Purple cowl a fragilistic expedite all options
Monday January 29th 2024, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life,Lupus

I got hours of portable knitting in, but it was nonstop with no way to so much as walk out of the room for a break, with a fine, slippery cashmere/silk on very slick needles that the stitches kept wanting to leap off of. My hands needed to stop after that.

Not that I’m complaining. It’s good to see that 2019 Stitches West skein finally starting to live up to its endless sweet-talking promises.

Today was, at long last, the day for the retina surgeon.

He was thorough, he took his time, he asked for questions, he gave plenty of info so that I could begin to figure out what to even ask, he came highly recommended by other eye doctors, and I came away feeling like they were right–I’m in great hands here.

Did the lupus have anything to do with this?

Maaaaaaybeeee? he answered. We really don’t know enough yet. But, (scrolling through past meds) are you still on Humira? That’s a great anti-inflammatory, it could help with this.

No, that stopped working. ’09, colon’s gone, I’m off it.

Had I ever had iritis?

Yes, probably 30 years now, and narrowed optic nerves (we both knew that means autoimmunity at the eyes) but they had no baseline at the time.

Did I need surgery?

Yes. He could set it up right now. It won’t be like cataracts, where you go in with impaired vision and walk out marveling, I can see! It will be a gradual improvement over time, but improve it will.

But mine was not an emergency. Yet. He wanted to know how I was doing with it.

Well, I said, I have this small pill I have to split every day; it has a cut line down the center. I can see it fine with my left eye; I am totally blind to it with my right, with the pill itself fuzzed out. Reading has gotten hard (although I still do a lot of it) and I find myself holding things to the left side, which was always my bad eye. But the brain compensates and I wouldn’t even have known there was a loss of the center of vision if I didn’t shut the left, just that fine/small things seem difficult. Lines of text wobble in height and intensity.

I didn’t say, And it’s been a strong motivation to knit everything! Right now! Don’t wait!

He compared November’s screening at the optometrist’s to today’s. He could schedule it or he could give it a wait-and-see for two or three months to see how it goes.

I asked him, If it were your eye what would you do?

He considered that a moment. The latter.

Reassurance and a plan felt great. April, then, for a re-check and a decision then, and most likely we’ll schedule it then.

The receptionist, trying to warn me about the time involved with such screenings, told me, Set aside three to four hours for it.

Yeah. (I almost held up my project.) I know.

I’ll bring an easier wool and needles for flying a bit blind with those eye drops.

Socket to me socket to me socket to me socket to me
Sunday January 07th 2024, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life,Lupus

We were visiting our oldest’s for Thanksgiving when she offered me some lupus-protective sunblock for the walk we were about to take with the grandkids: and that is how I found the lump in that upper socket.

I just figured a zit was about to pop in a weird spot. It didn’t. I mentioned it to the optometrist, who immediately referred me to the right eye doctor.

It has grown since then. Not a lot. It is harder. A little. But definitely.

They could not get me in before January.

All this time I’ve been ignoring it, going, it’s no big deal, I can’t do a thing about it yet if it is, things have always turned out okay so far so this one will, too.

The theory on that anti-tumor-necrosis factor that granted me these last 20 and a half years is that it could cause cancer about twenty years out, and since I was trying really hard at the time to still be alive the next day that sure sounded like a bargain to me. It was.

So it’s kind of interesting to find myself trying not to freak out after all this calm nonchalance now that the appointment is only two days away. I don’t know if I’m finally giving myself permission to feel the possibilities?

No! Because I said so. Look at all that yarn and plans (acknowledging that I have let myself down with a bit of a knitting slump of late) and hopes waiting on me. My grandkids. Time. I want all of it.

Just typing that out loud makes it sound pretty overwrought. Good. I’m quite happy to go back to the no-big-deal.

I just want to know–but when I do, maybe I’ll just want to be back to where I didn’t have to know yet, and I know that, too.

You know exactly what I need to do here: get those needles moving. Create some love to put out into the world.

