Tag Archives: Family

Hot Stuff

I take a lot of flak from some members of my family (husband) for not being able to eat jalapeños and other spicy foods. What kind of Mexican are you? they say. Well, the Tex-Mex kind that doesn’t eat hot, mouth-burning foods.

I grew up seeing five-alarm dishes being served to my dad by my mother. In fact, it was my chore to grind the chiles in the molcajete that went into those five-alarm dishes. There was a chile piquin bush growing right by our kitchen door. All my mother had to do was open the screen door, reach out and pull some colorful, pea-sized chiles from it, which she then dumped into the rest of the spices I was grinding.

I remember it made me cry. The aroma, the steam, the fumes coming off those seemingly innocent tiny orange and red chiles. They might have been benign looking but they were not benign at all. For their size, they packed a powerful punch. I don’t know how my dad could eat them, but he seemed to relish anything spicy. As did my mom.

I did try breaded jalapeño peppers once when I visited my son in Mississippi. They came as an appetizer, cut crosswise, breaded, and fried. “They’re good, Mom,” he said, popping one after another into his mouth. I looked at him amazed. He doesn’t eat hot foods, either.  

The second time we went to that same restaurant I caved and tried one, after making sure I had a tall glass of water handy. Was I surprised; they were good! And not the least spicy. Whatever they did to them in preparation, they became, in a sense, emasculated. They lost their sting. Or their stinger.

Now I read that instead of water, you should drink milk to quash the fire in your mouth. I can’t drink milk; it’s just not appetizing to me. So, all the more reason for me to stay away from the hot stuff.

The mouth-burning effect reminds me of the year I suffered with what my doctor could only call thrush, though we knew it wasn’t. It presented as redness and irritation in the mucous membranes, which translated into a constant fire inside my mouth. We couldn’t figure out what was causing it.

At the time, I was the director of three nursing units (with 24-hour responsibility), had very young children (with 24-hour responsibility), and a husband who traveled constantly. I couldn’t eat; it hurt too much. I lived on ice chips from morning till night. I went down to a hundred pounds. The last time I’d weighed one hundred pounds was when I graduated from nursing school seven years before. I couldn’t eat then because I didn’t have time, between my child, school, and two jobs, who had time to eat?

Of course, with the stress my body was now under, I ended up as a patient in my own hospital. The doctors were perplexed. Asked me all sorts of questions, interrogated me actually. Had I traveled outside the country? No, who had time for vacation?

They looked at me as if I was a puzzle to be solved. After much poking around, they hit upon the reason for my “thrush.” A vitamin B12 deficiency. For some reason, my gut was not absorbing enough of it from my food. Since then, I take a supplement religiously. If I slack off, the burning will start creeping back.

Subconsciously, anything hot and spicy takes me back to that awful year, so I pass. I know that capsaicin, an ingredient found in hot peppers, has some health benefits. For one thing, it will clear your sinuses. Fast. Just try some chips and salsa.

Y’all stay healthy.

These are “dress” dish towels I made for family members, with the appropriate theme, of course.

Tea

For a while now, I’ve been drinking green tea. Bottled green tea, that is, which I mix half and half with Vitamin Water. I suppose this would be called, in my parlance, half-strength tea. I used to drink straight black tea for the caffeine jolt I needed. I switched to green tea a few years back after reading about its health benefits (improved brain function? bring it). But I always drink it iced.

I cannot tolerate hot tea, thanks to my mother. She didn’t go for any fancy or expensive store-bought medications. When we were sick, she brought out her teas. We hated them so much we would sometimes suffer in silence unless, of course, it was something that was difficult to hide such as diarrhea or vomiting. Those kind of gave you away and along came the tea with a homemade hot pack or two.

I can see her still, walking through our small house holding a steaming cup in front of her, and cradling it in her other palm as if it were precious. She would stand over you while you reclined in bed and waited for you to drink it, no faking that! When we were little, she would sweeten it with some sugar or honey, but once we passed a certain age, we had to down it straight. No more pampering.

It’s hard to say which was her favorite to dole out, but I remember orange leaf tea made with freshly picked orange leaves from the tree in our backyard. She would boil the leaves and then bring us this dark liquid to drink sweetened only with her love and good intentions. And no, she didn’t read the tea leaves left in the pot, at least I don’t think so.

