Under the weather

The Invader – update #4

Sorry it has been so long! I have been traveling around with family and Studmuffin, and I won’t be back for another week as I’ll be back at the Augusta Heritage Festival for Blues & Swing week again this year. Not doing keys this time – voice and guitar….maybe even learn to play the bones…..

The Invader gazes upon his realm….soon to be taken from him, but he doesn’t know it yet.

So I began chemotherapy on July 2nd, when I also received my diagnosis and prognosis. I get an IV infusion every 3 weeks and the rest of the time pills – lots of them. And thank goodness! The drugs? They are really expensive! Yay! This course of chemotherapy is supposed to last 3 months, but more on that later.

The first 4 days after the IV infusion I’ve now learned that I am so groggy I am pretty much comatose/useless, which made me WAY fun at Studmuffin’s family reunion I can tell you. Studmuffin was fantastic about the whole thing I have to say. And for my own family members, yes, there’s now another thing that will stop me from talking – believe it or not! So now we have: 1) general anesthesia, 2) sleep or coma and 3) a 4 day long course of a particular anti-nausea medication. Seemingly nothing else will.

I rather think Studmuffin enjoyed the respite from the usually never-ending flow of words exiting my lips on our 13-hours-over-2-days drive to West Virginia from Aba-lama-ding-dong.

The rest of the time I am more fatigued than usual, and have been greatly disturbed in my own digestion, over and above the aftermath of the surgical colon resection I had in May. Let me just say that I now understand all those commercials I saw on tv as a kid where older folks were discussing “regularity”. What the heck was that – regularity? Why was it such a topic of interest? When I finally figured out what they were talking about, maybe age 10, I thought they were NUTS because you know, I’d never had that trouble before and how could *that* really even be a thing? Got it now, thanks. Experience is a real fine teacher!

So now here’s the diagnosis as a result of the recent PET scan – I have Stage 4 colon cancer that has metastasized to the liver. Remember my adorable liver? My sweet, untroubled by alcohol for decades liver? Turns out I have cancer throughout the liver – can’t just hack off a lobe of it either as the lesions are all the way through and all over the liver.

So what does that mean? This is kind of cancer is considered incurable…though the docs don’t like to say it. There are things that can and will be done to prolong my life depending on lots of different variables. Generally the estimate of life length is 2 years. I believe I have 4 years….but that’s a whole ‘nuther story.

There may be more surgery, more chemo – a lot depends on how I respond to treatment. What I hate about this whole thing is that I am yet again, 10 years after open heart surgery, a person who talks about their health all the time. Don’t get me wrong – I am glad to talk about it with all of my friends and family, answer questions- please don’t take this to mean that I don’t want all y’all to mention it freely or whatever, but my goodness – I learned years ago that talking about my health is very boring eventually. I may start carrying around a pre-printed FAQ page with me so people can read it and I won’t have to repeat it again.

I’m doing well I think. I absolutely know it’s because of the prayers. I am constantly lifted up in prayer by many folks I don’t even know and many who I’ve never met in person. I’m weepy with gratitutde at some point every day. Thank you!

Now let’s talk about something else for a bit, shall we? Thanks.

The Invader – Update #3

So when last I wrote, I hadn’t heard back about the MRI. Well now I have and the news is WEIRD and possibly bad. They found loads of lesions on my liver, but they cannot tell if they are cancerous without a needle biopsy. To do the needle biopsy – you’re never ever gonna believe this – they have to do ANOTHER TEST.  So it was a PET scan I had last week and yes – more radioactive contrast.  OH BOY MY FAVORITE!


So in the last 7 or 8 weeks, I’ve had 2 CT scans, an MRI and a PET scan, all with radioactive contrast and all of which has made me feel quite ill and has the added bonus of giving me about 12 years worth of regular radiation. There’s a certain amount of radiation you get from just living on the the planet every year, so I’ve now gotten 12 years’ worth. Hurrah.  My spirits are good but sometimes things that don’t usually hurt start hurting and the thought does cross my mind – is that a cancer pain?  Plus the radiation has made my saliva taste bad 24/7. No bueno.  All this before actual treatment (other than the surgery*.) Makes me a little nervous as to how bad the treatment might be……

So tomorrow – Tuesday, July 2nd is when I start chemotherapy.

PROS – treatment has begun, supposed to last 3 months only, no radiation treatment in the forecast, taking mostly pills and I’m not supposed to lose my hair.

CONS- the medicine is EXPENSIVE, pills everyday (my track record on taking pills daily or even on time is abysmal), plus I’ve been prescribed not 1 but 2 medications for nausea so that’s gonna suck, IV infusion every 3 weeks which takes 3 hours (which I’ll get to do tomorrow too), no firm diagnosis yet (means more tests) and so no prognosis yet, and based on last week’s PET scan results, ALL OF THIS COULD CHANGE.

After I get done with the IV infusion, I get an hour to find food (I am a diabetic so even if I feel super nauseous I still must eat) and then go over to the hospital for the pre-consult for the needle biopsy, which hopefully can be scheduled for after our trip.

YES I am travelling. I got back last night from a working weekend in Mississippi, then Wednesday, we leave for West Virginia and Studmuffin’s family reunion. Then a week of visiting family and friends as well as some sightseeing – Studmuffin LOVES LOVES LOVES Frank Lloyd Wright homes – we’re gonna *stay* in one overnight and I wanna see Fallingwater. Tomorrow’s promised to no one so I’m going to Pennsylvania and upstate New York so there. Studmuffin was looking at all the things he’d like to go see – battlegrounds and the site of the Johnstown Flood but I told him I just cannot do that. This time out I need nature, music, light and laughter, not disasters, grief and wars if I’m gonna beat The Invader.

