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. 

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 . . .

My Best Laid Plans . . .

. . . Gang a-gley this morning when I put my car key into the Greyola’s ignition, turned it, and it clicked at me. The car wouldn’t start because the battery was dead. The Greyola is a 2015 Toyota Corolla bought in November of 2014. It has 18,499 miles (29,771 km) on it, which includes 4,754+ highway miles (7651 km). When I got my first car shortly after Rome fell to the Goths, my dad cautioned me not to drive the wheels off it. I took his advice to heart. Which is to say, the battery that died was the battery that was in it when it left the showroom. (I’m the one who traded in the Crayola, a 27-year-old, 1987 Toyota Corolla with 44,489 actual miles on it for this car, remember?)

Well, zut alors. Decision time. I have to be at JACC in 30 minutes (I allowed 15 minutes to cruise through three parking lots looking for someplace to park.) I could call Security and get them to boost the car with their battery pack thingy and maybe start it, but then what? Will it start in the parking lot when it’s time to go home? Decision made. Hauled my chemo bag and purse out of the front seat and schlepped as fast as I could manage back up the hallway, round the corner, past the swimming pool and the weight room, across the front lobby, up to the receptionist’s desk. J is on duty this morning and without the benefit of antihistamines by the look of it. Puffing and blowing like a steam engine at the station, I explain to her the situation. Takes me 5 minutes to talk her through the decision making process it took me 20 seconds to go through. Transportation provides rides to medical appointments for free, but they need at least 24 hours’ notice. I need to be there in 25 minutes.

Thankfully, they had a driver who could take me, and I got there at 8:45 a.m., right on time to wait the obligatory hour in the waiting room before going back to the lab for port placement and blood draw. Then I went up the little stairs and across the hall to wait the obligatory hour in the doctor’s waiting room to see my oncologist (to be fair, they needed time to process my lab draw and obtain results). The oncologist talked about a trial of Rituxan. Now that COVID seems to have settled down and Omicron has burned itself out, he’s throwing it back on the table. Rituxan is the brand name of rituximab that is used to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (what I have) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (what it could convert to — i.e., bad to worse). (Yeah, some of the side effects are bad, badder, and very bad, but my oncologist thinks it’s the best bang for my buck.) That -mab suffix at the end of the generic drug name means that it’s a Monoclonal AntiBody. What monoclonal antibodies do is put a big red tailor-made target (antibody) on the baddie cells just like a vaccine does, so your immune system can find and attack the (cancer) cells the Rituxan has targeted. This means swatting flies with a claw hammer instead of a nine-pound sledge hammer. Or, for the NRA crowd, selectively targeted .22 rounds versus both barrels of a 12-gauge shotgun at close range x 6. Yes! x 6. After today, I’m halfway through a course of 6 rounds of COP chemotherapy. (*does the happy dance seated in a desk chair because it’s 10 p.m. and I’m running out of spoons.)

To tell the truth, I’m thinking seriously of going for the Rituxan. I’ve had it before, but I had it in combination with bendamustine. Both my oncologist and I are pretty convinced that it was the bendamustine causing the lion’s share of the problem I had then and not the Rituxan. It is a more targeted therapy. Granted, it has some scarey potential side effects but I’m relatively young. What’s important to me is quality of life. I don’t want to live another 25 years if those 25 years are a continual never-ending, Sisyphean, rolling-the-boulder-uphill slog.)

I’m going to talk to my oncologist again about Rituxan and when/how he thinks it should be given and tell him I want to go for it. In the meantime, I’ll call my cardiologist’s office and see if I can get in, because I do have a slight heart arrhythmia (occasional PVC‘s left over from scarlet fever at the age of 21!) which is corrected by the metoprolol I’m taking. But my blood pressures are concerning — my top number is high (125-135) and my bottom number is low (40’s-50’s). I’ve been taking a split dose of the metoprolol because taking a whole one in the morning makes it very difficult to keep myself from sitting and staring at the wall all day, but both the metoprolol and the cetirizine I’m taking for allergies have the side effect of causing nightmares, and I’ve been having more non-pleasant dreams with that second half-dose at bedtime. I need to get the top blood pressure number down and the bottom number up to my usual normal range of 110-115 over 70-75. I’m also wondering what having to push large volumes of fluid through my system to flush out the chemo drugs is having on my blood pressure.

