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.

To Do: 1. Gird Loins

Girding one’s loins is the biblical equivalent of fastening your seatbelt, it’s going to be a rough ride (to misquote a classic). It’s 1. on the To Do list for a reason. Had my PET scan yesterday (piece of cake). This morning, my oncologist’s office called to tell me he wants to start chemo when I see him on the 24th. For those who are playing at home, I’m scheduled to move to my new apartment on the 27th/28th, which I explained to them, and the oncologist agreed to see me on the 24th to give me the results, but start the chemo a week later on the 31st, the particulars to be mailed to me. The chemo drug he wants to use is bendamustine.

I’ve already emailed my VA PCP about prescriptions for odansetron (anti-nausea drug) and loperamide (generic Immodium, anti-diarrhea drug) to get the govermental agency molasses moving. If she can prescribe it, fine. If she has to have a prescription from the oncologist, then I asked her to have her nurse call me with a fax number so I can call his office and have them fax the prescriptions over. The thing is to use these drugs to prevent side effects rather than treat them after you’ve already gotten them, so I need to have the drugs in my little hot hands before the 31st.

I see the oncologist, as noted, on the 24th, and see my cardiologist on the 26th, which is the day I’m supposed to be able to move into my apartment. (I need to remember to give a release of information to the oncologist to release the PET scan results to my cardiologist, since my heart was part of what got PET scanned and PET scans will show stuff about the heart that cardiologist want to know. I also need to remember to tell the cardiologist I’ve done this.) So, the plan is to start moving stuff over in my wagon on the 26th. But here’s the thing. Nothing has been done to the apartment yet.

They are supposed to lay LVF floors, change out a shower pan, switch out appliances, replace obviously water damaged window sills, replace obviously moldy wallboard (they assure me the water leak has been repaired) and reinstall a wall HVAC unit, but none of that has been started, and as of today, they’ve got 10 business days to get the apartment ready for me to move in. The movers are already scheduled. The water guy is scheduled to move the reverse osmosis water unit and most importantly, I’ve got three days to sort things out and figure out which end is up, unpack dishes, hang pictures, and put everything away, before I start three days of chemotherapy administration on the 31st. I’ve got to get this move right the first time and really stick the landing.

In the meantime, I’ve noticed a gradual but noticeable increase in how quickly I get tired and how tired I get. The CT scan I had in August showed lymphomas that were an inch in at least one dimension, and the oncologist evidently got so excited about the results of the PET scan (the CT scan located the tumors, but the PET scan shows which ones are growing and how fast they’re growing) that he wants to start chemo in two weeks. That tells me I’m fairly rapidly accumulating a tumor burden which is siphoning off more and more of my energy.

The last 8 days of January are going to be nothing if not interesting. They’re also going to be exhausting. Maybe I need to amend my To Do list: 1. Rest Up. 2. Gird Loins. 3. Get My Rear In Gear.

All the News That’s Fit to Print

Sorry for the dearth of updates. Here is a progress report.

I have been instructed by the physical therapist, the occupational therapist, and the social worker that the very worst thing I can do for her is to do everything for her. I’m to make her do as much as she can for herself. I am not to fetch and carry for her, but make her get up and get things for herself. Lying in bed/recliner all day and being waited on hand and foot is how she went from living totally independently by herself and walking without any assistance (and driving!) in May to being wheelchair-bound and being “maximum assistance” in all her activities of daily living by July, having a sore bottom by August and a bedsore on the back of her heel by September.

Earlier this week, the home health person that changes the dressing on her heel requested that she be taken to a wound care doctor (which I was going to ask about anyway — she’s had that open wound for over a month now). She got us an appointment and we went yesterday. It was a big production. Carillon has wheelchair vans and will take you to doctors’ appointments. It was “freezing” yesterday (46 F/ 7.7 C) so we had a fleece jacket over our sweatshirt, and a lap robe over our legs. We go down to the lobby where they pick us up, put her in the van and lock down the wheelchair with straps and lock her in it with a seat belt. Off we went to the doctor. (Oddly enough, the driver, who has worked for Carillon for 6 years, already knew the address of the doctor we were going to.) Since we were new patients, we had the usual ton of paperwork to fill out. (I made her fill out most of it.)

