I have to speak up. I must. We must.
Wednesday June 20th 2018, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Politics

Today was a Holly day, and it was so good to get to see her again. We live so close and so far: it can take several hours, depending on the traffic.

She had just enough time for a visit while her husband was at a meeting in town.

We found ourselves as mothers drawn again and again to the subject of the cruelty going on at our borders to children–babies, even–and their families, the damage the trauma is doing to their developing brains.

Our laws spell out how one can apply for asylum when one is in fear for one’s life. The approved crossing points for doing so have been closed, people have been directed to cross elsewhere and when they have complied with that order have been arrested as criminals.

Our President lies when he says others did this before him; they did not. They held families together, and even his own administration did too until this May. He lies when he says only Congress can change the law because there is no law saying they must do this, and in fact the administration is violating our laws as well as all human decency and compassion. They actually forbid the workers from hugging and comforting a crying child.

But the sad-funny part about it was Trump’s trying to blame Obama for it. What he’s saying then is that even out of office Obama has more power than Trump does right now and that Trump is too weak to do anything about it.

Actually, there’s a great deal of truth to that but not of a type Trump could ever fathom.

Yes he did sign an executive order this afternoon: but watch what he does, not what he says. The unmentioned fine print was that after 20 days families can still be torn apart. They will process children and adults at different rates. Deport the parents. Keep the kids. Already we have one woman who was released from custody–and they say they cannot tell her where her seven-year-old son is.  Who DOES this to people?!

We are better than this, we must be better than this, we must demand better than this. Every Republican Senator has the option to caucus with the Democrats on the issue, and all we need is one, just one, one with a conscience, and we could get a law passed right now forbidding these human rights violations and dare Trump to veto it. The man is a bully and bullies cave when you stand up to them.

And if you don’t–they only bully harder.

Tomorrow I may show off some knitting or some such. But for now I will leave you with this:

From the Kenyan-born Somali poet Warsan Shire:

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

 



There are fewer squirrels, too
Tuesday June 19th 2018, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Garden,Wildlife

An idle wondering followed by an inner, oh, come on, now. Yeah they never found those, but give me a break. Those animals are born to wander and wander they do: they’re long gone.

The peaches, look at those peaches. I hadn’t thinned them anywhere near what they should have been (though I did some) but I’d figured the critters would take care of that and they weren’t likely to leave me much anyway, right?

A very few have been nibbled on. The rest are–well, there they are.

Oh wow, that was almost a year ago. Okay, so I really had no reason to connect it with my untouched fruit. Even if the mountain lion and her cub growling in that guy’s redwood across town were never seen again. He was someone who’d tagged mountain lions in his job and said he’d seen people walk right by a bush one was hiding in and they never knew it–that generally they’re really quite shy around people.

Well that’s comforting.

The neighborhood listserv was talking about the county saying it was a coyote that had gotten someone’s cat and someone else chimed in that she’d seen a mountain lion in her back yard two weeks ago at (wait–that’s close to us!) and another (probably the same one) had been seen over on this street.

Blink.

Well the problem with our well-fed urban raccoons and possums and skunks was that they had no predators around but lots of food to choose from.

Apparently now so does a very big cat.

You know, I have this weekly chore of watering all the fruit trees starting after dinner and continuing till dark, seven minutes per tree seventeen trees, going in and out repeatedly, and I did that tonight.

But I confess to being a little skittish standing under the bigger older ones as the light was almost gone. At least I had a hose in hand. Part of the time.

Maybe we’ll finally get around to installing them a drip system.



Meeting
Monday June 18th 2018, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

We solved people’s problems (we hope, we wish) and got a lot done and stayed late and tomorrow you hopefully get a better blog post than this.



Happy Father’s Day
Sunday June 17th 2018, 10:08 pm
Filed under: Family

Grateful on this Father’s Day to be blessed with such good ones in our family. Love you guys. You rock.



Highway 80
Saturday June 16th 2018, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

When I was a kid, the freeway between Washington, DC and Baltimore was two lanes each way built out of, if you can believe it, concrete. Set in blocks with the gaps between giving the material room to contract and expand with the temperatures. You did not want to drive it fast: it was a loud bambambambambambambambambam jackhammering all the way. But there really wasn’t all that much traffic on it, at least.

Eventually they tore all that out and put in a real road, which now has heavy development pretty much all the way and the cars to match.

I was remembering those childhood trips to the Maryland state piano competitions at Peabody in Baltimore as we drove from here to Milpitas to Sacramento today. On a weekend, that should be a two hour drive, ideally.

