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. 

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.

A Bit of An Anticlimax

I made it through all my various infusions relatively unscathed. I did have an episode of vomiting Sunday afternoon, but four hours later, I ate a full meal with no problems. Based on the symptoms, I think it was more my stomach having a snit fit (which it has done periodically since last summer for reasons which are probably linked to stress), and I don’t think it was related to the Rituxan. Of course, my ribs muscles are sore today. I had my second of three infusions of fluid today, and will have my third Wednesday.

I go to see my cardiologist Tuesday about my weird blood pressure readings. The top number is too high and the bottom number is way low, like 140/43. (That makes three days in a row I have to be out and about. Ugh.) I’m going to talk to him about an alternative to metoprolol, maybe one that doesn’t have nightmares as a side-effect. Between the metoprolol and the cetirizine (Zyrtec) I take for allergies, my dreams have become decidedly “nonpleasant.”

I guess it’s officially spring now. I saw a robin today. The American version (Turdus migratorius) is bigger (oddly enough) and is a member of the thrush family (Turdidae). The European original (Erithracus rubecula) belongs to the chat family (Saxicolinae), a subgroup of the Muscicapidae, the old world flycatchers. The one I saw today was policing the lawn for tidbits.

My hair is about an inch and a half long now, long enough for the wind to mess up and for the natural curl to assert itself. It’s always had a mind of its own. I may have to go for the dandelion clock look, whether I want to or not . . .

In the knitting news, ongoing projects are ongoing. Six more rows on the baby blanket and I will begin the edging. I could probably finish the hat in an afternoon if I’d just sit down and do it.

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.

New and Improved

My oncologist’s nurse called me back this morning about the Rituxan, and I’m going for it. We had to rearrange the schedule and I have to go in for lab tests this afternoon. I get the COP tomorrow and the Rituxan and Udenyca Wednesday. Then Friday, Monday and Wednesday, I get my fluid boluses. I am braced for side effects — itching, rash, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and armed with medications for same. I’ll get the prednisone this afternoon while I’m out, and do the little grocery shopping I’ll need to do. I’m going to try to go to bed early tonight because I’ll be bouncing off the walls and likely won’t sleep for the 48 hours after I take the prednisone.

Because of the way the Rituxan affects my already-compromised immune system, I’ll have to be extra careful. I’ll also have to start wearing that stupid Carillon “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” button, as dizzyness is also a potential side effect of Rituxan.

Laundry is all done and put away. If fairy tales were set in the modern world and the heroine was given three impossible tasks to perform (like spinning straw into gold), one of those tasks would surely be to neatly fold a contour sheet. The way I see it, if I can get the durn thing into a fairly compact, rectangular-shaped wad, I’m ahead of the game.

My BFF gets her second cataract surgery tomorrow. She had an excellent result from the first one. Hopefully, this one will go equally well. She had not realized how much her cataracts had compromised her vision until she got the first one done. It was, to coin a phrase, an eye-opener. Cataracts had compromised her color sense more than a little, and reading was difficult. Ditto anything else requiring sharpness of vision. She had already started getting back into drawing after many years, and the first surgery gave that a big boost. Once she’s over the second surgery and gets her “good” glasses, she wants to start painting again, which is great news.

Week before last, when I was going in to JACC to get my second fluid infusion from #3 of chemo, I happened to notice this guy in one of the flower beds. Judging from her/his size, (s)he’s been around long enough to know about gang mowers and other such dangers. Good luck, little guy.

Ah, Well

They’ve started up the Library knitting group again. Now that the COVID situation has improved, the Library ladies asked M, the woman that originally started the group, and who was “moderating” it when I started going, to start it back up again. In the months before COVID, M’s husband’s health had deteriorated to the point where he could not be left alone, it was hard for her to find sitters for him and she didn’t like driving at night, which was when the group was meeting. Somebody offered to take it over, but it petered out after M left, and then COVID hit. M’s husband passed last year during lock-down.

