Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year - 2008

Last day of the year! And I had an appointment with my oncologist. The Cancer Center was quieter than usual. There was only one other person in the treatment room when I got my Zometa; there are usually at least half a dozen. My kappa and lambda light chains were OK in my blood work four weeks ago, so Dr B is just going to keep an eye on those numbers for a while longer, and not refer me for evaluation for bone marrow transplantation. My white cell count is low, so she wants another CBC done next week. My blood is a little thinner than is should be, so she told me how to adjust my coumadin dosage. She also wants to adjust my Thalidomide dosage, partly because I'm having slight tingling in my fingertips when I type - sounds like the beginning of neuropathy caused by the Thalidomide.


She spent Saturday night here. Yesterday I awoke about 7, but decided not to get up until Lexi did. I opened one eye several times when I heard her cot creak, but I must have dozed off at some point, because I didn't hear or see her leave the bedroom. Next thing I knew, she jumped into the room and said (loudly), "Breakfast is served." She had pulled a stool over to the refrigerator and got down two boxes of cereal (Doesn't everyone keep the cereal on top of the fridge?), and actually put the stool back! She used the last of the milk, so she rinsed out the container to be recycled and threw away the cap. She was very proud of herself, and even had to tell the priest about it after church.

Her vacation is coming to an end. School resumes on Wednesday. I think she has enjoyed the time off, and is happy with the things she got for Christmas.

Local Disaster

Last Wednesday, the Carlisle County courthouse burned. No on was hurt. There are fewer than thirty people who work in the courthouse (it's a small county), and they will be housed in other places temporarily. I'll need to find out where to renew my car registration before May. I went into Bardwell after church yesterday to see what it looks like. I was surprised to see a crew there with a couple of pieces of construction/destruction equipment, knocking down the parts that were still standing - on Sunday!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I've been enjoying a few days by myself. Lexi's Christmas vacation started at noon on Wednesday, and Alyssa dropped her off at her grandparents' house on her way to work a few hours later (her daddy lives next to them). She'll be back in Milburn tomorrow evening for the rest of the vacation. At 4 pm tomorrow, she will be a sheep in the Christmas pageant at my church. The pageant will be followed by a eucharist service. Since I will be going to that, I'm skipping church today - thirty miles is a long way.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cleaning out

I'm probably the only person who has acrylic rings on her eucalyptus. That's Lexi's work, of course.

I think I'm developing a reputation! And I guess I helped spread it this morning. I decided that it's time to get all of the hats, socks, children's sweaters, etc that I've been knitting the last few months out of my house. Except for the watchcaps and mariner's scarves that I make specifically for the Seaman's Church Institute, I thought I'd donate them all to Paducah Cooperative Ministries. Then I decided to see if I could donate some things more locally even than that. I called the local state social services office and asked if they knew of a local agency that could use such things. They suggested the Family Resource Center at the school, so I called that agency. They were glad to accept my work, so I drove over there and gave them a grocery bag full of handknit items. That's the 'spreading the reputation' part.

When I got home from there, I called Paducah Cooperative Ministries, told them that I had some handknit items to donate, and asked if someone would be there tomorrow to accept them. I wanted to take them on the same trip that I take bottles and cans to the recycle 'event.' No one will be there tomorrow. The lady asked where I live. When I said Milburn in Carlisle County (people get us confused with Melber in Graves County), she said, "You go to Grace Church, don't you?" I had not said my name, but she knew about me because I had donated a bunch of stuff several months ago. That's the reputation part. Anyway, I'll take that bag of stuff to church with me on Sunday, and ask Matt (parish administrator, or whatever his title is) to get it to PCM.

Then I can start all over again, using up more of my stash. I've pared it down by about 37 pounds this year. That's what I've knit. I've also given some yarn away - yarn that I know I don't like using. I should lose that much in body weight!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Shawl

Last Wednesday (12/5) morning I got an email from my daughter saying that her workplace was again providing Christmas gifts for women in a shelter. The card she had drawn was from a 50-year-old woman, who wanted a shawl in brown or peach, not wool. Carmen wanted to know if I had anything like that on hand. I didn't, but have plenty of brown in a cotton/silk blend, with probably polyester thrown in. From experience, I know that it is machine washable and dryable. I figured that if I set everything else aside, and used size 10 needles and an easy lace pattern to keep it interesting, I could knit a shawl in a few days. I finished it yesterday, and will get it in the mail today. It's about 28 inches wide and six feet long. The yarn is some I got at an auction for a nickel a ball, so what I used for the shawl only cost me fifteen cents. I hope it's something like what the lady has in mind. It helped that Alexis was with her dad and grandparents for the weekend, so I had no distractions. I'd knit for an hour or two and then get up and do something else for about half an hour. The weather has been so nasty that I had no desire to be outside.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Good Day

Last night was Lexi's first night sleeping in the 'new' house, in her own bed, which I'm sure she has missed for the past two months. This morning Alyssa dropped Lexi off a little after 6 am, because she was counting inventory at a Lowes store in Mayfield.

