stitchwhich: (age is a privilege)
Six years ago my husband had a massive heart attack - he coded out four times but they brought him back. Emergency surgery saved him. They put in a stent. Afterwards we were told that he had exhibited none of the classic risk patterns/behaviors except that he smoked cigarettes. His weight, blood pressure, pulse, cholesterol and so on were all normal, so the cardiologist was at a loss about how the attack could have happened. He said it was a nice normal heart - and that Bossman had taken no damage from the attack itself.

For six years Bossman has been going in for follow-up appointments to monitor his condition. Today he was told he is past the risk point for a recurrence and does not need to return for any more appointments.

So this Mabon is a celebratory day for more than one reason. Horray!
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
My mind is on recipes for Pennsic. Or rather, on changing my view of what is and isn't 'easy' to make for two busy people (or for hosting a small set of friends).

See, after realizing that we were going to have to replace our 35-year-old Coleman camp stove, we dithered a bit and finally, thanks to the Memorial Day sale going on at Bass Pro, plunked down the extra $100 to buy a propane stove-oven rather than just a stove. Yup, I now have a camp oven to mess with. Yes, it is modern and not my beloved Viking-era kitchen stuff but I don't mind at all... I've wanted it for about three years now. Just for the idea of freshly-baked bread and cinnamon rolls to serve my man. Not to mention his idea of the Ultimate Meal - meatloaf. (Yeah, I know.) So those items are easy to consider. But I've 40 years of 'we don't really bake while camping' mindset to overcome, along with my diabetes 'shouldn't eat much grain' daily diet, so what I thought I'd be cooking if I ever got the oven - casseroles, pastries, meat pies - are now not so interesting. And I'm hard-pressed to think of what I should be putting together for this Pennsic, when he's going to be busy as usual and I'm going to be a Deputy Mayor (less busy than as Quartermaster or Head Troll, but more busy than as a general watch stander.)

There is a quick-snack item that I love to make, apple slices rolled up in cinnamon sugar covered croissant wedges, which will be nice to have on hand for guests and quick grabs, and the same concept will work for small meat pies, but beyond that - what is possible? Fast to put together yet not filled with carbs? I am going to have to do some recipe-sleuthing. After all, I must justify to the man that the extra expense and packing hassle is worth it. Although I think meatloaf and cinnamon buns will probably do the trick.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I haven't been on LiveJournal for weeks. In fact, I think I've missed some posts because my "previous 20" button led to a blank page before I saw the last post I'd remembered reading. So there's that.

Our SCA Baron and Baroness are stepping down and they'd like new coronets for their successors. And for themselves, if we could get them before Pennsic so they won't be wearing about 5lbs of steel on their heads during that event. This involves fundraising. I volunteered to organise another 'luncheon booth' featuring a modern version of a 14th century Mongol-Chinese meat roll "Thin Rolled Pancakes". The more modern version is lumpia, a Philippine dish. Its wrappers are more consistent with the earlier version than eggroll wrappers are. So for the last two weeks I've been hosting lumpia rolling days at home. We've made a little over 2,000 of them to date with about 300-400 more to do. Then, in two weeks, we shall have a booth up at an event called "Golden Rose Tourney" and sell the cooked meat rolls to the populace. Assuming that the ones folks are pre-ordering (frozen so they can cook them at home) don't deplete our supplies too much. Which, honestly, I don't see happening except for specific types. We have special batches without onions, for example, since we know that many people are allergic to them.

I calculated the amount of carbs, protein, and calories for each roll. Mostly for myself, to be frank, but also for those who I know would feel they needed to skip the lumpia because it was "too fattening / too high in carbs". As it turns out, a regular (as opposed to "heavy fighter's") serving of three to four lumpia is one within the range of permissible for adult diabetics, and is a little under 300 calories but tastes a whole lot better than a sandwich with that many calories.