Another was mint tea, made from leaves picked from the mint she grew in a little herb garden in our front yard. That wasn’t so bad, but we rarely got that. It was mostly taken by Mom and Dad. And then the ultimate was manzanilla tea (chamomile), the cure-all and be-all of all teas. If you sneezed, you got manzanilla to drink and it didn’t taste good. She bought the manzanilla in little bunches at the local H-E-B.

Her teas cured our GI upsets, our headache’s, and our general feeling of malestar (discomfort). And the key word is cured. We truly did feel better afterwards, but maybe it was a combination of our trust in her belief that it really would help and the strong desire to avoid drinking any more tea.

She did keep a few aspirins in the house for such things as sore muscles or sprains, but she relied mainly on her home remedies. Even when my brother injured his leg falling from a tree, that he shouldn’t have been climbing in the first place, she tried hot packs and poultices until I noticed a purplish looking lump on his calf and said, “It’s broken.”

At that, they bundled him up and drove him to the hospital. Sure enough, it was a severe enough fracture that he was admitted for several days. But when he got home, cast and all, he had to drink his share of tea. Just punishment, I say.

Though doctors and hospitals were available and accessible for my mother, she considered them a last resort. If we had a raging fever that her teas and home remedies could not touch for a couple of days then it was time for that last resort. Our family doctor was part of a large practice and it didn’t matter if you had an appointment, the wait was interminable. The waiting room was usually standing room only. You had to be really sick to sit, or stand, in that waiting room for half a day, or you had to believe that your child was so sick that you could not help him or her.

I drink my (iced) tea each and every day, and I think of her. Her philosophy of help thyself. Her willingness to use all in her power to make us well and keep us well. She was born in the month of October and I think of her more at this time And, somehow, I have a strong feeling that my mother has been plying the angels with her teas these past eleven years

Y’all take care, now.

My mother and me when I was about 2 years old.

Needles and Pins

Needles have factored in my life ever since I was ten years old when I hand sewed clothes for my rescue Barbie. I call her that because that is what she was; my father rescued her on his sanitation department rounds. Picked her right out of someone’s trash and brought her home to me. She was dirtied and naked, but I cleaned her up, and dressed her, and loved her.

I come from a long line of women who sew, by choice or necessity, or both. A lot of my clothes were made by my mother, who made many of her own dresses as well. My much older sister also contributed to my wardrobe by making for me a green plaid skirt that came with attached suspenders. I was surprised because she seemed to always have it out for me, accused me of being the pampered one, once proclaiming that I got to have new shoes, but she only got new soles. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that I was growing and she was grown.

I guess the suspenders were her way of getting even. But if that was her plan, it failed. I liked the skirt and wore it often. Working with needles was ingrained in us, as demonstrated by her choice with which to do battle. Of course, I ended up picking a profession in which needles factored greatly. In days past, I could get an IV into the tiniest and rolliest of veins. It was nothing laudable, just part of my job, just something my limber, strong, young fingers could do.

Today, I am retired from my profession and am an active sewer and quilter. And my fingers are not so limber and stealthy anymore thanks to RA, and the osteoarthritis that comes from wear and tear. But I blame RA more. Always more.

This year, I found myself getting pricked too frequently by the straight pins that I would use to hold piecework together so that the seams and the corners turn out perfectly even as they are sewn. I know my poor fingers weren’t stabbing themselves on purpose, but I got pretty darn tired of it.

I decided to retire the straight pins and switch to these darling little clips. They have almost a death grip and hold the pieces tightly together. But they are a little hard to open if I don’t grasp them just so. And they do pinch me on occasion, but it hurts a lot less than a needle stab. I love them. Not going back to pins unless there is some particular instance why it must be a pin that is used.

So no more this.

The moral of the story is, I suppose, adapt or (hobbies) die.

Yes, please

One of my projects in progress, safety-pinned and ready for quilting. I decided to make myself a scrap quilt using 2-by-2-inch squares out of each of the fabrics I’ve worked with. I reached the size I wanted (just covers the top of my queen-sized bed) without running out of all the fabrics I’ve used for many other projects. But there’s always more scrap quilts to come.

Perhaps I will plan a quilt for my sister. I should incorporate some green plaid fabric, and maybe a shoe print fabric.

Y’all take care now.

Life, etc.

So, I’ve been gone so long, I forgot how to get into the admin part of this site. I shall have to use their newfangled platform. New to me, that is.

You know what they say, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. Or as my mother used to say: Uno pone, Dios dispone. (one plans, God decides)

But as they also say, life goes on, RA and all. I don’t want to exclude my little parasite for fear that it might resent being ignored, like Glenn Close in the movie Fatal Attraction.  That was a great line, “I’m not going to be ignored,” she said. Why would Dan think that a force like her could ever be ignored.

