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Holy Thursday

Right.  So as you may have noticed, blogging has been a bit… sparse around here lately.  This is partly because I haven’t figured out how to talk about my health right now, and partly because of the way the medication I’m on is affecting me.  And then there’s the traditional, oh Lord I’m so behind better blog about ALL the things which is way too overwhelming, so then I don’t blog at all.  But I figure a little blogging is better than nothing.  At the very least you’ll all know that I’m still alive and kicking, even if I’m not writing much about it at present.  So here is a quick roundup with pictures of some of what’s been going on.

2014-03-23_14-34-14_56[1]First of all, I believe I mentioned a while ago that we have another baby in the family.  I still don’t have a nickname for him.  So far I haven’t had much face time with him.  He’s got an awful lot of competition for aunt-ly attention, and his competitors have had a lot more practice.  But he’s awfully cute, and tiny, and sweet.  Speaking of his competition, however…

2014-04-05_19-49-14_390[1]Indy organized an Epic Easter Egg Decorating party with all the nieces currently in town.  The older girls did most of the decorating, but even the toddlers got into the act.  We swaddled them in t-shirts to protect their clothes, which made them even cuter, if such a thing is possible.  Sweet Pea enjoyed herself enormously.  She dunked eggs in dye until she got bored, and started using some of the egg shells as scoops to mix the dye colors.  When she was banished from the dye cups, she came out to the dining room where she climbed up on my lap and helped me make cardboard egg displays.  And I don’t mean the usual toddler “I’m helping!” kind of helping that ends up in the usual preschool art project.  No, she really helped.  I was in charge of wielding the glue bottle while she applied paper flowers with great elan.  She also gave her very decided opinions on silver mini rickrack (no), and silver beads versus tiny buttons for flower centers (buttons won).

2014-04-05_19-49-24_483[1]We also had The Little Philosopher.  Don’t let her sweetly woebegone expression fool you.  That’s her default “I’m thinking deeply about world domination and in the meantime don’t you want to give me cookies?” look.  I’m pretty sure she has a brilliant career in Mad Science ahead of her.  If you could see the way her eyebrows crinkle up in slightly maniacal glee when she’s happy, I know that you would agree.  I’ve been teaching her to say, “For science!” just so that she’s prepared.  You can’t have too much of an edge when you’re going up against your fellow mad scientists.  Someday I’ll get a picture of that grin to show you, and then you’ll understand.

2014-04-05_15-54-15_196[1]Besides preparing for Easter (and of course as usual I have a highly ambitious crafting project that may or may not get finished and/or photographed to share), I’ve been working a lot on my house.  It seems that one of my standard reactions to stress is nesting.  I’ve been working on all the finishing details on my bedroom that got painted right before my surgery in December.  I made a lamp to hang over the bed (my first ever electrical project), and I’ve been getting things up on the walls.  I knew that I wanted a gallery over my fireplace, but my design process tends to be rather evolutionary.  This is one iteration.  The blue birds on the mantle are heirlooms from my grandmother, and the wooden cross next to the alarm clock is one I got at a monastery in South Dakota when I was on NET.  Someday the branch is going to be a floral candelabra/chandelier thing, sort of like this one, except perhaps with birds instead of candles, and maybe a small steampunk airship or two.  However, one of my favorite things so far about my arrangement is this:

2014-03-28_16-41-09_763[1]I just love it.  I got the little icon of the Risen Christ from the retreat house where we went on vacation last summer.  I had saved the picture of myself with baby Sweet Pea for a long time, and finally framed it up.  I had both of them on the mantle while I decided where to hang them, and then I noticed how the lighting of both of them work together.  It made me laugh, and it made me think of several happily sappy things, so I had to hang them like that.

2014-03-29_22-01-34_209[1]Besides getting ready for Easter, and working on the house, we’ve also been starting to get ready for AnniPott’s wedding this summer.  Indy has been working hard on the most gorgeous invitations ever (which is quite a thing considering her usual standards), and a little while back we had a Wedding Craft Night to start work on some of the reception decorations.  Indy and AnniPotts have worked out a decorating scheme featuring lots and lots of different kinds of garlands, including the mini pennants Dad is showing off here.  There are leaf garlands, and flower garlands, and I don’t know what all.  It’s going to be very, very beautiful!

