Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Yesterday, in the trash box, was more yarn that was being thrown away. Not just given away, but thrown away. Huh??? It'll take a more intense scrutiny for me to see any faults. Okay, I know why she threw away the linen; it's 4-ply but two of the plies are very thin. I guess that it wouldn't knit to gauge, but there are ways to get around that. I counted the skeins of linen and there were at least 10, but at 270 yards per skein, that's enough to make a couple of nice tops.
There were also 4 hanks of fingering yarn, dyed in shades of brown and green. There are close to 2000 yards in each hank! I haven't taken photos of these yet, or most of the rest of the yarn I've acquired free, but maybe sometime I'll get motivated.
I did take photos of two of the yarns I got last week, along with a scarf that I knit last week from free yarn.
The first two are large boucle; the scarf is small boucle. It's so soft and squishy!
Three-year-old Grace Oughton was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a particularly nasty form of cancer because it hits mostly children, at the age of 19 months. Most kids aren't diagnosed until they're Stage IV, which means that most will go through horrible rounds of chemo and radiation and surgery and hospitalization and nausea only to have their lives extended by a few months to, in a few cases, years.
I came to know of Grace at the end of last month. Her grandmother somehow knows someone who knows that my daughter works at Disney World. Grace's biggest wish was to go to Walt Disney World and meet the princesses. J doesn't have much pull with the Disney Organization, but by talking to people on duty that she knew, she was able to get Grace and her family a private meeting with three of the princesses. We haven't seen photos, but we hear that Grace was delighted to be held and hugged by the princesses.
The Make A Wish Foundation helps children with terminal illnesses achieve their dreams, but they only accept children who are at least 3 years old. Grace just turned three in June, so her request hadn't had time to make its way through the system.
After Grace and her family returned home, her online journal (see above link; scroll down a little) was updated to say that she had been brought home from the hospital to live the rest of her life in the comfort of her own home, with a request from the family for privacy. I've been checking the journal every morning and afternoon for updates since then.
Early yesterday morning, Grace lost her battle.
From the Loneliest Road Campaign web page:
"Standard treatment protocols around the globe offer little hope. Stage IV patients such as our children have a 20% survival rate. Innovations in immunological therapies have raised the bar however they do have complications. Recently it was brought to the attention of parents by the fields leading scientist's that a complimentary, far less symptomatic antibody could be manufactured, however the funding was unavailable. Depressed, angry, but excited for the possibility we asked how much would this cost? 2-3 million dollars! Ultimately this is the monetary value placed upon the lives of 150-300 children who could directly benefit from this antibody each year. " (bolding is mine)
Two to three million dollars is all it would take to get this treatment to the trial stage. Grace's father, and the fathers of six other children with neuroblastoma, have banded together to try to raise the money. It's too late now for Grace, really for all of the children who've already been diagnosed, but it offers hope for the little ones who will be diagnosed in the next few years.
I feel so helpless. Grace's story has touched me in a way I can't describe. I want to find a way to help. What? I don't know yet, but I'll find a small way to do something. No child--or their family--should have to go through something this awful.
Friday, October 26, 2007
It sure is nice working for a woman who dyes tons of yarn. For the last month she's been giving away all of the yarn she, for one reason or another (and not known to me) didn't want to sell. So I've been taking home yarn.
Huge bags of yarn.
Like, over $5600 worth of yarn. Much more than I've earned working for her.
Remember, she who dies with the most yarn, wins.
A small portion of the yarn, on my desk, in a Longaberger basket.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
My daughter and her family. From Orlando. And I didn't know they were driving up.
As I drove up to my sister's house, I saw a good-looking man in a dark silver car waving and smiling. I didn't recognize him, but I sure wondered who he was. Then J leaned forward, and I realized who it was.
M's grandmother had passed away last week, but they didn't think they'd be able to make it up here for her funeral. It's a long way to drive with two children, one of whom is in 2nd grade (and whose school doesn't think that having lunch with the governor of Florida is an excused absence) (but that's another story), and it's expensive to fly at the last minute, and gas is so expensive, etc. But they decided to come up after school on Thursday, getting into town at 7 a.m. Friday, plenty of time to attend the funeral and spend the day with M's family.
The kids were sacked out by the time I saw them Friday evening. I woke A up (I had to; it's in the grandmother's contract), but we decided that they needed to go to their hotel for some much -needed sleep.
The next morning we planned to go to Washington, DC, to the Smithsonian museums. A really wanted to see the Ruby Slippers, and B2 wanted to ride the carousel. After going to the mall to get appropriate shoes for A (she had dress shoes with her) and long-sleeved t-shirts for J (the first time it's been under 90 degrees in the day time for weeks, frost even, and they're from Orlando), it was time for a late lunch and therefore too late to head to DC, which is a good two-hour drive. Instead, we drove around for a while, looking at places J remembered (not necessarily in a good way. She would much rather live in Orlando. For that matter, I'd much rather live in Florida. Maybe in about 8 years.), then went back to the house to change clothes. The kids and I played Carousel of Progress, B2 and I sitting on the stairs, swaying back and forth when the seats moved from one vignette to another. He'd sing the song, and A would do the spiel. We even had the dog. Kipper is an old English Setter, very emotionally needy, but he loved the kids.
