whinge

The Invader – #7

First off – Happy New Year!

In the depths of winter, I find New Year’s celebrations and the making of resolutions to be very hopeful things, and I like whatever will promote hopeful things!

Just a quick update on my health – in the first 2 weeks of December ’19, I had the 2 scans that the docs wanted to see. However, I won’t see my oncologist til about the 20th of January so I won’t know about future steps to take (chemotherapy, surgery, radiation) til then at the soonest. I figure if things had gone badly, they would’ve called to make a sooner appointment! No news is good news as they say. But also at my last appt. with my oncologist he told me that he really thought that I would be having the liver surgery and ablation in the near future, but the scans would tell us for sure. So I am preparing myself mentally for serious surgery again, though I have no date or timeline for it at the moment.

“T’inquiete” essentially means “Don’t worry”

Overall, I’m feeling a bit better everyday. The fatigue is far less as the chemo drugs s-l-o-w-l-y leave my system. My appetite has returned – just in time to be surrounded by holiday temptations and feasting of course. Because of all the nausea and chemo, I’ve lost about 65 lbs., which is almost 5 stone for the Brits and nearly 29.5 kg for the rest of the world.

Back in 1987, when I had two separate jaw surgeries (TMJ problems) and had my jaws wired shut for weeks after each one, I was convinced that *that* was the worst way ever to lose weight**. Nope, chemo is a much worse way to lose weight than that. But now that the weight is gone, it’s gonna take new habits to keep it gone and to hopefully and sensibly and healthily to lose more weight as I still have plenty to lose. FYI – I probably won’t be talking any more about my weight loss here; our cultural obsession with how much we weigh and in particular how much women weigh and should weigh…..let’s just say I have ISSUES!

I spent New Year’s Day walking (almost hiking if I’m honest) with Studmuffin & the dogs in the morning. Then cooking a bunch (mostly spaghetti and meatballs, but there was also a chicken dish and other things) all while watching the Doctor Who marathon on BBC America (actually been watching the marathon for days now- love love love it since I was little), and working on a 1000 piece puzzle with the hubs – which we finished. I put up the new calendars too. It was a good day, especially since I didn’t have to do all the dishes. 🙂 What did you do?

My hope for everyone in 2020 is for all of us to practice much greater kindness to one another- individually and collectively. I notice that there is a tremendous “kindness deficit” in the world today, and that the fearmongering going on is very LOUD. Kindness is so often quiet it can be easy for us to miss, and I think there’s a tendency to dismiss its importance because it is quiet. Which is kind of NUTS because it takes strength to be kind, to be gentle. Any idiot can bellow loudly/indiscriminately about how terrible everything is and how much worse it’s gonna be…..WATCH OUT! WATCH OUT! WATCH OUT!

And then too, thoughts of fear often chase away thoughts of kindness… Here’s to a much kinder year!

That’s all for now. 🙂


**Also back in 1987, when my jaws were wired shut, absolutely every girl or woman that was aware of my surgeries (with the notable exception of my own dear mother) commented on how having one’s jaws wired shut was *such* a good way to lose weight. This was in rural New England where people are very reserved and are far less likely, in my experience, to make personal remarks of this kind. I found these comments terribly sad, depressing and kind of disgusting because it was every single one of us. I realized then how brainwashed we females all are on this topic. It’s tragic.

The surgeries were necessary and I’ve benefited ever since from the results, but just in case you’re thinking that having your jaws wired shut to lose weight is a great idea, my total weight loss from 7.5 weeks of my jaws wired shut was 13 lbs. If I had had my jaws wired shut for weight loss I would’ve been sorely disappointed with that result. Just sayin’.

The Invader – #6

PART ONE

So I have completed chemotherapy as of mid-October. Hooray!

text that says hip-hip hooray!I have to say that last round really took it out of me! It has taken me a month to start feeling half-way normal – but I’m not really complaining. I’m still not myself but each day is a little better. I’m hoping my hair will grow back soon, but in the meantime I’m looking for a wig. It’s harder than you think….

blue fright wig

What most wigs look like on me

What my oncologist was aiming for with my treatment was to get me to a point where I could have liver surgery and ablation. To back it up a bit, all of the colon cancer was removed during the colon resection last May, but the cancer had spread (metastasized) to my liver. As of July, I was borderline on the criteria for liver surgery and ablation – I might be able to have the surgery or I might not. The chemo was designed to keep me eligible for liver surgery and/or ablation once chemo was done. More specifically, the scans (both CT and PET) showed 3 large lesions in the left lobe of my liver and and another possible lesion in the right lobe (the pointier one) of my liver. My oncologist told me that the option of surgery was only possible after this first scheme of chemotherapy; generally the liver would be too damaged after subsequent rounds of chemo for it to heal and regenerate after surgery.

cartoon of a smiling liver

Doesn’t everyone want a happy liver?

Now if the liver lesions I had were all located in one lobe of the liver, they probably would have removed that lobe and called it done, but since I had lesions in both lobes, a combination of surgery and ablation would be done. I may not have this bit right, but my understanding was that the surgeon would remove the larger lesions surgically from 1 lobe and the special oncology radiologist would use a laser to burn out the lesion on the other lobe -that’s the ablation part. This is very serious surgery. I was gonna be in the hospital for at least 10 days post-op (the longest hospital stay I’ve ever had) and the recovery period for my liver was gonna take a number of months.  I learned shortly after the Invader #5 update that I was still doing well enough to have the surgery (above the cutoff line – yay!) AND that if the surgery was successful, I would have a 30 – 50% of being CANCER-FREE!!!! What terrific news!  The only reason I didn’t immediately post about it here was that i did not have a date for the surgery; I only knew that we were aiming for late November.

