Birthdays and Settling In

Today’s headline news item is mom’s 97th birthday party today. Here’s the birthday girl in her birthday crown tucking into some ice cream and strawberry cake with good friend MD. It was MD’s daughter KP who so very kindly organized the affair, which was held in the Fireside Lounge at Pointe Plaza, where our apartment is.

We have delayed her transition from Carillon House to the apartment until October 18 because of the trip I have planned over the second weekend in October (thus saving me from having to find home health people to stay with her round the clock for the three days I will be gone). But we deliberately planned for the party to be where I live at Pointe Plaza (a separate building) to help familiarize her with the facilities and ease her transition. I got her a nice new outfit for her birthday with pretty embroidery across the front, and we got her hair done this morning just the way she likes it. Then I brought her over to lunch and we ate in the dining room over here. The party was held just next door. You will note the piano in the background.

KP, the lady in the white sweater on the right, and the lady in the blue top just to mom’s left were the organizers of the party. KP is MD’s (seated at mom’s left) daughter. Behind mom is CK, her “adopted niece” and on the far left is EL, a long time friend.

The lone man in attendance is EP, the current minister of the church mom attended since 1955. We had a nice little nosh and natter, and a good time was had by all. She has been getting birthday cards by the handfuls for over a week now and it has been gratifying to see how all the attention has lifted her mood.

After the party, EL and CK and I bought her up and showed her the apartment, and her room, and how I’d fixed everything up. We showed her how short the distances are between the dining room and the elevator that goes up to our apartment, and how close our apartment is to the elevator. She saw how close and accessible the en suite is to her bed, how the furniture is set up to leave a clear path for her wheel chair to any place she might want to go in the apartment, how her bedside lamp has a switch on the cord to make it handy for her to find, and the clock I have for her that has date and day of the week, as well as the time.

When we got back to Carillon House we found this lovely bouquet waiting for her. Her good friends G &JS sent them to her. While I was there, helping her to get ready to take a nap, I got a call from the front desk over at Pointe Plaza that somebody had left flowers.

I went over to see what was what, and it was another lovely bouquet of flowers addressed to mom. I brought it back to her and we discovered it was from JTW, the daughter of our long-time friends whom I’d grown up with. Mom was delighted.

We added the two lovely bouquets to the (literally) inches of birthday cards that she’d gotten.

Mom had partied pretty hearty and by this point in the afternoon, she was party pooped . . .

To be perfectly honest, I was ready for a nap myself. All in all, I’d say the day was a big success.

Tomorrow, some guys from the DPS (AKA the drivers license place) are coming out. Mom’s driver’s license expired today, and we were afraid that in order to get her driver’s license reissued as a photo ID, she was going to have to show up at the DPS in person, which would have meant getting the wheelchair van to take us out there, etc., etc. I went on line Monday and filled out the online form to get disability services for her. Wednesday, a guy from the DPS called me and said that since they already have the necessary documents on file for her (SSAN, birth certificate, etc.), if we could produce a notarized letter on Carillon letterhead that this was her legal and mailing address, they could send a team here to take her picture, and then mail us the photo ID. Sold! They’ll be coming out tomorrow at 11 am. Another thing off the list!

In the knitting news: Firstly, there is knitting news. I’ve been able to work on the Smuggler’s Moon shawl, the Latticia shawl and Waves on a Wine-Dark Sea shawl and have actually made some progress on them. It’s been heavenly. But secondly, in the process of adapting to this new installment of my life, I’ve run across an interesting “problem” — We use key cards for our apartments, and my iPhone is my only phone now, so I carry key card and phone in my pocket all the time — except some of my slacks are leggings and don’t have pockets! I have the iPouch but that hangs around my neck and was intended to be worn under a shirt/blouse while exercising in a gym. (And one can’t be rummaging about down the front of one’s blouse to answer the phone — Not in public, anyway!) I want to make an iHolster that fastens around my waist like a portable pocket so I can carry my phone and key when I’m wearing leggings or slacks without pockets. I’m in the design phase at the moment, trying to work out how it needs to be shaped, and how I can do that with knitting. It will be bottom up from a Turkish cast on like the iPouch, but it’s the shaping of how it will ride on the hip that I’m working on now. Stay tuned.

