Here We Go Again

Important news first. Mom’s second COVID test was negative.

The fifth of six sessions of Rituxan starts tomorrow bright and early at 8 AM. With any luck I’ll be out before six, but not much before. I get the WBC booster shot Tuesday and then three sessions of hydration. Then I’ll have only one more to go.

I’ve got a load of sheets and towels in the wash, and after them will be a load of clothes. I need to get something to eat, too.

Friday I did all my running around. I got my refill of prednisone. I got my hair trimmed, which means I had about an inch whacked off the back along the back of my neck, and the rest of it just trimmed to even it out. I’m working toward getting it all one length. Until it’s long enough to go into a ponytail, it’s going to be a PITA. And, I got some groceries. Since they stopped making my favorite flavor of BodyArmor, I’ve quit drinking it. (So there!) I did get some peach flavor frozen things on a stick, though, which helps with the heat.

We’ve been having raisin weather again (still, actually) — high 90’s F/35+ C at around 30-40% humidity. The heat just sucks you dry. (You’re a grape til you walk out the door . . .)

They were supposed to get the AC fixed downstairs last week. It’s still not back up. Hopefully, they’ll get it up soon. Of course, the time to get the AC fixed is in winter; now that we’re in the dog days of summer, everybody and his cousin wants their AC worked on. Don’t know if that’s the delay or what. All the business offices have relocated to vacant apartments for the duration and are scattered all over the building. You can tell the moment you get into the hallway by the mail room. The temperature goes up about 10 degrees. Like walking into an oven.

In the knitting news, I have a bootie and a fourth done, and about ten more rows on the little top they match. I’ll likely finish the top while I’m infusing tomorrow, and the bootie won’t take that much time. That and finishing a hat will complete the haul for the new little 1st cousin 2x removed and I’ll get it in the mail. Finally. The baby was born 22 July. I really need to get it in the mail.

The yarn I’m using for this is cotton, and it is the split-y-est yarn I’ve ever worked with. It’s spun as a single ply from what is essentially cotton thread. Glad I’ve almost used it up. Gotta hit the button stash to see if I have the right buttons. I need three.

I’ve got the last load in the washer and it just has to go through the dryer and get hung up/folded and it’s beddy-boo for yrs trly.

Four Down, Two to Go

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 . . .

In the Home Stretch?

Wednesday the 22nd, I start my sixth round of chemo. Supposedly this is the last one for now. I assume at some point in the near future, I’ll get a CT scan to assess tumor shrinkage. So, I have to be there at 8 o’clock in the morning on Wednesday and with labs, seeing the oncologist, and receiving the chemo, I’m going to be at JACC all day, like until 5:30 or 6 in the evening. Thursday, I go for the Udenyca shot that stimulates my body to make more white blood cells to replace the ones the chemo kills. They didn’t give me the times for the three sessions of IV fluids, so I will have to call and leave a message to remind them. The chemo must be working. At least the lymph nodes under my jaw have shrunk and I’m starting to have a chin again.

I’ve been sleeping a lot lately. It’s as if I know I’m going to be awake from Wednesday until probably Friday because of all the stupid prednisone, and I’ m trying to get ahead of the game. I’ve been reading a lot, too, mostly in bed with my feet up. I read two books yesterday.

I got my table assembled and put in place. The size is just perfect. I need to make a Wal-Mart run (before Wednesday) to get some other stuff (like TP!) and when I do get it together to go, I need to get a roll of that plastic shelf-liner like I put over my computer desktop to protect the top of it from spills. I got the least obnoxious color pattern is the faux marble, and I’ll get some more of that.

Still haven’t repotted anything yet. Manaña.

In the knitting news, I’ve started on the baby dress.

The pattern calls for Malabrigo Sock yarn which I got in “Botticelli red,” which is kind of a brick/oxblood red. The pattern is two pages long (so not very complicated). The top part went fast, but the skirt is 9 inches long, on a size US 4 (3.5 mm) needle. At 10 rows = 1 inch. That’ll take a while. Still, I might have time to make the older sister the same dress with the same yarn. I have the yarn. We’re talking Christmas card photo/Hallmark moment. Of course, I don’t have to send it before the baby comes. I could hold off and send it in, like August or September. I was thinking of making some booties, and maybe a sweater, but Richardson, Tx. In August, or September. Not sweater weather. I may make some booties anyway, just because. I haven’t made any in a while, and I have a sock set of good ChiaoGoo double pointed, stainless steel needles now, not those jive plastic needles that warped. And I have yarn left from the baby blanket, both the pink and the rose. Hmmm. Still haven’t finished the sun hat.

