Wednesday, August 31, 2022

As hard as I try...

The next couple of weeks are to be all about packing, to move on the 18th. I really have little to pack, so that's good.

One thing I need not pack is my trusty credit card. Sunday morning the first message that greeted me wanted to know if I made a certain purchase. "Yes" and you're good to go; "No" and your credit card is suspended. You guessed the answer. A new card will be in your hands in five days.

In the meantime, I must reserve a moving truck and give them a down payment. It's the same company that moved me the last couple of times, and Tammy said "That's OK; you're truck is reserved.

I need groceries by Friday, or I will be eating at my sister's. I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow. I always put that on my debit card, which could bottom out now. And worst of all, I have to refill my $300 script and that always goes on the credit card! I could wish the damn little thief would rot in hell, but we know that will never happen. 

Tuesday I went to the orthopedic place to be fitted for the foot brace that will lift my toe. I like Laura, the orthidic specialist. I was her last patient of the day, and she was completely willing to review all my options with me. In short, my lack of exercise has caught up with me; I need to develop stronger legs and hips to effectively use the brace. So, I will. 

I may even spring for a bathing suit (on the new credit card) and use the pool at The Atrium. Or not. Here I am waiting for Laura to sort out the braces.

In the meantime, I've begun packing. The studio will be the worst, but the thread is done. Here is a little yellow flower I found in the drive. Yellow is happy.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Research complete

There has been a lot of thinking in my room, lately. The thinking has centered around winter, and what I might do to get through it. A couple of doctors recently have offered me annual visits, not semi-annual. I accepted without second thought--it doesn't snow in August!

According to The Farmer's Almanac, northeastern Ohio is in for it. Unreasonably cold and snowy. I live about where the last "a" is located in that statement on the map. Last winter also was unreasonably cold and snowy. We had 20" of snow accumulated in the drive outside the garage; any car left in there would have been snowbound.

On the other hand, that same 20" was moved in increments from the hundred foot sidewalk to the top parking area, and then piled higher and higher around the two or three cars parking there. I didn't want to deal with one flake of it this winter, and by the time I thought of it, neither did any of the snow removal outfits that worked in the township. No plow company would take on the job.

Another problem is my solitude. I like it too much. I need someone to say "Let's go for a walk!" "Let's go to the gym!" And in my usual in for a dime, in for a dollar, I decided it's time to go all the way.

I've spent a deal of time these last couple of weeks interviewing independent living facilities. I had to know if they could accommodate my business, my car, my deliveries, and then all my wants, like a card game, a gym, a studio apartment.

The most common strike-out was a waiting list. Next was lack of the size/price point I wanted. Several offered the next size up at reduced rent, but I have become so leery of rental agents, no thanks. These places are all owned by people interested in profit. Then there was the right size, on the second floor, without an elevator.

I kept my eye on a community that looked perfect on paper (actually, the internet). I exchanged texts with the Community Coordinator; she would return my call the next day, the next day, the next day; she was swamped with tours. An assistant did call to offer apologies and we set up an appointment for yesterday, the last tour of the day, though there were two on the schedule for today, Saturday.

Jan came with me; two old ladies on canes. The Coordinator was personable and knowledgeable. I patiently sat through the sales pitch, and all I wanted to do was see the room I knew was still available. The boxes I needed ticked were. 

When we came to car and snow, the concierge will clean your car and drive it around to the main entrance for you. "We keep snow cleared; safety is first!" It actually says that on their front page: 'A senior living community specializing in "quality of life with safety in mind."' I almost signed on the dotted line right there. But I still needed to see the room.

Bigger than my current digs. The Coordinator was pointing out where the previous tenant had positioned his bed, his sofa, his blablabla. And I said to Jan, "The bed goes into this walk in closet, plus my clothes.

There is a storage area across from my door to store all the wheel chairs and walking aids and other miscellaneous I have accumulated. The community laundry room is one more door down.

Three enormous windows are positioned along the wall behind the "bed". The first two windows are set into an alcove; the third has a very deep window seat in the alcove in front of it. Something mechanical is enclosed by that window seat, and I asked the Coordinator to learn what. 

I asked my sister, "What would love to occupy that window?", and she said "You tell me; I'm not putting any ideas into your head!"

"A cat!"

"You can't have Toby; Bek loves that cat!"

"I know, and he's all hers!" I asked the Coordinator, "Pets allowed?"

