whinge

The Invader – #18 (pt. 2 – going forward)

So last Monday (May 16) I went in to get treatment and 2 things happened: my platelet count was too low again for me to receive treatment and I got to consult with my oncologist. I had had another genomic blood assay recently, and the results were NOT great.

This isn’t super awful news in that the genomic blood assay can detect changes in the cancer quite a bit before those changes show up in the other scans (CAT or PET scans), so my medical team can make decisions about going forward sooner and that’s really good. But it does mean that, generally speaking, at this point I’ve used up the other treatments for my kind of cancer (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy) and now it’s time to try clinical trials. This is rather a roll of the dice for a number of reasons: depending on what phase (1, 2 or 3) of the trial I might be able to get into, where the trial is located (it could be in South Dakota for example) and we would have to decide if I could move there – if we could afford it or if I could manage without any support system there, and so on.

The different phases of clinical trials I think are important to understand too, but let me be clear – what I’m writing is my own understanding and I absolutely could be wrong; I don’t know everything and I am surely not a medical professional!

But, as I think it could be useful to those reading this, this is what I currently understand: a phase 1 trial is the most experimental of the three. The drug being studied has not been proven in any way to be beneficial to humans (there may have been prior animal studies that indicate benefit) and participants do not know if they are actually receiving the drug being studied or a placebo (double blind study). A phase 2 trial is where a drug has shown some kind of benefit in phase 1 trials and the phase 2 is more targeted – perhaps to a specific kind of cancer or stage of cancer, or people of a certain age range, or those who have had certain environmental exposures, or maybe 2 drugs are used in combination, etc. Lots of different variables may be included or excluded to find out if a drug is truly useful, but, just like in phase 1 trials, participants do not know if they are receiving the drug or a placebo instead.

A phase 3 trial would be the best I could hope to get, in that the drug or drugs in such a trial have proven benefit and are being measured for the “standard of care” – participants are certain to receive the drug (or drugs) being studied, but these trials figure out doses and/or procedures (such as the drug being trialed needs to be given in conjunction with another drug, or alternated with another drug, again many different variables) so that the drug, once approved for use, can be prescribed.

Taking part in a clinical trial might mean that I’d have a whole new slate of uncomfortable, and/or embarrassing, and/or possibly damaging/toxic side effects with no guarantee of benefit to me – meaning killing my cancer/extending my life. The thought of more new and awful side effects really kind of terrifies me. But that’s the gamble of it all -there’s the chance I could receive a drug that works wonderfully for me. I guess what really appeals to me about participating in a clinical trial, or even more than one trial, is the opportunity to possibly help someone else. To assist in scientific inquiry that may mean somebody else, maybe lots of somebodies, doesn’t have terrible side effects or is able to manage their cancer like a chronic disease instead of a death sentence, or – the “Holy Grail” – they can be rid of the disease entirely. Now that’s a gamble I feel is worth taking.

No, none of the docs have given me a new “expiration date” so far. They don’t know and in some ways, I like that there’s no timeline here. Makes me feel more like everyone else – no one knows the hour of their own death. And really, I do have a pretty strong feeling – based on nothing more than what my gut says – that I’ve still got several more “good” years ahead of me, perhaps as many as 10 years. I don’t feel like I’m entering into any kind of final phase. No matter what happens, live or die, everything will be alright.

So how am I doing? Believe me, I’m so very fortunate to have so many people who care for me and everyone wants to know how I am doing and what’s ahead. I am so very, very. very grateful to absolutely everyone who has asked how I am and said nice things or prayed for me over the years – I am often overwhelmed by the depth of caring shown by everyone (and I’m so so so far behind in my correspondence in communicating my gratitude, well it’s scandalous. Please forgive me if I haven’t gotten back to you). Most all the time I feel very unworthy of such love and care from so many….grateful is such a puny word and doesn’t communicate how hugely in everyone’s debt I feel. Thank you all. Really. Truly.