We’ve already hit 107 F/41.6 C degrees here and had a whole week of 100+ degree weather — and it’s only June. We may be gearing up for a long, hot summer. Hope not. I just looked at the highs for the next 10 days and they range between 94 F/34.4 C and 100 F/37.7 C. Not good. No rain in the forecast either. Not even partly cloudy.

Hanging Fire

Had my sandwich, had my dunk salad (half an apple, handful of baby carrots and five cherry tomatoes cut in half), had my ‘zert — cherry vanilla Haagen-Dazs (!), sitting here piddling at the computer, listening to somebody else’s Steely Dan playlist with four windows open on one claustrophobic monitor screen (YouTube on Firefox playing Steely Dan, a folder of writing and the piece I’m working on, and Chrome with this window open). I’m still straddling computers (the new one’s still on the table with the other of my two monitors). I have moved some stuff but there’s humpty eleven things still to move, including all my fonts. A Steely Dan song “Glamour Profession” which I hadn’t heard before, was playing just now, and I swear I distinctly heard the name Rudy Charisma in the lyrics. But, when I looked them up, nope! Still, it’s a great name, and I know whom I’m going to tease by calling them that . . .

Five down, one to go. June 23. The last round — for a while anyway. Another 3-1/2 years would be fine by me.

This time through I gained 6 pounds between Wednesday and Friday, all of it from the IV fluids. I’ve got one more fluid bolus tomorrow, and about two weeks to get rid of all of it before the “one more time.”

All I want to do is lie in the bed with my feet up reading or watching YouTube videos or sleeping. Friday evening, I finally crashed from all the prednisone at about 10 pm and slept until 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon (occasionally surfacing briefly to offload, before submerging back into the depths). And dreaming at about 90 miles an hour. (I’d push myself awake through the cobwebs of some of the strangest dreams and waddle off to the en suite wondering, where did that come from?) I get so much fluid so fast that I’m in borderline fluid overload for days until my poor kidneys can catch up. The slightest exertion makes me puff and blow like a steam locomotive (I think I can–I think I can–I think I can –), not because I’m breathless — my oxygen saturation is over 95% most of the time — but because fluid is backing up into my lungs. It’s like being in congestive heart failure but there’s nothing wrong with my heart. It was worse this time than last time. I couldn’t walk 30 yards without having to stop and get my breath. One more time. I can make it one more time.

Needless to say, walking to and from the car and back to the apartment just wears me out because I have no energy. My table is still sitting in the box. The plants are un-repotted. I’ve got a sink full of dirty dishes I need to wash, and a load of laundry to do, but I’m not doing any of it right this now. I have a bad case of mañana. I don’t even have the energy to care.

I’ve switched over to listening to somebody’s YouTube playlist of Fleetwood Mac now. Instead of setting up the new computer on the dining table, what I should have done was moved my tissue dispenser, put the tower there, and just switched the one monitor over. I’d still have to juggle mice and keyboards, but I could do everything from my desk. I may still move it over, because I really need to get switched over. Google has now started not letting Windows Live Mail sign into my personal email address either. And I keep getting this “Please sign in” popup like every 15 minutes. You put in the right password and it just blows you off, tells you it’s the wrong password and wants you to sign in again and it’s driving me crazy.

For those who have just tuned in, a word of explanation about the playa lakes we have in our parks here in town. We only average about 16 inches of rain here, but we get it in big gobs. A thunderstorm will roll through and drop up to an inch in about thirty minutes. It’s gotta go somewhere. The city has put in storm drains and run pipe to discharge this runoff into the playa lakes dotted about the city. They’ve set up pumps at the lakes so they can adjust the water levels in the lakes and spread the load as the town is big enough that one part can get more rain than another. Because we get so much so fast, intersections and underpasses can become impassible because of the storm runoff in as little as fifteen minutes (except the stupid pickups that have the ground clearance to just roar on through and drown out people’s car engines with their waves). (Like bratty four-year-old boys stomping in puddles to splash everybody.) You can’t swim in the lakes; they’re too full of algae and probably contain broken glass. They’re mostly for the local and migratory waterfowl and the Canada geese, and the city keeps ducks and some “regular” geese out on them during the summer. They’re nice to look at, too.

In the knitting news, there is knitting news, but not much.