So, Busy. When not 'rolling', I am shopping for more supplies to prep for the following rolling session. (Oh! And in the process I stopped by Whole Foods to buy pine nuts and picked up some more skyr for myself, and had the happy discovery that a small carton of skyr has 20 grams of protein in it, more than the average protein bar does, and stil has fewer calories. Not to mention it tastes so much better. I was a happy woman until my supply ran out again.) Or delivering finished rolls to various people's houses to store in their freezers. And I talked our webminister into putting up a webpage for it:

I got to take a break during one weekend and spent it acting as a judge for the Jamestown Settlement's "Military Through the Ages" ( ). I really enjoyed myself. Part of that was the chance to spend time with a friend I rarely see (we judged together) and part of it was simply being able to evaluate a group's presentation and to get a chance to truly appreciate all the dedication that goes into creating an interpretation of a slice of history. I hope that I get to do it again.

Pushed myself hard, came down with the flu. I've spent the last two days trying to get my temperature down below 100f and have finally succeeded. All of a sudden food looked marvelous! I couldn't even look at food while I was fevered. Had less than 700 calories on the first day I was sick. Also lost 5 pounds so far but I know I'll find them again now that I'm feeling better.

Oh, and my latest CT scan showed an enlarged lymph node next to my heart. Which may be nothing to worry about or may be a secondary cancer, something fairly common among those of us with GIST. I'll know more next June after my next CT. Yeah - waiting that long. I'm not really digging it. Long ago I told myself that if the GIST returned or if I got some other form of cancer, I was going to take that as my sign from the Almighty that my time card had been punched. That was fine in theory for my hubby but now that we're looking at it as a possibility, he isn't interested in letting me stick to that. He says that as long as there is some form of treatment he wants me to fight. I am torn over this - I understand his grief and fear, but at the same time, I don't want to live the last bit of my life sick and suffering through another round of treatments only to come out in the end more damaged than I was before we started. This ole body has lasted through some awful stuff but I wouldn't mind trading it in for something a little more comfortable and painfree, although I am sure I'd miss those I love dreadfully.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I want to post about what is going on with me, or rather 'the most immediate thing that is going on in my world', but it is actually too private to be throwing out here into the aether. Suffice it to say that I am now enrolled in a weekly support group, to help me sort out issues which will decide the direction of my future life.

Yeah, vaguebooking, I know. I'm sorry. One of the things I brought home with me tonight was a sharp awareness that I have absolutely no one to talk to about what I am going through. Possibly I could talk with one of our sons but it seems very wrong to ask one's child to be one's comforter.

Speaking of 'one's child' - our Eldest and his sweetie flew out from Las Vegas a week before Thanksgiving. We had some family laughter around the table (first stop - all the eateries that have been missed) and then drove up to the DC area to attend an event (Holiday Faire, where I 'merchanted') and visit with a few young people who'd grown up in the SCA with our children. That was fun but rushed - except for Sunday afternoon, which Bossman and I spent in a Fairfax Barnes and Noble while the 'kids' went sight-seeing. We'd stayed in a hotel near the event site but the younger set overnighted in the townhouse now owned by one of them. So we were 45 minutes away and in a poor position to try to time it to join them for the sightseeing. The elderly (sic) slept in, had a leisurely brunch, and then settled in at B&N. Which was having a kid's event and was absolutely packed. So packed, in fact, that I ended up sitting in our truck for the last hour, napping and reading. It was so much more peaceful there!

The rest of the week was spent shopping, helping our Vegasites gather supplies for her family's Christmas celebration. There is no "5 & Below" in Las Vegas, with its bargain prices for handy gifts. We visited three different ones here, taking in all the variety to ensure that they had all their list provided for. As it was, they ended up having to pay shipping costs for a large package via UPS, and for extra luggage when they left - and yet they were gleeful about the amount of money they'd saved. Or more truthfully, gleeful that the same amount they'd set aside paid for things of better quality than they'd hoped for, even after the additional shipping fees.

And I taught her how to sew. They flew out on her birthday, with her knowing that our Eldest was going to give her a sewing machine when they got home. He wisely gave her an "IOU" so she could choose which model she wanted. Me, I gave her "The Idiot's Guide to Sewing".

