Not My Knitting . . . Far More Proficient!

My MIL is here keeping us company while the DH is getting his chemo underway and I'm finishing up the demands of the end of the school year. At DH's request, she is knitting him a blanket. These are pics of the center graphic, from which she will knit the outer portion as a "regular" blanket. Not that Ruthie does anything "regularly" when it comes to patterns for sewing or knitting, or recipes.

Here she is, depicted knitting the blanket 8^).

Here are the three charming daughters, DD#1 with maroon curly hair, DD#2 with a hoodie on (as usual), and DD#3 with lighter straight hair. Next to DD#2 is "her" cat, Cleo, the one that thinks she's DD#2's sleeping partner. And is sad when she goes back to college.

This is curly headed DH in his jeans and typical red shirt. "His" cat, Kermit, is next to him and sports silvery-threaded whiskers.

And here c'est moi, with lighter hair by far than I really have. I seem to be surrounded by the two gray kitties which do actually keep me company nearly all the time I'm home.

Am I knitting? Yes, having frogged Leonie's sweater yet again, I am now underway with the back section and have high hopes. But for now, grading exams and research papers is the order of the day, so I am only knitting when I can justify a movie or time spent "frittered" away at something besides the work I have to do. 8^)

Kno Knitting Happening

No, no knitting.

I frogged Leonie's sweater and found the pattern I will actually use but have not started it.

School is down to the wire, the lit mag needs to be put to bed, and student papers await my expert analysis. Heh.

And our house is full of family now. We have DD#1 who just finished writing and emailing her last paper (would that I could have emailed finished papers to my professors in college--sigh) and now calls herself a senior. DD#2 and her BF Alex are here (he's visiting until Sunday) and she will be performing tomorrow as Roonil Wazlib at the SF Public Library at 3. DD#3 is finishing her classes (today was the AP Spanish Lit exam--imagining myself taking that exam EVER makes me LOL), and wiping down counters and pulling shots at Peet's Coffee. DMIL spent the day in SF (what is with all these acronyms? IDK.) getting her museum fix, after nearly a week now of cooking and kitchen duties at our house.

Lest you think that her ungrateful DIL isn't treating her well, let me just say three words: upper respiratory virus. Sigh. This has been my year for every little germ that comes down the pike (or sticks to my stapler--it's the students who give me these little gifts). After a wonderful dinner with DH at our friends' house a week ago tonight, (and the last [outstanding!] wine Keith can enjoy until he's finished treatment), I realized I had a bit of a sore throat. Woke up the next morning to a bugger of a cold. Then it turned into a croupy cough. But enough about me--I am finally on the mend.

Which is good because DH had his first chemo treatment Wednesday. I'd been doing my utmost to avoid spreading my germs around, and am still holding my breath that no one else will come down with this thing. He spent the entire day in the treatment center at Camino Medical Group, a brand new facility with quite a thoughtfully arranged place for those who need their medications to fight the good fight. He was accompanied most of the day by his mother and/or DD#1, and DMIL even came home to make him sandwiches, taking them back to him for lunch. Now that's love. <3<3 Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was sleeping, coughing, swilling tea, taking copious doses of medicine, repeat ad infinitum. When DH came home that evening, he looked pale but really, otherwise, no different. He had dinner with us, stayed up doing work and emails, and then went to bed as usual.

Two days out, he is feeling achy but in most respects is not showing ill effects from the drugs. For the five days after treatments, he has to take prednisone (in doses, he says, that out-do Arnold Schwarzenegger and Barry Bonds completely), which helps eliminate any nausea that might creep out around the edges of the anti-nausea medication they started his chemo with. It is also a cancer fighting drug (I had no idea!), so his four-pronged hayfork is now stabbing away at those cancer cells.

He agitated for, and was given, a CD with his CT and PET scans, showing the locations of all the lymph system tumors and indicating their relative size. Having documentation reassures an engineer in some way, and the scans make manifest what he is trying to eradicate by taking extra good care of this body while the chemo drugs do their magic. And with the scans and other data, he has quite characteristically made sense of his life by creating a Powerpoint sort of presentation. 8^)

Time to get some rest so I can get up and spend my Saturday working on last details of the literary magazine. The sooner we get it done, the sooner I can get on with the rest of the school year and all its frenzied happenings.

It is my sincerest hope that you are all knitting and enjoying your craft. I intend to start doing that around June 8, the only limitations being my wonky shoulder and being available for DH's support and care needs. Cheers,

This week

I have hardly knitted . . . except to mess up my two-row patterned sweater. BUT I was just deciding to frog it anyway and go to bigger needles so perhaps I hoist myself with my own petard* unconsciously? In any case, I decided at the same time to be sensible and find a fricking pattern, so that 'Onie's sweater will come out right.