After I put Lexi on the bus, I had a second cup of coffee, did a little housework and crocheting, and then headed to Mayfield about 10 am. It was not the most enjoyable drive ever. In Fancy Farm I got behind someone who drove about 50 mph (certainly better than most of the farm equipment goes, but I like to go a little faster) and thought he should take his half of the road out of the middle. I was afraid if I tried to pass him, I'd wind up in the ditch. The road is rather narrow, and, typical of KY two-lane roads, does not have a shoulder. I was glad when he turned into the driveway of Mills Manor (nursing home) just on the edge of Mayfield.

I didn't need to go to the library, because I'm only on the third of the four books I checked out last week. Instead, I went to the Senior Citizens Center. I haven't gone there many times since I retired as the bookkeeper there almost two years ago. I got a lot of hugs, answered a lot of questions, and was glad to see some unfamiliar faces, too. When I went back to the director's office to say hello, she told me that someone had recently brought in a bag of crochet cotton, and asked if I wanted it. Of course! They are always collecting stuff for their semi-annual rummage sales, now collecting it in the room across (that's one of the simple words that always throws me - does it have one c or two?) from her office. I went in and found that it was a large trash bag and it was full; there was quite a bit of acrylic knitting yarn under the crochet cotton. I dragged the bag while I was in the building, but managed to lift it up a couple of inches when I carried it across the parking lot. Pam said some of the others wanted to throw the stuff out, but she wouldn't let them, figuring I'd show up sometime. I gave Tamy, the receptionist a donation for the rummage sale. I also told her I'm still working on her daughter's crocheted bedspread.

When I got to the Art Guild about 11:15, none of the other knitters were there, but Jo came not long after, then Shirley, and finally Mary Owen dropped by just to say hello. She didn't have any knitting with her; she had errands to run. She did take some of the yarn, though, as did Jo and Shirley. Mary Owen and Jo insisted on giving me some money, but I put that in the Art Guild donation box. We also left some of the yarn and thread there for others of the knitters to take later, and I brought home only yarn that I figured I could use for scarves or watchcaps for the Seamen's Church Institute, and some crochet cotton I have a project in mind for after I finish the bedspread. It looks nice, doesn't it?

I got home a little before three, and wondered if Alyssa would be coming to meet Lexi's bus. I didn't have long to wait. She called to say she was close to home, but was behind someone who was driving in the middle of the road. This was a truck, so it wasn't the one who annoyed me this morning. At 3:15, I went out and stood near the top of the driveway. I figured if the bus driver could see me, he wouldn't feel uneasy about letting a little one off the bus. Alyssa pulled up right behind him, but Lexi didn't see her. When she realized someone was pulling into the driveway behind her, she started running, without looking back to see who it was. I yelled, "Lexi, it's Mommy," twice before she realized what I was saying. They came into the house, and I told Alyssa what I planned to cook for supper. She said that sounded good, so they just stayed here. Alyssa is delivering Domino's pizzas tonight, so Lexi is sleeping here. but Alyssa called a little while ago and said she'd try to get up and come over in the morning to see Lexi before she gets on the bus. If she doesn't make it (she probably won't get home until after 2 am), she'll be over later to do laundry.

After Lexi read aloud to me what she had to for school (she doesn't call the reading homework), she wanted me to read to her. We've been reading from a book of short Paul Bunyan stories. She only wanted two or three of them, and then wanted some other book. I figured it was the perfect time to read How I Saved Hanukah by Amy Goldman Koss. As we were reading, she wanted to light the menorah. I'm Christian, but I like menorahs; I have four, two of which are Hanukkah ones. So I put one on the table and lit the shammes, then Lexi lit one candle for the first night from it. She had her 'bed night snack' while I continued to read the book. I also read it while she took her bath. She's in bed now, of course, and it's nice and quiet.


Yesterday was my monthly visit to the oncologist. The ratio of my kappa and lambda lightchains (that has something to do with proteins in the blood. but you'll have to Google it to find out more) continues to fluctuate, so she's talking of a possible change in therapy, maybe including a bone marrow transplant using my own bone marrow. For the time being, I'm still on Thalidomide and Dexamethasone.

This has gotten longer than I intended, and it's past my normal bedtime, so I'm going to post it and go to bed.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another Move

Yesterday, Alyssa signed the six-month lease and paid the deposit and first month's rent on this house, and moved several boxes of things in. She wants to get everything moved out of the storage building tomorrow, so she doesn't have to pay any more rent on it. She's gone today to pay the deposit at the electric company, among other things. She has a couple of friends lined up to help move the big stuff. One of them has a truck, which is a big help. One of my friends offered the use of her truck, as well, but one is sufficient. The storage building is about a quarter mile from the house, and the shed in my back yard, where there are a few things of Alyssa's, is only three quarters of a mile from it.