My fantasy is that laser ablation would be joyous and fun like a laser light show……

PART TWO

So last week we met with the surgeon again (lovely guy he is, as is my oncologist) to discuss the surgery and set up the date. When he came into the examination room, the first thing he said was that my scans looked REALLY good. We’d already had some indications that I had responded quite well to the chemo; a couple months ago the oncologist had seen no new lesions and some of the old ones had shrunk- all good news. As of my most recent PET scan, the surgeon told me that they could no longer see the lesions….so NO LIVER SURGERY FOR NOW.  This is fantastic news!!!

giphy

He showed us the most recent scans, contrasted with the older scans and it’s a miracle. You can see some scarring of the liver where the lesions were but no lesions.  He said that it doesn’t mean that there are no cancer cells left in my liver, we cannot say I am cancer-free, but that we will take a wait-and-see approach.

keep calm and just wait and see

I will have another scan in mid- to -late December to see if more needs to be done – if the lesions reappear, grow or new lesions show up. Depending on the results of that scan, I may need surgery, more chemo, radiation, perhaps some other therapy or maybe nothing else at all. Again, this is wonderful news. In one sense, I feel somewhat ambivalent about it because I was focused on having the surgery – surgery is something I have had a good bit of and I understand it fairly well I think. And it is something concrete with a before and an after, with some odds of being cancer-free to go along with it. The wait-and-see approach, as great news as it is and as happy as I am NOT to be having major surgery this month, is more vague and uncertain to me. I don’t have any odds or percentages at the moment and it’s harder for me to get my head around it. Still, it’s TERRIFIC news!


Back in July when I was told this was incurable cancer, I didn’t believe it. Over the months since, the news has gotten better and better, and I believe with all my heart it is all the good energy and the thousands of prayers that so so many of you have sent my way. I am SO GRATEFUL.

thanks a million

Thank you fifty skadillion times over.

It means EVERYTHING to me.

I’ll keep you posted.

Je vous remercie

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Invader – #5

Since last I told my cancer story, the news has been cautiously good. Sorry for making everyone wait so long for this most recent update – I’ve been caught up with a bunch of things and frankly, since working on my book (7 years now – gotta get serious and fininsh this thing!) I’ve fallen out of the habit of carving out writing time to do a post here and there.

I hope you know, and I’m telling you now, the comments I receive about the blog are deeply encouraging and I am so grateful. It really helps me to find the time to write. I usually have the posts all in my head – I’m just lazy about the typing. If I ever get speech-to-text for my ‘puter, well just WATCH OUT! But back to the Invader.

Since last I wrote, my chemotherapy regime has changed to a more intense therapy and so the side effects have been a good deal more serious. 80% of my hair has fallen out – let me tell you the hair coming out in locks in the shower is a really tough moment. I bought a wig over the Internet – it was a bargain – and oh my was that a mistake – wrong color big time and the style well let’s just say it inspired laughter.

Did you know you can get stones in your salivary glands? I had no idea….until I got one. So I’m already kind of a zombie because it was chemo week and Friday afternoon, while having yet another expensive scan (with radioactive dye which makes me sick every time – did I mention that they are hella expensive?) I got that twinge one gets when one’s salivary glands are gonna swell – like with a cold. I didn’t think much of it til later. By 8:30 that evening, I was in serious pain, even after taking painkillers, so we went to the ER. After hours & hours of waiting (whilst whatever pain killers I had taken wore off) I finally got in to see a dr. They gave me a pain shot which eased it for just a couple of hours, and another CT scan with radioactive resist – my second in less thatn 12 hrs (different parts of the body were scanned each time) and I learned that 1) I had a stone or some blockage of the left side parotid salivary gland (I was unfamiliar with this gland – it’s sort of kidney shaped and kind of wraps around your ear) and 2) the treatment consists of warm moist compresses, massage and chewing lemons and sour candy. The idea behind the lemons and sour candy is to get the gland to produce more saliva to flush out the blockage. And they gave me a prescription for some narcotic pain meds and a course of antibiotics.

I knew I’d be seeing my oncologist on that next Monday, so I tried to follow the instructions….but the pain was SO INTENSE. We called the after hours number for the oncologist to let him know what was happening and Studmuffin spoke to the nurse – she said I could take a double dose of the pain med – THANK GOD. Finally the pain was bearable. Meanwhile my face was swelling more and more – I was producing lots of saliva but it was backing up as the duct was still blocked The swelling was interfering with not only chewing but my breathing. I was sleeping sitting up on the couch so I could keep breathing!

My oncologist upon seeing me postponed my chemo treatment for that week and immediately whipped out his phone and called an ENT friend of his – got me in to see him THAT afternoon; a near impossible feat. I *love* my oncologist for doing that. Anyway, got into the ENT dr. and he affirmed the diagnosis and almost immediately put on gloves and got his hands in my mouth (in my experience as a kid, some ENT’s are quite reluctant to be hands on) to massage and see what was happening. That was very helpful to me because it showed me how much pressure I should be applying (hint: it was a lot more than I had been doing). He essentially told me to keep doing what I was doing, gave me another prescription for the pain meds and to come see him in 5 days. I admit that I cried right there in his office because I felt so hopeless at that point. I felt so awful and this was all the treatment they could offer in 2019? And the pain….

Well let’s talk about pain. I’m not a pain weenie. Every surgery I’ve had, except the colon resection last May, I wound up not taking all the pain meds I was prescribed, because I don’t like taking narcotics unless I absolutely have to and I can bear a fair amount of pain – the crusty New Englander part of me feels the need to point this out. 🙂 Anyway, I have saved those leftover medications over the years and they have come in handy on several occasions – earaches, somebody throws their back out, that kind of thing. I am always very, very, very careful with dosages; these medicines are serious business. When I started taking double the pain meds to make the pain bearable, well I was running out and I am very thankful that I still had a few tablets left from my heart surgery 10 years earlier (FYI – tablets are very, very stable over decades if kept in a reasonable environment (not too hot or cold and low humidity). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any kind of “stash” at all, just a very few tablets left over here and there. This helped me get through. Truly, this has been one of the most painful things I have EVER experienced – and I’ve had heart sugery and given birth 3 times!

