Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Thing 3 resolved

Repairman came yesterday late (almost 6 pm) and diagnosed the problem quickly: it had "frozen up." Whatever that means, it wasn't good. However, he knew how to fix it, so he returned at 8 this morning and fixed it. The $900 part that had failed was under warrantee, as was the whole AC system since I just got it installed last August (and I found out it's a 5-year warrantee, not a 1-year, as I'd assumed! Yay!), so all this labor and that solid-gold (apparently) part cost me $.0.00. That is quite a relief! And the new part now has a five-year warrantee of its own.

A good outcome for Thing 3, I think.

Still waiting to hear from Hyundai HQ about my car. (Thing 2)

I have my two-week post-op follow-up appointment with my oncologist tomorrow. (Thing 1).

Hoping I get back to the usual dull roar level of activity around here, SOON.

Monday, July 27, 2015

And today, the Third Thing

I came downstairs this morning to discover my AC is on the fritz. A repair person is supposed to show up sometime today. The dispatcher told me they try to get same-day service on ACs when it's hot. Fortunately, today isn't *that* hot - yet. An overcast 82°, and it's 79° in the house. If the sun comes out before the repair van arrives, I can always scurry upstairs and hide in my bedroom with the window AC on. If it gets too hot, that is. So far, so good.

But I think tradition calls for the Three Things curse to move on now, doesn't it? I've had three: cancer, the rear axle falling out of my car, and now the central AC dying? I hope? Of course the first one - utterly vanquishing the first one, I mean - totally makes the rest seem mighty small in comparison. So I'm not in the least bit upset or stressed about any of it. Life is good.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

It was bound to happen

I think I'm getting a bit of cabin fever. Without a car (mine is sitting at the dealership, I'm waiting to hear from them to find out if the manufacturer is going to pay me something since its rear axle basically just fell out, rendering the vehicle junk), and still taking things very slowly as per doctor's orders, I'm feeling useless and restless. I've got knitting and the internet and lots of books, sure. And being an introvert I actually enjoy long periods of solitude and quiet. But once in awhile, I get the urge to Do Stuff. I heeded it to a certain extent Sunday - putzing in slo-mo around the house getting a few housekeeping projects done, which also involved many slo-mo trips up and down the stairways - and I've been paying for it since, in soreness and fatigue. OK, OK, I get it. Three months. *sigh* Only eleven more weeks to go until I can begin trying to regain what little physical strength and (even littler) stamina I had before surgery.

So, casting my eye around at all the dozens of things I already have available to do, I spy a sewing book I'd forgotten I have.

Sew What! Skirts
These are really easy skirt how-tos with a minimum of pattern-drawing or paper cutting. These three fabrics would make great skirts. I like skirts in the summer, they're cool and comfortable. 

I love this outfit, drawn by Corey Egbert. I love his illustrations, you can make your eyeballs feel good by visiting his web site here. But I continue to look for tee shirt fabric with that kind of free-hand gray stripe, with no success. If I could find it, I'd SO make that outfit, and there are places to buy that hat, too. I'd get me some gray tights and knit a black and gray scarf, and find a black-and-gray zigzag purse and I would be happy forever after. 

Something else I think is really cool is the garrison cap. I've had a couple of patterns for these for years and have never mustered the courage to try them. I wouldn't use military fabric, of course. With an infinite selection of fabulous prints in a wide range of fabric weights at Spoonflower, I'd go with some of those.

So, lots of ideas for sewing projects. Perhaps there will be things to show off here in a few days. Maybe.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Weekly Reader Book Club

I joined it first in 3rd grade, I think - or maybe 2nd. Can't remember. I do remember absolutely LOVING that reading club during the summers. Some of my most delightful memories are of getting that package in the mail on a summer's morning, tearing into it and pulling out the new book. Then disappearing somewhere to spend the whole lovely day reading. In my room, under a tree, on my belly in the living room ... sheer, unadulterated bliss.

Being a Boomer, I'm now on a nostalgia kick for those old books, and as many of my peers are now down-sizing, a lot of the books are available online and in used book stores. I have quite a nice collection of the ones that came out from about 1954 through maybe 1962 or 63 ... I will stretch it as far as 1966, though I was well past the club age by then, if the book seems in the same spirit as those 1950s works.

My most recent acquisitions:

I remember reading Secret of the Old Post-Box but not Surprise Island when I was a kid. I probably did, I just don't remember it. I have also recently got a collection of 7 of the Cherry Ames nursing books. I'm going to make a slipcase for those, and I think I'll make slipcases for the Weekly Reader Book Club books as well. 

