May 6, 2021

DEAR FRIENDS...

Well, it would seem that there's a lesson someplace about realizing that I am not, in fact, the Boss of everything...including my own life.

The nodule that showed up on the CT scan of my head isn't in my nasal cavity at all. It's actually at the back of my throat, between the top of my spinal column and my airway. It's about 1.5cm long and is shaped very much like a Mike and Ike. 

It does not appear to be a tumor, but rather a swollen lymph node...thank God. The doctor scoped my nose and throat and wasn't able to visualize a bump or lump, and there's no sign of anything else amiss, so we're going to just let it be for the moment and take another look at it in three months. If it's grown or changed, then we'll go from there, but the hope is that it will shrink back to normal.

As I was getting ready for that appointment, I got a call from my transplant coordinator from IU. When I was there in April, I had a CT scan of my torso to make sure all of the vessels there are good and clear to be hooked up to a new kidney. I think they are, but unfortunately, the scan showed something else.

Dearies, I have some pretty significant cirrhosis of the liver. 

In my case, this scarring/damage/nodules is probably the result of either medication or other health issues, since I was never a heavy drinker and have not had any alcohol in the last ten to fifteen years. It's bad news, I'm afraid, since there is no way to reverse it or cure it. My weight loss and careful eating will certainly help prevent further damage, but this is going to get a bit more complicated now in terms of transplant. 

I will travel to Indy on the 18th for more testing, and I've pulled my gut doctor here into the mix so he can weigh in and work with IU on a plan going forward. I don't know if my beloved Dr Goggins does double organ transplants, so I might have to head to Mayo or Cleveland Clinic after all.

Yes, in case you were wondering, I am still in a bit of shock and more that a little numb. I did manage to talk to Dr Melfi today, and spewing everything out was good. Rich being in New Jersey is also good, because it forces me into strong mode and I have to focus and handle my business instead of fall apart.

I hope you will bear with me during the coming months. I just have no idea what's going to happen next and whether or not I will be able/up to blogging every day. I confess that I debated long and hard about posting this news, but we've always been honest with each other and you are, quite simply, my people and I love you.

Prayers are always appreciated, and I promise that they are reciprocated every night when I thank God for my many many many blessings. I just hope I am worthy of them.

I'm off to bed and 84 Charing Cross Road! Please come tell me all about your day! Night night and kiss kiss!

May 4, 2021

May 3, 2021

BACK HOME AGAIN


 Happy Monday, Dearies!

Buzzy and I are in the d-chair in my old pod (as a matter of fact, we're in the chair I had when I originally started), and life feels like it just might get back to normal. The techs and nurses have been dropping by with both apologies and horror stories about the gentleman that gave me so much grief on Wednesday -- apparently, he is quite a problem that they just haven't solved yet.

My weight and fluid gain was a LOT less than what I would have expected, especially when I consider the amount of stuff that seemed to make it onto my plate this weekend. I went to bed all three nights with a super full tummy and a promise to do better the next day, but too many treats made for an over-indulgent weekend.

I'll remedy that this week by getting back into routine, and hopefully I can add some exercise in there to really up the ante. I am still below my transplant weight, but want to get back to a losing mode rather than a maintaining mode. Operation Keep Going needs to kick in again!

Tomorrow I meet with the specialist about this thing in my head. I'm still a bit nervous about it, but know that no matter what it turns out to be...I'll handle it. I am actually more concerned with my Thursday eye appointment, since that impacts my stitchy life. 

So, Dearies...by the end of the week your hapless spinster just might be back to some semblance of normalcy and in her happy little lane again! This detour, I admit, threw me for quite a loop, but we'll get there eventually to be sure.

No plans for this evening other than recovery from treatment, a healthy dinner, and some stitching. I re-started The Crown last night, so I'll get another few episodes in before bedtime.

Hope life in your neighborhood is swell, and that any detours that pop up have something pretty to look at! Come tell me all about it!

May 2, 2021

SCENES FROM A SPINSTER WEEKEND...

This was supposed to be my new sippy cup for Indy after transplant, but I figured I'd give it a trial run until the phone call comes. It's a Bubba, and holds a whopping 32 ounces! I am in love.

(And yes, most dialysis patients are very restricted when it comes to the amount of fluid they can have, and this 32 ounces represents an entire day's worth, but for me it is just the opposite. The more I restricted, the more I gained. It was only when I went back to drinking gallons that the weight came off, so drink gallons I shall!)

(Unless I stop urinating, of course (which happens). Then I will go back to being the compliant and obedient patient. But until then...lemon water for everybody!)

Last night's dinner from Kyoto. Vegetarian lettuce wraps (looks awful, tasted delicious), gyoza, and California rolls. My JB doesn't care for this kind of cuisine, so I indulge in it big time when he is away!

(The lettuce wraps are a PF Chang knock off version, but sufficed. My sister introduced me to PR Changs in Phoenix about a hundred years ago, and I have never had better, but we don't have one of those yet and have to make do.)

And finally...some stitching! All that talk about switching projects was just that...talk. Eliana continues to delight, and as soon as I finish my second cup of damn good, I'm getting back to her!

(I have visions of a lovely guest room studio, with a day bed on one side and my cube wall on the other and Eliana hung above the day bed in an enormously elaborate frame.)

This is the dog that lives downstairs, and whose bark sends shivers up my spine. He is LARGE, Marge, and this photo doesn't capture just how big he really is. I don't know his name, but for all you Game if Thrones fans out there...I call him Ghost.

(The woman behind him is about 5'7" or so. When she stands and he stands, his back is well past her hip...quite possibly the biggest dog I have ever seen.)

(He is a white German Shepherd, by the way, and not a dire wolf.)

So that's it from a simply gorgeous day here in Hoosierville, Dearies! My better angels prevailed, and I managed to stay in the big girl sleigh bed snoozing until 12:30 rather than going to play golf. I am still a bit tired from the antics of last week, but I think one more day of rest should have me back in the action for the week ahead!

