We’re at the International Myeloma Foundation’s Short Hills conference, and it’s been a very good experience.

I was more – enervated – than I thought I would be when we arrived yesterday. I can go along for periods sort of forgetting that Gerry’s ill, but you can’t quite push all of that down De Nile when you’re at a MM friggin‘ convention.

There are some excellent question and answer sessions, very good information, and Gerry’s having a chance to interact with other MM folks. I’m signed up for a care giver’s breakout group today at 3:00, which I’m really looking forward to. MM patients are NOT allowed to go, so it will probably be rather, ahem, honest.

Max is squared away his NJ best friend’s house for a few days, in heaven, and Hannah’s hanging out with us today at the conference going online and reading.

As is the way with August, most of her friends are gone away to camp or family vacations, but one of her BEST friends will be arriving home today, so we’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of JJ!

I’m scooting back and forth between the info sessions and Hannah. She’s okay on her own, but I can tell she feels better when I’m around.

So we’ve taken over a small cafe table as Mac Central and I’m blogging while she’s surfing. Kowabunga, dude!

Folks here run the gamut of having been diagnosed as recently as July, to having been fighting this disease for 18 (EIGHTEEN!) years. Amazing.

The newest diagnoses are the most afraid, they have the scared, “How much time to I have, doc…” looks on their faces. As the length of their fight grows, folks look much more philosophical – “Every day IS a gift!” – which is sort of how we’ve felt for a while, now.

File Under “Sucks”
My cousin, however, is having a pretty rough ride. It looks as though she will be moved to a nursing home, the doctor spoke with her about end of life care and she’s pretty wrung out over what will happen to her eight (8!) dogs. Three standard poodles and five malteses. Anyone want to give a loving home to a needy doggie?

I need to get down there, stat. I need to be here. I need to drive Gerry and the family back to MN, but I NEED to be with my cousin. I’m looking into options. I also need to finish an article by next week on shaping. Those are the only things I need to do, but they’re big ones.

Right now I need to call my cousin, then scoot back in and sit with Gerry. Then check on Hannah. Need, need, need.

Note to comments: Thank you so much for your kind words. Sadly, truly, I am just about the only blood relative around for Jan – and she for me. There’s an amazing sister in law who has gone far above and beyond the call of duty, and very, very good friends – but there are some things that need to be handled by me, I’m it.

That’s Not Fair!
Because of a thread on Ravelry there’s been a lot of new interest in the Ruffled Roses Scarf, and the attending odd emails from folks telling me how unfair it is that I only offer it to Yarn Shops.

Heads up – Life Never Promised To Be Fair. (I guess this is one free pattern that you’ll have to either skip, or wait until you visit a yarn shop, sorry…)

I think right now I’m feeling less patient with folks who rail at me because I’m committing the horrible faux pas of offering a free pattern to yarn shops only. Here’s what I need – more patience.

Other Unfair Stuff
I noticed when I started to submit a class to TNNA recently that they’ve changed their policy so that they will only cover a half night’s hotel room for teachers. I’m so dismayed by this that I can hardly express my frustration. Folks attend TNNA for a variety of reasons, but the fact remains that Teachers and Designers are a large part of TNNA. As a trade organization which is supposed to be supporting us, and representing our needs, too, I find this so short sighted.

It’s a penny wise, pound foolish economy for TNNA to try to save money in this way. There are other economies they can engage in without asking Teachers to give 6-8 hours of full teaching time in a day, then go back to a room and share it (thus not getting as much rest as is necessary to teach another day)

I know some folks like to share a room, and I don’t mind when I’m at a conference and NOT WORKING. But when I’m working – when I have to give so much to my students, I require a LOT of rest. No matter how much I may like a roommate, it’s just impossible to fully relax when dealing with another human being in the room.

If TNNA can’t afford a private room for each teacher at the convention center, then how about arranging a block of rooms at a nearby less expensive hotel? I think that sort of sucks, too, but I think it would be more respectful.

Incidentally, the TNNA Teacher/Designer Guidelines Group recently finished working on a document where we list a full night’s private hotel room as a necessity. Ironic, huh?

Even so, though, I doubt that TNNA would have taken any of my classes for the next convention in San Diego (they haven’t had any of my classes for the past 2 sessions) And – unrelated – the workshops and classes have been less full than usual. I see it as a downward spiral, fewer folks
attending TNNA, fewer folks seeing a REASON to attend TNNA, classes become less interesting and compelling, fewer folks sign up, etc., etc..

I’m not the only teacher who has decided she doesn’t want to “donate” time and money to TNNA to make the convention a success. F’heaven’s sake, if a yarn shop can afford to hire teachers and cover a private room, why in the world can’t TNNA?

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