The road is old and not very wide with a whole lot of traffic and they are improving it and widening it in some spots. Construction. Accidents. Cars cars cars.

Three and a half hours there, two coming home.

And yet. We were carpooling with friends and it was time well spent and I’m very glad we went.

Knitting in hand, I finally ventured to ask… The driver guffawed in disbelief at the question: “YES! I LOVE cashmere!” She told me wistfully she owned one single cashmere sweater.

I did not tell her I hadn’t made her a cashmere cowl because her husband had told me she was allergic to it. I had wondered ever since if he’d heard me right, if he’d thought I was only talking about wool because I knew he was having a hard time hearing every word. But he seemed sure enough of himself that I hadn’t pushed the idea.

She loves peach.

I have a finished one in peach.

Well then.



Roll over, Beethoven
Friday June 15th 2018, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Knit

I’ve done plenty of intarsia knitting in my life but I do it Kaffe Fassett style: snip as long a strand for each color as you can stomach dealing with and just pull it through and through and through, out from among the tangle of the others.

Except this time I’ll need enough of each color in this area that I decided it was time to cave and finally do knitting bobbins for the first time in my life.

It will surprise nobody that I didn’t have any.

An empty toilet paper tube cut in fourths actually seems to work quite well. Except I need more than… The recycling went out already, didn’t it?

Somebody go spill something for me, okay? Quick? That paper towel roll is almost ready.



Would you could you in a box? Would you could you with a fox? Would you eat them here or there? Would you eat them anywhere?
Thursday June 14th 2018, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends

The weekly veggie box came.

He saw the bag and asked, Chips? (Why would they sell…? You’re not a corn chip fan, why did you…) He was about to reach for some. I headed him off, shaking my head.

Crickets.

??!

Only later did I see the word Chirps at the top, but yeah, those are chips made from a high protein source that happens to be, um, bird-friendly, other ingredients aside. One bug per chip.

The Imperfect Produce people were trying to close them out because they were getting close to their sell-by date and during the brief weekly glance at the offerings I’d thought, well that sounds curious.

And then spent the week wondering whether that was really such a good idea. It’s easy to be adventuresome when the adventure’s far away. Now that they’re here I…I…

I find that I just do not seem to want to open that bag.

It is safe to say I don’t think he’s in a rush to, either.

We’re going to a potluck dinner next week where I’m sure they could be the talk of the night. Better bring a chocolate torte–no, two! And peaches from Andy’s!–to make sure they forgive us.

“You know what bugs me about you guys?”

*crickets*

The puns, they await. We may never live this down….



Natural threads
Wednesday June 13th 2018, 9:02 pm
Filed under: Life,Lupus

My gray hair is a whistle deterrent.

He was too old to do much whistling anyway.

But as I stepped into an alley to stay in the shade on my way to the annual lupus group summer get-together, the scruffy old guy by the motorcycle called out to me, “Nice outfit!” with a smile on his face that, to my surprise, conveyed a love to and for the whole wide world.

“Thank you!” It wasn’t so much the words, it was the clear generosity in his intent that had me responding in kind. He just totally made my day.

He had no way to know my earlier inner monologue of, That shirt looks frumpy. You can do better.

Well I AM frumpy.

Don’t give me that. You don’t have to look frumpy. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you look better there. You just have to get off your duff and iron something nicer.

And so, ten minutes before it was time to go, I finally turned that iron on and got the job done in a bit of a rush.

He totally made it worth it.

My iron just got its old summer job back.



You put dead-looking sticks in the cold ground and just a few years later they do this
Tuesday June 12th 2018, 9:24 pm
Filed under: Garden

Lots of June sun, a few hot days–and suddenly everything’s rushing to ripeness.

Even the mango tree has decided to try again for a crop this year.

Judging by how much time the birds spend not coming to the feeder, I’m guessing the hawks in the redwood are a big reason why my fruit has been pretty much left alone. The cinnamon I sprinkled on top of the fence near the peaches didn’t hurt any, either; a squirrel will not step in it, not if it can help it.



Totally tubular yarns
Monday June 11th 2018, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

The weekend’s project. It will get even softer with age.

Then today, for instant gratification, Classic Elite Chateau: the yarn was thick, the yardage scant, and the needles big.

I ripped out the first attempt at the long-tail cast-on because it wasted a foot or two and you never know when you’ll need to go right down to the end of the skein.

Truer words… (yeah those stitches were getting a little smaller at the end there.)