Being told out of the blue today that an old friend has inoperable stage 4 cancer says that sometimes things turn out a very big deal and life is so fragile and you just never know. Love your dear ones.

Me, I’m looking forward to helping my oldest granddaughter in her pursuit of learning to be a lifetime Knitter with a capital K.

Look straight at the blue dot
Wednesday December 13th 2023, 11:20 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life,Lupus

So to celebrate my birthday, the DMV took my picture.

Then they took it again.

Which immediately took me way back to the Maryland DMV that I went to with my newly-married name: that was the time that cured me for life of pushing my slipping glasses back up at the bridge with my forefinger, because what the camera saw was my finger up my nose. The cameraman shook his head and told me, You don’t want to look at that for the next ten years, lady, and insisted on a do-over.

Who knew DMV guys could be nice.

They tested my vision. I passed.

The forms-and-vision guy was bored out of his mind and a little annoyed at having to deal with some old (officially! Today!) person who had a hard time hearing him; he was like, get’em in get’em out next come on next.

Charming he wasn’t.

I’ll show him (glancing down in my purse.) Yeah that’s about the one he deserves. A bright green alligator with yellow spikes. A reptile. Rows of teeth.

(One of my sons on the phone later: you didn’t.)

Me: I did, and the thing is that when I handed the guy that finger puppet and told him Merry Christmas (a slip–I usually say Happy Birthday for universality but the season got to me. So sue me) his face entirely lit up. He was so delighted!

It is fair to say that I was more surprised than he was. He showed me, for sure.

Later, a friend dropped by and not wanting to bother Richard at work and not wanting to be in the sun, we sat in my car laughing and having a great time catching up and feeling like teenagers hanging out while the real teenagers next door came and went and probably wondered what on earth was up over there.

My sister–my oldest sister!–called and told me she’d streaked her hair purple when she turned 65 and I told her I wished she’d told me that sooner or that I’d thought of that and the DMV could have preserved it forever. What a missed opportunity!

It was the best day. I think I should turn 65 next year, too.

Seeing the forest and the trees
Tuesday November 28th 2023, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Family,Lupus

It was 2:15, sundown was 4:25, Seattle being at a latitude that gets an hour less of sun than we do, so with sunblock and a big hat I thought I was pretty well covered lupus-wise against the UV.

We took what I thought was a pretty long walk for the kids. They rode their training wheel bikes and I don’t know if that took more energy or less, but we definitely had fun. Explored the new neighborhood going up. Then the park. Lillian was surprised to find out that Grammy can swing on the swingset, too. And then at last we headed for home.

I was feeling it that night. Costochondritis isn’t dangerous, but it was a warning, so when Mathias wanted to do the two-mile loop around the wetlands the next day I with a quiet regret that ran deeper than I was ever going to say stayed home and started knitting another hat.

Everybody understood.

They split into two directions, with Lillian going for a shorter ride but it was still good and long enough to wear a kid out.

Then the door opened.

Lillian had found a leaf. A big leaf. A perfect, pretty, autumn leaf. To share with her Grammy. If I couldn’t take that walk in the woods then she was determined to bring that walk to me.

(The folded edge happened when I was packing it to take home. Oops. She took better care of it than I did.)

I look forward to the day when I can show it to her and tell teenage Lillian the thoughtful thing she did when she was four and how grateful I am for it.

She’ll probably already know, because it made her so happy, too.

Friday October 13th 2023, 10:08 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Lupus

Spoon Theory is the most brilliant description I’ve ever come across of what it’s like to live with chronic illness.

That said, it’s not an analogy I’ve needed to use in awhile. I still have lupus, but the fatigue is not what it was and the pain is mostly gone from me.

It was possibly wildfire smoke that caused my shortness of breath and got me in the cardiologist’s office July 18; this afternoon I finally had the stress EKG test for it. Covid has created many many new cardiology patients, the office is swamped, and I just didn’t seem to be an emergency. But he did want to follow up on that.

I made pumpkin almond muffins in the morning. Comfort food. Healthy. Ready.

