Luck and Simple Progress

I am due for another round of rituximab next week and then two weeks later.  I must cancel.  I am not sick.  I mean, there is no indication that a flare is coming soon.  I am cheering very quietly, trying not to disrupt the natural flow of good luck here.  Speaking of luck, it may be affecting my real estate situation, too.  I’m all set to occupy my next home, and the not-yet-sold house has been getting more attention lately.  I am whispering when I say that someone liked it enough to take a bunch of photos this week.  Don’t want to put any pressure on that luck thing, but an offer would be great…

I am light-years beyond the state of mind that says we can bargain for luck.  I can be as good as gold and not be lucky.  I appreciate it when I see it, but I know I don’t deserve it and that it could trickle away at any time, without explanation.  In spite of this, my recent days have been filled with fortuitous occurrences.  For example, despite a delay in making our trip to Athens, my daughter and I moved her things without difficulty and were back just in time to catch a visit from my Minneapolis sister.  Tied to that was my recent good health, which allowed me to be at IHOP before 8:30 a.m. today, to enjoy pancakes and see her off. 

I can think of so many “lucky” things that I’m aware of an undercurrent of anxiety today.  When I start seeing lucky occurrences, it is my nature to accept and enjoy them, but to leave a small piece of consciousness focused on waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I start trying to work out things in my head, things that aren’t yet at the working out stage.  I ponder the nature of my luck and try to predict the duration of it.   I poke it and prod it and wonder where it came from, and if I can send it away.  I blow it up to mythic proportions, embuing things with luck even when they aren’t particularly lucky, by calling myself lucky to have avoided the opposite.  For instance, I might say to myself that I’m lucky to not have a boyfriend, because it means that at least I don’t have a bad boyfriend.

Okay, now I’ve spooked myself.  I can’t stay on the topic of luck any longer without losing sleep over whether I’ve  interrupted this good spell by talking about it.  Instead, a summary of recent projects.  The Chattanooga Market seems to be full of folks who want items of clothing for babies and children.  Since that has been the greatest interest, I’ve knitted and crocheted a pile of  small hats, most of them cotton.  I’m still working on cotton baby blankets, too.  I’ve been reveling in the use of Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Organic Cotton.  It is ridiculously soft and cuddly, the stuff to wrap your little ones in.  Dayna’s chicken is finished, and it’s a lovely overstuffed creature.  She wanted it to be very full and round, rather than the slimmer silhouettes shown on the pattern, so it is well-filled.  The body is purple, crown and wattles are lime green, and beak and tail feathers are neon pink.  I had big fun making it.  I finished it in Athens and it hasn’t been unpacked, so I have no photos yet. 

I am actually contemplating staying home when my daughter returns to school.  She has recruited a couple of boys and her dad to help move her things into the new apartment.  I am not needed for hauling (thank God!).  I may go along later to help unpack things, if it looks like she will be busy with recruitment for her sorority.  We are doing this separation thing nicely, thank you very much.  It makes me feel like a better mom, backing off until I am summoned. 

A confession:  Tonight, after I prepared the house for a late showing, I put on my turtle necklace.  A friend gave it to me yesterday, a beautiful pendant with a dragonfly on the turtle shell, made by a Lakota woman.  I have come to appreciate the slow, steady progress of the turtle, and the density and strength of its simple shell.  Having a chronic illness like lupus requires a long view and a steady pace.  Nothing happens quickly, but I look back and see my tremendous improvement from last year. 



Knitting Baby Blankets and Chemocaps While Frying B Cells

Yikes, yesterday my life sped up exponentially!  I woke with the same total body stiffness that I’ve been experiencing lately, so I called my doc’s office.  His nurse called me back for details, then later with his instructions.  My prednisone has been doubled, from 10 mg to 20 per day.  That provides some speed all by itself.  The further instructions were to come to the rheumatology office for lab this morning, then proceed to the oncology office and get B-cell killing treatment.  I was then thrust further into the near future by phone calls from one nephew and one great-nephew, anticipating the family reunion next week.  Just a little reminder that I need to disseminate all the information I’ve collected on how to have a good time for cheap or for free in Atlanta, Georgia. 