So just as I am taking the antibiotic (a pill so big I have to split it into quarters to swallow it) I develop a yeast infection as well. This is TMI I am certain, but I feel I wanna say it because it only added to the over all misery. I had this as well as “elimination follies”* and I was not at all interested in eating; in fact I ate nothing for 3 days at one point. I did, because of a great sacrifice on my husband’s part, get to go to the Affrolachian On-Time Gathering, which was probably the best medicine I could have had. The gathering deserves its own post but I don’t have the energy to do that right now. Just know that all y’all oughta be going next year!

Eventually I was sent to Birmingham to see another ENT who has a nifty scope for this gland – the Duke of Curl had to drive me down and back, and the doc was running WAY late (2.5 hrs late) so none of that was fun. He told me that I was too swollen to scope and that I should take about 2 weeks more antibiotics to clear this thing out. He did not see evidence of what I have been calling my “face rock” so presumably it has passed. I can breathe normally, sleep in my bed and chew normally again, too. I am off narcotics and am not taking anything other than Ibuprofen for pain and inflammation.

This is the really gross part so you might wanna skip this paragraph. I started having some swelling go down and some relief after my first ENT visit and the much stronger massage. The most painful area, and the most swollen, is just in front of and just behind the ear. So the day after I finish the 7 day course of antibiotics I got from the ER doc, I’m massaging behind my ear and the skin ruptures and all this bloody pus comes draining out. I had actually given a good deal of thought into opening that area up myself with a large, sterile needle, but I’m just as happy not to have to do that and that it occurred naturally. It is still draining (almost 2 weeks now) and the B’ham ENT cultured the pus and has as of yesterday given me a new antibiotic to take (very large pills that cannot be split and are quite challenging for me to swallow).

Last week was chemo and it hit me wicked hard. When I can sleep, I have lots of vivid nightmares (my therapist calls them “poison dreams”) and I am much, much weaker than I have been – so weak that I have been afraid to drive myself places. I’m tryna take a trip to NH to see family in a week – it’s a little iffy that I can even go. Still I am feeling better today than in the last 3 weeks.

It’s been six months since my diagnosis so I guess I’m officially down to 18 months life expectancy – that’s not what I say it is and of course God has the final say in all cases. I thank you from the bottom of my soul for all the prayers and I hope you’ll keep on praying for me; the prayers are keeping me going. Next up will be the big liver ablation in November, if I’m well enough to do it. I’ll try to write more frequently and briefly in the future.

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…..

 

 

 

 

 

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*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. 🙂

So I guess enough time has passed now….and I’m so surprised.

So I watched this thing about Linda Ronstadt on YouTube on Tuesday. I always liked her music – no matter what she sang – and when her memoir came out and she was doing the rounds of TV interviews to publicize her book, she was asked again and again if she missed singing (she can no longer sing because of her Parkinson’s Disease).  She of course said she did, but in one interview she said that what she missed even more was being able to knit – again the Parkinson’s Disease. I remember seeing a picture of her knitting back in the day but I didn’t realize she was a real *fibertarian*!

This wasn’t the picture I remember but it doesn’t matter – there are several around. About 1975

Anyway, you know how it is on the YouTube – one video leads to another and there was an interview of her with the guy from the Old Grey Whistle Test I think from maybe 1975 or ’76 where she’s talking about how important the Troubadour (a bar & club in L.A.) was for the music scene she was a part of in southern California and I really enjoyed her interview – she was thoughtful, intelligent, down-to-earth and honest.  I especially liked how much she praised the ability of other musicians she met or heard at the Troubadour, several of which ended up in her backing band and then went on to become the Eagles.

The original 4 – l-r: Randy Meisner, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Glenn Frey

Folks who know me well have heard me say many, many unkind things about the Eagles throughout my life. You see, where I grew up, there were few radio stations, and there were several bands/musicians whose music was played so very often I got completely burnt out on them and their music: Led Zeppelin, Boz Scaggs, Creedence Clearwater Revival, AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, Eric Carmen/Raspberries, Benny Mardones (he’s a little different b/c he just had the one song – that really creepy tune about the girl being underage – I heard it on the muzak at the grocery within the last 6 months and yep, it’s still way creepy). I have always thought it strange that I never got burnt out on the Bee Gees……..

For most of the other artists I mentioned, I have been surprised to learn that with the passage of time and NOT hearing their tunes for years, occasionally it would happen that I might hear one of the songs from the above-mentioned artists and found I could appreciate them anew. This has been lovely and so unexpected. Now, I despise the Doors too, but that’s almost completely for different reasons, though they certainly received FAR too much airplay in my hearing. My hot hate for the Doors burns brightly still.

But the Eagles? Well, the Eagles I have loathed them for sooooooo many years. They got played so much… they get played all the time even now! I cannot remember a time in my life (since 1972 when their 1st album came out when I was THREE) when more than 3 or 4 days pass before I hear one of their songs someplace – I cannot get away from them except for when I went to camp twice as a kid and when I have left the US, though there was that time in Tel Aviv in 1996……..!

