ICE-Atlanta link

Thanks for all the celebration and encouragement for my plans with the Indie Craft Experience in Atlanta.  I’ve had some requests for the link, which I should have anticipated.  After all, this is a cool festival and you want to go, right?  Live music, fun setting in Centennial Olympic Park, relaxed browsing in booths that have crafts of all kinds…

http://www.ice-atlanta.com/

Check it out and put it on your calendar.

Peace.

ICE ICE Baby!!!!

I just got notified that I have been selected to participate in the Indie Craft Experience (ICE) in Atlanta, May 30-31.  It’s a huge, modern craft fair with nothing that looks like your mama’s crafts.  When I applied, I was afraid my creations wouldn’t be hip enough.  I am soooooo excited! 

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Peace.

Moving by Running

Some time ago I had a two-day fascination with making bunnies.  I began a white bunny of my own design using a double strand of Jamie, the old baby yarn with a little sheen to it.  Somehow-okay, not surprisingly-the bunny sat a few weeks without being completed.  (Listen how I say that, like maybe the crochet completion fairy should have showed up and stitched him into existence.)  My daughter reminded me that she wanted to see him, so I’ve pulled him back out and finished his chubby self, save for stuffing him to the gills with polyfil.  His shape was totally determined by my eye as I crocheted (a little plumper for the belly, dip in for the neck, let’s zoom out into an arm here…), but it seems to totally work.  I even like his ears and arms (okay, front legs), which were worked in the round from a partially attached root.  Tomorrow I will stuff and photograph.  Oh yeah, he needs a face – some embroidery will do it. 

I’ve received the yarn for my dad’s vest and it is cast on and ready to continue.  I’m going to knit it in the round to the underarm.  It will save a lot of time, should be able to fly through it.  I haven’t planned any fancy stitchwork.  He’s not a fan of that, although I thought about a little basketweave.  Seems like he’d enjoy that, but I can’t be sure. 

I ran a little bit yesterday, down the hall in my hotel room.  I went outside, did my errand, then ran back down the hall to my room, just to assure myself that it really happened.  My knees are not happy tonight, but I don’t care.  I am psyched to know that it is possible.  I’ve worn pants that I couldn’t get into the past three years.  That’s another great milestone.  I’m so excited to see how I can do when I’m back down to minimal prednisone. 

Another physical challenge was the rec room upstairs.  It was packed with things that should have been sorted and sent on their way ages ago.  In about two hours, with the help of Julian and a couple of his friends, three bins of toys and a couple of trash bags of stuff were piled in the garage for donation.  Several formerly prized items wound up in one of the many trash bags.  Puzzles and games finally found homes in the closet, and a million books were put away on shelves.  Remember VCRs?  A couple of dozen tapes lost their precious shelf spots and went to donation.  I laughed when I realized that they were so old they were mostly children’s movies.  When Dayna was little I subscribed to Feature Films for Families, and they made some incredible, high quality, complex stories on film.  I loved them and felt a pang of regret putting them in the bag.  Overall, however, there was nothing but joy when I saw the completed room, all neat and usable and ready to vacuum and have a good carpet cleaning. 

I’ve begun to think about where I will go, and to set firm criteria for a new home.  I had mushy criteria the last time I shopped for a home, and they were unrealistic.  I wound up in a home that didn’t serve me the way it should.  No more of that.  For this one, I go by the list.  The coolest thing on my list:  a deep tub for soaking and enjoying.  Priorities, ya know!

Peace.

Die, B cells, and Let Me Knit

What can I say?  A lot is happening, and I have to steal moments for blogging.  I have to try organizing this so I won’t miss anything.

House:  I am meeting with realtor today.  She will take photographs, get my signature on a sales agreement, and start selling.  I will take a deep breath and prepare for my house to be invaded by potential buyers at odd hours.  I have worked and worked and there’s so much more to attack:  the garage and rec room are crying out for attention.  I’ve already hauled a carload of stuff to the Samaritan Center, and I’m loading the car again.  How many strings of Christmas lights can one family use?  By the way, if you want a 3,000+ square foot, four bedroom, three full bath house in Ooltewah, priced to sell, by all means drop me a comment.  I’m one exit away from the new Volkswagen plant.  Buy my house!