RA is like that. It won’t be ignored, but we can try. Every day. Some days I’m more successful than others, and presently, it’s behaving itself. I have been doing manual labor for five weeks. I decided to go on a remodeling binge. My husbands pleads, “This it, right? We won’t do this again, will we?”

Funny thing, he has to do nothing, except put up with a little inconvenience, like sleeping in the other bedroom for a couple of weeks while they worked on our bathroom and closet. And maybe skirt around the furniture while they paint the walls. He’s at work all day. I’m the one home juggling the needs of several crews at once.

But I did bring this on myself. I never knew how many books I own, or how many framed pictures and artwork were on my walls. Seeing them all together was eye-opening. And I’m willing to lug my beloved books from room to room, no matter how heavy they are.

My only complaint is that if I sit too long in between spurts of activity, I have a hard time getting restarted. I feel like the tin man, rusty as hell, frozen in place. But as I told my rheumy who laughed at me (laughed with me?) it’s age, wear and tear, not specifically RA. Though I’m sure it’s in cahoots with the osteoarthritis, and we won’t specify the age. I’m years young, not years old.

It’s been a busy year. I was psyching myself up to live through another June 11th, the day my husband tried to check out last year. We are both still traumatized by those events. And while I was dreading the day arriving, my son had a car accident. He had an injured ankle, which turned out to be fractured. But the cause of the accident rocked my world. He’d had a heart attack, at the age of 35.

This was June 2nd. And at three o’clock on the morning of June 5th, while I was trying to sleep but couldn’t because they were going to do a cath that day to find out what heart damage there was, my older son called me.

You know that a 3 a.m. phone call is a bearer of bad news. I held my breath as I reached for my phone, thinking about his children, him, his wife. But they were all O.K. He had called to tell me his father had just died. From a heart attack.

He’d had three already, and had been told his only possible treatment was medications. I knew the day would come, but you are never ready. I’d spent part of my life with this man. And though we went our separate ways, we remained connected through our son.

I immediately wanted to split myself in two. Both my sons were in trouble and needed me. One, alas, far from me. I had to think. I know my older son has a wonderful support system in his wife and her family. I see how they love and respect him.

And my younger son was scared to death, his wife is pregnant and she has no real family close by. I had to stay put. But it was really, really hard living through the physical and psychological trauma of one son, while aching to be with the son who was feeling such emotional pain.

I will see him and his family in a couple of weeks. We are meeting up in Disney World. And then we see each other again for Christmas. I can’t wait.

My younger son is dealing with his new, hereditary health status and is still limping around. It will be a while before his ankle, tendons, and ligaments, recover to where he can get back to his karate training. He had scheduled to test for his 2nd degree black belt at the end of June.

Meanwhile we await the birth of his little girl in nine weeks or so. I can’t wait for that either and have broken out my sewing machine. More baby quilts to make.

Through all this, RA has maintained a presence, though not an overly aggressive one. I am completely off Prednisone and have had no other med changes. My labs are slightly off, but then so am I.

Hope all is well with you, dear reader.

 

Dancing In My Happy Place

When you arise in the morning think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love — Marcus Aurelius

I shall celebrate.

For the moment.

Had my rheumy check-up yesterday. Hadn’t been there in four months. I’d anticipated his incredulity when I told him what I’d been busy doing this summer.

It was not the usual summer, not by a heartbeat. But we made it through, almost. In nine days it will be fall. Or autumn, if you prefer. And summer will be behind us. My husband is doing cardiac rehab, working out and lifting weights, with a portable heart monitor weighing him down while he does it, mind you. He complains they go too easy on him. He stopped requiring dialysis weeks ago and the dialysis catheter was finally pulled last week. He’s driving and back at work.

I doubted that this day would come. I knew too much. I read the cardiologist all too well. His eyes shared with me what his words would not. And because I was also weighed down, albeit not with a temporary portable monitor, but with a permanent dread and a constant worry, I doubted. And I wondered, as I stumbled through my never-ending days, when my own collapse would come.

I’d taken precautions of course. When you have RA as your constant companion you cannot ever go without protection. I fortified myself by increasing my daily dose of Prednisone by an extra 4 milligrams on The Day After, as it will be forever known in my mind. I had already made the decision to stay on 1 mg forevermore. I want quality not quantity, I’d told my rheumy. He understood perfectly; he deals with the demon himself.

