Just three hours

is all there is in time difference from California to Florida. So why do I feel like I have been through the wringer and don’t have a clue about the time? I really can’t blame Saturday with it’s two flights since I didn’t leave home at dawn and neither of the flights topped four hours. In fact, it was literally walk from one gate to the next in Houston with only twenty minutes to board the second flight. My luggage showed up and the hotel van was less than 20 minutes.

Having a lovely lunch with Lynne gave me enough enough energy to get on the ship, and after that I sort of wiped out. Till bed time. Then the lack of sleep has made today a bit of a challenge. It was a day of “feed the Crown & Anchor” folks with a reception and a luncheon. I had forgotten about both when I went to breakfast.

Took the rest of the day to do absolutely nothing useful – except that I finished two hats –

and started a different version of Fractal 363 as a travel project

started 16 Jan 2017 – to be 80×200

Freedom

(of the Seas)

 

The Route

 

 

Date Port Arrive Depart
Sunday, January 15  5:30pm

Monday, January 16 At Sea

Tuesday, January 17 Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands 8:00am 4:00pm

Wednesday, January 18 Cozumel, Mexico 10:00am 7:00pm

Thursday, January 19 Costa Maya, Mexico 7:00am 4:00pm

Friday, January 20 At Sea

Saturday, January 21 Fort Lauderdale, Fl 5:30am

 

Probably not getting off the ship.

Promenade Cabin

 

First time I have booked this class of cabin – it is what was available and affordable. Having the window seat is just an added bonus…

Just taking some time out and deciding what is next….

Running away

When things get beyond what I want to deal with or experience, I have been known to run away. When I was on active duty, that obviously wasn’t an option. TDY was, one could agree to go on short notice, an acceptable way of getting out on a temporary basis. Deployments came with enough other negatives that it wasn’t all that tempting.

Fast forward to Fall of 2011 (skip this if you have heard the story before) – I drop Maus off at University. I come back to Heidelberg. I wind up with three adult off spring + a dog on various reasons for a short bounce back. The DH is working in Switzerland. I have two choices – work or escape. No one was happy. I was irritated. George keep leaving for Switzerland every Monday and coming back toward the end of the week.

I ran away. Went to Ramstein. Paid something expensive like $10-20 for a Space A seat and left for the US. It was lovely. Quiet. Visited friends. Traveled around. Left me ready for another adventure when the opportunity to take the Grandeur of the Seas from Barcelona to Florida that Nov for really cheap.

Fast forward to the present. To say that the last few months have been a bit stressful would be an understatement. To pretend that I am completely coping would be a total lie. I can argue around a subject, prevaricate like mad or sign on for denial but I don’t like to lie. Not even to myself (which mostly is the easiest of all)).  I’m sharing a house with four people I dearly love, but rarely have any time completely to myself. This is also a significant change from the last 5+ years (see running away from home in para2 above).

I’ve finished the first four rounds of rubitaximab and have to be back in to see my Oncologist on the first of February to decide where & what we do next. It has been raining. All of this added up to me taking a bit of time for myself in a state far away since I couldn’t hitch a ride to another galaxy except through reading and my imagination. Trouble with that method is that it really doesn’t seem to last for very long before reality intrudes again.

So this episode in my ongoing saga of life, liberty, coffee and the pursuit of health (not to mention various fiber crafts) is coming to you from Fort Lauderdale.

It was that time

before dawn when the world is still. The air curling in from the window carried coolness and moisture. All the possibilities or none are present in this moment frozen outside time. Too early to rise; too late to return to sleep.

No sounds of trains, traffic or EBMUD to disturb my thoughts. Not even a bird singing, deer rustling or dog barking to make its presence known. No electronics, just quiet.

Anything more would not add to those lovely couple of hours.

No news

I’m sitting here thinking about heading to bed. I have heard nothing out of the VA today which actually doesn’t bother me a bit. Bad news travels rather rapidly. Stable conditions and good new take a bit longer especially when one is dealing with results from a radiology department study. So I am assuming that everything is ok unless I hear otherwise.

No, I don’t consider this being an ostrich. Or chicken.

