The Consonance of Softly Falling Rain

After about three hours’s sleep, I dragged myself to JACC entirely too early this morning to wait in the waiting room for a lab draw (liver enzymes are good, kidney functions are good, hemoglobin is good, white count is good as in I still have enough to do the job, sigh of relief). Then I went across the hall to wait in the waiting room to see my oncologist. Then I went back to the main waiting area to wait for my infusion. I came fully equipped: had my phone, a charge cord for it and the Bluetooth earbuds that are paired to it, two different knitting projects, an 8-inch Kindle with charge cord and earphones, 2 bottles of water, and a PayDay candy bar.

How do I have time to knit? Well, for one thing, instead of playing with my phone while I was sitting in one waiting room or the other for over two hours, I knitted. The pink thing is a round baby blanket (I have strategically retreated from the battle to work out the increases on the hexagon blanket pattern to live and fight another day when I’m not beset by chemo brain and working to a four-month deadline.)

I also brought with me the 5 tablets of prednisone that I’m supposed to take on the day of my chemo infusion, but I wasn’t sure when I was supposed to take them — before? after? — which is one of the things I asked my oncologist when he made his brief appearance. He said it was good I hadn’t already taken them because whether or not I would subsequently get my infusion of chemo was contingent on the results of my labs: If the lab results are bad, the infusion is cancelled. But if they’re good, then I take them while I’m getting hooked up to the IV rig. Also mentioned to him that my pancreas has been randomly elbowing me in the ribs and I wondered if it was attention seeking behavior. He didn’t seem to think so. I also found out it doesn’t matter if I’m fasting or not when they do the lab draws, which simplifies my life. Every little bit helps.

The hospital volunteers run a “snack cart” in the infusion area. They have sandwiches (I had a tuna one today) and various soft drinks, fruit drinks, and assorted munchies. The nurse brought me a blanket from the blanket warmer, I pulled up Soma FM‘s Drone Zone on my phone’s internet radio app, put in my Bluetooth earbuds, reclined the infusion chair and slept through the 2-hour infusion. I was there from 8:20 in the morning to nearly 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and at some point during that time, it apparently rained enthusiastically enough that the valet parking attendants had to relocate farther back under the porte-cochère. It had stopped raining by the time I left to go home, but they weren’t taking any chances. It thankfully had rained enough to pull a lot of the dust in the air left over from yesterday’s little hooley (with gusts up to 70 mph).

The Bradford pear trees that are literally all over town are in bloom again, and my sinuses are not the least bit happy about it. Anything else I have to say on that subject is definitely not G-Rated. In other tree related news, the one outside my window decided to bud yesterday. It may be an Ulmus pumila, but then again, maybe not. Right now, it’s Club Grackle. There’s always a lot of air going someplace else besides here and big tails on a windy day make it hard for you to impress the ladies with your lissome silhouette and your big yaller eyes when the wind keeps trying to jibe your spanker boom. Pairs of squirrels have been spotted scampering through the heretofore bare branches doing the squirrel version of the perennial game of “Tag. I’m it.” (Did you know those little perishers can RUN straight up brick walls?)

I’ve been listening a lot to this YouTube “video” which has the sound of gentle rain (no thunder) behind oldies music from the 1930’s and 1940’s, but I was listening to this music-only one late this evening when I became aware of “ambient rain sounds” from a slow rain dripping off the trees outside my window. That provoked two thoughts: “Oh, good. It’s raining in the real world for a change,” and this one. We only average about 16 inches/41 cm of rain a year (semi-arid has nothing to do with trucks), and we’ll take every drop of it we can get.

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English How She Is Spoke

A living language is a dynamic language. It changes and evolves over time to better fit (and boldly go!) the changing and evolving milieu of its speakers. New inventions and concepts need names so that they can be talked about. (Insert video clip of the Dowager Countess of Grantham ingenuously asking, “What is a ‘weekend’?” here) Words also drop out of common usage because people don’t need to talk about those things anymore for whatever reason. (That’s what makes Shakespeare so difficult. Everyday life has changed rather substantially between his time and ours, and many of the words that described everyday life at the turn of the 17th century have dropped out of “common knowledge” over the intervening 400+ years.) (Ask a Millennial why you refer to ending a phone call as “hanging up.” or what “Betamax” is)

One way we make new words for new things is to combine words in new ways (which English inherited from its Germanic roots), like “hatchback” and “skateboard.” “History bounding” describes the practice of recreating and adapting garments from a particular historical period to make them part of your everyday wardrobe. CosTubers (Costume+YouTube) have whole channels devoted to the practice. This is not to be confused with “Cosplay,” (costume+play), which is the hobby of recreating the costume of a character in film, television or print to wear for fun, or “-core” where a person incorporates aspects of their “core interest” into their daily life (cottagecore, medievalcore, bardcore, etc.). We now have “spheres” or the concepts, practices, and participants to do with a particular interest or activity (the blogsphere, the Twittersphere), and “-verses” — the “fictional universe” in which a particular film, book, or TV series is set (the Potterverse, the Duneverse, the Whoniverse, etc.)

