Because Prednisone

I periodically like to point out odd quirks in the evolution of our native tongue, Ameriglish. Back when people studied English grammar instead of “Language Arts” in school, they were taught that there is this grammar thing called “a state of being.” It is an either/or concept. You are either in that state of being or not; when a thing changes from being to not being (or vice versa), you “become.” “Extinction” is a case in point. A new example of this I have run across is “pregnancy.”

Gratuitous picture of a faun on a unicorn from The Day of the Unicorn ©2022 by Manuel Arenas

I mention this because sometime between when I attended school during the previous century (The 1960’s. Yeah. That was last century.) and the current time, “extinction” mysteriously transmogrified from a state of being to a destination. Nowadays things go extinct. T. rex has left the building. And lately, I’ve noticed that pregnancy has undergone a similar and mystifying change to I’m not sure what. Nowadays women don’t become pregnant, they fall pregnant — Is that like if a woman doesn’t fall off the bed while having sex, she won’t become pregnant!? (Or, what is much worse, is pregnancy now like falling from a higher state to a lower state, like a fall from grace?!?!)

And prepositions. Prepositions are being quietly murdered and replaced by imposters! Things used to happen “by” accident. But “by” was disappeared and quietly replaced by “on” and now we are supposed to just accept that now things happen “on” accident. No. Just, no.

These few examples are just the tip of the iceberg, folks (another of those pesky non-gendered collective nouns!) A great iceberg of a conspiracy between the American public education system and those Millennials to corrupt our mother tongue.

I mean, Millennials are always being problematic. They even chose a problematic name. First off, it’s a booger to spell. (Aren’t two “L’s” and two “N’s” a bit too, Snowflake?) (And even when you spell it right, it looks wrong.)

Gratuitous picture of a faun on a unicorn from The Day of the Unicorn ©2022 by Manuel Arenas

To be fair, though, one notable contribution to the language the Twitter-pated have made is the “because (noun)” construction. It’s a kind of linguistic shorthand for condensing a long convoluted explanation or long list of reasons or justifications into a very brief synopsis (a Tweet is limited to 140 characters), to save space, time, and/or character count, and not occasionally to level up the irony or sarcasm. Whence the title of this post. This is my brain on a whacking great dose (100 mg) of prednisone. Going 90 mph(145 kph) in second gear. For, literally, days.

(Left turn into a brick wall at race-track speeds segue) So today my 5 tabs of prednisone was the chaser to a bag of rrrrRuffles Cheese and Sour Cream potato chips (rrrrRuffles have rrrrridges!). Cushioning my tum with food first seemed like a good idea at the time — right up until it got to the part about available food choices. (Knocking back a handful of prednisone on an empty stomach is like that first part of the roller coaster ride where the chain is ratcheting you up that really high, really steep hill, and you know you’re not getting off until the ride’s over.)

(No segue at all) In previous posts, I have mentioned the eclectic assortment of gratuitous sound effects my apartment is subjected to at inopportune moments, like the morning jog of the garbage cans to the dumpsters and back. Since I live near the Marsha Sharp raceway, on weekends, we typically have scattered motorcycle attempts at land speed records, particularly in the early morning hours, with a chance of low-flying helicopters. (I live within four miles of three tertiary care hospitals and a level I trauma center, three of which have helipads.) But this Saturday, at about 7:00 a.m., we had a rude awakening. The cover spontaneously fell off the (not so) mini-split in the front room beside my desk.

It made a noise like a giant hubcap being tossed like a Frisbee onto concrete. I was sound asleep at the time, but I am proud to say I calmly peeled myself off the ceiling, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Unflappableness. I haz it.

Somewhat later, at a more seemly hour (11:00 o’clock), I got on the phone to the front desk and called in a maintenance strike, and today while I was having fun with needles and plastic tubing at JACC, Care Bud the Maintenance Man put humpty-bumpty back together again. I am curious to know what the lady in the apartment below thought had caused that noise. It was so loud that I’m a little surprised that Security didn’t shortly thereafter come knocking on my door to politely inquire if my mobility issues were experiencing technical difficulties. (Or if I’d lost the stone out of my diamond ring or something . . .)

Was texting with my BFF Sunday, and humorously remarked about my problems with knitting with a long circular needle while watching YouTube videos on my tablet while in bed, and having video interrupted because the needle cable hit the tablet and started some random video playing. She texted back that the transmission on her car had self-destructed in the middle of the drive home from work, she had to have it towed, and now she is damned if she does have to spend big buck$ to get the tran$mi$$ion replaced and damned if she doesn’t have a ride to work. She only just recently found out (a) she’d had a heart attack at some point, probably last January when she blacked out and did a standing face plant in a parking lot, and (b) that she has foot drop because of nerve damage from the ankle she broke years ago, and has tripped and fallen badly several times since then because of it (She is a self-deprecator because issues, so she just assumed she was clumsy and was tripping over her own feet.) (Speaking of heroes preemptively beating the crap out of themselves . . .) Giving emotional support over the phone is about as easy as giving technical support over the phone and, unfortunately, just about as effective. Remote hugs are rubbish. She lives northwest of Houston, and there’s like 600 miles of TX between us. My arms aren’t that long. Sigh.

