Friday week ago, the trusty Greyolla had to be jump started. I managed to start it Monday to go to an appointment with my orthopod (pausing on the way home to catch and subdue an Arby’s Gyro and drag it back to my lair). I barely got it started Wednesday, took a tootle around town, and had a (Big) Mac attack on the way back. I’m allergic to potatoes, but I eat them with impunity (and a touch of salt). Between Monday’s curly fries, Wednesday’s French fries and the twice baked potato I had Thursday, I’ve sneezed more than once. I’m allergic to corn, too. Amazing how much I’m not sneezing since I changed from margarine to actual butter.
Monday, I saw my orthopod and we discussed my knee. The bone scan shows a suspicious area in the same place as the CT did — the medial (inside) aspect of the joint. There may be some loosening of the cement that anchors the knee prosthesis to the bone. However, before I’d had that knee replaced, I’d had pain in that same place. A podiatric consultation happened and orthotics were made for my feet. That helped some. I’d like to try that again, and see if a pair of orthotics (custom made arch supports) helps any. If not, the alternative is revision surgery to replace this prosthesis with another one, which is major surgery. I want to try conservative measures first and delay another surgery at least until taking care of mom is no longer an issue.
Because I need a car I can depend on, I called Gene Messer Toyota Wednesday for an appointment in the Service Department. I managed to get the old (she’ll be 9 in November!) girl started yet one more time this morning and headed off to the dealership. Based on her symptoms, the differential diagnoses were: The battery, the alternator or the starter motor. I lucked out (I think). It was the battery. I got a new battery and two Uber rides out of the deal. I wouldn’t say the repair bill was astronomical, but it was higher than giraffes’ ears . . . anyway, Mme Greyola marche encore, which is the important take-away here. Laissez la voiture rouler.
I rehomed the elephant ear Wednesday as well. There’s a lot more room for everybody now. I just need to repot the Christmas cactus. I’ve had the pot for months. I also have the potting soil. However, I seem to have misplaced my roundtuit. . . .
I’m on the last Foreigner book until the new one comes out in September. I have the new Sebastian St. Cyr book in my little hot hands. I ought to start a reread of the 18 books in that series. Might not though. We’ll see. Might read C. J. Cherryh‘s Chanur books (5) instead. (I have a soft spot for the Knnn.)
Still no knitting news. I haven’t figured out how to read and knit at the same time, and after 27 years of things going in one ear and staying in my brain only long enough to hang a left and go out my fingers, audiobooks are not the solution to that dilemma. I’ve got a new shawl pattern “in the oven” but it’s not done cooking yet.
I’ve decided that I’m going to call in a pizza strike this afternoon if it harelips the governor. I’ve gone a year and a half with nary a slice, which is cruel and unusual punishment in my book. I already have an account on the Domino’s website . . .
When I moved, I sold my reciprocating saw, and the drill I had since the early 2000’s (and, like a dummy, all the bits and sockets to it), as well as everything else except a “basic” tool kit: a hammer, a pair each of regular and needle nose pliers, a Phillips and a regular screwdriver, a large adjustable
wrench and a pair of channel locks. Which pair of channel locks came in handy this afternoon, when I couldn’t get the cap off my Peach Mango sports drink.
When I moved in here, I installed my own “handheld” shower head, hung all my pictures except the one. The maintenance guy did install my curtain rods and curtains (even though they’re not supposed to –I pulled the sensory overload card on them) because I just flat couldn’t reach them on the step stool, and did hang that one picture that needed a heavy anchor (which I didn’t have) that was on the wall above my bed. But other than that, I assemble furniture (I have quite the collection of assorted Allen wrenches) and am otherwise quite handy.
I took a break from reading yesterday evening and watched a French production of Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni”. It was a rouser. There were several attempted rapes; the bass (Il Commendatore) got knifed in the first act (which is always fatal), and in the second act, one of the sopranos floozed about on state in her underwear and the tenor’s shirt, and the baritone (Don Giovanni) (who was a fox, BTW) stripped down to his tighty whities (it was, after all, a French production) and instead of getting dragged off to hell (spoilers!), Don Giovanni remained on stage in his skivvies for the remainder of the final scene. The minimal scenery that they had was well chewed, and a good time was had by the audience (including yrs trly). The only problem I had with it was that the libretto is in Italian and the closed captioning for this production was in French. This opera is notable for, among other things, a statue that comes to life and for Wolfie’s version of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.”
Right after lunch today, I set off into deepest darkest Yuppieville to go get mom’s taxes ready to be filed electronically, and on my way back I stopped off at Wal-Mart to get “a few things” (read: six bags’ worth). Mom was running low on tissues and they have the Haribo Peaches candy I can’t seem to find anywhere else. They also had the small size of the almond milk creamer which I don’t use fast enough to get the big size of, which is all Market Street had. They also carry the brand of vitamin D3 tablets and calcium chewies that I prefer to the brands Market Street has. And of course, Whataburger is right next door (chicken fingers, FF’s and gravy!).