The meanings of words can change over time. A case in point is the word “terrific,” which literally means “causing terror.” It has acquired the additional meanings of “great size, amount or intensity,” and is now used as an exclamation of approval. Terrific! One has only to listen to a Millennial or GenZ to appreciate that the words “sick” and “stupid” have also acquired additional meanings beyond the literal, as has the word “awesome.” (If a Millennial describes your child as “stupid cute,” that is a high compliment.) In addition to its literal meaning, “gnarly” has acquired two other meanings that are exact opposites: awesome and excellent versus gruesome and unpleasant.

Words become streamlined, like “app” (from “application”) and “phone” (from “telephone”). A “fanatic” has been a “fan” for quite a while, but now they congregate at “cons” (from “convention”), buy “merch” (“merchandise”) and there is typically cosplay involved. “High resolution” becomes “hi res” and “low fidelity” becomes “lo fi.” Some phrases get stripped right down to acronyms. “By the way,” becomes BTW, “laugh out loud” becomes LOL, and “in my humble opinion” becomes IMHO. We used to have a US President; now we have a POTUS.

How we use words changes, too. Not so long ago, “extinction” was a state of being. The dinosaurs became extinct. They were no more. Now it’s a destination (“the point of no return”) as more and more species go extinct. We’re doers now. Scientist do science. Mathematicians don’t analyse things mathematically anymore, they do math to it. Pregnancy went from a state of being (you either are or you aren’t) — “she became pregnant,” to something you caught like a disease — “she got pregnant” to the result of encountering a trip hazard — “she fell pregnant.” We used to “set foot” (A virgin forest is where the hand of Man has never set foot.) Now we “step foot” — which has a certain logic to it, I suppose, but not quite the same ring.

Waiting for Laundry

Doing my laundry is kinda like going to the laundromat. I mean, it’s just down the hall, probably 50 feet from my door, so I don’t actually have to go outside and use a car to get there, but I still have to schlep everything there — laundry basket full of dirty clothes, soap, dryer sheets, like you do when you go to the washateria.

There’s a really nice seating area for gatherings and parties just across from the laundry room, and there’s usually a jigsaw puzzle in progress on one of the tables. (it’s a me trap. Traps me every time. I love jigsaw puzzles.) It takes about 30-45 minutes for a load of wash to wash (One day I’ll think about it at the right time and time it with the clock app on my phone so I’ll know. God gave us kitchen timers for a reason . . . ).

There was a jigsaw puzzle just begun on the table. It trapped me until the washer finished.

I threw the clothes in the dryer and went back to my apartment because I’d broken the fingernail on my thumb getting the dryer door open and it was super raggedy and snaggy. My fingernails are very brittle anymore. Partly due to age, but I’m sure chemo also has something to do with it, too. They break off in layers like mica. Anyway, I set the kitchen timer for 60 minutes and sat down to do this post because . . . .

Yesterday, I ran across a video by this guy (his name is Martijn – which makes me think he’s Dutch) who bought some acreage up in the alps in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. It has two stone buildings on it, and he’s renovating them with a view to eventually living there. He’s spent the last ten years doing very long bicycle camping trips and he’s very used to minimalist living.

So I’m watching one of his videos (the scenery is breath-taking!) and as he’s building a stone walkway and sweeping out the cabins and setting up solar panels and otherwise puttering about, on the voice over narration, he happens to mention that his nearest neighbor is a priest. Then he films a segment about visiting the priest, and I’m thinking, Kirsten Dirksen did a segment on a priest living in the mountains of Italy, and it’s this same guy! Then come to find out she did a segment on Martijn, too. I watch a lot of Kirsten Dirksen’s videos for the same reason I watch HGTV. I like home reno and home decor kind of content.

Kirsten Dirksen describes her channel as: Videos about simple living, self-sufficiency, small (and tiny) homes, backyard gardens (and livestock), alternative transport, DIY, craftsmanship, and philosophies of life. She and her husband and her children travel all over the world making videos about people who have renovated, innovated, and retrofitted various types of housing in mostly urban but also rural settings (what a great childhood her kids are having!). They interview the person and find out the story behind the house, the whys and hows. If you’re into that kind of thing, you should check their channel out. The ingenuity, inventiveness and creativity of people is just amazing.