The purpose of the visit was for the doctor to assess the wound and cut away all the dead tissue to minimize the risk of infection. The wound bled freely after he did this, which is great. That means she has a good blood supply to her foot and the chances of the wound healing completely are good. He ordered an x-ray of her foot (to make sure there is no infection in the bone underneath the wound), and an ultrasound of her leg (to make sure she has no clots or blocked blood vessels in her lower leg). But, he commented that the fact that her wound bled freely suggests there are no clots or blocked blood vessels in her leg, which she is at risk for because she spends so much time in her recliner. He also wants her to get what is called a “Multipodus boot” to offload the heel as much as possible when she walks.

At some point, the home health folks are supposed to come out with a portable x-ray machine and a portable ultrasound machine and do both these tests in the apartment, so that will be exciting. (You can bet this service won’t come cheap!) They will also get the boot for us. Once she has this boot, she can start wearing a shoe on her right foot, which means she can graduate to the Rollator. Once she’s built up enough stamina, she can start using the Rollator to walk downstairs to lunch. (I’m sure she’s noticed she’s the only one in the dining room in a wheelchair, but about 20% of the people there use 4-wheel walkers of some kind. I’m hoping her desire to “fit in” will help us make the transition.)

It’s such a big production for her to use my computer (She had to get up and go get in the wheelchair so she could sit at the desk, my chair had to be moved out of the way, I had to change to another mouse because she can’t work the one I use, etc.) that I’ve gotten her a (reconditioned) Kindle Fire 10-inch tablet. I’ve gotten it all set up with her email, Facebook, and a web browser. I’ve uncluttered the “desktop” as much as I can, putting all the zillion icons she doesn’t need or want into a folder called “Stuff.” (Amazon, like Apple, considers you a captive audience and constantly bombards you with “buy me!’s.” Of course, the programs that do this can neither be deleted or disabled.) I also put her some solitaire games on it, too. The new skills she gets to master is to learn how to use a touch screen, and how to get into and out of programs. I had gotten a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to connect to my TV for when I set the TV up with a Bluetooth dongle, which I haven’t had time to do. I was able to get the keyboard to talk to her tablet (when all else fails, read the instructions!) so she can type on a regular keyboard instead of poking at letters on the touch screen (which, for a touch typist, is incredibly frustrating!). I’ve ordered her a lap desk, which comes tomorrow.

She still spends 60-70% of her waking hours vegetating in her lift chair, and consistently resists my attempts to get her to do anything for herself, like carry her glass/cup back to the sink, get her own water, etc. It’s an uphill battle. I’m the one who catches flak for trying to get her to follow her therapists’ treatment regimens. I have succeeded in getting her to dress herself and hanging up her gown in the morning, although I do have to put her socks on and help her with her slacks. She is so kyphotic and has lost so much flexibility and muscle tone due to age and inactivity that she can’t get her foot up high enough to put her socks on, and I’m afraid she would pitch over onto the floor if she tried to lean over to get her feet into the legs of her slacks.

So. That’s where we are at nearly three weeks out. There is no knitting news because I haven’t had time to say boo! never mind sit down long enough to try to knit. Sorry. I doubt there will be any knitting news for the foreseeable future. It took me three days to put this post together.

Home Truths

Mom moved into the apartment on the 18th. We’ve almost made it through the second week. We’ve given Amazon a lot of “Dang, I didn’t realize we’d need one of those, we’d better order one” business in the past two weeks. We’re still in the process of getting it all.

In a way, it feels a lot like having to go back to work, except I don’t get to go home at 5 o’clock and have the rest of the evening to myself in peace and quiet. I have maybe an hour to an hour and a half to myself after I put Mom to bed to read and listen to some music until I’m too tired to keep my eyes open any longer. There’s going to be little if any knitting news for the foreseeable future. I just don’t have time anymore.

I discovered the first day that my drinking glasses are too heavy. Of course they are. They’re glass. She’s been drinking out of styrofoam cups for two months.