Oh. And because I am bouncing off the walls at the moment, this non sequitur is for the orthographically challenged: If the spell check/auto-correct function highlights as misspelled a word that is a simple plural or has a suffix or prefix, the root word may not actually be misspelled. Insert a space between the word and the simple plural (simple plurals add -s or -es to form the plural) or between the suffix (-ly, -ment, -ness, -able, etc.) or prefix (un-, dis-, re-, in-, non-, etc.) and the root word. If the word is still highlighted as misspelled, then it probably is. Spell checker/auto-correct glossaries take up RAM. Therefore many such glossaries only include the most commonly used prefixed and/or suffixed forms of the most commonly used words, and the variant prefix/suffix/plural forms (the exceptions to the basic spelling rules), and do not include the simple plurals. (duh!) E.g., In the paragraphs above, spell check recognized “millennial” as spelled correctly, but not “millennials” and recognized “flappable” and “unflappable” as spelled correctly, but not “unflappableness.”

Stopping now. Must correct misspelled name in the previous post.

Feetnotes: 
* Taking a "bolus dose" of medication is like chugging multiple shots of alcohol all at once.  Only with alcohol, the articulated lorry hits you head-on at 90 mph(145 kph); with prednisone, the eighteen-wheeler only grazes you close enough to snag your suspenders(braces**) on the wing mirror.  At 90 mph(145 kph). 
**this is a British English inclusive and metric-inclusive blog. Bite me. 

Isn’t That Always The Way

First off, I’m really bummed about the Queen passing away. Tears in my eyes bummed. Watching the Queen’s coronation (in B&W) on our floor model Motorola TV is one of my earliest memories. I had just turned 4. My brother was at the “cruising” stage of learning to walk and kept getting his head in front of the TV screen. The Queen was two years younger than my mother, who will be 98 in about two weeks. Stay tuned for that.

One of the things that has been holding up my transfer to the new computer was finding a feed reader that worked as well as the old NewsFox reader that FireFox had. I follow a bunch of blogs and webcomics, and NewsFox organized them all in one place and made it so simple to keep up with them. I think I’ve finally found one: QuiteRSS. Which is good, because this evening I was trying to clean up my NewsFox feeds so I could export only the feeds I actually wanted and accidentally deleted a bunch of feeds I didn’t mean to. Fortunately, I had already exported the “dirty” version of the feeds, but when I tried to reload the feeds in NewsFox (which runs in the FireFox browser I stopped updating about three years ago just before it was going to stop supporting NewsFox), it discombobulated.

So I set up QuiteRSS on my Windows 7 machine and imported the great mishmash of past and present blog and webcomic feeds I had on NewsFox. Then I spent about two hours going through and deleting the defunct and abandoned feeds and completed webcomics and then I had to go into properties on each and every cotton-picking feed and untick a box so QuiteRSS would display the whole webpage instead of just a “headline.” Then I could export a clean copy of the .opml file to the other machine.

QuiteRSS does almost everything NewsFox did, except it’s not set into a browser so I can’t use the browser “Find” feature to find words in the text, and when I want to look something up, I have to go to another program (web browser) instead of to another tab. It only took me about an hour to set up QuiteRS on my Windows 11 machine. Unfortunately, I still had to go into the properties on every stupid feed and untick the box so it would display the way I want it to. I also figured out how to resize the type and change the font. The font that comes off the rack with the program is some off the wall typeface I’ve never heard of and the size was miniscule. I changed it to good old Arial 11 so I can read it without binoculars. The date was given in European format (2-digit day.2-digit month.2-digit year) and I figured out how to fix that, too. So. That’s one more thing I’ve moved over to the new computer.

The hard drive on the new machine is only 250 GB, which isn’t big enough for all my music and graphics and photos. I’ve got two hard drives in the old computer, one of which is a Seagate 1 TB. I’ve decided to get an external hard drive. It would be easier than schlepping my computer tower to someplace so they can look at it to see if I can transfer the Seagate drive from my old machine to the new one. I can get a 6 TB Western Digital external hard drive for about what it would cost me to pay somebody to switch out the drive from one computer to the other — assuming the new computer even has a slot for a second drive — which it probably doesn’t. My final chemo session is the 26th. An external hard drive would be a perfect “good girl” treat for FINALLY finishing chemo.

I’ll be glad to stop straddling computers. Gmail doesn’t work on my old one anymore, and I have to boot the new computer up so I can check my email. I’ve got this jicky little Bluetooth keyboard and mouse hooked up to the new computer, and I’ve been operating for months with two mice and two keyboards and only one monitor per computer. I’m so used to having two monitors that it’s like doing everything with one eye closed.

Maybe once I get done with all the chemo stuff I can settle down and finally sort this computer mess out. Trying to write on one monitor is the pits. I’m juggling between the time line document and a dictionary app, the reference document and the actual story manuscript. So much easier when I don’t have to play peek-a-boo between what I’m writing and some other document I’m referring to. I can have references and the dictionary app, and a browser and some kind of music app open on one screen and the manuscript open on the other and I can revise and change the reference document and the time line as needed. Or I can listen to a YouTube video like a TED talk or scholarly lecture, or some music playlist on one screen while I’m working a puzzle on Jigsaw Planet on the other. My amigo Shoreacres found a version of my old werewolf monitor widget (it has a little graphic of the moon that displays the phases) that I could get to run on Windows 11, and now I’ve found a replacement for NewsFox.