Happy, happy, healthy Sunday to one and all! I hope your corner of the world is everything you want it to be today! Come tell me all about it!
 

May 1, 2021

SPINSTERCATION DAY ONE




Aaaaaahhhhhh....that sound you hear is actually not a sound at all, but rather the quiet of a Spinstercation Saturday morning.

Hello, Dearies!

I had a nice long sleep in the big girl sleigh bed last night, and my morning has unfolded according to its own pace. I am quiet and in the Happy Chair with my magic blanket, a big cup of damn good, a lovely quiche baking away in the oven, and last week's New York Times for company. 

The day started cold, windy, and gloomy, but the sun has just recently appeared and tempted me (but just for a split second) to go outside. My yearning to play golf needs to be tucked away for a minute, because I am seriously in need of a few days of just doing nothing but stitching and sleeping and resting.

So I shall.

On the stitchy front, I am considering switching to Baked Alaska for a day or two, or maybe I will paw through the WiP basket and come up with something completely unexpected. No matter...just as long as I get to visit with needle and thread this weekend.

My JB made it "home" to his mom's house successfully, so that's one less thing I need to worry about. I know he enjoys the drive, and I would too under different circumstances, but I still worry about him on the road for that length of time. He will spend the next two weeks there, visiting and enjoying the shore and picking up all of his favorite things (like Atlantic City Italian bread and Taylor Pork Roll) for the return to Hoosierville. I requested Goldenberg Peanut Chews....one of my favorite things on the planet!

I hope that your weekend is full of fun! Come tell me all about it!

Apr 30, 2021

WHAT. A. WEEK. IT'S. BEEN.

Monday: CT scan of the head and neck

Tuesday: phone call from doctor telling me "trouble" on scan...pharyngeal mass

Wednesday: attacked by bully while in the d-chair

Thursday: appt with ear, nose, throat doc cancelled en route...doc called into surgery

Frday...called back to family doc so she could discuss CT scan




Dearies, I am about as fritzed out as I have ever been. Let me start out immediately, though, and say that I am OK and the mass on the CT is thought to be a swollen lymph node. I will know more after visiting with the specialist next Tuesday.

So here's what happened:

You already know about Monday, so I will tell you that the phone rang on Tuesday morning as I was pulling my shoes on to go play golf. It was my family doc's medical assistant, and she was calling to tell me that the CT scan showed something that my doctor was concerned about and we needed to schedule a specialist asap.

For a normal person, this would have been a frightening phone call. For me....the room started spinning. I am a thyroid cancer survivor, and even though it's been almost 30 years now, nothing is ever just something simple...a headache becomes a brain tumor, a lump becomes non-Hodgkins.

(This doesn't make me a hypochondriac necessarily...just someone who is 55 years old, menopausal, a cancer survivor with Crohn's and end stage renal disease, who is on dialysis, and who is waiting for a kidney.)

(Oh...and with a family history that has been decimated by cancer and heart disease.)

So I freaked out completely, got in the car, and then chattered like a circus monkey the entire 40 minute ride to the golf course, and then the whole way around nine holes. Thank God for JB and my friend Cheryl...they know me and knew enough to just let me ramble on hysterically

On Wednesday, after an agonizing night of no sleep and stress off the charts, I went to dialysis and settled in for treatment. I told my tech Marcella what was going on, and she and I both cried a little that it seems like rain and pouring are a permanent part of my wheelhouse lately. I was sitting in my d-chair reading when a podmate came in for his treatment (late), made a big to-do of his being there, and then proceeded to turn on his music loud enough for the fish in the pond outside to hear.


(Podmate is on the other side of the half wall.)

I didn't say anything at first, but the longer it went and the more my head pounded and the higher my blood pressure went, I finally motioned Marcella over. I said that I hated to do it, but was there any way she could ask the gentleman to possibly turn his music down?

Marcella said "It's absolutely not a problem, Coni. He isn't supposed to be playing it anyway, and should put his headphones on."

Well, what was a simple request for some common courtesy went ugly, racial, personal, and awful in a split second. He stood up (while hooked to the machine...very very dangerous) and basically went batshit crazy on the "fat old white lady bitch that just wants to be in everybody's business" while glaring at me, pointing, and calling me every awful name in the book.

I am not ashamed to say that I was so completely stunned that I sat there in my chair shaking like a leaf, crying, with my heart in my chest, and wanting to crawl into the floor. 

The techs and nurses swarmed and calmed him down, but as soon as it was quiet again or a new person arrived for treatment, he stood up and went off again.

It. Was. Awful.

At the end of my treatment, the lead nurse came over and apologized profusely and told me that she was moving me back to my original pod on the other side of the building effective immediately, and that if he came near me or said anything to me to let her know and he would be dismissed from care.

I have been wracking and wracking my brain to try to figure out why I am still gutted by what happened, and the only thing I can come up with is that I got traumatized by a bully again and was completely helpless to do anything about it.

Wednesday night is a blur...I basically sat here and bawled to my JB and he listened lovingly and told me to just try to forget about it and concentrate on the next day's appointment with the specialist.

No sleep again, but I managed to get showered and dressed and was on my way to the specialist when his office called to tell me that they were going to have to re-schedule my appointment because he had been calked into an emergency surgery.


(This is where I ended up...in the parking lot of the Notre Dame bookstore, because I was afraid that if I didn't pull over and sit someplace while on the phone, I was going to crash into something or somebody.)

I'll fast forward through all of the hand-wringing, begging, and pleading for somebody to please just call me and talk me through the CT results, but all I could get was a lot of "I'll send the message back to the doctor".

JB left for New Jersey this morning, and soon after the phone rang and it was my family doctor asking me if I could be in her office in 20 minutes.

Off I went, convinced that it must be very bad for her to want to see me in person, so I white-knuckled it the whole way there, had a mini breakdown in the parking lot, and then finally made it in to see her.

