Books Read in 2022

11.	*Clay White, Cooper, R. 
10.	*Ravenous, Cooper, R. 
9.	*Change State, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve
8.	*Bread Alone, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve
7.	*Od Magic, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
6.	*Spells and Sensibility, Noone, K. L. and Murphy, K. S. 
5.	*Revelry, Noone, K. L.
4.	*Fire and Ink, Noone, K. L.
3.	*Some Kind of Magic, Cooper, R. 
2.	*Wyrd and Wild , English, Charlotte E. 
1.	*The Book of Life, Harkness, Deborah (reread)
 
* Ebook

Temporary Reprieve?

I’m supposed to call my oncologist’s nurse and report symptoms. This morning I called in to report that I had the cracking of the skin of the fingertips last week, which has progressed to peeling of the palms of my hands. As in shedding my skin like a lizard in big flakes and sheets. I’m peeling everywhere else, as well, but in tiny flakes.

So while I was out getting my hair trimmed and getting a manicure (I have a really hard time clipping my right nails with my left hand), and filling my car up with gas, and picking up some WD40 for my squeaky bathroom doors, my oncologist’s nurse called and he wants to postpone my next cycle of chemotherapy until after I’ve seen this dermatologist he’s referred me to and is trying to get me in with him ASAP.

I know why he wants me to see a dermatologist. There are several skin side effects of bendamustine that are rather nasty, like Stevens-Johnson syndrome. But my research has revealed that some of the listed “less common” side effects of the drug are “hives, itching or rash, and redness of the skin.” and “incidence not known” side effects of “blistering, flaking or peeling of the skin.” Considering what the more common side effects are, I’m getting off light. Also, the redness, itching, and peeling are the same side effects I had when I had my first course of chemo with bendamustine in 2018.

My late friend who passed from breast cancer as well as my friend KC, who has also undergone chemo for breast cancer also had the cracking of the skin of the fingertips from chemo. I was able to get over it within a couple of days by debriding the thickened skin of my fingertips with my Amopé tool, slathering on the Sween cream, and then putting a pair of disposable latex gloves on for a couple of hours until it fully soaked in.

I got mom’s stuff to the tax guy Tuesday. Where I live is off 17th street, and his new offices are on 122nd street, which is way the heck on the other side of town in deepest, darkest Yuppieville. When I called him on the phone to tell him I was bringing her stuff for him, I asked him if I could sign her tax return as POA, and he said, “Yes.” When I go back, I’ll be able to pay what she owes and sign, and he’ll file it electronically, and hunky-dory-ness will ensue.

They’ve started the knitting group at the public library up again, and the same lady is running it as before. It’s at 1 pm on Tuesday afternoons now instead of at night. KC and I went Tuesday afternoon. I’d like to be able to start going back.

It was on sale. Half price, and so pretty. So, I treated myself. After what I’ve been through with the chemo side effects this month, I thought I deserved a little treat. The website I got it from is WEBS and they have a sale section, as well as a very wide selection of yarns. They had a half-price sale on their Cascade Yarns’ Merino Dream “Hand Painted,” Super fine:1, 100% merino, 3.5 oz/100g, 437 yds/400 m. This colorway is 112: “Dusk.” Pounce!

I also follow the Needles At The Ready podcast that Kevin and Ray do, and Kevin has been dyeing yarn. He has some really nice colors. I was able to snap up the last three skeins of this colorway called “Chestnut Mare” off their Etsy site. I love the color. It’s on an 80% superwash Merino/20% nylon sock base, 400 yds, 100 g. You really have to pay attention to when he restocks. He dyes in small quantities, and when he restocks, they bounce once and are gone.

This evening, I took the WD40 to the hinges on my bathroom doors — instead of one regular door that would take up a lot of room to swing open, it has two small doors that open like French doors. They are now completely de-squeaked and I are so happy.

I finally assorted and deranged all my tchotchkes on the shelves. I have a collection of Celtic and Norse goddess statues that I had in my office as well as a Quan Yin on a dragon, plus a cloisonne collection of mine and mother’s pieces, some tea cups, whatnots and etc. And the top shelf is reserved for my kitty babies. That leaves me the two boxes from the move (contents of the china cabinet) and hanging my suncatchers and I’ll be pretty much all moved in.

The plan is to go for the boxes tomorrow, but somebody is supposed to call me and tell me when I go see the dermatologist, so I’ll have to play it by ear. I need to put in a work order to get the maintenance guy to put this plastic storage bin up on the top shelf of my closet to get it up off the floor so I can put that under bed bin of yarn in its place. Saturday, I’ve got to do probably two loads of laundry, but the plan is to spend this Sunday like I spent last Sunday: Snuggled in bed reading and eating cracker sandwiches. And knitting.