So instead, I had a chance to talk to the EBMUD (East Bay Municiple District) men working in front of our drive. They have been dealing with emergencies secondary to all the rain. Since the next four days are supposed to be clear, they are trying to proceed as fast as they can. What is important is that they should be finished in front of our garage by the end of today. After that, it won’t be making my life hard since I will be able to get in and out of the drive way again.

Tower in the full moon

A friend with a scheduling conflict gave us his tickets to the Cal Men’s Basketball Game tonight.  We parked and walked across campus.

They won. But still, I think I prefer the women’s game. There was just too much hype, replay camera work and glitzy type of competitions. Plus, I am sorry, but “media breaks” which stop play because the TV folks need to stick in a commercial or three really disrupt momentum. Plus there were twice as many cheerleaders. Seriously, how much hair flipping do I really need to see?

Haven’t done a whole lot more on the cross stitch.

12 Jan 17

 

But did manage to get the band finished on the beret and most of the crown.

Communications mismatch

When I moved out at the advanced age of 17 to go to University communications were simple. You wrote and put your missive in the mail or, alternatively, you arranged a standing short phone call. This was in the days of Ma Bell and significant charges for toll and long distance calls. If you happened to be calling to a location where they were on a party line – all the more reason to keep your communications short.

Besides, part of becoming independent and figuring out who you were and what you wanted to become was distancing yourself from your previous location/personal ties.

Not so today as evidenced by how closely most of us have become electronically tied to people and places at a distance. Or how having a phone with you is taken for granted in most of the Old & New World.

This is not a random discussion – rather it is background to what happens when the party of the first part (DH aka George) finds he doesn’t have his phone when already having boarded BART. The party of the second part (yours truly) is headed to the VA for testing and needs to be able to meet up at the end of the day as the first person above has the car keys in his pocket.

And then chaos ensues. I easily make the Bauer shuttle to the VA. I check in early because I am there. My favorite nurse is on duty and connects a power injector to my port. I traipse down to Nuc Med about 2 1/2 hours prior to my appointment. They have comfortable chairs; I sit and knit. Their in-service ends early so the tech comes to get me.  What is my blood sugar? I don’t have a clue. Didn’t they test you? No, why? Well didn’t you give them the slip? What slip?

Turns out that the RN is on duty M,T,Th in Nuc Med. The other days they don’t have a nurse. No nurse, no onsite finger sticks or med pushes or port flushes or…. You get the idea. I go back upstairs. The Infusion Center nurses borrow the glucometer from the Ward and test me. No, I most assuredly do not have an elevated blood sugar. (trust me 76 is not elevated but explains why I was cranky). I go back down. Get injected. Hang out. Get scanned. Am excused.

Along the way I have an interesting discussion about the diet. It is set up to insure that no one winds up being turned down. There are diabetics, pre-diabetics and those who don’t know they have a problem.  Meanwhile – I could have had breakfast (or normal food for the last several days) since my blood sugar is totally normal by 90 minutes after eating. The no coffee? Too many people just add sugar and cream without thinking about it…..

Anyway – there I was, done by 1400 and no way to reach George. Except my email – which I did to tell him that I was done early. I spent the next hour talking to an extremely interesting fellow patient who has been a customer for over 10 years now. For the rest of his time – he does advocacy and housing organizing for the county in which he lives (being one of those who is about 6 hours out).

Since I have a lot of time – I take the shuttle to the Embarcadero and wander around. There is coffee, there are pastries. I am in a better mood. Txt from George – he can be done early. Ok – I tell him I am at the Embarcadero and head on foot to our meeting place @ Powell BART station. He takes my information as a directive to come to me (he is at Powell). Meanwhile, I have hiked to Powell. At this point, I lose it and email him that I will meet him at North Berkeley (aka the car).*

Obviously, I am in a horrible mood by this point. None of it could be my fault, now could it? I simply tried to provide him status updates. I did NOT tell him to change his schedule.  Meanwhile, he is worried because I am out early and assumes that I need to get home. He is trying to save me time and travel. And if we had not had the modern electronic conveniences, we would have simply met in the designated place at the proper time.