Except for my writing, which is going to be a booger to transition from Word 2010 to the newest version of Word*, and transferring some programs, the rest of the computer change over is mostly just moving files – lots and lots of files – and setting up the external hard drive and the little (4 TB) external backup drive. And then when I grab a mouse, I won’t have to stop and remember which mouse goes to which computer, and I won’t have to use that jicky little keyboard anymore. (I have this lovely Logitech gamer keyboard that has a wrist ramp, a 10-key pad and a feather-light touch.)(This is my third. I’ve already worn two out — good thing I’m a touch typist. I had worn the letters off most of the keys before some of the most-used keys just quit working. Logitech has been making them for a while. I got the first one while I was still working as a medical transcriptionist. )

In the knitting news, there isn’t any. Now that the most urgent baby knitting is off the needles and gone to Garland, I’ve been taking a breather.

*I’m going to take the opportunity to work out a “universal” manuscript template so all my manuscripts will have the same margins, line spacing, font, etc., which means I will be reformatting everything. Sigh.

What We Have Here Is A Failure to Communicate . . .

This is a first: The first time I’ve posted from the little reconditioned HP laptop I got. Frustrating. I’m used to a large gamer keyboard and this jicky little keyboard is a PITA. If I situate it in my lap, where I can reach the keyboard, I can barely read the screen. I already knew from using my BFF’s laptop that I hate touch pads, so I got an “el cheapo” wireless mouse and a mousepad, but there’s hardly any room for it on the little lap desk. Yeah. I know. First world problems.

Anyway, the failure to communicate mentioned above reared its ugly head yesterday after I’d gotten my labs drawn and my port accessed and was in my oncologist’s office. Turns out this is my fourth session of Rituxan (he counted) and not my fifth (I miscounted; chemo brain strikes again), which means I still have two chemo sessions to go, which means I’ll be having my last chemo session in September right around the time of mom’s 98th birthday (the 23rd). The degree of bummer-tude of this development will depend upon how far into September that last session falls, as my white blood cell count needs at least a week to recover from the preceding chemo session before I’ll even risk removing my mask, never mind be among a group of people of unknown COVID status. My sessions are three weeks apart. My penultimate session is 29 August and three weeks from that is 19 September. I can ask my oncologist if I can have an extra week between the last two sessions so I will be four weeks out from my last chemo instead of four days. He’s done it before. I bet I can sweet talk him into doing it again.

The best development out of this very mixed bag is that I have a chin again. The lymphomas in my neck had gotten so large you could barely tell where the bottom of my jaw was. But they have all shrunk drastically and those lymph nodes are back to normal size, which means I’m showing a good response to the chemo regimen. It will take a CT scan to check the response of the rest of the lymphomas in my chest and abdomen which he will probably order when I’ve completed all six of my treatments in September.

My chemo infusion went OK and I got the Udenyca shot this afternoon to boost white blood cell production and get my white count back up to normal. I gained seven pounds between Sunday night and Monday night, all of it from the chemo regimen. I get the decadron and anti-nausea medication in 0.25 liter of IV fluid, followed by the Rituxan diluted in a full liter of IV fluid, followed by 0.25 liter of IV fluid to flush the line, followed by the cyclophosphamide diluted in a full liter of fluid, followed by 0.25 liter of line flushing, which is 2.75 liters of fluid over the course of about four hours, plus the 32-ounce stainless steel bottle full of Crystal Light I sucked down between yesterday and today. A liter bottle of soda weighs 2.2 pounds, so imagine having three of them strapped to you. I lost 2 pounds between last night and tonight, but my poor little kidneys are having a hard time keeping up. I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow so tomorrow morning, I’m going to take a Lasix (“water pill”) and see if I can’t get my legs emptied out. (I should have spent yesterday evening and the rest of this afternoon and evening in bed with my feet elevated instead of sitting at my desk puttering on the computer.

I saw my cardiologist this morning and he said my oncologist was concerned about me, so the cardiologist wants to do a stress test — not the treadmill thing, but what they call a chemical stress test. His office is used to dealing with the VA, and they will set it all up and let me know when. I’ll have to get a ride because I can’t drive myself home after it, but Carillon provides rides to and from doctor’s appointments at no charge. I just have to give them 24 hours notice.

Saturday, I spent the afternoon downloading the requisite drivers (software) for my little Epson printer from Epson’s website onto the new computer so it could talk to my printer and I could scan financial and bank statements to the computer that has working email and email them to Mom to keep her up to speed. (Gmail won’t run right on my old computer since Google stopped supporting Windows 7 — Google is the “G” in “Gmail — which is why I got the new computer in the first place. The setting up of the software was a fairly straightforward process, but getting the computer and printer to talk to each other was tricky and expletives (and more than a few pejoratives) were not deleted!.

Among the groceries I got Monday was one of Market Street’s fruit bowls — the one I got had chunks of cantaloupe and honey dew melons, chunks of pineapple, a handful of raspberries, a couple blackberries, a handful of blueberries and a couple grapes. It’s a big enough bowl that you can get two servings out of it. I supplemented that with some cherry tomatoes cut in half and some whole black olives. I had the second serving tonight likewise supplemented, and as a side to a brisket sandwich on a big ciabatta roll which I’d already inhaled half of before I could get the camera app on my iPhone limbered up. Copious nums.

I had been using a gamer chair with a foot rest, a birthday present in 2020, as my computer chair. The desk I was using at the time was on casters, so it didn’t matter that the gamer chair wasn’t. I could just sit down and pull the desk up as close as it needed to be.