Felder, Walsh, Meisner, Henley & Frey

I know the words to almost every song they released, including many “deep” album cuts and I have never EVER tried to learn the words to any of their songs: the lyrics are just there, stuck in my brain without my permission. There are poems, prayers and many quotes from the Baha’i Writings that I *want* to have memorized, that I want in my brain forever, but nope – they cannot take up residence because the effing Eagles lyrics are taking up SO MUCH OF MY MEMORY.  Then, there was that turbulent time in my parents’ marriage and my dad was playing “Desperado” and “Seven Bridges Road” over and over and over on the 8-track as we drove around in the truck. Nope – I have had NO LOVE IN MY HEART for the Eagles since I was about 8 years old.

Circa 1977 l-r Glenn Frey, Don Felder, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit

I have even hated the solo work done by Frey and Henley, just on principle. I know it’s unreasonable and kind of stupid – especially when Don Henley writes something d***ed magnificent like “The Heart of the Matter”; I even got mad at India.Arie – one of my favorite artists of the last 20 years – for recording that song (she kills it by the way) because even when I hear her singing it, it reminds me of Don Henley, which reminds me of the Eagles and I get mad at all the space they take up in my musical memory….. I have to admit that there is one exception: I do adore Timothy B. Schmit’s voice and some of his songs (“Love Will Keep Us Alive” is an incredible song and how he sings it….well well well). When Randy Meisner left the band, Schmit became their bassist and he has somehow escaped my ire and animus, and as I am thinking more deeply, I don’t truly hate Meisner, Joe Walsh, Bernie Leadon, or Don Felder either. Maybe I just hate Henley and Frey……No – I admit this rancor isn’t rational or evenly applied, but still I have felt this way for decades.

So in this Ronstadt interview, she talks a good bit about how much she loves the way they all sing together and how first nobody knew Don Henley could even sing ‘cos he was so shy and he was the drummer – a really great drummer. I then watched the thing when Glenn Frey inducted her into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame; I knew he had passed away, but I couldn’t remember why so then off to Wikipedia…I didn’t realize he had Rheumatoid arthritis and was carried off by pneumonia. It’s a sad thing. After watching more interviews with the band on YouTube and part of a BBC documentary and reading more stuff, I went back to YouTube to listen to a little part of just one of their songs – Take It Easy. The professionally filmed and recorded concert from 1977 came up and …. well Sweet Sally Melville, I LIKED it. Those harmonies…….they could really PLAY and sing and write songs. I am appreciating them in a new way, without the angst of the past and – WARNING! PUN AHEAD! it’s a Peaceful, Easy Feeling.  ( I hope my brother who loves puns reads that). I know so much more about music and performing and songwriting, all of which add to my astonishing (to me anyway) change of heart.

Y’all, for me this is like waking up one day, looking in the mirror and seeing a third ear growing out of the middle of my forehead – a crazy surprise. The hate is GONE and I am so happy. Heck, next week I am getting together to jam with a new friend who does some of that late 70’s country rock and who knows? we might even play some Eagles tunes.  Not hating them is a kind of relief, tho’ I still kinda resent their space in my brain. I guess enough time has passed, and I have different kind of appreciation of how challenging it can be to be in a band and get stuff to sound right, or just maybe how it is when we get older. I don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not gonna go get tickets to one of their shows, nor will I be playing any of their songs on repeat for a few weeks in the summer (this sometimes happens to me with certain bands – my kids HATE it when this comes upon me).

Circa 2018 l-r: Don Henley, Glenn Frey’s son Deacon, Joe Walsh, Vince Gill, Timothy B Schmit.

But I might listen to them some on Spotify and I certainly won’t feel bad when I hear another tune of theirs unexpectedly someplace. As John Prine says, “It’s a big ol’ goofy world.”

I will say that I thank God that the Doors are not nearly as popular as the Eagles.

 

 

FYI – this post was originally gonna be called “D*** Dog! part deux.

We got a beautiful smaller dog last Saturday. Her name is Hexie. I hope to post some pictures soon cos she is SO cute. Because of Petra and her depredations, I’d put away the last project (see last post) and begun to knit on an UFO (UnFinished Object – we are learning things today aren’t we?): the second sock of a pair of socks I’d started back in 2015.

I love the yarn – lavender/purple, grey & black stripes in a wool /alpaca blend, with solid black for heels, toes and in this pair, cuffs. Once I started knitting on it again, I realized why I had put it away: it isn’t a good marriage of yarn to the pattern. So the stripes aren’t really stripes anymore because of the cables, and the cables make the coloring so busy that you cannot see the cables unless you are up VERY close.

My problem is that I have knit so far into this project – all of one sock and about 10% of the second one that I could not decide if I wanted to rip out all the knitting and use a different pattern that I know will be a far better pairing of yarn to sock. I made the decision to finish the second sock in the less attractive pattern because I have SO much sock yarn in the stash ( I really am gonna have to show you everything I got last Nov. & Dec.) that ripping it back (or frogging as it is commonly known amongst knitters) is basically pointless because I care far more about having another pair of handmade socks for than if the socks were perfect. If they were for a gift, I’d frog them for certain but they are for me so no biggie.

Well, Hexie decided to get into the yarn. It’s not nearly so bad as what Petra did to the other project but WHAT IS GOING ON? WHY do my dogs wanna tear apart my knitting and kill my groovy sock knitting mojo? Bad word bad word bad word.

 

OK ok enough. It’s almost 4 am and I must stop writing.

Still alive

Sorry no blogging in so long. Been insanely-busy.

Hope everyone is well and happy. I still have loads to write about, but just have no time….nope not even for Pinterest, Ravelry or Facebook – 3 of my online faves/go-to’s. Oh well, it’s good to be useful. See all y’all later.

Let’s talk about a “made up” holiday…..

So I was talking with Studmuffin about a week ago about the holidays that are happening now, and he said something about Kwanzaa that I have heard many people say – something about how it’s a “made up holiday”…

 

I won’t go into all of the parts that offend me about that statement, and I don’t wanna go into a full on rant here, but there are a few points about holidays I really would like to bring up.

