Monday June 30th 2014, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Politics
Calvinball is from Calvin and Hobbes, where the one who holds the ball makes up the rules and changes them constantly to keep their personal advantage going.
I’m going to go political today, sorry, and I know not all will agree with me and if you don’t, thank you for putting up with me anyway.
Okay. That Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision? Ruth Bader Ginsberg had some very relevant points to make on the dissenting side.
It looks to me like they established religion of one group of people over another. Hobby Lobby was not a household; they are a large for-profit corporation that invested their 401Ks in the companies manufacturing the very products they denied their employees and they sell goods made by cheap labor in a country with forced sterilizations and abortions, so the hypocrisy is strong in this one.
Here’s John Oliver the day before the case came down, anticipating how it was going to go. He gives credit to Hobby Lobby’s good deeds where they have rightfully earned it and then, in the stand-up comedian style he’s so good at, he tells it to them straight on the rest.
The question I have is, do job applicants now have a right to ask a prospective employer what their religion is? Because it is suddenly very relevant, while the employer sure can’t legally ask the applicant theirs.
Ginsberg brings up Jehovah’s Witnesses and blood transfusions, but they reject more than blood.
On the practical side, if you allow an employer to opt out of providing medical coverage for various cherry-picked items because of the employer’s religion, you have to deal with the outcome that will inevitably happen that someone someday will be in the hospital on TPN, IV feeding for the very ill like I went through five years ago with the infusion alone costing $2000 per day hospital care aside–and as this case stands, their employer in the name of their religion can stick their supposedly insured employee with that whole bill. Because, you know, the employee’s going to hell for messing with their veins but the employer doesn’t want to be dragged down there with them.
Even though the employee paid their premiums. Which were part of their compensation package. And even though this was not an individual denying them, it’s a corporation, ie a fictitious legal entity created specifically to put a buffer between an individual and the company they own.
Apply this scenario to any chemo infusion drug, too, and you see how widespread a problem we suddenly have here just to start.
Corporations are not real people. This has not been a controversial statement for 200 years and it shouldn’t be now.
Scalia on his more outrageous cases like this claims that the ruling applies only to this one thing right here, but that is never true at the lower court level. Precedent sets precedents and other courts honor and uphold the Supreme Court, apparently more than Scalia does.
That IV case or something very like it is going to happen. They have set themselves up to be overturned.
We can only pray we have a different membership on the Court by then, and soon.
New in town
Sunday June 29th 2014, 11:45 pm
Filed under: Friends
He was 13 months old and in a strange place with his grandparents at a church he’d never been to before, while for whatever reason his parents were elsewhere in the building just then.
Muh Muh Muh? Spoken softly. He toddled the back row in Sunday School, looking for Mommy.
Actually, the grandmother could easily have passed for an older mother so I wasn’t quite sure there till we introduced ourselves to each other afterwards and her son and daughter-in-law joined in the conversation.
Meantime, he was not crying but he was clearly tired and not quite sure of this place and all these strange faces.
We were silently cheering him on. We’ve all been the new kid on the block. Everyone at the back of the room was smiling at him and loving it when he caught an eye here or there.
One mom had silver sparkly shoes with a pattern that wove in and out and he stopped, got down, and explored how the top of one of them felt while she chuckled. Tangible light! Look at that! And you could cover it over with your hand, too, and then make it come right back. What a cool world!
At one point he went to his grandparents for a hug and we wondered if at last he would start crying; I reached into my purse and found a finger puppet and got it over to them. A turtle.
Grandpa caught on pretty quickly that this little handknit didn’t have to be a lump sitting on the palm and I saw Grandma showing the little guy how it went on her finger–and now it could go on his.
Would he throw it down and throw that tantrum at last? There was this moment of indecision in the air.
He liked it! Hey Mikey!
A minute or two later, toddling over to me, for the first time in there (be still my heart) he looked up into my eyes–and he smiled.