After I moved to Carillon, I had to get a longer desk so I would have a place to put my printer. I was putting it on my filing cabinet, but when I moved to the smaller apartment, there was no way I could get the filing cabinet close enough to a plug to continue doing that. This new longer desk doesn’t have castors and it was very difficult to get in or out of the gamer chair if it was too close to the desk. Unfortunately, “too close” was not close enough. So I got a desk chair with casters. It is also higher than the gamer chair, which puts my shoulders and forearms at a more comfortable angle when I’m keyboarding and mousing.

I’d gotten in the habit of just swiveling the chair around to the side to get in or out of it. I’m having to learn to roll the new one back back from the desk before trying to get out of it. I’m going to list the old chair on Craig’s List and see if I can’t sell it to offset the cost of the new chair (which wasn’t all that much, really).

In the knitting news, my dive into my button stash proved bootless, so I swung by a local fabric store on the way home from JACC and picked up what I needed. I’ve finished the little baby top. I just need to weave in ends and sew on buttons and it’s done. I’m at the heel increases on the second matching bootie and the crown decreases on the little sun hat. I’d like to get this stuff in the mail by the end of the week and get it out of my hair. I’ve got until Thanksgiving to finish the little red dress(es). I’m thinking I’ll have enough yarn for a little matching red headband with two crocheted holly leaves in the green yarn, and some red shanked buttons for berries to decorate the headband. or else I could just do the holly leaves and button berries as a kind of removable corsage that could be safety pinned to the front of the dress for Christmas, and removed later.

However, in the several matters mentioned above, the plan is that bridges will be crossed when come to.

The first season of Neil Gaiman’s dramatization of his “Sandman” graphic novels dropped on 5 August on Netflix (early reviews are that it sticks very close to the novels, has a brilliant cast and is visually fabulous) and I still haven’t watched season 2 of The Witcher (Henry Cavill!). I may be crossing The Bridge over the River BingeWatch after a certain package gets posted. Not to mention the Bridge of TV Knitting . . .

Nose In A Book

Pretty normal posture for yrs trly. Except mostly it’s been my Kindle Fire. Pretty hard to have your nose in a book when your “book” has a touch screen . . . But text size is adjustable on a Kindle, so no need to get my nose that close to the book, even if I needed to. The Books Read List was last posted on 11 June, at 35 books so far this year. List just posted was at 52 books. That’s 17 books in 34 days. Not too shabby.

I’ve been pretty much doing nothing but reading these past couple of days. Finished 3 books that I was about halfway through and had kind of lost interest in. Finished another one I’d started and set down for a couple of days. Read 7 more, each pretty much at a single sitting, but spread out over the past three days.

Every time I take that whopping dose of steroids at the start of the chemo cycle it royally screws up my internal clock and in order to get it back on a “normal” (sic) schedule, I end up staying awake for extended periods of time (aka “hanging”) to try to get my days and nights sorted back out again. Just about the time I’m almost back on schedule, I have to do it all again. This will be the sixth time since February. Added to that is that I’m fighting my body’s natural biorhythm. The upshot of the whole deal is that I stay “jet lagged” all the time. It’s starting to get a little old. (ya think?)

Part of the problem is that I am basically a night owl forced to live on day twink schedules. I’d be perfectly delighted to be just left to a schedule I was happy with for 20 years, that fit my natural body biorhythms. But, one thing I learned about day twinks while I was in the Air Force: They seem congenitally unable to understand that not everybody’s body clock is set to “chicken time” (Get up at sunrise, go to bed at sunset). Another thing I learned in the Air Force is that day twinks think their way is the “normal” way and can’t understand why anybody would want to be any other way. They simply don’t get it.

Like tonight, I put my first load of clothes in to wash at almost midnight and my second load in to wash at about 3 a.m. It’s almost 5:30 a.m. right now and the second load is in the dryer. My first load was clothes, and they’re hanging on the clothes rack where they’ll stay for about 24 hours, until they’re fully evaporated and completely dry. (I’ve never had trouble with musty-smelling closets, oddly enough.) My second load was sheets and towels. They’re in the dryer now. There are only two washers and two dryers for the three wings on this floor. When I do my wash during the night, I don’t have to wait on anybody to finish doing theirs and nobody has to wait on me to finish doing mine. I’m not worrying about how safe it might be to be batting around at that hour of the night. I’m in the equivalent of a gated community. Nobody is entering the building after 8 o’clock unless they have a key or security lets them in.

I did finally get my bamboo plant transplanted to a bigger “pot” (Amazon). I had to get some of those hydrophilic balls (Amazon) to anchor it. It was in this rinky little pot with a stupid decoration. This pot is much nicer, I think. It has a dragon on, and the design is much more appropriate for feng shui “lucky bamboo” (three stems). The bamboo plant seems to like it. I really needed to get something bigger for it as it was getting dangerously top-heavy. The sickeningly cutesy vase it came in will go to Goodwill. It’s kitschy enough that somebody will want it, I’m sure.

I moved the new Windows 11 computer over to the desk. That’s it on the left. The left hand monitor is hooked to the new computer and the right one to the old Windows 7 computer. My three working brain cells don’t have enough band width to deal with anything else right this now, but at least I check my email more often.