So I walked all over Wal-Mart, drove through Whataburger, went in to the package store (Harvey’s Bristol Cream!), walked all the way back up from the parking lot to the apartment to get the cart I should have brought down and put in my trunk when I left the apartment to go run errands, unloaded the groceries into the cart, schlepped them back to the apartment, put them all up, then hiked over to mom’s to give her the tissues and back. Then I had my chicken fingers, etc. When I got up just now to go refill my water bottle, my hips and knees were so stiff I could hardly move for a minute or two and my heel hurt so bad I could hardly bear weight on it. The earliest appointment I could get with my orthopod was with his PA and is on the 30th. If I wanted to see him, the earliest appointment was 10 April. (I’ve still got to go to the VA and get a copy of the plain films and the CT the VA did to take over to him.) I ain’t going anywhere tomorrow but to the refrigerator and back. I’m going to lie in the bed with my feet up and probably finish the remaining half of the book I’m currently reading and head into the next one in the series.
We have some moving scenery out here in the flatlands. Monday week ago, it was moving about 35 mph and was Oklahoma-bound. We had a real howler. The trees outside my window couldn’t make up their minds between Martha Graham and Twyla Tharp. How brown was my sky? Medium tan on the horizon fading upward through pale beige to ecru/eggshell up top from the sun glare. It blew again yesterday and today, but only about 22 mph. We usually get these blustery days in March, but we’re getting them early this year, apparently .
Days like these take me back to walking home from elementary school. That was back in the 1950’s, before the farmers learned “sand fighting” techniques. Walking home through a sand storm, when the wind gusts were strong enough to knock you off balance if they hit you broadside. The air would be gritty and smell like dusty ozone. There was a park about halfway between the school and home that was bounded on the west by Orlando Avenue and on the east by Nashville Avenue, on the north by 40th street and on the south by 42nd street, which I crossed at a long diagonal, corner to corner. (In my town, north/south streets are alphabetical from east to west and east/west streets are numerical from north to south.) That was the challenging bit, crossing the park. There were no houses or fences to break the wind. It would slap me around and lull me into leaning into it, then fake me out by dropping abruptly to catch me off guard and make me stagger. We stayed with the neighbor lady after school til mom came home from work. Although she had three girls and I had a younger brother, our ages were staggered such that I never got out of school at the same time as anybody else. I always walked home by myself. There was a playground in the park, but I never stopped to play on it, not in all of the 6 years I went to that school. I always walked straight home. After we had a blow, there would be a rime of powder-fine dust along all the window sills and top sashes, the sugar would be slightly dingy. The air would have that dry, dusty smell for days as the fine dust settled out of the air.
Mom seems to hear pretty well on her new phone, which is a relief. It has a better speaker and more volume. I’ve got some mail I need to take over as well as a couple of tubes of toothpaste as she’s about to be out of toothpaste again. Tomorrow.
Finished another hat. The turquoise one is made from the same pattern as the green one, only instead of using yo (yarn over) to do the increase, I used kfb (knit front and back). The yo produces an eyelet and gives a lacier effect. The kfb makes a tighter fabric without the eyelets.
There’s a lady in the knitting group that wanted to learn cables. I did the second hat to show the difference between twisted cables (blue) which have two strands, and braided cables (pink) which have three. When you work cables, you are literally changing the order of the stitches on the needle. You pull some off the left needle onto a cable needle, work the stitches behind them, then put the stitches on the cable needle back on the left needle and work them. Whether you held those cable stitches behind the work or in front of the work (cross in front, or cross behind) when you worked the stitches behind them determines what the fabric looks like. The instruction for a cable cross is “C(number)” followed by “F” or “B” (Front or Behind).
On the blue hat, I worked the cables over six stitches against a 4-stitch reverse stockinette “ground” (which makes the cables stand out). Since a twisted cable has two “strands,” each strand is 3 stitches. The (number) in the instruction is the number of stitches in a strand. That last letter (F or B) tells how the strand crosses — in front or behind. On the blue hat, the cables that twist to the left only use C3F crosses. The cables that twist to the right only use C3B crosses.