Sticking a needle in Aida cloth is really good for getting rid of irritation.

11 Jan 17 – 70/150 squares completed

 

He still loves me, which is really cool.

Since cross stitch isn’t that portable, I started another hat.

 

* He has email in coffee shops and some of the meeting rooms which is how we managed to foul this whole thing up.

rain, pain and taxi service

It was one of those days. It was raining, it was raining a lot. Combined with high winds there was more than a few downed trees across the area. SFO had flights affected for a number of hours due to high winds and blasting rain. In fact, it was raining enough that there was no utility work today. Would have been nice to discover that before I made an effort to park out on the street to avoid getting trapped in our driveway.

For the most part, I spent the day doing pick up/drop off. One to BART, two to work, three work pick-ups, a BART pickup and a mercy run to drop off a forgotten bagged meal.
I managed a few more squares (sorry no picture), finished another audiobook, and just generally felt lousy and crabby.  I am presuming I’ll feel better after I get through the PET/CT tomorrow and can get back on a normal diet.

 

Utility Work blocking the drive way

I keep meaning to take a photo of the utility work that is taking place on our street. According to the placards, it should finish up about the 27th. That seems about right considering that what the workers are doing is digging a marked trench and replacing/adding in some major piping. The catch? We are the first house above the split on Euclid and it is our uphill side on which all of this is taking place.

It isn’t the one way traffic which is the usual dudes with walkie-talkies and stop/slow signs which form the challenge. Today it was the huge pile of gravel directly in the way of the bottom of our driveway. It is the need to get the car OUT prior to 0730 if I have any intention of using it during the day. It is making sure my day doesn’t involve taking anything to the house by car during the day.

The utility work has had the side benefit of making any type of work inside the garage a total and complete impossibility. Can’t weep crocodile tears over that.

The end result is that I wound up hiking up and down the hill a few times while playing taxi service. Tomorrow will be more of the same. With the exception of an early enough drop off that I shouldn’t have any problems getting out.

Oh, and it is still raining.

Other than that –

9 Jan 2017 – 61 squares completed

This is a dog

a mud puppy

 

Who obviously had a great time today.  I am more than glad I was not home when she got back from her “walk.”  It seems like the rain has made the creek rise and increased the available mud, both of which make dog’s hearts happy.

I had gone to see “Sing” with the eldest and one of our friends. It was ok, a lot simpler and less layered then Moana. But the animals were cute and I only fell asleep for 15 or so minutes.

It was otherwise a quiet day, mostly with progress (45 squares now completed) on the cross stitch. In fairness, the stitching gets denser from here

8 Jan 2017

An afternoon with friends

It wasn’t currently raining when we met Alison & Richard for lunch at Saul’s. Now, it had been raining that morning. In fact, even a few minutes before when I found to my displeasure that our local post office no longer has Saturday window hours (sorry Bill, no hat mailed today) there had been a bit of rain.

This lunch had been in the planning for a while. All of us had to get through the holidays. It needed to be a day of the week that was possible and a time of the day that might work for everyone. Hence, we quickly scheduled our first opportunity after the first of the year.

I’ve mentioned Saul’s before. I took advantage of breakfast being available on weekends till 1500.  Everyone else seemed more interested in luncheon choices. The guys headed up the hill to our house first, while Alison and I followed at a leisurely pace.

The rest of the afternoon involved knitting, chatting, some cross-stitch and chocolate

heavenly torte

baked by Alison. It has to be the most dense and scrumptious dark chocolate torte I have ever eaten.  And, I have the rest of it! Along with a hat

a present for me

to keep my head warm.

I am sure we both think we have the better end of the deal, but Richard kindly took this strange stringed instrument I acquired in Romania about 20 years ago.

Fractal 363 –

I started a new fractal which is going to turn out to be both lovely and easy. Not a bad combination. Less than a dozen colors. With areas that aren’t stitched I really can’t count rows this time. So rather, I am going to count off 10×10 blocks as they are completed (only 150 of them) with an overall size of 75 x 200.

And this might just be the first 10% completed.