Out of the Frying Pan . . .

It was just after midnight Friday when I published the previous post. I had been scheduled for an eye exam with the VA, but the earliest appointment they could get me was in October, and it had been almost two years since my last exam. I was on the cancellation list, and at 11 o’clock Friday morning, they called and said, “Can you come at 3 PM this afternoon?” Yup. I called mom to let her know about the appointment and that once I drove home from it (after having my eyes dilated) I shouldn’t be driving any more until things settled down.

I called her again once I got back. She was on the phone with my cousin EJ, but she called me back afterward and we discussed the results of my eye exam. (Good, didn’t need my glasses changed.) We discussed the appointment she had Monday morning with the Spine Institute and when I should come pick her up.

We discussed when she should take the morphine pills they had given her in the ER that morning (one then and one at 10 pm). We discussed my coming over at 2 o’clock Saturday afternoon to do her laundry for her. She was oriented, rational, lucid, and in her usual mental state.

(Above: Brunch at IHOP after her spinal injection 7/9/2021)

At 10:30 Saturday morning, our good friend CK called me and said that she and several other people had tried to call mom earlier that morning, but had gotten neither answer nor call-back. I told her I would meet her there as I am able to get into mom’s house. We found her lying on the bed in an unresponsive state. She was ready for bed and had either just sat down on the bed or was trying to get up, and had just flopped backwards onto the bed with her legs hanging off the side. Her walker was out in the middle of the room. CK called 911.

The EMT’s said her blood pressure was very low, they could not rouse her either and they took her to the Emergency Room. Slowly over the course of the nearly 12 hours we were in the ER, she became more alert, but it was clear that something had happened.

(Not to put too fine a point on things, when I finally got home Saturday at midnight, I pulled into the driveway and discovered the battery on my garage door remote was dead.)

Now, after two days in hospital, we know she was very dehydrated. Because of the dehydration, one of her medications (a statin) caused a situation called rhabdomyolysis which was aggravating the kidney problems (from dehydration), a situation which can also also cause mental confusion. She also had some kind of infection in her blood (sepsis) (we’re still awaiting culture results), which can also cause confusion and delirium. Initially, there was some concern that the morphine she had taken (as prescribed) was also contributing to her difficulty staying awake and alert. But after two days in the hospital, the morphine has cleared out of her system, her dehydration is corrected, her blood pressure is back to normal, and she’s on IV antibiotics, but her mental state has not returned to normal. Clearly some kind of neurological event happened either Friday night or Saturday morning.

If you arouse her, she becomes awake, alert and responsive. She will engage with people, but she drifts off easily. She recognizes me, my brother, and CK, and other long-time friends when they come, but doesn’t retain the information that they visited. She has difficulty expressing herself. She either can’t find the word she wants, can’t form the word in her mouth, or she says something nonsensical or that has no relation at all to the conversation. When the ER doctor asked her why she was in the ER, she said she’d been in a car wreck (?!). The neurologist who saw her this morning asked her where she was (hospital); she said, “Ruidoso.” (Which is a town 250 miles away in New Mexico), and told the neurologist the year was 196- but couldn’t get out the last digit.

She’s had a CT of the head, which showed nothing obvious, but it was done without contrast, so the detail wasn’t great. She’s supposed to get an MRI of the brain which will give a lot more detail.

I spent most of Sunday at the hospital, although I did leave to do mom’s laundry, make her bed, take out her trash. There were dishes in the sink, and I put them in the dishwasher and ran it. The light bulb in her bedroom was burned out (?!), so I replaced the bulb. CK stayed with her while I was gone, and I went back and stayed til 10 pm.

And yes, when it rains, it does pour. This morning I heard thunder when I was getting dressed, and saw that it was raining, but not very hard. I was almost out the door when my PCP at the VA called to tell me that my biopsy results showed my lymphoma had recurred. Unfortunately, by the time I got off the phone with the VA, it was bucketing down so hard and so fast that there was water shin deep in the intersections, and there was so much water in the gutters that cars couldn’t get in that far right lane without risking drowning their engines. I practically swam to Battery Joe’s to get a new battery for my garage door remote (and I got a spare to keep in my purse!) and was at the hospital by 9 am. I spent most of the day there, but came home in the afternoon as I was exhausted.