For now, the biggest drag on me is having to tell others about my “bad news”! I gotta tell you – it’s pretty depressing to tell so many friends and family that the news isn’t good; I end up comforting people over and over again – it can be quite exhausting and some days, I’m just not up to it. I hate making my mother, my husband, my children cry, but I have to be upfront and honest about what’s going on. I have learned that giving bad news and helping others cope is a big part of the “mental game” of having a serious illness, and just like treatment and side effects, ya gotta learn how to deal with it. I’m stumbling along as best I can, hopefully with gratitude, humor and a positive attitude.

I would love to talk about other things…… 🙂

Keep the prayers coming please. I love you all. Thanks.

The Invader – #18 (pt. 1 – what’s been happening)

Yeah, so it’s been FIVE MONTHS since I wrote anything here. I do apologize. I have thought of it many, many times during this period and I haven’t been able to put my thoughts together in any kind of coherent way. Really I am sorry – I know it has caused quite a bit of worry on the part of some of my friends and family.

One thing I can absolutely promise is that Part Two of this post will be published in a few days and you won’t have to wait months this time – I can promise that because I have already written it and electronically scheduled its release.

So when last I wrote, I had to put my beloved old cat, my beautiful girlie Kali, down. I hope to write about her at some point in the future, when I feel up to it. I wanna tell everyone how great she was. On that same day however, December 20th, 2021, I started “full on” chemotherapy again. My numbers had been creeping up (in the wrong direction) for several months and had recently jumped up a concerning amount so the decision was made that I would go from the “maintenance chemotherapy” I had been on for quite a while (every other week, going in for a several hour infusion on a Monday, wearing a pump for the next 2 days and then getting it disconnected on Wednesday. VERY time consuming) to “full” chemotherapy (similar routine, but more drugs and higher dosages). My oncologist said, rather optimistically as it turns out, to me and Studmuffin that I probably wouldn’t notice that much of a difference.

Well, the side effects began almost immediately – really uncomfortable, disgusting, very inconvenient and some downright nasty digestive things happened. I won’t tell you the worst things – it’s too depressing and, though I don’t have lots of personal dignity, I do have a smidgen…… Of course the “usual” things happened – headaches, fatigue, nausea, inability to concentrate, skin peeling off my hands and feet, neuropathy/numbness alternating with pain in my fingers and toes, EVERYTHING tastes like medicine all the time, big changes in my singing voice, all my hair falling out…

Having my hair fall out was much easier the second time! I hadn’t had my hair cut since it grew back in, so it was quite long – I could put it in a small ponytail. As soon as I realized it was falling out again, I went to the cheapo haircut place my family generally goes to and had them cut almost all of it off. I had it done because I’ve learned that when it’s long and falling out like crazy, when you take a shower, the hair sticks to you all over and it takes a good long while to rinse it all off. Plus, the first time, I had zero idea of how to tie a scarf on my head and not have it look a complete mess. Praise God for Black women on YouTube (well in general anyway!) – so many great tutorials helped me tremendously. I’m not great at it by any means, but at least I’m not inspiring LAUGHTER or pity.

Two new side effects I can tell you about were violent nausea at the smell of meat/cooked foods and massive mouth soreness and blisters on the inside of my mouth. The first one was very hard because I really was not hungry for nearly 5 months and I had to force myself to eat. Especially the smell of meat of all kinds made me gag, and, even when something seemed the least bit appetizing, by the time I had cooked it (I’m still the main cook for my family even while I’m sick), I no longer wanted it. Yes, I’m still fat (I’d still have to lose 70+ pounds to be of “normal” weight) but that kind of weight loss is very hard on the body and despite my best efforts, regular smoothies and very good vitamins, I was in danger of becoming malnourished again. No good for healing for sure.

The mouth soreness and blisters are hard because it limits what you can eat quite a bit, I often looked like someone had taken a poke a me (fat, bleeding lips that HURT) and I cannot use regular toothpaste or a regular toothbrush to brush my teeth even now. I now own many, many tubes of lip balm and a couple of baby toothbrushes and baby toothpastes which has helped.