7 Jan 17.

Oregon State 66, Cal 56

It was not a great night for the Cal Women’s Basketball team. It wasn’t that they weren’t active and out on that court. It was more that they just weren’t sinking the baskets.

Why am I telling you this? Senior tickets (when they are available) to the men’s games are ~$18. It cost $5 to buy a ticket to the women’s game. Besides, to be honest, the women look like they are having more fun. Yes, the game is taken seriously but there isn’t some announcer talking potential and scouting and distracting all of us from watching the play on the floor.

With tickets in general admission, our choices were wide open on either end of the arena. I could have easily lived without the cheerleaders. I mean, really. What in the world does one need with six (yep, 6) skinny long haired girls wiggling around with pom-pons. On the floor are two teams of serious athletes while on the sideline are ladies specializing in hair twirling… The half-time entertainment consisted of dancing out on the court by just about any one (mostly kids) who wanted to be there.

kids doing their own dance thing

But I digress. The other fun thing was the Cal Straw Hat Band. Yes, as you guessed it – they wear straw hats along with vests covered in pins and buttons.

The Straw Hat Band

and some of the hats – which are obviously personal choice

George and I had a good time and probably will go to more of the home games. I’m thinking the only game where the attendance will be significant would be the Cal-Stanford game later this year. Sorry to say, but I think there will probably be more Stanford supporters than Cal.

On the other fronts – the Klimt Virgins is done

the last 18 rows

and the final with my choosing to replace a few of the original color choices

As is Bill’s Hat.

warm hat knit of merino sock wool. Goes in the mail tomorrow….

Sideswiped

The effects of immunotherapy are both similar and different from traditional chemo. The differences are blatantly obvious: no violent nausea, no hair loss, no aching bones or obvious signs of illness.  If it works, the signs and symptoms are subtle. This translates frankly to more worry and concern. In someways, if you have physical manifestations of poisons at work in your body, you know that something is happening. The contrast is when you feel a little bit lousy you don’t know who or what to blame. So whatever gets between you and what you thought you wanted to do gets the flak. Most of the time completely undeserving. But then, I have never been really good at recognizing limits, physical pain or the proper time to sit down and shut up.

If you don’t believe that last sentence – just ask my family and they will confirm that when I lose it the antecedent is normally unrecognized physical discomfort (ok, pain) or hunger or both.

So there I am, poking at completely tender ribs and trying to decide if I should be worried, take some tylenol or just drink some more coffee. Oatmeal and the coffee won out along with a dose of tylenol which pretty much settled things for a while. Then I thought about things seriously and realized that one of my friendly pre-medications is cortisone. In IV form (which is how it is administered) it is pretty much cleared in 12 hours or so. Bounce up – bounce down. Maybe = crabby the next day?

In any case, it was time to get over myself, run errands with Shana and get back to my cross-stitch.

5 Jan 2017. Technically another three rows finished

where you can see the red pin from where I left off yesterday. Means 18 rows to go, several of which should be quick. The rest unfortunately are going to be single stitches again.

The set

George and I went to the Berkeley Rep this evening to see 946; The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. The play is based on a story set off the coast of England in WWII. The performing company is Kneehigh out of Cornwall in the UK. It was excellent.  Had I known the subject matter, I would not have gone. I don’t do war movies, plays, combat simulations and other takes on bloody reality. Done my turn in the various combat zones and feel absolutely no need to return, relive or examine. Your mileage may vary.

Wednesday – check, infusion – check, home – check

And infusion #4 is now history. Or rather, the rutaximab has been successfully transferred from the pharmacy to the infusion center and into my body via that all so convenient access port. I am focusing on the time as several hours of uninterrupted knitting.

It was a completely different set of characters today. Not the nurses mind you, just the random players dropping through for the special of the day, week, month or – in the case of my next chair buddy – q8 weeks for his Crohn’s.  Like most other medical organizations, it makes sense to consolidate the infusion service (regardless of what needs to be infused) to one location with experienced nursing staff. I think many of us forget that it isn’t just the cancer/lymphoma crew that winds up visiting their friendly medical staff and hanging out for several hours attached to an infusion pump. There are also the rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, those with auto-immune diseases, a gastro-intestinal issue or two.

