Sweating the small stuff
Thursday August 29th 2019, 10:08 pm
Filed under: Life

I actually have hair. I don’t have cancer nor chemo nor baldness; I have no right to complain.

And yet. It happened not once but twice and I was done.

It took me a year to get up the courage to try again.

I took recommendations. I wanted the reassurances that only getting through it could offer me. I did not ever again want to spend that kind of time intensely rueing having so much of my hair chopped off above my ears after saying I only wanted the bottom trimmed below my shoulders.

Krista from knitting gave me Kimber’s name and told me I would love her.

It took me over a month to finally reach out to that number, but today I found out she was right. I do. I cannot tell you the relief it was to have it matter to her that how I wanted it was how she did it. She asked lots of questions. She listened.

I love my new haircut. It’s actually how the old stylist used to routinely do it, plain and simple and hippy earth-motheringness with a little bit of a shorter sweep across the side of the face. That face in the mirror, said the woman with lupus-onset prosopagnosia, I recognize.

I can trust someone with my head and hair again and that feels like no small thing.



I ran and did that
Thursday August 22nd 2019, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life,LYS

It wasn’t upside down when I took the picture. Nor when I sent it. Again. It’s doing what it wants to do. I think this was Queguay colorway, Malabrigo Mecha, anyway.

See, I knit someone a hat, and looked forward to giving it to him at church.

Didn’t see him. But he’s always there! Nope.

Knit another hat. In case his son visits him again, and you couldn’t leave him out, right?

Didn’t see them.

So last Friday, being at Fillory for the informal knitting group and always feeling like I should buy a skein to pay for my afternoon’s entertainment, I hunched down at the display of Mecha yarn and said a little prayer, a bit of a joke to G_d: See, when I picked out the color he didn’t want to disappoint me so he didn’t come, right? But if I pick out what he wants then he’ll be there, right? So which one should it be?

This skein leaped into my hand. I worked on the afghan while the staff wound it up for me.

Sunday’s coming. It needed to be finished.

I even got the ends run in, just to make sure I don’t get tripped up at the last minute by procrastinating that part.

To be continued.



Oh honey
Tuesday August 20th 2019, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Life

An old Purlescence friend Facebooked yesterday about some honey she was considering at a farmer’s market, and that when she’d learned the source and sampled it she’d bought two. She described it as smokey, caramel-y, with a depth of flavor like nothing else.

I would have gone right past that display without a glance–actually I did at first–at Andy’s Orchard this afternoon but then that well-known picture of the vendors caught my eye and then the jars, familiar only because of Lynette’s post. Hey. Those!

The Honey Ladies’ name has long been passed around on the neighborhood sites as where to go when you have a bee swarm where you really don’t want it. They’ll happily come and put those honeybees to use in a better spot.

She’s the one who saw the guy first and yelled, Hey! You can’t bring that in here!

Which drew the attention of apparently the police thankfully nearby, and of the Gilroy shooter himself: she and her husband were his first targets.

The lady at Andy’s told me that they’d thought they were going to have to amputate her leg but right now it looks like they can save it after all. The woman’s husband took more bullets–but they both lived, their son was unharmed, and they are coming along bit by bit.

So Andy’s is one of the places now selling their honey. Of course it is. That’s what our Andy does. I bought three.

By far the best is the one Lynette raved over.

Checking me out, the lady said, her eyes on me, questioning how I felt about this, You know, a lot of people are afraid of that.

I told her it came highly recommended so I had to try it.

Now that I have, I wish I’d bought more, and I have an extra excuse to go back sooner rather than later before they’re all sold out.

Poison oak blossom honey. From rescued bees.

Who knew, right? Of all things. Even poison oak can leave in its wake something highly good and desirable.

(I’m thinking of my mom’s fierce poison ivy allergy and wanting to say, It’s okay, Mom, it’s okay, I’m fine…)

P.S. I gave Richard some and he called himself agnostic on the issue, that honey simply tastes like honey to him, so then I had him sample their blueberry. He was surprised: Oh! That IS different!



Dr Who?
Monday August 19th 2019, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Life,Lupus

The phone rang seconds before I’d have been out the door to Andy’s Orchard and blew up my plans for celebrating having gotten the mammogram over with this morning.

