Teetering On The Brink of Christmas

It got down to 3 F/-16 C last night, for crying out loud!

We have this thing where if the front desk needs to get the word out about something, they text us. We got a text yesterday afternoon to dribble our faucets all night to keep the pipes from freezing. The one bedroom apartments here are set up with European style en suites which has the sink in the bedroom proper, and the toilet and shower in a separate “water closet.” So I got to listen to my sink dribble all night.

We are mercifully free of snow. (We got a flake or two yesterday for flinching.) I guess after dumping so much snow everywhere else, this storm must have run out before it got to us. As much as I hate what it’s doing to the rest of the country, I can’t help breathing a sigh of relief that we didn’t get any snow out of it. Our high today is 36 F/2.2 C. Officially colder than a wedge.

I spent the morning in bed knitting and watching videos until I heard a cheese sandwich calling my name. Sharp cheddar on toast with BACON! zotted in the microwave long enough to melt the cheese. And a big pot of Twining’s Christmas Tea served piping hot with vanilla almond milk in. Yes, Ma’m!

It’s hitting the spot as I type. The perfect combination of goo and crunch.

Thought I’d get a little meta.

They’ll serve Xmas dinner starting at 11: 00 tomorrow. I’ll get mine to go and take it over to Carillon House and eat with mom. She’ll open her Xmas present. (She’s getting me new glasses this year, which I need.) We’ll be quietly jolly, and then I’ll come back home. It’s not as sad as it sounds, at least on my part. I’ve never been a big fan of the hustle, bustle and jollity anyway, and even Mom’s getting kinda party pooped, which is not surprising. She has reached the point where doing anything requires so much time, energy and equipment that it’s exhausting.

Several people have called and texted me that they called her to wish her Merry Christmas and that she really had difficulty hearing them on her phone. Her hearing has been gradually deteriorating for a long time now, and she can’t get her phone loud enough anymore for her to hear it, especially the higher pitched women’s voices. But she adamantly refuses to get a new phone because she doesn’t want to have to learn how to operate it. Her phone has Bluetooth capability, but she refuses to spend the money for new hearing aids that have Bluetooth capability. She got some new hearing aids a couple of years ago that were very expensive, but she was unhappy with all the futzing and trips to the hearing aid place to get them adjusted, and she went back to wearing her old ones because she said they worked better for her. Change is hard (and confusing). She has a land line in her room, but then if she used that, she’d have to look up phone numbers on her cell phone and dial them . . . In the meantime, she’s becoming more and more isolated from her friends and relations, and I don’t know what the answer is.

That loud slurping noise you heard just now was me putting lotion on my hands. Again. It’s been so dry here, and the heating just makes it worse. Since that last bendamustine treatment I had such a bad reaction to this last round of chemo, I’ve had trouble with dry cracked skin on the outside edges of my index fingers and the tips of my thumbs. Knitting doesn’t help. I also have assorted dry patches on my forehead and cheeks. I have a tendency to dry skin anyway, and the bendamustine really did a number on my skin.

Friday, when I went out, I wore my red knitted hat with the selburoses on it to keep my ears and head warm. The humidity was 21% and when I got home, I pulled off my hat to predictable results — the Dandelion Clock Do. It’s one of the hats with the rolled brim, the inside of which is ribbed.

I want to make another one in black and white with the Death Flake motif — Boomer Goth — but living where I do, I wonder if it would be considered in poor taste . . . .

In the knitting news, I’ve been working on these two projects mostly. The one on the left is the Malabrigo Sock version of the Savannah Squares scarf/shawl. I haven’t put the pattern for the right one up yet, but it’s dead simple. One row repeat. (It’s also the visual equivalent of this.) Both are ideal for TV knitting.

I really need to start working on the Scots bonnet that you knit and then felt. I have two different types of 100% wool yarn. I may use the black Savage Hart Farm yarn first. I want an historic 17th century pattern, though. I’ll have to swatch and felt the swatch to gauge the shrinkage. I may also get some Plötulopi yarn (Icelandic unspun yarn) and try one out of that as it felts really well. I have a feeling I’ll end up writing a pattern for it. Stay tuned.