After Lexi got off the bus yesterday, Alyssa took her to the house. Lexi's first reaction was that it's small. But when she got inside, she decided that it's pretty big. I think it will work very nicely for them. Lexi will continue to get on and off the school bus at my house. She'll often be sleeping here because of Alyssa's work schedule.

Although it is also in Milburn, the address is Arlington; mine is Bardwell. Strange, isn't it?

Monday, November 26, 2007

They're Home

Alyssa and Lexi got home about 2 o'clock Saturday morning. They had a good trip. They went to Philadelphia on Monday, Wildwood NJ on Tuesday, and NYC on Wednesday. The trip to Wildwood included a visit to Alyssa's dad, who is considering moving out here.

On Friday I drove to Bardwell, the county seat, to get extra keys made for the new lock on my back door. This picture shows the traffic light in the middle of the town. I believe it is the only red, yellow, green light in Carlisle County; there are several flashing lights, though.

If Bob (Alyssa's dad) moves out here, it will be a big change for him, even though he grew up in one of the more rural parts of southern NJ.

"I can weave!"

One day last week, I put in about an inch of plain weave at the end of the piece my friend Shirley had woven when she demonstrated in September, and was going to cut it off the loom. Then I decided to leave it and let Alexis play around with it. Yesterday, I gave her a brief weaving lesson. She was very excited and proud. She wove a little over an inch, and when a friend came over for supper, she had to show him how she did it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rain, rain . . .

I lay in bed for a while this morning listening to thunder, before I finally got up to get my coffee and cereal. It's gray and wet - a perfect day for reading, knitting, crocheting. I'm glad I don't need to go any place, and that I have plenty of books, yarn, needles and hooks.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gift Bags

I'm alone now for a week. Alyssa, Alexis and one of Alyssa's co-workers left after an early supper to drive to New Jersey to visit Grandmom Carmen, Aunt Sara, cousin Rose, and Uncle Bobby. I think Uncle Dominic will also be there for Thanksgiving dinner.
Austin (the friend) has never been 'out east' and is looking forward to spending a day in NYC, which they plan to do on Monday. Alexis is excited about that, as well. Austin's mother offered the use of her car for the trip; it's better than either Austin's or Alyssa's.
On Wednesday, I went to the Hallmark store and bought the series ornaments I've been giving to various family members for years. I really wasn't thinking about Alyssa's trip when I did it, but later decided that she may as well take them along and save me the trouble of mailing them. Instead of digging out wrapping paper, tape, etc., I grabbed yarn and knitting needles, and knit these little gift bags. I'm pleased with the way they turned out, and that's four more ounces of yarn gone from my stash. Carmen and Sara can probably find things to do with the bags after they take out the ornaments.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Election Day

Means no school! So Lexi was with me all day. We left the house some time after 9 am, and went first to the Milburn Fire Department so I could vote. We were not in the area where the trucks are kept, so she couldn't see them, but she did watch as I voted and learned a little (maybe) about the process. One of the poll watchers gave her a sticker that said "I voted." We talked a little about it on our way to Mayfield. She said her PawPaw votes and has given her his sticker before.

Small towns definitely have their advantages. As we were getting out of the car, a man who had just voted told me that there was no waiting. I had figured that; I've never had to wait here. Even in a town the size of Mayfield, there were usually several people ahead of me, but nothing like the lines in Collingswood NJ. Of course in Collingswood I was always voting after work along with all the other 9-to-5ers. Anyway, the man who had just voted asked if I lived nearby, and I told him by the water tower. He asked if I had lived there when the Wilsons did also. I told him I live in the house they had lived in. They are his son and daughter-in-law.

When we got to Mayfield, the first place we went was WalMart to get the new lens put in my glasses. Now I can see with both eyes!

Then we went to the library. After finding two books, Lexi made friends with a boy (probably 7 or 8) and they played chess. They both claimed to know how to play. I think they had checkers in mind, because I heard "king me" quite often. They really seemed to be enjoying the game.

After checking out six books (3 children's and 3 adult) we went to Taco John's for some crispy tacos and a bottle of orange juice for Lexi, which we took to the Ice House to eat. It was close to 12:30 when we got there. We wound up spending about three hours there.

Lexi took the camera and took some pictures. She took one of Dana, the Art Guild director, busy answering the phone, and one of Jo knitting between registering people who brought in artwork for the next exhibit.

And no group of Art Guild pictures would be complete without a picture of Claude (Claudia de Monet), the resident mascot. She was a just-grown-up cat when I move to Mayfield twelve years ago. For the past several years, the Ice House has closed from Christmas until the end of January, partly to save on the heating bill, but also because when it was open then, there was almost no traffic in. Claude has spent that time in various members' homes. Last year he was really spoiled. The people even made a little booklet of his stay with them, including pictures.

Lexi was also delighted to find this picture on the wall in the office. She did it in water colors, painting with her fingers, last Monday and asked me to take it with me on Tuesday when I went to the Ice House to knit. I was glad to see it there, as well, because I realized after I had taken it in that she expected to see it hung.

