Thursday, October 29, 2009

Strange Dining Experience

One of the side effects of the Revlimid I take is diarrhea (boy, that's a strange word!). Immodium helps, but another thing recommended is eating rice. Yesterday I decided that between my oncology appointment and knitting at the coffee shop, I would go to a Chinese restaurant and have a plate of fried rice for lunch. I have often noticed a sign for one called Wah Shing about a block down from where I usually turn off Jackson Street to go downtown, so I went there. There were about half a dozen cars in the parking lot, but when I walked in there were NO OTHER CUSTOMERS. The cars must belong to the employees. It was about 12:30, so I don't think I had just missed a lunch crowd. The food was OK, but it sure felt funny sitting there by myself. If I decide to have fried rice for lunch again, I'll go across the street to Chong's. I haven't been to that one, but I've been to the one by the mall many times.

While I was waiting (briefly) for my food, I looked at the Chinese Zodiak on the placemat to see what various family members were. Daddy was horse, which seemed appropriate because he loved horses. Mother, as well as my son-in-law, was rat. While the common idea in this country of 'rat' may be appropriate for Bob, I hardly think it applied to Mother. Being six years apart in age, Mom and Daddy were opposites. I think anyone who knew them would find that appropriate. I don't remember what attributes were listed for any of the signs.


When I got to Market Square, I was able to get a parking space almost in front of the coffee shop. That hasn't happened for a while. There were a couple of knitters there whom I hadn't seen for a few weeks, plus a young lady who is a fellow Berea College alumna. She didn't have anything with her to work on, because she didn't know about the group, but she may join us again.


Since I am almost at the end of twelve cycles of Velcade, Dr Winkler has ordered another bone survey (about three dozen x-rays of every bone in my body) and an MRI of my spine. He's also referred me to a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. I've never had one. So next week I have medical things every day but Tuesday. Monday will be the tests. Wendesday I go to the ophthalmologist in the morning and the gastroenterologist at 3 pm. I think that timing should work, even if I have drops in my eyes. Thursday is my oncology appointment, and Friday I see the orthopedic surgeon for a follow-up on my hip replacement.

I won't have the colonoscopy next week, but just give history and be evaluated for posibly having the test. Sixty-eight years old and never having had one, I'm sure they'll say I need it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fair Exchange?

I'm glad yesterday was sunny - great for driving the 65 miles to Cadiz for the Lake Area Fiber Artists meeting. There were only five of us this month. Ellie was working on a quilt, Eileen was weaving shoelaces on an inkle loom, and Jan, Vickie and I were knitting.

Last month, Dorie had asked if I had any cotton yarn, so I took about six pounds of a variety of cottons with me yesterday. Dorie didn't show up, so I told the others to help themselves to the yarn. Vickie was interested, but Eileen reminded her that she's trying to cut down, because in a couple of months she and her husband are planning to start traveling around the country living in an RV. Jan took a couple of pounds of it. She asked if I wanted to trade for a basket she had there. I said, "I have enough baskets. Just take the yarn." A bit later, as we were packing up to leave, Jan asked if I'd like an apple crisp. I said, "Sure," not realizing she meant the whole 9 x 13 pan.

I ate a bit of the apple crisp last night (very good), and took it with me to the Ice House/Mayfield Art Guild this morning. A little bit more got eaten, but the rest is in my refrigerator. I'll be eating apple crisp for the next week.

Alyssa called this morning and asked to borrow one of my sweater drying racks. She joined us at the Ice House and worked on the sweater for herself that she's almost finished with, and then on the cat costume she's making for Lexi for Halloween. I'll have pictures of Lexi in it next week. As she left, I reminded Alyssa to get the sweater racks out of my car. She came back in a couple of minutes and asked if she could have some of the cotton yarn, which I had left in the car yesterday. She has something in mind to make with some of it. I told her to take it all, though I imagine she'll return some of it later.

It has rained all day today. I got into Mayfield earlier than I planned to - Dana was just arriving to open the Art Guild, so I decided to go to Big Lots before the knitting group rather than after. I'm really glad I did, because it wasn't raining very hard then. When I left the Ice House this afternoon, it was pouring, so I sure didn't want to make any stops.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Like Jersey Best

Well, not really. I'm very happy to be in western Kentucky.

On one of the NPR news programs yesterday - probably Marketplace, since the subject was financial instruments - some NJ politician said that New Jersey Turnpike bonds are very safe because there's no other way to get from New York to Wilmington. I said, "Of course there are other ways."

There's the old joke of someone saying they live in NJ and another Jerseyite asks, "Which exit?" I lived in NJ for 28 years and couldn't tell you which Turnpike exit I lived near, because I rarely used the Turnpike. There are plenty of other roads to get wherever you want to go.

Although it is one of the smaller states, it is quite diverse. When most people from elsewhere think of it (if they think of it at all), they do think of the Turnpike corridor with its industry and its bedroom communities. But if you go south and east of that road, you'll find rural areas and the great Jersey shore. Cape May is my favorite. It's an old whaling town, and now has fishing 'party boats' going out every day. My father-in-law used to go down from Philadelphia on Friday nights, spend the night in a little, old-fashioned motel across from the docks, and get up early to go out on the Porgy II for a day of fishing. He always caught something.

