Monday, December 02, 2019

ODDS and ENDS

Digging around in some storage boxes the other day, I came across the following bits and pieces.

#1 - A card containing Mother Shipton's predictions, something my Grandma kept in her dressing table drawer, passed on to my mother, then via her to me. My 10-year old blog post about Mother Shipton and her prophecies is HERE. These are words of her predictions, as printed on the card.






#2 - A photograph taken at the blacksmith's shop in Gretna Green, part of a coach trip with my mother in the early 1990s, after Dad had died. Gretna Green became famous as the venue of many "shotgun marriages" in the days when stringent English law on marriage caused couples, desperate to tie the knot, to escape to Scotland where marriage laws were much less strict. Gretna Green was the first place over the English/Scottish border, the blacksmith's shop was the first building travellers encountered. The town now makes a pretty penny from tourists! Our trip included a stop at the blacksmith's shop, with opportunity for a fun photograph depicting a runaway marriage. In the photo below the guy seated with the shotgun - playing bride's father, was my late partner (for over 30 years), the lady seated (in the role of bride's mother) is my mother. I am in the crowd - behind and between the top hat of the rather elderly groom and a girl wearing a striped jacket.



#3
A photograph I took on one of our many trips to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. One evening I must have noticed the setting Sun in just the right place for this:

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Another Holiday in the USA, 28 November 2019





I am exceptionally thankful to still be around on planet Earth in 2019, and able to post this greeting to any passing readers in the USA!

Monday, November 18, 2019

MAKE IT STOP!

The usually peaceful town of Duncan, Oklahoma, where I've lived for 15 years, today has become part of the growing list of places where lack of sufficient gun control has taken its toll. According to reports, 3 people were fatally shot this morning at the Walmart store here.

Senator Chris Murphy, in 2012, wrote important words, quoted in full in my post HERE - including:

"None of this is inevitable. I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America. It is uniquely and tragically American. As long as our nation chooses to flood the county with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into the hands of dangerous people, these killings will not abate.

"As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets. Ask yourself – how can you claim that you respect human life while choosing fealty to weapons-makers over support for measures favored by the vast majority of your constituents.

"My heart breaks for Sutherland Springs. Just like it still does for Las Vegas. And Orlando. And Charleston. And Aurora. And Blacksburg. And Newtown. Just like it does every night for Chicago. And New Orleans. And Baltimore. And Bridgeport. The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic. The time is now for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something."

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Just a Few Lines...

Just a few decades ago, when what we now refer to as "snail mail" was our main means of written communication, "Just a few lines...." would often begin our pen and paper missives to friends and relatives. Or, perhaps: "Dear... I hope you are well. Just a few lines to let you know...." Not very original but a helpful way to get started, pen in hand.

All of which was simply to say that these are just a few lines to record that my CT scan, last week, turned out better than my darkest doubts had imagined. A nurse, with directions from the oncologist, called me to say that the scan indicated that there have been no negative changes, in the chest, abdomen and pelvic areas, since my last scans. The problem in my left femur, causing pain-when-walking, has remained stable. I'd have liked that to have improved some, but am thankful for small mercies. The radiation oncologist (a different doctor) had indicated to me that, if requested, he would give the left hip/thigh area another shot or two of radiation. I am considering that option, will contact him for his further opinion after he, too, has seen the scan results.

I worried non-stop about those flippin' scan results! Drove myself into a bag of nerves during last weekend. I'm now feeling more relaxed (until the next time). I dread those kinds of waiting times; procedures I can deal with, it's the not knowing that really gets to me.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Stuff Done

The past week has seemed filled with "stuff to do" that was not sufficiently interesting to write about at length: follow-up appointment with radiologist (skin all healed well after radiation treatments in August). Dentist appointment for a filling. Appointment for a CT scan to discover whether any changes have taken place for good or ill during past 6 months. Haven't had result yet. Letters and numerous garbled phone calls about my grant towards cost of Ibrance medication running out. Efforts made to obtain a fresh grant. Finding a way to fax our last tax return in relation to the grant issue. Having faxed it, more garbled phone calls in relation to same. I say "garbled" because most of the time I cannot understand what the person at the other end of the line is saying. They are usually carrying out lists of routine contacts, gabbling their lines at top speed. I thought that it was an accent problem, but no, my husband has the same difficulty. Nobody is taught how to speak on the phone, in a professional way, these days - or if they are, the lessons are soon forgotten!

Then it was Hallowe'en.

We had only two trick or treaters this year, one of whom was my husband's great-granddaughter, Serenity, with her grandparents. It seems that the old-fashioned Hallowe'en customs have, at last, been overtaken by more communal and organised dress-up occasions care of churches, schools or other societies. It was an unusually cold evening here too, which didn't entice young visitors travelling on foot. Here is great-granddaughter Serenity, with husband and I - he got all dressed up for the occasion too. :)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Various Goings On


The weather here in southern Oklahoma is, at last, after days of temperatures in the 80s, acting in more autumnal fashion. Today it's actually cool to cold outside - 49 degrees, windy with a storm in the offing. The trees haven't yet donned their fall colours, after a few more of these cooler nights, it'll happen.



In other news, a routine blood test on 16 October, to discover how the targeted therapy medications are affecting my blood quality, showed that the white cell count was below desired minimum - same for platelets. Oncologist told me to take a second week off the Ibrance capsules - these are routinely taken for 21 days with 7 days off each month. This time I had 14 days off. Blood test yesterday showed figures had bounced back to an acceptable level, so off I go again with the Ibrance. I'm to have a CT scan next week - to check whether much has changed for good or for ill since my last scans around 6 months ago. Not looking forward to that!



The problems I had in obtaining a refill of my pain medication last month happily did not recur this time. Our usual pharmacy has changed their wholesaler. The medications I take for pain-while-walking now come from a different generic manufacturer. I was worried that these might be even less effective than those I've been taking, but, though it's a little early to be sure, I do suspect that these might be a tad more effective.




Further afield, Brexit bumbles on...and on....and on. When, oh when, oh when will it end? The part of it all that affects me personally is the currency exchange rate, it affects my two pensions coming from the UK. The rate has been volatile for a couple or more years, diving down then up, down again etc, depending on what had been Boris Johnson's or Ms May's latest failed attempts at bringing about a deal.



In the USA the season known as "The Holidays" is almost upon us. I'm glad to be here, still, to see it once again! Hallowe'en decor has been showing up for the past few weeks in front yards - ghosties, ghoulies and long leggedy beasties, spider webs and witches...you know the drill. We now await the Trick or Treaters on 31st of the month. We had very few last year - disappointing, because it's fun to see the imaginative costumes the kids come up with, and the excitement on the faces of the littlest ones. Perhaps the custom is starting to go out of fashion, for one reason or another - safety, perhaps, and many communal organised Hallowe'en costume events. Next up: Thanksgiving on 28 November, followed by You-Know-What-mas, a month later.
Ka-ching...ka-ching!



On the knitting front, I'm using a big skein of pink "ombre" tinted yarn to make another, longer scarf. It's something I can pick up and just knit, without need to refer to a pattern. I love seeing the changing shades of pink appear, apropos of which, I noticed that my husband is reading "The Secret Lives of Colour" by Kassia St Clair. I shall read it too, when he's done with it. Back-cover blurb: "From the scarlet women to imperial purple, from the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, from kelly green to acid yellow, the surprising stories of colour run like a bright thread through our history." Several varieties of pink are investigated, for example: Baker-Miller Pink; Mountbatten Pink, Puce, Fuchsia; Shocking Pink, Fluorescent Pink, and Amaranth. Maybe some of those will appear in my scarf.