid-line if the wound healed. If. Not a prospect that either of us enjoys contemplating.

We are home with prescriptions for pain relief and two antibiotics, as the lab tests revealed blood in the urine, indicating that while one stone (that they saw) is still waiting to pounce, another one passed. The home teachers have come and given each of us a priesthood blessing. Middlest is snoring quietly in the middle bedroom. I have had a four hour nap and am half an hour overdue for my evening meds. My back is still tight but not currently howling at me. Since I did not post last night, I haven't shared that I am getting a referral to physical therapy.

I have two or three weeks' worth of medical receipts that I need to upload for reimbursement, and tonight is not going to be the night for that. I'm about ready to go back to bed, and I'm looking forward to going to work tomorrow (and cramming two days' worth of work into one) to prepare for being off three days next week in celebration of my birthday.

Feeling blearily thankful for the prayers and positive thoughts offered up by our friends and family over the past 24 hours. Over and out.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Oh, my baking yak!

There is a knot in my back, just to the right of my spine and about three fingers up from my waistband. I had T check it out at the end of Knit Night, after everyone else had gone. It's musculo-skeletal, and it's pulling my spine out of alignment, so I will be making an appointment with a chiropractor ASAP, because if I don't, it will only get worse.

I'm not sure how this happened, if it's trapped emotions or leftovers from when I hefted that industrial vacuum up the stairs to the stage while helping to clean the chapel a few months ago.

In other news, I've bought two floor lamps to supplement the light in my bedroom. I found them at World Market after the nice man at Bed Bath & Beyond said his store doesn't carry lamps, and to try JoAnn (OttLite at $300, no thank you) or World Market. I found a bronze metal lamp, and the clerk told me it was on closeout and half off. She had another in the back. I bought them both.

Tomorrow I'll figure out how to get it plugged in. I haven't been able to quilt in the mornings before leaving for work, and that's frustrating. So, if not tomorrow morning, then tomorrow night.

I took my Robaxin about an hour ago, and I can still vaguely feel the knot in my back. Time for some ibuprofen and lights out.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A very mixed day.

The plumber came at 9:00 as promised, with an associate or apprentice. They worked quickly, quietly, and carefully. We have two functioning loos again, which means that Middlest will not have to tread softly through my room in the middle of the night to use mine, and I can sleep with the bathroom light off.

When I got to the office, it took 20 minutes of driving around and around to find a parking spot in which to insert the Tardis. My first stop was the deli for a bottle of milk and three chocolate chip cookies. When I eat my feelings, I don't mess around!

My Etsy order was delivered today as promised, and the box appeared to be in good shape. The artisan had swaddled everything in bubble wrap and stuffed newsprint into odd corners. The bookcase was intact. The harp, sadly, was not. I have no doubt that she will make things right. We are exchanging emails as I work on this post.

In knitting news, I discovered while posting side-by-sides of the two sweater sleeves that I had made a mistake with one of the pattern, and the second sleeve was almost a centimeter longer than the first. I've cast on a third sleeve and will decide what to do with the first one later. It could become a lumbar pillow or the start of a sweater for a different doll or simply a gauge swatch. Meanwhile, I am nearly done with the garter stitch band at the base of the sleeve, and I really need to feel successful at something, so I am going to call this a post, fire up a Conference address, and let my fingers do the walking.

Tomorrow, as Miz Scarlett was fond of saying, is another day.

Edited to add: she can fix it! I've swaddled it within an inch of its life, and I'm shipping it back to her after work tomorrow!


You gave me a dead person's sheep?