Anyway, I had knitting, I had my old Kindle reader and my iPhone (and charge cords for both — I come fully equipped.) I had my five tablets of prednisone. My labs were good. I bunged down the prednisone and we hooked me up to the IV rig and let’er rip. (I’m currently devouring book 3 of The Bear, the Otter and the Kid 4-book series by T. J. Klune, after having read The House in the Cerulean Sea by him, which is such a good book on about umpteen levels, m/m but tame, with magic, found family, and Happily For The Foreseeable Future ending. His characters are very relatable, and very well rounded. They are people you could actually meet and know and really like. He does m/m shifter books, too.) (They should make a movie of The House in the Cerulean Sea. They really should. But only if they could do it justice and not screw it up.)

At about 1 o’clock, while I was still in medias res chemo infusion, Carillon Transportation called and wanted to know if I’d gotten a ride home. I told them no, I had labs then a doctor visit then chemo and I should be finished around 3. They said they had me covered. Which reminds me, when I get the Rituxan to let specific people at Carillon know so they’re on scramble alert just in case of side effects (nurse on duty 24/7 in assisted living downstairs, Security on campus 24/7, etc.). JACC also has this deal where you can call a home health nurse/EMT and have them come out at any time day or night, so I feel like I’ve got a good safety net. (If you have it, you don’t need it; if you need it . . . )

So, about the car. The Battery Joe up the street and round the corner has bays and they do car batteries. I’m going to call them in the morning, tell them my make and model and see what my options are. If I go that route, Security can give me a jump-start. I’m also going to call Gene Messer Toyota and find out what a Maint Rec’d light means. If I have to do anything through the dealership, though, it’s going to cost arm$ and leg$ and I’d rather not. But whatever I’m going to do, I’m going to wait to do it until after I’ve stopped bouncing off the walls and have gotten some sleep. Like Friday.

This was yesterday’s supper. A dunk salad (green onions, cherry tomatoes, cantalope and baby carrots) with Ranch dressing dunkage and a side of Muenster Cheese melted onto toasted Rustic Italian bread. Two plates worth of nummy goodness thoughtfully snarfed.

Today’s supper was baked chicken breast meat with asparagus sauce, rice pilaf and Italian green beans.

In the knitting news, ongoing projects are ongoing.

I’ve done the brim on the baby hat the same way I do my Hemmed Toboggan with Internal Ribbing, which is to say with a provisional cast on using scrap yarn instead of the three needle bind-off like the pattern said. Just easier for me to pick up the ready-made stitches from a provisional cast on, than try to pick up stitches off the lower edge of a long-tail cast on and come up with the right number. That (k2tog yo) trick that gets the picot edge on the brim is nice. Definitely adding that technique to my repertoire.

I haven’t started the Rita Dress because that one skein of Malabrigo sock spontaneously yarn barfed and I don’t have enough yarn now. I alerted the Malabrigo folks about the skein that self destructed and they were very nice about it and promptly wrote back saying that while you may get a knot in the skein from time to time and it’s unfortunately the nature of the beast, they very rarely have any difficulty with a skein miswinding like that. They very kindly offered to send me a replacement skein (which I didn’t think they’d do) and I very thankfully took them up on it. After I had already ordered a replacement skein from Webs. Plus two more skeins and five skeins of a redder red (colorway: Boticelli red!) which I like better. I have this Valley Yarns Southampton “garnet” mohair and I want to see what happens to the fabric when I hold it double with the Malabrigo sock, but not on a baby dress, on a cowl or something. Maybe I’ll consider doing this after the baby knitting is done and I’ve knocked out some more WIPs. I could use the darker Tiziano red for the dark lines and the lighter Botticelli red held double with the garnet mohair using stockinette stitch instead of garter stitch. Hmmmm. . .