Yes, he was cool.

After PA and NY I come back to Elkins for Blues & Swing week at Augusta and he flies to CA for work. I am determined to haul myself to Augusta, though today I decided not to take any Blues piano this year – I don’t wanna have to haul my keyboard around this time. So I’ll take pretty much all vocal stuff – or perhaps Ukelele. I have a pretty good one, they are compact and they are fun and easy to play. I won’t stay out nearly as late as usual or maybe even at all, but I want to do this for my mental and spiritual health. Then we head to Virginia to see my folks for a day before heading home. Of course I am gonna try to eat at as many restaurants that have been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” as I possibly can, and am booking some rather unusual AirBnb places to stay. There may be a couple of yarn or fabric shops in there too. Studmuffin said he wants me to choose and not ask him. OK – no problem!

Two of the progeny are going to the reunion and the Duke of Curl will take blacksmithing at Augusta the week we are swanning around the Alleghenies. I’m really happy about them coming – they weren’t at the last one- and I think it’s gonna be a good time. And I very much hope the Duke has a blast at Augusta! He started getting involved with blacksmithing last year and seems to really love it.

Since my diagnosis in late April I’ve had a few moments of deep anxiety, but very few – perhaps 3?  I absolutely know that this is because so many of you are praying for me. It’s truly a RIDICULOUS number of people – I need to do something pretty amazing to be worthy of it at all and I’ve got zero ideas of what it might be at this point. Maybe single-handedly fixing the broken US immigration process? Reverse climate change?  I don’t know. If I could I surely would….Thank you all very very very much.

If I have a few working brain cells left on the trip, I’ll try to take pictures and share….maybe even write an update, but I can promise nothing. Isn’t that nice of me?  Until next time…..







*By the way, I had the surgeon look at the incision that’s been bothering. Well, MORE than bothering, but the details are really quite disgusting and you really don’t wanna know. It took me 3 weeks to get in to see him. He glanced at it for perhaps a whole second and then said something I really didn’t appreciate. When I told my mother – she’s a retired nurse and wants to know all the gory details, plus she is rather fond of me – she exclaimed, “Surgeons!” in such a way that 1) made me laugh and 2) indicated a certain frustration borne of long experience with surgeons.   It’s been my experience that surgeons like to cut, not to stitch up, most of them are men and do not know much at all about sewing, and they’re not very interested in wound care. Don’t get it twisted – I like my surgeon, he did a really god job on me and I am very grateful, but this last bit was not as helpful as it might have been. I will continue to treat it as I have done which has made a big difference. I *still* can’t go to water aerobics yet, though (no open wounds in the pool, right?) and that irritates me no end.

The Invader – update #2

That’s what my mother calls cancer – the Invader. I wanted to title these updates something more interesting than “Health update” or “cancer watch 2019” or whatever. I like how Mom puts it.

Remember these guys? I do. Still, they are 2 cute to represent cancer….

So when I last wrote about my health, I was just telling y’all about my surgery and recovery. Still going fairly well….I’m having a little trouble with one of the incisions, it hasn’t healed quite right but that’s minor.  Even tho’ my oncologist has been on vacation for a couple of weeks, I was supposed to start chemotherapy almost 2 weeks ago. However, I got some unexpected bloodwork numbers; a number that was supposed to go way down after the surgery went way up – it almost doubled.  So the hunt for cancer elsewhere begins………..I had a CT scan a week ago Monday (that radioactive agent they give for the ‘contrast’ always makes me ill for about a week and a half; no, it isn’t an allergic reaction).

No felines were involved in my CT scan…

There’s some good news – almost everything looks perfectly normal. And then there’s some weird news: there’s something strange about my liver. It doesn’t look like a tumor there, it doesn’t look like the cancer has metastasized to the liver; it’s just unusual so YAY! I haven’t drunk alcohol in 30+ years and I quit smoking nearly 25 years ago – you’d think my liver would be in great shape! Now I wouldn’t say my liver is weird; I’d say that it’s quirky.

Quirky – like King Kong & Godzilla having a dance party…..

What does it all mean? More tests of course. Fortunately the tests at the moment aren’t invasive; unfortunately, the next one requires more radioactive contrast…….and we’ll learn more about my adorably quirky liver. I had an MRI last Wednesday – I was hoping that I might know something more by yesterday but no.

I know chemotherapy will begin soon – I’m hoping I can tolerate it well; there’s things I wanna DO this summer. I already told Studmuffin that if all the hair goes, I will be wearing wigs. but I know how this goes; I’ll get a wig hoping to look something like this:

But I *know* that I will end up looking much more like this:



Along with my title of the Invader, I’ve chosen my character/ logo/ drawing to represent my personal Invader. Why? Because he makes me smile. I admit I came very close to using Sheldon J. Plankton from SpongeBob Squarepants (below) – he makes me laugh; he’s so dramatic and nuts, but he’s only generally, hilariously evil. He’s not a true invader…..


So for those of you with kids or who are into animation, you’ll already know who this guy is. For those of you who don’t – his name is Invader Zim and I encourage you to check him out, especially if you enjoy dark humor…

Until next time, please wear your sunscreen and eat carrots and kale and drink plenty of fresh, clean water. The Invader doesn’t want you to, but I do. xxxooo

I have “it”; “it” doesn’t have me.

What is “it”?  Cancer, y’all. Tho’ really, I’m just not that upset about it.

It’s been TEN YEARS since I had heart surgery – I was so much sicker then and heart surgery is way more complicated than a colon resection. Probably the biggest thing is that my children are all ten years OLDER. This is huge for me.