Along with this, is all the COVID stuff. I have tried to abide as much as possible by the best advice from health authorities (not that they have made themselves very clear to understand…but that’s a whole ‘nother rant), while still trying to lead as normal a life as I can – so I’ve spent a lot of time at home as well as trying to figure out what is more or less risky to do (travel by car or by plane?). BUT I swear that Studmuffin must have slept through everyone of his life science classes (he’s an engineer) because he really does not seem to understand much about biology, medicine and ZIP about immunology! His politics and mine have always been very different but his, it seems to me, have gotten seriously weird over the last 7 or 8 years…..to the point where I’m pretty sure he would not have gotten vaccinated much less received booster shots if I hadn’t insisted – as if a virus cares at all about anybody’s political stances. I could go on and on about the importance of mRNA vaccines and just how amazingly good the COVID vaccines are (hint: d*mn near miraculous). If you don’t believe me, Google it & read up on the polio vaccine’s history.

Life science is real too!

And his great reluctance to wear masks I find very hard to understand. I have reminded him on several occasions that surgeons and anesthesiologists and surgical nurses all wear masks in the operating theater in hospitals for the last 125 years or so because they WORK, not because the medical professionals are trying to impress the patient (who is asleep for almost the entire time) with some kind of reassuring performance. As I have said to many people in person, I have sacrificed a lot to receive cancer treatment, and if I’m gonna die, I wanna die from cancer, not from a virus. So even though he loves me tremendously and I know it, and he has taken magnificent care of me throughout this whole time, we have had a number of disagreements about how to keep me as safe as possible during the pandemic, which is kind of stressful as you might imagine.

So it’s been pretty rough and then, one Monday I went in to start that week’s treatment. They drew blood for the labs as usual, but I didn’t get treatment that week because my platelet count was too low. Apparently, this happens fairly frequently to those undergoing treatment, but it hadn’t yet happened to me. It would mess up my monthly schedule but I was fine with not getting treatment that week.

The next week I go in, platelet count was up, I got treatment, and then scheduling for next time, I was told I was gonna meet with the oncologist. I really like and respect him, so groovy. Studmuffin came with me because the side effects were getting worse and worse, to the point where Studmuffin said that if I started walking around like a zombie again, he was gonna take me to the hospital (referencing back to the time I was having a toxic reaction to a previous chemo protocol, which landed me in the hospital for 2 weeks in 2020). We go in and I start telling the oncologist how severe the side effects were. Now I had been telling him/the nurse-practioner/the nurse all along since December about my side effects but downplaying their severity for two reasons: 1) I want to KILL the CANCER, I expect chemo to be difficult, and I will take as much as I can stand (which is a lot), and 2) I’m from New England, where there’s quite a tradition of not telling everyone (ok anyone, if I’m being honest) how truly bad things are. Of course I’m FABULOUS at complaining, but it’s kind of an art to complaining about stuff and yet minimizing things as well. Ask other New Englanders and most of them will agree it’s a thing we do.

So I had been trying to minimize my sufferings at home so Studmuffin and the Duke of Curl wouldn’t be too worried. But I was getting to my “no more chemo” point and I had to tell the doc. As I was telling him, his eyes got bigger and bigger and bigger – he was kinda gobsmacked at how bad things were and immediately dialed back the chemo by 50%. I did ask him if I could have two more cycles of full treatments – I thought I could stand that much more – and he said no. He did say that my numbers were trending in the right direction and that if all went well, I might get to have a 3 month drug holiday over the summer. Hooray!

So six weeks ago, my treatments got dialed back and I started getting hungry again and being able to eat meat and fewer blisters in the mouth and I was pretty glad. So that’s what’s been happening and you’re pretty much caught up!.

Part two in a couple of days…..

Many many many thanks for all the love and concern, and the prayers mean EVERYTHING to me.

The Invader – #8

So last time I was telling you that I’d know more about my upcoming cancer treatment by the third week of January – turns out, nope I didn’t learn any more! I think some communicative wires got crossed; Murphy’s Law seems to be involved.