Dr Niklinska came in with the report and read it to me sentence by sentence, explaining everything as she went along. The CT shows a 1.5cm mass that is an "oval retro pharyngeal nodule" at the level of C4 that is probably a lymph node. Nothing else looked amiss, but I do have some pretty significant arthritis in my neck, and "intracranial vascular calcifications" that she told me not to even think about right now. 

She ordered some labwork to see if anything showed up there, and told me to see the ENT on Tuesday and we would go from there.

I am home and in pajamas and have just finished a nice light lunch while the sheets and blankets do their thing in the laundry room. I paid bills, cleared the dining room table off, and added some potting soil to my fern, and I am officially DONE for the duration. 

A nice long nap will definitely be had once the bed is remade, and then I think it will be stitching and movies and a cozy blanket, and absolutely nothing else other than rest and calm for the remainder of the weekend. It is supposed to be gorgeous on Sunday, and I really really want to play golf, but I feel like I am right on the tippy tippy edge of a crash, so I want to re-gather my wits a bit before venturing out.

I'm going to put the iPad away and just enjoy some down time for a bit, so I will bid you all a-dew and hope that you and yours have a happy, healthy, peaceful, and lovely weekend!

Come tell me all about it!











Apr 29, 2021

HOLD, PLEASE

Dearies, I need you to bear with me for the next several days. I am having a week of it, and promise to tell you all about it, but right now I need to pull up my socks and focus and NOT be running around Spinsterville chasing rainbows and unicorns and burping glitter.

I do need one favor from you, though. Could you please come tell me all about life in your corner of the world and show me your pretty pictures and funny memes and whatnot?  

(What can I say? Visiting with you is the equivalent of tapping my heels together three times while simultaneously sticking my fingers in my eyes humming "lalalalal" and making the real world go away for a minute.)

Apr 28, 2021

FUTZINGDAY

Not much to report yet, Dearies, but it is, after all, still the crack of dawn.


My day will hopefully be a quiet one and filled with some stitchy fun when I get home. I didn't ply a needle last night, because I went face first into a big salad and then cleaned the kitchen and folded laundry and decided that I was done for the day.

I've been frantically planning my menu for Spinstercation, but the truth of the matter is that I have not had much of an appetite lately. I do know that I need to up my fruit and vegetable game a bit, so fill the bins I shall, and we'll go from there. Maybe I'll make a pasta salad or some shish-ka-bobs or order in Chinese food?

My little puppytot nephew Bosco is feeling better on some new meds and as the result of a procedure whereby they removed the excess fluid, so Aunt Chrissy is cautiously optimistic and watching him carefully. I keep texting him and telling him that he needs to supervise my kidney transplant, so he needs to stick around a bit longer.

(I have visions of recovery at the hotel, with Bosco perched on my lap, stitching all around me, super cute pajamas, and lots of laughter and good food.)

(I should probably alter that vision, since I'm pretty sure it's not going to be like a day at the Ritz Carlton Day Spa.)

(But I suppose it could be if we tried hard enough, right?)

OK...time to get on with it. Buzzy is doing his thing and I am behaving myself for the time being because my pod is short-staffed and poor Marcella is running her heiney off. Guess I need to be good today.

Happy Futzingday! I hope you have all kinds of fun and that you'll come tell me all about it!


Apr 27, 2021

TUESDAY!


We played nine holes of the golfing and then I came home, re-potted my poor Boston fern into a ginormous container that doesn't fit the plant stand, made a huge mess, cleaned up a huge mess, took a hot shower, drank a ColdBrew from the Starbucks, and now I'm contemplating going to bed at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Whew! It is definitely not easy trying to be me and a fully functioning adult at the same time, Dearies! 

I. Am. Spent.

I will say, though, that YoursTruly was just over the moon delighted with her new golfing clubs! I actually hit a few shots worthy of the beautiful day out there on the course! And you will all be happy to know that when I felt unwell I picked the ball up and sat in the cart and took an 8 for the hole and went on to the next! I didn't try to push too hard, nor did I try to compete with my golfing companions (JB, PJ, and Cheryl) who should all be on the Pro Tour instead of dragging my sorry heiney all over God's green acre!

(Could this be a sign of maturity? Or maybe I really am starting to understand that it's OK to be a middle-aged portly spinster who sometimes needs a minute instead of a hyper-active twenty year old running around with her hair on fire.)

Time to rest, I think! But what a happy, happy day I've had!



Apr 26, 2021

AND....WE'RE OFF!...LIKE A HERD OF TURTLES!

Whew!

It's 11:30, and I have already had a full day here in Spinsterville! I had a CT scan of my head and neck at 9:00, picked up my JB and headed to the Starbucks so he could have a quick meeting and I could have a quick breakfast, and then came here to the d-chair so Buzzy could do his thing.

I'm happy to report that I only cried a little bit (quietly and to myself in a most dignified manner) while in the machine, so I am feeling pretty darn proud of myself for gritting my teeth, pulling up my britches, and getting on with it.

(I'm stupidly claustrophobic, so anything involving being immobile in any kind of contraption makes me break out in a panic.)

The Starbucks that we went to is at Eddy Street Commons...right across the street from Notre Dame:

I had my usual...a cold brew with a light splash of sweet cream, and a delicious egg thingie that was wrapped in a tortilla:

(It had bacon in it, but I removed it, since it was a bit underdone for my liking).

(Underdone bacon.  Blech.)

So here I sit until 3:30 or so, and then it will be back to the homestead to stitch, rest, have dinner, and hit the big girl sleigh bed. I did stitch yesterday, but in my haste to get running this morning forgot to snap a progress picture.

Sorry about that.

Happy Monday, Dearies! I hope your week is off to a roaring start! Come tell me all about the doings in your corner of the world!

Apr 25, 2021

BACK IN THE SADDLE

Where I started:

 Where I ended:

And finally...back to reading:



Apr 24, 2021

WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG?!


I honestly don't know why I waited so long to get this on the wall, Dearies! I tripped over the box that the frame came in eleventy-seven times, and finally said "Enough of this foolishness!" and got it done.