  1. The biggest holiday in the world EVER is MADE UP.
  2. What do you think Jesus might say about the principles of Kwanzaa?

So for point #1 – the biggest holiday that has ever been celebrated is Christmas*. I wish to be clear: Jesus certainly was born and it absolutely was a miracle and I love celebrating the Birth of Christ. I revere Jesus so greatly – I cannot even find the words to express my love for Him.

!!!!!!!!BUT!!!!!!!!

a.) It is quite clear that Jesus was not born on December 25th or on January 7th; the date and time is not known. The exact year and season is up for debate, but was almost certainly not in the winter. So the date for the world’s biggest holiday ever is MADE UP. **

b.) Many of the most cherished traditions of Christmas have nothing at all to do with the birth of Christ: the lights, the tree, the giving of gifts, the feasting, mistletoe, holly, drummer boys, Yule logs- along with reindeer, sleighs and Santa (more on him below).

c.)  Santa Claus is sorta, kinda related to Saint Nicolas, but most of what  is even said about Saint Nicolas is myth, i.e. MADE UP. ***

Of course the best parts of Christmas are not made up – celebration of the Birth of Christ, peace on earth, goodwill towards men, generosity, family, love – all of that is real and true and so worth celebrating. I look forward to this part of Christmas every year! But all the rest of it is MADE UP.

Coming to my 2nd point: when one mentions the made-up-ness+ of Kwanzaa, why is that the thing that gets mentioned? Is it that we are somehow concerned that a made up holiday – that is not nearly so old, so widespread or very familiar – is somehow conflicting with another made up holiday that is old, widespread & familiar? I don’t get it.

First, let’s take a quick look at Kwanzaa: it began to be celebrated in 1966. It is a week-long celebration held in the United States and in other nations of the African diaspora in the Americas. It was begun – yes, MADE UP – by Dr. Maulana Karenga, who is still living (age 76 in 2017).  It was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of African traditions and Nguzo Saba, which are the “seven principles of African Heritage” – which Karenga said “is a communitarian African philosophy”. ++

Unity

These principles are:

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.

Self-determination

  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

 

What part of the 7 principles above do you think Jesus would object to? Unity?

 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—  I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”      -John 17:20-23  NIV

How’s about self-determination?

“Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk?  Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing?”

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

                                                                   – 1 Corinthians 9:7, 24 but you should really read the whole chapter…..

Purpose

 

OK, let’s look at collective work and responsibility:

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. …Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,  for each one should carry their own load. ”

– Galatians 6:2, 4 & 5

Creativity

I think you can see where I’m going with this…….I’m no Biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m certain those that are could find many, many more quotes from the Bible that uphold these same ideas. I cannot see any conflict at all with the ministry, laws and precepts of Jesus and the principles of Kwanzaa. Goodness knows ALL people on the planet would benefit from these principles.

Faith

So I delight in wishing you a Merry (made up) Christmas and a Happy (made up) Kwanzaa!

 


* Some lists have New Year’s Eve/Day as the biggest and oldest world celebration (like this one- 10 Most Celebrated Annual Holidays Around the World wonderslist.com 2017 (March/April?). However, as all of the world religions each have a different calendar, the date of the beginning of the new year is different than January 1st for a couple of billion people, whereas there are billions of people who celebrate Christmas, whether as a religious holiday or a secular one.

**You can read more here- When was Jesus born? LiveScience.com Jan 30, 2014     And here- Was Jesus born on December 25? United Church of God’  Beyond Today Jan 25, 2011

***You don’t have to take my word for it- Five Myths about St. Nick – Dec. 21, 2017 Washington Post

+ Yes, I just made up that word. 🙂

++ from Wikipedia Kwanzaa

A post I didn’t want to write

Today, the second of our beloved pair of “Labramatians” died. Miss Natasha has been declining for some time, and when I recently went out of town, I was quite sure she wouldn’t be here when I got back. But she was!

She didn’t like having her picture taken somehow.

For a dog of her size, she was very elderly – about 105 in people years; she lived 15 & a half actual years.  The last 6 months or so, she seemed to be free of the itching/scratching & everything else that went with her parasitic infection (leishmania); I think she outlived the parasite! She was a tough cookie. Her skin healed, her fur mostly grew back in and  she gained weight.

A happy, hot day at the dog park – before leishmania. She’s about 11 years old here.

 

Anyway, she had mostly stopped eating almost 2 weeks ago and I knew it would be soon that she would leave us.  Studmuffin was feeding her raw ground beef.  Tasha loved chocolate; she used to get into swap packages I received – climbing up on places I didn’t think she could get to & tearing them open with her teeth if they smelled of chocolate. Because it was clear to me she was dying, I fed her as much Halloween candy as she wanted. I’m so glad I did. Tasha seriously loved her food.

She had 2 seizures today. After the first one, I had the Duke of Curl put her on some blankets on the couch; she just loved to lie on the couch, she wasn’t supposed to do it but I often caught her at it. After several hours, she tried to get up/turn over and I helped her. That’s when she had her final seizure. I am so glad I was with her.

Natasha (L) & Boris (R) – at about 8 years old.   I’m so grateful to have been a part of your pack.

We will have dogs again I am sure, but gosh, they leave such a big hole when they go. It will be some time before I am ready again. I am so grateful to have had Miss Tasha & Mr. Boris in my life….. So sad to be writing the end of the Boris & Natasha adventures.

I sure hope, my Tasha, that in your happy hunting grounds, there are UPS trucks for you to chase, raisins & chocolate and garbage for you to eat and Boris is there to endlessly lick your ears.  I miss you already, my brown-eyed girl.

ELEVEN years?! Really?