I’m having to work on my frustration tolerance. Mom blows me off when I tell her something, but if her various therapist tell her the same exact thing, she will pay attention to them. Both her OT and PT therapists took me to task for waiting on her hand and foot. As they rightly pointed out, all that does is encourage her to vegetate in the chair. They’ve instructed me to make her do as much as possible for herself.

They tell her to get up and walk more and she promises she will. She’ll take a turn about the room on her way back from the bathroom, but then, ten minutes later, it’s “Will you bring me this or that thing.” I’m the one who has to tell her, “No, you have to get up and get it for yourself.” Then I get to take the hit for doing what the therapist told me to do. As I’ve said before, she’s not as helpless as she thinks she is (or, being human, pretends she is) (Yes, she is a bit of a Diva). The Halloween decoration on the door says “The Witch is In.” Yep. Guess who.

We have a TV situation. She has her TV, which is about 10 years old, in her room, and it is hooked up by coaxial cable to the building’s cable service (the same service she had at Carillon House). However, my TV, which is in the “living room” is too new and doesn’t have a coaxial connector, so it can’t be hooked up to the building’s service. My TV only gets the TV shows that are on the streaming services I subscribe to (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Magellan TV, Acorn TV), so (a) “it’s too complicated” for her to operate it and (b) she can’t watch sports or game shows on it (see below). This situation is only temporary, though. Negotiations with an ISP/cable provider are in progress, we’re told, and hopefully we will have a new service by the first of the year. Whatever service they take will require a cable box to get it. The coax cable will connect to the box, and the HDMI cable will connect the box to the TV.

The basic problem is that Mom’s hearing is such that she has difficulty following dialog, especially if the speaker is a woman or a child, and she has never been able to understand anybody with any kind of accent at all, which includes Americans with any kind of a regional accent except Texan. So it’s too difficult for her to watch any show that requires you to follow dialog to know what’s happening. For years now, all she’s ever watched was sports and game shows because neither requires you to be able to understand what people are saying to know what’s going on. So finding anything for her to watch on my TV was problematic. We had been confined to nature documentaries or biographies of composers she likes, and old musical movies like “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “Funny Girl” on Amazon Prime.

About five or six years ago, I tried to get her to use closed captioning, but her TV was about 15-20 feet away from her chair and she couldn’t see the captions well enough to read them, so she gave up. (Rearranging the furniture was “too much trouble. Forget it.”) This Saturday, I suggested closed captions again, we tried them, and as she is now sitting less than 10 feet from a 55-inch TV screen, she can easily see them well enough to read them now, which means she can now follow dialogue. The first season of the old Carol Burnett show is available for free on Amazon Prime, and that was a big hit. Now she’s on season 2 of “Downton Abbey” — which is something she would never have watched before even when she could hear, because she couldn’t have understood the British accents. She’s actually caught up in the story now since it doesn’t matter if she can’t understand the accents, because she can follow the dialog through the closed captions. Win/win.

Her toilet has been problematic. It’s too low. I had some grab bars installed, but the way the surrounding walls are, it’s hard to get grab bars low enough on the one side. The other wall is too short to get a horizontal grab bar out where she can get hold of it, and she doesn’t have the strength in her arm to use the vertical one that’s there. (What she doesn’t realize is that the reason she’s having a hard time getting up is because she’s lost the strength in her quads from spending so much time during the past two months lying in bed and sitting in the chair.) (Two weeks of inactivity is all it takes before you start losing muscle mass.) I’ve already noticed she has had less and less difficulty getting up as time goes by and I don’t have to help her anymore. By having to use her legs to get up from the toilet, she’s building those muscles back. Again, when I tell her this, I’m full of prunes. When the therapist tells her, she listens. Nevertheless, I ordered a bedside commode which came yesterday. I assembled it, removed the bucket and put the seat and frame over the toilet to make it easier for her to get up. I’m afraid it’s going to be a step back, but there it is.

My hair lasted exactly eight days. Because of its length, it took 20 minutes to wash and about five hours to fully dry in the air (it’s too fine and flyaway, and blowing it dry absolutely destroys the ends). I washed it Sunday, and it became immediately apparent that it’s a luxury I don’t have time for anymore. I got it all whacked off this past Tuesday, and now I have to put “product” on it to keep it from sticking straight out from the sides of my head because of where the stylist had to cut the natural curl to get it short enough. (I hate having to put goop on my hair! It gets all over my pillowcase, and then on my face.) But now it takes maybe 15 minutes to air dry, if that long.