A strange male voice barked, “Your appointment with Dr. H next week is cancelled!” He sounded almost–I dunno, accusatory?

“Oh okay” (me, wondering, Are you for real?)

“Do you want to come in at 1:00!”

Me, ever so mildly: “It’s 1:08.”

He backpedaled hard. “How fast can you get here.”

And suddenly I’m on for 2:00, with mixed emotions. Fun. Save me the last Kit Donnell peaches, Andy? If there still are any? I gave the last of mine to that potluck yesterday, where they were raved over.

When I showed up, there was a young man at the desk who, when I told him my name, got this terribly sheepish look and then relaxed and laughed a little because I did so he’s okay, really, it’s alright.

And so I went in for my annual no-current-cardiac-problems checkup.

The doctor, who is my age, explained the cancellation in the sparsest of words and strongest emotions: his mom… He had to go see her…

I told him, My dad, too–we answer every call now.

I described my reaction to that new carpeting at church: how it felt much more like when my blood pressure was tanking hard years ago, before he got that under control. But maybe it was just asthma?

Sounded more like the latter to him. But (and I’m writing it here so that I can find it later) he added after a moment’s thought: probably there wasn’t, but if there was any amyl nitrate in that installation it could mimic the chemically similar nitroglycerin.

Holy cow. I’d been given that one single time in the hospital and my reaction to it had triggered the alarms and sent people running to my room–yeah that was a fun day.

Or maybe I just needed to use the inhaler last Sunday. I did.

Did it work?

Who knows, yes?, but I was out of there.

But you know what? It just felt like a relief to know that whatever it is, he knows about it. It’s not all on me anymore.

And he knows I know about his mom now and that my heart goes with him and his family on their long flight home.



As I would want someone to do for my own mom
Sunday August 18th 2019, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

We were at a potluck supper with friends this evening and rather than hanging out for a long time at the end, my husband felt it was time to go. He waited patiently as I wrapped up a conversation. It was definitely early.

I might quietly have conveyed that I’d like to stay a bit longer but somehow I found myself feeling like yes, it’s time (while wondering at myself for that.) And so we thanked the hosts and headed out.

Which means we pulled into our driveway just as our elderly neighbor next door was in hers, needing help. I called out a cheerful hi–and found myself going over to her.

She was frustrated. She was at times fighting tears. I gave her a hug, while quietly wondering how long it had been since she’d had one.

Richard had headed inside so I texted him, Come. He came.

Her car window was stuck down. He got it up.

There was a tool she needed to fix a problem inside the house and he had that tool and went to go get it. He’s a geek–he’s got all kinds of little things like that. When he gave it to her, we both knew she might forget it and we might never see it again–and that that was fine. The message that it conveyed backed up our words that she could call us anytime and know that we were glad to help.

We also found out that her daughter across the country whom I’d been quietly messaging a few times to try to keep her updated about her mom as best I could has cancer.

Just like the mom had had–at the same time I was diagnosed with lupus. Twenty-nine years ago, and we were both still standing right there. That left room for a great deal of hope.

We told her we’d left that dinner early and that now we knew why.

Suddenly she needed a second hug and she got it.



Survivor
Thursday August 15th 2019, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

This. Is the bike of a lucky man. Friend of my husband’s.

Who somehow had the skill and sheer great fortune that when a car pulled directly in his path on the freeway and then braked, at a time when the motorcycle was doing 80, the rider managed to lay it down well enough so as to be able to walk away. The steel toes in his boots were worn completely off. He’s limping but apparently, nothing broken.

That gorgeous shade of red and black is parked for good where they towed it, because I don’t think it’s going anywhere again.

The crazy-artist side of me wants to ask, if you made that a colorway, if you tried to put a name to both the experience and those colors and encompassed it in stitches to try to make sense of it all–not that wool would stand up where steel did not–what would you call it?



I finally asked
Sunday August 11th 2019, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Life,Lupus

Item 1. They replaced the carpeting at church last week. People were complaining about the smell. It was intense. (I did a mental grin upwards at the late Ski, who’d ordered the previous one ~25 years ago, thinking, at last they’d corrected his color choice. He was so proud of that mismatching green. Shhh.)

I spent much of the time holding very still with not one oxygen molecule to spare. Yow.