I have also been working on a Super Secret Wedding Present for AnniPotts and Cuthbert.  I can’t show you pictures just yet because AnniPotts reads this blog, and some of it is a surprise.  But it’s beautiful!  I’ve been so excited about how it’s turning out that I think I’ve shown it to just about every woman friend I’ve seen over the last month.

2014-04-11_16-21-24_789[1]However, my other sewing project for the wedding, the one that I can show you,  is making myself a dress to wear.  You see, a while ago AnniPotts told me that she was going to have Mexican Sugar Skulls for her wedding cake toppers (Indy is going to make them for her, so you know they’re going to be gorgeous).  She fell in love with that style of Mexican folk art when she was in San Antonio, and although she’s not using it throughout her wedding decorations, she wanted to have a little of it at least.  It really fits with her personality, and whimsical sense of humor.  I also have a whimsical sense of humor, and when I came across the fabric you see above (Calaveras from the Alexander Henry Folklorico line), I knew I had to make myself a Dolly Clackett dress out of it for the wedding.  I mean, it’s just so awesome: the turquoise background, the gold glitter (hard to see in the photo, I know), the flowered skulls.  How could I not?

I tried to resist.  After all, there is no way I actually need either more fabric, or one more project on my plate right now.  But it was in vain.  When I found myself repeatedly musing over my collection of repro vintage patterns looking for just the right one that I gave in.  Sometimes you just have to accept your fate.  Luckily, I used some of the few shreds of sanity left to pick one of the simplest patterns in my collection (seriously, I think this thing has four pieces, and that includes the optional bow).  I can totally have that done by June.  Totally.  No problem.

Sigh.  I am insane.  But I will have an awesome dress.  So I have decided that I don’t care.  My only regret is that I didn’t have the idea to make it in time to join the Dolly Clackett Sewalong.  But you can’t have everything.

Which brings me to the topic I’ve been avoiding: my health.  When people ask me how I’m doing, I say that I’m hanging in there.  I don’t really know what else to say.  I had my first shot of the super scarey chemo meds about a month ago, and I’m due to get my second on Monday.  So far the side effects have not been quite as bad as I’d been afraid they would be.  That sounds all nice and positive, until you consider that I had been truly terrified, due to a severe case of over-googling.  So in this case “not as bad as I thought it would be” means that the side effects are merely pretty unpleasant instead of completely horrific.

To be honest, I don’t know how to talk about this.  When most people ask how I’m doing, they really aren’t interested in hearing the whole laundry list of uncomfortable things I’m experiencing.  I don’t want to turn into that one person who does nothing but complain about her health all day.  It doesn’t help that when I do go into a little more detail, I can’t get more than a couple items down the list before I start to feel like I’m whining, and I have to stop.  Plus, choosing to think positively has been one of the things that has really helped me get through this.  Going into detail about exactly how much I’m not feeling well does not help me have an optimistic outlook.  On the other hand, while “it could be worse” is an almost universally true statement, it’s not really the whole truth about what I’m going through.

I have one sweet friend who keeps eagerly asking me whether my medicine has started working yet to make me feel better.  Each time I have to gently break it to her that this is not the kind of medicine that makes you feel better, at least not in the short term.  There’s another friend who keeps complimenting me on the improved color in my face, telling me I must be feeling so much better!  I don’t know how to tell her that, while I am taking my iron supplements faithfully, the color in my cheeks is much more likely to be from the persistent low grade fevers.  Another friend gets all outraged on my behalf, and tries to insist that I call my doctor and make him do something.  I try to explain that everything I’m experiencing is well within the expected reactions, and that unless things become much worse, there is nothing that can be done except let the treatment run its course.  But it doesn’t seem to get through.

So this is how I’m doing:  I’m hanging in there.  I’m not feeling well, and if you are really, genuinely interested in getting the whole laundry list of ways that I’m not feeling well, message me privately and I’ll tell you.  I’m dreading getting my second shot, because I’m pretty sure it’s going to make me feel even more not well.  But at the same time, I’ve managed to make it so far, and I’m still hanging in there.  So I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and doing my best to trust God that, since he’s carried me so far, he’ll keep carrying me the rest of the way.  One day I really am going to be on the other side of this.  I just have to keep hanging on until I’m there.