Keep calm & accept Murphy's Law

Studmuffin was traveling when I had my December date with the oncologist, so he wasn’t there to help me remember stuff and to ask good questions that I never think to ask, so it’s very possible I could have forgotten what the oncologist told me to do next, or perhaps the oncologist didn’t communicate the next step to me/what I was supposed to do. Apparently after the scans I had in early December, I was supposed to go see an Interventional Radiologist and I didn’t. Plus, I had a touch of the flu on the day of my appointment, so we made a date for a week later, with the possibility of my starting a new round of chemotherapy on that appointed day.

Friends, I won’t lie – as the date drew nearer, I became quite terrified. It’s one thing to know about chemotherapy intellectually; having lived through it and to know what’s gonna happen is a whole ‘nother thing. You see, they have to 2/3 kill you to get the cancer to die and I felt really awful for months. To voluntarily say OK to doing it again…… well, I was DAUNTED. I think I was even hiding how anxious I was from myself, because on that next appointment when I didn’t start chemo again, I immediately went home and slept for 4 hours and the whole next day I was kind of a limp noodle – with relief.

We did go see the Interventional Radiologist. This fella is an M.D. to be sure – I didn’t know if Interventional Radiologists were docs or not – and he seems very competent and caring. Nice man but……I think he’s younger than my oldest offspring is plus he didn’t introduce himself as Dr. Soandso, he said, “Hello. I’m ‘Trevor’.” No, Trevor is not his real first name, I don’t think it’s fair for me to use it here, but it’s one of those more recently popular names for men like Dylan, Lucas or Ryan. It’s weirded me out a little. I’ll call him Dr. Firstname here on de blog.

kid as a doctor

He didn’t look *quite* this young……I’m getting old I know!

 

My hair is growing back, thinner and more grey than before but I’m looking forward to having it back because my head gets cold. Of course if I have more chemotherapy it will all fall out again. I’ve been intermittently trying to find a wig that doesn’t inspire immediate gales of laughter….with no success. I’d post pictures for your amusement, but it turns out that I’m a bit vain about my hair and so haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. I wish I could – somebody oughta be laughing. Y’all certainly deserve something for wading through all my complaints! I’ve just sent off for 2 more wigs so we’ll see. Maybe I’ll post some pictures……

punk rcker with black and purple mohawk/mullet

Wish I had the guts to wear this as an everyday wig…..

And as far as knitting goes, I’m not doing a whole lot of it. I have some neuropathy in my hands from the chemo that makes it uncomfortable to use my fingers. I was warned of this side effect and it doesn’t bother me too much, but it does s-l-o-w-d-o-w-n my knitting terribly. I’ll try to put up something here about knitting in the next few weeks.

Anyway, what’s next is that later this week, I get to go to the hospital, go under general anesthesia ( for the fourth time in eight months!), and Dr. Firstname is gonna run a scope up from my femoral artery in the groin up to the blocky end of my liver and see what’s what. This is in preparation for implanting several packets of radioactive beads – a treatment known as Y90 – that will kill off not only cancer but about a third of my liver. I already know that radiation makes me ill, so I’m not looking forward to this experience. By the way, did I mention that this is the most expensive test yet? Even with really good health insurance, our out-of-pocket costs are in the thousands for this one. Yes, I’m whingeing aplenty today, but friends, please know that I WANT TO LIVE to whinge another day so don’t take it so seriously. 😊

As for future treatments, there’s other things being mentioned: more chemotherapy, liver surgery or even a liver transplant. All is up in the air. I know that, generally speaking, the news about my cancer went from awful to pretty good last year and so a few people have been confused about what it all means. I’ll try to be clear. I have cancer. It has not gone away; I have not been cured. BUT I have responded far, far better than the docs had hoped to chemotherapy – I’m MUCH healthier than I properly should be at this point. I really attribute this to everyone’s prayers and the skill of my medical team. Make no mistake – this cancer will probably kill me – none of the docs have given me an estimate, but my guess is that there’s 90% or more chance that it’s gonna do me in. When that will happen is really an unknown and un-guessable at this point. Makes it a little challenging to plan anything but oh well. Perhaps the best way to look at it it that the docs have an array of tools/treaments/therapies and one by one as circumstances demand, they are using them.