The North Wind Doth Blow

But we won’t get snow. Thank goodness. It’s blowing a hoolie, though, and the wind is almost straight out of the north at 21 mph/33.7 kph. It’s 18 F/-7.7 C with a wind chill of 2 F/-16.6 C. Mom called yesterday and wanted me to get her some tooth paste (she also wanted some $ for some little tokens of appreciation to her care givers), which I naïvely thought I was going to do today, but nope. Not with that kind of wind and that kind of wind chill. Mañana. It’ll still be as cold, but the front will have blown through by then and the wind will have died down. That wind is brutal. Like the man says, “Ain’t but one fence between us and Canada, and it’s down . . . “

They’ll be serving a nice Xmas dinner on Sunday here, with turkey and all the fixin’s. I’ll get mine “to go” and take it over to Carillon House and eat with mom.

The other day, I figured out how to get from here to there without having to go outside. It’s a pretty straight shot.

I’ll take her Xmas present with me. She’s getting me some new glasses this year.

Proper glasses with some light-weight lenses (I’m only 20/40 in my left eye, but I’m 20/400 in my right eye and my right lens is so thick my glasses tend to sit cattywompus on my nose), and some new, lighter frames. They won’t be here until the 30th, though.

I’ve got one of those throat tickling “drainage” coughs where you get into a coughing fit that’s so prolonged you almost pass out from not being able to breathe for coughing. I’ve been taking guaifenesin (a mucus thinner) and pseudoephidrine (a decongestant) for it. It’s allergies, not a bug. As I noted, it’s not cotton ginning related, but whatever it is that’s setting me off makes my eyes burn as well. I’ve managed to stay well so far (touch wood!). With my sinuses already in an uproar and this wind kicking up the dust, yet another reason not to get out in it.

Now that the weather has gotten colder, my feet have been so cold at night that I’ve started putting the heating pad in the bed to warm them up. I’ve got one with a timer on it that turns the heating pad off when time’s up. No, I don’t need an electric blanket. I’ve already got a microfleece blanket on. Once I get my feet warmed back up, I’m good.

I Felt The Earth Move Under My Bed

I’ve been in three earthquakes, two here and one in Monterey, CA. Interestingly, I happened to be in bed at the time in all three instances. Not surprising, though since the first one (in CA) happened in the middle of the night. The second one (here) was at 6 o’clock in the morning. This last one hit at 3:32 p.m. yesterday, 16 November while I just happened to be lying in the bed reading*. My bed is oriented almost due SW/NE, and it was like something big and heavy had silently given the side of the building a solid thump that jiggled my bed from side to side. I’m on the third floor of a 4-storey, steel and concrete building, which probably amplified the effect slightly. It was a Richter 5.2 with the epicenter located about 27 miles/45km west of Pecos (which is about 3 hours/214 miles/344 km to the southwest of us) at a depth of 3.1 miles/5km underground, according to Earthquaketrack.com. Durn frackers.

Monday was a blustery day, and on the chilly side. The poor mourning doves toughed it out for about an hour before they sought a more sheltered roost.

We have an activities director here at Carillon who organizes “expotitions” to things like restaurants, concerts, museum exhibits, theater events, sports games, etc. They have this big bus with the nice seats like you go on organized bus tours in. They herd us up and load us onto the bus and off we go. Tuesday, they had an expotition to the Plaza Restaurant and now that I’m street-legal again, I signed up to go eat what my dad called “Meskin food” (TexMex). Naturally, they had bowls of salsa and baskets of chips out on the table for appetizers. (They had various sopapilla dishes on the menu, both sweet and savory — my dad always called them “sofa pillows.”) I had a soft beef taco, a beef tamale and a heaping scoop of refried beans. I had it twice, in fact. The food was so good and the portions were so generous that I got a “doggie bag” and had the rest of my lunch for supper. The prices were very reasonable. All that and two glasses of sweet tea came to $13 and change. The Plaza is located out on Milwaukee Avenue just south of 50th street, out in the part of town I refer to as “Southwest Yuppyville.”

It was a bittersweet outing. After I got back from the restaurant, I went out to Market Street to get a flower arrangement of some roses for mom because Wednesday the 16 (the day of the earthquake) would have been my parent’s 76th wedding anniversary (except my dad passed away in September of 2015). I also got a grocery or two and a birthday card for my BFF (23 November).

