Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Funky Laprobe

I've finished the knitting, but still have six dozen ends to run in - one for each square. It was about 2/3 done when I showed it to Alyssa a few days ago. Her reaction was like that of the Geico gecko when the company executive holds up the suit they want him to wear. But Lexi immediately pointed out the square that she loves. Actually, there are three or four squares using that particular yarn in combination with another thin yarn - two starnds of the miniscule fuzzy nylon one that feels so good and one strand of fingering weight acrylic or cotton. It does feel wonderful. There are also several different 'eyelash' yarns (Lexi wanted to know if they were really made from eyelashes), as well as other textured yarns. This is the type of project that you look at sometimes while you're working at and think, "I like that," and other times you think, "Ugh." However, the finished product usually looks pretty good.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's been a week again

since I last posted. I keep meaning to do it more frequently, but sometimes don't
Above is the group of women I met with last Wednesday night to lend them my Weave-it and other small looms. I also gave them about ten pounds of cotton, linen, silk and wool yarns to weave squares to 'sell' at the Walk through Bethlehem in December. It was interesting sitting in on their meeting and hearing about their upcoming projects, including Relay for Life.
On Friday, I went to a noon Eucharist service at St Martin's Church in Mayfield. That is the church I belonged to while I lived in Mayfield and when I first moved to Milburn, but we got so small that we, along with the bishop, decided to close it. The Diocese has not found a buyer for the building yet, so for the past few months our rector at Grace Church in Paducah has come down on the third Friday of the month to celebrate the Eucharist and then lead a Bible study on the readings for the day. I have always forgotten about it before or had a scheduling problem, but I finally made it there Friday. There were six of us, including the priest. Three of them were people who have moved (or moved back) to Mayfield in the four years since St Martin's closed, so I had not met them before.
Lexi spent Friday night with me, and we picked up some of the little sticks in the yard on Saturday morning before Alyssa and Trevor came to store some things (Christmas stuff, I think) in my back shed and to take Lexi home. I was going to pick up more sticks today, but it was so windy I figured more will probably be falling, so I might as well wait. I want to be able to do some mowing when I get my mower back from the repair shop, without running over too many things. Lexi and I filled the wheelbarrow twice and dumped it into the sinkhole in the back yard. The more I try to fill that hole, the bigger it gets. By then I was tired and hot, and the boys next door had come out to play basketball, so I let Lexi join them. Before I even got into the house, Alyssa came, so Lexi didn't get to play much basketball.
My oncology visit in Paducah on Monday was routine.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Treatment Rooms

The one at the Cancer Group's main office in Paducah is large with a dozen large recliners complete with pop-up shelves on both sides with build-in cup holders. The one in their Mayfield office, where I was today, is small and crowded. It has four recliners like you find in private homes and six regular chairs like you often find in waiting rooms. One of those six is reserved for 'drawing blood.' Today there were eight of us there getting stuff dripped into our ports.

When the nurse asked the woman in the chair next to me her name (they want to make sure they give the right medicine), she said Kathy Howard. After the nurse hooked her up and left, I asked Kathy if she was related to Sam and Peggy Howard. They are her father- and mother-in-law. Sam has been one of the regulars at the Senior Center for five or six years. He's a retired dairy farmer, who never developed any hobbies, so when he had to retire because of some health problems, he was sort of lost. That's when he started going to the Center, and it has been a very good thing for him. Peggy doesn't go there with him, because she has her sewing and reading to keep her occupied at home, although she has gone on trips with the group many times. They are some of the nicest people you could meet.

There was one woman there today for the first time, so she had a lot of questions. Some were just general which any of us could answer - like is it OK to bring a bottle of water or soda - yes. But some related to her specific therapy. Kathy was able to answer those because she is approaching the end of her chemo following breast cancer surgery, which is what that woman was beginning. There were several other conversations among us patients today, as well, which made the time pass quickly.

After I left the Cancer Group, I dropped off a lawnmower to be tuned up. It was a struggle for me to get it into my car this morning by myself, but I managed. The man at the repair place lifted it out like it was nothing.

Then I went to the car repair place for an oil change and lube. Tim said it would be about 45 minutes before they could get it in. That was fine with me, because I wanted to go to Chicago Pizza to get some lunch. By this time it was close to 1 pm, so I was the last person to eat from their pizza buffet. Things had been sitting there for a while, but I'm not too fussy. When I got back to the garage, the mechanic was just backing my car out and parking it. What perfect timing!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Time flies

whether we're having fun or not. Forty-three years ago today I was in Misericordia Hospital in west Philadelphia PA awaiting the birth of my first child. Carmen Delight arrived at 5:06 pm EST. She weighed 9 lbs 5 oz and was 21(?) inches long. Carmen, what length does it say on you birth certificate - the one from the hospital with your footprints and my thumbprints? She was five days old when we went home. Going down in the elevator, someone asked her name. As soon as I said Carmen Delight, I thought that if you changed the 'n' to an 'l' it would sound like something you could buy from the Good Humor man. We stopped at a diner for supper, and the waitresses thought she was several weeks old because she was so big. She has a couple of cousins who were even bigger at birth.

