Devine site

A little bit about my day, my family, and my knitting.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sailing Away!

Gerry and I decided to take a little trip, so we are going on a Carnival cruise on Friday. It's for three days, to Nassau. It was the only one available for our time frame. It's his first cruise, my second. It will be so nice to go away and relax before we have to go to Houston, and/or I start work, etc. So, Bon Voyage to us!!

Love this pattern!

Once more I made that cute pattern on the site of the online magazine for knitting and crochet, It is a Jumper Cable (dress) pattern by Erika Flory. This is just so easy to make and lovely when finished. I used two skeins of Lion Brand Cotton-Ease color # 107 Candy Blue, US 7 straight needles and one yellow button. It has three cables on the front bodice an the back bodice is worked in reverse stockinette. It looks better in person, but here it is, front and back (button in back)...
Thank you again, Erika, for the pattern, and to the on-line magazine for posting it!

Here's Avi!!!

We bonded!!!!
What a great weekend it was! Alison, Michael and Avi arrived Friday evening and stayed until this afternoon. Avi was somewhat clingy to his parents, but he warmed up quickly. He is SUCH a good baby. I couldn't believe that he has 6 teeth now, eats like there is no tomorrow, loves to bounce up and down even when he it totally exhausted, and when he IS exhausted he hardly fusses at all. On Sunday we had a party with friends and family over to see the kids. Everyone fell in love with Avi immediately, and he seemed to be enjoying himself as well. He even had fun playing with the 4 dogs (until last month, two of them, Orange and Blue, were his "brothers."). My mother, of course, was so thrilled to have her first great grandchild here, as well as her first grandchild, Alison... here we are, 4 generations...Gerry seemed to have the most fun. He adores Alison, Michael and Avi. He even made a slip of the tongue (open mouth, insert foot?). His brother and sister-in-law were here. They are wonderful people and Gerry has always been very close to them. They were exclaiming over Avi when Gerry said, "I have 12 nieces and nephews and 8 great-nieces and nephews, and they are all terrific but Avi is the most beautiful of all!" I know he wasn't out to be a braggart or to hurt anyone's feelings, it's just that Avi is so very special to him.
On Monday Alison and Michael and I took Avi to Miami (about an hour's ride from where I live) to get his passport (Michael might have the chance to go to France on business so they need to be prepared to go with him). We got there a little after 10 AM and didn't get out until 5 PM, but Alison lucked out and was able to renew hers while we were there. It was a LONG, LONG day, and even though Avi only got 30 minutes of sleep while in his ERGO carrier on me, he was so good. Of course, once we put him into his carseat for the long ride home, he was so tired and frustrated he cried almost the entire time. Once home, though, he had his bath, smiled big and waved goodnight to us all.

Today I gave Avi his breakfast, and then we wanted to take him to the beach after his first nap and before they left for the airport. Well, yesterday knocked him out so much that he took a 3 hour nap. As soon as he woke Alison got him dressed and we all went to lunch at Boston's, across from the beach. We got there in the knick of time, for it POURED buckets of rain. Luckily, this is Florida in the summer and the rain usually is gone within 30 minutes (which it was). We had a nice lunch (in spite of us being in RED SOX territory - though Alison had her talisman...her Yankee hat). After Avi ate his lunch Alison gave him a dill pickle...he LOVED it! After lunch it had stopped raining and cooled down a bit, so we went across to the beach for about 10 minutes, to introduce Avi to the ocean and of course, take lots of pictures. He enjoyed it, although at first he seemed puzzled by the feel of the sand receding from under his feet at the water's edge. It's too bad we didn't have more time to really take him into the water....they'll just have to come back for more. I wish it were possible for us to move up to Atlanta, which is Alison's biggest wish right now. I love where I live in S. FL but would love to be closer to them. I still have 6 more years to teach here, and it's best for us to stay here for Gerry to be close to his friends while he is going through this health crisis. So, when we can, we'll make the move. For now, we will see them (and the other kids) as often as we can.
As for Gerry....we are supposed to hear this week as to if/when he will go to Houston for the clinical trial that he hopes to participate in. The clinical research nurse told me they would have final results of lab work by the end of July. Well....that was today, so tomorrow I will call and hope to have some answers. We decided that if we have to spend a month or so in Houston, I will have to take a leave of absence from work and we'll drive there...4 dogs and all! OY!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

How To Make A Grandma Happy!!