Thanks so much for your kind attention and prayers. It means everything to me. And I simply adore it when you leave comments. Bye for now.

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.

jsparrow

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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Oh wow! A new post!

im·pe·tus/ˈimpitəs/

Noun:
  1. The force or energy or momentum with which a body moves.
  2. The force that makes something happen or happen more quickly: “the crisis provided the impetus for change”.
Synonyms:
impulse – momentum – incentive – stimulus – impulsion

Sorry I’ve been AWOL.  I’m writing a book (about music & singing) and that has been taking up all of my impetus to write. Knitting *is* taking place – I need to take pictures of a bunch of things in progress & finished and yarn……..plus I have writing ideas for here backing up from the last few months. Heck I haven’t even written about Whitney Houston’s death or Etta James’….I won’t hardly even mention India….

OH NO!  I’ve gotblogstipation!  nyuk nyuk nyuk. But one lucky thing about that is the CURE:

MORE FIBER!  Yay!!!!! Hmmmmm….let’s see who’s having a sale online?……

I’m part of a local KAL for the Color Affection shawl by Veera Välimäki. I was supposed to cast on on Wednesday, October 18th, but I still haven’t cast on yet; I didn’t have the right size needle.  I went to the LYS today and got the right one…..and 2 magazines and 2 skeins of yarn for another project. So much for my yarn diet…… Hopefully cast on will happen tomorrow. It’s just that the weather’s so nice & I’m tryna finish 2 other things and I still need to do the podcast…well, you get the idea. There WILL be pictures……and yarn crimes…..and a new giveaway…..did I mention I’m writing music for a CD to go with the book?

Madame Crazypants – that’s me!

I have another post ready that is a major digression into a reality tv show. I’ll publish that in a day or two.  Happy knitting!

CRASH! BANG!

So tonight I was actually writing when
BLAMMO!

the ‘puter crashed. Some bad words were said. ..and then I sat at the piano and practiced for a good long while. Hopefully I’ll have a decent post ready by Friday .

image

The Force of Nature chose this poster for her room when she knew
I would not permit it if I had known . She did, however, choose a humorous way to change it (rather than try to argue with me to change my mind – which is her usual tactic)

so she gets to keep it after all.

One step forward and two steps back…..

Lovely sunny day today….With the sun, funk was OVER so I got up, did some laundry, various other housework-y things and then…..ATTACKED MY CLOSET. I’d decided that I just could NOT put it off any more.

Got rid of 5/6 of my “hanging up” clothes and about 11 or 12 pairs of shoes. Even made some inroads into the ratty old t-shirt collection. I plan also to go thru all my earrings (I collect them) and weed out the ones I don’t wear.

Now I have some idea what I’d like to add to my wardrobe; the sewing itch is getting fierce so – the backsliding has now BEGUN! I went to a fabric store and bought a BIG ole PILE of fabric (I mean SERIOUS yardage and pretty good stuff) and a NUMBER of patterns (on sale for 99 cents each – a bargain!); went to the “StuffMart” and got a little more fabric and a few new t shirts- it all matches pretty much colorwise. I got rid of so many things – it’s looking pretty bare in the closet and I’ve definitely been feeling the need for wardrobe updating;I’m tired of feeling grumpy-frumpy. I’ve been reading this other blog a lot the last week or so and that gave me a push in the right direction. Man, there were way too many things in that closet that were 5 to 10 years old. Off to Goodwill they go!
THEN this evening I was boating around Ravelry as I love to do, I had an idea for a cardigan I would really like to knit.

A “real woman” in her cardi

Another normal person in Noro

 

Cardigans are a real need in my wardrobe, but I was sure that the yarn was gonna cost about $175 -200 (it’s sock yarn and I’m a big girl) – even though it isn’t the absolute best in quality/feel(i.e. it isn’t cashmere….), the colors will be great, machine washable and it should last a long, long time.

I was feeling happy to wait a good while before investing in all the yarn – might’ve even gone so far as to save up for it even. Then I happened to remember the name of an online yarn place that has incredible sales. I went on over there and found the exact yarns I wanted for under $1.75 a skein. I took it as a sign that I should absolutely move forward and get this yarn.