Her mental state has improved somewhat, but it is nowhere near normal.

Right after they got her settled in her room Saturday night, she became restless. They only had her on a bed alarm and the nurses didn’t get to her until after she had pulled out her IV lines, pulled off her heart monitor leads and her hospital gown and was halfway out of the bed.

She did it again Sunday night after I left at 9:45. This is something called sundowning. It’s not a good sign. Sunday evening, they put this camera thingie (above) in her room so she can be continuously monitored during the night. (They have a special station with people whose job it is to keep watch through these cameras and alert the nurses proactively.)

This evening, I was putting clean sheets on my bed when the hospital called me at 7:30 to tell me they’ve had to put mom’s hands in soft restraints because she started trying to pull everything off again.

It’s pretty clear to everyone that mom is not going to be able to live independently anymore or to stay at her house. She is going to require round the clock monitoring. Our first priority is to get her someplace where she is safe and cared for. I’m not going to be able to address my own health concerns until that happens. The VA is supposed to schedule me for a CT scan with contrast from jaw to never-mind and I see my oncologist on the 9th. Right now I’m just taking it an hour at a time. I’m going to crash out now, and see if I can get some sleep.

Hanging On Til Friday

We went to the Spine Institute Tuesday. Apparently, Mom’s MRI showed a disk protrusion between her second and third lumbar vertebrae (L2-L3) which was pinching the nerve and the pain specialist thinks that is the cause of her pain. (At age 96, she is not a surgical candidate.) So, on the 9th, which is Friday week, she will have a nerve block to that nerve under sedation. I’m hoping this is the spot and she gets good pain relief. I’m also hoping that she is a candidate for a TENS unit, because nerve blocks are only temporary. Her pain will recur and require another session of sedation and a nerve injection.

In the knitting knews, I mentioned I got some Malabrigo Worsted in the colorway “Indigo,” all of which is now caked up.

I have no self discipline apparently, because my resolve not to start a new shawl until I finish one of the four I’m working on lasted about two days. I’ve since written a pattern, put about a day’s work into it, frogged it, re-written the pattern, and restarted it.

This was the original pattern and, as you can see, I got pretty far along on it. But I didn’t like the way the increases were working. The middle and bottom “rays” were starting to curve downward, and ça ne se fait pas. So I frogged that sucker and recaked the yarn, dropped back and punted.

The new pattern keeps the Turkish cast on (as tricky and fiddly as it is, I prefer it to using a garter tab) as well as the sl1 wyif, k1 edging, but instead of the lattice lace, I used more of a “ladder” lace worked over 5 stitches (RS: p2tog, yo, k1, yo, p2tog; WS: k2, p1, k2.) The lattice lace is worked over 4 stitches and I don’t like 4’s. This “ladder” lace is worked over 5 stitches. It is the center part of a “ray” that is worked over 9 stitches.

I like 3’s and 9’s a lot better than I like 4’s. (I’m on the spectrum; I’m allowed to be quirky.)

I haven’t decided whether I’ll put the band of stockinette stitch at intervals or not. I’m calling this shawl “Smuggler’s Moon” — smugglers like the dark of the moon, preferring to carry out their clandestine activities when the lack of moonlight makes them more difficult to spot.

The Malabrigo Worsted is a single-ply yarn, and it is a dream to work with. I’ll be interested to see how it blocks up. I’m trying to shoehorn a felt pressing mat into the budget to use for blocking things knitted with acrylic yarn. The acrylic items I’ve blocked before (baby clothes) were small and I could use an ironing board with them, but for large items like shawls, I’m going to need my banquet table, which is hard plastic, and I need a felt pressing pad to put over it to protect it from the heat.

This afternoon, my friend KC and I are going over to Mom’s and spend the afternoon chatting with her and knitting. My mom is pretty much housebound as she can’t drive because there’s no way she could get her walker in and out of the car by herself, and being on her feet exacerbates her pain. She’s ok as long as she’s sitting, reclining, or lying flat, but when she gets up and walks about, her pain really kicks in. She’s not into reading. She doesn’t watch anything on TV but sports or game shows (she has trouble following dialog because of her hearing loss), and bless her, she’s bored silly. So my friend and I are going over to keep her company for the afternoon.