That night we went to visit my son and his kids, B and R. B is A's age (only 7 weeks younger), and R is 4. B2 was so happy to finally meet B; he's seen B in videos and thinks he's just the best thing ever. B2 sat in the living room playing with some of B's toys, muttering "B's house, B's toys, B's Thomas Tank Engine" like he just couldn't put it all together. After dinner, A and B ran around the house chasing each other. B2 and R soon joined in, and it was wall-to-wall screaming, falling, crying, and laughing kids. They had such a good time, and they wore themselves out.
It had been two years since they'd all been together, so I really enjoyed it.
The next morning J and A drove to Manassas to watch B race, and M and B2 went to church with and visited his family. I slept until 2 o'clock.
A few hours later they left for home. It was a lot of travelling for them to do in less than four days, but I'm so glad they made the trip.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
You see, B2 comes up with some out of the park ideas. He's at an age where he can put them into action. J managed to get this one on videotape. I wish I had a copy of it.
B2 came running out the bathroom, stark naked (which isn't unusual. He generally takes his underpants off on the way into the bathroom and doesn't put them back on until he has help.), yelling for Mommy. He was really excited and wanted to share his handiwork with Mommy and A.
On the tape, a naked B2 (shown from the waist up; we don't want any nasty child pron charges) answers, in response to "what did you want to show me?", "Mommy, I'm Chicken Little!!!" He turns around, and there in all its glory is a wet wipie sticking out of his tushie. Indeed, it does look something like Chicken Little's tail feathers.
Chicken Little. I don't think that's one for Halloween, though. He wants to be a brown triangle for Halloween.
My youngest grandson, B2, is a real trip. He'll be 4 in December, is the size of a 6-year-old, and talks like a 3-year-old. Which, of course, he is. He'd rather eat cookie dough or "coctions" (concoctions that my daughter makes, usually sugar, butter, maybe some chocolate chips) than food. He's worn out one stroller and is outgrowing a second; but how on earth do you navigate the Magic Kingdom with a 3-year-old on foot? He slept for over 2 hours when we were there last month.
B2 started preschool this year. He loves it. It's not the preschool that he chose, so it took some convincing, but he loves the teachers, the kids (Paper is one of his best friends--her name is Piper), the coloring, the books, the storytelling, and the praying. It's a church preschool not too far from their house.
He had a rough start back in August. He'd never been in a structured setting before, especially with a bunch of other kids, and B2 had his own ideas about how things should be. Much to his surprise, Miss Margie didn't agree.
It didn't help that the poor boy had to be re-circumcised the middle of August. The OB who did it when he was born did it incorrectly, so it had to be redone sooner rather than later. Trust me, you don't want to know the details.
So, he went to school with two strikes against him. Starting late didn't help.
On his first full day, he got into the car and announced, after being asked by Mommy how his day was, "Miss Margie say B2 out of control!" Mommy parked the car, grabbed B2 out of his car seat, and found Miss Margie. Evidentally there'd been hitting and shoving, and B2 had no concept of sitting quietly in a circle. Or of sitting quietly. Miss M had sent B2 to the director's office for the rest of class. The director was very nice and B2 had a lovely time.
Miss M was all for kicking B2 out of preschool after his first day. Miss Director said that he was there for socialization skills and it would take more than one day for him to learn them.
Anyway, long story short, B2 has learned (with Mommy, Daddy, and A's help) (and lots of advice from his aunt Betty, an early childhood education specialist) how to act like a civilized human instead of a wild animal. He's doing very well in preschool and looks forward to going.
Yesterday, he told J "B2 died today." (He's still learning those pesky pronouns; A--and every other female--is still "he". He speaks of himself in the third person.) She couldn't get any more out of him, other than "he died in the bathroom." She was really spooked; he's said things like this before (see Grawnpah) and insists that he talks to angels (and they talk to him). Grawnpah also used to talk to him, but last month B2 told me that Grawnpah went back. Where'd he go? "He went back to the front of the castle. He walks on flowers on the square with Mickey Mouse."
Um, yeah. He walks on the flowers (see blue flowers) in front of the castle (see castle) on the square (okay, sort of a square pedestal) with Mickey Mouse. Simple enough.
He has also started talking about dreams and visitors. He was very excited to learn that J dreams too. He's never before used the word "visitors" in any context, so it's kind of spooky when he uses it to describe the people in his dreams.
What really spooked J, though, is this: Mike's grandmother, Maw, died yesterday (at 91. She was a real spitfire.). Maw adored B2; she thought he looked like her husband. He last saw Maw 1.5 years ago, so at his age, he knows the name Maw and remembers the notes she wrote to him, but he doesn't remember knowing her.
We don't have any details yet, but I'm betting that she died sometime in the morning. While B2 was in the bathroom at preschool.