There is no exhibit this week. I think tomorrow is the deadline for entries for the annual juried exhibit. Then the jurying will be on Thursday, and the show will be hung on Friday and Saturday. It will open with a reception and presentation of prizes on Sunday.

Lexi also likes to take pictures of herself. You can really see where the front teeth are missing in this one.


That's a pile of black walnuts Lexi is standing on. Alyssa and I picked them up on Saturday. While we were picking them up, we heard more falling, but there are probably fewer than 200 left on the tree. Anyone who wants some is welcome to them - you just have to come and get them.

This is Alyssa and Lexi's cat Ginger. Do you think she's comfortable? She was lying at the end of the sofa while I was knitting one afternoon. Behind her, on the hearth, you can see part of my collection of sheep.


My monthly oncologist visit was Monday. My blood is a little too thin, so my Coumadin dosage has been adjusted, and I will have my blood tested again in two weeks to see if it needs further adjusting.

The doctor didn't say anything more about the possibility of a bone marrow transplant, and I forgot to tell her that I think Little Rock is my preference. She did say that if my kappa or lambda (I forget which) light chain (I think that's the right term) is up again, she will probably change my medication. It was normal in September, but up in October. For now though, I'm still on Thalidomide and Dexamethasone. Today was the first of the four days I'm taking the Dexamethasone this month, so in a couple of days, my vision will be messed up even with the new lens. The eye doctor said that is probably because the Dexamethasone, a steroid, increases my blood sugar. It might be nice to have a different medication without some of those side effects.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Blessed All Hallows

I know - we usually say All Saints Day nowadays, but to get the connection to Halloween, it's necessary to say All Hallows. I'm reading a book to Lexi now that has an apostrophe between the two e's to indicate that the v is left out of the word. The book is by Rumer Godden and is called Mr. McFadden's Hallowe'en. I have other books that I want to read to Lexi after I finish this one. When I tried to read one of them to her last year, she wasn't interested in anything that I couldn't read at one sitting. I've been reading poetry to her quite a bit, and one day last week she was talking in rhyme.
The picture is of Lexi in her Halloween costume. Alyssa went to the school yesterday afternoon and helped her dress, and then watched their parade of costumes and was in the classroom for the party. I took the picture in the brief time between their coming home from the school and Nana picking Lexi up so she could go trick or treating with her cousins. I think they go mainly to family. Andy brought her home just before her 8 o'clock bedtime. She had fallen asleep in the car, so her carried her into the house and back to the bedroom. She woke up enough to take off her shoes and jeans, but slept in her shirt.
The neighbor next door brought over a bag of candy for Lexi. I showed it to her this morning, and told her that she'll have to thank him for it. She said she will, and commented that he talks funny. I told her that is because he had a motercycle accident and his head hit something hard.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Eye Exam

I went to the ophthalmologist this morning. My left eye has changed very little since my last exam, five years ago, but the right one has gotten much worse. It has gone from -6.5 to -9.5; most of that change has been in the last six or seven months. There are cataracts starting on both eyes, but it will probably be several years before they need to be removed.

Since my eyes had been dilated, I decided to have lunch in the hospital cafeteria (the medical office building is connected to the hospital), and then to sit in the public area and knit for a couple of hours before driving the 16 or so miles home. They are having a 'health fair' there from 3 to 6 this afternoon and from 7 to 10 tomorrow morning. All the tables were set up, and a few of the 'vendors' were already setting up their displays. I may go in earlier than I had planned tomorow and stop there before my weekly pilgrimage to the library and the Art Guild for the knitting group.

Monday, October 22, 2007

And Now There Are Three

Saturday was the big moving day for Alyssa. She had two friends help her move her furniture into a storage shed here in tiny town (and a few things into my sheds), while another friend worked her hours at Domino's for her.

She has gotten almost all of her and Lexi's clothes organized into the closet and dressers, and I worked on putting the food away. I think she has every herb, spice and seasoning mix available! I think I used to as well, but I've sort of narrowed things down over the years. I'm glad she likes to try different things. She said one advantage of Andy's leaving was that now she could cook more adventurously. He grew up on chicken, beef, pork, potatoes, dried beans and a few vegetables - I think corn is the only one he eats. And he isn't interested in trying anything different. He and his father hunt, so there is always venison in the freezer, but his mother refuses to touch it. She also refuses to let fish be cooked in her house. His dad makes deer-jerky and I guess gives the rest of the meat away. Alyssa brought several pounds here last week and I made a small stew with some of it. I'm glad to have it in my freezer.

To fit the foodstuff on the shelves in the back room (there's canned goods, pasta, etc. as well as seasonings) I had to take some things out to the shed. Alyssa's freezer (not plugged in) is now full of wool. There was enough space in my freezer to fit what she had in hers.