And so to forestall the demon rising and knocking me down when I could least afford it, I upped my Pred. That gave me some peace of mind, but still I waited and watched and wondered every morning when I took my dose. Would today be the day? Was it there? Closing in on me? Lurking?

A couple of weeks ago I caught a cold and felt like poop and I thought this is it, down I go. Thankfully, it happened after he’d been given the green light to drive. How’s that for lucky! I could give in to my cough and my sniffles and my lethargy as much as I pleased. And that I did, for two whole weeks as it turned into some sort of viral bronchitis.

But eventually, it went on its way and it came time to draw my labs for my upcoming rheumy visit. I was curious as to what the results would show. How bad would they look? I visualized the numbers based on the previous ones when there’d been no life or death crisis to live through. Well, yesterday I found out how they look.

They look normal.

Every one.

I haven’t been normal, well at least in this way, for twelve years. Twelve long years.

I don’t know why now, and I won’t ask. I’d already started the weaning process of saying goodbye to the extra Prednisone sloooooowly. My rheumy agreed and slowed it down even more. That’s OK. I can do slower. I see him again in December and by then I’ll be back down to the 1 mg dose, which I’d vowed to continue indefinitely.

Time will tell, as it does with all things. For now I’m to continue with the 22.5 mg of Methotrexate weekly. He’s so cautious he wouldn’t let me decrease my dose, not even by one tiny pill. I don’t want to change more than one thing at once, he said. All right then. I can take it. Literally.

So I shall rise above my disappointment regarding that and dance in my happy place.

For just a little bit.

And then, I will resume my plans to go see my precious baby grandson. A trip that was delayed by the events of this summer. I saw him born last fall and God willing I will see my beautiful boy this coming fall when he turns one.

 

Proof that life goes on.

Proof that life goes on.

A Change is as Good as a Rest.

This past Saturday morning I wanted nothing more than to snuggle deeper into the covers and stay there. After a month of early rising and little sleep, I wanted to remain in my cocoon and hide from the world.

The very idea of rising to shower, dress and leave the house when there were no appointments to go to seemed like a punishment I didn’t deserve. But my daughter-in-law had put me on notice.

While we were all consumed with being at the hospital, she quietly took over the care and feeding of the troops, including the out-of-towners. And she paid special care and attention to my granddaughter.  We didn’t know what to tell her, she being only six. My first impulse was to protect her and tell her nothing. But how to explain the sudden disappearance of her beloved Pa?

My daughter-in-law handled it all, quietly and efficiently. So quietly and efficiently, I began to feel guilty. My son was a constant at my side, and took turns with me spending nights at the hospital, while his wife was left alone to carry the ball for the whole family.

I made a mental note to do something for her, someday, when I was not so tired, but she got ahead of me. She was taking me out to lunch and a massage she said. And though I reluctantly got out of bed and left the house that morning, leaving my son at home with his dad, I felt a little lighter by the time we made it to the corner a block away.

It turned out to be the right medicine for me. To move away, just far enough, just long enough to breathe free air.

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch of specialty pizza with a lot of much-needed sangria. And afterwards we walked down blistering hot streets to the massage place. Even the boiling sun felt good.

The massage hurt, though I’d asked for light to medium pressure to be applied. Too many tense and knotted muscles in my back. Later when we compared notes, I found out that her massage had hurt too, for the same reason.

Nonetheless, it was a good experience. The dim lighting, the gentle, soothing voice of the masseuse and her otherwise healing touch, the sense of letting go and just allowing myself to be was something I hadn’t realized how much I needed until that moment.

Now I have something else to be grateful to her for. And I still need to come up with something to do for her.

Us, a few Mother's Days ago.

Us, a few Mother’s Days ago.

 

 

Pokes Galore

I had my two-week BP follow-up last week. Like a good girl, I’ve been taking my Lisinopril every day, well, except for one day. I had a glass of wine and decided to skip it, but then I felt guilty for doing so. So I said, what the hay, I’ll have both if I feel like it. YOLO, right?

Doc asked me if I’d been taking my BP. He looked surprised when I said no. I don’t have a personal BP machine, nor do I plan to get one. It did cross my mind while I was at my “favorite” haunt, CVS, but I totally forgot to check it. I mean, why raise your blood pressure?

When he took it, I read 132/80. He was happy with that, but he wants to see me in three months. Which means I have to keep taking this little pink pill for three more months. And he wanted a slew of blood work, fasting. I usually stroll into the lab sometime in the early afternoon. This meant I had to get up early and go get bled before breakfast.