Going Around in Cycles

My next cycle of chemo starts next Wednesday (at 8:40 ye gods, o’clock in the morning, no less). So, between now and then, I have to wash clothes, go to the grocery store and probably Wal-Mart to lay in supplies. I would also like to go to knitting group Tuesday, but I’m playing it by ear. I have no energy, and all I want to do is sleep.

A downside to living here at Carillon is that I am living under the tyranny of other people’s schedules, which I wasn’t so much at my previous digs in the duplex. Meals here are served during a specific time period, and if you don’t do what you need to do to get your food (have it delivered, go down and get it or sit in the dining room and eat it) during that time period, then you’re on your own. You have a food allowance that comes out every month whether you use it or not (easily one, but maybe two meals a day if you work it right). Also, starting April 1st, there will be a $3 delivery charge for having someone bring it up to you.

I got spoiled living on my own. I was used to eating when my body told me to. Here, lunch is 11:00 to 1:00, which is too early. Supper is 4:30-6:00, which works better for me. But until they can fully staff both dining rooms, my ability to go downstairs to get supper in our dining room here will stop when the remodel of Windsong’s dining facility is finished. (Windsong is a separate building a long city block away.) Once Windsong’s dining facility is up and running again, lunch will be served here where I am, but dinner will be served over there. There have already been one or two days when I can barely make it to the refrigerator and back, never mind walk the length of two football fields (there and back) out of doors. I can already tell I’m not bouncing all the way back to normal between cycles, and that’s going to get incrementally worse with each cycle as the toxicity of the chemo drugs wears me down.

I had a care plan meeting about mom yesterday, and I asked about a bill I got for tablet prednisone that she was given in February (first I’d heard about it until I got the bill for it). I know she’s on prednisolone eye drops because of her corneal transplants and she did call last month to ask me the name of her eye doctor, so that’s what I thought it was for until I saw it was tablets. According to the social worker, they were giving it to her because of gout (?!?!?!). I am well aware of her medical condition and she has never been diagnosed with gout before. Turns out the doctor she has now saw her last month and they did lab tests and her uric acid levels were very high (upper limit was 2 something and her levels were 8 something). Apparently, according to her new doctor, hyperuricemia equals gout, and somehow the (now healed) pressure sore she had on her heel was supposed to have been due to gout (it wasn’t) and that’s why they gave her a short course of prednisone. Have they done any more lab test to see if her uric acid levels have come down? No. . . .

This is concerning, not because she now has the questionable diagnosis of “gout,” but because of the event back last July that precipitated this whole chain of events, when CK and I went to her house and found her unconscious and unarousable on the bed. She was dehydrated because she hadn’t been drinking enough water and had gone into kidney failure. Granted, her kidneys are nearly 98 years old, but it doesn’t help that she doesn’t drink nearly enough water because she doesn’t want to have to get up and go to the bathroom. But having to hoist herself up out of her beloved lift chair and walk maybe 10 feet to go potty is eminently preferable to having dialysis catheters surgically implanted in a vein and artery, and being taken in the wheelchair van to a dialysis center three times a week to spend three or four hours lying flat on the bed getting dialysis because you’ve gone into chronic kidney failure. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper, too. Also, there is a form of delirium that is caused by the buildup of toxins in the body as the result of kidney failure. I saw that in the hospital last July. It’s damn scary, if you’ll pardon my Anglo-Saxon. She was so out of it they had to use soft restraints on her and put a security camera on her to keep her from trying to get out of bed, pull her lines off, take her gown off and wander around. Worsening kidney function can also induce or worsen dementia. Granted, she’s nearly 98, her body is wearing out, and some decline in function is to be expected, but she’s also my mother, and I’d just as soon neither of us have to go through another hospitalization like that again, thank you very much.

In the knitting news, ongoing projects are still ongoing.

The hexagon blanket is still hexed. I’ve frogged it yet again and backed off to cogitate on it. I think I may have it sussed now, so will try again. (Attempt #4?) (A few of my collection of knitting bowls.)(There’s at least one by every chair.)

This video, ya’ll. This video is entirely too cool! It has a quiet, solo piano sound track. It’s also 10 hours long, so you could play this on your big screen TV, turn the sound off, and it’d be like having an aquarium. I think I’m going to go get it on my 55-inch TV, turn the sound off and listen to Soma FM’s Drone Zone on my Kindle Fire tablet, and knit. Sit. Breathe. Knit.