The newly reconstituted group is still meeting on Tuesdays, but at 1 pm, which solves the problem of M not driving at night. Several of the former regulars are no longer with us, including my friend LB who passed from breast cancer, but KC and I went this past Tues. Apart from KC, M and me, all the rest were newbies of varying degrees of skill level. Of course, I just started a new cycle of chemotherapy today, which makes my future attendance somewhat problematic. I did go this past Tuesday though, and it was good.

After I left knitting group, I went and got my hair cut, got a simple manicure and my toenails cut. A little judiciously applied self care (that’ll be $$, thank you very much). (The past three times, I’ve gotten this young manicurist. She looks around 18-20, and she always has the coolest tee-shirts. She’s pierced in several places and wears wire-wrapped crystal jewelry. )

I had the hair stylist give me what is, in effect, a buzz cut. If all my hair is going to fall out anyway, I don’t want to be pulling handfuls of it out of brushes and shower drains, or wake up and find I’ve shed all over my pillow. What you might call a preemptive strike. (Those black things behind my ears are the Bluetooth headphones to my computer.)(Bless you, Ericsson Mobile!)

(I’ve got a pair for my phone, too, as well as two internet radio apps and a Napster app on my phone. And whatever music is playing on my phone will play on my car radio. Oh, rapture!)

Wednesday I slept in, then puttered and cleaned, changed my bed, took a shower, and washed/dried two loads, one of clothes and one of sheets and towels. I still haven’t unboxed my new computer. Possibly tomorrow, possibly Saturday. Soon, though. Still working out the logistics in my head of getting hither to yon.

I went to JACC at 9:40 a.m. Thursday morning and didn’t leave until 3:30 p.m. I had labs at 9:40 and met with my oncologist at 11:00. I’m taking the COP chemotherapy regimen. I started chemo at 12:30 with Decadron and half a liter of normal saline (and a nice little nap), followed by the cyclophosphamide (the C), followed by the Oncovin (the O) and something else I didn’t catch. After I saw my doc, the nurse called in a prescription for tablet prednisone (the P) I was supposed to take after the infusions, but they didn’t call it in until around noon. (If I’d known, I’d have suggested they call it in Wednesday so I could have already had it on hand, but, oh, well.) Mirabile dictu! They had it waiting for me when I went to the VA at almost 4 o’clock to get it. That was such a relief. I went home by way of Sonic and had a bacon cheeseburger, tots and fries to celebrate the fact that I was sloshing full of cytotoxic chemicals. . .

Tomorrow I go at 11 am to get the stuff that keeps my white blood cell count from cratering. It’s administered as an injection. In 2018, they were giving me Neulasta (pegfilgrastim), but I haven’t been able to get an ear on what they were telling me I’m getting this time. I’m going to make a point of getting the infusion nurse to show me it written down so I can read it.

As I mentioned, I have two internet radio apps and a Napster app on my phone, and those Bluetooth headphones (which I’m not very fond of as the left one doesn’t like to stay in my ear. It’s a pain to have to hunt it when it falls out and goes skittering across the floor). (I may get another set of Comiso ones for my phone. They play longer on a charge, they’re more comfortable to wear, and that little (removable) hook over my ear keeps them from falling off.)(I can use the phone set I have now with my Fire tablet — I’m not worried if the left earbud falls out in the bed!)

Today, I used the internet radio app on my phone to get Soma FM’s Drone Zone channel, which is just about my most favoritest of their channels. That was what I was listening to when I left the apartment, and all during my visit. (So soothing!) It provided just enough sound masking that I could take my little nap during the infusion, while still being able to hear someone talk to me — although my earphones provided a little moment of surreality when the people over at Carillon House returned my call about my mom’s care plan. When I get a phone call, I don’t have to lunge for my phone and juggle it trying to answer the call. The ringer overrides what I’m listening to, and all I have to do to answer is touch the right earbud and talk (they have have built in mikes). I was chatting with the infusion nurse who was hanging IV bags when the lady at Carillon House called, and it took her a moment to realize that my seeming non sequitur was me talking on the phone. That’s a downside to those Bluetooth earbuds — if you don’t have wires coming from your ears, and aren’t holding a phone in front of your face, it kinda makes you look like you are talking to yourself.