I’ve never been a morning person. I perk up around noon. The idea of rushing out of the house, sans breakfast, to go get needled wasn’t all that appetizing. It took me a few days to psyche myself up, and when I walked into the lab I knew why I go late in the day. It was packed to the rafters.

Two and a half hours it took for them to end up sticking me twice. That’s never happened to me. They always get it on the first try. But I was submissive and said nothing. No need to rattle the phlebotomist and cause her to stick me thrice.

What kept me calm was the ongoing thought that in a couple of days’ time there was going to be another needle introduced into a far more sensitive part of my body. I would have willingly taken a third needle to my right arm in place of that.

I knew two things when I walked into the ophthalmologist’s office. The sight in my right eye was better and I was going to get another shot.

The scan proved me correct. The blood settled by the retina was half gone. Vastly improved, but needing more treatment.

There was only one glitch. The cheaper drug he’d used before was not available, they’d ordered wrong or something. But, he had a sample of the designer drug, if I was of a mind. First, I asked if there was any difference in effect. They were essentially the same he said. It was a matter of dollars and cents for the pharmaceutical.

OK, how impacted would I be in the dollars and cents category? No impact at all, he said.

I mulled it over for a bit. We can order the other drug and you can come back, he said.

Did I need more anxious anticipation?

No. I’m here, prepped and ready I said. Just do it.

The immediate after effect was different. My eye was only slightly red, the sting was mild. I could open my eye, though it was sensitive to light.

I’d driven myself there figuring I’d sit in my car for a bit while the worst of it wore off, but I had no trouble driving home immediately after. I had almost no discomfort for the rest of the evening and night. The next day my eye was slightly pink and slightly sore, a result more than likely from the Betadine antiseptic. I used the artificial tears frequently and as he said, all was back to normal after a day.

The eye injection was definitely easier the second time around but I still don’t want to do it again, though I will probably have to. I did postpone the next appointment a few days past the four-week window as we won’t be in town. We plan to be in NYC celebrating our daughter’s 25th birthday. A quarter century. How did she get so old?

***YOLO = you only live once. I sincerely hope!

 

Age of Gratitude

It may appear that right now my cup is half empty. But appearances can be deceiving. Especially when you focus on the negative.

In reality, my cup is at least three-quarters full. I have much to be grateful for.

For starters, my wrists x-ray results: Right wrist normal. Left wrist shows “changes consistent with age.” At first I was like, age? What do you mean age? I’m still in the prime of my life.

But then I calmed down and realized that it’s true. I have aged. Just looking at my fingers tells me how much wear and tear this old body has taken. And it’s good wear and tear that came from caring for my family, caring for my patients, going without sleep, pushing with that last ounce of energy to set up a bed for that new admission, walking mile after mile to make my rounds among all my patients and nurses, driving leagues to cart my kids and their friends to school, to the mall and back. All these actions, done out of love, for people who depended on me.

So, Ok, I accept this diagnosis and I’m proud to have it because that means I’ve lived long enough to make a difference in many people’s lives. And furthermore, I’m lucky that the osteoarthritis chose to settle into my left wrist first and not my right. Who knows, it may never reach for my right wrist, but OA has shown me a kindness. Now when the pain sets in I give thanks.

I also give thanks for being squashed during my mammogram last month. For some reason it was less fun than usual this year. That cold, cold machine and hard, hard plastic up against my ribs left me sore and reddened. Every time the tech said, “You can breathe now,” I wondered how exactly.

But all came back normal, as did my gynecological checkup. The discomfort involved with the mammogram is a small price to pay for one more year’s peace of mind.

I’m thankful that I can enjoy my children and grandchildren. I’m grateful to have them in my life, to know that they are there every single day. I can never, ever be alone because I have them.

I’m grateful to have a man in my life who tries to make me happy every single day. There have been ups and there have been downs along the way. The ups so high and the downs so low that sometimes I think the best word to describe us is cleave.  A word that simultaneously means to cut apart and to bind together.

A few days ago, we returned to St. Augustine, Florida, to explore the ancient city some more, to reach back into the history that reflects our heritage. To spend some couple time alone and to celebrate 34 years together, 34 years! That’s more than half my lifetime, but after all this time things certainly go a lot smoother and are far more relaxing and satisfying. The x-ray results were correct. There are changes consistent with age.

St. Augustine.fl

We requested and got the same corner room we’d had last time. The view was amazing and the sound of the ocean mesmerizing.