What a difference! He had a huge smile! It took up his entire face and it totally changed how he looked, totally rocking that toothy Mad Magazine mascot thing, ready for cheerful mischief. (Remembering how my grandsons’ daddy liked to stuff silverware down the heating vents starting at that age.)
Standing with all of them and with Richard in the swirl of people after the meetings were over, the parents had three ages four and under? So did we when we moved here. Turning to the side, these are the first grandkids? We told the grandparents we were at the same stage now.
It’s hard to uproot and move away and even harder when life revolves around the needs and schedules of small children. We wanted them all to feel this was home now.
The giggles of a totally-won-over-now tiny human being playing peekaboo around his grandma’s shoulders at me as we grownups got acquainted went a long way towards conveying that sense of belonging.
Pretty, pleased, with a cherry on top
I read about a year too late that if you’re going to have a small fruit tree in a container you want a plastic one with sides going straight down rather than cone shaped for the sake of avoiding root rot.
Oh. I’d just simply bought what Costco had last year.
Well hey, they were now selling a larger, non-conical one and I could always use the first to put tomatoes into, and at some point I mentioned to a friend that I wondered if I should ask for help to transplant that tree to where the roots would have more room but but really I shouldn’t, so, never mind, forget I said anything. I nearly deleted the email, and said that, too.
She laughed off my hesitation after checking first with her husband and strapping boys and so, today they came over and wrestled that thing. Turns out the roots were growing out the drainage holes and into the ground–extra dwarf or no, that tree wanted room and extracting it was a handful.
They made it sound afterwards like it had been completely easy and between the three of them, with the three-year-old baby brother happily running a Tonka tractor around their feet, they did it. They even insisted on moving the new container afterwards to where the old one had been, where the sun was a little better.
They got sent home with a chocolate torte with my profuse thanks. I’ve been praying hard since then that their backs are okay, amazed and in awe that they would volunteer like that just because.
I was only able to spend a little time out there in the bright sun, mostly watching through the window, so I had to ask Richard afterwards: what happened to all that gravel I’d had at the bottom of the pot? I’d had it in there for drainage and stability and I didn’t see any later.
And I had more in the new pot, with a layer of dirt on top to get it all ready for them.
We didn’t see but a tiny bit of gravel.
Uh. Ohhh. That rootball must have been really heavy, then, I mean, I had a lot… Yow.
I had some below the layer of soil at the waiting bottom of the new pot, too, and when they were done with the transplanting they scooted the thing over to where it had been previously. That tree looked beautiful when they were done.
What can I say–our friends totally rock!
A crash course in navigation
Friday June 27th 2014, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Family
Got up an hour early to make sure I wasn’t late taking Michelle to the doctor; her car is out of the running at the moment. Got her home, got Richard to work, got home, had two hours to myself, got Michelle and took her to work down in San Jose because they wanted her to come in today in person and thought as long as I have to wait two hours, I might as well discover Green Planet Yarn’s new digs rather than drive home only in time to drive right back.
The freeway down there, it turned out, was dealing with a major crash, so I thought I’d just do the surface streets from her office to that shop, no problem.
But it had to be… it wasn’t. I at long last pulled over and looked at my Iphone. Maps *click*. Twelve minutes thataway? I’d turned the wrong way.
Ten minutes into that, my phone buzzed and I pulled off again: Michelle said her meeting was cancelled, could I come back at 3:30 instead?
2:45. My phone hadn’t updated my location; I still wasn’t sure I would find that shop nor how long it would take me to get all the way back to her if I did. Traffic was picking up and I knew a lot of it would be diverted as rush hour was starting and after two hours into this trip, the enthusiasm just wasn’t quite what it was.
Forget it. And so, for the fourth and last time I drove through that bad end of town, briefly certain I must have lost a tire to that pothole, heading back to her office–if I could retrace my steps.
Which, it turns out, you can’t.
Just when it looked like my road was ending and was going to dump me into a ramp to the shut-down freeway waitwaitwhat?!, a side arm opened up going thataway and I saw the new sign to the road I’d most wanted to find and knew my way from there.