Many of those old WRBC books still hold up well; some, as in The Secret of the Old Post-box, disappoint. It's almost all Tell, very little Show. Surprise Island is interesting because the main character, the girl, is a pretty obnoxious protagonist! But I think it's valuable because she does progress during the story to where she becomes able at least to see that she HAS been pretty thoughtless and overbearing, and wants to change. 

I love the pen and ink drawings in these old books, too. Of course, I would love it if my granddaughter would enjoy reading these things at least once, to give her an idea of what her old granny loved to read when she was that age, and to reveal what life was like before the Computer Age. But if she doesn't care for them, at least they've been preserved for a few more years and maybe someone else will get them, down the road.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Recuperation days

So, I'm getting what I call "a lot" of knitting done on the current sock, the first of a pair in CottonBambooSilk ("CoBaSi") in buttercream yellow. Turned the heel last night and got started on the foot.

I really need to keep knitting because when I'm not knitting, I'm spending money online. Like, on more yarn. More books. And cat food (easier to have them deliver 36 cans than try to get to the pet place without a car. I'm not up to bus trips yet).

Actually, that about sums up my life in general: yarn, books, and cats.


And I'm retired, and I have white hair, and I'm a grandma, so I tick a lot of a certain stereotype boxes, don't I. Works for me!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

First up

on today's To Do List:

Knock over a 32 ounce glass of ice water, with lemon slices, making sure that every drop gets spread all over the kitchen counter soaking as many items thereupon to the maximum extent possible.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

The surgeon says

I am completely cancer-free! They got the tumor, there was NO invasion of adjacent tissue, and I need NO hormone, chemo or radiation therapy at all.

I can't really process this. There was about 1% of doubt left until we got these results, now there's no reason for doubt. It's real. As my friend Gregory told me, "That whizzing sound you hear is the bullet you just dodged." He ain't wrong.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

As it slowly sinks in...

I was so preoccupied by my own little drama Monday that I completely forgot about Pluto. I'm so enjoying catching up - seeing the joy and jubilance in the probe's control room when those first pictures of the close fly-by came in (I love scientists. Just sayin'.) Looking at the pictures over & over again ... laughing at the internet wags coming up with memes using the new pics (I love internet wags, too). Now tell me, is it just me? Being kind of weak and recuperate-y? This song from Charon to Pluto by Jonathan Coulter got my eyes a little wet. Is it just me?

And last night (before I conked out for 9 hours straight) I saw some articles about and trailers for some movies that I had not realized I had sort of dismissed from consideration because (deep down where I wouldn't admit it) I wasn't entirely sure I would be around for their release dates - and that was the first time I had acknowledged that I was doing that. I feel like I must be a little schizophrenic, my mind hiding around corners from itself so it doesn't catch itself thinking what it's been thinking ... for some reason I have images of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn and Walter Matthau playing cat-and-mouse among the pillars of that one building in Paris whose name I forget now.  It kind of brought me up short. Huh. Yes, I was actually thinking like that. Whoa.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Had the surgery yesterday and I'm home again already. Sore, slow - lots of naps, no lifting, but HOME.

After those few weeks of trying, inside, to prepare for the worst, I got the best: apparently there's no - "very minimal" - invasion of the cancer into the uterine muscle wall. The surgeon didn't even take the lymph nodes she'd planned on taking. There is a chance I'll have to go back and get those out, if the final path report indicates the need. I'll hear from the surgeon probably by Monday about that. But she's very, very good, very smart and I suspect if she had the faintest doubt, she would have taken them yesterday. And, since they think this cancer is estrogen-fed, not even any post-surgical hormone therapy.

So - on May 24th I got the first warning from my body that something was wrong. On June 18th, I get the cancer diagnosis. On July 13th, I have the surgery. As far as we know today, July 14th, I'm cancer-free. That's 50 days. No wonder my head is spinning. It's going to take some time to process this. Fortunately I seem to have quite a bit of time coming up.

How did I get so fortunate, in this and in my friends and family?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The hanging drop trembles

Still no word on my car, but at this point I'm not going to worry about it until later this week. Tomorrow's my surgery and my anxiety level yo-yos in a slow oscillation. Trying to tidy up around here, prep stuff for when I get home (though several people have either told me or written in their blogs that the operation itself is routine and post-op discomfort is minimal, and I'm really not scared of the operation), and keep my mind occupied - though I can tell when the anxiety's working in the background because I do things like completely forget I don't have a car while cheerfully writing up a grocery list. I am so fortunate to have such a golden friend who will come by later to take me to the store AND go with me to the hospital tomorrow!

