Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Not-So-Hot Girl Summer

 Hi! It's August! Time flies when all you're doing is sitting around in your nice pajamas and messing with yarn.

A commenter on the last post wanted to know the ONE NEAT TRICK to make your tomato plants not look spindly and pathetic. What I learned from somewhere on the internet this past spring is that when you transplant your seedlings (or, in my case, the plants I bought from the farmers market), you dig a shallow, foot-long trench and then lay the first 10-12 inches of your tomato plant right in it and cover it with dirt. 

That's right, just bury that stem, even if you are covering up some of the bottom leaves. Apparently, the entire length of the buried stem is capable of growing roots, so the plant establishes a much better root system that can take in more nutrients and water.


That's probably the most (the only?) useful thing anyone will have learned from reading my 16 (SIXTEEN) years' worth of blogging. YOU'RE WELCOME.

My recovery is progressing along in fits and starts, and yay I no longer have tubes coming out of my body, because those were really freaking me out. I'm doing my fun little post-mastectomy exercise routines I found on YouTube and walking to the store and running up the stairs so I can pretend I'm getting some aerobic exercise. Olympics, here I come!

I've also been pulling out all my yarn and strewing it everywhere, in an attempt to figure out what to make with it. The yarn situation could explain why I haven't blogged in 3 weeks, since I hate sitting at a messy desk and what do you know?

Yarn-covered desk

MORE yarn on desk

It's interfering with my muse, is what it is.

But I am working on socks (because, as always, WINTER IS COMING) and also my latest fave: the Stephen West Botanic Shawl. Now, Stephen West usually designs super-complicated, enormous patterns that take a lot of effort and brain power, so I have never knit anything of his, even though he is a very popular designer with the knitting community. 

I'm a lazy knitter, is what I'm saying.

But this particular pattern happens to be simple, so I ponied up the money and bought the pattern and now I can carelessly say things like "Oh, I'm just working on my Stephen West shawl" like all the cool knitters do.

I'm a Stephen West knitter now

Let's see, what else have I been doing?

I've canned some peach jam

I've eaten my weight in these things, OMG, SO GOOD

I've also managed to cement my new 60-is-the-new-80 status by acquiring a handy little shopping cart to pull to the stores with me, since it's been too hard to tote a full bag of groceries over my shoulder lately:

Isn't it cunning? I LOVE IT

So really, that's all I've got for you: gardening, knitting, canning, pulling my little cart to the grocery store. It's been my Old Lady Summer, and I must say, I am ROCKING that vibe. But I'm returning to work this week, so I guess this weird little time-travel interlude of the past few months will have to come to an end.

I mean, unless I'm stuck here. Which, truth to tell, certainly wouldn't be the worst of all possible worlds... 

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

60 Is The New 80

Still staying alive and all that, but also staying away from the computer the last 3 weeks because all I would have written would have been a whinefest of boredom and lack of sleep and weird pain and steeling myself to look in the mirror in the morning when I take my shower.

Fun, right?

I also went through a weird phase where I stopped knitting and took up crochet, but I think that's all behind me now. I blame the anesthesia.

I cannot lie, I did this

Also? This. I know, it's alarming

Luckily, a friend thought to give me a very lovely and presentable set of pajamas right before this surgery, so I could lounge around and recuperate without feeling like total trash. People, this was the SMARTEST GIFT EVER, considering I really have to work to get myself showered by noon, and I feel way better than if I were sitting around in a ratty old shirt and some yoga pants. Seriously, GIVE PEOPLE NICE PAJAMAS.

Happily, now I'm at the point where - for a few hours at a time, anyway - I feel almost normal (or will, once the doctor finally okays taking the last two drainage tubes out of my body, ew, yuck), and I have put away the crochet hooks and gone back to knitting socks and baby blankets, as the good Lord intended. I even walked all the way to the store this morning (for more Tylenol, but still...), and I might attempt to cook dinner tonight, so Larry and I don't have to dip into the strategic lasagna reserve we now have in the freezer.

So many lasagnas, and we were grateful for ALL of them

My birthday (60!) came and went, and I'll admit it didn't feel as though I was at my finest, even while wearing my fancy PJs. Still, people dropped off cards and presents, and they also dropped off get well cards and presents, until it got to the point where I felt a tad miffed if there was a day when no one stopped by with a wee little giftie or some alluring baked good. Spoiled, I am, by this point...