The rare drycleaning order had to be picked up after 4:00. My daughter needed a package mailed to her. The post office was in the direction of the dry cleaner, oh, and I had to go to the grocery store afterwards because you can’t have the food sitting in the car.

Heart ultrasound, race uphill with your wires as fast as you can as long as you can hold out and then more ultrasound, while remembering the doctor’s surprise last time–he didn’t think I could do it anywhere near that long but I did so I was determined to do it again. I came a half minute short. I can live with that.

Got through rush hour, got to the post office, hoped the ultrasound gel I could feel (oops) didn’t show through my shirt, fought more traffic, got to the dry cleaner, dashed into the Safeway, got some groceries including some throw it in the oven and call it done for dinner, made it home.

Man. Spoons? More like that silverware drawer got ripped right off its rollers and out of the cabinet, flipped, and dumped on the floor with a crash.

Go eat a pumpkin muffin, Richard said, looking at my face as I walked in the door.

Dinner and time and rest and now I’m only having to remember how utterly wiped I felt: while so grateful that it’s not like that all day every day these days, not even any day, usually.

It was, once.

Good things come
Thursday September 14th 2023, 7:09 am
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Life,Lupus

The Faustman Lab affiliated with Harvard has a paper out (I’ve seen reference to a 2023 update) on why the vaccine for tuberculosis is proving to be valuable for reversing type 1 diabetes–the type that is autoimmune-based, which is why they’re now expanding their work to other autoimmune diseases.

The then-experimental drug that saved my life twenty years ago dramatically enough that one medical resident changed his specialty so he could be part of that again (Hi Dr. Shih!) was a TNF-type drug. This is far better than my old mouse-celled one that they had to stop after it caused (thankfully temporary) congestive heart failure.

Quote: “Induction of TNF through BCG vaccination or through selective agonism of TNF receptor 2 (TNFR2) has 2 desired cellular immune effects: (1) selective death of autoreactive T cells and (2) expansion of beneficial regulatory T cells”

It sounds like it’s inducing the body to produce its own TNF in a way that does the most good, avoids the damage mine caused, and is certainly well tolerated.

The thought suddenly hits: what if I could travel and play normal tourist and go out in the sun and just do, y’know, normal people type things in the daytime again? Rather than risk setting off multiple organ inflammation via the UV exposure starting the moment I step outside?

That vaccine is out there right now.

It could actually happen in my lifetime and certainly my kids’.

For sanity’s sake these past thirty years I’ve avoided spending time or thought on the what-ifs, but I gotta admit I’m sneaking some peeks their way right now.

Oh, and, meantime, the daughter of our elderly neighbor is in town, we had a good chat, and I mentioned the outdoor light that seems brighter than the LED streetlight and turns our bedroom into daytime all night long; could she maybe change that lightbulb?

She was both horrified and gratified that that was something she could so easily do that could do so much good. She’s on it.

Kings Mountain
Friday September 01st 2023, 9:45 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life,Lupus

I hadn’t seen Kris in four long years. Way too long.

I’d forgotten that I’d sworn to myself I would never, ever again go the way the map apps direct you towards the Kings Mountain Art Fair. And that was before last winter.

The tiny coastal mountain road alternates in its switchbacks to which side has the drop off with no barrier, it is not level nor smooth and it was not comforting to see spots where the asphalt had stretched and cracked on its way sloping down towards the redwood trunks below. (And above, because, redwoods.)

Sign (twice): Road Narrows.

Me: How?

Kris later told me, Oh, yeah, we did that road with the truck once and never again.

The truck? On that?!

In two places my lane was altogether gone from the past winter’s storms. Oh, I’d heard about that, I just didn’t know where it was.

It rained and the road was slippery, intermittent with fog-rolling-in time of day which was like driving through cotton candy.

Only for you, Mel and Kris, I thought again and again till I saw that blessed Skyline Drive sign at long last: a much better, straighter, wider road across the spine of the mountain and the one the Fair is on.

And then just like that it was all worth it.