It has been a memorable birthday. Took Middlest for the monthly checkup. Drove up to the pharmacy in Wylie to get a couple of Rx's filled. Came back home to drop off stuff we didn't need. Dropped off some misdirected mail at my doctor's office. Picked up Fourthborn. Stopped by Whataburger to buy lunch for my two kids so I could have lunch with Fourthborn's former fiance, who is still a heart-son. Discovered that I did not have my wallet. Dropped the kids at Barnes & Noble. Had lunch with J. Drove back to Garland and ransacked the house. Checked the truck again. Decided to call the pharmacy. Discovered that they had been trying to get hold of me since 9:30 (my ringer was off, as it usually is). Drove back to Wylie and got my wallet. Drove back to Arlington and picked up In N Out for my kids. Picked up my kids. Drove over the freeway to the party store. Arranged to pick up my balloon order at a quarter to six. Drove back up Cooper to the nearest Half Price Books. Found three more books for the dolls and two for me. Picked up the balloons. Drove to the restaurant. Had dinner. Middlest started to pass another kidney stone. Mel and Squishy brought Middlest back to their place so that I could run by Fourthborn's so she could stay with Middlest possibly through Thursday, when I go back to work.

Got neat stuff from my kids. Handmade cards from the Bitties and their cousin who is staying with them. Donegal yarn from Secondborn, who was in Ireland last week. And a good-size resin sheep that LittleBit found at an estate sale. Hence the title of this post. Chocolate. And more chocolate.

My sister gave me a lovely print, a pair of earrings that I wore to dinner and seem to have lost one of already, and a scarf knitted from some of the yarn I tossed into her Christmas box last year. I've replaced the batteries in the flashlight that lives in the Tardis, and I saw no sign of the missing earring. I will carefully take apart the gift bags after I have slept. Sleep is crucial at the moment. I've driven roughly 200 miles today, and I was planning to drive to Oklahoma tomorrow, but I've messaged my newfound cousin that Middlest is ill again/still, so we need to reschedule. (Middlest keeps insisting that I should go, but I just don't have the spoons for nine hours in the car after the extra time I spent driving today.)

Oh, and there was a point where I couldn't find my cell phone. I finally noticed that it had slipped past the horizon of the dashboard. Today has been a comedy of errors, but I've brought Middlest home, and I've taken my evening meds, and I'm about to fire up the white noise machine and call it a day.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Another dream in the house that is not my house. And other stuff.

Written before breakfast, in the hope that writing it down will help me make sense of it. There is a house which recurs in my dreams. It has aspects of my sister's first house in the Seattle area, the two houses I lived in with my parents while growing up in Boise, the house I shared with the children's father when the kids were little, the duplex I rented before marrying Beloved, and this house, plus additions which are solely the product of my imagination. Sometimes family members are part of the dream. Sometimes they are not.

Early in this dream, my friend Speed was visiting, and he asked if we wanted to take our relationship to the next level. (We have never had that sort of a friendship.) I told him only if he wanted to investigate the church and be baptized. He said OK. I think it was at that point that I started looking around the house for a spare Book of Mormon and noticed that a particular dresser (which does not exist) was missing from my room.

I walked into another room to find the children's father sleeping in my father's bed, having just come home from work. I tried to talk to him but got nothing but sleepy murmurs. I walked out of that room, closing the door rather loudly (ahem!) and walked into another part of the house. Moments later, I found the children's father up and dressed and wide awake, shoving furniture around in the back bedroom of the house we shared. He told me that the new bishop (we don't have one) had called, and I was supposed to take in my brother-in-law.

In this dream, Middlest (invited to live with me in real life, and most welcome!) was was off doing whatever my kid does while I'm sleeping and dreaming. The children's father had somehow taken up residence in a different room and was appropriating my stuff. And I was trying to get to the app which contains our ward directory to verify that there had indeed been a change of leadership in the ward, but was stuck in an endless Facebook loop. I wandered into another room full of my Relief Society sisters from various wards I've lived in, and one of them pulled me in for a hug and told me I just needed to let all of this stuff go. I stood there and sobbed in her arms.

Yeah. I have no idea. But maybe I should pack a spare Book of Mormon when I go to the family reunion this summer.

~o~O~o~

In other news, I posted to FB about the sticks in my freezer, and a friend from the singles program shot me an email. I paraphrase with his permission:

I once owned 20 acres near [a lake] - a neighbor cut a lot of brush on his parcel, piled it and set fire to it.