Larry found the perfect birthday card, considering the circumstances

My knitter friends brought yarn, of course

And handmade knitting totes

And David came to visit for a week and assist with meals and help move Rachel into her new apartment, since Larry was still on the injured list. He seemed a bit disconcerted by how decrepit we both were but managed not to talk about assisted living homes or senior communities while he was here. No idea what he texted on the sibling chat, though...

Luckily, we got the container garden on our back deck up and running the weekend before Larry threw himself off his bike, so we've got basil and tomatoes and parsley and one very overachieving mint plant. We were a little puzzled as to why the basil plants at the top of our tower garden seemed a tad stunted, until one morning we caught a squirrel sitting happily in the watering trough up top and nibbling away at the leaves. 

Squirrel breakfast buffet, apparently

I planted the tomatoes a new way this year that has made them look like other people's tomato plants and not like the spindly specimens I usually end up with. They are producing like crazy, and I go out on the deck every day in my fancy pajamas and harvest some more. Because I'm an old lady now and can be as eccentric a gardener as I like, I suppose...

These are quite yum

Last Saturday, Larry and I, determined to try to have some fun this summer, staggered out to the movies to see Indiana Jones. Now, I haven't been to the movie theater since March of 2020, and back then I just went to our local one that I could walk to, which was nothing fancy. So Larry and I were taken aback to see that there were...waiters?...who would come take food orders and such at our seats. And there were cards you could stick in the rail of the table in front of you if you wanted something or just wanted to rat out the loud talker in the row behind you (which, come on, maybe just tell him to shut up yourself? What's wrong with people?).

It was a bit disorienting, is what I'm saying. And then the actors we actually knew in the film looked SO OLD. Which sort of corroborated how old we've been feeling lately, so it was not reassuring.

Good movie, though, and then Larry and I had dinner outside at Big Buns, where he always orders a regular size burger and a beer and I get the kids' meal and we split my fries, and who's getting old, NOT US

Free drink with the kids' meal!

That's pretty much the most exciting day we've had lately. And then we went home and napped.

And, yay, the insurance company is paying to repair the car Rachel wrecked (there was a good chance they were just going to declare it totaled), and then Rachel had the temerity to suggest that - since now it's been in an accident - maybe we should lower our formerly agreed-upon price for selling it to her.

Kids say the darnedest things, you know?

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Stayin' Alive

Still here! The boobectomy was last Thursday, and I finally have enough energy to sit down at the computer. Up until now, any energy I had was directed at taking meds, deciding on where to nap, and thanking people for bringing food.

I get weepy with gratitude whenever someone shows up at our door with yet another edible treat. I think anesthesia makes me maudlin. Or maybe it's the meds...


Also, I keep having weird dreams about what my chest might look like now, because there is no flippin' way I am actually peeking under these bandages until I have to. The 4 (FOUR!) drainage tubes are bad enough for a squeamish person like myself to deal with at this point. Luckily Larry -- one-armed Larry -- is in charge of emptying them and writing down how many cc's of liquid are in each one, and if we were still homeschooling, this would totally be science lab for the kids.

Oh, and just to make sure that things were chaotic enough last week, Rachel managed to have a pretty serious fender bender 2 days before the surgery. With our car. Luckily she's all right, but Tuesday was pretty stressful, what with filing insurance claims, finding where the car was towed to, etc. 

Maybe a little more than a fender bender

But hey, Rachel wasn't hurt and (Silver Lining Alert!) I didn't have as much time available to fret about the upcoming surgery. I said this to a friend, who promptly dubbed me "Pollyanna in Hell." She's not wrong.

And I am suddenly out of energy to sit up, so I am going to take myself to one of our napping couches and have yet another wee rest, delicate flower that I am...

Monday, June 12, 2023


Hey! Still here, finally feeling back to normal, yay, just took 7 weeks post-surgery to get to this point. Of course it didn't help that at 3 weeks post-op, pretty much the day after the surgeon told me I could start resuming some normal activities, Larry decided to throw himself over the handlebars of his bicycle and break his collarbone.


So, instead of easing back into the daily grind, I was suddenly the only person in the house who could do dishes, carry laundry (or at least drag it in a bag down the stairs), tie shoelaces (yes, it feels odd to be tying a pair of size 13 shoes for someone), and pretty much ANYTHING else you can imagine. Poor Larry's job was to hold his arm as still as possible in a sling for 2 weeks so he wouldn't make it worse and need surgery.

I'll tell you, it felt as if we had gone from two reasonably fit and capable middle-aged people to a couple of doddering senior citizens in what felt like a weird sort of science fiction time jump. And our grown kids got an all-too-clear picture of what would happen in another decade or two if they let us age in place in this house. I expect them to start taking us on tours of senior living communities any time now.