The pinwheel blanket is getting larger than the 40 inch circulars. I’ll have to see if I have 60 inch circulars in that needle size. Not sure I have some free, because WIPs. . . sigh.

They’re supposed to come install my cable today. They’ll probably get to my room about the time I’ve left for my Udenyca shot. Which means Security will let them into my apartment when I’m not here to ask that they not mess up the programming on my smart TV, please. I’d better leave them a note about my WiFi modem and how it’s plugged in behind my china cabinet because that’s where the only coax cable connection is in this room of my apartment and how pissed I’ll be if they move the china cabinet and platters fall and stuff breaks, and no I am not going to rearrange all my furniture because that is the only coax cable connection in that room and there’s not one on the wall behind my TV, unless they want to run the cable from the coax connection in my bedroom under my bedroom door and around to my TV which is on the other side of that bedroom wall, and I’ll tape the cable down to my baseboard with clear packing tape. Of course, men decided where the coax connectors were going to go solely based on ease of installation. A woman would have also given thought to furniture placement and that putting a TV there would have it sitting directly opposite the windows. DUH! Grumble. . . . grumble . . . . grumble . . .

(*insert sound of a box of Lego blocks being dumped here*) And my icemaker just lost another game of Jenga.

Wouldn’t Ya Know . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Life Among the Bells

Well, life is about to change again. Mom comes to live in the apartment Monday and my time to myself is going to become very infrequent and very precious. I’ll cope. It’ll be like going back to work. I’ll adjust. But the great expanses of time I’ve been enjoying to stretch my mind out and let it wander into knitting or reading or writing will come to an end — for now. What usually happens is I’ll have a burst of inspiration and want to write on this story I’ve had going on for over a year, or I’ll have a burst of inspiration and go off into a whole ‘nother story, or I’ll retreat into books, and the time I’ll be allowed to do that will be greatly and frustratingly reduced.

I went to the oncologist Wednesday to discuss the results of my CT scans, which are not what we want to see. He wants to do a PET scan in January to see which of the lymphomas are actively growing, how fast they’re growing, and what’s around them that they could jeopardize if they don’t stop growing. We also sat down and had a serious talk about my treatment options.

Pardon me while I vent: These entitled, selfish, thoughtless people who believe that living in this great country means they are free not to get vaccinated against COVID , a potentially fatal disease, if they don’t feel like it and are free to ignore any of the CDC’s other recommendations like wearing masks and, therefore, are free to spread that potentially fatal disease to other people’s families (particularly their children) are, as far as I’m concerned, guilty of criminal negligence. I got the vaccine as soon as I could, not just for my own protection but for the protection of my friends and family, and the fellow citizens whom I interact with on a daily basis. In my book, it’s called being a good Christian and a good citizen. So you can imagine what I felt when my oncologist explains to me that the best drug to treat lymphoma and keep it from turning into leukemia will strip me of my COVID immunity in the process, and that if I were to then get COVID because of these irresponsible idiots, it would almost certainly be fatal. So, instead of being able to take this treatment when I’m still relatively healthy and could get the best potential outcome, because of these antivaxer idiots, I have to wait until it’s a case of damned if I do and damned if I don’t. OK. Venting over.

My apologies. I try very hard to keep politics out of this blog, but this situation hits so very close to home and has such far-reaching consequences to my life and my family’s, I felt I had to stand up and be counted among the sane, responsible, adult members of the community and tell it like it is.

OK. Time for the knitting news — and there is news. I mentioned starting a hat. I’m well into the second ball of yarn and have just started the decreases.

The elevator on my floor comes out here on first floor to this lovely fish tank which is all full of greeny-blue colors and fish. It’s Halloween, and there are “discrete” Halloween decorations scattered about in keeping with the season.