This week I was hoping the place would be aired out far better by now–but the answer was, um, some.

I got the doors propped open with a flower pot on one side and a chair on the other before the meeting, but during it found myself having to put my head between my knees. Hey I did better than this last week, what’s up with this. I made a break for it and went for that chair. Yes it was near noon on a summer day and in the sun, but you worry about paying for it re the lupus tomorrow after you make it through today–can’t get to the one without the other.

Jenni saw me and immediately followed me out and stayed by me and asked if I was okay. I searched through my purse I should have used last week but before that hadn’t had to use in years, even if I’ve periodically replaced it at expiration.

I found my inhaler. It helped. Not as much as I wanted, but it helped.

Item 2. I had to go back in to the one of the less aired-out parts to retrieve the Trader Joe’s chocolate goodies from the mother’s nursing lounge at the end.

A young mom was in there: Oh, are you the one that brings those? Thank you so much!

Me: Yes, it is the most fun job–and I take requests.

Her: You always bring my favorites!

I left with a big grin on my face.

Item 3. The upshot: the realization that there was no excuse not to ask. I needed to send out a message to both wards that use that building to make sure there are no serious peanut allergies in either one before I bring TJ’s chocolate peanut butter cups in there. Whether I ever know about it or not, I do not want to leave some poor kid fighting to breathe.

I’ve only brought them a few times but I never should have without making sure first. Checking with the leaders like I did was not enough.

So now I’ve asked.



A shot in the arm
Thursday August 08th 2019, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Went to pick up a prescription and there was a banner above the pharmacy window: Vaccinations.

So I asked, not quite daring to actually hope: did this mean they finally had Shingrix in stock?

They did! As of today they had the latest flu shot, too!

This early?!

Yup!

Note that we have a baby in the family scheduled to be delivered weeks short of full term.

I did ask if I would need a booster later if I got the flu one now and was assured by the pharmacist that no, it would be effective for the whole year.

So I filled out the paperwork, waited while they did the insurance company thing, and knitted, glad for the small project in the purse given that I had expected none of this.

Just before the pharmacist gave me a shot in each shoulder she happened to mention that that was their last dose of Shingrix.

I had been trying to get one for over a year. I’ve heard so many friends tell horror stories of what their shingles was like: intense, unrelenting pain for six months, one whose husband went blind in one eye, another who was hit with it twice.

After all that time spent fervently hoping I not get it while waiting for the vaccine to finally be available, and then the extra of being able to go through airport crowds and not have to worry about bringing the grandchildren the flu, to which I am highly susceptible–I tell you, I walked out of there so very very happy that after I got home I even told every single spammer on the phone, warmly, to have a nice day, even though the ringing has been relentless of late. The ones that were actual human beings I decided needed a little humanity shown them, because how often do they get that.

Now we just have to find one of those doses for my husband. I don’t know if all the CVSs received stock or just the local one. Sorry I hogged it, dear.



I guess all I had to do was start typing and there it is
Wednesday July 31st 2019, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Life

The story. I’m not sure I’m ready to tell it. The ending part, maybe.

Even when someone messes up and thinks you messed up when you know you didn’t and you know they (collectively) did and you know you have a brain like that but you know that other guy put it in that box but they’re so sure and eventually you shrug it off and walk away.

…When they call you two years later and they tell you they found what they’d accused you of losing and ask you to come get them and then call again and tell you they’ll return them to the manufacturer if you don’t show up in so many days to get them and they make no offer of refunding your rather large sum of money if they in fact do that (edit: it may be that that just didn’t occur to him) nor do they apologize. For anything. And when you show up the look on their face is anything but glad to see you. More, wary.

Being glad to see them anyway and laughing off our human foibles and trying on the long-lost new glasses (not mentioning that the prescription has since been replaced because that could be just so many more layers of awkward) was not what they were expecting but man, did it feel like a weight was lifted off both our shoulders.

I had once been glad to see him. He had once been glad to see me. We reclaimed that, and it was a huge relief. (What’s his name again?)

I will never again, however, order more than one pair and then send one back to be redone.

He didn’t put the paperwork quite in reach and in fact ditched it at the end rather than giving it to me where (edit: this is a guess and an assumption, to be fair) I might read the various notes on it.