Sisyphus Strikes Again

He was the one who had to roll the big rock up the hill, only just when he got it to the top, it would get away from him and roll back down, and he’d have to do it all over again. I can relate. Next week will be the highest point in my chemo cycle, when I’ll feel my best and have the most energy. The Monday after that (2/28), I’ll start my second round of chemotherapy and it’s back down the hill again.

A new plant has joined the troupe (middle), a Pachira aquatica or a “shake money tree”. I think it might actually be a P. glabra, but I don’t care. It’s unusual and drought tolerant and prefers indirect light, so win in my book. The Italian Stone Pine is on the left and Mom’s orchid on the right. Three is a nice round number, and quite enough. We’ll have to see what the light level is like when the trees in front of my windows leaf out.

I got my crown put back on Wednesday. That’ll be $150, thank you very much. I tried to get in with the dentist that bought my late dentist’s practice, but he was out of town all week. My late dentist shared his building with another dentist, and that one was able to squeeze me in late Wednesday. In looking him up to refresh my memory of the street address, I noticed that on the Google street view of the office, my car was in the parking lot, which is not surprising. I signed a release of information to get all my records transferred over. Ironically, I was having a dental implant molar done and was all the way to the point of having the crown put on it, which is the last step, when my late dentist became my late dentist, and my new dentist had to put the crown on.

I got rid of my drawer bins I was keeping my yarn stash in. I happened to see the Activities Director when I was down checking my mail. She’s also in charge of decorating the building for the various holidays. I showed her a picture of them and asked if she wanted them. Her eyes lit up like Christmas. One of her minions was promptly dispatched, and they were gone inside of 20 minutes. Always glad to contribute to a worthy cause.

Alas, if I put all my four of my new under-bed bins under the bed, there’s no room for the leg of my bed table, which means I’ve got to find another place for one of the bins. Sigh.

I may have the energy to do some more unpacking this weekend. Then again, I’m completely functional as is and those two remaining boxes are out of the taxiways.

I’ve got to get mom’s tax stuff together and get it to the accountant next week without fail. I will do that this weekend. I’m pretty sure we’ve gotten all the 1099’s and whatnot. I need to ask the guy if Mom has to sign her taxes (I would have to bring them to her to sign, and they would then have to be mailed) or can I sign them as her POA so they can be filed electronically? It would certainly make life easier if I could sign them. It’ll take me about 30 minutes to do my own taxes. I may do them this weekend. (Don’t hold your breath.)

Tradeoffs

Tradeoffs. Choices. I’ve been through chemotherapy once before. So this is not, as we say in these parts, my first rodeo. This is a chronic disease I’m battling. I might get remission, but the odds are it will be more like a temporary reprieve. But I go through chemo with the hope that it will keep me alive long enough for medical science to come up with a cure — or at least a more humane treatment.

This is a common side effect of the drug I’m taking. The skin of the fingers becomes tough and thick, and splits. You can imagine how snaggy skin like this is in dealing with yarn. I have one of those Amopé callus reducers, which helps. I’ve got creams that help. You put this stuff on, and then you put on plastic gloves because it takes hours for the cream to be absorbed.

I’ve been guzzling this stuff like water. I paid for my energy of Saturday by sleeping most of Sunday and Monday — twelve and fourteen hours at a stretch. Not to put too fine a point on my weekend, tonight at supper, I lost a crown off one of my upper molars. So, bright and early tomorrow morning, I’ve got to call the office that used to be my late dentist’s (who tragically succumbed to COVID) and see if I can get the dentist who bought his practice to put my crown back on. It was Valentine’s day, and I wasn’t even eating candy when it happened!

My left hand is not as badly cracked as my right. I’m a continental knitter. If it gets too bad, I can always put on some plastic gloves. I’m continuing to work on the hexagonal baby blanket. I haven’t decided whether I’ll restrict it to these three colors, or whether I’ll add in more. One of those I have to be there.

A Little Spontenaiety, and 4, and . . . .

On a whim, and a very small one at that, shortly after I posted yesterday’s post, I packed up and went to the Market Street on Indiana and 50th, on a Saturday, and there was a Goodwill Truck in the parking lot! So, yay! I offloaded donations, Goodwill made out like a bandit, and I was a happy camper. I was limited to three grocery bags, because that’s all I can carry free-hand, and my car trunk and back seat were so loaded down with Goodwill donations, there was no place to put my little fold-up wagon to take anything more than that back up to the apt.