Six cities, six hours at the wheel by the time I’d picked Richard up from work–and two gallons of gas used in all of that. Go Prius go. (Fully aware I could have been more than halfway to the grandkids in San Diego by that point.)
Settling back in the parking lot at Michelle’s office at 3:03, meantime, I sent her a note saying I was here, I was going to knit, I was simply going to sit tight till she was ready. No hurry. Had lots to do.
She showed up at the door immediately–and confessed she’d only said 3:30 because she thought I was having a grand time at the yarn store and she hadn’t wanted to interrupt me.
I’d spent that *whole time* lost? she asked. Why hadn’t I used my GPS?
I looked at her in what I hoped was gentle–alright, utter in spite of myself–disbelief–and said simply, I can’t hear my GPS.
She looked steadily back at me and asked, With your bluetooth?
That connects to my new hearing aids.
And I’d actually remembered to bring the thing. I don’t like to wear it, it’s heavy on the neck but at least it was there in my purse this time, for, you know, phone calls, even though I don’t take calls when I’m driving e v e r . But I’d actually remembered to bring it. This is a rare thing.
The bluetooth connects the hearing aids to the phone and the phone has GPS and I had it right there the whole time and I could have….
And then we both just howled, laughing. What else can you do. The thought of listening to a portable electronic device, much less while driving, I mean, it just never in a million years would have occurred…. Ohmygoodness, I was wiping tears and trying to catch my breath. Ohmygoodness. Just too funny.
Well, I’ll remember next time, that’s for sure.
On their side
One more thing about Rita yesterday.
I was sitting next to her at that table and I told her the story of my grandmother at 95 with a big glass bowl full of individually wrapped candies: she was offering my kids some. They were–here, let me try to remember–maybe 5, 7, 9, and 11 at the time? My mom was in town too visiting her mother while we were there.
Mom and I silently gave the kids the hairy eyeball–just one, kids.
Gram’s eyes twinkled: “Have some more!”
(Us: Just. One.)
They each in varying degrees of age and awareness took another piece in a combination of eagerness and hesitation and trying to figure out just what the power dynamic going on here was.
She egged them on yet again, and again, one piecetaking at a time: “Have some more!”
Till eventually they had filled their mouths, all their pockets, their socks by golly, everything they could think of, and at the last they totally emptied that bowl. And it was not a small bowl. If the number of pieces didn’t come out evenly between them, I don’t remember, but they had the good sense not to complain nor I think did we have to prompt them to say thank you.
Gram was having the time of her life.
I told Rita, “She knew she was making it so they would never forget her–and they didn’t.”
Lovely Rita looked at me with her good eye and this suddenly profound moment passed between us as she in her own great old age affirmed, “Yes. Exactly. “
This was what we had always come for
Wednesday June 25th 2014, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Friends
(Tomato flowers playing chainstitch.)
My lupus group meets in the nearby community hospital.
Except in the summers, when our conference room is always scheduled for something else and they have no room for us. So we go on hiatus.
Only, this year we really didn’t want to, feeling more strongly about it than in the past. So we decided to have a get-together over lunch, picking a place in Los Gatos so it would be easy for Rita to come. I for one hadn’t seen her in years.
She was one of the original members of the group and from the sound of it I might still have been in high school at that point and back then all the information they could find called the disease universally fatal. End of story.
She’s in her 90’s now and chipper as ever–I will definitely take that kind of fatal.
The woman who’d made the reservations, mindful of several hearing impairments in the group, had asked for a quiet room, and Viva gave us the quietest one of any in memory. Near the end I said by way of thanks that yes the new hearing aids are great, but, this was the first time I had heard nearly everything in a restaurant in a group this size (we were seven) since…I thought a moment…probably my 20’s.
Normalcy is such an amazing gift to get to sample.
We all got big helpings.
One woman made it there whom we weren’t sure would be able to; for all her health problems, she’s a primary caregiver herself and for several minutes there she spilled all her grief of what she and her husband were going through.
How they were doing mattered to us. We asked how they’d met, and telling her multi-continent what-were-the-chances story got her laughing and her old self, freed to simply be.