I need to scan the bank statement and the ML statements and email them to mom, but the email on the old (Windows 7) computer, which is the one the printer talks to, doesn’t work any more because Google, so I will have to scan them to one computer and put them on a memory stick to get them over to the new computer which has working email. I ought to see if I can find a feed reader I like that works on Windows 11, but the thought of it just makes me tired.

So, I get back on the chemo merry-go-round Monday. I have to get there at 8 o’clock so I can wait in the waiting room for at least an hour before they call me back for labs. Then I see the oncologist. If my lab work is OK, then it’s off to chemoland I go. Chug 100 mg of prednisone and be awake for 48 hours because I’m too wired on steroids to sleep, Then crash and burn, etc., etc., rinse and repeat.

I’ve washed and dried two loads of clothes, schlepped the laundry basket back and forth 2x, changed my bed, and had a bowl of cereal. It’s now 6:30 in the morning. The sun isn’t even up yet. I’m going to try to stay up until 1:00 or 2:00 o’clock as they’re having something good for lunch . . .which will be my supper. Sigh.

Two people in the building have tested positive for COVID. When the housekeeping lady came by, she was obliged to announce that she had tested positive and had quarantined for 5 days. (They’re saying you need to quarantine for 8 days for the new variant de jour, which is the most contagious variant yet.) Yet another argument for being a night owl is that it keeps you away from all the contagious people . . .

Two Cycles Left, and About That Many Brain Cells . . .

As if my life wasn’t complicated enough, Google has decided that after May 30, 2022, it will not play with Windows 7 or anything older than Outlook 2016 any more. Since I use Gmail, that means I wouldn’t be able to get email on my Windows 7 machine after that. So, I got another computer with Windows 11 installed on it, and I’m having to figure out how it works.

I hate the “comes with” Windows 11 email program. I have five different emails (one associated with this blog, one I give to friends and family, one I use to sign onto things like bill paying websites and banking websites, one I use to sign onto websites I buy stuff off of, and one for games and streaming services)*, and I liked the way Windows Live Mail displayed things. Windows 11 is more like having a smart phone with a computer monitor, keyboard and mouse attached to it. It has a jickiness about it I don’t like., but I do have my email switched over to the new computer, so I can now get all my email, and not just email from 4 of my 5 email addresses like I do now.

I’ve got to find a feed reader that will display all the blogs and webcomics I read the way they are displayed on their own website, and one that is as user friendly, intuitive and logical as NewsFox was. So far, no luck. Once I do, I’ll have to set that all up (20+ blogs and about that many webcomics).

I’ve got to figure out how the newest version of Word works now and set it up to work the way I like it to (the fonts I like, the formatting I use, etc.) and then transfer all my files over and transition each one of them to the new version of Word, which will screw up the formatting and the fonts, which I will then have to sort out on a document by document basis. *&^%$#@!

I’ve got to get the display working the way I like it. It’s got stuff pinned to the task bar that I don’t want there, won’t ever use, and can’t unpin. I don’t want anything pinned to the task bar. I want icons!

I’ve got to re-sign into my banking apps on the new computer during the daytime so I can call customer service when they lock up on me because I’m using a different computer.

I’ve got to download a version of my backup software that works with Windows 11 and re-set that up. I have to move an F-ton of files. I have to redo all the shortcuts I had on my desktop. I’ve got games I want to try to bring over that I probably can’t because they probably won’t work on Windows 11. I hate the “comes-with” solitaire game on Windows 11.

Right now, I’ve got one monitor hooked to one computer and the other hooked to the other computer. I’ve been using the old computer with just one monitor and it’s been driving me crazy. It’s like trying to work with one eye closed. I don’t have enough room to do anything. I can’t have more than one or two programs open at the same time, and can only look at one at a time.

And not to put too fine a point on things, because I have chemo brain, I only have about three working brain cells, so everything is harder to do and takes about three times as long.

It’s going to be a long, drawn-out process.

We have gotten a new internet service/TV provider here, and I’m not very impressed with them. My internet was poor before, stuttering and slow. It’s even worse now. I called about it three times before someone came out and tinkered with it. I have a wire running from my bedroom under my bedroom door to my TV because the only other connection in the room is behind my china cabinet, and I’m not going to rearrange all my furniture to put my TV facing all the windows in that room. The guy said he would escalate my ticket. That was three weeks ago. I called and complained again Monday, and they fixed my internet by turning it off. I called the resident director about it, and he came up and hooked up my old WiFi modem (which I could have done myself if I’d known I could). They hadn’t discontinued the old service because they were having such problems switching over to the new one. Now I have the same pisspoor internet I had before. To be fair, part of the problem is the wiring in this building that was built in the 1970’s. But still, did they have to turn it off when I was right in the middle of reassuring Google that, yes, it was me signing in to my five GMail accounts on a different computer . . . Sigh!

Mom has been complaining about her neck hurting. Her back is so kyphotic (“buffalo hump”) and she is so stooped over that when she tries to lie flat on her back, the back of her head is about 6 inches off the bed (not an exaggeration!). I thought perhaps she needs another/or thicker pillow and tried to tell her that, but she proceeded to explain that she has one of those beds that the head and foot raise up — which is neither here nor there. The problem is that her back is so bowed that if her pillows are not thick enough to adequately support her head, that’s going to put a strain on her neck.

I had a birthday last Saturday, such as it was. My knitting friend KC and I went to Outback Steakhouse for lunch. She got me this darling arrangement and a card.

