Hiding Bodies

I started a post and stored it away after the first paragraph.  That’s unusual for me.  There are some topics that cannot be approached here.  Recently I had a discussion with a friend who encouraged me to write fiction.  I had mentioned my reluctance to write about one area of my life, and she reminded me that, with disclaimers, all of your people can appear in your writing.  It is hard for me to consider that, because my life has been an open book, but not hiding things or lying about them is not the same as putting them in print.  It doesn’t matter if it was me or a fictional Sally Ann.  If I witnessed a murder, and write about it, the guilty guy is gonna come looking for me. 

Okay, that was a little dramatic.  I’ve never witnessed a murder.  I’ve never even come across a dead body in the woods.  All through my teens and early twenties, bolstered by the piles of mysteries I read, I was sure I’d stumble across a corpse.  I felt that it was in my future, and I tried to steel myself for it.  If I hiked, I peered beneath the brush for the exposed purple toes or mangled face that I had imagined.  I looked in the corners of elevators and under trains for bodies, too.  I couldn’t understand how Agatha Christie’s characters could experience multiple murders in a small hamlet in England, or the psychiatrists in Jonathan Kellerman and Stephen White’s books could have repeated encounters with terrible crimes-way more than their fair share!-and I had no bodies to trip over. 

You can see this fascination in my choice of television.  Mysteries far outweigh all my other viewing hours, including Criminal Minds, NCIS, CSI in all its cities, Monk, Psyche, Law and Order, Bones, the Mentalist, and those wonderful reruns of Matlock and Murder She Wrote.  And yes, I still read mysteries, just more gory and complicated.  Think Patricia Cornwell’s medical examiner series, and Pearl’s The Dante Club.

In the past two weeks I’ve completed, packaged, and mailed three custom orders.  I have one more pending, to be knit while I continue my baby blanket series.  I’ve started a small idea notebook, as I want to keep future knits in mind, including the yarns that I foresee for specific projects.  One of my baby blankets that is in progress is a crochet blanket in Queensland Soft Wave, a sweet DK cotton that gets softer as you work with it.  This particular one is blue and cream stripes, moving quickly on a size F hook.  It began on a whim, fueled by a need to rest my shoulders and hands from knitting movements.  It’s going to be lovely. 

I took knitting to the movies tonight, but was spellbound by Julie and Julia, which moved quickly and kept me laughing, with no need for distraction.  You’ve probably already read a review.  The acting was splendid, reason enough for going.  The story (all true) was also good, and I empathized with the women longing for an endeavour that was useful and fulfilling.  I reached that point after retiring from medicine, and was extremely fortunate to reach for the craft that now keeps me busy and happy. 

Now I am tired.  This day is finished.



Baby Blankets Knitted with No B-Cells, and Other Earthly Delights

This evening I found a handful of prescription pills in a bowl in my kitchen.  It included all ten of the medications I’m supposed to take each morning.  Guess that explains why I was feeling so crappy-weak, feverish, every muscle aching, joints sore…I didn’t get prednisone or naproxen this morning.  I know, I know, I’m a doc, I should do better.  Before doc, however, please think “human”.  This is what I suspect happened:  I took out all my pills this morning in preparation for taking them.  Then I carried them into the kitchen to get some water.  I set them down in the bowl, began to make my cup of coffee, and the rest is history.  Midafternoon is when I really noticed that I wasn’t feeling good.  Usually all my medications are absorbed and have peaked by then, and if I woke with aches and pains they have abated.  Today they were worsening, especially my foot tenderness and hand pain.  It is especially dangerous to miss prednisone when you have been taking it chronically.  It is like the cortisol that your adrenal glands produce daily, and when you take it for a few weeks your adrenals get lazy and stop producing their own cortisol.  It can take them weeks to gear up for normal production again.  That means missing a morning dose can cause symptoms of cortisol deficiency by evening.  Severe cortisol deficiency is dangerous, but I had only gotten to the mild point – sweating, weakness, aches.  Now that I’ve taken all the critical stuff, I will be feeling better in two hours.


Okay, so other stuff has happened today.  I talked with my mom and dad, who reiterated their pleasure with yesterday’s birthday celebration.   I went out onto my screened deck and made some photos.  It was nice and overcast, and the colors came out much truer, just as MZ said!  So check these out:

This is a sideways view of the yellow and blue baby blanket.  I am now working on a second blue band.  The bands have alternating knit and purl squares bordered by several rows of garter stitch. 

  I backed off to show the clothes rack, because it’s one that I purchased and put together to use at craft fairs.  It’s the perfect rack for showing lots of scarves at once.

 This is the second Burly Spun mat, before it was felted.  I think I posted it’s dimensions a couple of days ago.  I’ll get the dried, felted mat out and photograph it tomorrow, hopefully.  I am in love with this combination of colors, and the random striping. 

  This is the Plush baby blanket.  The colors are perfect here.  Both blankets should be finished tomorrow. 