The Fasten Seatbelt Sign is Lit

Wednesday and Thursday I hit a major patch of turbulence. Thursday afternoon, my intestines pitched a hissy fit that it took two doses of antidiarrheal meds to stop, and no sooner had that end settled down when the other end tried to throw up my toenails. The one thing I didn’t have was nausea (touch wood!). I was pretty much confined to Ensure High Protein, vanilla ice cream, good ol’ Coke Cola, and Carr’s Table Water Crackers (which is the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of matzo) because I was leery of sending anything more substantial down the hatch lest it be refunded with prejudice. I started easing in some other foods over Sunday and today, but I’ve spent most of the past five days within lunging distance of plumbing.

Today, our friend CK (who is a Pearl Beyond Price, BTW) picked up my mom’s Fire tablet and her hearing aids, brought me the tablet, and took the hearing aids to the hearing aid place to get them cleaned. Greater love, I’m telling ya, because today we had a high wind advisory (25-35 mph/40-56 kph with gusts up to 50/80) for most of the day, which means the sky was outright brown with blowing dirt. It’s been trying to rain into the bargain. With so much airborne dirt, the raindrops end up muddy and hit you like a Tim Wakefield knuckleball. A while ago, it was gusting and splattering against the windows.

The problem with mom’s tablet was Google. She would try to get her email, and Google would give her their song and dance about wanting access to her Amazon account (she doesn’t have one) and she didn’t know how to tell it, “no.” (Telling Google “no” is one thing. Making it stick is a neat trick if you can pull it off.) Part of the problem is that one of my Google accounts is the recovery account for her Google account, which she got (nolens volens) when I signed her up for a G-mail account, and as a consequence, I got about 6 emails to my account giving “security code numbers” because she evidently thought she had to sign in to her account and didn’t know her email password. Anyway, I got that sorted. Then I opened her browser and, just for the halibut, started deleting open tabs one at a time, counting them as I went. I stopped counting at 685 (!!!) and deleted God knows how many others with the delete all function. About half of them were just open tabs. A good three-fourths of the rest of them were advertisements that her obviously not add-free Spider game opens in Silk every time she starts a new game. Hopefully, she won’t have any problems with it for a while.

In the knitting news, there’s not much news. Ongoing projects are ongoing.

The hexagon blanket seems to be hexed. An increase of 12 stitches every two rows is WAY too many, as is 6 stitches every two rows (DUH!). An increase of 6 stitches every four rows is not enough. Now I’m trying to work out how I can increase 6 stitches every three rows on a pattern based on a two row repeat. Sigh.

Franklin Habit, knitting mavin, whose YouTube channel and Instagram I follow, upped sticks and moved from Chicago (IL) to Paris (FR) about 8 months ago because he’d always wanted to live in Paris. If you want mostly knitting -related content that is short, sane, soothing and smile-worthy, I highly recommend his YouTube channel. Since the move, he has on his Instagram channel been featuring candid snapshots of the City of Light gathered during his outs-and-abouts. A while back, he posted this:

The text reads in part: “Passing by Foucault’s pendulum on the way home from the grocery store.” That little observation delights me on so many levels, not least because in 1851, when M. Foucault was making his experiment in Paris, there was nothing chez moi but bald prairie. For miles and miles and miles and miles.

Par For The Course

After bouncing off the walls and being too wired to sleep for almost 48 hours straight because of the Decadron and prednisone (steroids), I crashed and burned at about 5 am Saturday morning and slept for nearly 13 hours straight. I got up long enough to eat something, take meds, and went back to bed. Fortunately, I checked my phone when I surfaced briefly Sunday and discovered a text message reminding me about an appointment on Monday (which nobody had bothered to mention), which I would have missed if I hadn’t checked my phone.

I was supposed to be there at 9 a.m. Monday so I was there at 10 of so I could wait for over an hour before even going back to the infusion area. It was after two by the time I got home. Fortunately, I was able to sleep during the liter of fluid which I was there to get, because that was all I wanted to do. I was so tired after I got back, I laid down and slept through supper. Fortunately, I had some frozen dinners I could eat.

While I was there, I also discovered I have another appointment at JACC Wednesday, which nobody bothered to tell me about either, which was at the same time as a VA appointment I’ve had scheduled for over a month. It took two days to cancel and reschedule the VA appointment, because JACC appointments are more important than VA appointments right now. I need to leave a message for my oncologist’s nurse, to the effect that it would be very helpful if I could be given a list of ALL my appointments for the next cycle of chemo BEFORE I start the cycle, instead of finding them out from phone reminders the day before.

