Monthly Archives: March 2012

Is it me?

I was upstairs when B shouted me.

B:  ‘Can you come here for a minute?’

Me:  ‘I’ve got no pants on.  I was going to have a shower.’ – Look, I still say shower since it does involve the shower but it is more of a hose down at present

B:  ‘Well can you put some on and come down.’

Thinking he wanted to show me something outside that would disappear unless I saw it at that exact moment and trusting it didn’t involve a neighbour standing in the kitchen I wandered downstairs without my trousers on – I had my knickers on and my cardigan was quite long.

I arrived in the kitchen to find B with a stern expression on his face and his arms folded across his chest.

B:  ‘Look at this.  I opened the box and the first three were like this…’

B:  ‘I haven’t got the receipt but it says Wilko on the box.  They were only £1.59 (ish) but I feel like taking them back.  They open on Sundays.’

Now I think he both expected and wanted me to say ‘It’s not really worth the hassle is it’ but considering I’d had to come downstairs and was standing trouser-less, but socked,  in the kitchen I said

‘Yes, but its the principle.  I think you should take them back.’

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Help

To cut a long story short – actually I don’t need to do that since it’s a really short story involving a couple of etsy conversations since Wednesday.

I have the opportunity for me and my Myeloma Buddies to maybe appear in a UK crafty magazine, possibly in the bottom left hand corner of page 82, and need to send in a pics of me and the Buddies plus 50-100 words about why I support the specific charities.  Which raises two issues – what to say and what photo of me to send ie, with or without hair!

There’s only a small fee involved – just kidding – no money is changing hands although I am still waiting to get my 561,000 bing bongs from the guy in Gambia who I sent my bank details to.  That might have been a mistake as I’m starting to think that might be the country where they need a wheel barrow to carry the coinage needed to buy a loaf of bread.

As I was thinking about it this morning for the first time really, I only got the email on Wednesday, I started thinking ‘I’ll have to count the words myself’ as I use wordpad on the netbook which is a small step up from using an electric typewriter with built in correction ribbon – but I don’t use it enough to justify forking out for Word.  Then I thought ‘If I type it in wordpress that will count the words for me’ and that’s when it dawned on me that if I did that I could publish it as a post and ask for your opinions.  So here it is…

In 2009 I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable but treatable blood cancer.  It generally affects older people, 50% of myeloma patients in the UK are over 71, but is unfortunately increasingly occurring in younger ones.  I was 39.  It’s only in recent years that the most advances have been made in myeloma treatment and two of the charities involved only with myeloma in promoting research, providing information and offering support are Myeloma UK and the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) – both of which are excellent.  I realised that I could FUNdraise (to quote the IMF) by using my crafty abilities and started making the Myeloma Buddies which is fun.  Although by the time I’d made 100 for Myeloma UK I did need a lie down at the sight of orange yarn.

There’s 127 words so feel free to add, subtract, amend or just generally comment.

Fortunately with regard to the photo – I don’t have to rely on B and his ‘The pic is adequate if you can tell who it is’ approach as I’ll be seeing Auntie Ann tomorrow.  Oh, I do have another question – make up or no make up?

I also have another issue but its okay I’m not asking for help on this one and its on a par with ‘Houston we have a problem’.  The peritoneal nurse visited yesterday whilst I was having dialysis to flush my line and change the dressing.  Whilst chatting I mentioned that Bud had kicked me in the side that morning.  It’s a little quirk of his to kick out his back legs whilst lying at the side of you, fortunately he only does it occasionally but you certainly feel it – which can be verified by B, Auntie Ann and Chris – all of whom have cried out when its happened to them.  The nurse said ‘You shouldn’t have dogs in the room when you do the dialysis’.  This is due to shedding hairs and skin – in a way similar to dandruff but with particles so small they are not visible to the eye.  Well I was planning on doing the dialysis at night whilst in bed – the very same bed that I and less frequently we share with Bud!  Maybe I do need help with this as I’m not going to be the one to tell him.

Red and denim and white and green

I love, love, love this pram blanket and everyone who’s seen it whilst in progress have loved it too – well at least that’s what they’ve said and maybe the ones that didn’t love it just didn’t say anything!  Four friends at Armchair Yoga wanted to know where the pattern came from and two friends last night described it as striking.

Although I selected the yarn I didn’t as such pick the colours – if you know what I mean. No? Well, its for the impending grandson of a lady who works at the Royal and the pram that’s been bought for him is denim outside with the lining white, red, lime green and denim so she gave me the list of colours and I went and shopped for the actual shades.