In the knitting news, I’ve discovered three mistakes on the 9-pinwheel hat, many, many rows ago and didn’t catch them until now. Rather than frog back to the earliest mistake, I’m fixing them one by one. Wrestling the octopus. It will be tedious, but I broke out the DPNs, which makes it easier though no less tedious to fix. ($%#^@#!)

It’s usually much easier to just frog back the section where you made your mistake and rework just that bit than it is to frog the whole thing back to the mistake — unless you’ve messed up so badly there’s just too much to fix. (The law of diminishing returns applies to knitting, too.) I would have had to frog the whole thing back almost two and a half inches to fix three small mistakes — not worth it. Because my mistake here involved adding a stitch that shouldn’t be there, I’m going to have to take a tapestry needle and redistribute the slack backwards and forward on each row so it’s much less noticeable. (It’ll just look like a small area of uneven tension. Blocking it will also help.) You can fix your mistake on the needles you are using on the project, but having a set of DPNs that are the same size as your working needles makes it much easier and faster. Nuts. Make that four mistakes. (&*^%$#@@!@#$!)

After I all I went through in 2018 after my first round of chemotherapy, I decided to treat myself.

I found the lovely pendant below left on Etsy. The stone is Labradorite wrapped in silver. The seller lived in the Ukraine, and was putting herself through college making jewelry. The longer I wore it, the more I loved it, so I went back to her shop and got the necklace on the right in 2019. I wonder about how “Kedikekik” is and if she’s safe.

All Right, Then

Thank goodness I shopped for glass by phone this morning. About half the stores I called only did auto glass. Michael’s framer guy called in sick today. Home Depot’s glass guy didn’t come to work either. Lowe’s didn’t have a piece of glass longer than 36 inches (I needed one 38-1/2 inches), but the Lowe’s guy referred me to Abercrombie Hardware, who had a piece of glass long enough, would cut it while I waited, and only charged me $12. Great, except it’s WAY the heck out on the northeast corner of town at 3rd Street and Buddy Holly Avenue. (I had to go under Marsha Sharp* AND a railroad track to get to it.) (Yeah, Holly was born here. The parents of a dear family friend used to live across the street from them, and I’ve met Peggy Sue.)

As I was girdling my loins preparatory to setting out on my pointy rounds, the accountant doing mom’s taxes called to tell me that I had gotten our social security statements mixed up and sent him mine instead of mom’s. While we talked, he cautioned me to be prepared for how much tax she owed because she had sold some stock. Capital gains tax hit her a hard wallop. (That loud howl you heard this morning was her bank account taking a direct hit . . .) So, in addition to the other errands I had planned, I had to take mom’s social security statement out to the accountant WAY out on the southwest edge of town at 122nd Street and Slide Road. (On a historical note, Slide Road is so named because it’s the road to Slide. I’ve been to Slide. To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, there’s not a lot of there, there.) And because of the figure the accountant gave me, I added going to the bank to the agenda as I needed to transfer funds from the back pocket to the front pocket so the accountant could file her taxes electronically and I could pay Uncle Sam and the accountant with a debit card once her taxes are done.

Already on the agenda was another sack of things to donate to Goodwill, (further culls from the last two boxes), and getting printer ink cartridges. I left the house at about 1:30 pm and actually got all the things done that I needed to do, including picking up a soft drink at Whataburger on my way back up Quaker going to the bank from the accountant, and picking up a chicken strip box at Whataburger on my way back up Quaker again from completing the last item on the agenda, getting a set of printer ink cartridges. After zigging and zagging all over town, I got home at a little after 4:30. Not too shabby.

The piece of glass I had cut was 38-1/2 by 9-1/2 inches and thin enough to bow slightly when I was cleaning it. It was an awkward shape and once I got it safely back home, I got my rubber gloves and a Phillips screw driver, and put it in place immediately.