She answered "Small dogs and cats."

"Sounds like a calico to me," I said to Jan.

Deal done. Sometime in September I will be in the last efficiency in The Atrium of Aurora. Ohio, that is.


Friday, August 19, 2022

Another medical comedy (of errors)

I may have mentioned I have another bone density test scheduled, and I'm looking forward to it. My oldest daughter has been diagnosed with the same brittle bones I have, and like me has hesitated to take any of the several drugs on the market said to strengthen bones. She is anxious to know my results since the Reclast infusion early this year.

Actually, I have had three bone density tests scheduled, to date. I was leaving the house for the first test and was called to reschedule because they didn't have an operator to make the test. I was called to reschedule the second because the machine was broken.

The third was scheduled for last week. At the lab desk I said I was there for my bone density. She couldn't find it. Flipping through my calendar, I saw it, same date, one month in advance. My mistake. Worse yet, I had another appointment that day, so I made a new appointment, even further out.

And so I told the scheduler, as long as I was there, send me for my blood draw for my thyroid appointment next week. And you know that outcome--no standing order. So I was assigned an extra dexamethasone test, which required a blood draw by nine this morning. The purpose of this test is to find if my adrenals are making hormones they should not be making. I did this test about ten years ago.

I got a move on this morning and actually showed up at the lab by 8:30 a.m. The young, new scheduler pulled me up on the screen. Then he consulted a piece of paper, then he consulted his supervisor, in another room. Then he came back and said "We don't do that test here. They only do it downtown. He didn't know why it wasn't done here anymore; maybe because it had to be frozen.

So, I waited my turn for the lab, went in, was stuck and was walking out when I noticed that of the three racks the technician was sorting little tubes of newly collected blood into, one said "frozen". I turned and asked my tech about the rack of "frozen" vs. the blood test I couldn't have. 

She kindly looked it up, and said "The test ordered for you has to be flash frozen. They actually carry it to the next room at once and flash freeze it. They only do that test down town."

I couldn't even go to one of the several other Cleveland Clinic labs to have this done; I'd have to go downtown, to the main hospital. That involves scheduling an appointment, getting a ride, getting a wheel chair, reversing the transportation after the bloodwork to get home.

As I emailed the doctor, what you get is what you get. I do not go downtown.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

A short night tonight

This will be a ramble rant; probably more of the former than the latter. Many years ago I was subjected to floor to ceiling scanning and a node on an adrenal gland was noticed. I have discovered in my encounters with emergency centers, if they have opportunity to scan you top to bottom, they do. The first time was in conjunction with my stroke.

So anyway, I have an endocrinologist, who is in charge of keeping my thyroid in line, and I see him every six months. I need to have blood work done before I go, and so I went to the clinic to do that last week for an appointment to see him this week.

My standing order had run out! I fired off an unhappy email to him and he answered he'd put in a new order, and an order for adrenal labs. I responded Why? It keeps turning up the same size, scan after scan. Well, he said, it could be making hormones we can't find in a scan. He would prescribe a pill to take at night and have the blood draw no later than nine the next morning.

Well hold the phone. I'm barely eating breakfast at nine. What are my alternatives? And so help me, not twenty four hours later, just maybe 4 minutes later her replied The 24 Hour Urine Test.

Not the Pee Test! Now I recall ten years ago when faced with the 9 a.m. blood draw, opting cheerfully for the Pee Test. If you have ever done it, you know. If you have not done it, you really don't want to.  I know, and don't want to do it again. 

My problem with it is, schlepping that gallon jug of pee to the lab and sitting until your turn in the waiting room, surrounded by blood draw folks, with a gallon of pee between your feet. And there is no question that bottle holds anything but pee.

I have decided, since there were no suspects in 24 hours of pee ten years ago and it's been the same little node in many scans since, there probably will be no suspects in this 9 a.m. pill pee test. I'm 79; in ten years I'll be 89 and the next time this subject comes up, I'll just refuse. With any luck my endo doc will be retired by then.

OK, that's the story. Thanks for listening. I'm about to search my albums for an illustration. What can I find?

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Who is the social head of your family?

This weekend I attended a very nice family celebration, so reminiscent of my entire childhood. Back then my mom presided over the family activities; she was the glue that held us all together. All that was missing this weekend, beside all those old familiar relatives, was a lively card game around the picnic table.