Now I’m not going to even pretend that given the whole of the Sirdar Bonus DK colour range that I would have selected these four colours to go into one blanket but I’m truly in love with it – surprisingly smitten actually since although they went together okay when still on the balls it was only when combined in the pattern that I started feeling a growing affection but only after  I’d changed the colour order.

I initially started following the order the colours were written down in on the basis that if you were listing the colours on something you might note them down in the order you saw them (apparently they hadn’t done this anyway).   However the red and denim together just looked too heavy.  So I undid it back to the denim set up row and re-ordered it along the lines of light and dark which I think works much better.

Then there was the issue of the number of colours.  Did I work each strip separately ie, cut the yarn at the end of its current use or did I carry the yarns up the side.  I thought it would be easier to cut the colours, knot them and crochet the edging over it.

Then one of the Armchair Yoga ladies queried this as she wasn’t at all envious of all those ends to deal with and I explained that I didn’t want to spend ages un-tangling the four balls but since I had about a third to go I decided to give it a go.

I have to say the later was the better option.  Not only was it neater but it was way easier to edge over.  Fortunately I’d already decided to edge in denim but had I chosen the green or white I would have had to change my mind as the stronger colours would have peeked through.

The edging was the single crochet (US double crochet) first round and a second round of sc (dc) worked backwards – it’s so simple and every time I’ve used it I’m always pleased with the result.

I’d done the six rows I didn’t like by Sunday morning and this was when I undid five of them and started again from the set-up row and I finished edging it today – which shows it’s quite an easy pattern that grows quickly.  Mind you it’s not like I’ve been doing tons of other stuff although if I hadn’t gone out for my tea yesterday I could have had it finished then.  (I didn’t go out with B by the way but two friends one of whom was a bit worried about me going as B told her I’d been sick yesterday – which I had but apparently the way B told her she thought I’d literally just up-chucked but it had been in the morning.  As it turned out I was fine and really enjoyed the food – I had stilton and garlic mushrooms and then lamb shank with mash and green beans- sometimes anti-sickness meds are just wonderful.)

The blanket measures 75 cm (29.5″) x 95cm (37.5″) and the pattern is Greenway from Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans – again!  It’s a good job I don’t have to pay royalties – I’ve never had such use out of a book of afghans.

Other creative spaces are here.

Hiccy Burpy to me

Hiccy Burpy was on a card I got a friend years and years ago – it featured drunken frogs.  It really amused me.  B says it doesn’t take much but I found this particularly amusing.

Its been a lovely bright sunny day

(photo does not do it justice)

B and I went to a friends for tea yesterday where I got a cake with four candles in it and a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday by a quartet – minus the one member of the house who’s actually in a choir.

We discussed going out for tea ie, I suggested we go to the one pub within walking distance, take Bud and sit outside – B thought this idea sucked as it was so nice we wouldn’t get a seat outside so we decided on an Indian takeaway, after neighbours and eldest nephew suggested newish Indian restaurant we decided on this, we didn’t know opening times, they weren’t open when I phoned, B and Bud got back from their walk and I suggested we call on the way back from dialysis tomorrow and have an Indian takeaway tonight!

Bud got to have the chicken tikka but everyone declined the salad

Here’s some other pics…

 

Yoga Frog – The Tree

After an inquisitive visit from the small furry family member…

it was a fallen tree – making him jump.  Bud did like the box too

‘I just caught it, it was trying to escape’

I felt bad taking a chunk out of Tatty Ted but he tasted yummy

Wonder whose legs those are

These were off Bud.  I tapped B on the arm nine times and asked if that was how Bud has requested them.  B looked at me quizzically – ‘Nine times.  After eight.’  Not as funny as I thought apparently.

New shawl, PJ bottoms and socks

Look I’ve got five o’clock shadow – not to worry we’ll get rid of that next DT-PACE

‘What are you doing?’

‘Come here my pretty’

 

‘Hey! That’s my behind – get your own.’

‘I’m not very happy about this – you know I don’t pose’

My sister in law is improving her crochet skills daily – like this tag.  It’s really funny/strange watching her crochet left handed.

Sheep – the source of hours of pleasure and not just for the Welsh

On Friday when Prof realised it was my birthday today he said ‘Well done’ and I nearly piped up ‘What for getting to another one?’ but although I’ve been taking the Thalidomide earlier (7.30pm to 8.00 pm) and this has made me perkier earlier in the day, I still need a bit of a run up to get to smart a*se mode.