Two things:

-first, I have been overwhelmed with all of the support I have gotten from friends, family, acquaintances and strangers from all over the world.  It occurs to me yet again that the English language really needs more words for gratitude other than “thank you”. I mean, I do not have words for how grateful I am – “thank you” – even a million times over – does not seem to really convey how I feel.




-second, the amount of well-intentioned advice on what I need to do to beat cancer that I have received has been nothing short of astonishing. I cannot begin to follow even a tenth of it.


About half of the advice that I have received contradicts the other half of the advice…..  I receive it all as expressions of love and caring, truly sincere efforts to assist me.  I am grateful.

Here’s the advice I *am* following:

“Whenever ye fall ill, refer to competent physicians.”

(Baha’u’llah, Kitab-I-Aqdas, Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 275)

I have really good doctors and I’m gonna do what they say. Sometimes my docs are surprised by this; apparently lots of people do NOT follow their doctor’s advice……

Just a few more particulars……

  1. I had NO symptoms. NONE.
  2. I turned 50 and was scheduled for my first routine colonoscopy in April. They found a cancerous tumor.
  3. Please please please get your colonoscopy done. Do NOT put it off or think it’s not important. Of course it’s embarrassing. Of course you don’t wanna.  However, cancer is far more inconvenient (among many other things) and may deprive you of your life. It’s way more fun to tell your family the embarrassing tale of your colonoscopy than to have them plan your funeral.
  4. I had surgery May 9. Along with part of my large intestine, 39 lymph nodes were removed and biopsied. 2 were found to have cancer cells in them.  My cancer is considered Stage 3a.
  5. I will have chemotherapy – what kind is still being determined.
  6. I am recovering well. The weirdest part is how confused my digestion is……..
  7. It is quite possible that there is other cancer elsewhere in my body – the docs are starting the process of looking for it.  It also could be something else.
  8. I haven’t knit on anything in a month.
  9. I have zero gardening mojo. I never even *looked* at single seed catalog this winter. I feel bad for my new-ish next-door neighbor who is very tidy, but not so bad that I am doing anything at all to improve things. I may actually take some pictures b/c it’s so bad; I find it somewhat humorous actually…..
  10. I have remained true-to-form as with all my other surgeries, in that as soon as I start feeling better, I do too much which sets me back days or weeks. I so want my stamina back. Right now, I feel pretty weak, in that I do something – like make the bed, and then have to take a nap to recover.                                                                                                                                                                       
  11. I realize that my lifelong precociousness in various areas has continued into my middle age – I am an aging overachiever.


I hope to write more regularly; we’ll see. 🙂

What a summer/what a bummer and What’s for dinner? (part 2 -long)



(Click here for Part 1)

What’s For Dinner?

I make some really yummy things to eat, even now that I am a diabetic and have changed my eating habits so that I can keep my fingers and toes and such. But overall, I’m just an OK cook. My Dad and my brothers are people who really love to cook, they really show their love to others through their cooking. My Dad wakes up every day thinking about what he and Mom are gonna eat for dinner, which – given that my mother takes a fair amount of time & caffeine to really “wake up”- has led to 50 years of him accosting her most every morning, right when she gets up, and demanding to know what she wants for dinner, which leads to a very blank and confused expression on her face that I find pretty hilarious these days.


Of course, Mom’s not wearing the hat or the beard…..

Now I might wake up thinking of food, but it’s a completed dish I’m thinking of, preferably one that could be conjured up and served immediately by the chef/butler we do not have. Since I’m the one who does the VAST majority of cooking around here, I have tried many different ways to make the decision of what we will eat easier, and some of them have helped. I admit that we go out to eat way too often, mainly because I just don’t wanna cook much at all anymore.  One of the things that has helped a bit has been subscribing to Blue Apron** for one week a month. Since I’ve been sick or gone so much this summer, I have not been eating the way I want to and need to, and we aren’t sitting down to dinner  together nearly as often. Fresh things are going bad in the fridge, mainly ‘cos I forget that I bought them. And there’s loads of things in the pantry that should be eaten as well. I’ve fallen into a very lazy & unthinking pattern about dinners around here that is not only costly to my wallet, but to my health. So here is my latest attempt to change this downward spiral & act like an adult-



If you click on the picture, you can see it better. I’m just happy to have a reminder of what’s going on foodwise each day. Studmuffin would rather eat chicken than almost anything else on the planet, ‘cept maybe chocolate ice cream, so that’s why there’s so many “Chicken Somethings” in the plan.  I have a lot of cookbooks, for someone who’s meh about cooking, so I put in “Use a cookbook” in hopes that I might try something new; it could happen. My favorite innovation here *has* to be “Pantry Roulette” – go into the pantry and see what interesting thing could be made from what’s there and the older the better. Please feel free to try this out yerself, or put in the comments how you deal with the daily grind of ‘what’s for dinner?’ BTW, it’s Crockpot Chicken Teryaki tonight. See? Workin’ already.


** If you don’t know what Blue Apron is, go to the website and check it out. I have some free meals from them to give away; let me know if you want to try Blue Apron in the comments section and if you live in the USA, I’ll send them your way.

Some Actual Good Things this summer

Singing with the band Kaleidoscope & becoming a much better keyboard player because the fellas let me play more and more, singing with One Human Family Workshop choir twice, been married to Studmuffin for TWENTY-EIGHT years, traveling to Dayton with Studmuffin, traveling to WV for the Studmuffin family reunion, the Force of Nature graduated from high school – in the top twenty of her class, taking the Force of Nature to Marion Military Institute for college, the Duke of Curl spent part of the summer working in Colorado, he came home and now is in school AND has a job, paid off a fairly large loan, going to Birmingham several times for Baha’i Ruhi Institute training, YARN! FABRIC!……there’s been good things, many good things.