We reminisced too over the people we had loved in that group over the years.
Do you remember the woman whose wake was held at her home , I asked. I found out after years of knowing her that we’d grown up in neighboring towns–who knew. What was her name?
Yes! In Sunnyvale, right?
Yes! And here’s the funny part, I told them. There was a man there at that wake whom I knew I knew, and he knew he knew me, but we both looked at each other and went, You are wayyy out of context. Where do I know you from?
Turns out he was my kids’ math teacher. He lived across the street there. Our late friend (I want to say Carol?) had taken care of his wife when she was dying, and then when Carol died, Rick opened his door the next morning to find–Carol’s cat.
She looked up at him. She stepped over the doorway. She lived here now.
And so he had indeed taken in that sweet cat that had watched these two households taking care of each other and she knew where to find the love.
I had missed enough meetings over the years that I didn’t recognize a few names the others were remembering, people who had moved away, people who had gone on, people who had simply stopped coming. This afternoon, we all found the love all over again all the more intensely and I never wanted to miss a thing again.
Rita, tiny, mostly blind, not quite frail yet if she can help it, was getting into another friend’s car for her ride home. Did we wear you out? I asked her.
Yes! she laughed, and pronounced, And it was worth EVERY. MINUTE.
Angi-, angi-, baby
Tuesday June 24th 2014, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Life
Last time I ignored it while it gradually got bigger and bigger–and then my daughter got diagnosed with melanoma at 29 and I finally listened to my husband and got my basal-cell cancer diagnosed and cut out.
I have a divot in the center of the top of my head and a bit less hair, not that anyone but me could tell, to remind me to take such things more seriously.
This time I didn’t wait. I made that appointment as soon as it was clear that that bright red spot was definitely bigger than when I was squinting to see if it really was a thing. Front and center at the hairline on my scalp, let’s get that one cut out in the really early stages this time, okay?
The verdict today:
Angioma. A swollen little blood vessel that is just there, is all. They show up. It may go away. It may always be there now. Utterly harmless.
So much better to know than to wonder about it for months on end and then have to pay its price.
Someone out there needs this nudge like I did: please get checked.
That particularly aggressive melanoma? It was caught in the first two weeks during an appointment for something else. Surgery but no need for chemo at that early, and three years later she continues to be just fine and I am too.
Monday June 23rd 2014, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Friends
I’ve been going to the same drycleaner for lo these many years. I’ve never known the name of the woman who is the face of the establishment, a tiny woman, probably Korean since a lot of them around here of that age are, and she struggles to remember mine given that I’m such an infrequent flier: “Hyatt?” I only come a few times a year. But it’s been a lot of years.
But she remembers my husband’s handknit sweater, the Aran with the 86″ wingspan (the one he wore to a job interview and I teased him that I got him that job), and we bonded over that way back in the days when I was still afraid to handwash such things. Special instructions: Do Not Block. I didn’t want all those hard-won cables flattened out.
I don’t think she’s ever seen my 6’8″ husband but she’s known the size of his suits and they just amaze her.
I had a pair of his wool pants to drop off that I should have done awhile ago. I’d been wondering at my own procrastination mixed with forgetfulness. But today everything fell easily into place: I remembered it and I did it–on a Monday, even, 5:00ish though, so that if they said it wouldn’t be done till Friday I’d still have an extra day to remember to retrieve them before he would need them Sunday. I wouldn’t have to pay extra for an overnighter.
There was a tall man just ahead of me when I arrived and it became quickly clear that, at least right then, he was the overbearing type who does not see people who serve. Granted, we all have our moments we regret–but still. Not fun. As he gave this gentle woman a hard time over nothing at all I felt for her. He was well dressed in clothing only. I almost said out loud, c’mon, dude, lighten up.
Except that I didn’t want her nor her business to bear the brunt of any reaction to me.
He turned to leave at long last and she immediately stepped sideways my way and made a point of focusing solely on me.