Anywhoo, Larry did a great job of holding his arm still, and he has mended enough that he can do dishes sloooowly and carry laundry in his left hand and manage to get it in the washer, so I am sure we will be JUST FINE when I have surgery again this week.

Yeah, that came up fast, didn't it?

But first Brian graduated from college (I got to drive while Larry sat grimacing in the passenger seat, trying not to be in pain), and then we had a family graduation party (exhausting) and then there was Susie's birthday but she got COVID so we postponed the party until last Saturday, which was the same day Larry managed to drive back down to Brian's college town so Brian could load up the car by himself with all his worldly possessions and then Larry managed to drive all the way back up, but guys? A broken collarbone, even one on the mend, is just exhausting and painful, and I sure as heck hope I never have to go through that myself.

We've managed to be festive, despite setbacks, we're so brave


This would be the summer that we have 3 grown kids moving house, just when Larry cannot lift a single thing. Theo and his wife (SHE NEEDS A BLOG NAME, I KNOW) moved Brian to Philadelphia for us last weekend; Anna is rounding up her own crew of friends to move to Philly in July (look, that city is affordable, unlike most of the other ones around here); and luckily, Rachel will have her boyfriend and Theo and David (who will just happen to be visiting at that time) to help her move to her new place locally while I'm still laid up from surgery.

It's just...a lot, okay? I'm tired just thinking about it.

 Susie departed for a summer Americorps program today, leaving Larry and I to our decrepit selves as empty nesters for 10 weeks. Will we have fun? NO. He'll be washing dishes sloooowly and left-handedly doing the laundry, and I will be recovering from surgery and trying to get used to having no boobs and I guess doing whatever post-op PT they tell me to do. 

Oh, we had such plans! Even though we knew I'd be recuperating, Larry had joined a local paddlers association and was going to be out and about on weekends kayaking through the local waters; and then, at the end of the summer, we were going to head up to Acadia with the kayak on top of the camper van again, like last year, and he was going to paddle around up there while I would sit in peaceful solitude and knit.

Somehow, we don't think Larry will be up to lifting a 50-lb kayak over his head at the end of August, even if - as David suggested - he did want to paddle left-handedly in a circle.

David cracks me up sometimes.

I guess biking might be out, also.

This will most emphatically NOT be happening this year

So, yeah, the best-laid plans and all that, I this point we just hope not to become any more decrepit, we're not asking for much, right?

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

In Which I Learn Surgery Is A Real Thing

 I kept meaning to pop in to drop a quick line saying I was okay after surgery, but every time I thought about sitting up and typing at the computer, I got tired, so here we are, 9 days later.


I guess I was just making this erroneous assumption that laparoscopic surgery wasn't "real" surgery and that I'd be bouncing around like normal by Day 4 post-op. In retrospect, this was really dumb. I think this is the first day that my core muscles feel as though they might be working properly again, and I have no idea why they were knocked out, since, well, it was LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY and no one was slicing through all the muscles to get to the stuff they were taking out.

I just don't get it.

Vandals yarn bombed my home while I was in surgery

Anywhoo, I'm feeling somewhat normal now and a friend is coming by to take me for a very short real walk, now that I don't feel as though my stomach is falling out when I stand up, so that's good.

And everyone brought us food, which was really nice, because apparently anesthesia does a number on your brain and there's no way I would have told myself to eat without someone putting a plate of food right in front of me. Also, I kept repeating myself (FOR DAYS), to the point where my family would get worried looks on their faces while I was speaking.

Which isn't really fair, how am I supposed to remember what I said to whom? There were a bunch of people around and have I mentioned I had just had surgery?

Like, yarn bombed  A LOT

The surgery itself was great, because they knocked me out before they even started rolling me out of pre-op and I had no idea and that's the way I like it, for sure. I did spend the next 3 or 4 days completely freaked out by the whole concept of surgery, though. I mean, it's weird, right?


And, ha-ha, there's another surgery coming up. Yay. It's fine. Really.

Oh, and all the biopsies (because apparently they do those if your BRCA2 is mutated) came back clear/negative/however you say it. I feel very lucky.


Also grateful for knitting friends who like to let me know they're thinking about me

And that's all I've got right now, because the brain is still somewhat addled and I still get a little tired sitting up, because apparently that is all core strength and who knew? Not me, that's for sure; apparently, I've got a lot to learn.