Tick tock...

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Taking a breather

Quiet day today; talked to the car dealership but they have to hear back from the Hyundai HQ before they can tell me anything (?) so that's still hanging in the air.

But, I just spent a lovely two hours playing Settlers of Catan with my son. It was his first time playing it, and he whupped me. But not by much! It was fun.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Not the greatest day ever

A total of about three hours on the phone with, variously: my car insurance company, my car dealership, and a towing company. No one was obstructive or not helpful, quite the opposite, but it was still mighty stressful and frustrating. My car's rear end seemed to want to go walkabout the day before yesterday when I started out on errands, so five blocks from home I turned around and crept it home about 5 mph. I had my pre-op doctor's appointment yesterday so I left the car for this a.m. to deal with.

Long story short: the car is finally at the dealer's (though I haven't heard anything from them and now, won't until tomorrow). The tow truck guy took a look and was stunned at what he saw: the rear axle and tire assemblies had come completely un-attached from the sub-frame. They were floating freely. He kept looking at me and saying, "You are SO lucky!" He thought it was beyond repair. It's a 2001 Hyundai Elantra 4-door and I am its only owner. For 10 years it was (for the most part) faithful and true, commuting round-trip 100 miles per day, probably an average of 3.5 days per week. Since I retired in 2011, it hasn't got anywhere NEAR that many miles put on it but it's still at a respectable 190,000+ miles. Its breakdown is no doubt my fault. It was rust what done 'er in.

And I have no idea, at this moment, if it is gone for good. The dealer's shop guy seemed to think they might be able to fix it, but he had to have it in the shop to take pictures of and send to their HQ shop (? Really? They do that?) and ask how to fix it. I can't imagine its Blue Book value can be very high so it's going to have to be a VERY cheap fix before I'll be able to afford it.

And I cannot afford another car. At all. So if this one's a goner, I'm officially carless. And now I'm very glad indeed that I did that carless experiment back in October, because it gave me a realistic idea of what I'd be dealing with in this situation. It's going to alter my life, but I can do it.

I am so lucky that my son & his family are here right now visiting. He worked in a bike shop for several years when he moved to California many years ago. Today we went to the Omaha Bicycle Company in Benson and bought a replacement tire tube for my new bike, a helmet, a pump, and a lock. The basics. Next I'll need elbow & knee pads (THIS old lady ain't going out on a bicycle without them!) And that will round out my transportation options: feet, bike, bus, taxi, friends. With the occasional rental car as needed. I won't be able to offer friends rides to places any more. I don't like that. But maybe it won't be forever. Maybe I'll be able to save up enough to find a decent used car, eventually. That's not on the top of my list right now.

My surgery Monday is on the top of my list. Compared to that, all else pales. I can handle transportation.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Tending to my knitting

I think I've mentioned here before that I have enough sock yarn for about 30 pairs of socks. I NEVER imagined I'd fall into the yarn stash trap, but here I am. Well, there seems to be a certain amount of enforced inactivity coming right up (after surgery on July 13th) so maybe I'll make some new socks to keep my hands busy.

Right now I have two pair on needles. Both are self-designed, if by "designed" you mean "casting on a bunch of stitches and making it up as you go along." I am NOT a fabulous knitter but it turned out that sock-knitting is really easy to figure out! And I have a really hard time keeping track of anything much more complex than a knit 3, purl 1 rib stitch pattern, so I just basically make the same sock over & over again. I'll get venturesome and try a single lace leaf pattern in the middle of the sides of a pair of socks - eventually. For now my two main reasons to knit are to replace my rapidly-disintegrating store-bought-sock wardrobe with all me-made socks, and to keep my hands busy. The old socks are falling apart much faster than I can knit new ones, is the problem. So, I need to trundle on.

Here's the current sock:

It's not perfect, obviously. I don't aim for perfection, I'm just doing the best I can.

This is the first sock of the other pair, which I've set aside while I try to figure out how to approach the heel flap and turn:

Both of these pairs are made of CoBaSi yarn, a new fibre for me. Cotton, Bamboo, and Silk! The intent is to have some non-wool socks for the warmer months.

I don't know why I seem to have narrowed my interest down to socks. Just can't muster much interest in anything else, though there are a couple of winter-wear accessories projects I have everything needed to make. Maybe this fall those will distract me from socks for awhile.

I usually have plenty of help when I knit:

You can see O'Keefe is applying all her kitty intelligence to supervising me. Here she's just about to mention that I dropped that last stitch...