The difference between the twisted cable and the braided cable is the number of strands. On the pink hat, the braided cable is worked over 9 stitches, which gives three strands of 3 stitches each. Think how you braid hair. The right strand crosses over the middle one, then the left strand crosses over the middle one. To accomplish this in knitting, you alternate a front cross with a back cross, but because you’ve got three strands in play, you’ve got to offset the back cross because you’re not only alternating crosses, you’re alternating the strands that cross. So across a braided cable of 9 stitches, your first cross would be C3F, k3, — you’re crossing the first (right side) strand over the middle strand, with that “k3” being the left strand. The second cross is the cross of the left strand over the middle strand but because knitting, in order to do that, you have to cross the middle strand behind the left strand (C3B), and you’ve got to get past the first strand to do that, so the second cross is k3, C3B. You don’t need to see a picture of the finished article to know what kind of cable you’re doing. All you have to do is look at how the crosses are written in the pattern.
When you knit something where the bind-off is on the knitting — like the sleeves in a top-down sweater, or the ribbing on a top down hat like the kitten hat, I like to use a variant of that bind off where you knit two stitches together, put the resultant stitch back on the needle and knit it together with the next stitch.
This works fine on stockinette but on ribbing, it doesn’t look right. What I like to do is after I’ve knit the two together, I look at what the next stitch is. If it’s a purl, I bring the yarn forward before I put that stitch I just worked back on the left needle. Then I purl the two together. Here’s the finished kitten hat for a baby.
Periodically, I like to mortgage my mythical firstborn son so I can pick up half a pound of brisket at the deli in Market Street. This works out to four or five sandwiches’ worth. Now and again I can come across the tanduri naan made in a “sandwich round” form which, oddly enough, makes an excellent sandwich. Chop up some brisket and give it a 35-second zot in the microwave. Get one of those “beefsteak” tomatoes that one slice will cover the bun, and put mayo on one piece of bread followed by a slice of tomato. I put tartar sauce on the other slice of bread because I like the pickles+beef taste combination, and then put the chopped meat on and amalgamate the sides. Serious nums! Of course, the portions of the meals Carillon provides are quite generous and it’s not unusual that if they’re serving ham or roast beef, I’ll have meat left over that’s suitable for sandwiches. That was the case today. I had two sandwiches for my meal, one of brisket and one of leftover roast beef from a meal earlier in the week.
Because of our ongoing drought conditions, cotton production here in the flatlands is way down — like from an average of between 28,000-35,000 bales to between 3,000 to 5,000 bales (A bale is 480 lbs/218 kg of ginned raw cotton, and contains enough cotton to make 200 pairs of Jeans, 250 single bed sheets or 1200 T shirts). So, what’s ripping my sinuses a new one can’t be the cotton stripping and ginning (which throws all kinds of herbicide and defoliant laced organic matter and soil into the atmosphere).
Odds are it’s juniper. We have a lot of Ashe Juniper (Juniperus ashei) here and southeast of us, as well as some Oneseed juniper (Juniperus monosperma) and Pinchot’s juniper or red berry cedar (Juniperus pinchotii). Winter/spring is not a good time of year because of a thing called “cedar fever” — which is like “hay fever” except caused by cedar and juniper pollen. We’ve recently had some rain, and that’s evidently set off another round of it, and it has been reading my sinuses the Riot Act.
It also gives me what I call “sniper sneezes” — Like you’re innocently and unsuspectingly going about your daily life, unaware that a sneeze sniper has you in the crosshairs. Then BANG! you’re hit with this massive sneeze without warning. Usually, with a sneeze, you get that inhale bit at the start, which is like cocking the thing and dropping a round into the chamber, so you have something to sneeze with (which is the whole point of the exercise). Not with a sniper sneeze. Your sneezer goes off whether there’s a round in the chamber or not, you gasp reflexively and that immediately sets off a second sneeze. I have actually banged my head on stuff . . . .
So, Walkers Shortbread makes Christmas shapes! — which go down just as easily and deliciously as their regular ones, especially with a pot of Twinings’ Christmas Tea, which is a nice black tea with cinnamon and clove spices. No, I did not eat the whole box of cookies at one sitting. I only ate half the box. I am exercising self discipline. Sorta. But actually, I’m not really into cookies in general (except shortbread and soft sugar cookies with icing), or cake (unless it’s got buttercream icing and squirty icing shapes), or pies (except mincemeat, cherry or pumpkin). Cheese cake, though. And ice cream. Those are my Achilles heels. (One on each foot. Fair is fair.)
I ran across this the other day and it’s brilliant. This is what the autism spectrum actually looks like. We all have all the traits, just in different amounts. I have a lot of a couple traits but don’t have much of most of the other traits, which means I can “pass” for neurotypical.
Speaking of which, the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year holiday season is an exhausting time of year for me. Parties, family get-togethers, dinners. I’m expected to mingle in crowds of people, do lots of group stuff and socialize. Crowds make me very claustrophobic; the babble noise of a bunch of people in a room is overwhelming; I don’t like to be touched, let alone get unsolicited hugs; and I am schmooze-impaired. For those of us on the spectrum, socializing is a “fake it till you make it situation,” except we can never make it. We’re the cat among the cows. All the cows instinctively understand how to be cows. We cats have to play it by ear. All the time. We never get to see the sheet music. Ever.