Friday, while I was bouncing off the walls, I frogged the hat. I wasn’t in the mood to futz with it anymore and besides I had never really liked the way the center section looked. I restarted it and it looks much better now. I’ve been monogamously knitting on it since and have already gotten it to where it was when I frogged it.

When I got my hair practically buzz cut week before last, the hair on both sides along where side parts would have gone just wanted to stick straight up. I’d washed it several times since I’d gotten it cut, and that hair continued to stick straight up and would not lie down. I tried brushing it with the “grain” when it was wet, but no soap. I hate putting “product” of any kind on my hair (hairspray, mousse, styling gel, wax . . . ) and I wasn’t about to put goop on it to make it lie down and have the goop rub off all over my pillowcase. If it wanted to stick up, then so be it. This time when I washed my hair, it laid right down just as pretty as you please. Go figure.

So, I am now right at the point in my chemotherapy cycle where I’ve just had a massive dose of toxic drugs which is killing off my white blood cells and knocking my immune system for a loop. Even though this was followed by a shot to stimulate my body to produce more white blood cells, there is a several day time lag before my body can make enough white blood cells to keep me from being easy prey to whatever germ comes along.

This is the point when I am very vulnerable to infection and I need to stay isolated, especially from the kinds of antibiotic-resistant germs that are rife among the elderly such as MRSA and C. difficile. “Antibiotic resistant” means that the antibiotics used to treat infection with that germ don’t work very well any more (or at all in some cases). If I get exposed to one of those nasties, I have no immune system to protect me. I am at risk for developing an overwhelming, life-threatening infection (sepsis) that will make me so sick, so quickly I could die within a day or two because there’s no effective treatment that can work fast enough to stop the infection before it kills me. I can’t seem to communicate to anybody how real the risk is that I’m running right now.

So what happens? My mom calls me this evening. “There’s something the matter with my tablet. Can’t you put on a mask and come over and fix it?” No, mom. I can’t. I don’t dare.

Her friend CK is out of town right now and won’t be back for at least a week. So, now I’ve got to see if I can get somebody else to go get her tablet and bring it to me to sort out and then have them take it back to her. There’s no telling what she’s done to it. Frankly, I’m just too tired to think about it right now.

Chemotherapy is exhausting. Nobody seems to understand that. I just want to sleep. But I have to get up and go to JACC tomorrow for another liter of saline, and by the time I get home from that, I’ll be so exhausted I’ll be lucky to get my clothes off before I fall over onto the bed. Hopefully, the food I ate before I started this post has “gone down” now and I can go back to sleep.

Wouldn’t Ya Know . . .

Last night it was blustery all night. I know that for a fact. The Decadron (steroids) I got with my chemotherapy had me bouncing off the walls all night long and I didn’t even bother to go to bed. To finish off this dose of COP, I had to take 5 prednisone (steroids) tablets this morning. With food.

I got a notice yesterday that they will start charging a delivery charge as of 1 April if they bring your food up to your apartment, so I’ve started going down to get it and bringing it back up to eat. (This morning at 7:30 a.m., I hunted down two eggs over easy with hash browns and sausage and brought them back to my burrow for the “with food” so I could take the prednisone.)

When I’m eating under any kind of time constraint I have a tendency to bolt my food down, and always seem to swallow a lot of air in the process. (My stomach be like, “Girl, I am NOT your lungs. I don’t do air. Now I got to sort all that air you swallowed out from all that food you dump-trucked down on me and get it out of my way, and until I do, you get to figure out a lady like-way to burp it all back up. Dang, girl! Slow down!”) When I eat my meals in the apartment, I can graze at will and not worry about how long I’m taking and whether I’m holding up progress for the people who want to clean up after me and get the table set up for the next person, and worry about getting done by 1:00 o’clock when the dining room closes, etc., etc. Besides, I need to stay as active as I can to maintain muscle tone and promote circulation, and not get so debilitated like I did last time and wind up in the hospital again. So I’ll be going down to get my food as much as possible.

Now that I’ve gotten off that tangent, what I was leading up to was the stupid snow squall we had today. (Yes, snow squalls are a thing.) I had to be at the cancer center (JACC) at 11:00 a.m. I knew it was going to be cold because what all that blustering was about last night was a cold front coming through. At 10:30 when I looked at the weather app on my phone to see how much coat, hat and scarf I was going to need, it was 23 F/-5 C, and the app said there was a 90% chance of snow (?!?!) starting at 11:00. I donned outerwear accordingly and headed out.