THE END:A Real Grievance

The day after I wrote the previous post (The Gardening groove…) on this here blog, June 1st, my beloved dog Boris suddenly died. His sister Natasha has been ill/dying with a chronic parasitic infection for the last 3 years and we thought for certain, she would be gone first. We know their deaths are coming – they are 13 or 14 years old, and for their kind of dog to make it past 15 is quite rare, so we know it is gonna happen within the next 2 years certainly. Natasha, whom I have nicknamed “the Crypt Keeper” because she looks so bad – patchy fur, flaking skin and so skinny – is still living and quite happy. She gets all the treats now.

I has a sad....

I has a sad….

I think he ate something he shouldn’t have – probably some poisonous vegetation. He always loved to eat leaves and green things. I planted zinnias every year, not because I’m fond of them, but because Boris loved to nibble the leaves so much. Others have told me that Labradors tend to get stomach cancer and that is possible, too.  I did not realize just how sick he was until about 2 hours before he passed away; I spent about 5 or 6 hours that day driving the Duke of Curl to and from his dr.’s appointment in Birmingham; I would not have done that had I known that Boris was dying. We buried him next to Bluto^^ that night, and a week later I planted zinnias on his grave.

We won’t be getting another dog while Natasha lives; she’s elderly and sick, but she was the less dependent of the 2 and I think adjusting to a new dog would be hard on her. I will rescue more dogs after she’s gone, mainly because of this video: Shy Shelter Dog gets Adopted. But it will be a while. Emmy the cat was sick this last week with a bad cold and it brought it all back.

Boris was the dog of my heart and life is really not the same without him for me. I am reminded of him everywhere in our house and yard and all the streets nearby. It’s been nearly four months and I’m still grieving, which of course, I have mixed feelings about. There are so many terrible things happening in the world all over, and I’m crying about a dog. A dog who had a seriously wonderful life, who I was privileged to have in my family since he and Tasha were 4 months old. All I can say is that grief is the price of love and buddy, your death is costing me a fortune. You were the BEST dog for me and none of us will ever forget you. Thank you Borisman.


^^Bluto adopted us in the early Summer 1997 (est. 3 yrs old) – died January 7, 2010

DCF 1.0


What a summer/what a bummer and what’s for dinner? (part 1 -long post)


This has been one for the books. So let’s jump right into the whingeing, shall I?


So I’ve spent a fair bit of time this summer being sick and recovering from being sick. The only reason I’ve time to write today is because I have a cold and I don’t wanna give it to others, so I can’t go and do things, but I’m not so sick I’m gonna stay in bed all day. Studmuffin has had this cold far worse than I – I think I’ll be fine by Friday.


feeling yucky….

No, the mostest, worstest sickness I got was for about the first 2 weeks of August. High fever, then mega-chills, all over aches – I mean even my eyelashes hurt when I blinked. And I could not sleep for more than 30 mins to a hour at a time for nearly 2 weeks. I even went to the doctor, knowing that he probably could not help – it was a virus I was certain- but if it was one of the ‘named’ viruses*, I could be at least a public health statistic. But no dice – no help and an un-named virus, but he still took my co-pay (which has gone up about 30%) and suggested I come back in a few days if I was still sick. HAH!  I really considered going to the hospital, but then I remembered 2 things: I never get any rest in the hospital -someone always wants to ask you something or stick a needle into you the moment you’ve dropped off to sleep, and hospital stays are very expensive.

A friend from the next town over was in the process of dying, and I had previously promised his wife that I would sing at his funeral. He passed away & I was too sick to even go to the funeral, much less sing.  This is something I will regret for the rest of my life. Though I am very thankful that Studmuffin went in my place. No, he did not sing.

I lost 15 lbs. in 12 days I was so sick. I cannot ever remember feeling worse….and I was sick for all 9 months of my last pregnancy!


*Zika, Swine, H1N1,Bird, Spanish,Influenza and so on




  • Hadn’t realized it has been so long since I’ve posted.  SORRY!
  • Have not received any pictures or video from the David Wilcox happening.  I so wish I had!
  • Almost through month 11 of 24 month Yarn Diet – have only bought 7 skeins of yarn: 6 skeins for things I’m knitting for the Force of Nature & 1 skein for a swap.  Studmuffin said that yarn bought for our kids’ needs/wants doesn’t count, and I feel oogy about giving stash as part of a swap package……
  • Working on the book in fits & starts
  • Been seriously in the pit of depression since August, with a couple of weeks reprieve sprinkled through October & November, enhanced by difficulty sleeping most nights.  I think I need a different antidepressant……..Am afraid to change because of side effects.  :::sigh:::  All I want to do is go hide in bed.
  • Still eating tomatoes from the garden!  I definitely wanna write a serious post about the garden successes and failures, but it’ll have to wait.
  • Knitting is happening.  Photos of knitting are happening.  Blogging about knitting – not happening, obviously.  I have plenty of more yarn crimes to post but I got so few comments on the last one, I’m kinda thinking I’ll abandon the yarn crimes posts……
  • Got diagnosed with high blood pressure last week.  Both parents & both brothers on BP meds I found out this summer, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Hope the hed I got is the right one for me.
  • Duke of Curl is mostly laying about playing video games.  Force of Nature a royal pain in the tuchis but she’s 15 so what else is new?
  • Really have to find a job – seriously do not want to. Many reasons – mostly too personal and/or specific to post here, but I’m praying on it.
  • Working on my French again in hopes of becoming somewhat proficient & keeping the brain sufficiently stimulated…..
  • My friend Shannan R. has beaten cancer!! She got a clean scan
  • Working out has seriously stalled.  Please pray for me!