In any case, the chocolate chip cookies Shana baked were greatly appreciated by both patients and staff.  She and College Guy (on a rare day off and the semester hasn’t started) bailed me out. In return I took them for lunch on the way home.

So knitting update –

 

Bill’s Hat – just starting the crown

 

And the cross-stitch

4 Jan 2017 – 8 more rows

or under 1000 stitches to go. I counted – partial and full rows left =  21 rows.

And more rain

really, I shouldn’t complain at all. The ski areas are enjoying bountiful snow. I don’t have to worry about watering anything. We might even be increasing the reservoirs by a centimeter or two.

The Eldest had hail at her house yesterday. We just had rain yesterday and rain today. And wind, can’t forget the wind. Along with the projected rain for tomorrow.

Other than errands – I baked scones to take with me to the infusion center tomorrow and Shana baked chocolate chip cookies. The dogs were really interested in what was on the counter and managed to snag a couple of the scones. I think they would have rather had the pot of chili, but I didn’t give them that option.

I made more progress

3 Jan 2017 another 13+ rows

which leaves me under 1500 stitches to go. It is getting easier as there are more areas where a color is used for several squares. I am making a few adjustments as I go, but it is close enough to make me happy.

Resolutions

What did I say? Nothing major on the table this year. No “must read so many books or finish x many hats or ……” I’m not even committing myself to having the garage organized by the end of the year.

When I told Cat the following:

My only real resolution this year is to enjoy each day. And to accomplish a little bit, whether it is cross-stitch, knitting, reading or just running errands for someone else. Not boxes emptied, not countries visited or miles flown.

She replied with

That’s not a resolution – that is plain good ordinary common sense….something most people lack.

Now, I am not going to claim practicality, or common sense most days. But given an opportunity to re-home items? I’m all over it.

So there I was at Stone Mountain and Daughter going through the apron patterns (I have daughters who like aprons) and the sale patterns when I over head a conversation across the table from me. It had to do with whether or not a particular fabric looked “galaxy enough” to make a corset cover. I looked up and asked what to me was the obvious question. “Cosplay? Convention? Costuming, Just because?” Turns out the answer was Star Trek Conventions. Full on corsets, as in traditional or adapted to modern?  Mostly modern.

Humm – would she like a corset kit? I had purchased one several years ago then decided I wanted nothing to do with back lacing (traditional Renaissance) corsets. It needed a home.

End result is that the young woman plus her mom and mom’s friend stopped by the house after making their rounds in Berkeley. By this time, I had unearthed the four original Star Trek Uniform patterns I had on hand plus a number of books on fashion, costume and pattern design. All of them went off to Oakley in the hands of people that will appreciate them. I don’t have to feel guilty about attempting to sell them at a used book store or messing around with eBay.

Now, if the Northern California Handweaver’s Guild comes through for me with takers on some of the weaving equipment…..

Life is good.

Only seven more rows, but it feels like I am making progress…..

2 Jan 2017 – only about 2k left to go on the stitches.

And what didn’t get completed.

Mind you, this is not a whine. Nor is it a request for sympathy. But we all have those projects on our list at the beginning of the year which we plan to have completed by the end of the year.

I still have boxes – dozens and dozens of boxes in the garage. Some of them I can deal with (and will) over the next couple of months. Some are just too heavy for me to move by myself. I have items that need new homes but I have no idea where those homes are and I just don’t want to deal with eBay. None of this, of course, has anything to do with the boxes and boxes of books. So organizing the garage, sorting it out and evaluating which (of the kilos of supplies) I have are really going to be used and which need to go anywhere but here.

And then there are the computer files which are partly, but not completely backed up. Or rather, I have items backed up across a number of external hard drives and still way too much information on my laptop. Pictures need to be edited and pruned. More than a couple of dozen past posts are still waiting those photos in order to be released.

Then there are the knitting UFOs that started the year in bags and ended the year in exactly the same place. Most are stranded projects and I do actually want to complete them at some point so frogging them is not a good answer.  I have actually done a decent job on the sewing projects in the last month, but still have to get the studio organized enough that it is functional.