Then today when all three of us were sitting on the settee and I’d finished opening the presents and cards I had at the time I sat there and started getting teary – I did leak a little bit.  B asked me why I was crying, was it because of the cancer.  I said no.  He said ‘You wouldn’t be crying if you didn’t have myeloma.’   When I could trust myself to speak without bawling I said ‘I know no-one knows what will happen and lots of people don’t make their next birthday but I’m just so grateful that I did.’


Massages and Rectums

It’s a lovely sunny Friday afternoon.  Your husband drops you off at the local oncology centre for your massage.  You know there may be a few problems with lying on your front due to the new peritoneal cathetar in your tummy (hey, it’s a medical term) being tender.   As it turns out the therapist suggests an Indian head massage to accommodate this and the neck line.  You didn’t even consider the neck line would be a problem as its not sore to press on.  However you can’t even lie on the contraption usually used for head/shoulder massages due to the neck line – yes its not sore but you’d not considered that the dangley bits and clamps might press into some delicate parts of your anatomy!  The therapist anticipated this though and you  go ahead with two pillows.

You don’t get to have any essential oils due to the meds currently being consumed.  The oils encourage toxins to be released from the system and these need to stay where they are for the time being so its just grape seed oil.  You do get the mix that would have been used on a tissue to inhale during the massage – black pepper, lavender and ylang ylang.  Its really good.

Feeling all relaxed and greasy you leave earlier than anticipated.  So early in fact that your husband will only be collecting you in about 15 minutes.  So you loiter in the waiting area going to the window to check whether he’s there just in case.  He isn’t but sitting there on the window ledge is something that will you think pass an amusing five minutes – Sexuality and Cancer.

You pick it up and flick through it.  Its okay, its late in the day on a Friday so there’s no-one about to hear you snigger.

You hit the section about procedures and their descriptions.  Lumpectomy – well, you know that that involves the removal of a lump.  Cystectomy – you assume that that involves the removal of a cyst – but you don’t read to confirm this because you don’t really want to know for two reasons.  You don’t really do anything medical still myeloma stuff being the exception and you just want to get to the fun stuff.  However something starting with peri catches your eye.  ‘Mmm’ you think ‘does this relate to the peritoneum?’  You read on on to find out.

You get as far as finding out that it is in fact a rare procedure relating to the rectum, close the booklet, put it back on the window ledge and vow never again to consider sexuality and cancer a source of potential amusement.

A Clinic and A Cloche

Now if you’d said ‘Why not make a cloche?’ to me before yesterday I would have said ‘What do I want with something for plants?  I’m in no condition for gardening’.  The only cloche I was familiar with was the kind that you stuck over tender plants to keep them happy and healthy.  Little did I know that it also relates to hats and indeed cloche refers to both the hatty and the planty varieties being bell-shaped.   You may be wondering what this has to do with our clinic appointment today, well let’s start at the beginning.

Yesterday I saw this adorable pattern, The Paiyton Cloche,

over at googie momma’s blog where she’d done a yarny round up.  I was smitten and it just what I needed – there’s also some really cute over patterns there to – I was also particularly taken with the crocheted necklace and the crocodile bootees.  However when I visited The Velvet Acorn it was sold!  I convo’ed them, it was re-listed and I bought one.

Last night when I was contemplating what knitting/crocheting to do on the way to/from and while at the clinic appointment today I thought I’d start the cloche as everything else was too big to be easily portable or too complex to chat round.

What prompted me to be looking for a toddler size hat (although it includes adult sizes in the pattern too) is that the neighbours who have been picking me up from dialysis for the past two weeks have a two year old great grand-daughter who visits quite a lot – she’s so cute and adorable herself.  Mrs Neighbour had asked for my opinion of what needles to use on a ball of wool that she’d bought in Spain (she actually brought it in when she visited me last time I on Royal-cation) as she intended to knit a toddler size hat.  I said 6mm and emailed her a link to a site that provides free patterns as I didn’t have any for aran weight hats.  She was telling me last week that she’d made one and had increased the 60 stitches instructed to 80 as it didn’t look sufficient and the hat had still turned out only big enough to fit a doll.  ‘I only had a pair of 9’s so I used them.  Would this make a difference?’  ‘If that’s the old Imperial size 9 then yes!’  (For the non-knitters a size 9 equals a metric 3.75 mm as opposed to the 6 mm that the pattern probably asked for so anything knit would turn out quite a bit smaller.)

