Friday, June 26, 2009

My fiber week

I met with other fiber people four days in a row!

Monday - LAFA
The Lake Area Fiber Artists met at the Janice Mason Art Museum in Cadiz. When we've met there before, we were always in the basement, so that's where I headed. The door was locked, so I knocked, and knocked, and knocked. Then I started pounding with my fist. I finally decided that they must be upstairs, so I went around to the front of the building and knocked on the main door. In less than a minute, Jan opened the door for me. When Mary saw me, she asked why I didn't go to Murray and ride with the ones from there. I said I felt like driving myself. She said there had to be more to it than that, and suggested that maybe her driving had scared me last time I rode with her. I told her that her driving has never scared me; I just wanted to drive myself.

Tuesday - knitting at the Ice House
The Ice House is the home of the Mayfield Art Guild. I often go there to knit on Tuesdays. Jo was in Evansville, so it was only Melanie and me. Melanie is not a knitter - she makes dolls, etc. She's been working on 'garden fairy' type dolls recently - beautiful stuff!

Wednesday - knitting at the coffee shop
After my appointment at the Cancer Group for bloodwork, I decided to go downtown to Market Square Coffee to say hello to Valerie and return a book (The Friday Night Knitting Club) I had borrowed from her a couple of months ago. I also had a piece of baklava and a cup of coffee. I planned to go to Michael's after that and then go home, but Valerie said there would be several ladies coming in about 1 p.m. to knit, so I might as well stick around. I told her I might be back.

The trip to Michael's was to use a coupon I had. About six months ago, at Lexi's insistance, I entered a contest sponsored by Lion Brand Yarn and Michael's Arts & Crafts. Recently, I got my consolation prize - a large (14 x 21 x 7.5) tote bag with the Lion Brand trademark in both sides, and a 20% off coupon from Michael's that had to be used by the end of this month. After the discount, I spent $19.51, but I did get the yarn I need to make sure one of the shawls I'm working on now will be the length I have in mind for it, plus a couple of other things.

I went back to the coffee shop and enjoyed spending a couple of hours with the other knitters, most of whom I had never met before.

Thursday - Charity Knitting
The monthly meeting of the Presbyterian/Episcopalian charity knitting grup. I was there with four Presbyterians. But again it was nice to chat with other knitters.

Neither LAFA nor the Charity Knitting Group will be meeting in July and August.

Yesterday I also did some mowing. When I used the mower last week, it cut out on me and I couldn't get it started again. I let it cool down; I checked the gas level and the oil level. Finally yesterday morning I pulled out the manual that came with the mower. One of the possible reasons for not starting that they listed was the spark plug wire not being connected. Now why hadn't I thought of that? I'm old enough to have done a lot of mowing with mowers for which disconnecting the spark plug wire was a way to turn them off. That's what the problem was. It had cut off when I was mowing under the lilac bush. I guess a twig had caught the wire and pulled it off. As soon as I reconnected it, the mower started right up. I mowed for about 45 minutes (one tankful of gas) then, and another 45 minutes a few hours later. I should do more today, but it now looks like we're going to get some rain.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not My Day

At least not at the beginning. My oncology appointment was at 11:30 and they like me to get there about fifteen minutes early to have blood drawn. The office is about 26 miles away, so I would normally have left home between 10:30 and 10:45. However, I needed to go to the drug store first to get the anti-nausea pill I need to take with the VelCade. The Cancer Group faxed the prescription over last week, but the Drug Store said it had to be preapproved for my insurance to pay for it. Since it was after 5 p.m. and the Cancer Group had already switched their phone to answering service, the pharmacist said she would call them the next day and tell them that. I came home and forgot about it until this morning. When I realized that I had heard nothing from either doctor's office or pharmacy, I decided it might be wise to leave at 9:30. It was! I went first to Davis Drugs, then to the Cancer Group, then back to Davis Drugs with a new prescription and a copy of some pages from a Medicare document that the nurse said should solve the problem. The pharmacy didn't agree with her on that. They had to check their Medicare book and call Medicare about it. They're still not sure how much Medicare will pay, but they dispensed one pill and did not charge me anything -yet! When they find out how much Medicare pays, they will have me pay either $5.60 or $30. They can only dispense one pill at a time, so I will have to call them a day ahead of my VelCade treatments to have one ready for me to pick up before I go for my treatments. They will dispense from that same prescription, but each pill will cost either $5.60 or $30.