I was proud of myself. Little bag of baby carrots, bag of cored apple sections, two bunches of green onions, container of cantaloupe chunks, and a small bottle of the best Ranch dressing ever, Litehouse Homestyle Ranch which is thick enough to either dip or dress. Got some mixed nuts, two big bottles of peach juice, some broiled chicken wings, fried okra, some lunch meat, couple loafs of their great specialty bread. And for “tea,” I had half the fried okra, a dinner plate with a small handful of carrots, five little green onions, a handful of apple sections, a couple of chunks of cantalope, and a little sauce dish of Ranch to dip. A DIY salad. Yum! (The green onions were peppery and good!)

Maybe later today I’ll load up the drawer bin units in my wagon and take them down to my car and try for another run on Monday because my spontaneous Saturday grocery run was listless and I forgot a few things as a result. Crystal Light for one thing. I’m getting to the middle of this cycle where I’m starting to bounce back from the chemo and get some energy back.

Once I get the empty bin drawer units out of the way, that will only leave the two boxes. It will open the place up more and leave me with one last push to get everything unpacked. In the meantime, I might tackle the tchotchke shelves, which only need sorting and arranging artfully to display the collection of Chinese cloisonne mom and I have accumulated over the years, as well as some treasured pieces of blue and white, my teacup collection and what have you.

In the meantime, I’ve been listening to a traditional jazz band called Tuba Skinny (just go to YouTube and search for “Tuba Skinny”) It has a lineup of clarinet, cornet, trombone, a singer who plays the bass drum she sits on, two acoustic guitars or guitar and banjo, percussion of washboard and cymbals, and a for-real Sousaphone style tuba. They play early jazz from the Roaring Twenties, the jazz that gave the Jazz Age it’s name. It was the heyday of F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby), Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway in Paris. What was left of the Lost Generation, the generation that had survived WWI, kicked up their heels and partied hearty for a whole decade. This is the musical setting for the Bertie Wooster and Jeeves stories of P. G. Wodehouse that have been so exquisitely portrayed by the young Hugh Laurie as Bertie and Stephen Fry as the inimitable Jeeves in the BBC dramatizations. The print stories are now in the public domain and can be acquired for free from Project Gutenberg, or from your preferred purveyor of digital content for free or really cheap. The 1920’s were the dawn of the modern era. Our modern world has its roots there.

If you haven’t figured out by now I have pretty catholic (2) tastes in music — in fact, I’ve rarely met a musical genre I haven’t liked — yep. My first exposure to this music was in my childhood and TV’s — which happened to coincide. This would have been in the mid 1950’s. One of our two local TV stations broadcast old movie cartoons from the early 1930s through the early 1950s. They were cheap, readily available and were “socially acceptable” content for that awkward part of the afternoon between the kids getting home from school and dad getting home from work, that 3:30-5:30 pm time slot when mom needed the kids out of her hair while she was cooking supper and getting it on the table by 6 pm. The assumption was that kids and cartoons were a “natural.” What nobody seemed to have realized at the time was that these cartoons were aimed at adults, the demographic that bought movie tickets and took their girls and wives out to the movies in the evening for a short, a news real, a cartoon and a feature film. They had a level of sophistication and assumed a common cultural context that gave them meat and depth, wit and sparkle. And the ones from the early thirties (the Harmon-Ising “Merrie Melodies“) frequently were themed around popular tunes of the day, and they were in this “Trad Jazz” style. This was the golden age of the animated cartoon — Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes and the later Merrie Melodies, vintage Fleischer Popeye the Sailor, Woody Woodpecker and Tom and Jerry. As an uncritical child, I took them in at face value, and as I rewatched them over the years, I would grow into them, bringing my increasing knowledge of historical context, life in general, and experience to bear, and “get” more and more of the gags that had gone over my head as a child.

Anyway, grooving to Tuba Skinny makes me smile, and I need all the smiles I can get. Feel free to get you some, too.

So, Anyway . . . .

Woke up this morning dabbling in this thought puddle: So women already have to play the men’s game because it’s the only game in town, and they have to use the men’s rules and the men’s cards, and the men change the rules halfway through the game at random and then they insist on all these elaborate arcane handicaps, and then change what you have to do to win three fourths of the way through the game and we still win, and men immediately launch into this big rant about how we take unfair advantage and how ruthless we are and how unfeminine that is, and going on and on about it, and we’re having to stand around listening to it while we’re doing the teenage eyeroll thing and thinking, “Oh, grow TF up already. . . ” So I’ll just park that here like a piece of chewing gum. Strange morning.