I’ve had this thing where I just hit the figurative wall and I have to go lie down. It happened while we were at lunch, and I ended up bringing 90% of my lunch home to eat later after I’d slept about five hours. (KC has been through chemo for breast cancer, so she was very understanding.)

It happened again the other day, and I’m beginning to think it’s one of my meds because it seems to happen within about 30 minutes of my taking my meds. I think I know which one it is, the PreserVision. I’m supposed to take two of their big peanut M&M sized pills, but I can’t tolerate that dose so I just take one. I’m not going to take today’s dose and see if that makes a difference. It could also be side-effects of the Rituxan, which include bloating, stomach pain and loss of appetite, as well as weakness and tiredness. Part of it could also be the cumulative effects of the 3 sessions of COP chemotherapy.

I start chemo cycle 5 of 6 on 1 June. Once that’s over I’ll only have one more to go. During this cycle, I also get to see my orthopedist for the yearly checkup on my knee replacement. I’ve had it for three years now. Still very glad I did it. And I also get to see my PCP at the VA. Why do I always seem to get other appointments right when I’m in the middle of chemo sessions?

In the knitting news, ongoing projects are ongoing, sort of. I just haven’t had the energy or the brain bandwidth to do much.

Mostly what’s showing on CatTV around here are doves (ring-necked and Inca, but mostly mourning) and grackles, with the occasional guest appearance by a blue jay, mocking bird or robin. This guy has been serenading me for a while now. WooHoooHooo.

*If one of my emails gets hacked, I know immediately what things have been compromised and what I need to do about it, and I only have to change that email address on the websites I use it on, instead of using one email address for everything and having everything compromised, and then having to change the email on everything.

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.

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Got an email today from Google advising me that as of May of this year, Gmail will quit working with both Mailwasher and Windows 7. Chrome will quit working with Windows 7 in 2023. I’ve had the automatic updates on Firefox turned off for years now so it will continue to work with NewsFox, which is the feed reader that displays blogs and webcomics in the format I prefer. Of course, Firefox doesn’t work with WordPress anymore either, and I’ve been having to blog and pay bills on Chrome for over a year now because I can’t access the websites on my un-updated Firefox anymore. (Gmail will also quit working with Mom’s Kindle Fire tablet in May, too, but that’s easier to fix — I just download the Google Play app and get it to play nice with the Kindle tablet, and then download a Gmail app from Google Play.) (And then teach Mom how to use it.)

What you’d think is that I could just get Windows 11 and load it on the computer I have (and then spend months cleaning up the mess and trying to get everything to work) and that would fix everything, except my computer won’t run Windows 10 or 11. I don’t have the right graphics card and I don’t have the right processor. Yeah, I could take it in and pay about $300 to get those things switched out and then pay around $110 to buy Windows 11 and fork out another $149 to get Word and Excel, and then have to deal with the mess Windows 11 would make because so many of the programs I know and love won’t run on Windows 11. The easier (on me) option would be to just get a new computer with Windows 11 already loaded on it and pay $149 for Office Suite, and take it from there. We’re talking probably $600 all told.

Like I needed one more thing to bum me out. I have a legacy version of Winamp with playlists set up of music I’ve downloaded, and presets to play all my internet radio stations through Winamp instead of through my browser. I will have to re-set up all my banking apps and bill paying apps. All my writing is on Word 2010 (32-bit version) and I would have to convert all my files. And not to put too fine a point on things, by May I will have a big case of chemo brain. I’m not a gamer. All I use my computer for is reading/writing blogs and my creative writing, watching YouTube and paying bills. I don’t need a big fancy computer, and I don’t want a laptop. Thank goodness I got two new monitors not too long ago which also have HDMI connections as well as VGA connections as the new computers don’t have VGA monitor connectors on them.

Our friend CK just texted me that mom has somehow gotten her cell phone set on vibrate only and can’t figure out how to turn the ringer back on. This is something you can’t talk her through over the phone. I have the manual, but that would be no help to her. The easiest thing is to just fix it for her, but I can’t go over there. Fortunately, one of the aids fixed it for her. My mom and technology are not a good mix. I don’t know what’s going to happen when we have to change her email program. Again. She’s just learned how to use the one on the tablet, kinda sorta. And I won’t be able to show her so long as my immune system is a wreck.

I guess what I get to do tomorrow is go buy a new desktop computer. I’ve got til Thursday to get it up and running. Better to do it now than to do it in May and try to figure everything out when I’ve got a whopping case of chemo brain. At least the new one will have built-in WiFi and will probably be Bluetooth compatible, too, so I won’t have dongles dangling every which way off it. Having a computer that will do what I want it to do is going to be a big part of keeping me sane and grounded through the coming months.

Settling in, Zhuzhing, and Hats

Sunday, I washed my hair, and while it was drying (all morning) I stripped my bed and did a load of sheets, towels, and whatever was in the dirty clothes hamper. And I started a hat.

I had these two little miniskeins (91 yds/83 m, 50 grams) of this “Glisten Kollage” yarn, 70% alpaca, 25% silk and 5% Estelline (whatever that is. . .) in a dark kind of teal which I dug out of stash. They’re from Peru. They were gifts I got for Christmas exchange back during the knitting group days that I thought I’d see if I could get a hat out of. It’s been sitting in a bowl on my desk to work on off and on while I’m proofing or thinking or catching up on my YouTube channels.