I got into the spirit with a couple of decorations of my own courtesy of Wal-Mart but I’m not as liturgical as mom, and storage space in the apartment is limited. In view of the conversation I had with the rehab lady about mom and how I should actively discourage the use of her wheelchair in favor of her front-wheel walker, the sign might be just the teeniest bit ironic . . . . .

Oh, I almost forgot. I finally got the TV to speak to the internet. It was something stupid. Some TV setting that should have been off was on. Changed it to off, and the TV embraced the internet like a long lost friend. I celebrated by watching the old “The Three Musketeers” movie that was done in 1973 directed by Richard Lester, with Michael York as D’Argagnan, and Charlton Heston as Cardinal Richelieu, Richard Chamberlain as Aramis, Oliver Reed as Athos, and Christopher Lee, Raquel Welch, Geraldine Chapman, Faye Dunaway, and Roy Kinnear. It was free on Amazon Prime. Thoroughly enjoyed it. They don’t make them like that any more, alas. . .

A Problem of Size

A while ago, I saw most of the movie “Girl with a Pearl Earring” on network TV in an “edited for television” ( we’ll cut lots of tiny bits out of practically every scene, the viewers will never miss them, and we can have a commercial every 10 minutes instead of every 15 minutes) version. What I saw was good and I wanted to see the whole film without interruption, the way it had played in theaters. It has two actors I like a lot, Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson, and it’s about the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), whose work I like. The screenplay of the film is based on the novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier, which speculates about the life of Vermeer (about whom very little is known), his model for this one painting (about whom nothing is known), and how the painting came about.

I picked up a “gently used” DVD of the film on Amazon for cheap as a little treat for myself. It came yesterday and the mail carrier put it in our mailbox.

It’s still there.

You see, mail carriers access our mailboxes from the front with a key that causes the whole front wall of a block of about 30 post boxes, individual doors and all, to swing open as one piece, revealing the mailboxes behind. Unfortunately, the opening made by unlocking one of the individual mailbox doors is about an inch smaller than the opening of the box as a whole. The mail carrier could put the DVD in my mailbox, but I couldn’t get it out!

I left the mail carrier a note to that effect on my mailbox door. Sigh!

In other disgruntlements, we are paying AT&T $107 bucks a month for 5 megs of internet (which is infuriatingly slow when you’re trying to stream something especially when it intermittently freezes for minutes at a time starting around 8-9 pm) and one phone line. Thing is, I could get 20 megs (as in 4x faster internet) from Carillon for $27 bucks a month. Both* my DVD players are hooked up and working, but there’s no way I can connect my TV to the internet because the stupid AT&T modem has to be in the bedroom because wiring, which means I can’t stream on my 55-inch TV — although doing it would be equally as infuriating as trying to stream movies on my computer. I’ve been living in the apartment for 18 days now and we still don’t have our TVs hooked up. I’m going to try again Monday and re-fill-out the forms and resubmit the work order, and I’m going to opt for internet as well as TV and send this hunk of junk modem back to AT&T.

*One DVD player is about 15 years old, is region-locked to region 1 and will only play DVDs from the US and Canada. The other DVD player is new and is not region-locked, meaning it can play any DVD regardless of which country it’s from.

It’s Deja Vu All Over Again*

Note:  This is a post from several months ago which I somehow saved to draft and thought I’d lost.  It’s still relevant to our current situation, so I thought I’d go ahead and post it.

Saw this, watched it, and it sounded strangely familiar . . .

She left out the bit about why the rats are such a big deal.  The rats are the reservoir for the plague, the fleas (which she doesn’t mention) that bite the rats and then bite people are the plague vectors, i.e., the way plague gets from rats to humans.  But otherwise, she’s got her facts straight.

She did not made this up. This is not fake news.   It is historical fact.  It actually happened.  This is why bubonic plague is now endemic in certain species of rodents native to the American southwest.  This is the reason why doctors who practice all over the western United States are still treating anywhere from 11 to 100 people for bubonic plague each year.