I finally finished the baby blanket. It still needs to be blocked. I haven’t started on the dress yet. The yarn is all caked up, I’ve got the needles out, I have the ‘structions printed out all in a plastic baggie ready to go, but I’m still waiting for a few more brain cells to report for duty. The three currently on shift are pooped.

Dive! Dive!

It’s 5:00 a.m. Wednesday and I haven’t slept since 9 o’clock yesterday morning. Yesterday, I saw my oncologist at 11:00 a.m. Since my hepatitis panel was negative and all my other labs were good, we’re going for the Rituxan. I went to the infusion area and got an IV rig put in the port on my chest and got a dose of decadron, a steroid, and gulped down 100 mg of prednisone (the “P” in COP) at one go, which is a whopping dose, BTW, and I have been strung out since it kicked in at about 2 o’clock, like my brain is doing 100 mph and my body is barreling along at 2 mph. (One of my little spelling quirks, like leaving the “W” out of “sword,” is consistently trying to spell “barreling” with one “R” and two “L’s,” which is why God, in Her infinite wisdom and mercy, gave us spellcheckers.) I also received cytophosphamide, the “C” in COP, followed by Oncovin (the “O” in COP). As she was setting up the IV, the nurse remarked that she had to be extra careful administering it because, and I quote: Oncovin . . . is a vesicant. Even when carefully and correctly administered by trained personnel, this drug may cause a feeling of burning and pain. There is a risk that this medication may leak out of the vein at the injection site, resulting in tissue damage that can be severe. (Vesicants are also called “blister agents.” They cause blisters on contact with the skin. The mustard gas used in WWI was a vesicant.) Yep. That is why they surgically implanted a catheter and port into my upper chest which feeds into the largest vein (superior vena cava) in the upper body, so that stuff hits the catheter first, before it can be diluted with blood.

One other thing prednisone does is boost the appetite. I had two roast beef sandwiches, a serving of rice with cheese and broccoli and about a cup of fried okra, a small bowl of the nut mix (almonds, cashews and pecans with coconut shavings, honey and yogurt covered raisins mixed in.) when I got home from JACC at 4:30. I’ve also had two 8 oz glasses of Tazo chai that I brewed a pitcher of Monday and put in the refrigerator after it had cooled and after I had dumped 8 oz of vanilla almond milk in.

I’m glad I pigged out yesterday afternoon. I’m afraid that the major epithelial sluff I had during chemo in 2018 (all my skin peeled, including the lining of my eye sockets, the inside of my ears, and my entire digestive system from the inside of my mouth to the opening at the other end) was caused, not by the bendamustine (that was probably what caused the two different kinds of rashes I also got) but by the dose of Rituxan I got at the same time. Here in a while, I have to go take my shower because I have to be back at JACC at 9:00 o’clock to get Rituxan (the infusion will take about 3 hours) and my shot of Udenyca. Needless to say, I’m not looking forward to it.

At 8 o’clock yesterday evening, my phone pinged and it was a severe sand storm warning predicting high winds and near zero visibility — a haboob, as it were. At 10 o’clock, it was raining cats, dogs, mice and bunglebees, with lightening and window-rattling thunder. Of course, in my youth, I didn’t have to walk five miles to and from school in the snow uphill both ways. We don’t have hills here. I had to walk home in haboobs, into a 30 mph head wind. Both ways. But in the late 1960’s, the farmers learned to “sand fight,” using techinques to combat wind erosion, and the dust content of our sand storms lessened significantly. But we haven’t had a lot of rain this spring, and the dirt content has picked up.

Yesterday, while I was at JACC getting my infusions, the front desk at Carillon called to ask me if I would trade covered parking spaces with the lady in space E-5. There are 8 covered parking spaces under that cover, and I’m in space E-8, which is the furthest parking space from the door. This lady had just gotten a handicapped (wheelchair) van and needed the space next to her to be empty so the van ramp could go down. I was very OK with that. (It puts me 3 spaces closer to the door!) When I came back from JACC, I saw she had backed into the parking space, so evidently, her van ramp comes out on the driver’s side. (Bet her nice new silver van has a backup camera too. The Greyola doesn’t.) Every parking space has to deal with a pair of the poles that hold up the cover. I’ve gone from having to miss the cover pole on the driver’s side to missing it on the passenger side. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Well, gotta go get my shower and get dressed. Wish me luck, girlfriend.

The Cursing of the Cursed

I have gone on record multiple times as one of those who excoriate that abomination from China, the Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’), which is right up there with that other abomination from China, the “Tree of Heaven” (Ailanthus altissima). Both are aggressive invasive species that are even more obnoxious than kudzu. You may recognize the Greyola parked there with its door ajar, and guess what’s growing right next to my parking spot. Yep.