I didn’t care. I’d long since ceased caring about the dumb stuff on this one. What I’d wanted to know was, the man had always seemed like actually quite a decent, caring human being, and this had been all kinds of bad for him I’m sure; there was zero point in making it worse. Why not approach it as a chance to come back to the best in ourselves, for both of us. Hail fellow well met.

The glasses I’d actually worn all this time? I’d tripped over them and had been wearing them crooked for months. Costco didn’t have the equipment to repair that style, I knew the original seller would, but I really hadn’t wanted to go back there.

And then he had had to call me to ask me to.

There’s usually a backup guy if not two in the place but at that particular moment everybody else was at lunch as the door opened again and again. Suddenly the place was hopping with customers.

And by golly he put me first even over my objections that I in no way wanted to cut in line, saying, they were still choosing, and then he fixed my regular glasses, too, after I asked if he was sure? I could come back at a better time.

It took him awhile to do. They needed what he could offer.

And he was honestly glad to get a chance to help.



Gilroy
Monday July 29th 2019, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Life,Politics

The first thing I did today was to check up on them.

My friends talked a little about the festival and marked themselves as Safe.

Would that it had been so for all, like it was supposed to be. Like it should be. Like it once was and could be again, if we so choose as a society.

Vote, my friends. Vote. We deserve so much better than this.



And Shaun jammies too
Friday July 19th 2019, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

A lot of companies won’t ship to Alaska. But they’ll ship to me. If I ship it in my own box it’ll cost a small fortune, but if I go to the post office and use one of their all-you-can-fit-in Priority boxes it’s the same cost as to anywhere else.

We have a two year old devotee of all things Shaun the Sheep, the show spun off from the Wallace and Gromit movies.

Guess what he got today.



Got that one right
Sunday July 14th 2019, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

I’d been thinking…but I hadn’t quite convinced myself that that was the right choice for her and she wasn’t there anyway, so, never mind.

Church was over and the navy cowl was still in my purse as people were standing around chatting, the crowd gradually fading.

I still don’t know a lot of the new people but at least their faces and personalities have started to become familiar.

Then I saw the woman I’d given the most recent cowl to and she was talking to one of her friends from back before the ward boundary changes; I walked up to them saying, I was looking for someone wearing blue!

The first one laughed, the second had no idea, the first started to tell her what she was about to be in for (man, she caught on to me fast!), and then there was the “are you allergic to wool?” out of me.

Handknit wool and silk. In a perfect match to her outfit.

She went home thrilled.

I need to start the next one, because that was just way too much fun to miss out on next week.



27 months
Saturday July 13th 2019, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

FaceTime.

Again!

We sang ABCDEFG again.

A delighted, Again! (I noted that he no longer sternly pouts No No No at the inclusion of TUV.)

He was loving this. Again!

Umpteen more rounds.

Then Wheels On The Bus. Shaun the plush Sheep went round and round, up and down, and moved on back.

Again! He giggled at how fast Shaun wiggled his ears at the up and then plunged out of sight from the camera so fast on the down.

Again!

As many rounds as you want, honey, for as long as you want during this brief time in your life in which you do. That’s what grandparents are for.



Give it a new life
Thursday July 11th 2019, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life,Politics

I’m a one project at a time person, but huge projects beg for a little puppy of a one in the purse wagging its tail end and begging for attention and the occasional treat of a few stitches here and there. You can’t lug the Pyrenean Mastiff of wool everywhere.

This one had been ongoing for over three weeks and it was bugging me: I wanted both the longterms done now. No cowl of mine should take nearly a month. I wanted to be able to start something new.

So I sat down this afternoon and worked for four hours straight to the end of the ball. I’m reluctant to name the source of the merino/silk yarn because their politics have become known and what I would consider indefensible–some of the very peoples that they denigrate help work in the mills that make this stuff.

But the yarn was in my stash, it’s quite soft, and it was pretty. Such a lovely drape to it, too.

And now it will make someone else pretty, somewhere where it will only be about the love in its making.

It was time for it to go.



Sundown
Tuesday July 09th 2019, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Life,Wildlife

Suddenly realized that not only was it the night we’re supposed to get the bins out to the curb for the morning pick-up, if we didn’t get moving we would run right into skunk o’clock.

Bam. Instant procrastination cure.