There’s going to be a party tomorrow from 4:oo-6:00 p.m. I’ll attend. There will be food involved. Since I’m not on chemo anymore, a glass of wine to make the spirit bright might be in order.
I saw a Twitter quote the other day that made me guffaw: “What do I want for Christmas? I want what every girl wants for Christmas: Death to the patriarchy and pockets in all my clothes.” Amen! Me, too.
I have a pair of fleece-lined snuggly house shoes but I can’t put them on without having to bend down and straighten out the back of the heel. I found myself opting to walk on cold floors in bare feet rather than take the time to do that. So I got me some house shoes I can just step into on those occasions when I can’t sleep through the night without a potty break. Eliminating life’s little annoyances one at a time.
In the knitting news, I have one bootie finished, one bootie that just needs the little green edging, and about 17 rows and sleeve edging left on the dress skirt. Gauge is 10 rows to the inch. Skirt is 9 inches long + 9 rows of seed stitch. Going to try to get it finished, blocked and in the mail by Monday. Good thing the relative humidity is 38% and it’s merino wool sock yarn.
Have you seen that Kraft mayo commercial that says there’s no such thing as too much mayo? I agree in principle, but not in brand. (Hellmann‘s mayo. Please.)
No such thing as too much tomato either. I make Christmas BLT’s — no L. (Think about it. It’ll come to you.) Just a slice of toast, mayo, tomato slices, four or five slices of bacon, tomato slices, mayo and a slice of toast. You will notice paper towel diapers on both sandwiches. Necessary. After one sandwich, the paper towel is too soggy to use again. Serious, if soggy, nums.
Woke up from a dream the other morning with the sad knowledge that Honduras is closed to me now. Sigh.
Friends brought us food for Thanksgiving. It was a loving gesture, and we embrace them for it. They’re dear friends and have been for a long, long time. And he is an excellent cook.
They wanted to have us over to their house for Thanksgiving, but that plan was defeated by the logistics of getting my mom there and back again. We could get her into my car, but it would take a chain hoist to get her out of it. (I have trouble getting up out of it). Not to mention that her wheelchair won’t fit in my trunk. These friends have a place down near the Gulf Coast (where it’s warmer), they took both cars, and the vehicle they came back up here in is his gigunga diesel four-door pickup. The cabs on those things are so high up off the ground that it would take a fork lift to get me into and out of one, never mind a 98-year-old woman with a bum back who needs a walker and/or a wheelchair to get around. So they brought the food to us. Right about the time it started sleeting. But it was good (as I say, he’s a great cook) and we loved it and them.
Mom and I have so much to be thankful for, and this Thanksgiving is a case in point. When you find friends like these dear people, you hold onto them and cherish them. Sorry, no pictures. We were too busy being in the moment.
I brush my pearlies with one of those battery powered spin brushes, which buzzes as it spins. But then I noticed that when I was brushing my lower left back molars, they were buzzing, too. Curioser and curioser. That back molar and the one in front of it are both implants. Turns out the crown on that back one has a tiny bit of play in it. The dentist I went to for years and years had already done one implant back in 2017, and had gotten this implant all the way to the point that all that was left to do was put the crown on. Then he died of COVID in December of 2020. He had one of those setups where two dentist went together and bought the building, but then each practiced out of one side of it. The doctor who practiced out of the other side was the one who ended up finishing the implant. So, I left a message with his receptionist yesterday, she called me this morning, and they worked me in at 1 pm this afternoon. I was in and out in 10 minutes, no charge. He said there was only a little play in the crown and that it wasn’t in danger of falling off, but to come back if it got worse. Everybody had a good laugh at my buzzing tooth.
On my way back from the dentist, I drive right by what used to be my friendly neighborhood package store, so I stopped and picked up some Harvey’s Bristol Cream (sherry) so I could have my nog with appropriate holiday spirit.
Mom has to take a distribution from their IRAs before the first of the year or get penalized. It’s a nice little chunk of change and I’m not all that wild about having to schlep a check that size from her broker over to the bank. Her broker mailed a direct deposit form which came today, and I’ve got to fill it out and take it over for her to sign, and then mail it back with a voided bank check and all. Then they can just direct deposit the dough. I’m sure the bank won’t mind.
While I was at the dentist’s, the front desk called me and asked me if I was aware I had four packages down there waiting for me to pick up. Yep. Mom wanted a little Christmas tree with lights that she could plug and unplug. Most of the “ready made” ones were two feet tall (and battery powered), which is too big for what she needs, so I ordered the parts off Amazon and DIY’ed one. I’m still waiting on the star for the top. Should be here by the end of the week. “Assembly required” was actually a cheaper route to go than the “everything included” for a tree that was too big. She’s not getting it until after Thanksgiving, though. This business of starting to put up Christmas decorations before Halloween is for the birds.