Oh well. I’ll be in plenty o’ trouble for the fabric I got anyway* so I might as well sin BOLDLY.

I’m also gonna get back to my fitness quest – I MUST!! Here’s some thing I want to begin: 200 Sit-ups I like the idea that I could accomplish that goal in 6 weeks – seems doable even for me. Might turn things to 2 steps FORWARD and only one step back.

—-

I hope to get the camera out tomorrow and take some knit pictures so there may be actual finished objects to look at & read about here before Monday.  Enjoy Sunday!
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

*Studmuffin has been gone for almost this whole time that I and the kids have had the crud – which I am sure has muchly increased the misery quotient of it all and probably prolonged the illnesses by a week or two. First, there was a planned work trip for 5 days (while I had a houseguest), he was then home for 6 days and then unexpectedly had to be gone these last 2 & 1/2 weeks and won’t be back before Wednesday at the earliest. He feels really bad about being gone (and also because there hasn’t been a set date for his return home), and so his guilt may just about save my hide this time.

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.

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Thank goodness April 1st is almost OVER.




I’m getting that feeling……

…like I want to go online and buy more yarn. STOP me before I shop again!

I have been trying to tidy up the “yarn corner” in the bedroom since it’s been so bad, and I frogged a couple of things, and untangled some other things and am collecting up various needles/stitch markers/knit notions. I’ve even finished something (the Duke of Curl’s socks) and taken up 2 WIPs that have been languishing for far too long. It’s a good feeling – this kind of virtuous happiness that I’ m tidying up and not starting new things….but THEN! That little voice comes into my brain and says, “go check out that wonderful yarn you heard about…..you want some of that don’t you?” Or “The XYZ yarn company is having a sale…you could get a sweater’s worth for not much money and they have such lovely colors….”

Those things are all true, but I-HAVE-TOO-MUCH-YARN. There. I’ve admitted it. And as well as too much yarn, I have:
-TOO-MANY-BEADS
-TOO-MANY-BOOKS
-TOO-MANY-CDS
-TOO-MUCH-FABRIC

Essentially too much stuff all the way around. I am realizing that I, like so many, have fallen into the trap of materialism; that I have a powerful emotional response to the things I have and when I am feeling sick/down/unhappy/angry/overburdened/bored/insert-your-negative-emotion-here, I want to go 1) out and buy something or 2)online and buy something and I will 3) feel some kind of positive release once I have done so.

I realize I do the same thing with food (which is why I am so FAT).

It’s taken me a long time to realize that I really do behave this way, so I imagine it’s gonna take me a while to dig meself out of it, but that’s ok – first, one has to know what the problem is! Now my stash of yarn…or anything really, isn’t huge compared to others, and I do take a little comfort from that (check out this MONSTER yarn stash!). But my house is not very big and it isn’t getting any bigger, plus I have these principles that I really do try to live by. Here’s a taste:

Love is the fundamental principle of God’s purpose for man, and He has commanded us to love each other even as He loves us. All these discords and disputes which we hear on all sides only tend to increase materiality.

The world for the most part is sunk in materialism, and the blessings of the Holy Spirit are ignored. There is so little real spiritual feeling, and the progress of the world is for the most part merely material. Men are becoming like unto beasts that perish, for we know that they have no spiritual feeling — they do not turn to God, they have no religion! These things belong to man alone, and if he is without them he is a prisoner of nature, and no whit better than an animal.

(Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 122)

My understanding is NOT that the stuff is bad; it is our relationship to it that determines whether it has a good or bad effect upon us. DARN IT! Time for the yarn/book/CD/fabric/food diet…which, though I know it’s gonna be good to me and for me, at the moment it sounds like no fun AT ALL. Poopies.

If I’m really honest…I’m looking forward to backsliding.

Snow

I cannot believe what I’m seeing last night and today – snow. Eight inches PLUS. This is too much winter for me!

This is WAY too much like where I grew up weatherwise; the big difference is that Alabama only has approximately 2 snow plows for entire state. Since it’s gonna be right at or below freezing all week, the snow will stay for several days……

Yes, it is pretty but……I hope this isn’t a harbinger of how winters will be in the coming years. Poopies.