So yeah. As of January 21, 2017 I’ll have been blogging for 11 years. That’s an accomplishment of some kind………?

I know posts have been quite sporadic the last 3 years – I do apologize. Without going into great personal detail, the last three years have been quite difficult and I certainly could have shared lots & lots more….I decided not to do that. Because to me, whinge-ing is more like funny complaining, which I believe is my God-given natural talent. Sharing woes is best done with one’s closest friends perhaps or family or most definitely one’s therapist (shoutout to Dr. F. P.!!). BTW, if you enjoy comedic whingeing, you might enjoy the BBC tv series “One Foot In the Grave” – I’m certainly not up to Victor’s level!

shocked-astonished-animals-photography-3__700

I’d never planned to go on so long – certainly I cannot say that I’ve had a huge following…..but still, plugging away at anything for such a time tends to improve skill….

I believe I have gained some skill in writing, and creating the posts for the most part has been joyful. But wow, even I’m shocked it’s been 11 years.

I’ve also considered closing it down…..but as it costs me very little other than time and brain power, I’ve decided to keep going, however infrequently.

I hope to blog more consistently about knitting in 2017, God willing.

surprised-shocked-animals-funny-13__700-1

Thanks to everyone who’s ever read this blog and enjoyed it. 🙂


P.S. You can still read my very first post here.    The 1st Knitting and Whinge-ing post

 

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

bummer_vacation

 

(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.

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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-

whatsfordinner

 

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.

boriscollage


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

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

bummer_vacation

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

Illness

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.

cattoungue

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!

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

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Attack of the SUPERcold

So, you’ve not heard from me lately for a few reasons:

  1. I’ve been working on an end-of-2014 post. It *is* almost done…..
  2. My family has been laid low by the SUPERcold (more on that in a minnit)
  3. Hence, I cannot concentrate much at all.

Studmuffin came home early last Wednesday feeling poorly and proceeded to infect the rest of us. Thanks hon! I call this a SUPERcold because its symptoms are multitudinous* and lingering.  I do not have it as bad as the others, but it is working thru my system much more sluggishly than everybody else; they had 2 days of fever, aches & chills & I’m now on day 4 of fever, aches and chills. Grrrrrr….. On top of this, I cooked something that really didn’t agree with me & so has just added to my misery. And it’s raining. And bloody cold. Yay!  Ain’t I just Miss Merry Sunshine today?

So I’ve been knitting some & binge-watching TV programs.  I’ve watched almost all of the Great British Bake Off – yes, all 5 series – and all of Outlander.## Now that I’m thru with those, I’m reading sewing blogs, which is by turns satisfying & highly frustrating at the moment.  I love catching up with all the different sewist blogs I read (like 30 of them…) & getting inspired by what people are doing, really wanting to sew but I don’t feel well enough to actually do any of the activities that comprise sewing – even little bitty things.

So until I feel better……..sending love out into the Universe for all y’all.

————————-

* symptoms: sore throat, fever, chills, aches, malaise, runny nose, sneezing, hacking cough, watering eyes, serious sinus pressure. When I lay down, I can hear my sinuses bubble. Did I mention all of the phlegm…..?

##By the way, you ABSOLUTELY ***need** to watch the Great Comic Relief Bake Off from last Wednesday with Dame Edna Everage. I laughed so hard I thought that I was gonna have a stroke!

I’ve been blogging for HOW LONG?!?!?

I swear I’d lose my head if weren’t attach-….HEY!!!!

 

The Yarn Harlot was just celebrating her most excellent blog’s anniversary and it made me curious: how long have I been blogging now?

It’s not how you feel, it’s how you LOOK….

I went back to the first place I blogged (Livejournal – it’s still there…..if you look for it) and saw the date:

THAT’S NINE YEARS! I have to go lie down now…..

Perhaps not *quite* like this……

 

 

Actually when I think of her success (the Yarn Harlot’s) in blogging, I feel like this:

.

I’ve been blogging only 2 years fewer than she has…….how come? Why not me?

But then I remember:

  • she’s far more regular in her postings than I
  • she’s a better knitter than I am
  • she’s far FAR funnier than I am
  • oh yeah: she’s a WAY better writer – she’s been Canada’s top blogger of any kind for years!

When I think of why I started; I didn’t start this blog to get famous or a livelihood or nuthin’.  I did it because my friends Meg & Joe thought it might be fun for me.

THEY WERE RIGHT!

I’m tickled that ANYBODY reads this!

Thanks for everybody sticking around at all through this time. Who knows? I might go another nine years….

Happy blogiversary to me!!!

Now go read the Yarn Harlot’s blog. 🙂

Miss November

type-writer-girl

That’s a misleading title to this post. It really should be Miss(ed) November. I have been trying to at least write once every 2 weeks; I find myself on November 30th not having written anything here all month! Though I definitely have been writing….

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Happy Hallowe’en….sort of…..

So I love Hallowe’en; I know yer shocked.  I love it SO much that I’m one of the few who still bother to put in the apostrophe in it, which believe you me, SpellCheck simply loathes. Anyway, this is the first year in more than 20 that I haven’t had a kid dressing up to go Trick or Treat-ing. All my progeny are too old! But there were still a few preparations to be done:

  • last night I did my annual Hallowe’en Blues show on WJAB.  During this football season, the first 1/2 hour of my show is now a sports talk show. I know it is of limited duration; I’m really missing that 1/2 hour & never so much as last night.

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This lengthy blog pause has been brought to you by…..

….a whole bunch of things – let’s call it a life tsunami..perhaps tsunami is too big, the wrong scale for what’s been happening, but I’ve been really SWAMPED and overwhelmed.the-wave

I’ve been missing y’all though. So even though my darling readers (both of you) really deserve an extensive update, I’ve not got it in me.  Still, going with the idea that something is better than nothing here’s what I can give tonight: BULLETS.