Another neighbor (Asian) told him "You just burned up $100,000." The resourceful Asian cut the same brush on his parcel and built a steamer from used oil drums. He hired women to steam the branches to kill off critters, then sort and bundle them to be sold to flower shops and craft stores for floral displays etc.

This is just one of several businesses the Asian was involved in. His land was improved with a large house and a tractor, etc. He was an interesting example for the rest of us.

~o~O~o~

I need to talk to my doctor about upping the diuretic. I came home right after sacrament meeting, because my lower legs were doing the "get me out of this meeting" twitch for the latter part of the meeting. I didn't feel sick, just swollen and achy and tired. So I bummed two ibuprofen from Middlest, ate a light lunch, and slept the afternoon away. Knit has thus far not happened. I'm not sure that it will, although I do need to step away from the computer and put my legs up. I think I will wash a latte cup full of grapes and curl up with a good book.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

A most excellent day.

I made a huge pan of lasagna and a slightly smaller bowl of salad for lunch. We had a visit from L and her daughter. Middlest is mighty handy at re-stringing dolls, and L had two that needed attention. Middlest also tightened up the stringing on my twins, and we determined that Honor was doing just fine.

I did a search for "virtues that are also women's names" and found this list:
Trinity (nope)
Mercy
Faith (check!)
Hope (check!)
Charity (check!)
Temperance (check!)
Grace (check!)
Patience
Prudence
Verity
Amity
Peace
Love
Destiny

I was somewhat amazed to find Constance and Joy on the list of boy's names. And who would name a poor innocent baby Rogue or Rebel? Might as well call him Lucifer and be done with it.

I got notification that the harp and the alchemist's bookcase have shipped.

In other news, I took two bags of dead light bulbs, dead batteries, and dead electronics to the toxic drop-off today. And Fourthborn was able to change out the light bulb in the garage with me standing there to spot her. No more doing laundry in the dark, at least for another year or so.

I made a few more rounds of progress on Avery's second sleeve, and I did a bit more quilting. I'm going to work on the latter until bedtime

Friday, April 07, 2017

Doll is here!

No picture on this blog until we find a wig for her. If you want to hop over to the doll blog, you can get a peek. I'm not sure what her name is. Hoping that my creativity will shake hands with my subconscious while I'm sleeping and come up with something appropriate.

Fourthborn had an outfit that suits very nicely in terms of fit, color, and coverage. It's been in storage, so it needs a little TLC.

I am crazy-tired and ridiculously happy. That's all I've got for you tonight.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

So much better than yesterday!

Yesterday was a beating, and today was more like when you have an itch in the middle of your back that you can't reach with either hand. Irritating but not painful. The meeting which I was responsible to plan, but not authorized to conduct, ran 15-20 minutes long because the office manager got held up by another meeting, so we started a little late. That was the irritating part. We got through the agenda, came to a consensus on some things, got overruled on others, and had significantly more time remaining in which to do the things we get paid for, than yesterday.

In knitting news, the orange tabard has its ends woven in and is ready for blocking. About 75% of the stitches on Avery's second sleeve had slipped off their needles, which involved about 20 minutes of fiddling (and mental muttering) while at Knit Night 2.0 this evening.

I've revamped the formatting of the doll blog. I liked the colors of the previous incarnation but not the layout.

FedEx has notified me by multiple means throughout the day that Adela will arrive tomorrow. Can't wait to meet her.

In technology news, my phone somehow figured out how to change the screen brightness to "total eclipse" mode. I discovered this after listening to a chapter in the Book of Mormon while driving to work, when I wanted to pause the app so I could ponder it and pray the rest of the way to the office, as is my habit. CouldNotFind the pause button, so I ended up hearing half a dozen chapters with increasingly less focus and increasingly more frustration. I wasn't sure that I'd be able to shut my phone up so I could take it into work. While I am all for being a member missionary in theory, I doubt that my coworkers would find Abinadi's exchanges with wicked King Noah and his apostate priests as interesting as I do, particularly if they were trying to communicate with a court coordinator or one of our clients.