There are the bookshelves in the house that I swore I was going to get organized. Right now, a lot of my puzzles are living on the top shelves. To be honest, the ones that I have completed really don’t need to be there in order to leave room for more books. We always need room for books.

Anyway, you get the idea.

Now, the real question that I have to face – is being home more this coming year secondary to needing health care going to result in me actually getting some of the long standing disorganization under control?

I’ll probably have an answer for you about this time next year.

Meanwhile – this is where I ended the cross stitch yesterday –

31 Dec 2016 – 1/2 complete

with another 11 rows completed. It was about that time that I realized that my numbers weren’t adding up. Turns out that the first sheet had more rows on it than the second which I started today.  Adding in another 9 rows done – means that I have only 2332 stitches to go

1 Jan 2017

I’m not sure that I care for a couple of the color selections, so those may change before I get much further. In any case, I will be glad when I am done with the current “change colors practically every stitch area.’

Oh, the other thing from last year – 431 books read – 10% were audio, the rest primarily eBooks

 

The year – 2016 – in Review

The Eighth Night

 

In which I will say that a year that started out fine became a lot more challenging. And, to misquote Connie Willis – “To say nothing of the dog[politic]”

January saw a vain attempt on my part to pretend that Berkeley was now home. Other than move all the clutter from storage into the garage, much of my month was spent in that wonderful state of denial. The one where I was still living the good life in Europe and traveling. To confirm that day dream, I managed to get my India Visa on the first go-round.

February

The early part of the month had to do with fractals, Ducky getting friends and continuing to try recipes in the tangine. The second half of the month was all about India. The massive numbers of people, the incredibly poor quality of the air balanced by the history, amazing buildings and the lovely people in my tour group. I did wind up getting a real feel for how the cast system worked (if you aren’t male and upper cast you have issues) and an appreciation of being from a country where what you accomplish is more important than the identity of your parents. I took a lot of photos…

March

I started in Kathmandu at a Regional Travel Medicine meeting with side bars into Altitude Medicine. The meeting was great, I was able to see some of the city and meet my tour guide for my upcoming tour. But first I had a detour back to New Dehli to join with the rest of the group and visit Bhutan prior to my return to Nepal. I appreciated both countries a lot more than India, the scenery was incredible in both locations (but the air in Bhutan was clean).  Again, there were great people in my tour group which over all was a bit younger than some of the other tours I have taken.

April –

Ethiad to Australia where I was able to spend time in Adelaide with friends before traveling on to New Zealand to meet up with George. We spent time on both North and South Island. I discovered that the NZ answer to vegetarian was “something in a pastry shell.” Afterwards, while George headed back home I went on to the Gold Coast and visited friends before heading to Sydney. Taking the Explorer of the Seas back to the US pretty much used up the rest of the month

May

and a fair amount of time into May. By the time I got home I was tired. Not too tired to attend some Oakland A’s games, mind you. Just enjoying a respite from travel. For a few days anyway.

June –

was a month in which I appreciated home and baseball games more than an alumni sponsored trip called “In the Wake of the Vikings.”  It turns out that I have an allergy to French run cruise ships (they don’t label the food and the idea of vegetarian meals seemed beyond them most of the time.  I love Scotland and was able to have lunch with a delightful colleague from my UK days, but didn’t appreciate the tour aspects. I think if I can talk to people on my own and can read the signs, I probably would be happier staying away from the tours…

July –

Westercon in Portland over the 4th of July weekend. Hadn’t been in Portland except for a few hours in over five years.  I rediscovered my love of white water rafting and my dislike for long car rides. I was able to spend time in Colorado with a good friend (who is about to permanently return to Germany) and also see friends who I have known since my first (1981-84) tour in Germany. Once home- I attended a lot of baseball games.

August –

Being a puzzle addict, and mind you only the expensive wooden ones, it was a delight to visit Liberty Puzzles in Boulder. World Con was in Kansas City this year with the Iron Throne once more in attendance. Paul & Storm were in concert as were PDX Broadsides.  I managed a quick return to a ship (The Grandeur) with Carmen when we sailed out of Baltimore to Bermuda and back.  Oh, yes and more than a couple of baseball games.