So today Lexi is starting her second week at Carlisle County School. They are talking about drugs, and the importance of staying off them, this week, and having a special 'fashion statement' each day. Today is camouflage - she has a t-shirt. Tomorrow is wild hair, wig or hat. I think she has decided to wear this one. Good fall colors.
Wednesday is the color red; Thursday is the school colors, which we think are gold and maroon; and Friday is pajamas. I don't know if she has any gold or maroon, but that's Alyssa's problem. I really don't like the idea of wearing pajamas out of the house, but I guess I'm terribly old-fashioned.
Lexi took that picture, as well as these of herself and her cat Ginger. It's amazing to me how young kids pick up all the current technology. I guess perhaps we did too, but it has all progressed so far in the last sixty years since I was Lexi's age. When I was six, we lived on a farm in Minnesota. We heated with wood and used karosene lamps for lighting. We had an outhouse, and used a chamber-pot in the wintertime. We did have a pump in the kitchen, but many of our neighbors carried their water from a pump in the yard. My sister and I went to a one-room country school, which had about thirty pupils in the six grades, with one teacher, of course.
Lexi was a little unhappy early in the week, because she thought the new class was ahead of the one she had come from. I told her they might be in some things, but are probably behind in others, and it will all even out over the year. I think it is just the way they are presenting the material. She is already talking about her friends at school, so I guess she feels comfortable socially. She's a pretty gregarious child, so I really wasn't concerned about that.
I think autumn has finally arrived! Leaves are starting to change color and the weather has cooled off. I'm about ready to put away the shorts and bring out the long-sleeved shirts. The black walnuts are falling like mad, especially on windy days like Saturday was. I need to rake them all into a pile. I don't know what I'll do with them after that - maybe put them in the sinkhole in the back yard.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Beginnings

Alexis started her new school today. Alyssa took her there this morning with the idea of just registering her and then taking her to the old one to say good-bye to her old friends. However, Lexi decided that she wanted to stay at the new school. So Alyssa stopped at the old one later to tell them about the transfer and to pick up Lexi's bowl she had done before fall break. I guess the teacher had them make the bowls just before vacation so they would be well-cured by the time they got back, and the kids wouldn't be bugging her about when they were ready. Smart!

Alyssa and I were both waiting at the end of the driveway this afternoon when the bus dropped Lexi off. She had a good day. She has done her homework for tomorrow - a bit of arithmetic and some reading.

Lexi's also been playing with her PlayDough here at home. She did the butterfly this afternoon, and the fish on Saturday. She said the fish is a bluegill. I asked if that was because her last name is Gill, but she said no. Her dad and pawpaw are both fishermen, so she knows that there are fish called bluegills. I think the fish is really cute.

Like most six-year-olds, she likes to act silly. One day last week, she decided to tangle herself up in yarn - a common commodity in this house, and asked me to take a picture of her that way. The yarn isn't quite as evident as I hoped it would be.

I have to be careful what I write about her now, since she reads well.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


I've probably said that here before, haven't I? While I'm taking them, it's OK. I start getting some side effects like edema on about the third day, but not bad the last two or three months. I'm glad I only take them four days during each four-week treatment cycle. The two or three days after I finish them is the worst time. Yesterday was day four, so today is the first day after them. I thought I'd go out and finish the mowing, but I just don't feel like I can - I'm very shaky. The last two days I've mowed for an hour or so, and I enjoyed it. The weather has cooled off so that it was comfortable for mowing - barely broke a sweat. But today I just can't do it. Perhaps by Monday I'll be able to.

So instead I've been reading, knitting, and playing computer solitaire. I'm working on the replacement sweater for Lexi. I'm almost to sewing the shoulder seams. Then I'll have her try it on to make sure her head will fit. At this point I can easily rip back and adjust the neck before I pick up stitches for the sleeves. She found some other yarn in my stash that she wants a top from as well. Perhaps with her living here I'll do more knitting for her. I may also finish the sweater for Alyssa that I started at least four years ago. When I finish it, I may have enough yarn left to make a matching one for Lexi.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New housemates

I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted. I didn't do anything particularly interesting last week. This week, however, is a bit different. I took these pictures a few days ago, but haven't had much chance to post them. You can see how the cypress vine/hummingbird vine has grown over everything that hasn't been moved for a while. Alexis has now freed her bicycle and the walker.

Alyssa and Alexis are moving in with me temporarily. Alyssa is using Dominic's room and Alexis sleeps on her cot in my room. This week is her fall break from school, so she was with me from Monday afternoon after my oncologist appointment until her dad picked her up last night. She was very excited all day yesterday about Daddy picking her up. I had him do a couple of things for me while he was here.

We're putting all of Dominic's things into the shed at the back of the property. It's one that was meant for a riding mower, but since I don't have such a thing, there's plenty of space for other things. I went out there yesterday morning and swept it out, then pulled one of Dominic's Rubbermaid storage containers on wheels out there. The other two containers are heavier, so I don't want to try to move them. One of the things I had Andy do was move them to the back porch. If he had gotten here earlier, I would have had him take them out to the shed, but it was starting to get dark and I didn't feel like going back out there. He made me feel really weak; I didn't want to even pull them, and he lifted one up on top of the other like it was nothing. I guess that a difference between a 23-year-old man and a 66-year-old woman, isn't it? Some of Alyssa's co-workers are going to help her move stuff, so they can move them then. Some of the rest of Dom's stuff Alyssa and I can move by wheelbarrow or luggage cart.