And now that baby is a computer technician (is that the right term, Carmen?), mother of three twenty-somethings (well, Bobby's not quite there yet, but he will be in July) and grandmother of two beautiful little girls - ages 7 1/2 and 3. Unbelievable!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lexi went to a funeral

for the first time today. Her other great-grandmother died on Tuesday. Madelene was 81 and had Alzheimers. She was Lexi's dad's dad's mother, and Lexi knew her quite well. Lexi is old enough to have observed Nanny's downhill slide for the past year or two.

I know that in the general scheme of things each of us has four great-grandmothers - her other two died quite a few years ago, one before she was born and the other when she was a year old. So now I'm the only one left. She also has one great-grandfather left - the others all died before she was born. Her Granddad is her dad's mom's father. He lives near Mayfield, so Lexi knows him well also. I think Lexi's lucky to know three of the 'great-grand' generation. All of my great-grandparents were gone before I was born. Although all of my grandparents were still alive at that time, two of them died when I was a year old, and another when I was about six, so I only really remember my paternal grandfather - and I remember him mostly as a crotchety old man.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Daffodils for Pauline

Pauline is my sister who has lived in Florida for 30+ years. She says she misses the spring flowers. but not enough to move back to Kentucky. I'm a bit different: On cold days in winter, I soemtimes wish I lived somewhere warm, but not enough to forego the spring flowers and autunm leaves.

A couple of days last week, Alyssa asked me to be at her house to meet Lexi's bus and stay with her until either Alyssa or Trevor got home from work. One of those days I was sitting in the sunroom knitting when she got home. She greeted me and then walked into the living room. I thought she'd put down her backpack and come back out to the sunroom, but she didn't. She also didn't turn on the TV or ask for a snack. After a few minutes I got up and went into the living room. This is how I found her. I love it! She had the book in her hand with her thumb marking her place when she got off the bus, so she had started reading on the way home. It's a book they are reading as a class and discussing. She likes to read, but she also still likes to be read to. When she spent Saturday night with me, she asked me to read to her after she was in 'bed' (the couch in the living room). I read the first two chapters (only 17 pages) of The Frog Princess by E D Baker.
Saturday afternoon, Alyssa and Lexi met me at The Market House Theater in Paducah. The play we saw was Ramona Quimby. It was cute. I know Lexi liked it. Then we had supper at Steak and Shake, and Lexi came home with me. I took her home after church on Sunday.
Today was the beginning of the fourth cycle of Velcade treatment. Dr Winkler said that all the tests I had recently showed that there is still myeloma in my bones and kappa and lambda proteins in my blood, but not as much as two years ago, so he called it a partial remission. I'll still have to continue the treatments, perhaps for the rest of my life. I find I'm a little bit jealous of the people who have a finite number of treatments. Oh well, c'est la vie! These doctor visits and treatments are just the way my life has become. I'm making up for all those years when I hardly went to doctors at all.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

OK, I'm ready

To meet with the women at the Nazarene Church two weeks from tomorrow night, that is. When I was getting all the Weave-it and other small looms together, I discovered that I didn't have enough long needles for weaving. So last Monday, when I was in Paducah for my Velcade infusion, I went to Hobby Lobby and Michael's. Neither of them had anything suitable. During the week, I thought that perhaps quilting stores might be the right place to look. Yesterday, after letting the tech prick my finger to find out how 'thick' my blood is and then discuss my coumadin dosage with the nurse, I went to Quilt in a Day. I didn't find what I need there, but I had a nice chat with the owner about our fiber pursuits. From there I went to Quilter's Alley. I think it was the first day of work for one of the women there - the other was definitely training her. They had exactly what I was looking for (I had been carrying one of the needles I've been using with me to show people what I was looking for). It's called a 'trapunto needle.' I'm going to keep the packaging this time, in case I forget when I need to replace needles again.
I have three sizes of the Weave-it looms - 4 inch, 2 inch, and 4.5 inch. The largest one is made of wood and is meant to be used with heavy yarn for making rugs. The trapunto needles do not have large enough eyes for such yarn, so I thought of using a large crochet hook, but that wasn't successful. Looking around for something to use, my eye fell on a wire heddle for the floor loom. The actual eye of the heddle is not particularly large, but the 'eyes' at the ends for putting it on the rails of the harnesses/shafts are quite large. I tried using the heddle as a weaving needle, but it is too pliable to work well. Then I tried looping one end of the heddle through the eye of a large tapestry needle and doubling it back. The tapestry needle is stiff, of course, but that arrangement didn't work well either. Then it occurred to me that I could just loop wire through the eye of the trapunto needle and twist it to make a large eye, but the 15 guage wire I have on hand is too thick. So I figured I'd buy thinner wire next time I'm in town. But then I had another idea - try a coilless safety pin. IT WORKS!! So, I'm ready.
This is another small loom - isn't it cute? You turn that handle on the side to create the 'shed' to weave the weft through. It works more like a floor loom than the Weave-it does, but makes a four-inch square as well.
And finally, here is the ROYGBV laprobe that I made a few weeks ago. Lexi couldn't understand how a circle (as it appesred on the circular needle) could become a square.