About three days after she moved in, at the direction of the therapist, I stopped pushing her around in the wheelchair and told her she has to use the walker now, and get up and go around the apartment by herself. Not a popular rule. Tough Love is hard, y’all.

Yesterday, we started having her dress herself as much as she can — she can’t get her feet into her slacks (even if she could, she is so kyphotic that I’d be terrified she’d pitch forward onto the floor) or put her socks on. That much I will do, but she has to do the rest, including hanging up her gown.

She has a pressure ulcer on the back of her heel from over a month of spending most of her time in bed at The Garrison, and another month of spending too much time in the recliner at Carillon House, and she can’t wear shoes because of it. Neither place got her up on a regular basis and made her walk with the walker. The only time she ever used a walker was when the therapist came. That did her no favors at all.

The other bone of contention is meals. As I’ve mentioned, she has lost her sense of taste. This is NOT due to COVID but is because her poor little 97-year-old taste buds have just flat worn out. The only thing she can taste now is sweet, and sweets are all she wants to eat.

And of course, all her friends who come to visit her bring her sweets — cake, brownies, cookies, candy, etc., and she fills up on that and then doesn’t want to eat the things she needs to eat to maintain good nutrition because they taste so bland. (The dietitian cautioned me that she is about 30 lbs overweight and that all this extra weight is making her back problems as well as her mobility issues worse.) Another uphill battle.

They have a rule here that you cannot walk around sock-footed or in house shoes in the common areas. You have to wear regular shoes. It’s a health as well as a safety thing. I am determined to get her heel ulcer healed and get her shoes she can wear that don’t aggravate the newly healed tissue. Once she can wear shoes again, she can walk with the walker down to lunch and back, and break her dependence on the wheelchair. In the meantime, her mean old daughter is making her wheel herself down to lunch — which the therapist explained is good exercise, not just for her arms and shoulders, but for her lungs and her heart.

We need to build up her stamina again. She was living on her own, driving herself places, and was completely independent in May of this year. I know she’ll never be able to reach that level again, but she can go a long way toward it. The first step is to finally convince her she’s not as helpless as she thinks she is.

Like I say, Tough Love is hard, y’all.


It’s a FO!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Did It Again

You saw it coming, didn’t you.  Showed you a little “proof of concept” piece for a rectangular shawl I’m calling “Short, Sweet and Nubby.”  And isn’t the yarn I tested the pattern on a nice color of purple?  Well, guess what?  That yarn isn’t just purple.

It’s Sike-a-Delic!

So, I just couldn’t stand it.  Casted it on (99 stitches), and I’ve been working on it for a couple of days now.  It’s worsted yarn on US9(5.5 mm) needles, so it goes pretty fast.  Nearly at the end of the first ball.  I have six regular size skeins and a gigunga skein of this yarn, so I’ll have plenty.

I really wanted a rectangular shawl today.  I was chilly about my upper body and shoulders and, so I put on The Assassin’s Daughter shawl, but it was too “all encompassing” and consequently too warm.  A rectangular shawl would have been just right.  I have two triangular shawls in my wardrobe — Malguri Morning, and The Assassin’s daughter. I have no rectangular shawls in my wardrobe.  See?  I need to do this one right now.  Never mind that I have humpty zillion other UFOs, some of which are rectangular shawls.  No.  I have a large gap in my shawl wardrobe which I must fill right now! Sigh.

Stuff I need to do:

  • Rake my back yard and put the rakings in the dumpster. (Monday and Tuesday are predicted to be in the low 80’s F/26+ C, so that’s when I need to do that thing.)
  • Do a major sort out on my yarn stash, with a rearrange of storage units, a sort through and weed out of yarn, do a realistic frog-it-or-finish-it sort, and frog the stuff I know I won’t finish.
  • Block a bunch of knitted shawls and send them to their new homes, which entails getting out the folding banquet table, the steam iron, and blocking mat. (Do ASAP before hot weather sets in.)
  • Make two lap robes. I have the blankets.  I just need to haul out the sewing machine, the banquet table, and sew the lap robes.