Monday was my oncologist appointment. I'm still doing well on the treatment. However, Dr Balbastro scared me a bit, talking about what may happen in the future, if my reponse to the current treatment stops or reverses. She asked me to think about where I want to go if bone marrow transplant is needed - Nashville, St Louis, or Little Rock. Nashville is closest, of course, but she talked as though Little Rock is best. A friend who used to live in Arkansas told me that Little Rock is really not much farther than St Louis, so I guess I'll choose that clinic. I don't really want to think about such things!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Welcome October

The temperatures are cooling off to mid-80's with mid-50's at night. Nice!

Saturday I did some mowing, and cut down a small evergreen bush that had died. This morning I burned paper trash, as well as the trunks and roots of some bushes that I had cut and killed off two years ago - they were finally ready to come out of the ground without digging. Then I started doing more mowing. I noticed that my neighbor, Robbie, was finishing up the mowing in his back yard (riding mower), and suddenly realized that he was mowing my yard. I guess he did it as a thank you for my telling him that he can drive his golf cart across my back yard. I've been told that he had a motorcycle accident a couple of years ago in which he suffered a brain injury. This resulted in poor vision, a speech problem and a rather halting gait. He was living in Wisconsin or Michigan at the time, but his family brought him back 'home.' His mother lives about half a mile away, and I think he has siblings in the area as well. He doesn't drive a car, but does manage his own mowing, and has a golf cart to go places in this tiny town. I noticed that he was taking it out on the road in front of our houses. That's really not a good idea, since the road is rather narrow and has no shoulders. Also, our shared driveway goes down and then the road goes up and around a curve to meet the main road through what once was the business district. By going across my yard, there's no hill to contend with. At the edge of my yard, he can get on the water tower driveway, which leads out to the main road. Much safer and easier.

Anyway, I continued mowing from rhe south side of the yard and Robbie was mowing from the north side. We had almost met when my mower ran out of gas. As soon as he heard my mower stop, he hightailed it back to his detached carport, turned off his mower, and went into his house - like he didn't want me to thank him. I'll catch him outside sometime soon and say thank you. There's just a tiny bit left now to mow; perhaps I'll back out later and finish up.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I've been working a little at a time on getting Dominic's bedroom and bathroom cleaned. At this point, I have only to clean the bathtub and put a comforter on the bed. I found two comforters in one of the Rubermaid storage bins on wheels that Dom has some of his stuff in. I searched high and low for one of those comforters a couple of years ago; Dom had no idea where it was at that time. Alyssa was here for a couple of hours yesterday to use the Internet, and she helped me with some of the cleaning. I really appreciate that.

Of course there have been several loads of laundry. as well, - sheets, blankets, shower curtain, etc.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I have to be different

So, everyone else is hitting possums (no possum stew, Renee), I hit a shunk. Now my car reeks!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

And He's Off!

Here's Dominic yesterday morning at the bus station in Paducah, ticket in hand, ready to board the bus on his way to New Jersey. From Paducah, he went to Nashville, Knoxville, Richmond VA, Washington DC, and finally Philadelphia. His friend Bob met him there. He'll be working with Bob and living at Bob's mother-in-law's house. Dom has known Paula since he was in his mid-teens, so it's not like he's meeting someone new. I hope this all works out well for him.

So now I'm alone - most of the time anyway. I had only been home long enough to put away the groceries I bought on the way back, when Alyssa called and said she'd be here in a few minutes to drop Alexis off. Having Alexis spend Saturday night with me gives me incentive to drive thirty miles each way to church on Sunday morning. She really likes my church. I do, too, but by myself it's very easy to say that I don't feel like driving that far.

Does she look comfortable? When I got a new computer with Windows XP a year ago, her mom set us four 'user spaces' - Adele, Dominic, Alexis and Guest. In Alexis' space, she put links to three web sites she approves of, so Lexi can go to them when she's here, and play games, etc, designed for her age group.

The headband fell off, and she put it back on differently. Which brings me to head sizes. The T-top I knit for her a few weeks ago (there's a picture of it a few entries back) won't go over head. Today I pulled out a tape measure and measured her head - straight around just above her eyebrows. 22 inches!!!!! She's only six years old! My head is 23 inches, and I've always believed it was large. I took the tape measure along when I took her home, to measure her mom's head. Before I even had the tape completely around Alyssa's head, she said, "I have a big head; so does Alexis." Alyssa's is 22 1/2 inches. No wonder the top won't fit. I don't know whether to take the top halfway apart and re-knit it, or to just do a new one and put that one in the charity knitting box. A completely new one would probably be easier.

