I am still deep into my newfound cross stitch obsession. Here’s a sampler I finished last week:
It’s pretty thematic for me right now, as I am dealing with cancer. My first surgery is next week, assuming that I am able to maintain my health between now & then. I’m STILL not over the infection I got back in October, though I am on another round of antibiotics & have been prescribed an inhaler that helps a lot. Of course it’s cold & flu season, & I have a child in preschool, & the cancer is compromising my immune system to a certain degree, so…I am also fighting off a cold. The oncologist wants me to be completely asymptomatic for 14 days prior to surgery, since they will be using general anesthesia. I’m kind of like, “Um, I have a four-year-old, I don’t think I am staring down the barrel of two weeks of perfect health for at least another five years or so.”
Anyway, the next surgery is for diagnostic/staging purposes, to see how invasive this whole thing is. I will also mention that a friend set up a YouCaring fundraiser for us, which was really sweet & thoughtful of her. We don’t have any family in Kansas, & although local friends have offered to pitch in with child care & meals, we could really use all the help we could get. So here’s the link, in case anyone reading this wishes to contribute (no pressure): https://www.youcaring.com/ciaraxyerraandjaredtaber-709729.
So! The cross stitch! I wouldn’t call this an “original design,” but I did do my own thing with it. I took a flower motif that I liked & uploaded it to an image editing program. I removed the text & substituted my own. Then I ran the edited image through an online program that converts images to cross stitch patterns. It lets you set your own options as far as cloth count, size of the finished image, how many colors you want to use, etc. (More colors means more detail, but also more difficulty.) I used 16-count Aida & around thirty colors. The finished image is around 8″ by 7″. I wish I could tell you how many hours it took. At least forty. I don’t know if this is typical or if I am a really slow cross stitcher. I do know that I am blazing through A LOT of podcasts while I stitch.
I stitched this guy one color at a time, & took a photo after each new color was added. I wanted to convert the images into a moving image, like an online flipbook, but I am pretty technologically incompetent (last week I learned that there’s a strip of plastic film you have to remove from your toner cartridge before you put it in the printer–who knew?) & couldn’t figure out how to do it. So…time for a photo dump!
& yes, I have already started my third project, which is very slow-going. It’s a portrait of Ramona, & employs 75 colors. Jared made the excellent point that I shouldn’t rush the project, since I will just want to start another one immediately. He’s not wrong.
Speaking of Ramona, she turned four last week.
Here she is as a newborn. Look how tiny she is, compared to the nurse’s hand! For anyone who doesn’t know, she was born two months premature because I developed severe pre-eclampsia. She was pretty big for her gestational age: 17 inches & 4 pounds, 11 ounces. But obviously that’s pretty small compared to a full-term baby. She was in the NICU for a month.
& here she is on her fourth birthday! She is now forty inches tall & weighs 42 pounds–bigger than most girls her age! She can do basic math (on her birthday, she kept telling people that she was 22 because “22 is two 2s & two plus two is four!”) & is constantly asking us how things are spelled. She can ride a two-wheeled bike & loves to play soccer, basketball, & T-ball. She has recently had tantrums because she wanted salad with dinner & we were out of lettuce, & because her cruel father took her to the toy store instead of the library. What a monster.
& in case you are looking for some good stories about cancer treatment, I have a few. I had to go to the Cancer Center last week for my pre-op appointment with anesthesiology. During the health history portion of events, the nurse asked me, “Have you ever been diagnosed with cancer?” I just wordlessly gestured around at the fact that we were sitting in a CANCER CENTER.
Anesthesiology wanted me to follow-up with my primary care doctor regarding this lingering infection situation. It’s worth mentioning that I get my insurance through Medicare, due to disability. I am 37 years old & I like to imagine I perhaps look a bit younger than my years. At doctor appointments, they have to make a note of why a person is receiving Medicare: age, disability, or renal failure. I think those are the three options (though wouldn’t renal failure qualify as a disability, no matter how old you were?). On this day, the receptionist looked me straight in the eye & said, “& you’re on disability due to age?” No shade on my 60+ friends, but I do have a couple of decades before I join you there. So that was fun.
I’m also having to introduce myself to a lot of new people (doctors, nurses, receptionists, etc) & all of them are like, “Ciara Xyerra? Your name rhymes?” (It’s pronounced See-air-uh Zee-air-uh.) & I’m like, “Yeah.” & they ask if that is really what my parents named me, & I have to confess that I changed it myself when I was 25 (Ciara is my given first name, but I changed my middle & last names), without stopping to consider that I may someday have to get cancer treatments with ridiculous rhyming name.