And I'm told that the northwest section of the state is also rural, although I've never visited the area. It is also hilly - quite different from the flat sandbar that is the southern section of the state.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Am I losing it?

It started yesterday:

First I missed two turns.

Then I got into an exam room at the Cancer Group. I was warm, so I took off my sweater - a v-neck one. While I was waiting, I looked down and realized I had my blouse on inside-out. I put the sweater back on. I'd have stood against the door and switched the blouse, but the nurse had taped the tubing to the blouse after she drew blood because she knew I'd be back for my VelCade treatment after seeing the doctor. I did go into the ladies room and turn the blouse around before I left the building.

I think that was all for yesterday.

I had forgotten to get my Atenolol prescription filled when I was in Mayfield on Tuesday (the ones from the Cancer Group I get filled in Paducah, but this as from my family doctor in Mayfield), so I had to do that today.

First I was two blocks past the electric company before I knew it, so I had to turn around and go back. I usually mail the payment, but the return envelope was sealed shut - I guess my mailbox leaks and we've had a lot of rainy days recently.

Next stop was the Hope for Life Pregnancy Resource Center to drop off some knitted items - 4 or 5 baby blankets, five baby sweaters and eleven hats. I always breath a sigh of relief when I take a bunch of things like that out of the house. The doors were locked. I checked to make sure it was a time they should be open. I found the doorbell - it's an old house and the bell has been painted over several times, so it's not real obvious. A woman came and couldn't understand why the door was still locked. I explained to her that the buttons were not sewn on the sweaters because the neuropathy in my fingers makes sewing needles difficult for me to use. She said that was OK.

Then to the drug store with that prescription. The insurance company wouldn't pay for it because it was too soon. They didn't pay attention to the fact that it was a new prescription with a new dosage schedule. Since it was only $12 for the month's supply, I just went ahead and paid it.

Next, at the gas station I first pulled up to the wrong side of the pump, but I realized it before I turned off the engine.

I made it from there to Big Lots with no problem, but bought some things there that have more sodium than anyone should consume.

Finally, on the way to the bank, I missed 2nd Street and had to turn down 1st, then get over to 2nd later.

From there I made it home OK.

Now I think I need to just sit and knit.

No children, I don't need a keeper yet!

And Dr Winkler used the term remission again, but said we'd continue the treatments for a little longer.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Breakfast in Bed

Lexi spent last night with me. When I awoke this morning, I thought I heard her moving around at the other end of the house. In a few minutes, she was at my door calling me. She had a cup of coffee and a toasted English muffin on a little tray. While we were sharing the muffin, she told me that English muffins were mentioned in a book her class is reading. She was the only one who knew what an English muffin is, so she had to describe it to the rest of them. I wonder if any of them went home and asked their mothers to buy some.

She's spending tonight here, too. I think I'm about ready for us to get in bed and read, even though it's only a bit after 7 pm. The last time she was here, she finished reading The Frog Princess, so last night she selected Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library. She wanted me to read to her, so I did. It's a short book, so we got almost halfway through it. I'm enjoying it, and want to finish it tonight. Therefore, we need to go to bed early.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ginger's Hoodie

One of the patterns Alyssa printed out from the Internet the other day was a hoodie for a cat. She thought it would be fun to make. I think she did a great job on it. There were a couple of new skills, like picking up stitches for the sleeves and the edging around the hood. Can you believe that Ginger is actually wearing it?
I got a little wild last week on this baby blanket. It is done in mitered squares, which I find addictive. It was a good way to use up some of the little balls of yarn I always have on hand. I think I'll make another one soon.
I'll take this blanket and a few others, plus these little sweaters and several hats to the pregnancy resource center in Mayfield. The sweaters all need buttons. I'll pick them out from my button stash (You didn't think yarn was the only thing I had a stash of, did you?), but I can't sew them on because of the neuropathy in my fingers. I guess the girls who get them can sew on the buttons. I'll take pictures of the hats and post them soon. I'm having fun with them. Each one takes only about two hours.
And here are the elbow-length capes I made for the woman who asked for one for her mother. Her husband picked it up from me at the Art Guild today (and paid me, of course). I hope the mother enjoys wearing it.
This picture gives a better idea of the shape of the cape. It's my own pattern, which I am trying to refine. The closure is a loop of I-cord and a 'button' made of a length of I-cord tied in a knot. (I-cord is made by knitting three or four stitches on double pointed needles, pushing them to the other end of the needle, pulling the yarn around the back of the work and knitting the next row. It can also be made on a 'knitting knobby', knitting nancy' or a thread spool with four nails pounded into it. The I stands for idiot because the cord is often used to hold the two mittens of a pair together. I remember having mittens linked by a cord of some kind threaded through the sleeves of my coat, but didn't hear them called idiot mittens until I met my husband.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Looper rugs

The hard part - measuring the warp threads (all 200 of them), winding them onto the warp beam, threading the the heddles, sleying the reed, and tying onto the cloth beam - is done, now, so I can start the actual weaving. The loopers are a byproduct of the sock-knitting industry. They are like terrycloth and make great bathmats. I may be doing some of this weaving as a demonstration at an event connected with the Mayfield school system. I got the emailed request for that on Wednesday and replied that I would do it if they would provide transportation for the loom. I haven't heard anything more, so I don't know yet.