Here is a picture Shelly's best friend took for me. From left to right, my daughter, Shelly; my sister, Janice; myself, the long time writer of this blog; and my daughter, Beth.

We were at Shelly's house to celebrate Shelly's graduation from Ursuline College with an MSN degree; she is a nurse practitioner. The state boards, her last requirement, are set for a month from now.

Shelly is the mother of four of my grandchildren, one of whom lives here in this house where I rent a room. Kay, the house owner, has become the ad hoc guardian of that grandchild, too old to legally need a guardian, but her attention is appreciated. Many long time readers will remember I had custody of those three youngest children until each became 18 years of age.

Beth is the mother of my other two grandchildren, Francis and Caroline. France begins his second year of college in a few more days and Caroline starts her first year in a few days. Some of you followed France on his hiking and biking adventures. He wrote a blog, Summit, on a difficult to access platform, covering his trips on trails in this country (the Great Divide Mountain bike trail, Canada to Mexico) and the Ho Chi Min trail in Vietnam, all before he turned 18. That one made his mother crazy. 

Caroline begins college at Macalester, in St. Paul, Minnesota this year. She's the one for whom I took up sweater knitting again, though France in Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, probably qualifies for cold, too. I have no current pictures of these two, or of any grandchildren, these days. I perused Facebook for some old pictures. 

Here are Francis, Beth, my dear friend Ruth, who is the mother of my son-in-law, Bill, to Ruth's left. They met France somewhere in the Appalachians, at the end of a Francis bike trip, to drive him home. Or perhaps they met him for lunch and he pedaled his way home.

I thought I had a current picture of Caroline, a camera avoider, but I cannot seem to find it. Here she is a few years ago, on one of her father's backpacking trips. She lost no time finding other places to go, like to Grandma Ruth's house.

Her mother is taking the picture. Caroline is the epitome of enthusiasm here. She has grown to a sterling young woman who would have a place in that very first picture. I named that picture The Lytle Women, as each of us is unquestionably a descendent of my parents. Beth named her daughter Caroline Lenore, in honor of that grandparent, and Caroline is my mother's great granddaughter, for sure.

When Ruth, Caroline and I go to lunch this Tuesday, I'll do my best to get a picture of the three of us. I bet Caroline can do selfies.

Friday, August 12, 2022

A blunder of errors

I was not looking forward to yesterday. In the afternoon I would have the second two of four cavities, spread across four teeth, remediated. How does one come up with four cavities, you inquire. My best guess involves six or seven weeks on my back, access to a toothbrush few and far between. None weight bearing broken femur...

Not my mistake. I saw an aid at best two days out of three.

Anyway, as unfortunate as I counted the day of dental remediation, the fickle finger of fate interposed herself to unscrew some dumb errors to my granddaughter's medical calendar. It began with a phone call from upstairs, where my granddaughter has an adequate den across the front of the house.

"Grandma, I know you have a dental appointment this afternoon, but I wonder..." I love that sort of phone call. I find my sister and my daughters willing to grant favors, but it often does not extend to grandchildren.

After a bit of schedule checking on both parts, it was very apparent my granddaughter had lucked into a ride to and from her very own dental appointment in another city, though not for an afternoon appointment for another doctor appointment. "It's OK, Gramma; I can Uber that one."

Unbeknownst to Ms. Lucky Ducky, I intended to send her on two errands as we drove home from her appointment; nip into Dollar Tree and buy a new bottle of Tylenol for me, and into Kreigers for four apples. Turnabout is fair play.

I parked across from a reconstituted building: Belltower Brewing Company, the First Congregational Church one hundred fifty years ago, now a brew-pub. The cast bell, forged in 1867, rings the hour, every hour. I took a picture. My phone rang.

"Grandma, they forgot to put me on the schedule, but can work me in in about an hour. I guess I could Uber home."

Since my appointment was 2:30 in the afternoon, I said I would wait. She was so happy. When she arrived, I told her about the Tylenol and apples. "We could get the Tylenol right at the gas station there!" and I pulled in. I dug in my purse, found four singles, and off she went. In no time she was back with a little box of six Tylenol and less than a dollar in change. I invited her to keep the 'silver' for herself.

When I was over myself we headed for her other appointment in Hudson, and had fun working into Hudson via the back roads from Kent. I realized I could cut through the shopping plaza, get four apples from Acme and get her to her next appointment with an hour to spare.