At JACC, the nurse gave me a handout sheet with all the scoobies about the injection I got today. It’s Udenyca. (which is pegfilgrastim, just like the Neulasta I had in 2018, but it’s new and improved with extra added “-cbqv” (whatever that is), to make it neater, keener, cooler, and less expensive (!) than Neulasta — there’s a refreshing change!)

When I went in the building at 10:50 we were having what I call “sky dandruff” — widely scattered, tiny white bits — not even big enough to qualify as sneet (snow that froze into tiny pellets of sleet on the way down). When I came out at 11:40, this is what I saw:

The driver’s side of my car was facing into the wind and enough of that fluffy, wet snow got plastered on my car that I had to get my scraper out and scrape off my windshield, back window and both driver’s side windows. Because I’m short, I also got snow all over the front of my jacket and on both sleeves up to the elbow. (Stop snickering, you northerners!) (The latitude of my town falls just south of Beirut, Lebanon, and just north north of Baghdad, Iraq. Oddly enough, it doesn’t snow all that much here in the Tx flatlands, which is one of the things I like about living here.) It had quit snowing by the time I got home. The coldest day in weeks, with the first precipitation in over a month, and wouldn’t ya know. Perfectly timed to occur just when I had to get out in it. Grumble . . . grumble . . . grumble. Here directly, I’m going to get into my snuggly bed and sleep til I get hungry or until 11 p.m. (medications), whichever comes first.

On a side note, this is the noisiest refrigerator I think I’ve ever had. Sounds like a cement mixer truck, except when it makes a sound like a sarcastic sheep. And then at random intervals, the Jenga Tower falls over. But to be fair, this is the first time I’ve ever had any kind of a fridge in my “office,” never mind a full-size one — and only about 15 feet away from my desk at that. Ah, well. That’s why God gave us hours of Mozart, Bach and Chopin on keyboards for free on YouTube. And Tuba Skinny. And Bossa Nova jazz. By the sea. Oh, and cordless, Bluetooth earbuds . . . Ooop. There goes the Jenga tower again . . .

Ah, Well

They’ve started up the Library knitting group again. Now that the COVID situation has improved, the Library ladies asked M, the woman that originally started the group, and who was “moderating” it when I started going, to start it back up again. In the months before COVID, M’s husband’s health had deteriorated to the point where he could not be left alone, it was hard for her to find sitters for him and she didn’t like driving at night, which was when the group was meeting. Somebody offered to take it over, but it petered out after M left, and then COVID hit. M’s husband passed last year during lock-down.

The newly reconstituted group is still meeting on Tuesdays, but at 1 pm, which solves the problem of M not driving at night. Several of the former regulars are no longer with us, including my friend LB who passed from breast cancer, but KC and I went this past Tues. Apart from KC, M and me, all the rest were newbies of varying degrees of skill level. Of course, I just started a new cycle of chemotherapy today, which makes my future attendance somewhat problematic. I did go this past Tuesday though, and it was good.

After I left knitting group, I went and got my hair cut, got a simple manicure and my toenails cut. A little judiciously applied self care (that’ll be $$, thank you very much). (The past three times, I’ve gotten this young manicurist. She looks around 18-20, and she always has the coolest tee-shirts. She’s pierced in several places and wears wire-wrapped crystal jewelry. )

I had the hair stylist give me what is, in effect, a buzz cut. If all my hair is going to fall out anyway, I don’t want to be pulling handfuls of it out of brushes and shower drains, or wake up and find I’ve shed all over my pillow. What you might call a preemptive strike. (Those black things behind my ears are the Bluetooth headphones to my computer.)(Bless you, Ericsson Mobile!)

(I’ve got a pair for my phone, too, as well as two internet radio apps and a Napster app on my phone. And whatever music is playing on my phone will play on my car radio. Oh, rapture!)

Wednesday I slept in, then puttered and cleaned, changed my bed, took a shower, and washed/dried two loads, one of clothes and one of sheets and towels. I still haven’t unboxed my new computer. Possibly tomorrow, possibly Saturday. Soon, though. Still working out the logistics in my head of getting hither to yon.