  • My mobility from the end of February to early August was next to nothing – lots of pain & very hard to get around at all. That, coupled with increasing incontinence (I know – TMI!- but hey….), made gardening this season a joke – even with 2 beautiful keyhole gardens. That’s why no gardening speak on de blog. Sorry ’bout that. I hope to talk some about the garden in the next month, including the story of what happens If You Ask an Engineer to Design a Bean Trellis….
  • Modern medicine to the rescue -I got a steroid shot in the right ankle & another pill to take (vastly decreasing the incontinence(!) at the end of July and therefore was able to go on the first One Human Family Workshop Choir Harvest Tour – the first one in 9 years by my count. The ankle is still going pretty good and I no longer have to carry a towel and a spare set of clothes with everywhere I go…..

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  • Sang way too many low notes on tour ( I spent a good deal of time singing BASS – can you say ‘stoopid’? – & then talked my face off til 2 and 3 and nearly 4 am most nights…so the voice was TOAST when I got back home.  Then I got summer bronchitis….still coughing up nasty stuff 3 weeks after the course of antibiotics and do not have my high notes back yet…..
  • Celebrated TWENTY YEARS of NOT SMOKING on Labor Day weekend. Thank you God so much.
  • I’m still knitting on my Shaelyn shawl…which I’m thinking I will give to a dear friend instead of it being for me.  I had to tink back about 8 or 9 rows because of some really stoopid mistakes, but all is well and if I really knit on it every day I’ll have the knitting done in 5 to 7 days.
  • I’m most of the way thru the foot of a sock in a retina searingly bright neon sock yarn ( I just realized I have not even put a project page in Ravelry for this yet….aack!) and gonna try out the Fish Lips Kiss Heel on this pair.
  • I’m on a hat kick…again.  I’ve made 8 hats since January – here’s a few:      .. . . …. I’ve got one on the needles right now in lovely squishy Brioche stitch and gonna make AT LEAST 5 more pretty soon.  More & better pictures will happen…at some point. STOP LAUGHING!
  • Number One Son is supposed to move from NYC to Northern Virginia soon.  I hope all goes well.
  • The Duke of Curl was supposed to start college this fall as a computer science major, but decided at the absolute very last minute NOT to take on the $10,000 debt( and not allow us to take it on either) that would’ve been necessary for that to happen.  SO he will start at community college in January and is currently looking for work and generally being a sweet fella to be around.
  • The Force of Nature is focused on going into the Coast Guard after graduation from HS in a couple of years – more specifically the Coast Guard Academy and has been visibly doing HOMEWORK and has started running for actual exercise 3 days a week; she informed me today that she is on the A/B honor roll.  We are beginning to think some kind of alien abduction/ switcheroo kind of thing took place while we were in the bathroom probably…..
  • Studmuffin is still sticking with most of my dietary changes and so has lost about 25 pounds.  He has also discovered a deep and voracious love for grapes. Eating about 5 lbs. per week with little help from the rest of us.  I’m not complaining – just a bit amused.
  • The last 3 weekends I was off doing singing things – that’s an unusually high ratio even for me. I will write about 2 of the weekends for sure and soon.
  • The pets are endlessly amusing and every one of them sheds a bunch.  I am sick and TIRED of hair control….. Still, they continue to be charming. Currently, the are two cats surrounding the keyboard, the younger one keeps tryna lick my fingers and then licks the older cat’s head…..weird.
  • My potential career as a 911 dispatcher was cut short by my inability to type 35 wpm (I got 34 wpm) ::::sigh:::::  Need to find some employment – orthodontics aren’t cheap and neither is college tuition.  Plus, we need a new roof and well, you get the idea.
  • Work on the book is ongoing but slow. I am determined to get a first draft completed by the end of December!!!  Of 2014!!!
  • I’ve been flirting with sewing clothing again.  I’ve bought fabric and patterns at least….very little sewing has occurred.
  • Been practicing the piano most days for a good bit of time ( guess what? If you practice, you get better! who knew?)and have the opportunity to do a couple of house concerts too. We’ll see…….
  • I have been horrified at the killing of unarmed black people by the police for some time – I really became aware of Driving While Black about 20-25 years ago and started learning a lot from there on in. This summer has been truly remarkable (and mostly not in a good way) for the 1) wealth of information about white police officers killing/tasering black people with impunity, 2) the staggering naivete/ignorance/apathy of most white people about how different life is for black people in the US especially when it comes to law enforcement, and yes, I am gonna write about it here too.      albert einstein                                 I’ve been sharing a lot on Facebook about it and some people close to me really do not like it but I cannot be silent about it!  Even on my knitting blog. I encourage absolutely every person on the planet to investigate what is happening for themselves – do not take “the media’s” word, do not take the police’s word, do not take my word for it – learn about it for yourself. The truth will set us all free and then justice can take place and then unity will appear.

So much for brevity.  How’s by you?

This blog pause brought to you by….

…..a lack of FOCUS!