I decided to get gussied up to go out to the restaurant, so I wore the above necklace, which I got on Portobello Road in London in 1974. I also wore these new earrings I had just gotten off Etsy from a vendor in Poland. As I was carrying the groceries into the apartment, I happened to notice I had lost one of the earrings. I wear a pair of small gold hoops which I only take out for CT scans and x-rays (to keep my holes open), but the holes are big enough that I can slip a second ear wire through them. I try to get lever-back ear wires or studs whenever I can, but if it’s a “fish hook” ear wire, I usually put those little rubber “stoppers” over the wires, only I didn’t think I would need them. I did back track as far as I could, but didn’t find it. They were such pretty earrings and I’m just heart-broken that I lost one — the first time I wore them! That’ll teach me.

My BFF finally got her Halloween card. I mailed it on 21 October. She got it on 11 November, after the midterm election, oddly enough. (Can you say “voter suppression,” boys and girls?) She also got her car back (we’ve finished rebuilding your transmission, ma’m. That’ll be $4.5K, thank you very much), after having been without it for over a month. The great ladies from her church really went to bat for her, organizing car pools to get her to and from work, else she’d have lost her job and been out on the street. I was frustrated that I couldn’t do more to help her besides send her a Halloween card with five cute little pictures of Andrew Jackson tucked inside it. Which apparently took the scenic route to get from hither to yon. Musta had to change planes in Dallas . . . (Texas is such a large state, it’s hard to get a direct flight from one end of the state to the other, e.g., from Lubbock to Houston. They’re usually routed through one or the other of the two Dallas airports — DFW or Love Field.) (In Texas, you can’t even go to Hell without going through Dallas.) (Then again, the argument can be made that DFW is Hell.)

The other day, I ran across a teaser/trailer for the 2011 version of “Jane Eyre” with Michael Fassbender as Rochester, which I haven’t seen but will order the DVD for because Michael Fassbender(!). That next morning, I woke up from a dream about this young woman who was hired to keep house for this man who lived in a big stone house out in the Yorkshire Dales. He had a secret, too. His was that he was a time traveler who had escaped from BREXIT England to live in 1840’s England. (Feel free to steal the premise, you writers out there . . .) They had these two 8-week old kittens , a black one and a white one, who got tangled up with half a dozen of these pale green beetles that were bigger than they were and had to be rescued for their own good. I woke up wishing that the kittens were real and mine.

*BTW, in my defense, I walked all over the world Tuesday, walking all the way to and from the front desk to get the bus to the restaurant, then going out to shop groceries, taking them up to the apt, then taking the flowers over to mom at Carillon House and getting mail on my way back. The weather was cold, my motile appendages were unhappy with me, I still haven’t gotten my stamina back, so Wednesday, I took it easy. What’s the point of having an adjustable bed if you can’t adjust it until it’s comfortable and snuggly warm on a chilly day and then having a good read in it? (And ride out the occasional earthquake . . . ) I gulped down a good three-fourths of Cuckoo’s Egg by C. J. Cherryh and quaffed hot tea for most of the afternoon. The only thing that would have made it better was curb service. Oh, and BTW again, did you know they make almond milk eggnog? I gotta get me a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream. T’is the season.

As The Seasons Turn

We’ve finally had a freeze, although not much of one. Just a few degrees below freezing. Today’s high was 57 F/13.3 C, and our low is going to be 31 F/-0.5 C, but those will be the highest temps for the next nine days. We’ll have lows as low as 22 F/-5.5 C, and our highs will be around 50 F/10 C. It’ll be blustery tomorrow, but partly cloudy to sunny for the rest of the week. Finally beginning to feel like the seasons are turning.

We had to play the clock game last weekend. I wish they’d leave the durn clocks alone. I have to get a stepladder to reach my chiming clock (on top of the hutch), and that sucker is heavy. I still have one wall clock that isn’t atomic (self resetting– I will replace it this year with one that is), and I still have to reset my alarm clocks. (Yes, I have two. One goes off at 9 PM when it’s time for my evening meds, and the other one goes off at 9 AM when its time for my morning meds. The other alarm is for use when I have to get up some other time besides 9 AM.)

I have seasonal allergies. All four seasons. I have a different set of allergies for each season. Right now, I’m suffering from the fall set as they are stripping and ginning cotton again, which kicks off at about half past September and goes until they finish ginning this year’s crop, usually after December. Usually what I get for Christmas is a month or two of relief from the fall allergies before the spring ones kick in.