Knitting:  I have taken the chocolate-coloured Knitpicks Cotlin given to me by a knitting group buddy and produced half of a gorgeous, mistake-rib wrap.  The other half is Noro’s beautiful summer yarn, Cotton Hill, 60% cotton/14% silk/14% kid mohair/12% wool, in bright turquoise with various accents.  This turquoise/deep brown combo is everywhere this spring, and I’m nuts about it.  I also love the juxtaposition of smooth cotton/linen with the slubby, highly textured boucle.  I am operating more on instinct these days, rather than stopping to wonder if you’d find this combo in jjill or Chico’s.  Over time, the look of my store is going to change, because my natural inclination is to more mixing of fibers and wildness of design than I’ve let myself try.  I’ve decided to just relax and create, stop overthinking it. 

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Health:  Ha.  Ha.  Finished my chemo cycle yesterday.  Met my favorite fellow patient so far.  I had a lovely time getting to know her and her husband, and for once we exchanged info so that we can stay in touch.  My kind of person, totally.  I hurt in various places, and the sorting and carrying and distributing is killing me.  I can’t wait to start having some results from this round of therapy.  Enough of that.  And the night sweats!  Enough.  I said enough.  Die, B cells, die!

Reading:  From now on, my daughter will pick out all my reading materials.  I’ve just finished three books that she chose, and every one was a great read.  I am the Messenger was the last one, The Redbreast before that.  Dayna finds excellent foreign authors.  I wish I had her eye for books. 

Miscellaneous:  I have a fellow EtsyKnitters street team member who lives in east Tennessee.  She is the mother of seven talented kids, and her household is alive with crafting and fiber arts.  I added her blog to my list today-enjoy:  http://mysevenkids.blogspot.com/.

Peace.

My Sister Was Here – Hallelujah!

In my April 6 post, I talked about looking for infections.  If I believed strongly in jinxing myself, I would be freaked out, because on April 7 I had to start antibiotics for strep throat.  I have a swollen, red tonsil with a pocket of icky white stuff that isn’t better yet.  I emphasized vigilance about infections because prednisone masks the symptoms and they tend to progress further before we notice them.  I haven’t had fever or intense pain, which would have been guaranteed without the prednisone, but the flip side is this prolonged course. 

I mentioned my elf.  She had to remain anonymous until she announced her presence to the local family, but it was my youngest sister, in from Minneapolis.  It was the first time we pulled such a prank, keeping her visit plans a secret, and also the first time she stayed at my house instead of in town with the parents.  We had a wonderful time, from the delicious secret plans to our conversation on the way to her departure shuttle.  Who knew that highly different, feuding childhood sibs could turn out to be such close friends? 

Who knew that she was coming to take care of my house and shorten my prep for putting it on the market?  It was her spring break, and I anticipated sitting on the deck with a beverage and chatting about life.  Hah!  Her plan was to whiz through my house, throwing away things, packing others in the pod, and rearranging the remainders into a fashionable showplace.  I had to help, instead of putting my feet up and nursing my sore throat.  Claiming that she “loves” organizing, she went through yarn, books, and clothes with equal fervor, shaking her head at what I’ve accumulated and moved around over the past twenty years.  She cleaned my carpets.  By the time she left, I was out of ways to say “thank you”.  Maybe I can knit her a car. 

We took time off to make two visits to the parents.  They were thrilled to see my sister and overjoyed that she brought her animal, a blue pomeranian, with her.  Nothing makes them happier than dog visits.  Mitchell tipped around their house, leading Daddy with his leash.  He sat in Mama’s lap for a restless moment, letting her hug him and play with his abundant hair.  The second visit had to be short because they were preparing to pick up friends and go to Olive Garden.  We asked if there was a special occasion.  My dad said “No, this is what we do,” as if outlining their busy social schedule.  Chief Sister in Charge of Parent Care has done a wonderful job of making recreation for them. 

I didn’t forget my instructions when my sister left yesterday.  I continued clearing out my room today, and changed the old, dark curtains to light, neutral, crowd-pleasing ones.  I put away-or discarded-a boxful of things that I couldn’t live without last year.  Things lose their appeal so quickly.  I should confine my purchases to books, music and craft supplies. 

Oh heck, 1 a.m. and I haven’t taken the bedtime dose of antibiotics.  At this rate, my tonsil will just die and fall off. 

Peace.

Prednisone, Infections & the Organizing Elf

While I’m thinking about the symptoms related to my therapy, I have to mention the things that I look for after a big prednisone taper.  Every flare gets one, this time only to 25 mg, sometimes to as high as 60 mg, and the side effects are significant. 

If the taper works well it can be done in three or four weeks.  Usually I stay at the top dose for a few days, then my dose is gradually tapered , no faster than 5 mg every three days, until I am back to my baseline dose.