Oh - and the PET scan my husband had has been interpreted by the radiologist. We haven't seen the oncologist to hear it officially, but the scan showed no evidence of surviving cancer cells. He still has a huge mass of scar tissue where the tumor once was, which will most likely not be re-absorbed into his body, and the four ribs are going to stay divided into parts, which blows for ease of movement along his left side, but still - the cancer is dead.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Busy week so far... the important part of it was that Bossman is starting radiation therapy. Funny how they never say cancer. )
In happier news, I'm sewing a commissioned piece for a nine-month-old baby. I'm behind schedule and am vexed with myself over that, but I have to admit that there were a couple of days of 'just holding on' mentally after the first visit to the radiologist's. It takes a while to process and accept large doses of reality, doesn't it?

The mother wants to do the embroidery on it so I only have to construct the basic gown - it is Anna's blue dress from "Frozen". The mother wants it to be adjustable to fit the child now and when she's a tad larger, but that is easy enough to accommodate thanks to the wonders of Velcro. I'm making the 'outer bodice' of black flannel (black velvet isn't in the stores yet and besides, it is almost always acrylic. Hadn't seen un-cut corduroy, either) so I can easily stitch two tapes of the soft side of the Velcro down the back of the gown to create one wide bit so the mom can close the outfit at whichever point the child needs. I'll be putting in the weird scalloped hem, which posed a problem in how to create a skirt that could be let out for length, but I think I've solved that problem too. Thank goodness the skirt isn't a full gathered one but only a slightly-wider A-line. I believe I can create a tuck all around the top section below where it will join the inner bodice, and then hand-tack it up to the bodice's interior. Then mom will only have to undo the taking to get a longer gown and her embroidered flowers at the hem will not be disturbed.

I was referred by my doctor to a non-surgical weight loss clinic. Pffft! After two messages left on an answering machine with no responses (I did give the office 48 hour following each one), I drove there. It seems they've been getting a lot of patients and have a waiting list - which I would not presently be 'in line to be put on' if I hadn't walked into their office so the receptionist would enter me into their computer. She apologised for not responding to either of my calls. There is only one doctor and her nurse on that side of the clinic and very few support staff members. All of Sentara's (the medical facility) attention and funds, it appears, are concentrated on the surgical side, where I saw the names of five doctors listed. Of course that would follow - quick money, quick turnaround. So in two weeks, approximately, I should get a call from the receptionist to put me on the 'real' waiting list, and I can expect to hear sometime after the New Year when I might be able to begin the program. Yeah. So I called the other hospital system's non-surgical office... and talked to an answering machine.

I expect that part of the frustration is built-in on purpose, to encourage patients to pursue surgical treatment. I'm just going to have to be stoic about this. In the meanwhile, my disgust is fueling a stronger desire to get back on the weight-loss train rather than spinning my wheels as I have been while I've been chair-bound. Just for the satisfaction of walking in and saying "while I've been waiting to actually get in this program, I've lost ____ number of pounds. But I still need help developing an exercise regime to correct the damage from the chemo period and build strength in my body."
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
This was medical week for us. Oh, and Heraldic Week, too, because I've been slow about getting stuff done. But on the medical front -

I met with my Oncologist's PA, who has approved my Gleevec-free life. I've been eating grapefruit as if they were really grapes. I expect that some of you will shudder at the idea but I've missed them over the last three years and I'm making up for lost time. I'll be going in for another CT scan this month to check for new growths, which will be a common thing for the first couple of years after the therapy ends. But as it is now, I'm officially in remission.

Bossman's tumor shrank in the last month from 18.5x18x6.5cm to 10x3.5x2cm. His Oncologist's PA actually danced a bit when she read the results to us. There was no mention about it possibly having shifted location but we're suspecting now that the pain he is feeling is not actually from the tumor but from the four damaged ribs - one is fractured and three are 'compromised'. They've been eaten away in spots by the tumor. Just think of them as broken too. They will most likely heal themselves but can't start until the chemo is over, so he'll be in a 'broken rib state' probably until the new year. I hate that he will be in unremitting pain for so long. It will be over a year of it by the time those ribs heal. Wow. But except for the weakness and temper-flares brought on by the chemo's attack on his body, he's doing very well. "His numbers are fine" and he has enough energy to continue to try to do things like working full work-weeks and adding lawn-mowing and such on top of that. Granted, the house-stuff is being done at a much slower rate than he'd like, and he spends a great deal of time resting in his easy chair, but we can't complain.