Alyssa came out yesterday to shop my stash. She left with a small bag of yarn, two or three sets of double-pointed needles, a cable needle, several books, some patterns she printed out from the Internet, and a bag of fiberfill. I'm really proud of the way she has taken to knitting. She's trying a bit of everything, usually following directions in books, but occasionally calling me with questions.

Dominic, don't be such a smartass! Of course that word is enabler - I'll leave the embalming to my cousin Scott.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Yes, I'm an enabler!

A couple of weeks ago, Alyssa called and asked me to bring some yarn, knitting needles and learn-to-knit books to her. I taught her and her sister the basics when they were seven and eight, I think - they are now 23 and 24. She has called with questions a few times. One evening she said she was very tired, so I suggested that she set the knitting aside and I would look at it the next day. When I got there, she had either found the error and corrected it, or she had fudged it and finished the bootie/slipper she was making. She plans to come out here tomorrow or Thursday to shop my yarn supply. That sounds good to me; she can help me get rid of my stash!

Sunday she called and asked if I have a tatting shuttle. One of the books I took to her is the Coats & Clarks Learn How to - Knit, Crochet, Tat, Embroider. She thinks tatting looks interesting. I said that I have one, and I know I do, but I cannot find the dang thing. I did find the little kit from a needle tatting class I took at a knitting conference sixteen or eighteen years ago. I went to WalMart before I went to her house today, thinking I'd buy one for her, but our WalMart has almost no needlecraft stuff now. She works near Hobby Lobby and Michael's, so she said she'll buy a shuttle at one of those stores. At least I gave her the needle tatting kit and a ball of thread suitable for tatting.

Yes, I intend to continue to be a fiberarts emabler!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Three in a row

Days of meeting with other fiber people, that is. Monday was the Lake Area Fiber Artists which met in Murray. There were seven or eight of us, knitting, spinning, etc. Dorie just sat there and talked - or mostly listened. She wants me to bring some cotton yarn next month. I'll be glad to get some of it out of the house. And another woman (I cannot recall her name) wants to borrow my picker for her to process some of the wool she has. I made notes on my calendar so I'll remember.

Tuesday was the weekly get-together at the Art Guild in Mayfield - four of us. I'm trying to teach Louise to knit, but I think she would have been much better off if Jo had been in the room the first time she came. Jo is much better at teaching than I am.

Wednesday, after my oncology appointment, I went to the coffee shop and met with six or eight other knitters and crocheters - and Mary Margaret. She is a Paducah native who worked for the city (oops, that should say 'county') for ages and knows everyone in town. She doesn't knit or crochet, but likes to join us on Wednesdays to talk. We enjoy listening to her telling about Paducah over the years. Also in the group is Lisa G, who has a farm with a variety of animals. She's just acquired two Jacob sheep - she already had a few of another breed. We were talking about processing the wool. She's interested in doing some dyeing with plant materials, so I've pulled a few books off the shelf to take to her next week.

On the way home Wednesday, I heard a funny noise - sort of like something being thrown around in the right front wheelwell. I pulled into a church parking lot, and looked to see if I could find any reason for it. I couldn't, but then I know very little about cars. I decided to continue on my trip home, but was unable to turn the steering wheel. That was one of the times I'm glad Carmen and Alyssa insisted I should have a cell phone. I called AAA and they sent a towtruck to tow the car back to my regular mechanic in Mayfield. It was about 6 pm when we got there, so the garage was closed, of course. The driver dropped me off at Alyssa's house and I asked her if I could sleep on her couch. She had a better idea. Since she didn't need her car until afternoon, I drove it home. That way I got to sleep in my own bed, and more importantly, didn't miss any medication. The problem with the car was that the belt tensioner had broken and torn up the belt. It was the little pieces of belt that I heard being thrown off. It didn't take long to fix once they got it into a service bay, and only cost $140.

After all that, I took Lexi to her gymnastics class. Trevor would be home from work before we got back, so it didn't matter that I don't have a key to their house. Right! As soon as I closed the door (locked automatically), Lexi said, "Oh wait, I need shorts." It's hard to do gymnastics in jeans. Fortunately, Alyssa called right then and came up with a solution. She called Nana, Lexi's Gill grandmother, who only lives five miles out of town and always has a supply of clothes for all her grandchildren. When we got thee, she was standing in the driveway with a pair of shorts in her hand - another disaster averted! This was the first time I took Lexi to gymnastics; it was interesting.


The numbers seem to be OK in my tests. The results of the 24-hour urine collection should be available next time. After Wednesday, I will have only one cycle (3 treatments) of VelCade. Then we just have to wait and see what will happen.