I’d revised a free Ravelry hat pattern called the Coriolis Hat, which had a leftward spiral, into one that had a rightward spiral. I vaguely remembered how the pattern worked, swatched for gage and got a pair of US7 ( 4.5 mm) 16-inch circular needles and cast on 90 stitches. I did 6 rows of k1 tbl, p1, ribbing (sort of a semi-fisherman’s rib stitch), then did one row of *k4, kfb, repeat from * to end of row. Then I started a 9 stitch leftward spiral pattern: *ssk, k8, yo, repeat from * to end of row. When it’s tall enough, then *sssk, k8, yo, until you have 9 stitches left, and pursestring it closed.

I started the hat because I just wanted something small that I could finish in a reasonable amount of time, because all the current WIPs are these big shawls. I need to be able to finish something now and again. (I’ve got some other hats I’ve gotten about halfway through and need to finish, too.

But, I have been visiting with old friends as well. Old friends in new places. I’ve finally had time to put some music on and sit and knit. This is Short, Sweet and Nubby, a rectangular shawl that I still have about 4 feet to go on. It’s starting to get cool enough to have all that knitting on my legs while I’m working on it. I’m just going to knit on it until I only have enough yarn left to do the fringe. Then I’ll stop, add the fringe and knot it. But I’ve got a big skein of yarn left.

I thought I’d better go check on Mom’s house, which has been sitting vacant about half a month now. When the surveyers from the title company came to survey the lot, they couldn’t get in the gate because it was lock, so they took the fence down on the other side. Then they just propped it up in the opening and went off and left it that way. Of course it blew down. I went all round the house and all through it on the inside, and aside from looking so empty, everything was intact and there was no sign of a break in or anything untoward like a water leak.

Today I went to the title company and signed about fifty things. They kept the original of my power of attorney, and I won’t get it back until the title company has registered the sale with the county, probably Monday. Now it’s up to UPS to get the buyer’s paperwork here from Puerto Rico with the moneda for the house. We could get it as soon as Thursday, or it could be Monday. They’ll call me, I’ll go pick up a very large check, and take it to the bank. They don’t get the keys until we get the money. But once we get the money, we can close the utilities account. It was over $200 for September, mostly electricity. Thank goodness we won’t have to deal with that any more. Mom’s bills will be limited to insurance premiums and her cellphone bill, and mine will be limited to streaming services, cellphone bill, and car insurance — and, of course, grocery store stuff — toiletries, paper goods, whatever food mom wants, etc.

Tomorrow, I need to call AT&T and give them the boot because yesterday evening I got a WiFi router and hooked it to the internet that comes with the apartment. I got it up and running, signed on an iPhone, two Kindle Fire tablets, an internet radio, a printer, and my computer without a problem. However, my TV refused to get on the internet despite a five-bar signal strength and being rebooted multiple times. The Carillon computer guy will be by at some point to see if he can reason with it.

I hope the computer guy can convince the TV to get on the internet. If I can’t get on the internet, I can’t stream Netflix. The Witcher is going to be dropping new episodes, and there’s some other series I want to take a look at on Netflix to see if they’re worth bingeing. I can watch Netflix on my computer, but I’d rather watch it on my 55-inch TV, thank you very much. So far, the in-house internet is better speed and quality (no dropping the signal for 45 seconds – to a minute at a time) than what AT&T and that jury-rigged hunk of junk they installed was giving me. It’s certainly a lot cheaper. TV and internet for under $50. He tells me, though, come the first of the year, they’re going to boxes of some kind, and I’ll be able to get in-house TV on my TV like mom gets on hers. Right now, you can only get in-house TV through a co-axial cable connection, and my TV is too new to have one. That’s OK . My TV is hooked up to a DVD player that is not region locked.

There seems to be a tradition of people starting picture puzzles in the common area to be worked on while you’re waiting for laundry to wash or dry in the common laundry area. This one is suitably themed. I’ll leave you with the Smiley Face Bush in it’s seasonal finery.

They’re Here . . . .

I read my last post and had a good laugh.

I got packed on 30 August, and got loaded up and schlepped to an empty apartment the 31st. I spent the next 8 days taking care of this and that (I made a good profit on my estate sale, mom made big bucks)(the closing date got pushed back on the house because the bank hadn’t scheduled an inspection yet, come over to the real estate office on a Saturday and sign the addendum, etc., etc.,), the next 8 nights sleeping in the guest apartment, and moved in on September 7th. I spent the night of September 7th in my own little beddy-boo. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind (and the available funds) to go to the unlimited data plan on my phone and get my phone’s hot spot turned on, as I would have gone into severe YouTube withdrawal otherwise. I couldn’t get a good “house WiFi” (signal in the guest room)

When the RO water guy and I came over to set up the RO unit, the flooring was 80% in and looked nice. The valves on the water lines were stuck shut and the RO water guy wasn’t about to try to force them. Maintenance was called and there was the usual bit of pfaffing and futzing with valves and pipes and the poor RO water guy finally managed to get everything connected. The installers keep putting the RO faucet handle on the right, which makes sense for a right handed person filling a glass, but what I fill with RO water is mostly my electric kettle and 48-oz stainless steel water bottle, and my right hand is my stronger hand, which is holding the heavy kettle/bottle, so I need the faucet handle on the left. Got that sorted.