 While I am on the higher dose I will be hungrier, so if it lasts a long time, I can expect to see some weight gain.  I will also retain fluid, and this may last after the taper has ended, requiring extra diuretics to get rid of the swelling in my legs and feet.  These symptoms are annoying and require some attention, but by far and away my worst problems are caused by the increased susceptibility to infection. 

When I am on more prednisone, I am vigilant about infection.  I pay close attention to fever, unusual pain, diarrhea, any joint that is swollen and red out of proportion to the others, productive cough, rash, and itching.  Attention to the skin deserves further explanation.  Yeast infections of the skin are quite common with corticosteroid (prednisone, etc.) treatment.  They generally present as itchy, bright red skin in patches.  You find them mostly in moist areas – folds of the groin, buttocks crease, under breasts, over the ears where glasses sit – I know, this is such a fun topic.  It is helpful to pay attention to these areas and request prescription treatment (usually Nystatin ointment or powder) at the soonest sign of infection.  This is not contagious, but it can be intensely uncomfortable and become superinfected with bacteria, a much harder problem to treat.

Now, on to more exciting things.  A little elf has come to my house and organized my kitchen table area.  Suddenly I can see the entire surface of the table, and the mishmash of display equipment, UFOs (unfinished objects), finished but unphotographed items, and other miscellaneous business paraphernalia is gone.  The elf was quite aggressive about throwing away unnecessary materials.  It was also insistent that I designate places to store anything that I’m not using RIGHT THIS MINUTE.  I was forced to sort through piles of mail, put photos in a drawer, and discard old greeting cards.  I’m sure there was lots of good stuff that I just hadn’t gotten around to assigning a crafting purpose.  As we speak, the elf is putting away every stray ball of yarn in the house.  Geez! 

Okay, complaining, but this help was soooo needed.  It’s all those little trips back and forth to put things away that I cannot make right now.  If I had stooped to pick up all the stuff “stored” under my table and next to it in the corner, I would need a solid layer of Icy Hot heating patches on my back, legs, and shoulders.  I did draw the line at cleaning off my bed.  How would I function without eight kinds of yarn, three sets of needles, and three UFOs on my bed?!

Peace.

Weekend Ramblings

Yesterday I looked in the mirror and saw a pink person.  I had a gentle flush all over, like someone with mild sunburn.  My skin blanched, that is, when I pressed down with my fingertip, it would leave a light place, then I could see the pink colour coming back.  Today I wore a pink dress to the breakfast restaurant so I wouldn’t seem so pink.  Or maybe it was so my pink would just seem like a reflection of what I was wearing.  Actually, it didn’t hurt that the pink dress fit a lot better than it did last year when I bought it, and I thought I was looking good. 

I’ve had spells of sweats for the past couple of days, and everyone has noted how warm my skin feels.  I’ve also been a little tired, but not so I couldn’t manage packing and going to see my daughter and enjoying it.

I’m listing these symptoms because, with the infrequent dosing schedule, I tend to forget what the aftermath of rituximab treatment is like.  I just have a vague idea that I don’t feel great for a couple of days, then it’s okay, when actually, some very specific things occur.  The first of this pair of treatments occured four days ago, and will be repeated in two weeks.  I had post-treatment giddiness related to being around that roomful of cancer patients and knowing that, thank God, I wasn’t being treated for cancer. 

My daughter curtailed other activities and spent lots of time with me on this combined birthday-parents weekend visit.  Her dad was also there, and we shamefully missed every parents weekend activity and made our own plans.  I had a great time.  Saturday night consisted of my girl and her best friend hanging out in my hotel room.  We watched Madagascar and Shrek, talked and played on the computer, and they introduced me to blackberry Alize.  This was the twenty-first birthday, and it was absolutely perfect to be able to see her enjoying it.  Friday, at her favorite restaurant, she proudly ordered a beer and presented her legal ID. 

I drove home today listening to a great oldies station.  It should be the law that you have to go back and listen to some oldies once a month.  I heard “Dance to the Music” by Sly and the Family Stone, “Instant Karma” (John Lennon), some great ’80s disco music, ’60s Motown, Simon and Garfunkel, Billy Joel…just a huge array of great music without many breaks.  Did you know “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was the number 1 song the year I started high school?  Okay, me either. 

This weekend I put my knitting down long enough to re-discover my online Scrabble game.  I think I should give it a little spin now.  There’ll be more writing time this week. 

Peace.