One pair of pants? (And then came the struggle for the name.) I chuckled, adding, “Alison.”
L? She started to write L Hyatt-cross out–Hyde and I had her cross out the L too and put in A, just to be on the safe side. We both chuckled. As if there would ever be any confusion whose those were, no. But no matter our language barrier, I made a point of being the friend who understood what she’d just been put through and that I wanted to make up for it. One can say a lot with just face and eyes and a smile in the voice. He was gone now and she was in the safety of a friend.
Oh wait–I remembered to ask. “When will they be done?”
She hesitated a millisecond. “Wednesday.”
I was quite taken by surprise. “Wednesday?!” (I suddenly got that if she overnighted it without charging extra her husband might give her grief.)
“Wednesday,” she affirmed with the happiest face ever.
Sunday June 22nd 2014, 11:44 pm
Filed under: Friends
He was an adorable bald little baby when he first started playing peekaboo with me at church from his mother’s arms.
At eighteen months he was old enough to go into the nursery and give her a break so I saw a lot less of him. He had thick blond hair now, a little boy of cheerful disposition with the distinctive waddle-walk of that age and as he reached way up to hold his daddy’s hand and walked in there one particular Sunday I marveled at so much change so fast. So very normal. They don’t stay babies, do they.
And he was still always ready to turn and wave hi my way with his whole being lighting up at the sight of me. I really hadn’t done much to earn that, he simply offered the gift of loving for love’s sake.
There are a lot of young families that cycle through this area, landing a good job out of grad school, getting some experience, and then moving on when a job offer somewhere else offers the chance of being able to buy a house with a reasonable cost of living. (We marveled when we moved here at the old people who could never afford to buy their houses now and now we are those older people. Wait, wait, not *that* old, but still.)
And so his family did just that two years ago.
They were in town, visiting, and so there they were at church today.
He’s past napping stage but I guess all that vacationing took it out of him–he fell asleep during the main meeting with his mommy holding him. At four, he’s a lot bigger now and she admitted her arms were getting tired.
Several of us converged on our old friends at once and he stirred a bit. The first thing he saw was me. And he was in a happy place and snuggled back down with a smile.
After the last meeting, she was catching up some more with some of us who have so missed them and again holding him and I suddenly realized he was playing peekaboo through the back of the chair, eyes on me, waiting for me to notice: bobbing up then down in happy anticipation. Of course I would see, he knew it. That’s what honorary Grandmas do.
I was amazed he remembered me. I mean, he’d been a babe in arms! I was grateful to have meant so much to such a new person that it carried forward, glad that it helped what was a homecoming to his mom and dad feel like one to him too rather than being one more strange new place to get through on their trip away from home.
Every smile matters. Both ways.
The Tentacles exhibit
Our one-year membership at the Monterey Bay Aquarium has five weeks left on it and we’d wanted to see their Tentacles exhibit while it was still on.
This morning: “Do you want to go?”
“Let me get this load out of the washer and we need to fill the car.”
And then, wild and crazy young things that we are, we threw a few cans of fruit juice in the car and took off down the coast. Got some serious blankie knitting done while he drove.
The GPS on his phone was misbehaving so we used mine, knowing there had been road construction. But his is the one that has a charger in the car, so I was down to only getting a few pictures once we got there.
Nautilus can naut(tell)ilii.
Sardines are the silver jewelry of the sea.
We watched a cuttlefish that kept pulsing dark purple in waves down its body, S-curving around a lighter almost yellow at its edges and in time to the waves of the water, the darker area matching the (lava rocks?) at the bottom of the display. There was a white anemone nearby and hiding in it another cuttlefish had gone white to match. Put a color or pattern next to them and watch them change to try to vanish into it to prey and not to be prey.
Richard got some pictures I’ll have to share later of the horned and tufted puffins–I was delighted to be within inches of some of the birds that our daughter saw on a recent boat ride in Alaska.
But quite a few people in the crowd around us cracked up when I mentioned that the tufted puffins looked like Donald Trump’s hair, they really do.