I usually get my bread in boules rather than the usual square loaves, and boule slices are hemicircular and much wider than slices from a square loaf. They wouldn’t fit in the toaster I had, so I got this long-slot toaster for Christmas.

The loaf these slices came from were smaller than the standard bakery loaf. A bit of toaster overkill . . . This toast and some chicken salad became a delightful sandwich for last night’s supper.

Turkey and Other Cold Cuts

(Did I mention I hate the new WordPress block(head) editor? If it’s supposed to make using WordPress easier, it’s a spectacular failure. It’s harder to do everything than it used to be.)

It has been a rough week. Tuesday morning I was watching YouTube and knitting, and about 11 o’clock, my internet went down. The thing is, when my internet goes down, so does my VOIP land line, and my cable TV. After multiple calls to Suddenlink on my cellphone, I was told there was an outage in my area, and that it should be back up by morning. Come morning, no internet. We tried this and we rebooted that and we poked things with paperclips, and no joy. A technician was scheduled. He would be out Thursday morning. In the meantime, my only connection with the outside world was my cell phone, I had been without internet for going on 24 hours. I could not stream music, watch TV or connect to any of the usual suspects on the internet. If I had not already dowloaded a book to my Kindle, I couldn’t get to it to read it.

The Suddenlink technician was scheduled to come between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., which meant I had to get up at 7:30 to give me time to shower and otherwise accoutre myself like a respectable human bean. He called at 10:45 to say he was on his way. (From Midland, as it happens, which is 120 miles south of us.)(He’s trying to find an apartment in town. I don’t blame him. Heck of a commute.) We went through the spiel. He connected his little gizmo, and the line was deader than the proverbial door nail. There had, in truth, been an outage in my area, but it was fixed now so something else was going on. He went out to the alley to check the “war” and, lo, and behold, the “war” had been pulled completely loose from the pole. Some tall truck had evidently driven down the alley and snagged it. He not only reconnected it but replaced the “tap” which had been gnawed by squirrels, and was probably to blame for the intermittent loss of connection that has been driving me crazy for months. He also moved the tap higher up the pole which took up some of the slack in the line to the house.

Just like you don’t realize how much you depend on electricity, you don’t realize how much you depend on internet until you don’t have it. I’d think, well, I could do this — but no I couldn’t. No internet access. I’m telling you. I was about to the point of hunting out that CD player I’ve stuck up in the closet somewhere and playing one of the CD’s I have stockpiled. Unfortunately, I cannot afford a cell phone plan with unlimited data, or I could have streamed music over my phone. (I wonder if I ought to look into getting one of those solar phone charger gizmos?)

It’s a FO!

The Sweet Irene Shawl is finished! (Well, I still have to weave in the 2 ends, but technicalities.)

I could block it and get the ruffle effect out of the lower edge, but Mr. Rogers and I like it just the way it is and I’m leaving it in. This is Malabrigo sock yarn which is 100% Merino superwash, so it’s very soft and very light. I like the curl on the ends. It’s the perfect weight for the liminal weather on either side of summer. It’s mindless, relatively portable, just need something to do with your hands knitting — 98% garter stitch with only two little 6-stitch borders to memorize.

I like the asymmetry with that long tail on one end to throw over your shoulder. (Have you any idea how tricky it is to take a picture of yourself in a mirror with a stupid iPhone?) I think it’s safe to say I’ve got my knitting mojo back. I want to do another asymmetrical shawl with panels longways like this one.

But then again, I want to do a symmetrical triangular bottom-up shawl that is wide but not so deep, maybe with a knitted on edging. But then again, I need to go on a big FO-it or FROG-it tear through my UFOs. But then again, I’ve got shawl WIPs til the world looks level. I have such a bad case of ‘wanna knit all the things.’ And I’ve been such a bad girl and bought more yarn because I want to do this shawl.