Now, before you tell me it's crooked, lopsided, half-assed, and looks like a drunk toddler framed and hung it...crooked, lopsided, half-assed, and looks like a drunk toddler framed it ON THE WALL is better than all of those things and IN A BOX.

Besides, I'm not exactly curating priceless antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art here, kids. This will do very nicely, thankyouverymuch.

JB Magoo is on the balcony listening to his sports radio and taking in the air, and I am going to dive into something on the TeeVee and get a needle in my hand. I didn't get to do so last night because my dinner decided to make an abrupt and unpleasant exit.

Phooey.

Cooler and on the rainy side here in Hoosierville, so no golfing for us today, but I am hopeful that tomorrow will be better!

Could I ask for a little of your magic happy healing thoughts to be sent to my puppytot nephew, Bosco? My sister called last night to let me know that he has been feeling rather poorly and has congestive heart failure. They were able to remove some fluid yesterday to make him more comfortable, but the little guy is fifteen and a half and isn't our little baby boy anymore. They are watching him closely and loving on him with all of their might, but I know from experience how your thoughts can work miracles, Dearies!


How could anybody resist that little face, I ask you?


Happy Saturday! What is blowing your skirt up today?

 

Apr 23, 2021

WEEKEND PLANS


My visit with Dr N didn't go quite as planned. She fears shingles, wants to rule out any funny business with head/neck cancer because of my history with same, and says it could also be something viral that I picked up God knows where.

On Monday I will have a CT scan of my head and neck to rule out the second possibility, and I am to keep close watch on my face and high-tail it to the Urgent Care if anything rash-like develops. In the meantime, I took a Claritin to see if that clears my head at all, and dialysis is trying to find a chair for me after the CT scan so they can get all of the contrast dye out of me since it's really bad for kidneys...especially sick ones.

In other words...oey.

But! I am not deterred from having a simply wonderful weekend. If weather permits, I am going to swing a golf club, so help me, and I promise you there will also be some form of stitching.

I did manage about fifteen stitches into Eliana last night, but I'm more than a little clumsy and having some difficulty seeing well given the shenanigans going on. If I struggle today, methinks I will pull some needlepoint with larger holes and get my fix that way.

So nothing good/nothing bad...just more investigations.

Happy, happy, healthy, blissful weekend to one and all! Do something really wonderful for yourself and come tell me all about it!

Apr 22, 2021

BEWARE OF SWINGING BULLS...

Once upon a time, Yours Truly was large and in charge.

Yup.

I was relatively active, coherent, capable, and on top of things....especially my health.

The last few years, though, I have felt increasingly powerless as I've lurched from condition to condition, and have grown ridiculously tired of feeling like complete and total crap on a cracker. 

So today, at approximately 10am I grabbed the proverbial bull by the proverbial b***s and decided to start swinging it around a bit.

First up was a call to my family doctor to make an appointment for what I am assuming is either allergies or an inner ear infection. The entire left side of my head, neck, and shoulders is a hot mess, and I am guessing that this is the cause of me feeling so seasick and woozy. I also want her to lay eyes on me, since she is the very best physician I've ever had and will quarterback the team back into order in no time.

Then I called my dietician and discussed one of the new meds they started at d. Once again, I kinda woke up and realized that my symptoms were almost exactly in sinc with the start of this med, and as I did more and more research, I realized that I am probably reacting to it poorly and it needs to be changed. So tomorrow they will try the new med and we'll see if that might have been a problem.

And my final call was to my thyroid guy, so he can weigh in and maybe order some labs that will reveal if my poor little one remaining parathyroid is fritzing out, or if all of the above is the culprit.

At 1:00 I will visit with Dr Melfi, and I will tell her that I might have just turned a huge corner mentally, and my old self is in there and waking up. 

So the lesson for the day, Dearies, is to be proactive with your life. Speak. Up. I guess I have been held hostage for a bit, worrying and fretting over what might be wrong and just accepting that I'm going to not feel well for so long that I gave up on trying to feel good. And, in a completely ridiculous turn of events I stopped speaking up because I didn't want to sound like a high-maintenance hypochondriac all the time.

Speak up.

Advocate for yourself, and do not settle for just stumbling through your days hoping it will eventually get better. Complain and investigate and learn and push and poke until you know you've done everything you can to feel as good as you can.

End of rant.

So now that I've got the bull in my hot little hands, and I'm swinging him around with impunity, methinks it's time to put this iPad thingie away and get a needle in my hands! You and I both know that me not stitching is about 98% of the problem, and only I can solve that one.

Cheerio! I hope if you've got bulls b***s in your hands that you're swinging them around a bit too! Come tell me all about it!


 

Apr 20, 2021

THE RETURN OF SPINSTERSTILTSKIN


Raise you hand if you saw this coming.

I. Am. So. Tired.

Yesterday was a complete and total blur. I know I got up and made it to the d-chair, but I was OUT from the minute my heiney hit the chair until Miss Lou flipped my feet down and almost launched me across the pod when it was time to go.

I put pajamas on and hit the big girl sleigh bed at 12:30 yesterday afternoon and got out of it moments ago...almost a 20 hour sleep!

As soon as I finish my damn good it will be a laundry day, and so help me, a stitchy day. I feel like I have not stitched in forever, and the twitchies are starting to creep in. Must remedy that. Stat.

Thank you for all of your lovely comments about my trip. I am still bouncing around up here on cloud nine thinking about these kids and how much I love them and how much I pray for lots of time with them in the future!

Happy Tuesday, Dearies! I hope your week is off to a swell start! Come tell me all about it!

Apr 18, 2021

IN WHICH THE SPINSTER'S HEART IS SO VERY VERY FULL

Hi, Dearies!

I've just returned from Lima and my poor little heart is full to bursting.

I had a really good treatment on Friday morning and was told that I should be good to go, since it appears that both covid tests came back negative! So after stopping at CS2 for my bags, it was time to hit the road.



