Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The rest of the shawls

Here are the fronts and backs of two other shawls, plus the detail of the orangey one.

Today I'm mourning the loss of a knitting needle. It's one of a set of five which I use for socks. Since I only use four of them at a time, I can still use the set, but one of them (not the lost one) has a rough spot on one end. They are my favorite set for socks - eight inches long, 2.5 mm in diameter, Rhodo-Cristal Nacre, plastic with a metal core (Pony Pearl makes them now, but their tips are not pointy enough to suit me). I was working on the heel flap yesterday, so was only using three needles - the fourth was in the zip-lock bag and the one with the rough spot was at home. When they called me into the lab to draw blood, I picked up my purse which had the knitting project in it. The others waiting told me that I had dropped my yarn, so I had to pick it up. The needle must have jumped out as well, but no one noticed it. I called Dana at the Art Guild first this morning, because I knew she wouldn't think my question odd. She didn't find the needle there, so I called the hospital. The woman I talked to didn't sound like she thought my question odd either. However, no such item has been found.

My daughter is not going to like this paragraph. She doesn't like the fact that I live next to the town water tower. She's afraid it's going to topple over and wash me away. This spring when I have been mowing near the tower, I have felt drops of water on my head. The new water department guy (son-in-law of the old one) confirmed to me a couple of days ago that there was a leak. They are fixing it today. Well, I guess Carmen will like hearing that it's being repaired.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Shawls

When Alyssa and Lexi were here on Sunday, I had them model some of the shawls I've knit recently. Lexi particularly liked the orangey one. It can completely cover her. I used a stitch pattern with a small amount of openwork in it, and am pleased with the way it turned out. I took a close-up to show the detail, but Blogger isn't letting me upload any more pictures tonight. Maybe it will cooperate tomorrow.


It's still with me. For the most part I'm OK during the day, but some nights have been miserable. I now apply hydrocortizone cream to my chin and right cheek before I go to bed and take two Tylenol (it works better than the pain reliever Dr Pat prescribed). Yesterday, about 9:15 a.m., my chin was suddenly burning and the pain in my jaw brought tears to my eyes. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, so that was unusual. It only lasted for a minute or so, but it was horrible.

Today I had to go to the hospital at Mayfield to have blood drawn to see if I need to adjust my coumadin dosage (I don't, but they want to check it again next week.) After that I went to the Art Guild and talked to Dana (the director) for a while. I hadn't seen her for several weeks, so I was catching her up on my medical problems. That same burning of skin and intense pain in the jaw happened again. Is this going to be a daily thing?

Friday, April 24, 2009

What's blooming now?

Yesterday I picked Lexi up from school and brought her to my house. I then gave her the camera and told her to walk around the yard and take pictures of plants that are blooming. Here's what she found:
Not really blooming, but hosta in two spots - north end of house and north side of shed.
Pinks - south side of shed.
Money plant/silver dollar plant - beside front porch. She's looking forward to the seed pods on these.
Iris - beside driveway. There are more of these purple ones in other places as well as a couple of other varieties that haven't bloomed yet.

Today I finally finished the first round of mowing - now I need to start the second round. I like having the space around me that I do, but I wish it would mow itself!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A most frustrating week!

My computer has not been cooperating with me at all! I don't know if I have all the problems solved yet, but at least I can get online, and I managed to send two messages in Hotmail.

I also had a reaction to some of the medication Dr Pat had prescribed for the shingles. Last Monday, before I left the oncologist's office, I used the ladies room. As I was washing my hands, I looked in the mirror above the sink and noticed that there was a little swelling to the right of my chin that had not been there earlier. I brought it to the attention of the nurses, who called the doctor to look at it. They gave me a couple of capsules of Benedryl and told me to use warm, moist compresses on it. There was little or no change on Tuesday and Wednesday, but by the time I got up Thursday morning the whole cheek was swollen. I discovered that I did have some Benedryl, so I started taking it at regular intervals. I also reread the information sheets from the pharmacy. On the one for the Lanacaine patches, whose purpose is to control itching, I had previously missed the direction NOT to use it if the skin is broken. I had a miserable night Thursday! I continued the Benedryl, but needed more of it. I didn't want to go into a store looking the way I did, so I had Alyssa buy it for me and I drove to her house to pick it up. Today there is only a small amount of swelling left, so I did some grocery shopping after my oncology appointment. I took a picture of myself on Thursday, and showed it to the nurses today. I also told them what I had figured out about the cause.

The roofer came on Tuesday afternoon and nailed up some of the shingles I had saved. I have not had any leaking since then, but I'm still putting the dishpan on the couch every night and when it rains during the day. I really do not want my 'knitting nest' to get wet.