I’m also asking for prayers for friends: Cindy T., Tangela S., Cheryl P., Vicki C., Tracy B., Hayden L., James G., Marge W., Grace S., Malulinka H.

So how’s by you?

Even WordPress has to be funny…..

The dashboard stats show this blog getting 10 times the number of hits than usual.

I guess it’s funny. I’m at a low point (seriously in need of sunshine – weatherman says tomorrow) and am not laughing at anything.   I didn’t get the things I needed to do today done at ALL.  I’ve even had 3 cups of hot chocolate and I’m still grumpy. Guess I need to go on youtube and look at videos of jumping baby goats and laughing babies to try to crawl out of my funk.


Thank goodness April 1st is almost OVER.

Pneumonia and Google reader

Think back just a few days ago when I was just merely sick with the flu; I’ve since been diagnosed with pneumonia. Not bad enough to slap me into the hospital, but bad enough for me to ask my family to come back early from West Virginia. The giant pills I’ve been taking are working – I *am* better – but I am still coughing BIG.

not my xray, but ya get the idea

So whilst I was unable to sleep lying down because of all the fluid in my lungs, I watched some tv and spent hours on the ‘puter. One would think that this would be a great time to catch up with my Google Reader and read those 1000+ blog posts that have been piling and piling up.

But NO! This did not occur….because, friends and neighbors, I was too sick to knit – even”stupid knitting” was beyond me – much less read and comprehend blog posts. Also, it seems this situation on GR is intimidating me: I haven’t been reading the posts because I am afraid to start reading and get “sucked in” to the ‘puter, and yet I am also afraid to unsubscribe to a single blog to reduce the number of posts.

So I have decided that I must start scheduling GR time and create a new habit, like if I spent 20 – 30 minutes daily reading the newspaper, I will now spend 20 – 30 minutes reading blog posts.

Because of the pnuemonia, the “tennis-ball” removal has been postponed for a couple of weeks; still my mother is coming today because of her non-refundable plane ticket. She’s going to stay here at the “White Trash Hoedown Hotel” – she offered to sleep on the couch. That’d be fine, ‘cept the couch regularly has spring trouble: after several years of regularly been flopped on by giant boychiks (even after they were ****repeatedly****  scolded for doing so), the clips that hold the springs in place have lost their integrity and we can put them back in place which lasts for a time…..but soon there will be a decided sag/ hole to the floor in the middle. So we decided to put her in the Force of Nature’s room. We cleaned it up a bit, got some new sheets, and then Studmuffin decided to shampoo the carpet. This was a good idea because the carpet was dirty. However, this was also a bad idea because for a while there, Bluto (r.i.p.) and Kali peed in that room whenever they got the chance and shampooing the carpet stirred all that smell back up. On top o’ that, my mother has a very keen nose so I dunno what I’m gonna do.  Hospitality ‘r’ us alright……

Wish me luck.  🙂

The head cold has morphed…..

…into bronchitis, or near enough. And of course, Studmuffin is out of town. I hope he doesn’t bring home another new and exciting head cold this time.

I will be very VERY happy when we finally install a pet door. Boris and Natasha have taken to answering nature’s call at 3 a.m. most every morning. Since it wasn’t terribly cold, I’d left the sliding door in back open a dog’s width so I could have a night’s uninterrupted sleep. But oh NO! Natasha went out easily enough, but started barking at 3:30 a.m. to be let in….the FRONT door. Nothing would do except she HAD to come in the front door. Could it be that my lack of rest is retarding my return to health? Grrrr.

Still , it’s small potatoes. Life is good for me and my immediates. However, my illness isn’t assisting in the Force of Nature’s homeschooling progress!

Knitting is continuing as I’m taking a break from “The Beast”.

Der Wind weht heute Abend hart.*

The wind has been blowing ferociously gusty for the last 5 hours and it’s keeping me awake. After casting on and starting a twined knitting hat, which I ripped out because the yarn isn’t right for the project, learning 2 new-to-me cast ons and knitting almost 3 inches of K1 P1 ribbing for yet another hat fer Studmuffin (the last wasn’t long enough, so the Force of Nature claimed it), and deciding that I’m a have to rip that out too since I don’t like how the cast on looks and it will bug me every time I see that hat – I finally decided to get up, turn on the ‘puter and blather on to y’all….at 4:15 am.

In the last post, I was getting ready to go to the radio station to do my radio show. I wanted to play the songs I’d gotten off of eMusic in tribute to various Blues artists who passed on in 2009. I had spent a good bit of the previous 2 days trying to get the CD player/burner to work with NO LUCK AT ALL. Man, the thing wouldn’t even play pre-recorded CDs – I was some frustrated. But it didn’t matter in the end because we had a tornado.

Someone else's picture of the tornado just before it touched down.

No. REALLY. We had a tornado. I could hear it and see it from inside my house.  Even though I couldn’t see the bottom of it, I knew it was on the ground because of all the debris.  This was a block away from my house!  The Force of Nature started crying and screaming, “I don’t wanna die!  I don’t wanna die!”    Fortunately, it did not hit us directly, it was a small tornado, only property damage and no injuries occurred.

One of the houses nearby that was damaged.

It all went very fast!  I learnedwhen I got to work that it also knocked the power out at the radio station and university, which didn’t come back on until the last 20 mins of my show.  There was all kinds of stuff going on when the tornado happened, which is pretty usual for Thursday afternoons around here, but the tornado was a little over the top.

We have a lot of tornado warnings and actual tornadoes here in Huntsville.  You get used to it – it’s a danger like any other.  Ordinarily, the funnel clouds form up southeast of here and the 2 really big tornadoes that have done serious damage – one in 1974 and the other in 1989 were in the southeastern part of the city.  They usually just skip right on over Chapman mountain and Monte Sano.  Still, I always try to take them seriously; tornadoes are extremely unpredictable and destructive.  We have a tornado siren across the street at the school which I heard but it was when I actually *heard* the tornado (think freight train engine) that I told the F.o.N to go into the bathroom.  But we’re all fine now.