I’m well impressed with both the pattern, which was easy to follow, and the resulting hat, I mean cloche.  It was super quick and super simple AND it turns out to be one of those items that follow this equation

minimal effort = fantastic result

I started it on the way to the clinic and finished it after I got home from my Indian Head Massage – I could have finished it sooner but I hadn’t even looked at the pattern so didn’t realise how easy it was and didn’t have a tape measure to hand so I guessed at 18″ and when I measured it when we got home it was actually 4″ too long.

What’d think?

As to the clinic appointment – we had to wait for a short time as my case notes hadn’t been sent down from the ward I had my PD line installed on – so we went for a cuppa and when we got back the Prof chased them up but when they still didn’t materialise he got to prove right his quip last time when he introduced us to the new doctor saying ‘I’ve seen Paula that much I don’t need the case notes’.

I’m getting another ‘week off’, which is just as well as B took a chance and booked next week off himself at the last minute hoping that I wouldn’t be on another Royal-cation, and I need to ring the ward on Monday 2 April to see if they have a bed for me then so we can start the third (and last) DT-PACE.

To prove that even Professors are human when I said that this suited us fine as B was off next week Prof said ‘Oh, that’s good.  Are you going away?’ to which I said ‘No’ but B said ‘It’s a bit hard with dialysis’.  Prof then accused himself of being thick (especially as he’d only just confirmed what days I went for dialysis) and B actually disagreed – allegedly Mrs Prof wouldn’t have.

I may smell shortly

Here’s what I’ve been done this week.  I finished the Fish Ripple Pattern pram/cot/crib blanket from Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans.

Yes, it is slightly ripple-erey down the edge and also when you look at in top down or bottom up for that matter – well it is called Fish RIPPLE

and it looks okay from this angle.  It ended up 75 cm x 95 cm (29.5″ x 37.4 “).

I also got these finished.

 

I just couldn’t find the mitten pattern – I looked through the magazine holder where I keep my individual patterns divided by category and knew that as I’d used it recently it should be at the end of the baby section – no it wasn’t.  I checked somewhere I keep odds and ends of patterns for all sorts that don’t fit anywhere else just in case – no it wasn’t there either.  Oh, I wasn’t sort of choices of mitten patterns but the one big difference was none had a thumb so it would be an obvious difference.   I looked through the magazine folder again and it still wasn’t there – no wonder really it turned out that it was in the Sirdar baby booklet I’d knit the jacket and hat out of – Doh!

 

A bigger pom pom than on the last one had been requested and it did indeed start off very big but it had a little accident coming off the pom pom maker and ended up quite lob sided so by the time it had been evened out it was a tad smaller than I’d intended.

Sorry about the photo quality – must have been an off day.

I’ve also done more on Swirl, also from Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans (I’m really getting my money out of this book).

This hasn’t been without its share of boo boos, like this one…

I don’t know about you but I think I did really know that a hexagon should have six sides so I’m not sure how I only noticed this one had five once I’d sewn it up.

Plus there’s been the insertion of some hexagons in the wrong positions – that’s happened at least three or even four times but I think everything’s in its right place now.

I had my peritoneal catheter/cannula put in yesterday and I don’t know what I was getting my knickers in a twist about – I did opt for the sedation and only really ‘came to’ when the cannula was actually being inserted which was okay.  There was some pushing and then I’m sure I felt one of the stitches but only a bit and the ‘new’ doctor from last week was actually really nice and very good.

Turns out that what I should have been fretting over was how it feels today!  Yesterday going home with Auntie Ann I had to sit carefully with the seat belt away from my tummy but I thought, well actually I didn’t think what it would be like after AT ALL.  I know that might sound odd but having had a Hickman, PICC, femoral and dialysis neck line I just thought it would be similar (okay the femoral did hurt a bit after but I’ve just let that slip my memory).

Let’s just say its a soupcon tender.  I got out of bed in the early hours of the morning for a visit to the bathroom and forgot initially then WHAM ‘That hurts’.  This morning I could barely sit on the settee initially but after the two paracetamol and two tramadol kicked in it was waaaaaaaaaaaaay more tolerable.  Its tender like a BIG bruise and at the moment it’s not lying as flat as it will once settled due to the various dressings so things are pressing on it more than they will do.

BUT worst thing ever is that I can’t shower for four, or rather FOUR weeks – FOUR WEEKS!  Nobody told me this BEFOREHAND.  I thought when the nurse said don’t shower yesterday he meant just yesterday but NO – FOUR WEEKS – did I mention that already?

Oh, and I can’t drive for approximately SIX WEEKS – B’s done a happy dance and put the flag out.

 Other creative spaces can be found here.