It's early, but I think I'll crawl in bed and read. I'm in the middle of a novel, but I got a book today that I'm going to read instead. It's titled Knit with Courage, Live with Hope and was written by Annie Modesitt, who is a well-known knitting teacher, knitwear designer and writer. I'm particularly interested in this book of hers because it is a memoir of the year 2007 during which her husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. I have read some of her blog posts from that time, but wanted to have the book as well.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

No more dripping

I woke up about 1 a.m. trying to think of some tool to make a small hole in the ceiling to drain that puddle. I figured I needed an auger. The electric drill is too dangerous with water involved. Wondered if I had my father's brace and bits to go with it. When I got up about 7 a.m., I went out to the shed to check on that, but I guess those were some of the things my brother took when we were dividing our parent's stuff. Then I thought of a corkscrew! But did I have the right type? Yes, there was one that should work, so I set up the step ladder and made that little hole - easier to fix than if a larger section of plaster fell, right? The little stream ran for about ten minutes and then tapered off to a drip. It was a little after noon when I realized that I hadn't heard a drip for a while. I certainly feel better about that situation now. Why didn't I think to do that earlier? And the roofer said he'd be out Monday afternoon to cover the bare spots, and also that it won't be long before he gets to my job.

Now - do I want to finish that last row and bind off that shawl - about 700 stitches per row? Or do I want to get in bed and read? I think I'll finish the shawl tomorrow and read tonight.

Friday, April 10, 2009

What a lovely day -

to sit at home and knit! Actually it did start out nice, but then went downhill. By 9 am they were giving tornado warnings for a large area around me, and it got quite dark and thundered and lightninged, but then brightened up again in a couple of hours and got dark again later. The tornados that did touch down were quite a distance from me. Alyssa works at a children's daycare center, and she said they were paying close attention to the weather news.

A couple of hours ago, I was sitting in my 'knitting nest' when I saw something drop onto my sweater. It looked like bird-doo! I looked up and saw that the ceiling was dripping! I'll be getting a new roof because of the damage Hurricane Ike did last fall. I called the roofer last week to see if I was getting close to the top of his list, and to tell him that I have started getting brown spots at the edge of my living room ceiling (most of the shingle loss is over the front porch). He said he'd come and cover it, but he hasn't showed up yet. I called and told his wife about the dripping. I'll need to call him in the morning. This spot on the ceiling is new today and is six or eight feet from the other brown spots.

I have a plastic dishpan on the couch, the waste basket from the laundry closet behind the couch, and a trash bag over the back of the couch to direct any drips there into one of them. Most of the drips are going into the dishpan.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I went to an ear, nose and throat specialist today. Dr Williams' office had set this up. I have gotten hearing back in that right ear (the left was not affected by the shingles). Dr Rowland said that since I got to Dr Williams quickly when the shingles broke out, and since she got me on the antiviral and steroid medications right away, I should have no permanent damage to my ear. They did a hearing test with me sitting in a soundproof room pushing a button when I heard a tone. The right ear was about ten percent weaker than the left - I think that is not all because of the shingles. They will retest in a few weeks.

Actually, I think I'm doing pretty well with the shingles, although there seems to be both breaking out and healing going on at this time. I did not have any pain for a few days, but about 2 o'clock this morning, I had to take a pain pill. C'est la vie!


Yesterday I finished the gold shawl I posted about last week. Today I worked on the other two that I started the same day - one at home, and one at the doctor's office. I want to finish at least one of them before I start anything else.


Yesterday I did two approximately one-hour stints of mowing, with lunch and knitting in between. The exercise is probaby the reason I slept very well last night - but why was I sleepy today?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dogwood Winter

That's what someone called the little cold spell we're having now. My dogwood is not looking very good. It lost several branches to the ice storm in January.
But the dandelions under it are doing quite well. Actually, I like dandelions.

Remember my lilac that I thought I was going to lose? It looked like it had split in half and lain down to die.

This is what it looks like now! it'[s beautiful!

But these Lidoderm patches for my shingles are not! They do help to keep my hands off the stuff, though. And also keep it from itching, I guess. The 'blisters' on my tongue and the inside of my right cheek have pretty well healed, so it's mainly the lesions on the outside. I think I'm getting a little hearing back in that right ear, as well, so I guess the eardrops are working.
When I saw Dr Winkler yesterday, he prescribed a fungicidal mouthwash in addition to the things Dr Williams had prescribed on Friday. It's one you 'swish and swallow' so it hits the esophagus as well as the mouth. It's fruit flavored - UGH! If I need to get it refilled, I'll need to ask if it comes in mint or citrus instead.
My bloodwork looked good, so I've started round number five of the Velcade treatments.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chicken Pox and Shingles

During one of my wakeful periods last night, I found myself reaching up to scratch my shingles. I thought, "Stop it, Adele, you're not that little girl who can't keep her hands off her chicken pox." Fortunately I have only three scars from that - one on my forehead, one on my left eyelid and one on my lower back. I think chicken pox is one of the things my older sister Pauline brought home from school in first grade. She shared it with me and our little brother Jim. Wasn't that generous of her?