Now, it seems the wind has blown itself out, so I’m off to bed and hopefully to sleep!


* This is German for “The wind is blowing hard tonight.”

Weekend Round up /Contest reminder

  • The Force of Nature’s soccer team won a game!
  • -ate some wonderful food at Mezzaluna (try the Eggplant Parmesan appetizer; fantastic!)
  • saw the movie “Good Hair” with some friends (I enjoyed it)
  • Got some more Kureyon for the Lizard Ridge blanket (I’m halfway there)
  • made zero progress on the Tapestry Cowl
  • got “The Individual formerly known as Homeschool Kid”‘s hair cut. Yay!
  • since my hairstyle was making me feel OLD, I even got my hair cut (I now now own a flatiron to style it with….)
  • no band rehearsal because the bandleader had a heart attack (please say healing prayers for Sylvester!)
  • spent what seemed like endless hours tryna fix the Force of Nature’s cobbled-together iPod (I should post a picture – it’s held together with rubber bands for REAL)  and to remove some rather nasty spyware from my ‘puter
  • Studmuffin left for Cali on a business trip
  • I didn’t remember to call my brother for his birthday til like 2 am. I still haven’t called :o(
  • Natasha’s limp has gone away as mysteriously as it came.
  • posted one of my cutest ever posts (I think) about Domo-kun with cute pictures AND NOBODY COMMENTED      :::sad trombone:::  I guess everyone is too busy?  Or do you just hate Domo-kun?  Or is it me?

Today, I:

  • forgot to put out the trash
  • felt like crap all day
  • spoke to 2 wonderful friends on the phone (I love you guys!!!)
  • finished knitting No.1 Son’s birthday prezzie and am felting it (and felting and felting….)
  • took a nap and was
  • late making dinner and so
  • burnt the spaghetti with meatballs……..

Life is good but I still feel yucky. It will pass…..  WHERE is the goshdurn heating pad?!
Meal plan Monday:
Mon- spags & meatballs
Tues- Shepherd’s Pie a la Cracker (this didn’t get made last week; I WILL share the recipe)
Wed- leftovers
Thurs- Mac & cheese & salad
Fri- Romano Beans & rice
Sat- Soup & sandwiches/Corn Chowder
Sun- Chinese take out

CONTEST Reminder

Contest ends on October 31st, 2009 at midnight Alabama time, and the winner will be announced when I get around to it (probably during the following week).  My choice will be completely arbitrary and humor is encouraged.  :o)
Please submit prospective names in the comments – the name I choose for him will win a $14 gift card to Starbucks. If you live someplace without Starbucks, I’ll contact you directly and we’ll work it out.
See all the other names submitted in the comments here


So I’ve been sick for the last 4 days

Not like really REALLY sick, but enough to keep me halfway to miserable and yet still ambulatory.  Fortunately, I’m not too sick to knit.  Almost zero homeschooling and no blogging to speak of this week; still having enough computer issues to keep me from doing that rather important demo for the wedding…and Studmuffin is rather irritated with me on top of all o’ that.

I have SO many good things to blog about from the last 3 or 4 weeks but it won’t be today…or perhaps til Monday even. Always remember and never forget that my thoughts are like butterflies these days….hope to catch a few of those thoughts real soon.

Now to catch up with a few photo captions:

Picture 065

This is the cashmere lace shawl I’m working on.  I’ve ripped this bad boy out SEVERAL times, but now things are going well, and it is bigger than this now.  A few more “arty” shots:

Picture 064

This cashmere is undyed Ecco Cashmere – a dream to work with….

Picture 062

This is a free pattern by Miriam “the Lace Genius” Felton : Adamas Shawl.


SO eight years ago today, the twin towers of the World Trade Center came down. It doesn’t seem that long ago…  Loads and loads of songs and poems have been written about those events.  I cannot say that I have read or heard ALL of them, but of the many that I have, this is my favorite.

You can hear it here

City of Dreams by David Wilcox & Pierce Pettis

From the top of the towers
You could see past the narrows
Past our lady of the harbor
To the broad, open sea
See the curve of the earth
On the vast, blue horizon
From the world?s greatest city
In the land of the free

All the brave men and women
that you never would notice
From the precincts and fire halls
The first on the scene
Storming into the buildings
On the side of the angels
They were gone in an instant
In the belly of the beast


We are children of slavery
children of immigrants
Remnants of tribes and their tired refugees
As the walls tumble down
We are stronger together
Stronger than we ever knew we could be
As strong as that statue that stands for the promise
Of liberty here in this city of dreams
Liberty here in this city of dreams

All the flags on front porches
And banners of unity
Spanning the bridges
From the top of the fence
As we heal up the wounds
And take care of each other
There’s more love in this nation
Than hate and revenge


We are children of slavery
children of immigrants
Remnants of tribes and their tired refugees
As the walls tumble down
We are stronger together
Stronger than we ever knew we could be
As strong as that statue that stands for the promise
Of liberty here in this city of dreams
Liberty here in this city of dreams


Hey y’all-

I’ve been thinking LOADS about posting….but I haven’t had much that was POSITIVE to say.  I guess it might be better for me to say that there really have been many positive things going on, but there’s been some serious negativity goin’ on as well, and I’ve let it dominate my thinking.  Truly, I’m am working HARD on focusing on the positive stuff but I’m still not very good at it.