Sept –

Baseball, house guests and an escape to Venice and the Rhapsody of the Seas. Oh, and we celebrated our 38th anniversary, moved Daughter #2 and SIL to Berkeley from Chicago and otherwise had a memorable month. I needed a vacation… from parenthood? retirement? the US?

Oct –

spent on trips around the Eastern Med, the Middle Med and finally the Western Med.

Nov –

Attended the IMED meeting in Vienna where the key topic was now Zika (as apposed to Ebola) and the discussions were around sourcing for surveillance and better integration of the marine, plant, wildlife, livestock and human health people. It was also about then when I admitted to myself that something was not right with my health and it was time to go home. Skipped the Navigator, flew back to SFO. Rest of the month was spent doing tests, appointments and not liking any of the answers.

Dec –

which is where we are now. Like Fenton – my long ago and mostly forgotten NHL decided to come back and make my life a bit more challenging. Both family and friends have been extra-ordinarily supportive and understanding of me, my attitude and the occasional meltdown (sounds better than saying temper tantrum now doesn’t it). I have been lucky enough to have all four adult children in town for the past week. I’ve three (Noah, Dani & Alex) who I see on essentially a daily basis and Shana almost as much. The Maus has been terrific about checking in. George has been a rock.

I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed my overnights in the hospital (in fact, I can’t remember the previous time I stayed overnight in a hospital, might have been about 1981) but have managed to get through the first three rounds of immunotherapy without major difficulty. One more round and follow up testing to decided where we go next.

Meanwhile, I am sewing, cross-stitching, reading a lot of books and promising myself to catch up on all the things on my “when I get around to it list.”

This past year was interesting, exciting and followed by challenging. This coming year I can do with a bit less challenging and more family and friends. Travel is still in my plans, tho I may have to limit myself to less than 28 day jaunts.

This past year – ~ 23 countries, 53k air miles, 7 cruises, 3 ground based tours and endless enjoyment of family and friends. Next year – it will be even better.

 

Seven down – one to go

and it is update and photo time….

not quite a meltdown

 

As I have mentioned numerous times, I am not a particular fan of the movies. With a bit of concentration, I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the movies I have seen in the last six years (give or take a few months). It isn’t that I haven’t tried to see the occasional movie, but the idea of paying to watch something in a location where, if I get bored, I would be unable to knit without bothering other people doesn’t appeal. Given the amount of air travel I’ve done in the last half decade (now, doesn’t that sound cool?) it might surprise you to learn that the last time I watched a movie on a plane was in 2010 on the way to Melbourne. The movie was Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.  On one of the transatlantic crossings where I had free access to the DvD library I saw Frozen and ???? (another cartoon type thing) which was kind of cute. Then, Shana and I went to Ghostbuster’s. Today I completed the handful by going seeing Moana with 3/4 of the off-spring. Dani was working and Alex had already seen it. My actual vote had been Trolls – but I wasn’t willing to drive an hour.

It was cute, and now I have been provided a list by the kids of various animation, and stop animation which I might enjoy. Obviously, my idea of a good movie is something that is fun, creative and not scary, loud or violent. Most of their suggestions are available on Netflix (which I don’t have) or on cable (? we do have Comcast as an Internet provider).

Managed to add about an inch to the hat and another five rows to the cross-stitch. As you can see, I’m actually getting close to finishing the first page.

30 Dec 2016

at least, that is what my chart tells me.

marking off as I go

 

Haven’t had as much of a fatigue reaction this week as last but I am trying to be careful about avoiding cuts, scrapes and obviously ill people as my lymphocyte count heads toward oblivion.  What did I say about tired? I think my pillow is calling my name.

Six – so only two more nights…

and yes, I am still speaking of candles.

Sixth Night

Which of course doesn’t have that much to do with the rest of the day which consisted of errands, taking the youngest three to the Mountain Hardware Warehouse and lunch with a tour to the Rosie the Riveter exhibit afterwards.