 

System Glitches

I went to spend a week with my precious little Carmen. I tried to keep up with my reading while I was gone, hard do to with a two-year-old commanding all your attention, and I went with no illusions of being able to post anything. By the time I got to my room at the end of the day I was pooped and ready to recoup for another twelve-hour day. I took only my tablet with me, which is serviceable for reading but not very user-friendly for writing; it’s gotten slower than molasses. I’ve now replaced it with a new one. This one is Speedy Gonzales compared to the old one.

My laptop is on its way out as well. I hope I didn’t jinx it by typing that. It’s my writing tool and I have no idea what to replace it with. I don’t want to be rushed into anything so I suppose I will have to shop around and make a decision. That way I will be ready when it never comes back from its update, which it’s threatened to do a couple of times but the Geek Squad coaxed it back.

I, on the other hand, managed to come back from my overnight updates every dawn without any coaxing. Come 7 a.m., I was ready to go. There was only one application on my personal hard drive that wasn’t (isn’t) up to par; the one that powers my left wrist. At least I can give thanks it isn’t my left foot.

I’ve learned to compensate for it, though, by instinctively using techniques that spare the full use of my wrist. After all, I’ve had since August to come up with a plan B to circumvent this little glitch in the system.

It did hurt more than usual, at times giving me sharp, continuous, stabbing pains that made me imagine I was reliving a variant of the Psycho shower scene, music and all. I would grit my teeth and groan while grabbing my wrist and pressing down on the swollen part through the brace I wore. Somehow that made it feel better after a bit, or it could have been my imagination still at work.

Poor Carmen would stare at me with her big, hazel eyes and say, “Your arm hurts, ‘huela?” “Yes, baby,” I’d squeak out, pushing on my wrist with all the strength my right hand could muster.

But I remained on weaning doses of Prednisone. Never once was I tempted to increase the dose to give myself a hit, or I should say, an extra hit. In fact, I only took an extra week’s worth with me just in case, which amounted to a mere 25 mg that I never took. But it truly wasn’t all that brave of me to leave the whole bottle behind. My doctor is a phone call away and CVS is ubiquitous.

The week flew by when I measure it by Carmen time. When I measure it by work pending, it moved along at a turtle’s pace. But all good things must and do come to an end. I’m back at my desk and running at full steam. If only my laptop deigns to keep up with me. One thing for sure, there’s no rise of the machines here.

A Gift For Others . . .

Four days till Christmas! How did that happen? How did the year fly by so quickly? I should be glad it’s on its way out. It was not a kind year to us. Seems like the years that end in four turn out that way. That means I have a ten-year reprieve. Or is nine?

I managed to get done all that I wanted, well mostly. I survived two major parties at my house, given by my children. I was merely an innocent bystander. And they both went surprisingly well. I dreaded having a bunch of five-year-olds tramping through my house like mini tornadoes, but they were surprisingly well-behaved at my granddaughter’s birthday party.

My son and his wife decided to throw a Roaring Twenties party, a la The Great GatsbyGreat Gatsby

I was to make myself a flapper dress. Well that didn’t happen. I ended up wearing a designer hospital gown a couple of weeks before. Recovering from that event and my wrist going haywire took care of the cutting, pinning, fitting and sewing required.

They turned my patio and back yard into a veritable nightclub. I couldn’t believe it was my house. I couldn’t believe it was my neighborhood, the cars took up three lawns. We had to park two houses away when we returned from taking our granddaughter to see Santa.

aly2I made countless trips to the post office. My wrist did not appreciate lugging all those packages. Now I have to make one more. I found this incredible wool and cashmere scarf for my NYC daughter. I worry about her having to live through these winters, but now she’s looking to move California-way. Yay.

I decided to make her an afghan to keep her toasty warm at night. I started out using leftovers, but I didn’t have enough so the stripes got bigger and bigger as I bought more yarn. I wanted it to look wonky anyhow.

photo (22)

It’s made in single crochet, which means it’s painstakingly slow going. The rows measure about a quarter inch in height. But this is the look I wanted. Something solid, not full of fancy, decorative holes. I want my girl to be warm.

My wrist and thumb complain when I first start working, but they surprisingly quiet down after a few minutes. This has always been good therapy for my hands. A gift for others becomes a gift for me.

I am almost done, there is only the green stripe to finish and I can mail it out, though withphoto (23) my setbacks she won’t be getting it in time for Christmas. No matter, I figure every stitch is a stitch against RA.