We drove through the artichoke fields of Castroville on the way home and found ourselves a farmstand and came away with the very freshest and a jar of their artichoke marinara sauce. It was clear the place had seen many a tourist, in that there was a large sign showing how to eat their crop–thistle show’em.
We came home too tired to cook. Tomorrow is soon enough.
Worm spit and goat coat
“You spun? You haven’t spun in a long time.” Then he stopped short with, “Wait–spun? Or plied?”
Maybe a dozen years ago I bought the cashmere, I bought it all: cones of 90% undyed brown cashmere 10% wool, single-ply, spun very fine for the garment industry.
But when it arrived from China the importer found a moth in the box. Or maybe several. She debated shipping it back but emailed me, an old customer, saying it would be all the same to her if she simply unloaded it on me at her cost.
Fifteen bucks a pound plus shipping.
!?! YES please!!!
Granted, brown cashmere is cheaper to begin with because you have a far wider range of dyeing options with white. Brown makes for earth tones. I could live with that.
It came from the Southeast with a slight whiff of mildew. A really hot scour of the finished yarns helped greatly and it was all the more incentive to boil it in a dyebath (but that and the lack of superwashing made me hesitate later to use it for the grandbabies.)
I plied pounds and pounds of that thin thread on my wheel into a soft knitting yarn and I knitted and spun and dyed some more until I actually, honestly kinda got (forgive me) bored with it. (I hear you and you and you and you saying hey let ME be bored now!)
I knew all these years later I still had a little somewhere, but two days ago I stumbled across not scraps’ worth but three two-pound cones.
I had this laceweight offwhite silk on a Colourmart cone that had just been sitting there…
I was a little afraid to touch that brown for fear of finding that for having been left alone in their ziplocs for so long they were finally bug-damaged, never actually having had any problems before despite their beginnings, but no, there was no sign. The yarn was fine.
The bigger bobbin was 227 yards and 120g when I got done and when I finish I’ll have more than that again.
It was a distraction from the project at hand, but I felt like when inspiration strikes after a dozen years’ wanting, grab it while it’s there.
Do I dye it or do I leave it?
And I… There were originally fifteen pounds… I think I have another of those cashmere cones in that other closet, too, most of one pound, at least. Might even be two like that. I’d have to open those big awkward boxes that are above my head and I haven’t quite yet looked to confirm.
Air and light and yarn and friends
Thursday June 19th 2014, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Life
Drop off, pick up, oh I forgot my could you get me yes of course I’d be glad to workapartmentphysicaltherapistapartmenttrainstationhomehaircuthometrainstation apartmenthome(onesingle minutebeforethephonerangtogoagain)work–starting at 8 am, grateful for hot cocoa in a travel mug and a family that I love.
And then bacon-wrapped scallops for a quick dinner because, y’know, there they were, just sitting in the freezer waiting for a day that had earned them and today, happy as it was, was definitely the day.
And then finally I got to sit down, hold still, work on the baby blanket, and chat with friends at Purlescence. Good times.
I should have taken pictures–the place looked so different from last week.
They’d been using towering dark brown cubbies inherited from the previous yarn store that I know had had them 25 years ago and very likely a few decades before that, too.
Once the Purlescence crew started taking them down they found out just how past their prime those homemade bins were–the extra bolts they’d put in had held them together just long enough. (To all the Californians thinking earthquake, they’d bolted the sides to the walls, too, as one must.)
There are light wood half-walls now, the yarn hanging on hooks to either side, everything on display and in view. Wow, the place looks so much better. The airflow in the room is better, the lighting is better, the dark caverns that the aisles were have vanished into history and what they call their living room area no longer feels like an isolated corner. I can’t begin to imagine how much work that was to pull all that off in a few days.
But it’s as welcoming-looking and warm and friendly now as its owners are, and that’s saying a lot.
One blankie, coming up
Sometimes all it takes is starting that first step.