But today I realized I must get some simple projects going again because I need to knit to stay relaxed. While for many of you a "mindless" pattern is a four row repeat, my idea of a "mindless" (and successful) project is one row (MAYBE two, if they're simple). So I am going to find something in that line and start making those. One idea: burp cloths. So many friends and coworkers are having babies but I honestly feel in NorCal that a hat or sweater is an unlikely choice now that we're headed into summer. On the other hand, easily washed, thick burp cloths are always useful! 8^) I should call them "blup cloths" since we had one daughter who was an infamous "blupper" well into her crawling phase. We'd find blups in the carpet, the toy box, etc. And yes, the word is onomatopoeitic, as any mother knows.

Lots of you have asked about those square knitting needles I showed you last week. Well, I haven't knitted much with them, but I like them a lot. I have to admit that I don't really know if it's because of the lovely dark walnut they are made from, or the smooth finish, or the squareness. Perhaps it's a holistic experience, and it all converges. I can use them for one of these first mindless projects!

DH has come up with a wish (among others, like "Mother-cooked meals") that his mother can fulfill (she will be with us through his first chemo round). He wants her to make him a blanket, quilted on one side and knitted on the other. Foolishly, I immediately started my campaign to get him to ask her for washable wool rather than acrylic (she would prefer not to use acrylic, no doubt), but he is convinced that no wool will ever be soft enough. It's his party, and she will be the person he negotiates it with, so I think I'll just step outside that one. 8^)

YAY! news:
This Saturday, DD#1 and DD#2 return home from college (DD#2 starts her Roonil Wazlib gigs soon after, so she'll be touring; DD#1 leaves for Mexico in a few weeks after that). The house will immediately fill up as my DMIL arrives the next day, which is, fittingly, Mother's Day stateside (perhaps elsewhere?).

Cancer news:
DH returned from Europe Thursday evening. He has learned to avoid sleep on the westbound version of the trip, so he got a good 8 hours that night, which was fortunate because he has slept quite badly from worry and anxiety. Naturally.

He had his barium CT Friday, and a visit to the GP for much needed pain meds. Both went fine, and tomorrow he goes for a PET scan (briefly thereafter to glow with the warm light of irradiated sugars they'll have injected into him--jk). Then we attend a "chemo teach," which provides us with the finer points of conduct when one is undergoing chemo. So far, I hear it's "no flossing, uncooked produce or dairy, hanging around with sick people who don't know enough to stay home, or eating crunchy or hard foods."

He is trying not to openly do everything with the stated expectation that it's the last time he will ever do this, or that he must train me in XX right now, since I might have to hold down the fort indefinitely. Avoiding this tendency is quite difficult for him, as he is afraid to hope that he will do well and the chemo will effectively vanquish his cancer. I bite my tongue many times a day, since I have decided he WILL live and CAN'T die on us. But I realize that to him, my approach might well seem rather . . . callous. Or Pollyanna-ish. So I do my best to see it his way as well as my own. When the pain and his sleeping have both begun to improve, I think it will be easier for him to have a more optimistic outlook.

Through this whole process, several people within our HMO have said, "You are getting great care from Oncology. They're the best." Now that could be self-serving, but I take it seriously. That's not a common statement (I've never heard anyone from within say that about any part of the organization!--and I like our HMO!) so I assume it's a reflection of good success rates. Pollyanna be damned.


*From my favorite non-expert/non-verified site, wikipedia:
Shakespeare used the now proverbial phrase in Hamlet. . . . In medieval and Renaissance siege warfare, a common tactic was to dig a shallow trench close to the enemy gate, and then erect a small hoisting engine that would lift the lit petard out of the trench, swing it up, out, and over to the gate, where it would detonate and hopefully breach the gate. It was not impossible, however, that this procedure would go awry, and the engineer lighting the bomb could be snagged in the ropes and lifted out with the petard and consequently blown up. Alternately, and perhaps a more likely scenario, if the petard were to detonate prematurely due to a faulty or short slow match, the engineer would be lifted or 'hoist' by the explosion.

Thus to be 'hoist with his own petard' is to be caught up and destroyed by his own plot. Hamlet's actual meaning is "cause the bomb maker to be blown up with his own bomb," metaphorically turning the tables on Claudius, whose messengers are killed instead of Hamlet.