One of the Lucky Ones

I’m one of the lucky ones right now.  Because of where I live in Texas, my power has not gone out.  My town’s electricity is provided by a municipally-owned utility.  This article gives a more accurate explanation as to why so many Texans are without power right now, than the “Texplaining” our governor and his cronies have been doing.  We are having yet another infestation of carpet baggers, most of them locally grown, I’m sorry to say.

It’s currently 19F/-7.2C at 8 o’clock in the evening, heading to a low of 9F/-12.7C.  Supposed to get up to 28F/-2.2C tomorrow (Thurs), and 50F/10C on Friday.

I comply with the emergency power guidelines as a matter of course.  I only have on the minimum number of lights I need to get around safely in my house.  My heater thermostat is always set on 68F/20C.  I’m wearing two layers of fleece (long-sleeve shirt and vest) on my core and flannel leggings as well as a lap robe.  I have socks and slippers on my feet.  I can go to fingerless gloves if I need to.  I have lap robes in every room,  shawls til the world looks level, and an open weave blanket on my bed.  I have candles.  I have enough food to last me a month.  I should probably check to see if I have a manual can opener, though . . . . .

 

The North Wind Hath Blew

And we hath had snew . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above is what I woke up to on Sunday morning.

The Smiley-Face Bush on Tuesday

It was still there on Monday.  Even though I had a cardiac rehab session scheduled, I called and told them I wouldn’t be there.  I wasn’t about to get out with the roads in that condition.  A significant percentage of the people in my town don’t know how to drive in snow.  An equally significant and overlapping percentage of them drive like maniacs. *

Fortunately, when I went to the cardiologist on Tuesday, the roads were clear, even though there was still a lot of snow everywhere else.  I got caught at that light and was able to get a shot of the Smiley Face Bush with a snowy comb-over.

After I got home, I washed my hair and was pfaffing about on the computer while it dried when the VA called.  Could I come get a COVID-19 immunization on Thurs at 1:30?  You betcha!  So, now it’s Thursday evening and I’m post first jab of the Moderna vaccine.  I’m due for the second jab on Feb 11.  My mom got the first shot of the Pfizer last week and she had no side-effects at all, not even soreness of the injection site.  I notice my arm’s getting a little sore, but then the fact that the guy shot me right on the point of my shoulder might have something to do with it.

Because my hair is fine and fly-away, and prone to split ends, after I wash it, I let it dry in the air.  It’s probably due in part to chemo hair and the shampoo I use, but lately as my hair dries, it tends to poof, and I get a case of the Roseanne Rosannadanna’s something fierce.  I have this lavender/coconut stuff I put on the ends to keep them from splitting.  Not only does it make the drying of the locks a somewhat fragrant process, but it works pretty well at keeping the ends from fraying.

I swear I have at least one bowl of knitting by every chair in the house, including on my nightstand.  I spent most of Sunday snuggled in bed drinking hot tea, playing games on my Fire tablet, reading, and knitting. That little bed table on wheels has been the best $45 I’ve spent in a while.  I have a plug strip with a 12-foot cord mounted to the underside of it, and that’s where I charge my tablet, my phone and my earbuds.  Ditto the bed wedge.  Since I have to keep my heater on 68 F/20 C, or I can’t afford the gas bills, it gets a little chilly in the house, especially in that back bedroom.  The duplex I live in was built in the 1970’s and is (not) insulated accordingly.  It was 66 F/18.8 C in my office when I went in at 3 o’clock  this afternoon to boot up the computer, and the high was in the 50’s F/10’s C today.

Still working on the infinity wrap.  It’s getting to be about 20 inches long now and I haven’t even used up one skein yet.  That ball in the bowl is what remains of the first skein.

Now that the piece is getting kind of long, rather than having it flopping about on my lap, I’ve rolled it up and have used a large stitch keeper to safety pin it into a more compact bundle.   This is a good trick for when you’re knitting a long scarf to keep it from flopping all over the place.