Way behind and “gromping”

So what else is new? I’m way behind where I oughta be on SO many levels – I think I’ma just have to dive in and work – and not worry about “catching up” because I don’t think I actually can.

I’m so insane at this point I started swapping again on swapbot, and I’ve missed those deadlines too.

She looks just how I feel today.

The Knoxville gig was lovely – I have some wonderful friends there too that I got to stay with and have a divine visit with. I’m so fortunate!

Which is why it’s so ridiculous that I’m feeling so distressed today.

A week ago, I had a misunderstanding with someone that I thought we were working out, and it has now escalated into a big, fat hairy deal.

So I’m stomping around and grumping, saying “Everything is poo!” I’ve coined a new word for this: “gromping”.

Still life is good, and I know I’ll be out of my funk soon. Thanks for all the prayers!

I have MORE grumpy pictures:

We’re back in freezin’ Alabama

Phew! Just about 2 weeks away from home sweet home and what happened? How’d you guys make it SO COLD? Oy! It feels like I never left New England. It’s not supposed to get ABOVE 36 degrees F this week.  Brrrrr! I just don’t like cold weather…at ALL.

Anyway, back to the daily grind and a quick update on the Klimt-y Babette for Mom” I am making progress – I’ve spent many. many, many hours on this beast – but this thing is huge! She might get it by spring… I’m ready to cast on a very badic hat because I need a small project to regain my equilibrium or something.

Happy new year to all and stay warm! Now I’m gonna go have some hot tea……

Monday morning injury

I had a lovely birthday yesterday…almost NO housework done, STudmuffin served me breakfast in bed and I got to knit and watch tv by myself for several hours among other things. Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes.

Last night I started working in earnest on the Klimt-y Babette blanket for my mom. It’s crochet so it goes fast. However, I did so much crochet that my wrist is really sore today. I had to go dig out my wrist brace and everything.

SO in hopes that I can continue to work on this very belated birthday present (Mom’s birthday is in early October), I’ve decided to learn how to crochet with my LEFT hand. YouTube to the rescue! It is rather frustrating that I cannot just switch over what my right hand knows how to do to my left hand; there will be much practice involved. OK, now where’s the Advil?

I may not post much more this week as I need to rest my hands. ::::sigh:::::

Have a blessed day!

Yes, dear, the kind of soap does matter

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I’m recovering from open heart surgery two and a half weeks ago – unfortunately I have a bacterium colony on one of my incisions which is slowing the healing process.

volcanic_eruption_web

I’ve waited a couple of days so I could start to see the humour in this.  Let me tell you a little story……

once_upon_a_time_wm I was gonna have some surgery in a different city.  I wasn’t HUGELY pleased to be doing the surgery in a different city – it’s a such a hassle going through the 1000 Acre wood – but OK, I was doing it.  Of course, I needed to go up to to meet the Great Sorcerer…er, surgeon…. who was going to perform this miracle upon my person;

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even AFTER the Evil Gremlins….um, I mean to say the Insurance company …told us that the Magic Palace

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(read: hospital) and Great Sorcerer were not of the anointed kind (read “preferred provider”)….which is freakin’ crazy because there isn’t a single magic palace or great sorcerer in the great land of A-ba-lama-ding-dong that does the kind of surgery I required, but OK!  We were prepared to spin some gold out of straw or something (the oldest son is too old to give away now) to accomplish said miracle.

During the meeting with the Magic Sorcerer, I had brought along King Studmuffin

stud_muffin

to help me remember important things, write down important things and to ask questions and stuff that I know I would forget, which he did in his most kingly and studmuffinly way.

However, I DO recall the MS saying at least 3 times the specific kind of widely available magic elixir to use on the magic incision afterward to prevent infection.  It seemed important since he mentioned it so often, and since he mentioned it so often, I managed to remember it.

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Fast forward to 6 days after the surgery and the  fabulous health fairies are going to release me from the Magic Palace to go home and finish recovering.  My parents had joined me in the other city to assist me (my mother is a magic health fairy by profession) and were also coming all the way back through the 1000 Acre Wood to help me at home for almost another week.