For lupus and sun avoidance’s sake I had arrived just after four–it goes till five–and most of the booths had pulled rainproof tarps around and I don’t know that there was a single other customer walking around by then, so I certainly wasn’t interrupting any sales by catching up with my friends and their son for old times’ sake till I declared it was quitting time and time for them to kick me out. I brought peaches from Andy’s because I could. They loved me and I loved them and their kids are great and we even reveled in (and ducked under their tarp from) the rain.

Such good folks. And they do such gorgeous work. I bought this tall hot cocoa mug with a hummingbird poised just like the one that had once danced through the spray from my hose, facing me, so close. Such a happy memory. (Bought a few other things, too. Needed to make up for those four years.)

I continued down Skyline towards home, appreciating ever so much that it was an option and hoping my readers would forgive the whine if I try to write it down so I actually remember it next year: Go. This. Way. Both ways.

The postscript is that our daughter is flying home for the weekend and after Kings Mountain, I ran to stock the fridge in anticipation. I was wearing my large sunflower gerdan. An older woman with an accent stopped me ever so briefly, looking at it and me. She said softly, “Thank you.” Then moved on quickly so as not to accost a stranger too much but had needed so much to say something before the moment passed.

While I was instantly wanting to know her whole life story, if only I could ask. Because we would be friends. I knew it because she had already befriended me.

But she had said what she had the words for.

There was suddenly one more thing I needed to do with my day: go tell Oleksandra in Ukraine that her art had blessed that woman’s life, too, and to thank her. And so I did.

Thursday August 03rd 2023, 9:41 pm
Filed under: Life,Lupus

We were out. Do you want peaches? I asked him.

Yes, (as in, Always, knowing where they would be coming from.) I looked at the clock–yeah, I had time to go, if I hurried. Traffic…

Off the freeway at last, glad I hadn’t been even five minutes later in that growing backup, past the construction zone, pulled into Andy’s.

And it was a whole different world. Rows and rows of trees, the mountainside looking east and the coastal range over yonder to the west, Andy’s flowers blooming around the small gravel parking lot, that familiar wooden building with the overhang.

Next to which there is a single parking space right against the patio. One step out of the driver’s seat and you’re out of the sun, half a dozen more shaded steps and you’re inside. My lupus approves.

Only, for the first time, someone else was in that spot.

The man was I’d say probably late 70s or maybe more.

The one in his hand didn’t even make it into his car: he stood outside the driver’s side taking one appreciative bite, then another. Kind of shook off the juice running down his arm there a minute trying not to be too messy about it and then tried to head it off at the pass by taking the next bite from under the bottom of it in a pose almost like a kid at a drinking fountain. And another. (While I was going in with my previous boxes, finding out they don’t reuse them anymore, taking them back to my car and heading inside again.)

The moment demanded to be shared in solidarity, and I found myself calling over to him, Good peach, eh?

He held up the little that was left towards the sky with the biggest smile on his face and pronounced with feeling, “There is nothing fiiiner than a perfect peach.” His eyes swept around the scene, the farm, the flowers, the mountains, the fruit. It had made his summer, right there on that spot, and he was clearly glad for me that I was heading in to go get some for my loved ones and me, too.

I told him about the treks to pick Lorings in West Virginia coming from DC in my childhood, and how I found Andy by searching for them. He was glad I’d found where to go; he loved Lorings. He loved this place.

All was right in his world, and now it was in mine, too.

Playing telephone
Thursday July 13th 2023, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Garden,Life,Lupus

It was a bit of a cri de coeur: I had tried leaving individual messages, gotten no response, and finally wrote to the whole ward.

I have a tart cherry tree, I said, and I’ve been getting up early in the mornings to pick from it hoping to beat the risks of the low UV exposure at that hour and it’s flaring me and I absolutely have to stop. But it’s a crime to let those cherries go unpicked, and the last of them are ripe now.

Save me from me, I wrote. Email me first so we don’t get forty people with a handful apiece, but please, come get yourself some pie cherries from my tree. It’ll be hands-and-knees work, though, because the ones left are mostly down close to the ground.

The only answer I got last night was from a friend insisting she was going to pick them today–for me.