I lucked out and found a fantastic station on the radio thingie, so before I knew it, the sign for Lima appeared:


(Sorry it's not closer, but I was trying to be super duper careful and pretty much held the phone up and snapped a pic without taking my eyes off the road.)

I checked into the hotel, showered and changed clothes, and headed to Denise and Jeff's house for dinner. Denise and I have been SisterFriends since high school, and she is married to Jeff...one of my very favorite people on the planet. Our history goes deep...Denise, Jeff, and I....and I have been privileged to be witness to their lives together as newlyweds, then new parents, and now as Mother and Father of the Brides.

Here are my girls:



(We had an amazing dinner...beef tenderloin, potatoes, and salad with crusty bread and dipping schmutzy stuff for it that I could NOT stop eating.)

Dearies...y'all know that I love my JB Magoo with all my heart, but I have to say....my two new nephews are going to give him a run for his money! Both men are just EXACTLY who I would have picked for my goddaughters...smart, kind, funny, hardworking, decent, handsome, lovely, lovely, lovely boys. 

I completely overstayed my welcome and talked my silly head off until after midnight! I just didn't want to leave, but fortunately for me Denise had enough sense to remind me that I needed to get some rest, so I headed back to the hotel and then laid there until 4am thinking about how much I love and adore this family.

So today I woke up completely bleary-eyed, and had my room service breakfast:


(The scone wasn't part of the package...I just happened to have it left over from Friday's post-treatment Starbucks stop).

The shower was an Open House from 1-3, and I enjoyed hanging out for a little but before heading back home. Here's Denise (on the left) with Jacqueline the Bride, and Sara:


And here's a shot of Yours Truly (in the white old lady big top). On the left are two girls I went to high school with...Mary and Nancy, and next to me is another dear friend, Valerie. (I'm sorry that I didn't catch the name of the girl next to Val, but there were a lot of people there and I was doing my best to just sit quietly and not sweat all over everybody and have some nervous tizzy fit).


And finally...the Bride and Groom:


The drive home flew by, since I spent it thinking about how much fun I had, and how I just can't wait to do it again! I am hoping and praying that this was the first of what will be a lot of great weekends together.

Thanks for letting me share my Lovies with you! I hope your weekend was as wonderful as mine and that you'll come tell me all about it!





Apr 16, 2021


I'm going off line until Sunday night, Dearies.

Tomorrow I return to my Mother Ship dialysis unit for a 7am treatment, and then I'm heading to Lima, Ohio for my goddaughter's bridal shower/open house on Sunday. 

I'm going solo and staying in a hotel, so this will be a nice opportunity to remember that I am a perfectly capable adult and shouldn't need to panic over a) driving a car, b) staying in a hotel, or c) participating in a social event.

(Anybody wanna take odds on how many times I need to remind myself to get a grip on my horses and just calm the heck down already?)

(And yes, Betty, before you ask...this trip was authorized by my transplant team (because I will have my go bag with me), I saved money for this starting from the moment the girls were engaged, and I will be masked, safe, and incredibly careful.)

No idea if I have covid or not, but tomorrow (hopefully) the test results will be back and will be negative and I can get on with it. If positive....everything I just told you goes right out the window. And...if for some reason the test results are not back, I won't risk it and will stay home and pout appropriately.

I hope that you have a lovely, peaceful, happy, healthy, and stitchy swell weekend! Do something wonderful for yourself and come tell me all about it!

Here's my something wonderful for myself...purple toes and nails!



Apr 15, 2021

HERE WE ARE, ONCE AGAIN...AT THE HEINEY CRACK OF DAWN

Hello, Dearies!

Well, here we are, coming to you live and in person from beautiful downtown South Bend on a Thursday morning. I did the whole BatMan stalks the city thing again on the way in, and have to say...the streets of Gotham are a lot easier to navigate when you're the only Ford Escape prowling about.
(I've got the whole place to myself today! Talk about feeling like a Queen!)


Thank you...from the depths of my grateful little heart....for all of the wonderful birthday wishes. I had a perfectly swell day, full of things that had been nagging at me. So I did laundry and shuffled books around and re-organized the plastic container cupboard and finally cleared off the dining room table (again) and wrapped bridal shower gifts and....futzed and putzed and putzed and futzed....until about 3:00. 
(My gift from Bosco. Does my puppytot nephew know me, or what?)

Then it was into a nice hot shower and some new jams, and I managed to stitch and enjoy a great dinner ordered in from the Outback Steakhouse Its Very Self.

(I really indulged and had steak and shrimp on top of fettuccini alfredo, followed by cheesecake! I expected a huge gain this morning on the 'ol scale, but I somehow managed to actually lose a little bit of weight.)

(Must have been all that putzing and futzing.)

I am still playing with the Ehrman daisy. It seems to be just what the doctor ordered, and I think I'll stick with it a few more days. Do you know that I went almost TWO WEEKS without stitching?! If that's not a recipe for disaster, I don't know what is!



So...Happy Thursday, my friends! Fifty-five is off to a roaring start! I can't wait to see what the year ahead holds! I'm thinking....new parts...maybe a CS3....several parties...and the mother of all stitchy weekends here in Hoosierville!

What's new with you?  Come tell me all about it!








 

Apr 14, 2021

Apr 13, 2021

DOUBLE DAMN, TRIPLE DRAT, AND QUADRUPLE PHOOEY....BUT WITH A BIT OF STITCHING

So guess who landed herself back into the covid unit?

Yesterday, I reported for treatment and made the mistake of being honest about how I was feeling. I explained that ever since my Indy trip I felt like I had been hit by a bus, spiked a fever, caught some kind of stomach bug, and had swollen glands in my neck.

Before you could say "Danger, danger Will Robinson" I was back in the car heading home with strict instructions to report to the covid unit in downtown South Bend at 5:30 this morning.

5:30.

In the morning.

Which meant getting up at 4:30 so I could stumble into the shower and get my teeth brushed and a small cup of damn good in me before heading out into the darkness.