Just come to visit!!! Alison, Avi and Michael are coming to S. FL to visit us for a few days. They a have been so patient, waiting until we heard from TX as to when Gerry needs to be out there for treatment. We FINALLY got a (return) phone call explaining what is happening. The lab grew Gerry's T-cells to over 100 million. Now they have to EXPAND them to 3 BILLION T-cells. They should have the count by Friday July 27. Then they will test to see the reaction b/t the T-cells and the cancer (that was removed in April). This is the vaccine they are making to hopefully test/use on Gerry's current cancer. If any of his doctors are reading this (now what are the odds of that?) I hope I have explained it correctly. Anyway, if all goes well he will probably go to Houston sometime in August. I wish I had known that two weeks ago, for the kids could have had more time to make their arrangements. However....they are wonderful and got flights to come down from July 27 - 30! I can't wait to see all of them, but especially, my little Avi! My Mom is really excited, too, and...Gerry!! He is crazy about Alison and Michael, and Avi is the icing on the cake.I have gotten busy cleaning out things...drawers for them to use, some closet space. And then....I was on a roll. I cleaned out cabinets and areas with things that I have not used (and forgotten about) for a few years (not my yarns, though - you NEVER know when you'll need them). I put them onto Bocaratonfreecycle, a group that I belong to on yahoo, where items are given away for free. Today I had 5 people stop by to pick up their items, and tomorrow I am having two people meet me to pick up theirs.

This afternoon we went to the movies and saw I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. It got terrible write ups but I laughed SO hard! I guess a lot has to do with how you interpret the movie. Aside from the silliness (which was funny), I saw this as a movie that didn't bash Gays but showed what it was like for someone who didn't understand what Gay people are up against, to be in their shoes for awhile, ending in a lesson in tolerance. Speaking of good movies, on Friday we saw Hairspray...if you like musicals with lots of song and dance and some good laughs thrown in, then you'll love this movie. I had seen the Broadway series play last year and this was as good, if not better.
And how about them Yankees!? Took 3 out of 4 against Tampa Bay this weekend, pulling themselves up by their bootstaps (or baseball stir-ups) - today alone, getting 21 runs! I sure hope they keep it up to at least give the Red Sox a run for their money in the playoffs!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Vent and Praise

VENT: This school year I am moving to another school - same district. I have been at the former school for 11 years, working for a FABULOUS principal, O. Last year, the (then) superintendent, in his infinite wisdom, decided to swap O. with M., the principal of another school. Over the 11 years I was at my school O. brought us from a "D" rating to an "A" two years in a row. The other school was just a "D" (for dud). This move was a true blow to our staff, who worked very well together and worked very hard for our students. Now M. was a very nice lady. I never had any issues with her, although I know of one or two others who did at my school. However, I missed O. and the support staff she took with her, so I put in my papers to transfer for this year. I am moving to a beautiful school, a lovely room and will work not only with many of my former coworkers, but some others who I hear are very nice.
So - I need to move LOTS of boxes from my former school to my new school. They have been packed and ready to go since the last week of school. I called the new school and they said, "Bring them over." When I called the old school I was told that M. is on vacation until the 30th. When called, M. stated that she didn't want anyone coming for their things without the presence of an administrator (because there are "so many teachers leaving." Does she think we are going to rob the school?). The AP had surgery last week and will be out another week or two. None of this would be a problem, but we are waiting for a call from Houston, TX as to when we should hop on a plane and fly out for Gerry's treatment. Frustratingly so, we have not heard yet and so cannot make any plans for ANYTHING! How great it would have been for me to have gotten my things today, brought them to the new school, and go in tomorrow to start setting up my classroom. I also have to make arrangements for my friend's son to help me, plus hire a van or small truck (since our Explorer was totalled last month). Heck, I wouldn't care if the office manager came in to monitor my movements...just let me get my stuff!