Actually, the thing I’m proudest of today is my house straightening work this morning.  I have extended the pantry re-organization so that I could fit all of my bulk purchases into it.  This emptied several boxes and cleaned out a good space that had been occupied by them.  It doesn’t sound like much of a chore, but it’s something I couldn’t have done alone even a month ago. 


I realize that we are almost in June, and it’s time for those B-cells to return to San Juan Capistrano.  My body could begin to replenish them at any time-it’s been five months since my treatment.  But I’m not in a hurry to see them and I’ve been whispering to my bone marrow to take it’s time.  When the B-cells return, if I head into a flare, we’ll repeat the treatments I had in December and January.  I am fully satisfied with this plan, and delighted that it has worked so well up to now.  I danced with Ellen this morning.



Al Green Knits a Happy 90th Birthday

There are days that are right for me, when my life fits me well and I am joyful.  Today I felt that I was in the right place, doing what I should be doing, and at peace about my future.  I used to be in a perpetual state of trying to get somewhere, always on a journey, always pushing.  My enjoyment of those journeys was limited by my fierceness about getting “somewhere” or “something”.  Some of the goals were worthy, some were not, but the path to most of them could have been smoother and less pressured. 


I am listening to the new Al Green album, Lay It Down, just downloaded from iTunes.  It is classic Al Green, every song about being in love, or lack of love, or perfecting his love…you get the picture.  Some of them have that gospel sound that he’s so good at.  “You’ve Got the Love I Need” could just as easily be “Jesus is What I Need” without changing a bit of the arrangement.  The piano accompaniment on “Too Much” is all church.  No one croons like Al.  I still want to cry over “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” and “Simply Beautiful”.  He sings what you’d love for your man to sing to you.  Rock and roll rarely fits in my bedroom.


While Al sings, I’ve been working on the Plush baby blanket.  It now has teeny stripes, wide stripes and medium stripes of blue, hot pink and purple.  I started this blanket last year and gave up after a few inches of the tiny stripes.  I laughed when I found it again and realized that I was knitting it on cumbersome 14 inch aluminum needles.  They weren’t sharp enough to handle the fuzzy yarn well, and they froze my hands and made them feel stiff and awkward.  A change to Knitpicks circulars made this a breeze, and I’ve knitted another 15 or 16 inches in very little time.  I’ll be finished with it tomorrow, ready to photograph and put in the store. 


The golden yellow and blue Shine Worsted blanket is about 15 inches.  It is moving fast.  I alternated between them, except for the time at the restaurant today when I carried my portable little girl dress in my purse.  I’m shameless about knitting in public places.  The dress started a whole conversation with the hostess staff and waitresses about dressing little girls. 


The restaurant time was for Daddy’s birthday celebration.  He told us he wanted to go to the Olive Garden, and my sister arranged it for him and my mom, two of their longtime friends, the third in-town sister, and my daughter.  While she picked up the old folks and bussed them to the restaurant, I was the advance party.  They don’t take reservations so we went at a a low-volume hour and I talked to the hostesses about what we needed.  They did a lovely job of preparing a table that was accessible, with plenty of room for the older folk to maneuver and a little bit isolated so that they could talk and hear one another.  They were all in a festive mood, and it was a joy to see them peruse their menu and give their fiddly instructions to the waitresses.  One of the guests was more interested in making sure she got big portions to take home than in eating her meal.  My dad, who had earlier (unbeknownst to me) turned down birthday cake, cut everyone little slices of the cake I ordered and hoarded the rest for himself.  He laughed with delight as we complained, keeping his heap of cake right in front of him.  “Happy Birthday” was sung once by us and again by the wait staff.  No one could believe it was his 90th.  He looked sharp in new cargo pants and a tweed jacket, and I was reminded of how he’s been the most handsome man in my life since I was a little girl. 


I wouldn’t have thought, 20 years ago, that I’d be here thanking God for keeping my parents in my life so long.  At 30 I was barely tolerating them.  I hadn’t yet experienced their supportiveness during the hardest times of my life, and their transformation by the birth of my daughter.  I didn’t have hopes of us being close.  We didn’t end our phone calls with “I love you”.  More often we were just polite, loving each other, but not very warmly.  It’s midnight.  Daddy is officially 90.  I am thankful.


I’ve had some random knee pains today.  They remind me of some of the pains I had two years before my diagnosis.  They would come precipitously, very sharp and intense, making me grab my knee and catch my breath.  One of my close friends, a physician, observed me during one of these incidents and insisted on examining my knees.  When his exam didn’t find anything, he scheduled me for an MRI.  It was also normal.  He was not at ease with that, but I laughed it off, not knowing that they were the lupus wolf calling ahead, warning me of his coming.   I’ve ignored the people closest to me, the ones who had my protection and best interests most at heart, on more than that occasion.  A good habit to lose. 


La da da da, la da da da, da da da da da da da da…standing out here in the rain…sing it, Al.