I didn’t get to sleep until nearly 6:00 o’clock this morning. I was reading Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh, one of my all-time favorite authors. She got the Hugo for this one. I started it at 8:00 o’clock Sunday morning, but that sucker is 850+ pages.
Yesterday being Sunday, I shifted the bed into “recline,” got some nice music going on my Kindle Fire and dived right in. It’s a real page turner, though. My Alarm went off at 9:00 a.m. for my first set of meds. I’d taken my second set and had gotten back in bed to sleep some more when the dentist called. I set the “movable” alarm for 11:30 and went back to bed. When that alarm went off, I was dreaming about trying to get to my dental appointment, but the mechanics messed up my van. While I was trying to find their “loaner” vehicle so I could get to my appointment, I got tangled up in a party Emma Thompson was throwing in this house the loaner was parked behind. Sam Elliott was there and handed me a half eaten gallon tub of cherry vanilla ice cream, but I wouldn’t take it. “I can’t eat ice cream and drive a car at the same time!” was what I was protesting when I woke up. I’ll be going to bed early tonight.
My carafe came. I need to wash it and do a load of hot chai tea in it. With a dollop of vanilla almond milk creamer . . .
I’ve got a cardiologist appointment at 2 pm tomorrow, and I need to make a post office run and a Walmart run. I’m out of tandoori naan (which goes great with soup, BTW), for one thing, and I want another carton of almond milk egg nog. I also want to see if they have any ugly Christmas sweaters . . .
I’ve been in three earthquakes, two here and one in Monterey, CA. Interestingly, I happened to be in bed at the time in all three instances. Not surprising, though since the first one (in CA) happened in the middle of the night. The second one (here) was at 6 o’clock in the morning. This last one hit at 3:32 p.m. yesterday, 16 November while I just happened to be lying in the bed reading*. My bed is oriented almost due SW/NE, and it was like something big and heavy had silently given the side of the building a solid thump that jiggled my bed from side to side. I’m on the third floor of a 4-storey, steel and concrete building, which probably amplified the effect slightly. It was a Richter 5.2 with the epicenter located about 27 miles/45km west of Pecos (which is about 3 hours/214 miles/344 km to the southwest of us) at a depth of 3.1 miles/5km underground, according to Earthquaketrack.com. Durn frackers.
Monday was a blustery day, and on the chilly side. The poor mourning doves toughed it out for about an hour before they sought a more sheltered roost.
We have an activities director here at Carillon who organizes “expotitions” to things like restaurants, concerts, museum exhibits, theater events, sports games, etc. They have this big bus with the nice seats like you go on organized bus tours in. They herd us up and load us onto the bus and off we go. Tuesday, they had an expotition to the Plaza Restaurant and now that I’m street-legal again, I signed up to go eat what my dad called “Meskin food” (TexMex). Naturally, they had bowls of salsa and baskets of chips out on the table for appetizers. (They had various sopapilla dishes on the menu, both sweet and savory — my dad always called them “sofa pillows.”) I had a soft beef taco, a beef tamale and a heaping scoop of refried beans. I had it twice, in fact. The food was so good and the portions were so generous that I got a “doggie bag” and had the rest of my lunch for supper. The prices were very reasonable. All that and two glasses of sweet tea came to $13 and change. The Plaza is located out on Milwaukee Avenue just south of 50th street, out in the part of town I refer to as “Southwest Yuppyville.”
It was a bittersweet outing. After I got back from the restaurant, I went out to Market Street to get a flower arrangement of some roses for mom because Wednesday the 16 (the day of the earthquake) would have been my parent’s 76th wedding anniversary (except my dad passed away in September of 2015). I also got a grocery or two and a birthday card for my BFF (23 November).
I decided to get gussied up to go out to the restaurant, so I wore the above necklace, which I got on Portobello Road in London in 1974. I also wore these new earrings I had just gotten off Etsy from a vendor in Poland. As I was carrying the groceries into the apartment, I happened to notice I had lost one of the earrings. I wear a pair of small gold hoops which I only take out for CT scans and x-rays (to keep my holes open), but the holes are big enough that I can slip a second ear wire through them. I try to get lever-back ear wires or studs whenever I can, but if it’s a “fish hook” ear wire, I usually put those little rubber “stoppers” over the wires, only I didn’t think I would need them. I did back track as far as I could, but didn’t find it. They were such pretty earrings and I’m just heart-broken that I lost one — the first time I wore them! That’ll teach me.