I bought a full bag of Malabrigo Rios skeins several months ago, a very soft superwash wool and what Parker’s blanket was made of, for a matching drag-around-everywhere blankie for Hudson. I made him that vivid blue silk one when he was born, and it was gorgeous and good for thermoregulating in heat or cold, but for doing head-first dives off the couch into the softness and poking holes in and having Gramma fix it? (I know, I know, so I keep convincing myself–wool really is the way to go.)
And a friend having been burned out of her apartment last year by a hot water heater gone bad, you never know; wool self-extinguishes when you remove the source of flame, whereas synthetics melt onto the skin. Wool is definitely safer around small children.
I finished the ribbing tonight and I’ve started in on the pattern part. The yarn had thrown a tantrum clear from the next room and had demanded to be next. Nothing else would do. Me me me, it loudly bossed my needles.
At long last and such a relief–I’d wanted to want to work on it and now nothing else will do. (Sorry for the delay, kiddo.)
Oh I’m SO glad
Tuesday June 17th 2014, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Friends
Just saw a note.
My foster-parenting friend told me last week that Andy‘s need for a safe, secure, and loving environment was never being considered by the court–only whether the remaining bio parent would take him on.
Which apparently didn’t happen at even the most basic level of commitment. The foster parents knew that’s how it was; the social workers knew; the system repeatedly did not care.
Until now. In a complete turnaround that surprised them, the court just opened the way for the adoption process to begin after all. It’s not a done deal yet but it’s far more likely now. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am.
I know there are a whole lot more of you reading this blog than that ever comment, and I just wanted to tell each one of you whoever you may be my thanks for your prayers, for your concern for one innocent little toddler out there in the world, for Thinking Good Thoughts his way–the latter, I should add, I believe with all my heart that the God of love counts just as seriously as any prayer, since the purpose of our being here is to learn better how to love.
And now Andy will have a much better chance in his life at exactly that.
Coming to fruition?
Another thing that happened at Lee’s birthday celebration: I have long wanted to know whom to ask, someone who really knew, and wow, there he was.
Years ago the local paper did an article on a type of mango so fiberless and fragile and so perfect that it could not be shipped to grocery stores, and expats from India would sign up at an Indian grocer in the area for so many cases and would wait to meet a planeload’s worth coming in: picked and picked up all in a very short time frame, at astronomical prices.
I remembered the story but not the variety.
I’ve talked for two years now about buying a mango tree and about what it would take to have it survive any freezing temps here. One grower’s suggestion led to the classic protest from Richard about how he was not going to be the neighbor with Christmas lights up in March. Which is funny. But he had a point.
There are other ways. Some fairly difficult.
Lee’s friend Dani was from India and he’s done those signups. He grew up with an Alphonso tree in his yard producing one to two hundred a year, and he said it was THE mango, the only mango, the most coveted one in all of India. The perfume! He mimed waving it towards his face in blissful memory. So intense! The flavor! There was nothing like it, nothing.
Mallika was the variety I had thought I wanted. He had not heard of it. He’s been here awhile and it’s a new variety, maybe?
We emailed back and forth a bit afterwards and so he lit a fire under me to find out more.
Mallika: “Among the best.” Alphonso: “The best, the most sought after.” Ah. I had not compared them side by side before because I hadn’t known to.
But here’s the thing: at Lee’s that night, when I told Dani I’d more or less given up on the idea anyway, not quite sure I wanted another container tree (on a platform so that we could wheel it close to the house in winter–good luck with that chore) and not sure I wanted to plant it in the ground either, not sure it would survive without a lot of work–we do get some freezes, even if not many–he, having already found a 3 gallon size available (I want it a 7) via his phone by that point in the conversation, passionately urged me to go ahead and get that tree, emphasizing with each word: “If you don’t try you will never know.”
This just might happen after all and it will be because of him.
I’m now on the waiting list for notification for when the 7-gallon size comes in. Lee’s friend admitted he hopes I give him a few Alphonsos someday when it produces, and I assured him I owed him that thanks, yes. Absolutely.
I think that’s one of the reasons I put the tomato pots where I did last month: to prove there’s enough sun in that spot near the south side of the house for production. Done.