19 September 2023

Monday’s view

Monday was my last chemo infusion (but I am still hooked up to a pump for the second medication). This time we were in the south side of the building — this is my view out the window, overlooking Interstate 10 on the west side of Houston. 

Sketched with my Kaweco Liliput fountain pen filled with a De Atramentis Document black ink cartridge, in a Traveler’s Notebook passport-sized refill.

17 September 2023

my future dog?

While I was at the rehab center, unable to walk following hospitalization, I set a goal for myself. When I was able to walk to our mailbox (approximately 400 feet from our home) I would award myself with a dog. It’s been several years since I’ve had a dog of my own and I miss having one.

Now I am walking to the mailbox and beyond nearly every day — but in all practicality, it would be unfair to get a dog when I’m facing 5 1/2 weeks of radiation therapy, possibly living in Houston’s Med Center during that time. So getting a dog is on hold for the near future.

Instead of another Scottish Terrier, I’ve been thinking about getting a Welsh Corgi.

13 September 2023

deferred . . .

This past Monday was supposed to be my final chemo infusion, but the prior bloodwork showed that my platelet count is too low (chemo harmed my bone marrow). So my last infusion was deferred until next week.

M. D. Anderson still requires everyone to wear face masks, handing them out as you walk in. But my immune system is messed up so I wear one anyway.

My dad died this morning. We knew it could happen at any time and I had been planning on our driving to Kansas for the funeral. But with this low platelet / low white blood cell thing, I am too susceptible to germs and I won’t be going after all. I was never close to my dad but I thought I should be there.

09 September 2023

end of a series

Early this year I decided that I was going to read every single mystery written by Agatha Christie, at least those involving Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Tommy & Tuppence. Last night, I finished. I read them mostly as ebooks checked out from a Houston library so there was often a waiting period for certain titles. Christie is still a very popular writer even though it’s been over 100 years since she wrote her first book.

Now what do I read next?

06 September 2023

still so hot . . .

The extreme 100°-plus temperatures continue here in Texas. A normal summer in our part of the state may see 2 or 3 days in the 100’s but then drop to the 90’s. But this year the entire summer has been continually over 100°.

Our trees are definitely heat-stressed! Some of our oak trees are considered “evergreen”, as they hold their green leaves all through the year until new ones arrive in the spring. But trees are now losing leaves daily no matter how much we water them. We could sure use some rain!

And yes, of course I know that live oaks do not come from leaves, as the scribbled note in the lower left corner implies. I was thinking about how tiny the acorns from our live oaks are while writing about the small leaf — sort of goofed it up! 😂

05 September 2023

just hangin’ around

We aren’t doing much of anything this week, being a chemo-free week. So I ate some grapes — then drew the last one before eating it.

02 September 2023

to wig or not to wig?

Since this journal is partially a record of my cancer journey, I suppose I should mention hair loss. Amazingly, the chemo treatments I’m taking Do Not Cause Hair Loss!! Unfortunately, my out-of-control scalp psoriasis does . . .

I lost a percentage of my hair 11 years ago due to scalp psoriasis combined with a bad case of vertigo. It eventually grew back fuller than ever. At first I treated it with a prescription topical steroid but later switched to using a Dead Sea mineral shampoo. That has controlled the psoriasis all these years — but when I was in the hospital earlier this year, followed by rehab, I was not able to use the shampoo regularly and the psoriasis plus stress are causing me to once again shed hair.

So the big question: do I buy a wig? Or just wear scarves and hats?

29 August 2023

as we drove past . . .

Our daughter and son-in-law bought their first house many years ago in the same area of northwest Houston (Copperfield) that we now drive through on our way to my chemo treatments. We passed this old church many times when visiting the kids and I’ve wanted to sketch it for years but never did. Until now. 

I snapped a few photos with my iPhone as we drove by, then sketched from them later at home. Goofed on that copper steeple though — it should be taller.

To add the ink lines and text, I re-inked another favorite fountain pen that hasn’t been used for a while. This is the Pilot Namiki fountain pen filled with De Atramentis Document black ink. Writes so smooth with a flexible nib! A special gift from Bill.

23 August 2023

waiting . . .

This time, I was waiting for Bill instead of him waiting for me. He had a dentist appointment in College Station; I went along so I could replace my debit card later at the bank. No one else in the waiting room.

21 August 2023

our southern view

The main living area in our home was once the “alleyway” of a pole barn. We wanted lots of light and ventilation; on the south are these French doors with windows on either side. The view of pasture, tall pines and oaks is usually full of birds — and maybe a feral cat stalking gophers. I sketched this during the heat of the day when all creatures sought some cool shade.

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