My friend KC and I have gotten together twice now, once at her house, once at my mom’s house (my mom’s such a people person and this isolation business has been really hard on her). (I miss my late friend LB so much — she was so much fun to sit and knit with! ) If the weather will warm up a little bit, we could take lawn chairs to a park . . . mine is what you might call a chez lawn. . . .

My knitting mojo seems to have come back in spades. I have been jonesing to knit on this yet another Foreigner shawl pattern I had been working on before my zeal for knitting went on the fritz. I can’t decide if I really like the edging and I may yet frog it all and rewrite the pattern to do the edging differently. Or maybe just frog it and fagidaboutit. Haven’t decided. I have this wide, skinny triangular shawl idea that’s just driving me nuts to commit it to paper and yarn and I may get out the swift and ball a bunch of yarn.

My poor mom. She’s running a computer with Windows 7. Windows Live Mail quit working a while ago so she had to switch to Mozilla Thunderbird and fool with it, which she hated. Then her stupid internet provider ATT decided that it didn’t want to play with Mozilla Thunderbird anymore and it quit working. So now she has to use the AT&T Yahoo website to get her mail because she’s had the same email address for probably 20 years now and doesn’t want to change it. But then, when you hit “reply to” an email she’d sent, it couldn’t be delivered because the reply to email address was entered in the Yahoo website wrong somehow. Took me four hours and a phone call to ATT to fix that. Stupid Yahoo email site is about as user-friendly as a boatload of berzerker Vikings. Reminding you that mom’ll be 97 this year and can’t the durn millennials keep their little mitts off the technology for just fifteen minutes, for crying out loud?

It occurs to me that in addition to setting the sewing machine up on my little table, I could also use it to set up my swift and ball winder (Pop goozy weasel!) which I had been doing very gingerly on my dining room table with tea-towel padding because of furniture finishes. The sewing table has a plug strip mounted into it with the plugs on top which makes it dandy for setting up the sewing machine.

I think what’s keeping me from getting my yarn stash sorted is that I’m going to find all this yummy yarn I’d forgotten I had and want to do stuff with it, and that will make my already bad case of the “wanna knit all the things” so much worse. Sounds good, anyway. Think I’ll go with that.

Happy Happy, Sad Sad

Mom and I had a good Thanksgiving dinner with our friends J&SH.  SH cooked and his wife JH chatted with us and the other couple (she was a knitter) who were their guests.  I admit to being apprehensive about taking my mask off to eat.  As I’ve said, I’m in so many risk groups for COVID19 that it’s not funny, and these were people who were not in our immediate family group.  It’s always a risk.

The upside of eating Thanksgiving at somebody else’s house is that you don’t have to cook or clean up after.  The downside is no leftovers! — which in this case is a real bummer.  SH is a fabulous cook.  His turkey was so moist and flavorful and he makes the kind of dressing that has sausage in, which is a more northerly tradition (MN) than the down-south cornbread dressing I’m used to.  But, hey, I’m an equal opportunity eater, and it was ‘licious.  (He put real cream in the mixer and whupped it to put on our punkin’ pie!)

I spent Wednesday (TG eve) in serious hygge mode, snuggled in bed catching up on episodes of a YouTube knitting channel that I follow, and knitting some wash cloths with cotton thread to use as a bread and butter gift for our host and hostess.  (This was money well spent!) Whenever they invite us over for dinner, I always take S&JH a little handmade something because they are both such special people.

I juggled the budget this month and bought Bluetooth earbuds instead of ebooks (I’m currently rereading the Harry Potter books this month) and Wednesday was the first opportunity I had to try them out.  No More Wars!*  I got the kind with the little conical rubber things that go into your ear hole as those stay in my ear better than the durn Apple ones that came with the iPhone.  They paired to my Kindle Fire on the first try.  These have enough range that I could go into the kitchen for snacks and to make another pot of tea and still hear what I was listening to, and what’s more, they will go up to 8 hours on a single charge, which is great.  I was one happy camper.  Now that I think about it, my TV has Bluetooth.   I’d have to unpair them from my tablet to get them to pair with the TV, but I could binge a lot of watching in 8 hours . . . . Hmmmm.