When my kids were growing up, they usually caught the childhood diseases from the Jordan girls next door, who got them from their cousins in south Phila. Since her kids already had the disease, their mother babysat my kids even though they were sick, so I didn't miss much work. I've written about Marie before (3/17/07) as one of the angels in my life.

I have more shingles breaking out on my cheek, above my ear, and into my hair, and Alyssa said yesterday that there is some in my ear. There's also some swelling which is most evident in my lower lip.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Although I'm waiting for the roofer to let me know when he will start putting new ones on my roof, that's not the kind I'm most concerned about today.

Early Tuesday morning, I started having pain in my mouth. It seemed to come from one tooth, so I figured it needed to be pulled. By Tuesday evening, I even took some Tylenol - I rarely take anything for pain. Wednesday morning I called the oral surgeon who had extracted two teeth for me two years ago. With the medications I'm on, especially the Coumadin, it's not a simple thing. I made an appointment for him to examine the tooth next Wednesday afternoon. He also needs lab reports and medication lists from the cancer group. I continued taking Tylenol. This morning, before I even got out of bed, I realized that I have sores in my mouth. About ten o'clock I discovered that I also had sores on my lip and chin. Mouth sores is one of the things they always ask about at the cancer center because a lot of cancer medications cause them. I called Dr Winkler's office and described my problem to one of my favorite nurses. She talked to a nurse/practitioner and called back to say that since there were sores on the outside, they probably were not from the chemo. They needed to be looked at, but there would be no one there this afternoon to do it.

So I called Morgan-Haugh Clinic to see if I could get an appointment with my family doctor. After about ten minutes on hold, I decided to go to the clinic and settle for the Doctor on Duty if I couldn't see Dr Pat. When I got there I said, "I guess I'm here for the Doctor on Duty, but I 'd really rather see Dr Elliot-Williams." The receptionist checked the schedule and asked if I could come back at 1pm (it was about 11:30 then). I went to Big Lots - they didn't have what I went for, but that didn't keep me from buying anything (I really did need those batteries.) and then back to the clinic.

Anyway, as you've already concluded, I have shingles in my mouth. She prescribed several things, including a pain medication and some drops for my right ear which seems to be stopped up and not hearing anything as of this morning.

After I got home, I called the oral surgeon and cancelled that appointment next week. The pain I've had the last few days probably has nothing to do with my teeth, but only with the shingles. On Monday I'll find out if I will still get the Velcade, etc while I have shingles.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Monday, I had a bad case of 'startitis' and started three 'Pie Are Square' shawls. The one above was already on the needles. For it I'm using an unmarked one-pound skein of sport-weight acrylic (I did the old clorine bleach test) I found in my stash recently. I'm using three different lace patterns in it. Since it is sport-weight and I'm using a size 7 needle, it's going to take me a while, but I think it will be beautiful.

This is the first one I started Monday. It is worsted-weight cotton and I'm using a size 10.5 needle. I'm just doing a simple 'net' stitch.

Here's the second one - cotton flake yarn - size 11 needle - garter stitch.

And number three - cotton with a touch of polyester - looks like terrycloth - size 10.5 needle - garter stitch.
These three yarns are all from an auction I went to 20 years ago. I paid a nickel a ball for 496 balls of cotton and cotton-blend yarns, so the yarn for each shawl cost me about a quarter. Each shawl will have a simple lace edging, the pattern for which is burned into my brain, at the bottom. I like Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pie Are Square shawl because it hangs on one's shoulders so nicely without slipping. Once you learn the method of making it, you can plug in different stitch patterns and make each shawl unique.
There is also a 'random' shawl on the needles in shades of yellow and brown. I just haven't felt like working on it for a few days.

And I have finally finished working the revised Praying Hands chart and uploaded the chart and pictures of my samples to the Shawlministry Yahoo Group. A few weeks ago, someone else posted a link to her Praying Hands shawl - picture of the shawl and pattern written out in words. I prefer to work from charts, so I printed out her pattern and made a chart in Excel. When I worked it up, I was not satisfied with it, and neither was someone else. When someone mentioned that it looked like the cross-stitch chart she had, I figured that adding a row after every three rows would probably make it better for knitting - stockinette stitches are not square. So I modified the chart and worked it again. I still wasn't satisfied with it, and thought I might work on it some more. This morning, I pinned my two samples to the back of the couch to photograph them, and realized that I needed to wait about half an hour for the sun to stop streaming in the window. I sat down across the room to knit. When I looked at the samples from that distance (7 or 8 fee), they looked pretty good; I've just been viewing them from too close. The samples are roughly 14 inches square, so they'll be good doll blankets for Lexi and Rose.