(I always put on my rubber washing-dishes gloves to handle pieces of glass like that and the glass in picture frames. Not only does it protect my hands from being cut, but the rubber helps me hold onto the glass more securely.)

I’ve had my supper and gotten things all put away in the china cabinet. I’m as moved in as I can get until the maintenance guy comes to fix the blind and put that one bin up on the top shelf of the closet.

I’ve always loved blue and white together and I’ve wanted a set of “Blue Willow” dishes since a child.

This set was made by Churchill China of England. I bought these in the 1980’s when I worked for Texas Instrumets. Since I intended them to be my “forever dishes,” I got 12 of everything (except serving pieces) to allow for breakage over the years. So far, I’ve been lucky.

In the knitting news, I’m still working out the increases on the hexagon blanket and as yet have nothing to show for it. I’ve also started a 9-bladed pinwheel “beanie/skullcap” for my impending baldness using an “oddball” skein of Malabrigo Sock in the colorway “Tealfeather” that was left over from the Sweet Irene shawl. (I had four skeins; the shawl took three and a smidge.) The hat is extrapolated from the pattern for the 9-Bladed Pinwheel shawl. I’m using US 1 (2.25 mm) needles, a set of DPNs to start it and a 16-inch circular needle. I may write up the pattern, but then 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.

Ganging A-gley

As in “the best laid schemes o’ mice” and oncologists. The plan was two days of infusion of chemo drug (bendamustine). First day was yesterday. Since I was coming back for a second infusion today, they left the access and rig in my port and just capped the end and taped it to me. (I usually sleep in the completely, but I wore a t-shirt to bed last night to protect things. I had a hard time going to sleep. )

Sunday I had discovered to my thorough disgruntlement that my refrigerator had been set too cold and had frozen my almond milk, cottage cheese and the 1/3 of a bowl of tuna salad I was looking forward to eating sandwiched between English toasting bread. Since I wasn’t taking any chances, I threw them all out. On my way home from the cancer center Monday, I stopped off at Market Street and got replacements as well as some bread and Braunschweiger, and hit their deli for some fried chicken, red beans and broccoli+rice+cheese for supper since I missed lunch. (“Braunschweiger” I spelled right on the first try, turned a phrase, and then drew a complete blank on “broccoli” — isn’t there a “K” in it?)(Doctors have finally discovered what thousands of cancer patients have known for decades — “chemo brain” is not “all in your head.” It is an actual, scientifically verifiable thing. Yes, it is. See above.)

I pottered and put things up. Then I snarfed my fried chicken and sides, had a scone from the “Bistro” downstairs as my just desserts. About an hour later I had two episodes of a side effect that Imodium took care of. (To be fair, I had been a little loose in the stool both Saturday and Sunday so it may not have been an actual side effect. My intestines can throw a proper little “snit fit” all by their little selves just because.)

Today I showed up for my second infusion looking like my upper chest and neck had gotten sunburned and there was a slight itch around my port. Conferences were held. My last encounter with that particular chemo drug (2018) was rehashed. My oncologist decided to skip the second infusion. Instead, I got what I was going to get Wednesday — decadron, benadryl and the hormone (Neulasta)that keeps my white blood cell count from cratering. They also called in a prescription for a Medrol Dosepak to the VA that I had to dash by to pick up before they closed at 4:30 (slid in under the wire but it was tight) which I start tomorrow, and barring any other untoward symptoms rearing their ugly little heads, the oncologist will see me again on the 28th. What the plan will be then is still up in the air. You watch. He’ll decide to give me the one that makes your hair fall out, and I’ll be as bald as a doorknob inside of a month, and hate every second waiting for treatment to be done so my hair will grow back. (Luckily, I have hats and some pretty headscarves.)(I should make me this hat. The chart is free.)