My BFF called last night from Outer Houston and we talked for four and a half hours (!). I mean, sit the phone down and gab while we’re making and eating dinner and cleaning up after and talking about books and music and fashion and where our heads are at right now and our respective creative processes and where each of us is going with our respective version of it. (She’s very eye/visually oriented, has a fine arts degree, paints, draws, was a scientific illustrator for the Carnagie Museum in Pittsburg for a zillion years, and I’m very verbal/ear oriented, have a degree in English (Rhetoric), etc.) (In a parallel universe, we might have done graphic novels; I the story and script, she all the drawing.) We both love music but we use different types of it and in different ways and want different things from it — another interesting conversation thread from last night. That transmogrified into an exploration of our respective creative processes in and of itself, and how it involves different circuits in her brain than it does in mine (never mind that I’m on the spectrum and wired differently anyway).

We’ve both become devotees of the Boomer Goth fashion look, it seems. (She bought some black pretend leather slacks and black ankle boots with tire tread soles. She has the height to pull it off.) (You have no idea how funny the whole concept of “Boomer Goth” is; we laughed uproariously about it all evening.) We both have that slightly off-kilter world view, only tilted at different angles (but that’s OK) and the same offbeat sense of humor. We’ve been friends since age 14 and we have that whole private language that only comes from long acquaintance and little shorthand referents that nobody else can get because it’s one of those you had to have been there. . . .

She was put on clonazepam (Klonopin is the brand name) for like 20 years for chronic anxiety and is finally off it now. Her brain is coming out of the drug haze, and she is astonished at how many of the symptoms she attributed to “old age” and nerve damage from hazardous chemicals she was exposed to at her museum job were actually side effects of the clonazepam and are now dramatically improving now that she’s not taking it any more (not to mention all the foods she stopped eating because she thought she’d developed a food allergy to them, but that were actually clonazepam side effects affecting her digestive system.) (Stevie Nicks has gone on record as saying if she were to ever meet the person who initially prescribed clonazepam to her, she would want to murder them because of what the drug did to her brain for eight years.) After over 20 years, my BFF is finally reconnecting with her art — drawing and painting, and rediscovering what she thought she’d lost forever. It’s like she’s having her own personal private Renaissance.

We talked about books and she wants to start reading (and rereading) again, which is problematic at the moment because of her cataracts, but her first surgery will be in March. But once she gets past that, she’ll be able to get back into it. And all of this is happening to her as I’m about to start dealing with chemo brain. Again.

We had a front blow through last night. It blustered and blew all night. I’ve transferred my yarn stash but it hasn’t made it under the bed yet. Sufficient unto the day . . . I’m probably going grocery shopping tomorrow morning, but I may blow it off until Monday so I can check to see if the Market Street at Indiana and 50th has a Goodwill Donation truck in their parking lot. I need to offload my car so I can load it up with those drawer bins.

I love my little kitchen. The peninsula could have barstool seating on this side of it, but I have my metal filing cabinet (with bowls of knitting on) and the printer end of my computer desk pushed up under it. Anyway, I eat at my computer desk most of the time anyway. I have ample cabinet storage (although I’d rather have more drawers than shelves). Still, I have a place for everything and the “above” cabinets (above the refrigerator, microwave and sink) are all empty because I have more room than things to put in it.

Here’s my little pet Italian Stone Pine and the orchid I inherited from mom. I need to repot both of them. I have the stuff to do it. My windows face northwest, and there are deciduous trees in front of them, so currently I have a lot of bright indirect light. (The Stone Pine can take full sun and would do well if planted outside.) I’d like some more plants, but I’m undecided/picky about which ones. I’ll have to wait until the trees leaf out to see what the spring/summer light level is like and let that be my guide. I’m thinking a shallow, pretty bowl with succulents in wouldn’t go amiss. . . .

Slowly climbs the snail . . .

That quintessential Japanese haiku about how the snail climbs Mt. Fuji and, by single-minded determination, eventually gets to the top. About how there are times when you just have to put your head down and focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

It’s all you have the attention span for, all you have the energy to manage.

I know there are some of you who are here for the knitting content, and there is some. I’m going a little bit more in depth because there are family members who come here for info about how I’m doing. And my dear mom. It’s just so much easier for her to read what I need her to know than for me to call her on that horrible cell phone. Her hearing is problematic; even in person, with your mask off, you still have to repeat things at least once before she gets it. But that cellphone is an exercise in futility. I just don’t have the energy to repeat everything three and four times and maybe make the connection and maybe not over the phone.