We agreed to wait to see if anyone else answered first. People were being too polite, not wanting to shove to the front of the line, I figured (I mean, how could anyone not be passionate about pie cherries, even if that first person wasn’t.)

I got two messages this morning: one from a friend who admitted she’d long wished she had a tree like mine and that sour cherry was her favorite pie, too, and she would dearly love to have them. Could she come by after her dental appointment?

That would be great!

The other came in a few minutes after the first, from N’s daughter, saying, That’s my mom’s absolute favorite, I’d love to come pick them for her.

Several hours after I’d heard from her mom, I told the daughter that I’d completely forgotten till that moment, but, I had wire racks from old ovens around the base of the tree after seeing a ground squirrel next to it: they won’t come up where they can’t dig down, and I didn’t want it chewing on the bark and roots. Those might be rough on her mom’s knees.

That was it, she was coming with her kids. She called her mom and then told me they were on their way over.

Meantime, I was on the phone with the doctor’s office and they said I needed to be seen but I needed to have a covid test first, and not just a home test.

The daughter took pictures of her kids holding up their treasureboxes of bright fruit with the cherry tree as background and it just made my day.

They held some out: did I want any?

(Always, of course, but I had so much in my freezer.) I opened the door a crack, trying not to breathe in their direction: No, I’ve got plenty, thanks, though!

They left, I sent out a note to the ward saying the cherries were picked and thank you everybody, and I headed off to the clinic.

The grandmother read that and dashed over, hoping she hadn’t lost her chance to at least get some. Turns out she had missed that phone call.

Richard had been in a meeting and I hadn’t interrupted, so he didn’t know that the daughter had come by; he just met the grandmother at the door (trying to keep his distance because of the covid exposure), and a moment later found her crushed, saying, It’s stripped. They’re all gone.

(While the daughter had been going, Mom, answer your phone…)

And everybody’s having a good laugh over the whole thing now.

Oh, and the covid test? It was negative.

Bared necessities
Friday June 09th 2023, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Life,Lupus

Got a text yesterday: could they come today?

And so at long last the damaged awning panels are all gone. The new ones will come next week.

For all these years, till that first one blew off in the storm, I thought they were just translucent, but they were actually smoky colored on top. Having all of them gone makes not just the patio but the family room stunningly bright on an overcast day in June. I had no idea it could be like that. None.

The new ones will be both UV blocking and clear–so that brightness is going to stay. You all are going to have to be patient with me if I get excited about finally seeing bird bums: I would have loved to have seen the zone-tailed hawk from underneath a few years ago after it soared across the yard and then landed on that thing, suddenly not much more than a shadow.

Oh, and: after the termite repair work 20 months ago, I went to the Benjamin Moore store to buy a small can of the new house color. I was thinking for the mailbox, but really it just seemed a good thing to have on hand. We never used it.

That spot where the painters missed and left exposed wood? That that smoky awning had kept me from seeing for over a year, much less in time to call them back to it?

That little can came in handy today and Chris’s guy totally took care of it.

Keeping an eye on that
Monday May 22nd 2023, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life,Lupus

Sixth, as you follow it diagonally: done.

I’ve had problems with my corneas tearing from my eyes being too dry. My eye doctor told me to use not just drops, but a particular one because it didn’t have preservatives that would accumulate over time and the single-vial version would negate the risk of contaminating the bottle.

So I use GenTeal.

There’s been a growing recall of contaminated eye drops that have caused eyeball loss and sepsis and deaths and that multiple antibiotics are not able to cure.

GenTeal’s single-use vials say made in France. Okay so far. Their ointment, however, is made by one of the two companies under recall. FDA link here. Symptoms list here. If you use any made in China or India, including those sold by Costco, it’s probably from those two companies that this has been traced back to. One source I read said the India plant has been a repeat offender on contamination, but I don’t have the data to back that up.

Regulations, folks. They’re life savers.

In person time
Wednesday April 26th 2023, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life,Lupus

In January, a very kind friend offered to drive us to the airport when we needed it.

Yesterday, her husband asked around if anyone could take them to the airport.