So the biggest burr under my saddle is Number One Son.  He asked to come and stay with us for the last week before he moves to “Wild Wonderful West Virginia” and I agreed after he swore UP & DOWN that he would obey my rules.  Studmuffin was in Cali on business and I was feeling under the weather (which has been glorious! the weather I mean…), but there have been a fairly LARGE number of thefts from his apartment and I took pity on him.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?????!!!!!!???

Almost immediately after he arrived, he was disobedient to the house rules and rude to me to boot.  Then after he’d been here for a few days – casting his thick miasma of negativity & disobedience all around Chez Oney – Ian and I had a stupid argument, which left Ian very angry….so he decided to vandalize several things of mine after I left the house, including my iPod.  This is VERY distressing behavior for him to exhibit; there had been another incident years ago but not nearly as focused or extensive.  Truly a massive overreaction and thus he has earned himself several sessions with the family therapist.

Please pray for us.  I’ve had several artistic disappointments as well  all clustered together along with this and the heart thing….it’s really bringing me down – making me wonder if I’m the big problem here.  Thanks.

On a positive note – the camera charger has been located!  It was in my van attached to the voltage inverter and wedged under a seat I think.  Studmuffin found it and I immediately charged it up and took some pictures outside .  I was hoping to get some of the kids before Number One left but today he had me so rattled…oh well perhaps when we go pick up the Force of Nature in WV in a few weeks.

So here they are:

Squash plant 1

This is the best looking bit of the garden. Front and center is a summer squash plant that *really* didn’t look like it was gonna make it there for a while;  it’s rather better now. On the right is parsley and a *volunteer* cypress vine.  To the left is a cucmber plant that I hope will start being productive VERY soon, and the lush backdrop to all this are the Kentucky Wonder beans….which have yet to flower (grrrr) so no beans so far.


All that ferny foliage is the cypress vine.  Then there’s the petunias and I’m sorry but you can barely see the pepper plants on the right.

Copy of DSCN1585_479

Here’s a few of the ‘maters.  These are all about the size of ping pong balls.  As soon as they get a little bigger and start ripening for real, this is what happens:

pecked tomatoes

The birds start pecking them.  I think it’s because it had been so dry.  I’ve never had this trouble before; so far I composted more tomatoes that had been pecked than I’ve harvested.  I though a birdbath might help, so I set one up:

cracker birdbath

How’s that for a Cracker birdbath?  I certainly was NOT gonna spend any $ on the flying pests…..  It’s hard to tell if it has had any effect as we’ve had more rain lately.

watermelon overview

Most of what you see here is watermelon vines. The white things are (mostly) the boundaries of the 4’x4′ little garden bed that I’ve tried to grow watermelons in for 3 years.  Now it’s really working!


You can see the next-to-biggest one here…along with the pecan sapling in the right foreground (grrr….).watermelon4

This one is growing upright because I put a couple empty tomato cages near the plants for the vines to ramble over.  I’ll be interested to see whether or not this one makes it to full size.


This is the smallest one and that’s my foot for comparison (I *do* have big feet).  I took this picture a couple of days ago, and this thing has almost doubled in size.


The midsize model….


These are the 2 largest.  I can hardle WAIT until they are ripe!  I adore watermelon. And there are more ityy bitty ones on the way…..

Now for more pics:


Her name is Gucci and she is the very friendly pit bull next door.  We reach over the fence to pet her – she is VERY big but lovable.  I think she lives to hear our garden gate latch lift. And to bark at the cat.  Speaking of which….

Bluto 1Bluto 2

Bluto the Fabulous is STILL with us.  These pictures make him look really good; in person he looks like he has mange.

Sunflower petunia

I planted some sunflowers to keep the sun off the cucumbers.  Not too many sunflowers actually came up, which may be a good thing because the cucumbers seem to adore the sun….

other squash plant

The other squash plant – this thing is huge! So far no squash vine borers have found this. YAY!

Lest you think everything looks great:

garden bed 2

This is bed #2  in a sad state of neglect…which will get worse before it gets better.  I have great intyentions for this bed – really I do.

Boris and the daisies

Boris is so pretty….here “smelling” the daisies.  He’s not reallly enjoying their scent – he’s deciding whether or not to eat them.  If they were zinnias, they’d be goners.

eyes shut Boris

I’ve taken lots of pictures of the dogs…hundreds probably, but never have I gotten one with their eyes shut – til now.  I think it’s kinda cute.  The Force of Nature is kinda cute too:

the force of nature silly

I hope to post more tomorrow.  G’night.

A very merry echocardiogram to you

So, as I recently reported, I am wheezing and coughing worse and worse. In fact , on Friday it was SO awful while I was driving to Atlanta for the conference I was starting to get rather worried! I went to the doctor today and I had some chest x-rays (all clear) and will have a CAT scan and an echocardiogram tomorrow. Earlier this year, it was determined that I have a leaky mitral valve (aka a heart murmur), so this is to make sure that it has not gotten worse and causing all this wheezing and shortness of breath. I’ll keep y’all posted.

We had a wonderful time at the conference; my mother flew down to Atl from Virginia and we stayed together. One Human Family sang and that was really good. The Supreme administrative body of the Baha’i Faith, the Universal House of Justice, has called for 41 of these conferences around the world to occur during November 2008 – March 2009. The purpose of these conferences are to celebrate the wonderful things that have been happening in the Baha’i Faith and to encourage us to redouble our efforts as the condition of the world deteriorates. It was an amazing experience! I brought my camera and then forgot to take pictures most of the time (I have the cord again….but now have misplaced the camera. I *must* find a permanent location for this stuff.

….to be continued……..