My BFF finally got her Halloween card. I mailed it on 21 October. She got it on 11 November, after the midterm election, oddly enough. (Can you say “voter suppression,” boys and girls?) She also got her car back (we’ve finished rebuilding your transmission, ma’m. That’ll be $4.5K, thank you very much), after having been without it for over a month. The great ladies from her church really went to bat for her, organizing car pools to get her to and from work, else she’d have lost her job and been out on the street. I was frustrated that I couldn’t do more to help her besides send her a Halloween card with five cute little pictures of Andrew Jackson tucked inside it. Which apparently took the scenic route to get from hither to yon. Musta had to change planes in Dallas . . . (Texas is such a large state, it’s hard to get a direct flight from one end of the state to the other, e.g., from Lubbock to Houston. They’re usually routed through one or the other of the two Dallas airports — DFW or Love Field.) (In Texas, you can’t even go to Hell without going through Dallas.) (Then again, the argument can be made that DFW is Hell.)
The other day, I ran across a teaser/trailer for the 2011 version of “Jane Eyre” with Michael Fassbender as Rochester, which I haven’t seen but will order the DVD for because Michael Fassbender(!). That next morning, I woke up from a dream about this young woman who was hired to keep house for this man who lived in a big stone house out in the Yorkshire Dales. He had a secret, too. His was that he was a time traveler who had escaped from BREXIT England to live in 1840’s England. (Feel free to steal the premise, you writers out there . . .) They had these two 8-week old kittens , a black one and a white one, who got tangled up with half a dozen of these pale green beetles that were bigger than they were and had to be rescued for their own good. I woke up wishing that the kittens were real and mine.
*BTW, in my defense, I walked all over the world Tuesday, walking all the way to and from the front desk to get the bus to the restaurant, then going out to shop groceries, taking them up to the apt, then taking the flowers over to mom at Carillon House and getting mail on my way back. The weather was cold, my motile appendages were unhappy with me, I still haven’t gotten my stamina back, so Wednesday, I took it easy. What’s the point of having an adjustable bed if you can’t adjust it until it’s comfortable and snuggly warm on a chilly day and then having a good read in it? (And ride out the occasional earthquake . . . ) I gulped down a good three-fourths of Cuckoo’s Egg by C. J. Cherryh and quaffed hot tea for most of the afternoon. The only thing that would have made it better was curb service. Oh, and BTW again, did you know they make almond milk eggnog? I gotta get me a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream. T’is the season.
Tomorrow is the last fluid infusion of this session. I have to be there at 8:00. So after Monday’s infusion I got home just before noon, in more than enough time for the housekeeping lady. While she was there, the maintenance guy came to say he needed to turn my shower on because there was a leak downstairs. Turns out my shower was leaking somehow (why suddenly is it leaking now and not earlier?) He had to calk it and the calk had to set, so I couldn’t use it until he came by today to put everything back together.
He said he’d be by this morning. He didn’t show up until after noon. Of course, by the time he came, I’d washed my dishes and started a pot of chai tea with vanilla almond milk. I’ve got as far as making the chai tea, which is cooling at the moment. It has to cool to room temp before I can add the vanilla almond milk. Then it’s into the fridge.
Anyway, I can use my shower now, which is good because I have to go get my last infusion for this session tomorrow, and I’ll want to shower before I go. Never mind that you don’t work up much of a sweat sitting around in an air conditioned room, I just think it’s manners if you’re going to be in a situation where somebody has to do something as up close and personal as inserting an IV rig into the chemo port on your chest, that you should have showered pretty recently. Kinda common courtesy, which doesn’t seem to be all that common any more. . . .
Saturday, my cousin’s daughter had her baby (she was due Friday), and I need to really get my rear in gear and finish stuff and get it blocked and mailed. Don’t know anything about her except her name and that she’s a healthy little newborn girl. She’s my dad’s youngest brother’s great grandchild. My dad would have been delighted. My mom got to meet her older sister. Hard to believe it’s been almost a year since they came to visit.
Mom had been transferred from the hospital to that nursing home by then and I was in the middle of getting mom moved to Carillon House to finish her rehab, and getting us both into Life Care at Carillon, but hadn’t yet started in on the estate sales and selling mom’s house and getting me moved in and settled. September 1 will be a year since I moved into Carillon. Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess.
My bank sponsoring an ice cream social this afternoon, but I didn’t go. We’ve had people test positive for COVID here in the building, and eating requires taking down my mask. Not worth the risk.
My BFF who lives outside of Houston finally got COVID. She ended her period of quarantine last Thursday and was back to work. But while she had it, she was as sick as the proverbial dog.