Things were looking up. I sent her with a card this time, and four nice apples set me back $3.46. I had one for lunch today. Juicy and crunchy. Very good. We'll see if the Tylenol work. I was too beat up from my appointment to take any yesterday.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Catching up with myself

Saturday was the next to last show at Heritage Farm. Although satisfactory, sales have not met expectations, and after four shows, I believe I can blame it on the economy.

Beth has been a wonderful sidekick, but she does not want to do this next year, which leaves me pondering. I was up and down from my chair so much, waiting on customers, I felt like I was doing the therapy exercise, Stand Up, Sit Down (don't plop); Stand Up, Sit Down (don't plop). 

By the end of the day I had far exceeded a week's worth, and Sunday I was so limber I threw myself into some much needed housework. A commitment to next year is not needed until year's end, so I'll keep weaving and thinking.

I've been able to take some lovely end of summer pictures this week. Here are a couple:

Silly that I like them a lot, but the allium frames are still standing, though denuded of their giant flower heads.

This picture has focus issues. I believe the white flower must be allium, but not giant.

I am trying to make a new type of page for my blog; a page with pictures in rows, not just one column. It seems to be a matter of switching to HTML and making a grid similar to an Excel grid. I'm not great in Excel, but think I can manage.

And last, I finally sorted down to the denim thread, and they are in process.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

The Workshop - Sewing Girl" - Carl Larsson


Carl Larsson was a Swedish painter, primarily representing the Arts and Crafts movement. He is principally known for his watercolors of idyllic family life. He had a childhood of poverty and indignity; the family was often evicted from the current revolting housing. His father, a casual laborer, cursed the day Larsson was born, and Larsson harbored a lifetime hatred of the man. His mother worked as a laundress to keep the family fed.

Carl Larsson's life took a better turn when a teacher at the school for the poor encouraged him to apply to Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. It took him some time to feel settled in and accepted there, but he gained confidence and was promoted through the school.

He worked as an illustrator and graphic artist and his wages even helped support his parents. He settled into the Scandinavian Artist colony outside Paris, where he met his wife, Karin Bergoo. The couple had eight children, and the family were Larsson's favorite models. Many of the interiors he painted were the work of Karin Larsson, an interior designer.

Through his paintings and books, their Little House interiors became world famous and a major line in Swedish design. The house is now in the family and open to tourists May through October. The room in this painting is The Workshop. It was the main gathering room, and when the family outgrew it, Larsson built a new Workshop. Karin at once took over the old Workshop as her own, and it remained a gathering place.

It is surmised this watercolor is of Karin, hemming towels for a daughter's wedding.

The first time I used this piece, we moved around the room naming all we saw. The room reminded me of our first studio, with looms and sewing machines, plants, and tables. I did not see the gun on the back wall until it was pointed out to me. 

Knowing more of Carl Larsson's life and family, it makes sense now. Larson lived from 1853 to 1919. This was a family room in a rural setting in Sundborn. The gun was a practical implement to save the family garden from animal marauders and stock the stewpot. 

If you call up Carl Larsson on the internet, you will find pages of his images and this room in many, including a spinning wheel and a weaver at the loom. There is a watercolor of Karin at the sewing machine. 

My thanks to Cathy at StillWaters, who first sent me a link to the picture.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Rube Goldberg fix

I hope many of us remember Rube Goldberg, the sculptor, engineer, author, inventor, and most of all (for me) the cartoonist. At my grandparent's home on Sundays, the comics of the Cleveland papers far exceeded those of my hometown Akron papers. One of the best always was Rube Goldberg and his elaborate methods to achieve a common end.

You may recall that oversight on the part of both participants in the last warping of my loom left the weaver (me) with a problem to resolve when encountered, namely two threads missing in the warp.

There are two threads, exiting the coffee can, crossing the breast beam and the heavy cotton apron. Then they go...

through the tension box that otherwise is used on the back beam to guide thread into the bouts. Ignore the prescription bottles, they are solving a different problem.

And the two threads come up and join the threads of the bout being woven into very decent towels on this convoluted warp.

There they are, just two more threads in the warp, only special by how they arrived.

This time I've weaving khaki, the color of my father's army uniforms. They may be finished for the show on Saturday. Or not.

I used the tension box solely to put tension on those two threads. It turns out the coffee can and the trip over the breast beam and especially the cotton apron provide enough tension; I could have eliminated the tension box all together. Or not.