I did get the two little boxes unpacked and most of that put away. That was the rest of my tea stash and my Crystal Light, so the two big boxes that remain may just stay packed for a while because it’s all china cabinet stuff and there’s nothing in them I need.

Tuesday, I went in to JACC and got a liter of fluid. That has helped. The itching has worked its way to my forearms. There is still some itching but it’s low-grade and ignorable. The most persistent itching is on my forearms. However, it responds to “stroking” of the skin. I stopped taking the antihistamine Tuesday, and it’s been OK. I’ve been in touch with my oncologist and we’ve decided on a game plan for round 2. A week of premedication with diphenhydramine (Benadryl), one dose of the bendamustine, the Neulasta on the second day, and several days of pushing fluid through a liter at a time.

I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday in bed sleeping for three or four hours at a stretch. I’d wake up, make a trip, take a big swig of what I’ve been drinking, and go back to sleep. I’ve been putting away gallons of ice water with about a cup of peach juice in it to give it flavor because I had used up all the Crystal Light I had to hand. (Today I found the rest of it, so cool there.) I can have meals delivered to my door, so that’s been wonderful. Because they’re working on the dining facility at the other building and are in the process of relocating the kitchen, they started having dinner as well as lunch here. So, I’ve been able to have a light lunch of fruit, cheese and nuts, and then order a hot supper, which has been ideal.

In the meantime, I have no energy. It was all I could manage to walk down and check mail and get my package from the front desk and walk back. It’s only a round trip of about 100 yards. Still, Tuesday walking down to my car was about as much as I could manage without stopping to rest, and I had to stop and rest between my car and the place upstairs at JACC where I go because I had to walk up about a 10-degree incline for about 50 feet to get up to the building. And this is only the first session.

I did find out that my Dad’s brother’s daughter’s daughter (got that?) is pregnant again and they’re having another little girl.

So, in the knitting news, I got out both sets of my US 6 (4.0 mm) DPNs, and got into that Lion Brand acrylic baby yarn and went hexagonal, using a variant of the Savannah Square pattern. The first two rows are the tricky bits. Six needles is almost like wrestling an octopus.

Like anything you knit in the round, it’s critical to get that first row joined without twisting it. Here’s all you really need to know about the pattern:

Cast on 6 stitches on a single DPN.  
Row 1:	kfb; *on the next needle, kfb; repeat from * to end of row, place marker to mark end of row. (2 stitches per DPN on 6 DPNs, total 12 stitches)
Row 2:	Join to knit in round, being careful not to twist any stitches, *k1, p1, repeat from * to end of row. 
Row 3:	kfb to end of row. 
Row 4:	*k1, p1, repeat from * to end of row.
Row 5:	*kfb, k until 1 stitch remains on needle, kfb, repeat from * for all six needles. 

Repeat rows 4 and 5 until the needles become crowded. Knit off onto a circular needle. 

Row 6:	*k1, p1, to end of the DPN and place marker, repeat from * to end of row, placing the row marker at the end of the sixth needle. 
Row 7:	*kfb, k until 1 stitch before marker, kfb,  repeat from * to end of row.
Row 8:  *k1, p1, repeat from * to end of row.  

Repeat rows 7 and 8 until you reach the size you want. 

For comparison, here is the relevant bit of the Savannah Square pattern.

Cast on 8 stitches onto a single DPN. You will work these stitches off two at a time onto a succession of DPN needles until all four DPNs have been brought into play. 
Row 1:	 Kfb, kfb.  
On the next needle, kfb, kfb.  
On the next needle, kfb, kfb.  
On the next needle, kfb, kfb. (16 sts)  
You should now have four DPNs in play with 4 stitches on each needle (16 sts total).  
Attach a row marker to the work. 
Join work to knit in round, being careful not to twist any stitches. 
Row 2:	 Knitting in round, *k1, p1, repeat from * to end of row. (16 sts, 4 per DPN)
Row 3:	 *Kfb, k2, kfb, repeat from * to end of row.  (24 sts, 6 per DPN)
Row 4:	 *k1, p1, repeat from * to end of row. (24 sts, 6 per DPN)

Row 5:	  *(kfb, knit until one stitch remains on the needle, kfb), repeat from * four times.  
Row 6:	  *k1, p1, repeat from * to end of row

Repeat rows 5 and 6 until the double pointed needles become crowded with stitches.  Knit off onto the 16-inch circular needle.  Each time you knit all the stitches off a DPN, place a marker, placing the row marker after you’ve knitted all the stitches off the fourth DPN. 

Have fun.