I gulped down Aliette de Bodard’s Dominion of the Fallen series and the adjacent Dragons and Blades duette from the same universe, which was a great if slightly grim read, and I’ve started in on a reread of the four-book Finishing School series by Gail Carriger. Carriger’s books are set during the reign of Queen Victoria in a Britain where werewolves are obliged to serve in Her Majesty’s army and vampires are arbiters of style. It’s fun and steampunk and ever so slightly silly. The finishing school for young ladies of quality is located aboard a dirigible and, in addition to the usual finishing school curriculum, includes coursework in intelligence gathering and assassination. It is the prequel, if you will, to her Parasol Protectorate series, and there are three books which deal with the subsequent careers of three of the friends the main character makes at school.
In the knitting news, I did get that little baby top started, and I’m losing a game of Yarn Chicken as I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it with one skein of yarn. But I have two more skeins of that yarn. I might do some booties to match. We’ll see. I need to get the top finished first, and fish out some appropriate buttons from my stash.
I’ve got to finish that one sun hat, though, before I start on matching booties, or a sun hat for the top. I’ve got about 15 more rows to go on the top but, except for the last five rows, it’s all stockinette, which means purling 117 stitches every other row. That much purling is a pain. It’s less of a pain if you’re a continental style knitter, but it’s still a pain. The pattern is only a page and a half long. You could make one in an afternoon if you put your mind to it.
I was a bit more rested going into this one. I was actually out by three o’clock Monday since I don’t take the vincristine anymore. The oncologist stopped that one because I was starting to get numbness and tingling in my fingertips. Just the prednisone, the cyclophosphamide and the Rituxan. Found out one of the side effects of Rituxan is it makes you sneeze. I discovered that when I was looking for which one gives you blurry vision (take your pick). And thank God for Depends because one of the side effects of this chemo regimen is a marked tendency to leak. I’ve gone through eight of them in the past two days. The furosemide (diuretic) I took yesterday didn’t help matters, but it cleared the swelling out of my feet nicely. I gained almost 7 pounds of fluid from the three bags of chemo plus what I drank to keep from drying up in the heat.
Since I got out early, I stopped by Market Street on the way home to get some chicken wings and veggies for supper (since I missed lunch) and got some groceries and some more of those BodyArmor drinks I like. Naturally, they’ve quit making the peach-mango flavor because that’s the only one I like. I like it because it has electrolytes, vitamin C, is only 20 calories (2 g of sugar) a bottle and has no added sugar. I was a bad girl and got a package of microwave bacon. I’ve been craving bacon and tomato sandwiches something fierce. (Not a big fan of lettuce.) My cardiologist won’t like it, but I’m going to have me a couple BT sammies. It’s not like I live on the stuff. This is the first bacon I’ve had in months. I also got a pot pie size frozen spinach quiche, some pulled chicken, a container of their good spinach dip, two small loaves of bread, a couple of roma tomatoes and a container of cherry tomatoes, and replenished my frozen food cache. I’m trying to eat as nutritious as I can. Four little sacks of groceries was $168. (*Rant deleted*)
We do get a meal allowance of one meal a day. I’m doing the intermittent fasting thing and supper works better for that than lunch. Unfortunately, our facility hasn’t been able to get enough staff to do three meals so all we get here is breakfast and lunch. To get supper, I’d have to go over to Windsong to get it or else pay a $3 charge to get it delivered. I budget accordingly. I need to have food on hand, though for when I simply don’t have the energy to go down to the dining room to get it.
I had to go by the VA Tuesday to get a refill on the antidiarrhea medication, as that’s another side effect of chemo I tend to have. I was down to two doses, which is not enough as it usually takes three to stop an episode. Got the refill and then went to get my shot of Udenyca to boost my white blood cells back up after chemo. I finally managed to catch about two hours of sleep between potty breaks, and got about six hours total last night. I don’t have to go back until Friday for the first of the three IV fluid infusions.
The Rituxan makes the back of my neck sore right at the base of my skull, and the sneezing is annoying. So is the cotton mouth. I woke up with a sore throat, too, also from the Rituxan. By now I know what to expect, though, and I’m prepared for it.
The air conditioner that supplies the Pointe Plaza building lobby and the business offices has been out for a couple of months now. Evidently supply train issues have struck again. They were going with these big portable blower units for a while, but as hot as it’s been here lately, that hasn’t helped much. There are a few empty apartments in our building and the business offices have relocated to them for the duration. It’s been ungodly hot here, over a week of 100+ F/ 37+ C temps. Raisin weather. You’re a grape until you take two steps outside. High today is 104 F/40 C at 31% humidity. The heat just sucks you dry. High Monday was 107 F/41.6 C. It’s 98 F/36.6 C right now and trying to rain. At 31% humidity, it won’t amount to much. I guess it’s the thought that counts.