(OK. I confess. I felt very BatMan-like as I drove through the empty streets of Gotham on my way here, and the mist rising off of the river as I crossed the LaSalle Street Bridge did lend an aura of extra drama to the proceedings.)

I'll be here for the foreseeable future and until I have two negative tests...just like before.

(But remind me to just keep my damn mouth shut from now on and just say "Fine, thank you" whenever they ask me how I'm feeling as I head to the d-chair. I don't need to be telling everybody every my-noot detail of my silly little life.)

(That's what I've got you for!)

Seriously, kids. I think I had the flu combined with a complete and total fritzing out of all of my systems due to the frenzy and stress of last week. 

So, in other words...just me being my usually hysterical self.

On another topic, I am very happy to report that I actually picked up a needle yesterday for the first time in over a week! I might not have made a ton of progress, but not stitching is probably 97% of what's been wrong with me.


Not reading is also a problem that I can't seem to rectify. I have a wonderful stack of books on my bedside table, but have not read since throwing that darn bio against the wall. 

That's going to stop, even if it means that I need to physically put myself in a chair and time-out with a book for a half hour. 

So that's it, Dearies. Your Drama Spinster is stuck in a rut of disarray and chaos and has gotten decidedly OUT of her damn lane. Time to fix that, I think. I need to melt into the wallpaper and just. handle. my. business. rather than suck the oxygen out of the room.

Please come tell me what's new with you, and show me your pretty things, and tell me your tales!

Apr 12, 2021

IN WHICH MY LITTLE SISTER, AUNT CHRISSY, TURNS 50

 I wrote this post quite awhile ago, but it's one of my very favorites. My sister turns 50 today, and I just can't believe it to be so.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AUNT CHRISSY!

My favorite Aunt Chrissy story takes place on Eater Sunday 1975.....

Scene: A bustling kitchen in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A mother scurries about, getting Easter dinner ready. She glances to her left and sees her youngest daughter standing in the doorway.

Mother: Chrissy, I told you that I'm really busy right now and need to get this dinner ready. Can you go play with your Barbies for a few minutes, sweetheart?

Chrissy: Sure, Mommy. But I have so many things to tell you that I thought I would stand here and talk to you while you cook. That way I can fulfill my need to be talking every waking moment of the day and you get to spend some quality time with me.

Mother: Why don't you go wait for Grandma and Uncle Connie to get here?

The little girl walks to the front closet, gets her little green velvet coat, and heads out to the front porch. She sits on the cold hard cement and thinks about what a bust this holiday has been for her. Yesterday, she and her brilliant and gorgeous older sister Constance were playing nuns. This was an activity that they both loved, and two white terry cloth bath towels were always put into use as a simple yet effective head-covering.

Yesterday, though, something seemed off. Constance was out of sorts and was bossier than usual. "Nuns don't have curly hair", she grumbled. "We need to get rid of those stupid curls sticking out of your head thingie."

"OK", the little girl said as she trotted off to get the big scissors. "Will you cut it for me, Coni Jo? I'm only four and not allowed to use the big scissors."

The older sister grinned as she maniacally snipped and snipped all of the gorgeous light brown curls away from her little sister's face.

"There", said Constance. "Now you look like a real nun."

As she reflected on the ensuing spanking that both she and her sister received, the little girl wondered why it was such a big deal that she would have to go to Easter Sunday Church services with her hat on. Didn't everybody wear a hat for Easter?

Later that afternoon, the mother stopped the dinner preparations to call out to the little girl.

Mother: Chrissy? Where are you, honey? Come here and try a pickled beet for me to see if I've got them right. Chrissy?

Constance: She's outside.

Mother: WHAT!!! WHAT THE HELL IS SHE DOING OUTSIDE?!


Constance: You told her to go wait for Grandma.

Mother: Oh for crying out loud! THEY'RE DRIVING IN FROM LIMA AND WON'T BE HERE FOR FOUR HOURS! IT'S TWENTY TWO DEGREES OUT THERE! GO GET YOUR LITTLE SISTER AND TELL HER TO GET IN HERE!!

Constance: OK.

Sadly, Constance is distracted by the latest Nancy Drew mystery that was in her Easter basket that morning. She heads into the den and buries her nose in the book...completely forgetting about her tiny little sister standing alone outside on the front porch.

Later that afternoon....

The front door opens and several voices are heard.

Grandma: Sig?! Are you home? What the hell is Chrissy doing standing out on the front porch?! We pulled up and she said that she had been out there all day waiting for us! Her little nose is running and she's frozen solid! What the heck are you people doing in here?

The relatives all kiss and hug hello in stony silence as the little girl heads upstairs for a hot bath. As she's hanging up her coat, she glances at the curls hidden in the wastebasket and decides that Christmas is definitely her favorite holiday.

THE END


P.S. Here's a few things you should know about Aunt Chrissy:

1. Yes, the hair story is completely true. When she was little she had positively gorgeous light brown curly ringlets that covered her head. I cut them off. (What can I say? I had a head like a bowling ball and was evil.)

2. My sister talked from the minute she woke up until the minute she passed out in her little bed. Some nights, she would tip-toe to the side of Mom and Dad's bed and poke Mom awake because she had more to say or had "forgetted to tell you something."

3. She was a very good little girl and usually did exactly what she was told, so the story above is as true and accurate as I can remember it. We believe that she had been out on that porch for at least three hours, because when Grandma and Uncle Connie finally got there they said she was really really shivering and her lips were a bit blue.

4. My sister isn't just in my life...she is my life. (Sorry, that's a line from Tony Soprano, but it's just too damn apropos not to use it here.) She is funny and kind and strong and very very brave. She takes care of me, tolerates my silly little dog, and feeds all of the birds, squirrels and ducks faithfully and with great care. She is the rock and the leader of our little family, and there are times when I really wonder what I did to be given such a gift of this particular sister. I love her, need her, and care about her more than anything or anyone I've ever known, and I cannot and will not live my life without her in it.