I'm still having trouble with weakness in my legs when I'm standing. It has faded a bit since the Gleevec was discontinued but hasn't gone away. I want it to! But I'm up from 20 minutes of standing to about 45, so I'll keep pushing the envelope and get it back to normal. I don't want to be eligible for a handicapped sticker after this one expires, no matter how handy they are during the shopping season!
stitchwhich: (did she?)
I've a sewing project just started. I shouldn't have it as I've got two already entrain but the need is there. Currently our newest day-trip cooler is naked - naked I tell you - with no wardrobe. Bright plastic blue naked. I've cut out a short cover of lovely-patterned gold, rust, and black upholstery fabric to drape slightly over the top with a lighter-weight solid gold brocade skirting. We hit JoAnn's Fabrics for upholstery braiding to cover the edge of the top... oh my. The twisted rope for edging the braid wasn't too expensive but the tassels to hang from the bottom! $29.99 a yard! Which we didn't notice until they were ringing up my two yards. I nearly swooned. For a cooler-cover! The salesclerk used her discount card to bring the price down a bit. Or rather, a lot. We'll be treasuring that cover, I can tell you. The braided tassel trim, btw, looks like the trim seen here: . As you'd guess, knowing me, there will be no plaid involved in our project. But it should look very luxurious hanging across the gold skirting with the Ottoman patterned top spread above it. Maybe I should take a picture of our 'little boudoir stool" when I'm done with it. (That is what it will look like. Or a Victorian's interpretation of a 'medieval' table skirted so one is not forced to view the table's "limbs".)

There is a cleaning service for cancer patients that has agreed to come to the house and clean once a month for four months. They should be contacting me in a few days to make the actual arrangements. I am so relieved. Physically I am too weak to keep things up as I ought and right now so is Bossman. The dust level is growing. If all they do is simply vacuum and dust, I will rain blessings upon them. I can keep sinks and other porcelain facilities clean - I bought the 'make it easy' tools for those - but it would be sweet to have the shower really scrubbed rather than just rubbed down with a scrubbing bubbles and the long-handled hard sponge thingy I have. That works 'okay' but not 'great'. Mostly, though, I really, really, want the bookshelves (four walls worth, from floor to ceiling, in two rooms and the hallway) dusted. Clean.

In related news, my oncologist has taken me off of the Gleevec earlier than we had planned. It is only seven weeks early but I'm so grateful for it. I should be sleeping better in a few days and able to stand for longer periods shortly after that. And the nausea is due to stop, oh, tomorrow, probably. Maybe the next day. By Friday when Bossman goes in for his second chemo, I should be better rested and less emotionally fragile. The stress has been building too much for me to cope with, stupidly. Tears come too easily over minor things.

I'm such a wuss. )
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I am finally rested... and am getting back to work on Things Long Neglected. Ooofff... there are piles of paper getting the stink-eye even as I work on other stuff. (And with the sending of one email, I may be getting the stink-eye in a day or so.)

The last of the piled-up dishes are washed and put away. Laundry continues apace. The vacuum cleaner made a surprise visit and unsurprisingly, the house smells better for it. The Bossman was roused out of his chair and chivvied into a shower and street clothes, then taken to our (regular and therefore easy to judge 'I want it but will this stay where it belongs') standard restaurant for a birthday brunch. Followed by a side trip to the grocery store for supplies for tomorrow's attempt at a return to work. He is now resting bonelessly in his easy chair while I catch up on email and computer work.

I believe I have given up on the idea of purchasing a new desktop computer until autumn. I'd like to, but the budget, thanks to our co-pays for medical costs, isn't going to stretch to that as well as a new pavilion for Pennsic, and if I have any hope at all of bringing my man to Pennsic, we need the new single (combined use) tent which will replace the three we've been using for our camp. I just plain can't set up and furnish (and tear down and repack) three tents. So I am diverting my computer funds to the pavilion fund. If I'm lucky, and if I can keep my energy levels up well enough, I should be able to merchant at a couple of events this spring and finish building that fund as well as (maybe) getting a start on a computer one. We'll see.