I went to JACC at 9:40 a.m. Thursday morning and didn’t leave until 3:30 p.m. I had labs at 9:40 and met with my oncologist at 11:00. I’m taking the COP chemotherapy regimen. I started chemo at 12:30 with Decadron and half a liter of normal saline (and a nice little nap), followed by the cyclophosphamide (the C), followed by the Oncovin (the O) and something else I didn’t catch. After I saw my doc, the nurse called in a prescription for tablet prednisone (the P) I was supposed to take after the infusions, but they didn’t call it in until around noon. (If I’d known, I’d have suggested they call it in Wednesday so I could have already had it on hand, but, oh, well.) Mirabile dictu! They had it waiting for me when I went to the VA at almost 4 o’clock to get it. That was such a relief. I went home by way of Sonic and had a bacon cheeseburger, tots and fries to celebrate the fact that I was sloshing full of cytotoxic chemicals. . .

Tomorrow I go at 11 am to get the stuff that keeps my white blood cell count from cratering. It’s administered as an injection. In 2018, they were giving me Neulasta (pegfilgrastim), but I haven’t been able to get an ear on what they were telling me I’m getting this time. I’m going to make a point of getting the infusion nurse to show me it written down so I can read it.

As I mentioned, I have two internet radio apps and a Napster app on my phone, and those Bluetooth headphones (which I’m not very fond of as the left one doesn’t like to stay in my ear. It’s a pain to have to hunt it when it falls out and goes skittering across the floor). (I may get another set of Comiso ones for my phone. They play longer on a charge, they’re more comfortable to wear, and that little (removable) hook over my ear keeps them from falling off.)(I can use the phone set I have now with my Fire tablet — I’m not worried if the left earbud falls out in the bed!)

Today, I used the internet radio app on my phone to get Soma FM’s Drone Zone channel, which is just about my most favoritest of their channels. That was what I was listening to when I left the apartment, and all during my visit. (So soothing!) It provided just enough sound masking that I could take my little nap during the infusion, while still being able to hear someone talk to me — although my earphones provided a little moment of surreality when the people over at Carillon House returned my call about my mom’s care plan. When I get a phone call, I don’t have to lunge for my phone and juggle it trying to answer the call. The ringer overrides what I’m listening to, and all I have to do to answer is touch the right earbud and talk (they have have built in mikes). I was chatting with the infusion nurse who was hanging IV bags when the lady at Carillon House called, and it took her a moment to realize that my seeming non sequitur was me talking on the phone. That’s a downside to those Bluetooth earbuds — if you don’t have wires coming from your ears, and aren’t holding a phone in front of your face, it kinda makes you look like you are talking to yourself.

In the knitting news, I’ve discovered three mistakes on the 9-pinwheel hat, many, many rows ago and didn’t catch them until now. Rather than frog back to the earliest mistake, I’m fixing them one by one. Wrestling the octopus. It will be tedious, but I broke out the DPNs, which makes it easier though no less tedious to fix. ($%#^@#!)

It’s usually much easier to just frog back the section where you made your mistake and rework just that bit than it is to frog the whole thing back to the mistake — unless you’ve messed up so badly there’s just too much to fix. (The law of diminishing returns applies to knitting, too.) I would have had to frog the whole thing back almost two and a half inches to fix three small mistakes — not worth it. Because my mistake here involved adding a stitch that shouldn’t be there, I’m going to have to take a tapestry needle and redistribute the slack backwards and forward on each row so it’s much less noticeable. (It’ll just look like a small area of uneven tension. Blocking it will also help.) You can fix your mistake on the needles you are using on the project, but having a set of DPNs that are the same size as your working needles makes it much easier and faster. Nuts. Make that four mistakes. (&*^%$#@@!@#$!)

After I all I went through in 2018 after my first round of chemotherapy, I decided to treat myself.

I found the lovely pendant below left on Etsy. The stone is Labradorite wrapped in silver. The seller lived in the Ukraine, and was putting herself through college making jewelry. The longer I wore it, the more I loved it, so I went back to her shop and got the necklace on the right in 2019. I wonder about how “Kedikekik” is and if she’s safe.

All Right, Then

Thank goodness I shopped for glass by phone this morning. About half the stores I called only did auto glass. Michael’s framer guy called in sick today. Home Depot’s glass guy didn’t come to work either. Lowe’s didn’t have a piece of glass longer than 36 inches (I needed one 38-1/2 inches), but the Lowe’s guy referred me to Abercrombie Hardware, who had a piece of glass long enough, would cut it while I waited, and only charged me $12. Great, except it’s WAY the heck out on the northeast corner of town at 3rd Street and Buddy Holly Avenue. (I had to go under Marsha Sharp* AND a railroad track to get to it.) (Yeah, Holly was born here. The parents of a dear family friend used to live across the street from them, and I’ve met Peggy Sue.)