OK. So that problem was solved. I got back to the Cancer Group just before my 11:30 appointment time. I checked in and went to the treatment room for the nurses to draw blood through my port. My port and/or my body didn't cooperate, so I went to the lab to have the technician draw the blood from my arm. There was no problem there (I have good veins in both arms), but my blood has gotten very thin. Dr Winkler changed my Coumadin dosage, and I bought 8 oz of broccoli (high in vitamin K, the clotting factor) salad at Kroger and had it for my supper.

But then it got better: The proteins in my blood are at normal levels. Dr Winkler even used the term 'remission' - I'm almost there, but we'll continue the treatment to kill off more of the bad plasma cells.

In the treatment room, I overheard a nurse talking to the man in the chair sort of diagonally across from me. I heard Thalidomide and Revlimid, so I asked if he is a myeloma patient, too. Yep! He said the Revlimid had caused him chest pains so he had gone off it, but is going to try it again. I know I've heard that there are a lot of myeloma patients, but he's the first one I've met.

It was after 2 p.m. when I got out of there, and I hadn't had lunch. I wanted to go to Big Lots and Kroger, so I decided to go out to that area and see what restaurant appealed to me. I got a veggie lover's personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut. From there I went to Big Lots and Kroger for my 'big' monthly grocery shopping (third Wednesday of the month is my Social Security day). Between the two, I spent approximately $100. When I got back in the car to drive home, the clock in the car read 4:35. I couldn't believe it, but my watch said the same. So it was close to 6 by the time I got home and got the groceries put away. Long day!

Although it's only a little after 8 p.m., I think I'll go to bed and read. It will feel good to lie down.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Productive Day

I started out knitting while listening to Morning Edition and Performance Today on public radio. Late morning, after I realized that the sun was out and we probably wouldn't get more showers, I went out to do some yard work. The north end of the house was somewhat shaded, so I pulled ground ivy from around the air conditioner and then started pruning the holly tree. I used hand pruners, long-handled pruners, and a pruning saw. I also used an aluminum and canvas camp chair because it's too hard to get up and down otherwise. I'd work until I got hot and sweaty, then sit on the back porch, drinking water and knitting. After I cooled off, I'd work some more. I got 14 or 15 inches of a scarf for the Seaman's Church Institute done that way. By mid-afternoon, at least half of the fenced area behind the house was in shade, so I went to the station and got gas for the mower. I mowed that area, as well as the areas around the burn barrel, around the shed, and between the shed and the parking area. After cooling off a bit following that, I realized it was time to come in and listen to All Things Considered and Marketplace. I have one of the patio chairs in the living room, so I can sit there when I'm sweaty and not get my couch stinky from it. I changed knitting projects when I came in. I'm working on a pie-are-square shawl with a lace pattern. I'm near the bottom and have over 600 stitches on the needle, so each row takes me about half an hour. About 500 of those stitches are in a lace pattern with a fourteen-stitch repeat, so I keep counting to fourteen over and over and over again.

Now it looks and sounds like we're going to get more showers!

Even though it's very early, I may get in bed - or rather on it, since I'm not using the air conditioner and therefore I don't need any covers - and read for a couple of hours.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

SHS Class of '59

That's Stanford (KY) High School, which no longer exists - now part of Lincoln County High School. I enjoyed talking with my classmates, some of whom I hadn't seen since graduation. No one looked a great deal older - or a great deal younger - than everyone else. There are varying amounts of gray in the hair (except for those who dye theirs and one who wore a wig because of chemo), and varying amounts of hair on the guys' heads.