I am at the stage in my tooth implant odyssey where an impression is made of both upper and lower teeth, from which the crown for the implant will be made.  (The stage after that is where they stick the crown down onto the peg that was implanted in my jaw, and I go on my merry way.) That appointment was scheduled three months ago, when I had my last appointment to check up on the status of the healing of the bone graft around the post, and was supposed to take place on November 5th.  About a week before that, the dentist’s receptionist called and rescheduled it for the 17th because he was going to be “out of town.”  Then the second week of November, it got rescheduled to the 24th.  Then it got rescheduled to December 3rd.

So, Fridays are a busy day for my mom.  She goes to the beauty saloon at like ye gods! o’clock in the morning to get her weekly wash, set and style, then goes grocery shopping for the week.  I am not an early riser, which was why I was only about half awake when she called me at 8:30 yesterday morning to tell me that she was looking through the obituaries in the daily paper and saw one for my dentist!  Apparently, he died this past Monday (23rd) of COVID19.  So now, I don’t know what’s going to happen.

About two years ago, he relocated his practice to way out in the yuppyburbs (129th Street) in the southwest portion of town and was sharing office space with another dentist.  At the time I wondered if he wasn’t gradually phasing out his practice (he was 76).  I’ll be calling his office Monday — probably along with all his other patients — w0ndering just what’s going to happen now.  I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it ever since mom told me about it.  I’ve been going to him for probably ten or twelve years now and I really liked him.  So sad.

*wars -- Texan for that electrical cord that connects the earbuds to each other and to the electronic device.

Happy Birthday!

My mom celebrated her 96 birthday today pretty much all day long. It started this morning with phone calls from friends and distant family.  A friend, MD, came over to visit and MD’s daughter brought lunch.  MD turns 90 shortly so they had a little celebratory luncheon.  My mom had no idea that the lunch was a pretext for a drive by party that had been organized by friends from the church she has attended since the 1950’s.  A friend from the church showed up with birthday tiaras and sashes, and installed my mom and her friend in the front yard and about 20 cars of well-wishers proceeded to drive by, honking horns, leaving cards, gifts and balloons.  There was even a guy from the local news channel who  videoed segments of it for the evening news!

Then C & DK had the two of us, and two more friends from the church over to their house for a small party involving home-grilled steaks and baked potatoes and birthday cake.

Ever since my dad passed in 2014, on the day before her 90th birthday, her birthdays have been a bittersweet occasion.  Every year since then has been another year without him.  She’s finally beginning to slow down a little bit and has retired from the church choir.  But, as the card I got her said, age is irelephant.

ACK! The A/C Just Came On!

This is what the forecast for the next ten days looks like:  Are you kidding me?!  101 ye-gadz degrees F on Star Wars Day!*  (That’s 38.3 C for the Celsius crowd.  Yeah.  I know!)  Sigh.  When I change my bed today, the blanket will be washed and put away until about November.  I’ve already turned the ceiling fan up to the Stiff Breeze setting. If wishes were horses*, that south-facing sliding glass door in my bedroom would be replaced with double French doors with between the glass shades.  (Frankly, if wishes were horses, we’d be knee-deep in horse poo, would we not?)

Here is this, because who doesn’t need to be thoroughly cheered up by baby pygmy Nigerian goats in pajamas?  (They’re tiny and live in Maine, where it gets durn cold!)

A bittersweet pleasure because their black cat reminds me of mine.

Today’s adulting should include changing my bed, doing laundry (possibly only one load) and taking out the trash.  How much of that will actually get done remains to be seen.  Afterward I will wash my hair and fold unmentionables while it dries.

Life in quarantine for me is not significantly different from the usual.  I’m pretty much a solitary WOL owing to my place on the spectrum.   The only major difference has been grocery shopping.  Since I only get paid once a month, I normally only grocery shop once a month.  However, I have felt a decided social pressure not to do that since I do not want to be mistaken for a hoarder.

I confess to having somewhat of a siege mentality when it comes to food and paper goods that come in a roll.  In the best possible world, I will always have at bare minimum a month’s supply of food (canned, frozen and boxed) on hand at any given time.  The more available space I see in my pantry and freezer, the less comfortable I feel.  Since I have not been able to replenish my pantry, I’m beginning to feel uncomfortable.   The irony of it is that since I cannot shop in once-a-month quantities, I must expose myself to COVD-19 more often.  What makes me feel even more uncomfortable is that we are moving into the A/C season when my electric bill will triple, and stretch my budget skin-tight.