And . . . Itchy

I’m slow. What can I say? In a typical timeline of symptoms where 99% of people will have had the thing show up within a predictable time frame, it will take me longer, and usually significantly longer. If I overexert, the muscle soreness takes two days to show up. What I thought was just a sun-sensitivity “sunburn” side effect has, alas, turned itchy. Took two days for my body to decide that everywhere that I was “sunburned” is now going to itch. Including my hair. Especially my hair. It’s not a maddening, claw yourself raw kind of itch, thank goodness. It’s just a niggling little itch. It’s annoying, but not driving me crazy.

Having drapes again means the quality of my sleep has gone up, and that’s been wonderful. If you can sleep “pedal to the metal,” that’s what I’ve been doing, and it’s been grand. It’s the thing I have needed more than anything, and I’ve been doing a lot of it. I’ve just blown off unpacking things or arranging the things I have unpacked. I have paths around boxes and I can get to everything I need to get to, so I’m not going to stress about it. I may get motivated to transfer my yarn stash to the under-bed boxes later and put those away, but then again, maybe not.

It’s still cold, and there is still snow on the ground. It’s in the high 30’s F/3.8 C at the moment. Supposed to get down to 4 F/-15.5 C tonight, but is supposed to warm up to the 50’s F/ 11+ C by Monday, which is when I have to go out again.

There’s this little noise I’ve been hearing. It sounds like dropping a small box of Legos onto a table from about six inches in height. It makes me smile. It’s the icemaker in my fridge dropping a load of ice into the collection container. I’ve had fridges with icemakers before, but never one that has the icemaker water line hooked up so that it actually works. The fridge in this apartment has a hooked up and working icemaker.

When the reverse osmosis water guy moved my undersink unit over to the new apartment, he hooked the icemaker’s water line into the RO water circuit, and it has been industriously making RO ice for days now. Not that I’m having ice in anything at the moment because it’s literally freezing outside, but I could if I wanted . . .

Just as Swell

If things had been going as planned, I would have gotten my second dose of chemo yesterday, and I would have had to go out today to get the Neulasta to keep my white blood cell count from bottoming out. But my second dose was canceled due to what may actually be sunburn judging from the pattern.

The heat and redness is where my clothes weren’t yesterday and Monday afternoon — what the boat neck of my shirts exposed as well as my neck and face. It’s acting just like every other sunburn I’ve ever had, but sun sensitivity is also a side effect of bendamustine, so it is a side effect, but not as concerning as it would be if it was a skin rash side effect. I was wearing shirts with an ample boat neck on both days because it’s easier to just pull the neck down to give them access to my chemo port than it is to have to take my arm out of the sleeve and pull the whole side of the shirt out of the way. Less revealing, too. I’d rather not inflict gratuitous pulchritude on innocent bystanders if I can help it.

It’s also just as swell that I decided to drive like the Indy 500 to get to the VA before they closed yesterday, instead of waiting to pick up the Medrol Dosepak this morning. We’ve had 2 inches (5 mm) of snow so far with a 90% chance of getting more today, and a 50% chance of getting more tomorrow. More to the point, it’s currently 21 F/-6.1 C with a 17 mph/27 kph north wind and a wind chill of 7 F/-13.8 C.

With the Rocky Mountains laid out like a kerb stone from Canada to Mexico to the west of us, and the Great Plains like a straight shot to Canada 1700 miles to our north, there’s nothing much between us and the North Pole except Amarillo and a fence, and the fence is down, as the saying goes. At this time of the year, when Canada blows, our weather sucks, as the saying also goes. Canada is blowing today, folks, at a blustery 17 mph/27 kph. We are under a winter weather advisory until late tomorrow afternoon, with warnings of wind chills of down to -10 F/-23 C (and possible snow accumulations of 4 inches/10 cm).

As I mentioned previously, my drapes got moved and hung in my new digs. I had had some beach towels I was using as chair covers for those icky old “leather” armchairs I had and they were slated for donation to Goodwill (they were already in the trunk of my car and I had to briefly brave the elements to go get them – GACK!), but I had a brain wave that I might could fold up one or both of the towels and put them on the window sill, held in place by the blinds, and mitigate the light leak at the bottom of the curtains caused by the way the curtains pleat at the bottom. It was a good idea as far as it went, and a definite improvement. I ended up pinning the pleats down, which took the effectiveness up to about 90%. But just to give you an idea of the difference having the drapes made in the quality of my sleep, I slept through my alarm this morning. Like nearly an hour. Granted I am just generally knackered and “wore to a frazzle,” but with the room darker, I could sleep more deeply, and did — “full fathoms five” deep, to sneak a Shakespearean allusion in on you. (“The Tempest,” Act 1 Scene 2, for the English majors in the crowd.)