At rush hour. Across the Bay.

I’d hurt my back in the last hour at Sam’s before flying home Monday but knowing how much they would need that ride I said yes–along with a few quiet prayers that I’d be able to manage it. And if not, then that someone else would step forward.

I didn’t hear back yesterday and didn’t hear back today and that’s unusual from them so I sent off a hey do you still need this.

Huh. Nothing. Well, I guess they didn’t, then, and went about my day and didn’t fill the car nor take out stuff like reusable grocery bags to make more room because sun exposure time vs it wasn’t needed anyway.

Five pm I picked up my cell and Missed Call had appeared on it in the last hour.

Turns out they had answered; the email had vanished. Oh. It’s been wonky, that’s why I sent it again from my other addy. They’d called my cell, not knowing that the landline is the one I can hear ring.

Maps said 50 min to an hour 50 to get there that time of day and they needed to arrive by 6:30 at the very latest and they were halfway across town and it was 5:00.

I immediately called back, asked if they still needed a ride, said give me two minutes to get out the door, turned off the preheating oven, scribbled a note to Richard who was in a meeting before vanishing on him (he’d known I’d offered), and made a dash for it. Whatever was in the car was in the car and we would make do.

They knew it was a terrible airport to try to get to but it was the only one with a direct flight after work in order to get in at a reasonable hour. They were going to see their only grandchild. She was turning one and she had just learned to walk.

Oh how cool! Such a fun age.

We had a great time catching up on life. It felt an immense privilege to spend that time together. I could even hear Eric in the back seat most of the time, and that’s highly unusual for me. Man, that felt great.

The traffic was as good as it could have been at that hour.

They thanked me, I thanked them, and we pulled up in front of the terminal at 6:29. At 6:30 their bags were out of the car. At 7:25 I sent them a message that not only was the traffic so good the other way that I was already home, I’d filled the car on the way. They told me they’d had enough time to buy dinner, and had just boarded.

After two and a half hours on the road the only time my back had twinged the whole way was the brief moment when I tried to reach the FastTrak toll pass velcroed to the bottom of the window to reset it to 3 so we could use the carpool lane. No dice. I’m too short to reach the quite reasonable spot where the tall guy set it up. No matter.

I can only chalk it up as a small favor from G_d because on my own, I was not at all sure I could manage that trip I’d committed myself to. But I did it.

I expected pain and it didn’t happen.

What I got instead was joy.

Sunday April 16th 2023, 8:58 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Friends,Life,Lupus

I know there will certainly be days to come when I will wish that my bad day was the kind of a bad day like this one was.

That said.

We were about to leave for church when, walking down the hall, I caught a glimpse of shiny–wait, what? Turned and looked and it was sunshine from the skylight bouncing off the water on the floor. Water?!

The toilet was Niagara-ing impressively.

I waded in and turned the water off to it, we put a whole lot of towels on it and down the hallway, threw a bunch in the washing machine, managed not to soak our Sunday best in the process, washed our hands and headed out.

Or were going to–but someone had parked across our driveway, you know, one of those I’m just running over there for a few minutes things, and he was soon out of the way–after sitting in his truck and being on his phone awhile first.

Got to church, sat down–and the woman behind me started coughing. A lot. Right into the back of my neck. She was not wearing a mask but I had just stocked my purse with a bag of new ones so no problem, and offered her one to match mine.

This is someone I’ve known for 36 years and I did not expect the reaction: she stood up in the middle of the meeting livid, stared me down angrily, and walked out.

I was like, what just happened here?!

I’d had no idea she was a MAGA. I was trying to help her out (and everybody around her) with what she’d clearly forgotten rather than embarrassing her by moving away from her myself, which would only help myself.

I apologized to her husband after the meeting for upsetting her.

We got home from church, started in on the towel laundering, and the dryer was only halfway working. It would do it, but it took two and three rounds through and in fact the last load of towels is still running at 8:00 pm as I type even though I did what I could to make sure the vent was clear. (Ed. to add, third round didn’t do it. I gave up and hung them to dry the rest of the way.)