PRAISE: O. called me today, expressed dismay (but not surprise) that M. wouldn't let me get my things. I then had a long talk with O....about school and then about Gerry. I was honest with her - I do not know if/when we'll go to TX and so I don't know if/when I'll be able to take part in her trainings, planning days or even begin my class (oh, how I hate for little ones to begin school with a SUB). O. was wonderful...her first concern was NOT her school but ME and Gerry. THIS is why I am switching schools. Kids are kids...good, bad or indifferent. I teach the way I teach and give every one of them my very best, so it doesn't matter where I work. But it's so important to work for someone who is caring, supportive, and respects you as a person, whether it's work related or pertains to your family life. It's so sad that my former school had to lose such a wonderful administrator, for already that school came up as a "B" this year (from an "A") and my new school is a "C" (From a "D"). My former school is on the downslide, but my new school will continue to do better and better because we have a principal (and a terrific AP, too) who care about not only their students, but their staff as well.
Thanks for listening!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Another for Avi

I finished another sweater for Avi. I had seen this one at a LYS and fell in love with it. They had the sample sweater but not the colors it was made up in. So, wanting to make it anyway, I purchased the pattern - 3 Color Baby Cardigan and Hat Set by Plymouth Yarn Design Studio - in pink, baby ombre and cream, and made it for Gerry's coming grandniece (she arrived in June - Daniella Joan)....see my May 11 post. A few weeks later I did get the colors I wanted, knitted the sweater for Avi, did the dreaded sewing of the seams while I was in Texas, and tonight...TADA - I blocked it and sewed on buttons.
I made this one in the larger size - 22 inches (chest). I used Dreambaby DK, Dark Green, Medium Green and Off White - 2 balls each, one pair size US 3 & 6 needles, and 5 dark green buttons. And...sewed a Made With Love by Grandma label inside. Can't wait till he grows in to it!

A Quick Knit

I saw a cute pattern on the site of the online magazine for knitting and crochet, It is a Jumper Cable (dress) pattern by Erika Flory. It was really easy and fun to make. I used two skeins of Lion Brand Cotton-Ease color # 158 Pineapple, US 7 straight needles and one yellow button. It has three cables on the front bodice an the back bodice is worked in reverse stockinette.
I didn't make it with anyone in mind, but my neighbor's daughter-in-law is expecting twins, so if one is a girl I already have a present. If the other is a girl too, I have a lot more pineapple yarn as well as a lovely shade of blue. Go on over to the magazine and get this pattern. You won't be sorry (and if you don't subscribe to it, you's free)!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Money Pit

ARGH!!!! Why is it that when you take two steps forward you often have to take one step back? Last week I had to pay $300 to have a fan in my car fixed so my AC would work (and you can't live in FLorida without AC in your car). Now I have to have my convertible top fixed. When I was driving home from Ocala last week I hit a horrific rain storm and thru my rearview mirror I could see water spraying in both sides of the rear window. I knew the glass was separating from the fabric, but this was bad. I got an estimate today....$950! Two years ago I had invested in a new frame and motors for the top....$1300! I love my car but it is almost 8 years old and has 155,000 miles on it. I just don't want to take on car payments again! So - tomorrow I guess I will get another estimate and then....oh, I just don't know and it's too late (actually early in the AM) to deal with it. As Miss Scarlett said, "Tomorrow is another day!"
This should be my worst worry in life, right?