Just before leaving the Magic Palace, I asked King Studmuffin: “Did you get the Magic Elixir?”

He replies with a smile, “Yes.”

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My mother, not hearing me ask the question before, about 15 minutes later asks King Studmuffin, “Did you get the Magic Elixir?”

He replies with another smile, “Yes.”

potion-bottles

Just before I get into the coach (read: wheelchair) to be whisked away to the entrance of the M.P.,

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the magic health fairy of the day (his name was Steve) asked King Studmuffin if he had the magic elixir, to which the King replied with a rather wintry,

1479899705_b95ef96263 “Yes.”

On the way back through the 1000 Acre Wood, King Studmuffin told me he’d gone out and bought a “big jug” of the magic elixir and already put it into a couple of unused vessels so it would be all ready for my use.  I beamed with joy.

fissure2_large

After a week of happily using the soap, last Sunday I was feeling rather sore and I noticed the incision was looking red, yellow and drippy – NOT GOOD.  I showed it to the King and he agreed.  We called my mother and after talking to her we agreed that it was not an emergency, so I didn’t have to go to the local Magic Palace’s express lane right away, but I did need to see my regular conjurer on the next business day.  I started to worry a little bit.  After all, this incision goes all the way into my chest cavity!

fissure4_large

Early the next day, I happened to look in the pantry (for something else of course) and I saw the big jug of magic elixir – it was the WRONG KIND!

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I brought this to the attention of the King and he said it had the same active ingredients and it said antibacterial, so what’s the big deal?

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

TO THE MOON, Studmuffin, TO THE MOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

——————

Well, friends,  I hope to survive this – I now have the true magic elixir and a little additional ointment that seem to be helping. Actually, I’m 99.99999999999999999999999% sure I’ll survive this; but I have to say that if you have the swine flu, we can’t be friends until you’ve recovered, KTHXBAI.

I did tell King Studmuffin though:  if I die from this, I’m coming back to HAUNT YOU!

(And please say some extry healing prayers for me if’n ya don’t mind. Thanks.  :o)

—-

Actual knitting content to soon follow.

Just about heartbroken

Last night, here in Silicon Holler, I found out too late that one of my mostest favorite artists was in town playing a show.

http://www.ruthiefoster.com/

The amazing, fantabulous, wonderful Ruthie Foster was at the Merrimack Theater last night and I MISSED IT. I didn’t find out about it until it was too late. PLUS she’s gonna be in downtown Chattanooga TONIGHT doing a free show and I cannot go.

bad word bad word bad word bad word

Life is unfair like that.  BAD WORD!

Today was a lousy day.

I won’t go into all the gory details, but it’s pretty much sucked all day.  Things started off well…..::sigh:::

I will complain about one thing tho.  I’m now THIRTY NINE years of age…and I still get acne.  I have a few wrinkles AND acne.  Just ain’t fair.  My 9 year old daughter asked me why I still get acne and I had to tell her I do not know.  I get cystic acne (don’t ask; it’s gross, ugly AND painful.  Joy.) and I’m getting one on my upper lip just under my nostril where there are loads of nerve endings and it hurts.  Waaaaa.

Something cute from Friday:  I was talking to the above mentioned 9 year old and her older brother over breakfast about “second sock syndrome”  and how I’d just gotten  a book that gives instructions on how to knit 2 socks at a time (on one circular needle).  I told Louisa that she knows everything she needs to know, pretty much, to start knitting socks if she wants to, and I’d be happy to teach her how to do this new technique of 2 socks at a time.  She must have missed the part about 1 circular needle, ‘cos she looked up at me with astonishment on her face and said:

“I can’t knit with my feet!!”

I’ve been laughing about it ever since.  I love that girl.

Oh well, time for my self-pity party to be over.  Life *is* good.

Avoidance

yes, still tryna avoid my ‘puter.  I love it, but it’s stealing all my time. And it’s raining.  We need the rain, but I get depressed all the same.

whine, whine, whine