This yarn is a DK called “Ragg Time” by Green Mountain Spinnery, in the “Bessie” colorway. It’s a double stranded yarn, with one strand a constant black  and the other strand variegated through several shades of blue.  Makes an interesting fabric.

*That line from the Beach Boys' song "Fun, Fun, Fun" comes to mind -- "makes the Indy 500 look just like a Roman chariot race . . ."

Not Off To A Good Start

Yesterday, a small minority of delusional/irrational/irresponsible idiots acted out in my nation’s capital and embarrassed and dishonored this country that I and other members of my family have proudly served.  They also brought dishonor on the flag of my native state in the process.  I neither support nor condone their actions and consider their behavior  beneath contempt.  That’s all I’ll say on the matter.

I made Julekuler again this year, the little knitted Xmas balls.  I pulled the pattern graphs up on one monitor and used a sticky note to keep my place, so I could catch up on some of the channels I follow on YouTube on the other monitor.   By the way, if you’re into colorwork and want to take a bash at these little Xmas balls, you can download the pattern and charts for free here.   Arne & Carlos have also put out a whole book of patterns for bigger Julekuler.

Santa visited my house this year and got me a new lo-o-o-ng toaster.  I kept the short one, though, for when I want to toast square slices of bread to make sandwiches. (I never toast more than two slices, and toasting them in the long toaster is overkill and not energy efficient.)  I have mounted a small plug strip with its own fuse to the underside of my cabinet to accommodate all these electrical appliances.  The plug strip is the only thing plugged into that outlet.  The microwave is plugged into a different outlet on the adjacent wall. I guess I’m going to have to get more of that avocado green cotton yarn and knit a cover for the long toaster now.

Saw this.  It was spot on.

I had so much fun earlier in the week.  At about 6:30 Sunday evening, I ran some hot water at the sink to thaw out the sweet/sour sauce for my spring rolls and there was no hot water!  I checked the water heater and the little light that’s supposed to be on and blinking when the pilot light is lit, wasn’t.  Sunday night, woke up in the middle of the night, reached for the light switch on my bedside light.  No light.   Fortunately, I keep a little flashlight in my night table drawer just in case.  I checked the ceiling fixture and my outage was in the bulb and not in the electricity. Did what I had woken up to do, then pitter-patted barefoot to the utility room to get another light bulb. The plumber was able to work me in Monday morning and came to look over the water heater and relight the pilot light on it. There seemed to be no overt reason the pilot light went out and the water heater wasn’t that old (2016).  By then, I was running late for rehab.  Went to brush my teeth and my electric toothbrush wouldn’t work.  Changed the batteries, and it still wouldn’t work.  Had to brush my teeth manually. (!)    After I got back from rehab, I futzed with my toothbrush and finally got it to work.  Must have been a gremlin loose in the house.  It seems to have moved on, thankfully.  I think I know where it went.

This is why knitters should always keep a crochet hook handy even if they don’t crochet.  (You can click on the pix to enlarge it.) Instead of frogging the whole shebang back about three inches just to fix one stitch, I dropped that stitch off the needle, frogged it back to the mistake, and used the crochet hook to pick it back up again.

That’s the infinity wrap I’m working on. It’s also a case in point for the value of pausing every so often to check over your work so you can catch a mistake sooner than I caught that one.

I’ve knitted 18 inches’ worth and still haven’t used up the first ball of yarn yet.  Once I do, I’ll know for sure if I’m going to have to get another skein of yarn, but I don’t think I will.  I’ve already got six skeins total, which should be enough.  Yarn chicken on a grand scale.  It’s long enough now I’ve had to roll the bottom up and pin it with a large stitch holder to keep it from flopping all over my lap.

Weatherwise, we’re looking down the barrel of  a winter storm.That’s snow in the forecast for Sunday, and lows in the teens through Tuesday.  The humidity is supposed to be 91%, but not in my house it isn’t.  Not with my heater coming on every 20 minutes.  When I go to get up from my computer desk, if I don’t remember to take my ear buds out before I take the lap robe off my lap, I get some DIY electroshock treatments from the static electricity.  Gets your attention, I can tell you.

I only read 142 books last year, and only one so far this year.  I need to get on the ball.

I’ll leave you with this:

Happy Happy, Sad Sad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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