Being a Mommy

Got a call last week that Becca, my youngest child, had pain during the night and had to have her gall bladder removed because it was full of stones. She and her husband Phil live about 4 hours north of us, in Ocala (Central FL). Phil kept us informed by phone. Her surgery was on Thursday June 28th (my 4th wedding anniversary). I couldn't be of help anyway so I spent the day with my wonderful hubby, and headed out for Ocala the next morning. By the time I was halfway there Becca called to tell me she had been discharged.
I spent the weekend with her and Phil, cooked a few dinners, made some breakfasts, kept Becca company. I even had the pleasure of combing and braiding her hair after her shower, since she couldn't lift her arms that high.
It was also a crazy weekend for Becca and Phil, beside the surgery. They are relocating to Destin, Fl (where I hear it is beautiful) in September. Becca got a job managing the new PF Chang restaurant opening there in October. So while I was at her house they put it on the market, meeting with the realtor Saturday. I got to help Phil go through some family things and pack a few boxes. In addition, Becca was to be maid of honor at her friend's wedding the next weekend. This weekend was the bachelorette party that Becca was hosting in Tampa. She obviously couldn't go, so we put the goody bags together and the bride picked them up, along with the cute things Becca had picked up for her to wear that night.
It felt SO good being able to be there for Becca, and knowing she wanted her mom to help out. I even got to see her dad (my ex) when he and his wife came over on Sunday. We get along fine (now). He came over alone on Monday to take over when I left. We had a nice visit for about an hour before I had to get on the road again. As a happy ending....Becca is doing great, went to and enjoyed the wedding, and started her training at PF Chang yesterday.

Gerry Update for July 2007

Ok - I have been updating my blog for the past two hours, so I am gonna skip over the rest of the dull and mundane stuff (cause I am sure that YOU are bored with it all). Dogs are are fine...I am fine!
On Monday July 9th we flew to Houston. Gerry had his scans on Tuesday and saw the dr. on Wed. A few lesions (melanoma) were found - near his left kidney, mid-chest, and in a lymph node deep in his left armpit. They are about 1/2 inch in size. This now makes him a candidate for the clinical trial. He had to undergo an MRI Wed night and the results disease present. Now we have to wait to hear from the lab. In April a biopsy of Gerry's tumor was done to attempt to grow t-cells necessary for treatment in the trial. They are grown in the lab with the help of radiation-exposed cells from other blood donors (all tested to be negative for currently screened infectious diseases). Gerry's t-cells grew to more than double the required amount, which is a good thing. A vaccine is prepared from special blood cells to help improve the function of the fighting t-cells that are specific for melanoma. The samples are being evaluated for the activity of the t-cells and their ability to attack the melanoma. If there is a reaction, then they can go ahead with the trial. If there is no reaction, then Gerry will not be part of the trial (at least, that's the way I understood it). So, we wait! And pray, for this is the thing that is giving him and the rest of us, hope!
We are home in Florida and going about our daily life. Hopefully we will hear from TX early next week and will fly out as soon as they tell us to.

Lots of Tears

Tuesday was a very difficult day. Alison gave her two maltese dogs, Orange and Blue, to us to bring to Florida to stay. She has had them 7 & 8 years and loves them. They are great dogs and so cute. But they bark at everything and everyone who goes by and constantly wake Avi from his nap. Gerry refused to see them go to anyone out of the family, so....we offered to take them. It was a very, very, very tearful goodbye (I was crying just at the thought of Alison saying goodbye to her boys). We packed the car with their things and beds on top of everything else and were off. They were wonderful travelers, sleeping most of the time, sitting on my lap, and behaving wonderfully. We drove to Ocala and spent the night with Becca and Phil, before heading home on Wednesday. When we got home we thought we'd have problems with Rusty, our daschund. We knew that Tiemann, our maltese, would be fine because he is even tempered and had also lived with Orange and Blue in AZ for a year. But the boys all got along after the first two minutes....thank goodness! Now we have to settle in so we can be one happy family.