So there you have it. Aunt Chrissy turns 39 today and I couldn't be happier about it.

Apr 10, 2021

DAMN, DRAT, AND COMPLETE AND UTTER PHOOEY

Guess who has the flu?

I swear, you can't make this stuff up.

Yesterday, I came home from the d-chair feeling a bit woozy and out of sorts, but that's normal. I should have known something was amiss, though, when I weighed in and had actually lost a little weight. After missing treatment on Wednesday, I should have gained at least three or four kilo.

(Don't get me wrong...I am NOT complaining about weight loss...I just wish it weren't because I haven't kept anything down for three days.)

So here I sit with a damn fever and nausea and flu head and new golf clubs that are mocking me.


Poor Magoo has been trying to watch his Saturday shows while I stomp around and sigh heavily and try to get some sympathy.

If Stewey were here, he would have peed on the drapes and put himself to bed while I finished having my little snit and then he would have demanded a snack, so I suppose I should be happy that Rich is housebroken and can fend for himself in the food department.

Welll....sometimes, at least.

So that's that Dearies. Your poor Spinster is decidedly unwell today and must now go be where others are not.

Please carry on without your hapless court jester today and come tell me all about what you get up to!


Apr 9, 2021

FRIDAY


I will never understand myself.

When it's time to do something like stand up, or clean the kitchen, or take a shower and wash my hair, or go somewhere, I will fret and fret and fret over the impending exhaustion that will inevitably follow.

Which is exhausting.

So then I finally do the thing I fretted over, and I shake my head and mumble that I really am a boob, because the fretting took longer and was more tiring than the doing of the darn thing in the first place.

Can anybody relate?

Apr 8, 2021

IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A FULL BODY MIGRAINE? (ASKING TOR A FRIEND)

Oey.

My back, neck, and shoulders are in a knotty spasm of a screaming mess that has me questioning getting out of bed ever again.

I just had a nice long chat with Dr Melfi, and we determined that I might just be semi-normal after all. My meltdowns in Indianapolis and inability to function like an adult human were to be expected. And there's even a name for it (made up by me moments ago):

RE-ENTRY COMPLICATIONS

Apparently, the entire world is having similar issues as it comes out of quarantine. I described it as animals being let out of a zoo and not knowing how to use a living room set, and Dr Melfi reminded me that people in prison/isolation often have the same problems adjusting.

I feel like I've been dropped onto another planet, and although I've seen pictures of things on this planet a million times, once confronted with something like being in polite society...I'm clueless.

I'll get my bearings eventually, as will the rest of the world. In the meantime, I'm going to keep bumping into things and bursting into the ugly cry because I feel so damn helpless, but then I'll remember that I have a lane and I'll get back in it and let somebody else take the wheel.

Remember what my dear Aunt JoAnn always told me? "Coni Jo, you can't ask Jesus to take the wheel and then bitch about His driving."

Man...I miss my Aunt JoAnn.

Time for another nap, I think. And then I'll get up and have a nice shower and some dinner and maybe I'll even try to stitch a bit.

Happy Thursday, Dearies!


Apr 7, 2021

IN WHICH WE HAVE A BIG FAT FAIL ON OUR TRIAL RUN

We've just returned from Indianapolis. I'm too tired to give you all of the details, but suffice it to say that your beloved Spinster was a hot mess from the moment she woke up yesterday until the moment she collapsed in the Happy Chair moments ago.

We got lost, circled blocks over and over again, had mini meltdowns, got on the wrong elevators, walked about seven miles, and soaked through our clothes with stressy flop sweats and no matter how many paper towels we carried we were still dripping indelicately all over the damn place.

And by "we"...I mean "me".

Magoo stayed at the hotel while I went to my appointments, and it was a high high low low kind if day.

The high high was seeing my beloved Dr Goggins and him telling me if he had a kidney he'd stick one in me immediately. He was thrilled with my weight and compliance to everything he's asked me to do and I even got a few pats and a sideways hug because he and I are now family.

(He uses the f-word a lot, and when I giggled at him using the f-word so much, he said "I forget sometimes, but sorry...I treat my patients like family and my family knows I drop the f-bomb.")

I'm in love.

The bad bad is that the United Network for Organ Sharing has implemented a new allocation method for kidneys, effective March 15. Before this change, I was in a "service area" that pretty much comprised Indiana and small parts of Ohio and Illinois. That meant that the pool was small and being at the top of the list meant a very short wait.

Now, though, the pool size has changed to a 250mile radius around IU, which means my status at the top is less hopeful for a quick transplant. 

The news is devastating, to be sure, but I just need to chill and do my thing....keep the bags packed, watch the weight, be as active as I can, and pray. It'll get here when it gets here.

So, Dearies...I am going to crawl in the big girl sleigh bed for a bit and decompress. Every muscle in my back, neck, and shoulders is screaming and in spasm, so methinks it's time to be still for a bit

So.

What's new with you?




Apr 5, 2021

WHAT DO NANCY LOPEZ, ANNIKA SORENSTAM. AND THE SPINSTER STITCHER HAVE IN COMMON?

 

Nothing.

Absolutely nothing at all.


Saturday golfing was fun, and it was wonderful to be outside and with dear friends, but suffice it to say, I won't be hitting the LPGA tour anytime soon. I did splendidly for four holes before my body woke up and said "Movement! We're detecting movement! All systems shut down except Fatigue and Pain centers!Danger! Danger!", so I limped my way through to the bitter end.

Vanity, thy name is Spinster.

I'm paying for it now by not being able to turn my head, lift my arms, or bend my wrists, and I have enough Tylenol in me to stock a medium-sized Walgreens.

Ugh.

Buzzy and I are doing our thing, and then tomorrow we head down to Indy for a visit with the handsome Dr Goggins. I'm actually looking forward to it, since I have worked so hard to get a few pounds under his transplant goal weight.