As I was girdling my loins preparatory to setting out on my pointy rounds, the accountant doing mom’s taxes called to tell me that I had gotten our social security statements mixed up and sent him mine instead of mom’s. While we talked, he cautioned me to be prepared for how much tax she owed because she had sold some stock. Capital gains tax hit her a hard wallop. (That loud howl you heard this morning was her bank account taking a direct hit . . .) So, in addition to the other errands I had planned, I had to take mom’s social security statement out to the accountant WAY out on the southwest edge of town at 122nd Street and Slide Road. (On a historical note, Slide Road is so named because it’s the road to Slide. I’ve been to Slide. To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, there’s not a lot of there, there.) And because of the figure the accountant gave me, I added going to the bank to the agenda as I needed to transfer funds from the back pocket to the front pocket so the accountant could file her taxes electronically and I could pay Uncle Sam and the accountant with a debit card once her taxes are done.

Already on the agenda was another sack of things to donate to Goodwill, (further culls from the last two boxes), and getting printer ink cartridges. I left the house at about 1:30 pm and actually got all the things done that I needed to do, including picking up a soft drink at Whataburger on my way back up Quaker going to the bank from the accountant, and picking up a chicken strip box at Whataburger on my way back up Quaker again from completing the last item on the agenda, getting a set of printer ink cartridges. After zigging and zagging all over town, I got home at a little after 4:30. Not too shabby.

The piece of glass I had cut was 38-1/2 by 9-1/2 inches and thin enough to bow slightly when I was cleaning it. It was an awkward shape and once I got it safely back home, I got my rubber gloves and a Phillips screw driver, and put it in place immediately.

(I always put on my rubber washing-dishes gloves to handle pieces of glass like that and the glass in picture frames. Not only does it protect my hands from being cut, but the rubber helps me hold onto the glass more securely.)

I’ve had my supper and gotten things all put away in the china cabinet. I’m as moved in as I can get until the maintenance guy comes to fix the blind and put that one bin up on the top shelf of the closet.

I’ve always loved blue and white together and I’ve wanted a set of “Blue Willow” dishes since a child.

This set was made by Churchill China of England. I bought these in the 1980’s when I worked for Texas Instrumets. Since I intended them to be my “forever dishes,” I got 12 of everything (except serving pieces) to allow for breakage over the years. So far, I’ve been lucky.

In the knitting news, I’m still working out the increases on the hexagon blanket and as yet have nothing to show for it. I’ve also started a 9-bladed pinwheel “beanie/skullcap” for my impending baldness using an “oddball” skein of Malabrigo Sock in the colorway “Tealfeather” that was left over from the Sweet Irene shawl. (I had four skeins; the shawl took three and a smidge.) The hat is extrapolated from the pattern for the 9-Bladed Pinwheel shawl. I’m using US 1 (2.25 mm) needles, a set of DPNs to start it and a 16-inch circular needle. I may write up the pattern, but then again . . .

A Slight Miscalculation . . .

Because I was asleep at the needles, I had to rip out three rows of the hexed afghan, and when I took it off the needles to do so, it quickly became obvious that an increase of 12 stitches every other row was WAY too many. No choice but to frog the whole thing and start over. (*&^%$#@!) Am now increasing 6 stitches every other row. That was this evening.

This morning I was out and about by 11 a.m. I buzzed by mom’s bank to hit up the ATM for cash to pay mom’s monthly beauty saloon bill which I will have to do Friday after I get the stuff that keeps my white blood cell count from cratering. Then I went to Best Buy. They had a HP Pavilion desktop on sale for $449.99 with Windows 11 preinstalled that looked to be just what I needed. I got the last one they had on the last day of the sale, so extra points there. My estimate was not far off. I got out of there with a computer and Microsoft Office for $654.48. Still sitting in the box, because . . .

Tomorrow I’m going to get a piece of glass cut to go in the hutch of my china cabinet. Two or three moves ago, the movers broke a side panel in the hutch portion and I never got around to replacing it. As a result, things get dustier quicker. This afternoon I unpacked the last two boxes and put them out for Housekeeping to recycle. No more boxes! Now things feel more open and more homey.

This is what goes in that top part of the china cabinet that’s missing glass. Now I have to get the glass tomorrow so I can put all this away after I’ve installed the glass. Last big push to get everything squared away before Thursday when I get the COP infusion.

My reward for getting the china cabinet fixed and the stuff put away in it will be to set my new computer up and start the transfer of stuff over to it. Once I get this last bit of stuff put up, the only thing I have left now is to get the maintenance guy to put a plastic storage bin on the top shelf of my closet so I can put that last yarn stash bin in the floor of my closet. Oh, and get him to fix that one blind that won’t raise.