Of course, once I was awake, I realized I needed to get up for several reasons, not the least of them to start the Medrol Dosepak with the two pills before breakfast. I was up, comfortably yet modestly dressed for staying in (long winter nightgown in black jersey and a dark green fleece zip-up vest accessorized with black house shoes with white “fur” linings and a Breathe Right strip – what you might call “Boomer Goth“), and eyeing the sweet roll I had targeted for breakfast when the door knocked, and it was a guy from Hart Moving come to collect their stacking bin boxes (!). I also sweet talked him into taking the two empty packing boxes away. I did wait until I had shut the door behind him before I laid the moves on the happy dance, though. Couth. I haz it.

I’m pretty sure I can recycle the other boxes and packing materials once I get to unpacking them. I may have mentioned that Carillon is big on recycling because they have a deal with the state MHMR Residential Facility here to collect for them. The students sort the recycling and sell it for extra $$ because the State has more important things (like pork barrels) to spend money on than them. (I happily collect my contributions and take them to the designated collection point on my floor.) So, that’s two boxes and those bins gone, four boxes to go, and the plastic drawers to schlep to the Goodwill truck at Market Street once the current load is off loaded — which judging from the weather might be a while.

Move In Status: 80% Complete. However, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. I’m going to take my outside clothes off, slip back into my night gown and snuggle into my nice, warm, remote-controlled bed with a plate of munchies, a big travel mug of hot tea, and a good book on my Kindle tablet, . . . and perhaps some knitting . . . and have a safe, sane, warm, quiet evening in. Cue: music

Ganging A-gley

As in “the best laid schemes o’ mice” and oncologists. The plan was two days of infusion of chemo drug (bendamustine). First day was yesterday. Since I was coming back for a second infusion today, they left the access and rig in my port and just capped the end and taped it to me. (I usually sleep in the completely, but I wore a t-shirt to bed last night to protect things. I had a hard time going to sleep. )

Sunday I had discovered to my thorough disgruntlement that my refrigerator had been set too cold and had frozen my almond milk, cottage cheese and the 1/3 of a bowl of tuna salad I was looking forward to eating sandwiched between English toasting bread. Since I wasn’t taking any chances, I threw them all out. On my way home from the cancer center Monday, I stopped off at Market Street and got replacements as well as some bread and Braunschweiger, and hit their deli for some fried chicken, red beans and broccoli+rice+cheese for supper since I missed lunch. (“Braunschweiger” I spelled right on the first try, turned a phrase, and then drew a complete blank on “broccoli” — isn’t there a “K” in it?)(Doctors have finally discovered what thousands of cancer patients have known for decades — “chemo brain” is not “all in your head.” It is an actual, scientifically verifiable thing. Yes, it is. See above.)

I pottered and put things up. Then I snarfed my fried chicken and sides, had a scone from the “Bistro” downstairs as my just desserts. About an hour later I had two episodes of a side effect that Imodium took care of. (To be fair, I had been a little loose in the stool both Saturday and Sunday so it may not have been an actual side effect. My intestines can throw a proper little “snit fit” all by their little selves just because.)

Today I showed up for my second infusion looking like my upper chest and neck had gotten sunburned and there was a slight itch around my port. Conferences were held. My last encounter with that particular chemo drug (2018) was rehashed. My oncologist decided to skip the second infusion. Instead, I got what I was going to get Wednesday — decadron, benadryl and the hormone (Neulasta)that keeps my white blood cell count from cratering. They also called in a prescription for a Medrol Dosepak to the VA that I had to dash by to pick up before they closed at 4:30 (slid in under the wire but it was tight) which I start tomorrow, and barring any other untoward symptoms rearing their ugly little heads, the oncologist will see me again on the 28th. What the plan will be then is still up in the air. You watch. He’ll decide to give me the one that makes your hair fall out, and I’ll be as bald as a doorknob inside of a month, and hate every second waiting for treatment to be done so my hair will grow back. (Luckily, I have hats and some pretty headscarves.)(I should make me this hat. The chart is free.)