This was only our third reunion. There was one at ten years, which I missed. My sister was getting married two months later, and I couldn't afford to make two trips from NJ to KY in that short a time. Then we had one at 31 years, which I attended. Now at 50 years, someone has suggested that we have one every year.

There were 29 of us who actually graduated together, but at least six others whom we consider part of us for various reasons. About a third of us have died, which seems like an awfully large percentage considering we're only in our late-60's.

I started my weekend trip on Thursday driving 365 miles to my college-friend Wanda's near McKee KY. I had a wonderful visit with her; it had been 14 years since we'd been together. Then on Saturday morning I drove from there to Danville, where we had the reunion. I drove through Stanford to see what has changed - mainly a new hospital and a new Wal-Mart. I also went to the cemetery and visited my parents' graves.

Sunday morning I had breakfast with one of my classmates and his wife at Shoney's. We were expecting more classmates to join us, but they didn't. After breakfast I drove to my sister's house in Louisville. I got to see my new grand-nephew who was born on June 1. Even normal-size babies are tiny, aren't they? His big brother, who just turned four and has been prepared for months to have a little brother, may be a bit jealous at times. His parents and grandparents will make sure he gets enough attention, though, so it will work out OK.

We're still talking about the Ice Storm:

As I drove around the state, I was watching for signs of ice-storm damage. There was not much along the southern part and in the mountains near Wanda's home, but more as I got west and north. As an aside: the last couple of hours of driving in Thursday and the first hour and a half on Saturday reminded me that I really like flat land. We have some hills around here, but they're little ones. Back to the ice storm: as I drove home on the Western KY Parkway Monday, I saw more and more trees that look like they belong in a Dr Seuss book.


Sunday morning on my way to Louisville, I missed the 151 shortcut to I-64. I was in the wrong lane and didn't have time to get over when I realized that was where I should turn. I thought about turning around and going back, but decided that it wasn't very far to the intersection of the road I was on and I-64. I had no sooner gotten up to speed on I-64, than I had to slow down - really slow. You know what they say about our crazy American idioms in which we say we drive on a parkway but park in a driveway? Well, Sunday I parked on a parkway. While we were creeping along, a towtruck went up the shoulder beside me. Then in a few minutes I saw a helicopter descending. At that point, we all turned off our engines - we weren't going anywhere with a helicopter on the road in front of us. I rolled down the window and later opened the door, grabbed my knitting and got a few rows done while we waited. After tha helicopter lifted off, we started moving slowly. At the accident scene there were three fire trucks, an ambulance, police cars and that towtruck. I caught a glimpse of a red car in the trees of the median, but don't know if there was a second one or not.

Monday morning, at the end of the Parkway entrance at Leitchfield, there were signs of the sort that usually say "mowing zone," but the first ones said "accident ahead" and the second said "right lane closed." Then there were traffic cones to make sure we all got in the left lane. Finally there was the accident. It involved two tractor-trailer rigs. One looked like it was going to go east in the west-bound lane, while the other had its rather beaten-up nose up against the trees beside the road.

I enjoyed my trip, but was glad to get home. I mainly rested yesterday, but I did go out a pull a few weeds. Then about 6:15 I met Lexi, Alyssa and Trevor at a Mexican restaurant in Fulton to celebrate Lexi's eighth birthday. They had a mariachi band playing. They came to uor table and sang Happy Birthday to Lexi.