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No, this is not a picture of me……it is how i am *feeling*……

Y’all truly deserve a *real* post by me, but it isn’t in the cards this time around.  I guess this is a “snapshot” of right now:

  • I broke my yarn diet…TWICE in 2 weeks.  I figure I’ve been REALLY good for 18 months so I wanted to get some new yarn! In total, I got 4 skeins of sock yarn: 1 NORO Silk Garden Sock,  1 Regia Fluormania & 2 Naturally Waikiwi (ya need two skeins for 1 pair of socken), & 2 skeins of laceweight: 1 Madelintosh Prairie in Clematis, & 1 Maharashtra Silk in Navy.  I guess I want to make socks & shawls…..You can see pictures on Ravelry.com in my stash section……
  • I’m currently working on a Shaelyn shawl in  Madelinetosh Prairie in a gorgeous semi-solid dark blue.  I’m enjoying it so much, it put me over the top to buy the aforementioned M’tosh Prairie in Clematis
  • portrait-unfocused
  • more knitting is happening b/c the kitten is growing up.  This is very happymaking!
  • no pics ‘cos the camera is misplaced….again.
  • Instead of huge amounts of yarn, I’m buying loads of sewing patterns & fabric, so I will begin a fabric & pattern fast….soon.
  • Not much sewing is happening….at all.
  • I’ve bought 3 quilting books & 1 quilting magazine in the last month.
  • And more quilting fabric. Like enough to make my dream quilt for my bed.
  • And batting for baby blankets…..  I think I have a problem.
  • My therapist has been difficult to get ahold of……
  • scale
  • I have been reading many, many sewing blogs. This *has* to STOP!
  • I’ve broken through my writer’s block on my book, so a good deal of progress is being made. Yay!
  • My weight loss has slowed way way down, mainly because of the mobility problems, but also b/c I’ve learned how to cheat really well.  This *has* to STOP!
  • Total weight lost since Jan. ’14 – 43 lbs.
  • I cannot believe it has been FIVE years since Michael Jackson died….
  • And now Bobby Womack is gone . :::sigh:::
  • catfocus
  • Am reading a wonderful biography right now called: I’ll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March up Freedom’s Highway by Greg Kot; I **HIGHLY*** recommend this book if you like soul or gospel music.  If you are not familiar with Mavis Staples/the Staples Singers, I STRONGLY suggest you drop everything & get to listening!
  • The Force of Nature is now a certified lifeguard.  I knew she could do it!
  • Parenting teenagers is a thankless job.  The last 2 weeks were particularly thankless….
  • unfocused_fireworks_by_challengeaccepted-d56jv0p
  • My garden is all kind of peally-wally b/c I’ve been neglecting it (see mobility issues).  Still the tomatoes will begin their inundation in a couple of weeks God willing.
  • I’ve been thinking about ending my blog.  Is seven or eight years enough?  Does anybody care? Do I?  I dunno….
  • I really love Kiva.org , Indiegogo & Kickstarter.
  • The One Human Family Workshop Choir is going on tour in August!  First time in nine years……
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I have so much more to write about everything here but Studmuffin & I are taking the Force of Nature to dinner to celebrate the lifeguardiness.  The Duke of Curl is over at a friend’s house playing video games.

So, how are YOU?

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A quick note about my mobility

So this nearly 30 year-old sports injury has reasserted itself as of February, when the combination of more regular exercise (great for blood glucose control) and converting the ‘puter from a “sitting” location to a “standing” one (to get MORE exercise) combined to make life more challenging…. The new ‘puter arrangement was *great* for a day & a half, then my right ankle started to hurt a LOT. I have same difficulty with both ankles and I *know* what to do – put on an elastic bandage and give it some TLC & it should be OK in a day…..

Not my ankle…..

No such luck and to shorten the story, most days I am using a cane to assist my walking. I don’t have to have the cane to get around per se but I have less pain if I use it consistently.  Getting around is WAY more difficult & I’ll tell more about what’s wrong in a later post perhaps, but in the meantime I wanted to share a catchphrase Studmuffin & I have been using daily that makes us laugh: “I’m disabled” said in an Irish accent. Why is this funny? Below are a couple of video clips that explain it.

Here’s the set up: The IT Crowd, a British comedy about Roy & Moss, two very geeky computer guys who work in the basement of Reynholm Corp., with Jen, their manager, who knows nada about computers. Here, the trio are at a theatre show (titled “GAY!”) and Roy (white) & Moss (black) need to use the facilities. It helps to know that the old style toilets in England had the tank up near the ceiling & you’d pull on the dangling chain to flush.

Part Two

The awkwardness just goes on & on….  If you think these are funny, I heartily recommend seeing the whole episode.

 

This blog pause brought to you by….

…the month of APRIL.

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  • I’ve got TONS to SAY….but NO DESIRE to write it down.
  • I have knitting pictures to share, still no mojo to put ’em up.
  • I’m getting ready for the Force of Nature’s SIXTEENTH birthday, so I’ve been shopping and sewing.
  • Down THIRTY SIX pounds so far…so I bought a birdbath.
  • I have bought more sewing patterns this month than in the previous 15 years COMBINED.  I’m disgusted with my own acquisitiveness. TRULY.
  • Book is progressing. Slowly, but  progressing.
  • Garden is progressing – no faster than the book. Ugh.
  • One more thing……

Yes, this is still a knitting blog (as much as it ever has been…..whatever!), but I am getting back into sewing and it will get mentioned here some. I am SO tired of paying lots of $ for ugly things that don’t fit. There is a recent SPECTACULAR blog post about this – everyone should read this I think. GET READY

I leave you with a few words from one of my favorite philosophers:

“Well, Art is Art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.

 – Groucho Marx



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The next post won’t be for…

…everyone.  Or rather, everyone can read it certainly, but it won’t be everyone’s cup o’ tea.

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I taught a class on this back in 1998, & I’ve put it up on various little websites I’ve had over the years; it hasn’t been available for awhile & now is the time to give it a new online abode. Consider this an invitation  and/or a warning. :o)

Update

  • 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?

Climate change means WEIRD weather

ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!

Weather Nerdiness & RANT ahead!

ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!ALERT!

******************************************************************************

When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.

-Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki tribe)

So last winter was quite warm, and this spring has been cold and wet and WEIRD. Last weekend, Friday thru Sunday, we got 6 & a half inches of RAIN.  That’s a LOT of rain!

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