Thoughtful stuff I think everybody oughta read

Howdy y’all.  I’m sick with a head cold – happy weekend.  Faugh.  So instead of my writing something good and groovy, I thought I’d share two articles that I really like because they provoke thought.  So read them and tell me whatcha think.

“You don’t HAVE to be pretty…..”


The Crazy Mixed-Up Fantasy About Thinness (Warning: there is some adult language in this article).

Many pictures under the cut (may not be safe for work; when in doubt, don’t LOOK)


My husband called…..

….to tell me he has to spend an extra day in California… Joy.  I’m still awake because I cannot sleep-too much coughing and wheezing.  Last night I finally gave up about 4 am and came out into the living room to sleep sitting upright in the “round chair”.

My round chair looks almost exactly like this one.  However, this one isn’t repaired with a length of bright blue rope….

I have fallen asleep in that chair a number of times before; it’s just a little hard on my neck. Right now, Boris is in it, and I haven’t the heart to kick him out of it.

I am on the mend, though.  Today, I was actually able to take a shower, put gas in the van and take the dogs (very briefly) across the street., though I did cancel rehearsal which I *hate* to do.    I haven’t taken much in the way of cold medicines in the last 24 hours and my nose has stopped dripping incessantly. Is this the flu?  I haven’t been this ill in a good long while.  Perhaps tomorrow I can homeschool Ian again……

In the meantime, I’ve been catching up on paperwork, mending, and a few long-overdue swaps.  I want to have everything done by the time of the Wings to the Spirit conference (beginning of May).  It’s gonna be so terrific!!  I’ve got to finish reading “Mirror of the Divine” by Ludwig Tuman before then.  It’s a wonderful book; there’s so much for my brain to tease apart and ponder on that I’m going slowly.

Since my “brain event” happened almost 3 years ago, the way I learn is really, really different than before. I know there are folks out there who think that it’s just age, or too much stress or lack of focus, but I assure you it is not.  There is a marked difference in how I thought and learned before and now.  I guess the best analogy I can come up with is losing one’s virginity – there’s a very distinct before and after. Unfortunately, (or it could be fortunately ) no one else is inside my head so I do not have any kind of objective corroboration of the changes.  It is much harder for me to learn new things – like 10 times as hard as it was before, and my concentration is fragile at best.  So trying to truly absorb this book is much more of an effort than in previous times.  This makes me sad because I am not doing nearly as much “serious reading” as I have done in the past, and at some point I want to go back to college.  I have had to stop buying heavy duty Baha’i books because I am not reading the ones I have already, but my intellectual curiosity remains high so I keep trying.  I’m not complaining, it’s more that I’m explaining.

I was boating about the Internet and I found the blog and flickr site of one of the people I met while on pilgrimage.  On Sholeh’s blog, she has some really wonderful pictures, plus links to some truly wonderful sites.

Tired of reading what passes for news these days? Too depressing? Try this site: http://2inspire.us/

Oh well, off to bed.  I hope I sleep.

A test for stress part deux

Things have been cra – hey-hey -zee around here!  I traveled a really really long way from here to the west coast of Canada last weekend and back, sang my brains out and of course came back to a sick husband and then 2 out of three kids sick.  The first stress test I failed….or rather the radioactive dye failed to leave my arm and go into my heart so they could take pretty pictures of it.  So I had anutha one Tuesday – the day after I got back.  All went well, but I am tired!  I wasn’t jet-lagged going East to West, but West to East just kills me.

Am now knitting furiously tryna catch up with all my swaps…..

P.S.  Thanks, Jennifer, for reminding me that there are a few who actually do read my blatherings!  And the coffee grinder is SO cool….I promise to write the coffee grinder story tomorrow.

A test for stress

So tomorrow morning I’m having a stress test and an echocardiogram.  Woo hoo.  What fun.   I’m a little concerned about my heart; I’ve been having this kind of weird asthmatic thing going on…which evolved into bronchitis which I’m now *almost* over.  But it could be my heart.  I turn 39 next week, and I’m very overweight so I need to take care of some medical things right around now.  I remember reading in the local paper 3 or 4 years ago about a woman who dropped dead at 40 of a heart attack, and remember thinking, “That’s not gonna be me!”

I get regular exercise – I walk almost everyday, and now we have Dance Dance Revolution which I do several times a week. I eat way better than I did 20 years ago; I actually feel guilty eating junk food now.  I take many different supplements that have really helped my overall well being, so I know I’m not malnourished.    The EKG turned up a little anomaly which could be something or it could be nothing and the chest x-ray was aok.  Blood has been drawn – I don’t have the results yet.  I don’t now really think there’s anything wrong with my ticker, but I am happy to have the tests, and happy that I have medical insurance so that I can afford the tests.

My enormous, elderly and senile cat, Bluto, has a habit of sleeping in one place for 4 or 5 days and then relocating. In the 10 years that he has owned us, I’ve noticed that he rarely goes back to the same place, unless it’s on a bed (mine, usually).  However, we are now on Week 2 of Bluto’s hostile takeover of the dogs’ bed in a corner of our living room.  Bluto is king and the dogs know it.  Natasha will lie down next to the cat, and there have been some really cute cross-species grooming sessions that I would have put money on never happening, but Boris is completely cowed and at a loss of where to be since his place is occupied by the evil feline.

Knitting has taken over my life to the point that I’m almost uninterested in the seed catalogues that have started arriving in anticipation of spring. This is fairly unusual, but I do think it is partly a reaction to the “Amazing Crunchfest 2007” that was my garden this summer.  I haven’t even had any desire to go hang out at Bennett’s Nursery, and that’s unheard of for me.  Maybe this year, I’ll just plant flowers and knit MORE.

Off to Florida tomorrow, then back for a couple of days and then off to the “Great White North”!  I’m ready for a little fun.