I made a bowl of tuna salad the other day.  I like to eat it one of two ways — dolloped on crackers or in a sandwich.  I usually make 1-1/2 to 2 tuna salad sandwiches, wrap them in cling wrap and put them in the fridge to chill before eating them. It’s the only time I ever use cling wrap.  Really.  The roll of cling wrap I have has moved house with me twice now.  Seriously.

My tuna salad tends to be a little gooshy, and I do not stint when I make sandwiches with it, hence the cling wrap, which allows me to eat them without having to wash my hands (or shirt) afterward.  This time the sandwiches were made from artisanal “rustic” white bread of which I had three slices left.  Thus 1-1/2 sandwiches.  It was totally nums.  It had chopped green onions in (as well as diced Kosher dills, sliced black olives, chopped white onions and mayo.)

You will notice in the next to last photo a package of Pedros Tamales thawing in the fridge.  I am currently devouring them three at a time.  I put them in a shallow soup bowl, put a layer of refried beans on top, sprinkle with chopped green onions (in the plastic produce bag above), sliced black olives, and sprinkle cheese — Sargento’s Three Mexican Cheeses by choice — then zot them in the microwave.  A one-dish meal.

Cats and Threads did a post about working from home and about sharing what our at-home work stations look like.  When I did work from home, my work station looked pretty much like this.  The recliner is on casters.  It’s also almost 20 years old and is getting pretty shabby.   (I’m angling for a new recliner for my birthday . . .  hint! hint!) The table is also on casters.   I scoot the recliner up to the table, recline, then pull the table toward me.   The pegboards hold various cables, a box of stitch markers, a duster thingie and a clock.  I also still have a foot pedal mounted to the back pegboard, although I don’t use it anymore. The carryall at the bottom of the shot holds the shawl I have one more ball to knit onto.  I also have half of a 4′ x 8′ sheet of 3/4′ plywood on the floor underneath the setup so the desk and chair roll easily and don’t ruin my landlord’s carpet

Here’s the view from the command chair.  Note the bowl of knitting. And that’s all I’ve got for now.

*May the 4th be with you.
**FYI, the actual quote is, "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride."

 

 

A Hard Goodbye

My dear friend, LB, passed away Sunday afternoon.  She had been on hospice for the past two weeks, and her death was not unexpected, but as anyone who has lost a friend or loved one can tell you, knowing something is going to happen, and actually having it happen are two very different circumstances.

The thing that stands out most in my memories of her was her upbeat nature.  This was a woman who had been looking down the barrel of breast cancer and its aftermaths for a good 10 years.  She was stage IV, and the odds of long term survival were not good, yet whenever I saw her, she was always cheerful and upbeat,  an interesting cross between Admiral Farragut (Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!) and Pollyanna Whittier (. . .finding something to be glad about in every situation, no matter how bleak it may be.)

I mostly knew her as a fellow knitter.  It was she who got me into knitting chemo hats for our local cancer center.  I met her in our local knitting group and very much enjoyed her company.  She was coming out of another round of chemotherapy, and chemo brain (which is a thing) made keeping up with a knitting pattern tricky, but hats are simple. So are knitted knockers.  She didn’t always feel up to attending and I missed her when she didn’t.  Gradually we formed a closer friendship, going to each other’s houses to spend an afternoon knitting and visiting.  (Handwork such as knitting, crochet, sewing and embroidery uses a different part of the brain, leaving the social part free to do what it does best. )

Involved as I was with my knee surgery in May, I wasn’t aware that her health had taken a turn for the worse.  She and her husband visited me in the hospital and we talked on the phone, but I didn’t realize she was in trouble until just lately.  I had that unfortunate experience of visiting a friend, hearing the medical story, and knowing in my heart of hearts that the handwriting was on the wall, but not feeling able to say anything about it.  I think she knew I knew.   Her husband and daughter made the always agonizing decision to put her in hospice and to bring her home.  She passed peacefully with her loved ones at her side.