I wish Doughty’s tale of greed, graft, and corruption was an isolated incident, but guess what?  We must be on about the fifth or sixth verse of this same old song by now.

Like the man says:

Masks prevent COVID19,
but only if you wear them and wear them correctly.

*I stole the quote from baseball's inimitable Yogi Bera. I wish I was using it to be funny, but tragically, it's all too true.

RANT!

Well, it’s finally happened. You can’t access the classic editor any more in WordPress, which means WordPress is officially broken. Like I needed one more thing to have to deal with on top of the shambles that COVID and a certain political party and its tools of Putin have made of this country and my personal world. Being very unladylike in my language just now. “Losing my religion” over it, as it happens.

Every time I attempt to access my most used tags, it crashes the stupid editor.

I HATE THE BLOCK EDITOR!!!

Stupid iMillennials.

Sneaking Up On March

A day and a bit left on February, such as it is.  For such a short month, it has packed a whallop this year.  Brought Texas to its knees.   The one part of the grid that that held firm and that did not go down was the part up in my neck of the flatlands.  Oddly enough, it was the part that was not under ERCOT.  It was the part that was required to meet federal standards because the company that built it supplied power to other states besides Texas.  We’ll see if the powers that be got the message this time.  Not holding my breath, though.  My bet is that those ^&*%$#s in office will continue to listen to the money, rather than the people.

I confess to feeling guilty.  The storm hit on the 14th, a Sunday.  My power was off for about 15 minutes on Tuesday the 16th. My pipes never froze. (All the pipes are in the middle of the duplex between the two “plexes.”)   My BFF, who lives in a little town northwest of Houston, was without power for over a week, was without water for over a week and will likely be without hot water for quite a while.   My state is supposed to be a Red state.  But I have a feeling that the longer this debacle goes on, the bluer it’s getting.  I figure we’re starting to turn a bit maroon by now.

In the Knitting news, I’m moving right along on my infinity scarf.  At the top is 18 inches, and still on the first skein (the ball in the bowl).  In the middle is that little bit in the bowl left of the first skein and over 20 inches.  At the bottom, today, is 27 inches and into the second skein.  I have six skeins of the yarn.  I think I’ll have enough.

I started it back in November of 2020, and I work on it a couple of rows at a time.  I have it sitting on my computer desk for working on while I’m catching up on my YouTube channels or when I’m reading back over what I just wrote or cogitating what comes next on a story.  One of these days, I need to get some scrap yarn and wrap it around me in the way the Infinity Wrap is supposed to wrap (see at right) , and then measure it, so I’ll know when to stop (My tape measure only goes to 60 inches; I’m thinking I’ll need about 100 inches).  Then I’m going to have to haul off and (re)learn how to Kitchener.

Monday is my last day of cardiac rehab.  Depending on the weather, I may be tackling the back yard next week.  It needs raking and the rakings bagged and put in the dumpster.  The last time I did it, I got fourteen big trash bags worth.  Don’t think I’ll get that many this time, though   I don’t know if I want to tackle the front garden bed or not.  It needs forking and weeding, and something extremely low maintenance planted in it.  Don’t know if I’m that energetic. I might investigate getting a piece of cattle panel or something to use as a trellis for those durn climbing roses.  They’re the kind that bloom all summer.  Don’t know if I want to fool with it, though.  It would set a precedent I’m not sure I want to set.

Maybe when the weather gets springier, I’ll start walking.  I have cordless headphones and my iPhone, and music I’ve downloaded off Napster.  Could be nice.   We’ll see.

My BFF thought her cataracts were so bad that she went to a doc to investigate surgery.  Turns out her cataracts weren’t bad at all.  She just needed new glasses.  Now that she has new glasses and can see to read again, I’m putting together a care package of paperbacks I’ve replaced with hardbacks and culls to send to her.  A little care package.