In the knitting news, there is knitting news. I’m working on some baby booties to match the little dress I still haven’t finished. The kid should be here any day if she isn’t here already. I need to get my rear in gear and send what I have finished. The dress I haven’t finished won’t fit her until Christmas anyway so I still have some runway on that. I have the blanket and a couple pairs of baby booties finished and I can finish the sun hat in a couple of hours if I’ll just sit down and do it.
I think I’ll do a crochet edging on the sleeves and hem of the dress as well as on the cuff of the booties. I have this nice green that was the “so sorry” freebie I got when Malabrigo replaced that miswound skein of Malabrigo sock I bought for the dress. I’ve got enough of the red to make a second dress for the older sister who will be 22 months old at Christmas as well as socks for her. There will be plenty of the green for what I need.
I’ve got some blue cotton thread. I might do a little top out of it. I could do it in a day if I’d sit down and do it. But right now, I’m reworking the pattern for the booties for fingering weight yarn, which is thinner than baby yarn, plus I’m using smaller needles (US 1/2.25 mm instead of US 2/2.75 mm), which means I’ve had to recalculate the gage, and that changes the number of stitches you start with and means I have to go through the pattern line by line and redo all the math. Guess what. Chemo brain + math = an uphill battle. I’ve been at it all morning. The pattern uses the Fleegle heel, and I’ve got it to the point of completing the heel gusset. I think I’m going to give it a rest for a while because the next bit is very calculation heavy. I don’t have to go anywhere until Friday, so mañana. Once I get the pattern worked out, I’ll test it with the second bootie and then I’ll put them up in Knits From the Owl Underground.
I just now printed out the pattern for the baby top. Think I’ll go hunt up a US 6/4.0 mm 6-inch circular and a bowl, find me some nice music on the internet radio app on my Kindle Fire tablet, crank up the bed and unload my feet while I knit. I’ve still got the prednisone munchies. I may have to eat a BT sandwich first . . .
Oh, here’s the green gang. Still haven’t repotted the two that need repotting . . .
It’s a slog. Nothing neat or interesting about it. Just one foot in front of the other. I made it through Rituxan #3 with only a minor bout of diarrhea which might have been as much food related as chemo related. I read, I watch TV and YouTube, I play games, I knit. I’m tired all the time. I’ve got three more to go, and I’m not thinking about it until the day, which is July 18.
I’m making a big pitcher of chai tea with vanilla almond milk. I have this heavy glass pitcher that was intended for sangria (it has the plastic insert for the ice to chill it without diluting it). I think I’ve made sangria in it once. What I make in it all the time is iced tea, either just straight tea or the chai tea with vanilla almond milk, which is as good cold as it is hot. (I’m using 3 chai and 2 Irish Breakfast instead of 5 chai, as the Irish Breakfast gives it more of a caffeine punch.)
Because I’m using a glass pitcher and I’m making the tea with hot water and tea bags, precautions have to be taken. I put the pitcher in the sink and run hot water into it. It takes a while for hot-hot water to come from the water heater to the sink tap, so the glass in the pitcher heats up gradually. When the water is fully hot, I dump the pitcher and let it fill to the rim with the fully hot water. Then I fill my electric kettle over-full and start it heating. It takes five teabags’ worth of tea, a clothespin and a cake server. I used to use a big ladle, but that went in the last downsizing. But, anything large and metal works. That’s what you pour the hot water on to absorb the heat shock.
Timing is everything. The pitcher is full of hot water in the sink until the kettle begins to boil. Then I dump the pitcher, clothespin the five teabags to the pitcher rim, gently put the cake server in and pour the water in the kettle onto the blade of the cake server slowly, pausing now and again. It’s very important to pre-heat the pitcher. (Just like you preheat the teapot before you make tea in it — or you should — for the same reason. Yes, it keeps the tea warmer longer, but it also cushions the teapot against the shock of the boiling water and keeps it from breaking because it has expanded too quickly.)
Then you let the pitcher sit until the glass has cooled to room temperature before you remove the teabags. Pour in the whole 16-oz bottle of vanilla almond mix and stir. Cover the top of the pitcher with cling wrap and refrigerate. Enjoy.
It’s important to cover the pitcher when it’s in the fridge. The “dehumidifying effect” of modern frost-free refrigerators will “dehumidify” the tea and a “skin” may develop on the surface. (Refrigerators were invented by accident. The guy was inventing a dehumidifier that worked by refrigerating the air until the moisture condensed out. Then he realized what else he could do with it — like refrigerate food. That’s why containers in the fridge develop condensation on their undersides. The moisture that has been dehumidified out of the food has condensed on the lid.)
In the knitting news, I finished the baby booties.
I’m working on the dress a couple of rows at a time as I can settle to it. I’ve got about an inch and a half of the skirt. I need 9 inches of skirt.