The lady who bought mom’s bed finally came and got it Sunday. Monday morning before I went to the cancer center, I loaded up the car trunk and back seat with more downsized stuff for Goodwill. (They usually have a truck parked in the parking lot of the Market Street at 50th and Indiana.) The movers packed the contents of my kitchen cupboards and my china cabinet and I have four tall boxes and two short boxes full of those contents. I’ve unpacked two of the tall boxes which is my silverware, most of my dishes and glassware. I’ve cut shelf liner and have 98% of it put away. I still have two more tall boxes and the two short boxes to unpack. Saturday, I put all the books on the bookshelves, grouped by author, but not in any order (wince!)(e.g., all the Tony Hillerman Joe Leaphorn books are together but not in series order.) (cringe!) All the pictures are hung. Order is beginning to emerge from chaos. The book bins are empty and Hart Moving & Storage is supposed to come pick them up when they get a round tuit. They can come any time. I’m tired of pin-balling my way through the clusters of bins and boxes (and the inevitable earworm* . . . .)

I have no place to put the plastic stacking drawers I keep my yarn stash in (see above). I ordered some under-bed plastic storage bins from guess where, which came today, and will relocate my stash to them and donate the drawers to Goodwill. I also ordered a larger ceramic pot for the pet Italian Stone Pine I got at Christmas. If I can keep it alive long enough that it gets too big to be an indoor pet, I’ll donate it to the grounds. It likes lots of light and is drought tolerant, so it should do well outside. Mom’s orchid from daddy’s niece that I repotted prospers, and I have assumed custody, care and feeding of same. (My little green friends are visible in the picture above left.)

I got a second set of Chiao Goo US9 (5.5 mm) double pointed needles because I want to try the Savannah Square pattern as a hexagon, just for grins. There are five needles in a DPN set. Knitting a center-out square takes all five double pointed needles; knitting a six-sided hexagon center-out takes seven). I think it would make a nice car-seat baby blanket, and my paternal first cousin once removed is pregnant again, but she’s only at the morning sickness stage, so I’ve got a while.

The pattern uses a long-tail cast on, and I want to leave enough “tail” from the cast on to put on a darning needle and run through that first row of stitches to cinch up the inevitable “hole” in the center. The steroids will have me bouncing off the walls for days, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I start it at some point tomorrow. Sigh.

I’ve had this set of Lion Brand baby yarn (a seventh skein of light blue not shown, It’s acrylic, DK weight –light/3; 5 oz/140 g; 459 yds/420 m, and it’s been in my stash for a couple of years. I might use it, but then I have some candy-stripe baby yarn (2 balls of aqua and white, and one ball of pink and white) that I might use instead. Depends on how much I have of it. I also have a big ball of light blue and some mint green that would work

This is a car seat blanket which is already in progress, which I might finish, using the mint green mentioned above. It’s acrylic yarn, which is machine washable — an important factor in baby items. It’s also hypoallergenic. Ditto.

I need to transfer my yarn stash to the under-bed boxes, and put them under the bed, but I can’t put the drawers in my car to take to the Goodwill truck until I empty out the load in my trunk and back seat. I had to do some banking business in person today, and I pass by the Market Street on 50th and Indiana Avenue to get to mom’s bank — no Goodwill truck today. I might go out again tomorrow or Thursday and try to off-load the car. I want all these boxes and bins out of the apartment yesterday! I’ll see if I can’t empty the rest of the boxes tomorrow. Trouble is, I’ll have to play number puzzle with all the stacks of stuff to be able to get to the china cabinet. It’s taking me about twice as long to unpack as it would have done five years ago. After all that happened to me health wise in 2018, I have no endurance anymore. I work for about an hour or two, hit the wall, and have to stop and rest.

One good thing, though. When I got back this afternoon and walked into my bedroom to put my purse up, I saw that Bud the maintenance dude had moved my drapes. So glad to have them. (I’m sorry but blinds alone don’t do the job. Still too much light, even at night — the grounds are very well-lit.) That was the last thing to go from the old place. When I checked mail today, they had a blocker in my old mailbox that said “vacant apartment” and my mail was in the new apartment box. At some point tomorrow I’ll have to turn in the old keys. Before I moved, the lady who is my new across the hall and down one neighbor assured me that my next door neighbor is so hard of hearing she won’t mind all the hammering for picture hangings. Evidently not. She brought me an apple turnover this afternoon which I had for dessert with my corned beef and cheese sandwich and cottage cheese topped with pineapple bits.