We'll also check out the hotel and meet the gang there that will be responsible for looking the other way when I check in with my entire studio in tow, and we'll scout all of the good restaurants and whatnot that will keep me fed during recovery.

Easter was quiet and delicious...bar-be-que country ribs, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and asparagus. I did do laundry, but not one bit of stitching.

Oh well.

Happy Monday and Happy Dyngus Day, Dearies! I hope your weekend was swell and that the week ahead is wonderful! Come tell me all about it!


Apr 2, 2021

This is a copy of a post from 2009 that I wrote when my Uncle Connie passed away. Today is his 85th birthday. I miss him very much and pray for peace and comfort for my Aunt Linda, who grieves him terribly.


My Uncle Connie was a good man. He was tall and handsome and he was very very funny. He lived with and took care of Grandma until she passed away, and then he married the love of his life, Aunt Linda. He was a father and a husband, a grandfather, a brother, a son, an uncle, and a friend. He worked hard for Ford until retirement, and he planted a huge garden every year. When we were little, he took all of us kids to Cedar Point and King's Island, and we had baloney sandwiches and red pop for lunch. He always had gum.

One summer, he and Aunt Linda came to Phoenix for a visit, and I don't think we did anything but laugh and eat the whole time they were there. It was the last bit of time that Mom was able to spend with her little brother, and I think that those days were the happiest for her during all of that chemo.

A lot of people in Lima knew him as Mike, because his full name was Constantine Michael. For me, though, he was always Uncle Connie. The last time Chrissy and I visited him, we were talking about the family, and he said "My mom and pop had all these kids with names like Mary and John, and Don, and JoAnn, and then I came along and they named me Constantine. Go figure."

I am left handed because of my Uncle Connie. We were at Grandma's...coloring in our coloring books, and he said "Connie Jo, you're using the wrong hand!". Of course, he was teasing me, but I immediately switched that crayon over to my left hand and it stayed there from that moment on. (I was Connie Jo then, instead of "Coni", and I never got over feeling bad that I changed the spelling of it whenever I wrote to him.)

When Stewey came along, my Uncle Connie would call me weekly to see how he was doing. I think the name cracked him up, since he always had a little laugh whenever he said it. He would send me every cute email about pets and their silliness, and I told Stewey that one of these days we were going to go over to Lima so that Uncle Connie could get a good look at him.

Uncle Connie passed away on Monday evening after a hard hard fight with cancer. The last time I talked to him, I told him he couldn't go anywhere until he got me down an aisle, and that even though I'm a 43 year old spinster I still had hope, and he said "I'm gonna' lick it, Connie Jo. So don't you worry."

Chrissy and I will go to the services over in Lima on Friday, and then I'll come home and try to figure out how to live up to his legacy. In the meantime, if y'all would say a little prayer for my Aunt Linda, Tiffany, Lori, and Lenny, all the grandkids, my Aunt Mary and my Aunt JoAnn, that would be great. 

Constantine Michael Loukos
April 2, 1936 - October 13, 2009

The Measure of Man
Not how did he die, but how did he live?
Not what did he gain, but what did he give?
Not what was his station, but had he a heart, and how did he play his God-given part?
Not what was his church nor what was his creed, but had he befriended those really in need?
Not what did the piece in the newspaper say, but how many were sorry when he passed away?
Was he ever ready with a word or good cheer, to bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
There are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

Apr 1, 2021

IN WHICH WE HAVE A VERY QUIET DAY, INDEED


 It's already time for bed, and I feel like I am just now sitting down to stitch.

(Heavy, heavy sigh).

I don't know where the day went, to be honest. There was putzing and futzing and newspaper reading and bill paying and comforter washing and lasagna making and hot shower taking and q-snap moving and baseball watching and basketball watching...

But nothing really to show for it except clean hair and shaved legs.

(Who am I kidding? The legs alone are enough to exhaust me. Why would I think a day that included shaving them would be concluded before bedtime?)

In any event, I really am heading into bed in a moment. I need to start reading before bed again, and tonight I need to start a new book. The last book I read was the first in my life that I have ever thrown against the wall incomplete. I have never been so disappointed in a book before. The writing was ridiculously bad and the editing was even worse, and I was furious that the thing managed to get published.  I didn't read the reviews before ordering it, but if I would have, I could have avoided the aggravation.

(Betty, before you point out that I, too, am a terrible writer and this here blog is FULL of grammatical errors and typos, may I just point out that this here blog is free and just that...a blog.)

The thing that really gripes me is that it is supposed to be a biography of Helene Hanff...the author of 84 Charing Cross Road...which has become my new obsession. I have played the movie every night before bed for about three months now. (No, sadly, I am not exaggerating). I really wanted to learn more about her, and thought this would be a good way to do so.

Nope.

So if anybody out there knows of a biography of Helene Hanff NOT written by Stephen Pastore...could you let me know?

(And if you know Mr Pastore and are offended by my comments, all I can say is that he was either the victim of a bad book deal that did not include proofreading or editing, or he was the perpetrator of a big fat fraud on some stupidly unsuspecting publishing company.)

End of rant.

Big weekend coming up here in Hoosierville. Tomorrow is Cottage Care day, and sometime between 11am and 1pm a new mattress and box spring set is being delivered to CS2. I am mortified to confess the age of the present set, but suffice it to say it is time for a change.

(The current set was a housewarming gift from the partners of the company that I worked for).

(In New Jersey.)

(24 years ago.)

I'm also going to receive a new set of golf clubs tomorrow...an early birthday gift from my JB....and then on Saturday I'll get the chance to try them out when we head over to LaPorte for a day with our friends Mike and Cheryl.

(Don't worry, Dearies. I will have strict adult supervision and will be sent straight to the driving of the cart if my energy wanes the least little bit.)

But first, there is sleeping to be done and dialysis to be endured. I was slightly less unwell yesterday evening, so pulling less fluid is definitely a goal.

I hope your April is off to a good start and that the weekend ahead will be perfectly lovely for you. If you celebrate such, Happy Easter!