Even though I’ve been knitting and crocheting chemocaps to donate to the oncology center, this immediate appointment caught me by surprise, and I didn’t have time to put washing instructions with each cap so that I could take them in today.  I’ll have another visit in two weeks and tote the lot of them at that time. 

Meanwhile, here’s a sampling:   The purple caps are knit from an acrylic/polyester mix, kind of fuzzy-Yarn Bee Soft Delight.  You know how I feel about un-natural fibers, but cancer chemotherapy is an energy drain and easy care fabrics can be very helpful.  The yellow is the cotton scarf I showed in a previous post.  The multicolored cap at the bottom was knit from a bulky acrylic.  The blue on the left is’s Esprit, cotton with elastic, wonderful for light-weight caps. 

On top left is a crocheted acrylic in rust and cream, done a good while ago.  The middle cap is Bernat’s Miami, an acrylic tape yarn that I used a lot when I first started knitting and crocheting regularly, about three years ago.  The blue on the upper right is Paton’s Katrina, a rayon and polyester blend that is so tightly twisted that it has a very elastic effect.  The middle and upper right caps are both crochet.  I find that I can crochet a cap from worsted weight yarn in about two hours.  It takes me almost twice that time to knit one, so I resort to crochet when I’m trying to turn out volume. 


While I was on vacation, I put in lots of knitting time.  I worked on a sample that I’m knitting, one that has gotten a steady amount of attention and that I like very much.  I finished a baby blanket from the Blue Sky Dyed Cotton, an exercise in softness.  That’s become a favorite very quickly, and I was very pleased with the results.    The cotton is perfect for next-to-baby-skin, with enough weight to provide some real warmth and cushioning.  It shows stitches well, as you can see in this close-up of the garter stitch border.    This blanket was knit from corner to corner, as noted below.


Organic Cotton Baby Blanket

materials:  3 skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca’s Dyed Cotton (150 yards each); one size 6 circular needle

Cast on 3 stitches.  Staying in garter stitch, increase one stitch at the beginning and end of each row for a total of nine rows, finishing on WS row. 


Row 10: Knit across, increasing one stitch at each end.

Row 11:  Knit 5, increasing one stitch at beginning but leaving 5 knit stitches.  Purl until four stitches left on needle.  Knit 5, increasing one stitch at end to leave 5 knit stitches. 

Continue in pattern, knitting right side and purling wrong side, leaving 5-stitch garter border and increasing one stitch at each end of row, until piece measures six inches from cast-on (approximately 40 rows total).  Then drop the increases on the purl side and just increase one stitch at beginning and end of each knit row.  Remember to keep the 5-stitch garter border on purl side.  When piece measures 17 inches from cast-on, stop increasing and work 5 rows even. 


On knit rows, decrease one stitch and beginning and end of each row.  On purl rows, knit the first and last 5 stitches but perform no decreases.  Continue for about 54 rows.  This should approximately match the area on the opposite side of the blanket.  After this, add decreases to the purl rows, so that there are two decreases for each row.  Don’t forget to maintain the 5-stitch garter border by working a total of five knit stitches on either side of the purl rows.  When you have 15-25 stitches left on your needle, change to garter stitch and continue your right and wrong side decreases.  This garter stitch band can match the opposite one or not, your preference.  Continue to decrease until you have  three stitches remaining.  Bind off.  Weave in all ends.  Block if desired.  End measurement:  23 x 23 inches. 


I love this blanket.  I think its simplicity is appropriate for the heathered shades and country feel of the cotton.  It will hold a 7-15 lb baby nicely.

I’ve been listening to CBS News while I type.  One African-American man has been getting all the political press this season, but there is another who deserves some attention.  I have to admire David Paterson, governor of New York, for what he has achieved and the grace with which he manages his disability.  He was interviewed by Katie Couric, and to paraphrase his last words, if you believe you can overcome a disability, then you can.  Excellent advice. 


Once again, death to the wicked B cells!