Sending her off
Sunday June 10th 2018, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Friends

A skein of superwash Malabrigo to go with the grad student’s cashmere, after she chose the smaller ball of it because, hey, luggage space, and a 24″ circ, her first circular needle and the right size for the hat she wants to make with that Rios.

The single mom chose her cowl and her three-year-old picked his hat. I showed him how you could play hide and go seek with it, pulling it down over my face–he thought that was a great game.

The beaded green silk finally found its way home.

The green hat did not. Not yet, anyway. It will.



280 grams and 140 grams
Saturday June 09th 2018, 11:29 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life,Lupus

A friend was throwing a Relief Society (women’s organization) potluck brunch get-together. She has a beautiful big back yard with picnic benches for a crowd, perfect for a summer day.

Her small house did not have enough space inside for her guest list. I said the June sun was the issue and I was sorry I was going to be missing it.

She talked me into coming anyway, parking close and sitting at her table just on the other side of the window from everybody.

She excused herself from the group and came and kept me company for awhile; one-0n-one is so much easier for me to hear anyway. Cool. So did several other people by turns, and it was much appreciated. I’d brought my knitting and it filled in any gaps. Meantime, her kids, teens to 21, passed by going from here to there in the house.

Plus one young woman I didn’t know. Who saw the work in my hands and on the second time by decided to stop and ask about it.

Turns out she was their niece, visiting before her move overseas Monday for her graduate studies at Oxford.

Turns out she’s a knitter.

Turns out she’d never heard of Colourmart, but now she’s hoping to visit them in person and is quite excited about it.

I told her I’d knit in high school but had had to give it up in college: I simply had had no funds for yarn (she nodded in boy-ain’t-that-the-truth agreement), and it took ten years for me to get back to it. I regret those ten years and would love to make it easier for someone else to keep going; what were her favorite colors?

Was I serious?!

That’s what yarn is for, yes.

And that is how, a year after I bought it, that huge 420-gram cone of dk cashmere I’d hanked and scoured finally got wound up and ready to go. It took…awhile this afternoon. (That big ball nearly qualifies for planethood. The bowl it’s in is platter size.) I’m not giving her all of it and I’m not sure it would fit in her suitcase if I did, so, some for my cowls project, some for her. Whichever one fits in her luggage. I want her to have something that sustains her wanting to knit.

And now it’s finally available to me to actually work with, too.



Sunday’s service, Monday’s mail
Friday June 08th 2018, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

Thought I’d up the stitch count this time from 68 to 70 but I continued with the 2×2 ribbing.

If you’re a knitter (or were ever taught math in third grade for that matter) you can quickly see where that’s going: seventy is not a multiple of four. Well, duh.

Alright then, why not alternate the pairs seed-stitch style. The variety would be interesting to work on.

The funny thing is how it came out in columns anyway. It will stretch to fit any adult but it stays a bit relaxed for a toddler’s head; I hope little Ray prefers the other one but either way now there’s some choice for him in the matter, a means of being in control of an expressive part of his three-years-long life, and that is always a fine, fine thing.

Then a message came in from across the country, I knew *exactly* who I needed to knit for next, stat, some cashmere leaped onto my needles and it is racing along.



Go green!
Thursday June 07th 2018, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

A delayed flight, a late night, but let me just say I had one last skein of deep teal green Malabrigo Mecha that has been trying to jump the queue for a week, telling me I needed to make a green hat. For whom? I have not a clue. And yet it kept nagging at me every single day.

This evening I finally realized that if I’d just given in and started the silly thing this morning it could have been done by now, so now it’s 6″ along. Not done but close.

Then we collected the kid and I’m calling it a night.



He can take a little ribbing
Wednesday June 06th 2018, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

(It’s a little darker than this.)

Yesterday’s cowl was for a newly-single mom of an adorable three-year-old and was from a single skein of souvenir yarn bought in Ft. Worth the last time we got to visit my father-in-law before he passed.

I couldn’t match it.

But after some serious stash-diving I came up with this to at least approximate it; I remember, back when I was a young mom I would be halfway through the day before I realized I’d dressed my baby to match me without even knowing it. Again.

Two-by-two ribbing all the way up to give it some serious stretch. It will fit a preschooler’s head with lots of folding-up and it goes comfortably over mine. Kids grow.

Of course, being three and having a mom who’s back in school and will likely soon move again means it’ll probably get lost somewhere before he’s four and make how it was knitted a moot point, but then that would just mean he’d get to choose the colors himself next time.

The point is that in all the shattering losses they’re going through, good memories and a sense of belonging are still being created. They matter.