Once I was in the parking garage, I managed to access the settings button and discovered that my brightness was dialed down to near-zero. Fixed that, exited out of my Book of Mormon, and took my cranky self upstairs to start my day. That was quite possibly the most counterproductive study session I've attempted since the kids were toddlers.

It will be funny someday. Today is not that day. In typing this, my angry cough bubbled up. I am going to swill some water, eat a square of Ghirardelli, and knit a little before bedtime.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

A day from the warm place. And I don't mean Houston.

It began well enough, with a visit to Middlest's doctor to pick up the Rx which must be hand-carried to the pharmacy, thence to the pharmacy, then home to drop Middlest off and head into work. Everything went smoothly, and I even found a parking space in the garage when I got downtown. That part was not the problem.

TheKid was back from his mediation with the news that we are set for trial in two weeks. It's a consolidated case, and while the Co-Defendant's counsel graciously provided all of the documents we requested, neither he nor Plaintiff's counsel had remembered to forward the trial notice to us when we were brought in a month and a half ago. This necessitated some research on my part, a flurry of emails among the attorneys, and the blessed decision by Plaintiff's counsel to request and file an agreed motion for continuance. Which meant that I did not have to clean up the blank documents I had just created, and could delete them in good conscience.

Then we had a two hour live streamed meeting with other offices who do what we do, and me without any lunch. When the meeting adjourned, there was a mass exodus to the loos, and I walked across the street to McDonald's and got a double cheeseburger, the smallest possible order of fries, and a bag of sliced apples. I was back at my desk at a quarter to four. I leave at five.

I think I've mentioned the wonderful attorney who has been out on medical leave for much of the last year. He handed in his resignation a couple of weeks ago and today was in the office packing up the last of his stuff. His paralegal sent out an email that everything was gone except a rolling side table and his (absolutely breathtaking) bronze statue of two rams butting heads.

I'd admired but not coveted it for years, and I am an Aries, even though I don't believe in astrology. I wheeled a cart into his office and loaded the statue into the top rack, then rolled the cart back to my desk and sent an email saying "dibs" and "is anyone willing to help me schlepp this out to my truck?" One of my girlfriends helped me get it out of the office, into an elevator, out through the service doors, down the ramp, around to the elevator for the parking garage, and all the way to the back of the garage where the Tardis was parked. Then she waited for me by that elevator while I moved the Tardis to a better parking spot, and we reversed our trek to put the cart away.

By this time it was 4:30. I had to re-file a document that I'd filed yesterday because a party's name was misspelled in the style of the case (after first making sure that that couldn't happen again). I got a packet of documents moved into SemperFi's outbox, and then it was 5:00.

Into my driving shoes and on to the loo, just in case, where my badge popped off the hem of my shirt, and I pinched something internally (in my abdomen) when I bent over to pick it up off the floor. Good thing I was the only one in there, because I was apologizing out loud to my tummy as I rubbed it, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." Got that calmed down, gathered up my stuff, went down to the car, heaved a weary sigh of relief and uttered an even more weary "thank You" prayer.

Took the scenic route home. Container Store for something that Middlest needed, then the Big Main Store of Half Price Books, then the store between Belt Line and Spring Valley on the I-75 service road. Got two more books for the dolls' collection and a $3 bargain for me, stopped at the grocery store long enough to buy two pints of ice cream, came home and unloaded everything but the statue (which is behind the driver's seat and not likely to go flying anywhere), started the last load of laundry and threw pizza into the oven.

Dinner is over. I've eaten a few bites of ice cream and put a nearly-full pint back into the freezer. Time to put the clean stuff in the dryer while there's still light enough to see. (Did I mention that the overhead light in the garage burned out on Monday night?) And then it's a bit of quilting and hopefully an earlier night than last night, and maybe I'll finish the orange tabard.

Maybe. I am so done with this day.