The grandkids FaceTimed and that helped save the day.

But I knew I had to say something to that woman or this would come between us forever and life’s way too short for that.

I apologized in an email. I had given offense and I’d had no intention, but I had and I was sorry.

(Type, edit, pray for her, edit, go away for a few minutes to look at it with fresh eyes, repeat, pray so I’d say it right. Edit some more.)

But it felt important to keep at least some medical context so I said, my autoimmunity has been mildly flaring and it took me straight back to 14 years ago when I’d been starting to flare and someone had sat down behind me in church with “just a cold” that turned out to be bronchitis. My lupus and Crohn’s went nuts and I lost my colon and six months later after I still didn’t stop bleeding they did major surgery again.

I touched briefly on the lung damage and cardiac inflammation. I just can’t do germs with a system that thinks I am one. And so I watch my exposure carefully, I said. I just wanted to explain–but I gave offense and in no way meant to and I apologize.

Prayed again and sent it off.

Sometimes you just have to tell someone how it is. Especially when you don’t want to be a was.

And to establish boundaries.

So glad we went there first (no they didn’t have it)
Saturday March 25th 2023, 2:51 pm
Filed under: Family,Life,Lupus

There was some unusual ingredient to be hunted down and we decided to make a mother-daughter quest of it. We found ourselves at a large grocery that had underground parking–always a nice thing for the sun impaired.

She headed up the stairs that wound around the glass elevator and I followed.

Changing altitude and direction at the same time are not my damaged brain’s strong point, not to mention with a wall moving up and down on the left, and as two people came out of the garage behind us I scrunched up to the side and told them not to wait for me.

The man did a slight nod and hurried on past.

The older African-American woman looked at me with my cane and chuckled like an old friend and, holding onto the railing on the other side to make sure she didn’t fall either, accepted the invitation, too. She moved back to the right in front of me in case someone around the corner started coming down.

I found myself figuring out how to catch her as we continued up the steep steps–not that I thought I’d have to nor that I would be much good at it.

So. We did our bit of shopping and headed for checkout. I do not do self-checkouts. I do not enable the doing away with what was once a decent middle-class job and I certainly have no problem with paying a few cents more on my groceries to take better care of their workers.

And there was our stair climber with her impeccable manicure and lovely braids.

Something, I have no way to know what, had happened.

I caught her wiping away quickly at an eye and the expression on her face and knew I had to do something as I was putting my wallet away and my purse was sitting there in front of me unzipped. To somehow be the friend I would be if we knew each other, while wishing we did. (Not that one… Oh that’s perfect.)

Have a fish! I said to her as I put a bright cheerful pink finger puppet that some knitter in Peru had made with white stripes knitted into its slightly wavy fins and tail into her hand. Tiny stitches on that one, lots of detail. Quite pretty.

Instantly her expression changed to one of disbelief and delight and she marveled at the handwork in the little thing.

Happy Birthday! I told her as we grabbed our bag of that’s-not-what-we-came-for-but-it’s-fun-stuff and headed back towards that staircase and the next store. Which had the ingredient.

But I really really want to
Wednesday February 22nd 2023, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life,Lupus

Maps says three hours each way. Stitches West moved to Sacramento, I haven’t been in four years thanks to the pandemic (and to having had Covid during the 2020 one–Early Adopter status, it’s a Silicon Valley thing) and I badly want to see old friends I never get to see anywhere else. Even Mel and Kris are going to be there, and they’d thought they were done with making that drive from Oregon, but no, they’re coming.

So we talked about it. I told him, you know how utterly crashed I was coming home when it was twenty minutes away, I don’t know how I’d do three hours at the wheel afterwards much less driving that twice in a day. That’s also the weekend Michelle’s supposed to move.

But: I want to see my friends. (Thinking, I could even go and almost not buy any yarn because the first day is always such an intense overload and there wouldn’t be a second day.)

He totally grokked how important that was to me. But also to our daughter.

“Let’s think about that.”

Even if there were public transportation, it would involve some time spent out in the sun and I absolutely cannot take that risk at all.