The lady who bought mom’s bed finally came and got it Sunday. Monday morning before I went to the cancer center, I loaded up the car trunk and back seat with more downsized stuff for Goodwill. (They usually have a truck parked in the parking lot of the Market Street at 50th and Indiana.) The movers packed the contents of my kitchen cupboards and my china cabinet and I have four tall boxes and two short boxes full of those contents. I’ve unpacked two of the tall boxes which is my silverware, most of my dishes and glassware. I’ve cut shelf liner and have 98% of it put away. I still have two more tall boxes and the two short boxes to unpack. Saturday, I put all the books on the bookshelves, grouped by author, but not in any order (wince!)(e.g., all the Tony Hillerman Joe Leaphorn books are together but not in series order.) (cringe!) All the pictures are hung. Order is beginning to emerge from chaos. The book bins are empty and Hart Moving & Storage is supposed to come pick them up when they get a round tuit. They can come any time. I’m tired of pin-balling my way through the clusters of bins and boxes (and the inevitable earworm* . . . .)

I have no place to put the plastic stacking drawers I keep my yarn stash in (see above). I ordered some under-bed plastic storage bins from guess where, which came today, and will relocate my stash to them and donate the drawers to Goodwill. I also ordered a larger ceramic pot for the pet Italian Stone Pine I got at Christmas. If I can keep it alive long enough that it gets too big to be an indoor pet, I’ll donate it to the grounds. It likes lots of light and is drought tolerant, so it should do well outside. Mom’s orchid from daddy’s niece that I repotted prospers, and I have assumed custody, care and feeding of same. (My little green friends are visible in the picture above left.)

I got a second set of Chiao Goo US9 (5.5 mm) double pointed needles because I want to try the Savannah Square pattern as a hexagon, just for grins. There are five needles in a DPN set. Knitting a center-out square takes all five double pointed needles; knitting a six-sided hexagon center-out takes seven). I think it would make a nice car-seat baby blanket, and my paternal first cousin once removed is pregnant again, but she’s only at the morning sickness stage, so I’ve got a while.

The pattern uses a long-tail cast on, and I want to leave enough “tail” from the cast on to put on a darning needle and run through that first row of stitches to cinch up the inevitable “hole” in the center. The steroids will have me bouncing off the walls for days, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I start it at some point tomorrow. Sigh.

I’ve had this set of Lion Brand baby yarn (a seventh skein of light blue not shown, It’s acrylic, DK weight –light/3; 5 oz/140 g; 459 yds/420 m, and it’s been in my stash for a couple of years. I might use it, but then I have some candy-stripe baby yarn (2 balls of aqua and white, and one ball of pink and white) that I might use instead. Depends on how much I have of it. I also have a big ball of light blue and some mint green that would work

This is a car seat blanket which is already in progress, which I might finish, using the mint green mentioned above. It’s acrylic yarn, which is machine washable — an important factor in baby items. It’s also hypoallergenic. Ditto.

I need to transfer my yarn stash to the under-bed boxes, and put them under the bed, but I can’t put the drawers in my car to take to the Goodwill truck until I empty out the load in my trunk and back seat. I had to do some banking business in person today, and I pass by the Market Street on 50th and Indiana Avenue to get to mom’s bank — no Goodwill truck today. I might go out again tomorrow or Thursday and try to off-load the car. I want all these boxes and bins out of the apartment yesterday! I’ll see if I can’t empty the rest of the boxes tomorrow. Trouble is, I’ll have to play number puzzle with all the stacks of stuff to be able to get to the china cabinet. It’s taking me about twice as long to unpack as it would have done five years ago. After all that happened to me health wise in 2018, I have no endurance anymore. I work for about an hour or two, hit the wall, and have to stop and rest.

One good thing, though. When I got back this afternoon and walked into my bedroom to put my purse up, I saw that Bud the maintenance dude had moved my drapes. So glad to have them. (I’m sorry but blinds alone don’t do the job. Still too much light, even at night — the grounds are very well-lit.) That was the last thing to go from the old place. When I checked mail today, they had a blocker in my old mailbox that said “vacant apartment” and my mail was in the new apartment box. At some point tomorrow I’ll have to turn in the old keys. Before I moved, the lady who is my new across the hall and down one neighbor assured me that my next door neighbor is so hard of hearing she won’t mind all the hammering for picture hangings. Evidently not. She brought me an apple turnover this afternoon which I had for dessert with my corned beef and cheese sandwich and cottage cheese topped with pineapple bits.

I’m just plum tuckered out and I’m going to sleep in tomorrow. That way, Hart Moving will call and wake me up wanting to come get their bins and boxes. . . .

Oh, and speaking of Scottish, I was watching a video on fair isle knitting the other day presented by a lady from the Isle of Shetland. She made the comment that the Shetlanders referred to the cast on row as “the sweary gang” — “gang” being Scottish for “go.” She had that delightful Scottish brogue, pronouncing “pattern” as “pat-trin” – I could have listened to her talk all day.

*An earworm is a song that gets stuck in your head.