FYI: The roadkill of the month for September in far western Kentucky is possum.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My Loom Came Home

Last October, my church put on a small 'Renaissance Fair.' I took my loom and Kimberly, who usually weaves on a table loom, wove on it while I spun on a drop spindle. At the end of the day, I asked Kimberly if she would like to borrow the loom for a while. She said she would, so it has been at her house since then. A few weeks ago Shirley asked if she could use it to weave at The Homeplace 1850, a living history museum in Land Between the Lakes on September 15. LBL is the area between Lake Barkley, created by a dam on the Tennessee River, and Kentucky Lake, created by a dam on the Cumberland River. They have a big loom at The Homeplace, but it is in a naturally lighted cabin that is rather dark. Shirley wanted a portable loom that she could put on a porch and weave in the bright light. Last Monday morning, we went to Kimberly's house and put the loom into Shirley's van. Shirley brought it back Sunday afternoon, so now it's in its usual place.

My loom is a Kessenich folding loom that is about a meter square when set up, so it is pretty easy to move. I bought it about ten years ago. I don't know how old it is, but the nameplate on it has a zone number rather than a zip code. Zip codes were started in 1963. I was in Germany that summer, and wondered what those numbers were that Mother started putting on the end of her return address. I didn't find out until I returned to the US in late August.

This is some of the weaving that Shirley did on Saturday. Kimberly had left a bit of warp on the loom, and Shirley used that. It was threaded in a Rosepath pattern (I'm not much of a weaver, but they both knew what that is), so Shirley used that. She said she lost track of what she was doing several times - you know how it is when you start talking to people, answering their questions. Anyway, there are breaks in the pattern. She said there's still some of the green thread on the bobbin in the shuttle, so I can finish it off with a few picks of plain weave and cut off the piece.


Six-year-old Alexis spent Saturday night with me and we went to church on Sunday. I told her mother that I'd like to have her resume spending Saturday nights here frequently, partly because it gives me an incentive to drive the 30 miles to church. Like many kids that age, Lexi is missing her two front teeth. The bottom ones are about half-way in, but the top omes are completely missing. When she brushed her teeth Saturday night, I noticed that she was mainly brushing across the vacant space. I told her she was brushing where there were no teeth, and she said, "But there will be." I couldn't argue with that.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It Works!

Do you think it's bright enough! It kept me from going back to sleep after I awoke shortly after six yesterday, I wanted to sleep another hour or more, but got to thinking about making a holder for my large water bottle to attach to the lawn mower. As my friend Shirley said on Tuesday, thinking is not conducive to sleep. I dug out all the tiny balls of veriegated yarns left over from other projects (mine or someone else's) and crocheted the holder.

I had a slight disaster with it yesterday. You can see the extra knot in the cord, and my solution to the problem. The holder slid around a lot with the vibrations and movement of the mower and got caught in the space between the two sections of the handle. It continued to swing, of course, and the cord broke. I've now tied a dishcloth there to keep the bottle holder from going into that space. The towel (actually 1/4 of an old bath towel) on the other side is for wiping my hands after I clean out the discharge space when it gets clogged. I can now bend down far enough to do that without pain in my hip. Another piece of that towel is around my neck while I'm mowing to wipe my sweaty brow.


Last night Dominic noticed that my light was still on about 11 o'clock, so he came back to check on me. This is what he found. I had gone to sleep reading. The book is On, Off by Colleen McCullough. I've been reading a lot of mysteries recently, but of what I call the fluff variety - quick, easy reads that you don't have to think about, with 'girl sleuths' who cook or knit or have herb shops. The books include recipes or knitting patterns.

On, Off is NOT fluff. Colleen McCullough is a wonderful writer. I was not aware that she had written any mysteries until I saw this on the library shelf. One of my favorite books (I've read it at least three times) is her The Ladies of Missalonghi. It's short - under 200 pages - and delightful.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm Out of My Gourd

Of course my children (and perhaps my siblings) would probably say I always have been.