I had an attack of housework today. Took out the trash, stripped and changed my bed linens, washed dishes, picked up a little. The first load of wash (sheets and towels) is in the dryer at the moment and the second load of wash (clothes) is in the washer. Timing is key. The washer takes an hour. The dryer takes two. I can’t start the second load of wash until the dryer is halfway done drying the first load. There are two washers and two dryers in the communal laundry room for this floor, but one of the dryers doesn’t very well, so we get the kitchen timer out.

I banged the inside of my leg against a table the other day (why, yes, I am a droit). That left leg has a tendency to swell anyway as it’s the one I’ve had three surgeries on, the last one being to replace that knee. Couple that with the blood thinner I’m taking and I got a nasty bruise that wants to swell. I’ve been keeping it elevated as much as I can. We’ve gone from black and blue to Technicolor now, but I’ve still got quite a knot there. (I do have a full set of toes on that foot, but they’re covered up by the sheet.)

In the knitting news, I’ve picked up a really old WIP. When I first started knitting again, it was discount store worsted weight acrylic yarn on US 7 and 8 (4.5 mm and 5.0 mm) plastic needles. Then, when I taught myself continental style knitting, it was Takumi bamboo needles and acrylic yarn. Then I graduated to natural fibers and “snob yarn” — cottons and merino wools and leveled up to ChiaoGoo stainless steel needles — fingering and DK yarn on smaller needles. This WIP is from when I was still using worsted weight acrylic yarn (mostly because that was all I could afford). I’ve gotten used to natural fibers and smaller weight yarn, and this worsted acrylic yarn feels odd. I may rework this pattern in natural fibers and smaller weight yarn now that I’ve got the pattern worked out, but I want to finish this version because I like the color.

This pattern uses a Turkish cast on and starts with that top cable band. But, instead of working both sides of the cast on, you only work one side of it until your work is long enough that you can pick up stitches along one edge of it to start the center cable band. Then you start working the top band from both ends and fill in the garter stitch middle bits. It’s really quite a simple pattern once you have it started. Anyway, I’ve pulled it out and put it in the rotation.

Otto and Victoria © Brian Kesinger

Think Fast!

Now that they’re on this new system, cancer center i go to (JACC) doesn’t mail out appointment notifications, so I only found out I was supposed to have two appointments this morning when they texted me about it Saturday. I had a blood draw and talked to my oncologist. He says all my blood work looks good and that I can get my COVID booster now (and will as soon as I can arrange it).

They had these cute little pop-up Halloween cards at Market Street and I got mom one of a skeleton playing a theater organ which urged her to Stay Spooky! I took it by to her Friday. After giving her multiple bags of IV fluids, they’ve managed to get her hydrated and flushed out again, and she was alert, with-it, and in good spirits.

The VA, TriWest, and Covenant are still going round and round about this one bill for a chemo treatment from March 10th. They’ve already billed Medicare and Medicare has paid their portion. The bill is for what Medicare didn’t pay, which TriWest (the VA’s insurance) was supposed to cover and didn’t. The opening salvo of this, the third go-round, was an email from Covenant warning me that if I didn’t cough up their $745.03, they were going to send the bill to collections. The VA gave Covenant a community care authorization number to send the bill to TriWest; TriWest didn’t like their number and kicked the bill back (twice now). This has been going on since August. This whole business is beginning to get a little “Kafkaesque“. . . .

My poor BFF is still trying to get her car’s transmission fixed. She can’t live on what she gets from Social Security and has to have a part time job. The transmission on her car went out on 25 September and she’s been going round and round with the dealership about getting it fixed and supply chain issues, and blah-blah-blah. . . for nearly a month now. She can’t afford to take Ubers to work or rent a car. Thank goodness the people in her church are stepping up to bat and giving her rides to and from work or she’d have lost her job weeks ago. I sent her one of those pop-up Halloween cards with a little surprise tucked inside. She should get it tomorrow or the next day.

We had a good little rain early this morning that persisted until about 8:00 o’clock. Our high today was 67 F/19.4 C with a low of 40 F/4.4 C. Tomorrow night it’s supposed to get down to 38 F/3.3 C! It’s windy and blustery right now, and is supposed to rain a little more. We got 0.15 inches/3.81 mm of rain this morning. We can use every drop. We’re in that Spring/Autumn transitional period, what I call the “not enoughs.” — not hot enough to kick on the AC, not cold enough to kick on the heat. I may have to put a “pull-up” blanket across the foot of my bed. Supposedly we sleep best when we sleep warm in a cold room.