Today was an oncology visit for me. Last Wendesday, when I went into the treatment room, the nurse brought me a pill and said that it was for nausea. Medicare now wants me to take that pill rather than have the drip they've been giving me. She said she'd call a prescription in to the drug store and from now on I would take the pills with me when I go for my Velcade. When I went to the drug store an hour later, they said that she hadn't called yet. Since I didn't need it until today, I said that I'd pick it up before I went to this appointment. I went there this afternoon and they still didn't have it. So I went to the Cancer Group to get a paper prescription. The nurse said she'd forgotten to call, but that they could give me from their supply today. Then she called in that prescritpion as well as one for potassium. When I got to the drug store, they had the potassium ready but not the anti-nausea drug. The pharmacist said that the insurance require a pre-approval for that one. She tried to call the Cancer Center, but it was after 5 p.m. and the phone was on the answering service. She said she'll call them tomorrow and let them know they have to get pre-approval. It's good I don't need it until next Wednesday!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pam's Prayer Shawl

When I was at the Senior Center about a week and a half ago, I was telling Pam, Tamy and whoever else was in the foyer at that time about the prayer shawl ministry (an update on that follows). Pam said, "I need a prayer shawl." I started to say that I was working on that, but I wasn't sure that the one I was working on was for her. It will be a lovely shawl when I finish it, but it is tan and rather drab. Last Monday I was thinking about that when I lay down on the couch - not for a nap, just because I was tired of sitting up. I dozed off, of course, and when I awoke I knew that I wanted something colorful for Pam. I went to my yarn supply and got two yarns - one is called Reef Stripe and the other Light Teal. The Reef Stripe has turquoise, coral, medium blue, yellow, and light green; the light teal is a solid color. I alternated two rows each in a stitch pattern that is often called the bee stitch.

I took the shawl with me today when I took the car to the shop (It has cut out on me several times recently and at times the transmission seemed to be slipping.), hoping that I'd have time to take it to Pam. The only thing they found wrong with the car was low transmission fluid level. They put in more fluid and also a gas treatment, and I was out of there a little after 9 a.m. I went to the Senior Center and had several of the seniors and staff members put their hands on the shawl while offering prayers/blessings/good thoughts for Pam. Then I took it to her office and draped it around her shoulders while repeating my favorite blessing from Numbers 6:24-26. Pam said she really needed that today. Her red blood cell count has dropped in spite of the treatment she's been getting, so she has an appointment with Dr Winkler today to discuss other treatment options.

The Grace Church Knitting Ministry

On Sunday May 17, we had the first blessing of prayer shawls and laprobes during a regular service. Libby (the rector) had the shawls draped over pews scattered around the church. Her sermon was mainly an explanation of the prayer shawl ministry, which tied in well with the scripture readings for the day which were about loving and caring for our neighbors. Then she asked anyone who was near one of the shawls to pick it up and hold it to join in the blessing of them.

One woman stopped beside me on her way back from communion and asked if she could buy a shawl to take to her cousin in a nursing home. I told her that they are not for sale, but she could take one for her cousin. She said, "You mean you'd give me one to give to someone else." I told her that is how the ministry works. Even at coffee hour, she was insisting that she couldn't take a shawl without paying for it. I told her to talk to Libby about it. Her husband went to Libby, who told him that the shawls are not for sale, but that he could make a donation that would be used to buy more yarn. That satisfied them. I think that since Libby told the congregation that I had made all of the shawls and laprobes there that day, many people got the impression that I'm the only one involved.

That Monday, another woman from the parish called me and asked if I could use her mother's yarn. Her mother has knit scarves and watchcaps for the Seaman's Church Institute for years, but can no longer do it. I said we'd be glad to have that yarn, and arranged for her husband to take it to the church when he went to a committee meeting during the week. On Wednesday, I got an email from the church secretary saying that he had brought in four tubs of yarn. The following Sunday I looked at the yarn, There are four of the blue Rubbermaid containers that are about 14"x 20" x 15" deep. They are not all packed full, but almost, so it's a lot of yarn.

Last Thursday evening I went to a knitting night with the Presbyterians that I mentioned a few posts ago. One other woman from Grace was there, as well as three Presbyterians. It was a pleasant couple of hours even though it was such a small group.