The way my sinuses have been carrying on about it, it’s a wonder I’m not exhaling blue air. Although I’m on cetirizine (Zyrtec) daily*, I’ve been having breakthrough symptoms because the stupid Bradford pear trees are all over town (see above) and their pollen is inescapable. I’ve been honking and sneezing at annoyingly frequent intervals for well over a week now, and as short on spoons as I am these days, I don’t have much energy to spare. We’ve also had a particularly brown spring with frequent bouts of high winds kicking up the surrounding agricultural-chemical-laced dirt into the air. Between the pears, the blowing dirt and the COP chemotherapy, I’ve started wheezing again, which I haven’t done since I moved out of the duplex with the leaky roof and black mold in the attic where I lived for 12 years. Wearing a face mask helps, but not much.

I had my cycle of chemo on Wednesday, the white cell booster on Thursday. I gained 7 lbs between Tuesday and Wednesday, and lost 9 between Wednesday and Sunday, all of it “water” weight. I got through this time without any digestive symptoms, although I didn’t have much of an appetite. When I finished ricocheting off the walls from the five tablets of prednisone I had Wednesday, I crashed and burned, sleeping 10 and 12 hours at a stretch. I spent Friday through Sunday mostly in bed with my feet up, emptying my legs out one trip at a time. That bed, with the uppy-downy head and foot, and the memory foam mattress, has been a Godsend. Wednesday evening, I couldn’t see the bones in my feet. Now I have ankles. Monday and today, I went for a liter of fluid. I go again Friday, and that’ll be it for this cycle. Three weeks from now I get to do it all again, but the specifics are not yet known.

Carillon is organizing a bus trip next Tuesday to Silver Falls, which is outside of Crosbyton, where a picnic lunch will be served, and then we go to the museum in Post to see their Fabergé Egg. It’s about an hour to Crosbyton and back, and over an hour to Post and back. I’d like to go, but I’m not sure I’ll have the stamina for it, so I probably won’t. Sigh.

We had a “tower” meeting Tuesday and afterward, I got to have a little chat with JH, one of mom’s PEO friends. Apparently, there’s a lady in their PEO chapter who makes jackets to sell at their auction. Mom already has one of her jackets. This lady took the scraps from making jackets and made a patchwork quilt and brought it to mom, which I thought was sweet.

*I have seasonal allergies. I’m allergic to all four of them.

The Fasten Seatbelt Sign is Lit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 . . .

So, Anyway . . . .

Woke up this morning dabbling in this thought puddle: So women already have to play the men’s game because it’s the only game in town, and they have to use the men’s rules and the men’s cards, and the men change the rules halfway through the game at random and then they insist on all these elaborate arcane handicaps, and then change what you have to do to win three fourths of the way through the game and we still win, and men immediately launch into this big rant about how we take unfair advantage and how ruthless we are and how unfeminine that is, and going on and on about it, and we’re having to stand around listening to it while we’re doing the teenage eyeroll thing and thinking, “Oh, grow TF up already. . . ” So I’ll just park that here like a piece of chewing gum. Strange morning.

My BFF called last night from Outer Houston and we talked for four and a half hours (!). I mean, sit the phone down and gab while we’re making and eating dinner and cleaning up after and talking about books and music and fashion and where our heads are at right now and our respective creative processes and where each of us is going with our respective version of it. (She’s very eye/visually oriented, has a fine arts degree, paints, draws, was a scientific illustrator for the Carnagie Museum in Pittsburg for a zillion years, and I’m very verbal/ear oriented, have a degree in English (Rhetoric), etc.) (In a parallel universe, we might have done graphic novels; I the story and script, she all the drawing.) We both love music but we use different types of it and in different ways and want different things from it — another interesting conversation thread from last night. That transmogrified into an exploration of our respective creative processes in and of itself, and how it involves different circuits in her brain than it does in mine (never mind that I’m on the spectrum and wired differently anyway).

We’ve both become devotees of the Boomer Goth fashion look, it seems. (She bought some black pretend leather slacks and black ankle boots with tire tread soles. She has the height to pull it off.) (You have no idea how funny the whole concept of “Boomer Goth” is; we laughed uproariously about it all evening.) We both have that slightly off-kilter world view, only tilted at different angles (but that’s OK) and the same offbeat sense of humor. We’ve been friends since age 14 and we have that whole private language that only comes from long acquaintance and little shorthand referents that nobody else can get because it’s one of those you had to have been there. . . .