I was finally able to move in on the 7th. Carillon paid for a pair of guys from a different company to move my stuff from the empty apartment to my real apartment, so I don’t know who left the deep scratches on my bed, the top of a night stand, and who nearly pulled the legs off the sideboard I use for a TV stand. (It is so frustrating when you know exactly what you need — wood glue and a ratchet strap — to fix the sideboard, and when you ask if one of the maintenance men has a ratchet strap, you get a blank look, get patted on the hand and told not to worry your little head about it.* I’m tempted to wear my tee shirt that says “Underestimate me: That’ll be fun.”)

The only thing of my dishes that was broken was one of my big cereal bowls (it wasn’t my favorite one), but my large statue of Kuan Yin standing on a dragon got one of the dragon’s horns broken and two of her fingers broken. Pretty upset about that.

I’m short some stuff — I still have books to unpack, and hopefully there’s at least one more box of “office decor” among them that has my missing stuff. I still have a few pictures to hang, as well. Going to try to do that tomorrow.

Moving takes boxes and wrapping paper. Once I unpacked the boxes, I had nowhere to put them. The maintenance guy who came in to install grab bars on mom’s toilet and fix the paper holder and my towel bar said to put them in this little alcove up the hall. Last Wednesday, I called the people who packed and moved me and they said they would come get them. They’re still here. Turns out they were calling my land line, which I no longer have. Now that they have my cell, hopefully the boxes will get removed from the hallway. Kind of embarrassing that everybody knows they’re my boxes and they’re still here . . . .

I’m not even going to go into the hassle I had with AT&T getting mom’s land line phone number moved to the apartment because she has such a time hearing on her cell phone. I got the phone she had at home that I know she can hear on (and so can everyone else!) and I got the phone number she’s had since 1975 moved over too. Finally. And I wonder why my blood pressure goes up 15 points if I even think of having to deal with them.

The air conditioner on my mom’s car went out and poor MK, who flew out to drive the car back, had to drive all the way to Richardson with no AC. Mom’s niece, CK and her husband MK paid to get it fixed and we will reimburse them, especially since the reason their daughter and SO bought the car is that it had AC and their other one didn’t and they have this new baby. I need to get a check cut at the bank and send to them. Thursday.

Today, I took mom’s hearing aids to the place and got them cleaned, and got her next installment of batteries. I ordered a ratchet strap off Amazon (kind of overkill — you could haul a truck out of a ditch with it . . .) and some wood glue to fix my sideboard the movers tore up. I’ll do that tomorrow. Thursday I have a meeting with the Carillon House people to do discharge planning for mom to see if she is done with rehab.

I’m so ready for things to settle down and get back onto an even keel. I’m so tired of being in crisis mode. I’ve been going at pretty much a dead run since the middle of July when all this started.

If I could just get somebody to hang drapes in my bedroom I would be so happy. There is so much light pollution outside my bedroom windows that even in the dead of night with the blinds closed, I can see perfectly well to get up and move around without having to turn on a light. I have a sleep mask, but I hate it. I can tell I’m not getting good sleep. They tell me the maintenance men won’t hang drapes, and I’ll have to hire somebody outside to do it. See if I don’t do just that.

Since you are reading this, you will deduce I have finally gotten my computer set up and hooked to the internet. I wisely upped the plan on my cellphone and had the hot spot turned on, or I would have been in severe internet withdrawal. I had my 10-inch Kindle tablet with me, and I was able to get on the internet with it using my phone as a hot spot. (I’m a good deal more computer savvy than some of the people who work here, never mind the people who live here.*)

I’m planning a trip to Round Top, Tx, on 8 October. It’s the Bauer Family Reunion. We are obliquely related to the Bauers through the preacher’s wife. I have family heirlooms that need to be passed down and they are too delicate to mail. I’ll have to find people to stay with mom for the three days I’ll be gone. We are going to stay with my cousin JP’s son EP who lives outside of Austin. Round Top is about a two-hour drive from there. It’ll be about a 7-hour drive to get to EP’s house on the 8th. The reunion is on the 9th and I’ll drive back on the 10th.

This is an important “handing off of the baton” event. These heirlooms are related to the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Round Top, a picture of Emma Rummel Neuthard, the wife of their founding preacher, J. Adam Neuthard, (my great great grandmother), and this picture from the old manse, which is no longer standing, where the Rev. Neuthard also had a school. There are also some daguerreotypes of mother’s daddy’s people.

Hopefully, in the near future, I can find out why the VA sent me three 75-pill bottles of clopidogrel (Plavix), when I already have two, one of which is unopened, and didn’t order a refill. At least they sent it to the right address. I did go get my COVID booster shot last Thursday, at the insistence of my oncologist. I am now immunized up one side and down the other, which is unfortunately more than I can say for all too many of my fellow Americans.

*Help! I’ve been mistaken for June Cleaver and I’m trapped in a 1950’s sitcom!

Mysteries and No Wonders

Caught a glimpse of something shiny on the carpet. Found this on the floor beside my dining table. No idea what it is or where it came from. My best guess is that somebody lost it, and it was on it’s way to Plainview (where all lost things go to be found) and it overshot the runway. . .

I had just woken up when my brain broadsided me with this scene set in a story in progress. Didn’t dare wait for the desktop to boot up. Just grabbed a piece of paper out of the printer and a bp pen to put it someplace where I could find it again. No wonder word processing is so much better than writing in longhand.