My knitting today was pretty minimal.

while I managed another 11 rows

29 Dec 2016

Unfortunately, this section is really slow going because of all the “flower stuff” which has constant color changes. Why use four colors if you can use 11?

and, according to my simple arithmetic –  3916- (11×44) = 3432. Unfortunately I’m not half way but still feel like I am making progress… tomorrow it is the hair and face of the third woman….,

And then – I received a surprise in the mail.

yarn, t-shirt, goodies…

Pat, a good friend in Michigan has been threatening to send me a birthday present for the last several years. I kept putting her off which was easy when living in Germany and unable to get packages through the APO. I thought I had it under control. Then she asked me again for my mailing address and not thinking, I provided it.

I think this is treasures from several years. There is year, there is a great t-shirt that says “Hedge – hugs” and four containers of home made lovely spreads:

Rhubarb-banana confiture
plum ginger butter
pear cardamon
fig lemon marmelade

When George started looking, I snatched the whole thing back. No way is anyone else getting to taste my special treats. There is just enough to enjoy on toast or bagel for a couple of days before moving on to the next. If I put it out, I won’t get any. Not with four other people in the household.

And it will help me figure out what I can knit for Pat in return with the yarn. After all, if you live in Michigan you have to need hats and scarves – right?

Please note – I am not looking for gifts, presents, or anything other than good wishes and prayers from those who feel so inclined. Miriam and I managed to empty three more boxes in the garage this afternoon and I have another box of yarn to go out on Tues. So the flow out (rather than in) is absolutely in the right direction.

and it is Five Candles

now at the fifth night

I easily completed the trip to the SFVA this morning by taking the BART from Berkeley and the free Bauer shuttle from 5th & Mission. I love the shuttle which is really a large, comfortable coach bus with seat belts if one is so inclined.  In fact, the connections were good enough that I managed to arrive significantly early for my appointment which was to precede infusion #3.

Didn’t seem to faze the screening nurse or either of the chemo nurses. The first did the quick screen, the later two just hauled me in, drew the lab and let me sit in one of their comfortable chairs which I waited on both the results and my doc. We agreed on this week, next week and a repeat scan the following week before determining if I need more weekly therapy or can go to q4 week maintenance.

While I was waiting, I started on Bill R’s hat. Why not, thought I, it lets me observe without being obvious.

my yarn choice

There is a moderate amount of turnover during the day as some patients have more and others less meds to infuse. Some chemo takes 10 minutes, others take hours. Part protocol, part science and part art I think.  I had a chance to talk to several of my compatriots. Today I was the only one in the room who was both a vet and a retiree from which I am assuming that just about everyone else met the means test for care. Home location ranged from Santa Rosa to Oakland to Alameda (+ my Berkeley) in addition to several who were local to SF.

I promised to bring cookies next week (at least two of the guys are going to be hanging out as well) so now I will just have to see which one of my lovely daughters in town will bake them for me. I can do breads and scones but can’t seem to manage anything other than the “slice & bake” you can find in the grocery store cool case.

Everything went well and I was done by 1400, caught the 1440 Bauer Bus, the BART and was at North Berkeley less than an hour later. All of which was much easier than dealing with traffic and the Bay Bridge.

I mentioned the hat –

the first 8-9 cm of the hat

The pattern is Exeter, the yarn is STR in fingering weight with 160 stitches on 2.25mm needles (details for those who knit).

Cross-Stitch

I didn’t get a chance to work on this till evening when George and I listened to NPR and chatted.  We stayed with the radio programs through Market Place and into Fresh Air. There was an excellent set of interviews with Carrie Fisher which had been set to air and now served as a retrospective.

28 Dec – another 11 rows

and the second face close to complete. I still am being driven nuts by all the fussy flower hair stuff which necessitate color change after color change. If I was as disciplined as my friend Jill who completes 10×10 sections in order and whose work always looks neat, I might not have all those stray colors out there… But this really isn’t bad for 4 days…

(4400 – (11×44)) = 3916 to go….

or 132 – (3+15+17+11) = 86 rows to go. So I am about 1/3 of the way done….