If it turns out that he cannot handle Pennsic camping (we won't know until midMay, most likely), then I will be going alone in a 10x10 Viking A-frame. That would be challenging! I'd be camping with basically the same set up as I'd use while doing reenacting, only for two weeks rather than two-five days.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
During Family Time we discovered that using either "Winter chai" tea or "Cinnamon tea" greatly enhances the flavor of the not-so-good instant chai in my cupboard. I had it in stock thanks to an autumnal camping season (because "hot and not coffee" is sometimes more important than "my god, it isn't 'Oregon Chai' - ugh!".) I recognize that chai = tea but I'm going with the American-ignorant names used on the products. Anyway, brewing the spiced teas and then using the instant mix for creaming & sugar worked well and was wonderfully welcome during our snowed-in period.I, on the other hand, drank hot cider. :)

During that period, we (the younger set and I) made Lego buildings. Yes, yes we did. After we tore down all of my "Winter Village" sets, which I neglected to photograph while they were up. Oops. We were crazy, I think, but we actually managed to build all of the 'city' sets that I owned, with the added bonus of the arrival of the newest one coming just after the snow began to melt. Then we made a 'town', even going so far as to buy fabric for a base and a backdrop. Photos were taken and my Eldest actually made a video-tour of the 'city block' that we constructed. I have no idea how he's going to get that long video from his phone to a computer, but it looks great. As a tease, here is the single (blurry) photo I took of our set-up while we were still tweaking it. I stopped trying to photograph anything once Zack & Mylissa got their phones out and went camera-crazy. They've promised to post the results and I'll share their better pictures when I get them. (They'd better hurry, too, because I am itching to see those photos!)

stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I guess 'dread' is not as 'on hold' as I thought. During my active hours, I don't think about Bossman's illness much beyond what we need to take care of next. But when I'm trying to sleep all the worst-case scenerios play out, over and over, driving me from the bed to the computer or a book. This will likely pass after we get through this week.

He couldn't sleep in the bed last night. The pressure on his ribcage was too painful and it has caused swelling again. He bundled up on his easy chair and fell asleep there. Now he's still in that chair, watching "What Decided the Shapes of our States" or some such title, lulling away the day with tidbits of trivia. I'm working on heraldry stuff that needs to get done although I suspect I'll be joining him for some TV later when my brain goes to mush.

I and some friends made chawettys on Wendesday and I mistakenly boiled too many eggs, all of which I peeled before we did the assembling of the chawettys. I had egg salad sandwiches for lunch AND dinner yesterday... we have about a gallon of egg bits still to use (I already chopped them up). I'll be making more egg salad in a little while since Bossman didn't get any yesterday and wanted some. I wonder how long hard boiled eggs last in a sealed container in the fridge. If they could last until the kids get here next Sunday, I know that the boys would decimate the supply. But a week & a half already chopped? I don't know about that. Right now the chopped eggs aren't mixed with mayo or anything as I've been taking out a measured amount to use one batch at a time. I should go to the SCA cook's list and see if anyone knows how long those suckers are safe.
stitchwhich: (Happy buttons)
Today my husband was my hero in a way that only husbands can be... When we bought this house over 20 years ago, we selected bathroom fixtures (well, TP holder, towel racks, that sort of thing) made of wood & bronze. They still look very nice, actually, even though we're going to end up getting rid of them when we're done putting in new walls. So it is silly to buy a new holder at this point.

But our toilet paper holder is one of those kinds without a bar holding the roll. Instead there are tabs on each side that support the cardboard roll that the paper is wrapped around. Except they don't. Because in one of those (typical) marketing ploys, TP companies are reducing the amount of paper they produce by shortening the actual length of the roll. Sure, they are fatter in volume, to look oh-so-tempting, but they are also about 3/4 of an inch shorter in length than they once were. TP doesn't stay on our holder any longer. I've dealt with this over the last couple of years by carefully comparing roll height at the store and cutting an insert to use during the times I've gone soft-headed and bought a package of short rolls.

well - they're ALL short rolls now. So for the last month and a half we've had a combination insert & roll sitting bare between the tabs with a new roll placed on top of it as if it were a shelf. It drives me nuts.

Until today, when I awoke to find a PVC pipe carefully cut to fit between the tabs and thin enough to slide a roll onto 'like normal'.

It is the little things...
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