Apparently, I feel it is necessary to make a libation to the refrigerator gods whenever I put ice cubes in my drink bottle. I invariably drop at least one ice cube on the floor and have to chase it down and toss it into the sink. (To be pedantic, they’re not actually cubes. They’re flat on three sides, and curved on the fourth –). When the icemaker periodically Jengas, the “cubes” fall into this square tub underneath it, and I sometimes have to break them loose before I can get a handful.

I’m not sure what kind of tree this is outside my window, but it’s fixing to be a bald one. The leaves are turning yellow and beginning to fall.

In the knitting news, I’ve finally gotten the pattern for the “No-Tears Toe-up Baby Booties” using fingering weight yarn whipped into shape. I’m still working on the skirt of the little dress this goes with. The dress is in sock yarn on a US 3 (3.25 mm) needle so it takes about 10 rows to equal an inch, and the skirt is 9 inches long. This bootie is what is in the bowl on my desk (the first of two). The dress is in the bowl by my TV watching chair.

The bootie uses the Turkish cast-on, which is a neat trick if you can do it. I prefer the toe-up to the top-down construction. I hate Kitchner stitching (grafting) the toe closed. I’ll put the pattern in my knitting blog when I can find my roundtuit.

Shakespearean Sleep

You know. The “Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care.” That one. I’ve been doing a lot of it lately. Healing. Trying to get my body back onto an even keel from this roller coaster chemo ride I’ve been on since February.

I woke up today from a dream about a house. Such a beautiful house. I don’t know what the outside looked like, but the inside had sort of a Frank Lloyd Wright low/wide vibe going with those high, oblong clerestory windows with shelf-deep sills of his prairie style. The interior was all white, white-glazed terra cotta tile floors, white walls, white ceilings. I had this fabulous collection of hand thrown pottery bowls and vases and teapots and whatnot out on the shelves, a built in computer area with three big monitors, a 3-D printer and a large format color printer that could print the map sized full-color artwork I drew. It had mid-century modern style furniture. There were two complete bathrooms, one in front of the other. The back one could only be reached through the front one(?!). The back one had 1940’s style plumbing and a bathtub. The front one had modern fixtures and a fully-tiled walk-in shower. Both bathrooms were all in white. (There was this older black woman who rented the back bathroom and slept in the tub(?!).) The really wonderful, amazing thing thing about the house, though, was that there was this special fiber-optic coating on all the walls that you could download pictures or videos into — like moon jellyfish swimming in a cerulean ocean, or a coral reef with swimming fish, or a birch grove in a forest. It covered the walls like wallpaper and you could change the display on any wall whenever you wanted to whatever you wanted. That was a really nice dream, and I wanted to roll over and go back into it. Sigh.

And here it is half past October. Mom and I have been at Carillon for just over a year now, and I’ll have been in this apartment a year in January. (When mom went to Carillon House, I moved to a 1-bedroom apartment.)

The orchid that her niece brought mom is taking over the world. I watched a YouTube video that said you could water it this way. Looks kinda mutant evil with its roots doing that, but this species of orchid usually lives in a really humid climate (which this isn’t) and its roots absorb water from the air. This way, though, it can water itself at will and I don’t worry about over-or under-watering it. The peace lily is blooming two blooms, which means I must be doing something right. The Italian stone pine looks kinda stoned. I try to keep turning it so the branches will grow straight, but it gets ahead of me.

In the knitting news, WIPs are ongoing. I may have to amend the pattern for this cowl to add in even more than 12 stitches — like maybe 15? I have a bowl of knitting on the computer desk, a bowl of TV knitting by the TV chair, and a bowl on my bedside rolling table. Nothing like being spoiled for variety . . .

We haven’t had a freeze yet. We haven’t even been down into the 30’s yet. We’ve barely just dipped a toe down into the 40’s. (The way the weather’s acting, kids will be trick-or-treating in short sleeves. . . .) The leaves are kinda ho-hum turning just because the days are getting shorter. There’s a lot of houses that landscape with these (native) post oak (Quercus stellata) trees (that acorn all over the driveway and sidewalk), and in the older neighborhoods some of them are quite big now. They turn this lovely oxblood red.

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.