The Mayfield/Graves County Art Guild is hosting All About Gourds, its sixth annual juried exhibit of gourd art, with entries from gourd artists from around the country, now through the end of October. I was there today for the weekly fiberarts group, and took a few pictures of works by local people that I could ask permission to put their work on my blog. Ronn and Fred happened to be in the building, which made it very easy to ask them, and I figured Fred could speak for his wife.
In July, Margaret Merida brought a box of these squares and circles of gourd to one of the Tuesday morning fiber-art groups, and sat there sanding them with a spongy sanding block. She wasn't sure just how she would make something wearable with them, but that was her intention. She makes wonderful vests and jackets using quilting techniques, and dyeing much of the fabric herself, so a vest was a natural project for the gourd pieces. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the lining - it's a beautiful fabric.
Margaret taught art in a high school in Louisville for years, and retired to Graves County several years ago. Her husband Fred had an art gallery in Louisville, and is very knowledgable about art. He also is very creative. Last year he had a full size replica of their dog (I forget what breed it is, but it's one of the big ones) made of gourds in the All About Gourds show.
Here are two of his entries this year. This woman is full size. The taller giraffe is Fred's, while the shorter one is by Ronn Moyers, who has a BA in art from Murray State University and is very active in the Art Guild. He was there today helping prepare for the Gourd Patch Festival which will be held on Saturday.
This is the third year for the festival. There will be people demonstrating various crafts, including wheel-thrown pottery, wood carving and gourd crafts. Last year I demonstrated spinning, but I don't think I feel like doing it again this year. There'll also be activities for children, live entertainment, food and other vendors, etc.
This is what I've been working on for the last several days. Nice small, easy projects using up leftover yarn from my projects or someone else's. Each headband/earwarmer takes about two hours and uses less than an ounce and a half of yarn. They are all acrylic; I plan to donate them to the Paducah Cooperative Ministries for the people they serve at their homeless shelter or otherwise.
I'm slowly decreasing the stash - about 32.5 pounds so far this year.
Yesterday was my monthly (actually every four weeks) visit to the oncologist. Still responding well to the treatment. My blood is about the right consistancy, so I'm to continue the Coumadin at the current dosage, and don't need to have it tested again until I go there for my regular visit on October 8.
It is now 14 weeks since my hip replacement. I'm still walking slower than I did a few years ago, but I'm improving. I can also bend a little farther without discomfort - not all the way down to the floor, but close. I managed to cut the nails on the right foot yesterday (I did the left one, the easy one, a few days ago), so I was able to wear socks and loafers today - my feet were chilly this morning in sandals.
We've had some rain most days for the last week, so the grass has resumed growing. I hear my neighbor out in her yard now mowing, and it sounds like the guy across the road is baling hay in his mini-meadow there. The temperature has started dropping, and it's getting dark a lot earlier than it did in high summer. I have the A/C off and the windows open. I hope I can keep it that way for the next several weeks.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Gone to the dogs

Or rather, the dog keeps coming to us. It belongs to one of the neighbors, but in the last few days it has spent a good bit of time on our porch. It also greeted me when I drove up on Tuesday. It looks really comfortable in that chair, doesn't it? Didn't even lift its head when I went out the door with the camera.

We've been having rain part of each day for the last four or five days, so the grass is growing again. I guess we need to take the gas can to the station and fill it up. Of course it's too wet now to mow, but after we have a day without rain, we'll have to start mowing again.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


We're finally getting some rain! Monday afternoon we had a terrific storm here in Milburn, but in Mayfield, 15 miles east, they had only black clouds and a few drops. The wind and the deluge started simultaneously, so I didn't have a chance to lash the porch swing to the post. I'm always afraid it will hit the window when it is blown that hard, but so far it hasn't. The storm lasted almost 15 minutes. One of the lightweight, resin chairs got blown off the front porch. Everything on the back porch is too heavy to move except in hurricane- or tornado-force winds. It's also a little more protected than the front.

When I left yesterday morning to go to Mayfield, I noticed that the wind had done a lot of damage to my neighbor's patio furniture. Several of the chairs were scattered up to 15-20 feet from where they had been, and the umbrella was up-side-down on the ground. Worst of all, the table had been moved and the glass top shattered. That's going to be very hard to get out of the grass.

There was a little more rain yesterday, and it looks like we may get some today as well. I guess the grass will start growing again, and I'll have to mow. I've enjoyed the two-month break from that task.

Monday, September 3, 2007

September - Almost Autumn


I finished the socks for Lexi, and made a smaller pair for Rose, who will be two in late October. She'll have to grow into them, but that's OK.

Yesterday I knit a hat out of some self-striping sock yarn, and then knit a five-stitch I-cord belt with what was left of the ball of yarn. It is too short for an adult, but Lexi might use it. If not I'll find some use for it as a rope.


Dominic burned the paper trash on Saturday. You can see how dry the grass is behind the burn barrel. We had a brief shower yesterday while we were eating supper. And I do mean brief - about two minutes. Not enough to make a difference to anything.

After burning the paper, I started cutting the tent caterpillars out of the black walnut tree and burning them. Of course some of them are too high for me to reach, but at least I decreased the number somewhat. The pecan tree next door has a lot of them as well, and they're all too high for anyone to reach..

Some of the walnuts have dropped already, but they're small ones - not full-grown. I raked them out of the path from the house to the shed so they won't mess me up when I'm walking that way. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the nuts this year. I still have at least half a bushel from two years ago (it only dears every other year) that I haven't cracked.

I took this picture on Saturday, too. Wasn't that sky beautiful?!. The town water tower is beside the back corner of my lot. My daughter doesn't like that - she's afraid it's going to fall on me.

We had the windows open for several hours on Saturday, for the first time in a couple of months. It was really very nice, pleasant temperature, good breeze, but by mid-afternoon, it got a bit uncomfortable, so we closed the windows and turned the A/C back on. It's good to air the place out every so often.