I’m just plum tuckered out and I’m going to sleep in tomorrow. That way, Hart Moving will call and wake me up wanting to come get their bins and boxes. . . .

Oh, and speaking of Scottish, I was watching a video on fair isle knitting the other day presented by a lady from the Isle of Shetland. She made the comment that the Shetlanders referred to the cast on row as “the sweary gang” — “gang” being Scottish for “go.” She had that delightful Scottish brogue, pronouncing “pattern” as “pat-trin” – I could have listened to her talk all day.

*An earworm is a song that gets stuck in your head.

Flaked and Sneeted

It was supposed to snow last night. Didn’t. Waited until I was out driving around today to flake in a rather desultory fashion, with a little sneet thrown in for flinching. Wasn’t cold enough for it to stick, thankfully, but it was cold enough — in the high 20’s F/-2+C all day. It was that wet-shock cold like stepping out of a long hot shower into air-conditioning set at “large men in suits and ties.”

Monday, I got a copy of my PET scan. Yep. Quite a little tumor burden you’ve got there, toots. No wonder I’m so tired all the time. Tuesday, I washed two loads of clothes, worked out a way to start a semicircular shawl without using a garter tab (it uses Turkish cast on)(there’s advanced-knitter knitting and then there’s knitting-geek knitting . . .), finished blocking shawl #3 and blocked shawl #4,

and put away the folding banquet table, blocking tiles, felt pad, steam iron, etc. (Did you know there are channels on YouTube that have like 7-8 hours’ worth of all different kinds of very nice music? God, I love rechargeable Bluetooth earbuds!)

I saw the cardiologist this morning. He used to have office space actually in the hospital; you had to park in the hospital parking garage and then make this “better pack a lunch and take a map and compass” hike to get to his office. He has new office space across the street now which is at ground level and has a parking lot right beside the building, which is such a relief. We fist bumped, touched bases and I got a hug out of the deal. He has a great “bedside manner” for any doctor, never mind a cardiologist.

I had to check mail and mail mom’s PEO dues before I went to the cardiologist, and wasn’t forethoughtful, so after I made my Walmart run, I had to come all the way up to the apt to get my wagon, go all the way back down to the car to load it up, and haul my goodies all the way back up. Sigh.

This afternoon, one of the movers brought the containers to pack my books, so I have that to do. (I haven’t gotten the keys yet. Haven’t moved anything yet. Haven’t packed anything yet.) Changed out of my good top and put on a well-worn fleece tunic top after I got home (which I don’t care if I dribble spinach dip on) which helped to thaw me out. The electricity was flickering on and off earlier this afternoon (I’d be willing to bet that pickups and telephone poles figured into it somehow), but they seem to have sorted that out. There are some navy beans that have been calling my name all afternoon and I put off heating them up because of the electricity shenanigans, but here directly, I’ll go see what they want. There’s some wild rice with mushrooms in there, too. Also a pair of tuna salad sandwiches. I may make another travel mug’s worth of hot tea and do some serious noshing.

I have this thing where I make tuna salad sandwiches, wrap them in cling wrap, and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight before I eat them. (I’m on the spectrum. Quirks come with the territory. Some are backed by sense or logic; some, like that one, spring forth fully formed like Athena from my neurodiverse little noggin.)(A logical quirk is if I’m making a lunch meat sandwich with cheese, I always put the cheese on first and put the rest of the cheese away before I even get into the lunch meat. If I get into the meat first, then I’m handling cheese, part of which is going back in the package, with meat juice on my fingers. It’s called hygiene.)

The packers are coming tomorrow to pack the dishes. I’ll be packing books tomorrow, too. Hopefully I’ll get my keys tomorrow and I can start moving things over. I’ve got four days to pull this whole move thing off and I really need to stick the landing.

Things be fixin’ to get busy . . . .