She was put on clonazepam (Klonopin is the brand name) for like 20 years for chronic anxiety and is finally off it now. Her brain is coming out of the drug haze, and she is astonished at how many of the symptoms she attributed to “old age” and nerve damage from hazardous chemicals she was exposed to at her museum job were actually side effects of the clonazepam and are now dramatically improving now that she’s not taking it any more (not to mention all the foods she stopped eating because she thought she’d developed a food allergy to them, but that were actually clonazepam side effects affecting her digestive system.) (Stevie Nicks has gone on record as saying if she were to ever meet the person who initially prescribed clonazepam to her, she would want to murder them because of what the drug did to her brain for eight years.) After over 20 years, my BFF is finally reconnecting with her art — drawing and painting, and rediscovering what she thought she’d lost forever. It’s like she’s having her own personal private Renaissance.

We talked about books and she wants to start reading (and rereading) again, which is problematic at the moment because of her cataracts, but her first surgery will be in March. But once she gets past that, she’ll be able to get back into it. And all of this is happening to her as I’m about to start dealing with chemo brain. Again.

We had a front blow through last night. It blustered and blew all night. I’ve transferred my yarn stash but it hasn’t made it under the bed yet. Sufficient unto the day . . . I’m probably going grocery shopping tomorrow morning, but I may blow it off until Monday so I can check to see if the Market Street at Indiana and 50th has a Goodwill Donation truck in their parking lot. I need to offload my car so I can load it up with those drawer bins.

I love my little kitchen. The peninsula could have barstool seating on this side of it, but I have my metal filing cabinet (with bowls of knitting on) and the printer end of my computer desk pushed up under it. Anyway, I eat at my computer desk most of the time anyway. I have ample cabinet storage (although I’d rather have more drawers than shelves). Still, I have a place for everything and the “above” cabinets (above the refrigerator, microwave and sink) are all empty because I have more room than things to put in it.

Here’s my little pet Italian Stone Pine and the orchid I inherited from mom. I need to repot both of them. I have the stuff to do it. My windows face northwest, and there are deciduous trees in front of them, so currently I have a lot of bright indirect light. (The Stone Pine can take full sun and would do well if planted outside.) I’d like some more plants, but I’m undecided/picky about which ones. I’ll have to wait until the trees leaf out to see what the spring/summer light level is like and let that be my guide. I’m thinking a shallow, pretty bowl with succulents in wouldn’t go amiss. . . .

And . . . Itchy

I’m slow. What can I say? In a typical timeline of symptoms where 99% of people will have had the thing show up within a predictable time frame, it will take me longer, and usually significantly longer. If I overexert, the muscle soreness takes two days to show up. What I thought was just a sun-sensitivity “sunburn” side effect has, alas, turned itchy. Took two days for my body to decide that everywhere that I was “sunburned” is now going to itch. Including my hair. Especially my hair. It’s not a maddening, claw yourself raw kind of itch, thank goodness. It’s just a niggling little itch. It’s annoying, but not driving me crazy.

Having drapes again means the quality of my sleep has gone up, and that’s been wonderful. If you can sleep “pedal to the metal,” that’s what I’ve been doing, and it’s been grand. It’s the thing I have needed more than anything, and I’ve been doing a lot of it. I’ve just blown off unpacking things or arranging the things I have unpacked. I have paths around boxes and I can get to everything I need to get to, so I’m not going to stress about it. I may get motivated to transfer my yarn stash to the under-bed boxes later and put those away, but then again, maybe not.

It’s still cold, and there is still snow on the ground. It’s in the high 30’s F/3.8 C at the moment. Supposed to get down to 4 F/-15.5 C tonight, but is supposed to warm up to the 50’s F/ 11+ C by Monday, which is when I have to go out again.

There’s this little noise I’ve been hearing. It sounds like dropping a small box of Legos onto a table from about six inches in height. It makes me smile. It’s the icemaker in my fridge dropping a load of ice into the collection container. I’ve had fridges with icemakers before, but never one that has the icemaker water line hooked up so that it actually works. The fridge in this apartment has a hooked up and working icemaker.

When the reverse osmosis water guy moved my undersink unit over to the new apartment, he hooked the icemaker’s water line into the RO water circuit, and it has been industriously making RO ice for days now. Not that I’m having ice in anything at the moment because it’s literally freezing outside, but I could if I wanted . . .