Go lightly
Friday January 16th 2015, 12:06 am
Filed under: Garden,Knit

Got my computer back. There was a woman wearing a gorgeous handknit cowl at the Apple store as I waited for them to retrieve it, so I sat across the table from her and pulled out my own cowl project, figuring there’s no way a knitter would fail to notice. I wanted to compliment her on hers, whether she’d made it or not–but she had her face deep in her phone and never looked up. Ah well.

And I got the plant covers from Mr Garden, coming via express delivery. I guess they figured if you wanted frost protection in the dead of winter you wanted it right now! True that.

I pulled one over the mango as the sun went down, and thinking there was no way that fabric with all those little holes in it could seal in enough heat from the lights I ended up putting the thick plastic bag I’d been using previously over it to double-layer it. The forecast was officially for 45 tonight, but we’ve gone eight and nine degrees colder than the daily local forecast pretty consistently. Good enough for the Page mandarin, not so much for the Alphonso.

I kept checking the remote reader in disbelief and finally grabbed that black bag off so as not to cook the tree. I was impressed: okay, this thing does work. I expect it would not have the condensation problems of the other and, fungus-wise, to be much healthier for the tree.

Hours later it is still 19 degrees warmer than the ambient air. But we’ll see in the morning if it’s dry under there. Letting in 85% percent of the weak levels of wintertime UV is not enough longterm, but it is good enough that we could leave it on for a day or two should we need to before spring and that alone makes the purchase worth it.

It is, though, compared to the black cover, kind of like having a nonstop full moon out there.

Mac adamia
Wednesday January 14th 2015, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Life

Managed to haul my old and new computers into the Apple store to transfer old data; I hadn’t realized that meant they’d be keeping both for a day or two. Thank goodness for old laptops. (Look, Ma, no autocorrect!)

Richard’s still not carrying heavy objects yet and with a cane I’m one-armed, so it was a bit of a feat but we unloaded at the curb there and got it done, with the help of some great Apple employees. They both sympathized and rejoiced for me that that old beast was a Windows XP and my new one was a good Mac to make up for it. SO much better.

We walked around the corner to the Timothy Adams chocolate shop afterwards and had a truffle for now and some hot chocolate for tomorrow morning, warming our hands with it as we walked to the car.

Part of me is thinking I really should go shock some quickly-knit-up wool in cold/hot/cold/hot water with lots of agitation so I could have the perfect title for this post: Dell and the rows of felt.

She was a knitter. She would have loved that.

Tuesday January 13th 2015, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Family

We bought the plane tickets. Now we just both have to keep every germ far, far from both of us before we go cuddle that new baby.

And someone needs to go weave in every yarn end and sew every seam yet unsewn and maybe, like, y’know, knit a dozen more things to go with the rest of the superwash wool before we get there.

Safe and sunned
Monday January 12th 2015, 11:56 pm
Filed under: Garden,Wildlife

I was looking for a cover for the tropicals that would let the UV get to the plants, and found one that, looking at the manufacturer’s page, allows 85% of the light in. Hopefully it will hold in enough heat, too–I’ll be testing it out first. Having such a thing do so would mean being able to leave the mango and mandarin safe and sunned without having to be there as the temperature rises and falls each day: catch a flight before dawn to see the new granddaughter and the last flight back at night without having to leave the more fragile mango under black plastic in between.

But I’m thinking maybe I could also cover a small peach or cherry tree with these when the fruit is ripening to keep the birds out. Cool.

Yeah, like the squirrels won’t touch it. Uh huh. I’ll wrap the bottom of the trunk in bubble wrap as an extra measure–that has still been totally successful at putting down lines they won’t cross.

Well, except for one time and that was today: I have it wrapped around the pole next to the bird feeder and taped at the top. The bottom edge was a bit loose, though, with a bit of the pole exposed.

Wood! Darn if that thing didn’t grab onto that one spot showing and run up the pole till his nose couldn’t push any further. I could have popped bubbles right on his back and hearing me come (I didn’t want that behavior repeated) he scrambled to try to figure out how the heck to get out of there, wriggling in the bubble wrap all the way but not popping any from that side. He looked like a little kid who can’t figure out how to find their way out of their covers in the morning.

I guffawed a long time. He thought he’d had those evil bubbles thwarted.

I’m making a blanket statement: I will defeat them on the fruit trees, too.

And for a blink she smiled. And again.
Sunday January 11th 2015, 10:51 pm
Filed under: Family

It is the most amazing thing to have a fussy newborn who just really needed to put that diaper to the use it was made for quiet down at the sounds of our voices and search for our faces coming from the screen. As the old Ma Bell commercials used to say, it’s the next best thing to being there.

Thank heavens for Skype.

That sure didn’t take long
Saturday January 10th 2015, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Garden

I did not expect to see what I saw today. Not only had my mango tree started to sprout new growth, but at the beginning of the day it had one baby-stage inflorescence. At the end of the day, in the photo here, a second green budding had grown enough that you could see that it was pointed, unlike the third–suggesting that we’ll have two sets of flowering coming out of there. If you scroll down on the Wikipedia page to the gallery, there are a lot of photos of what will be.

The secondary branch has two green buds where it had been pruned, although so far they look like they’ll be more branches. Sounds good to me.

Forty-four degrees outside, 59 at the mango. (Edited to add, woke up to 37/58.) We’re going to have to get a bigger cover soon for nighttime. I like that problem.

(Edited Sunday night to add: now those look more like they’ll be leaves. I’ve got a lot to learn and I’m having great fun doing so.)

Friday January 09th 2015, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Looking at airline tickets to go meet our granddaughter, we decided we needed to wait till I feel better than I do today. Talk about incentive, though. Blenderize those grapes in that orange juice and go get a good night’s rest.

Thursday January 08th 2015, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Family

Two weeks. So much older.

Light, and the darkness crumbles into the nothing that it is
Wednesday January 07th 2015, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Family,Life,Politics

Ross Douthat at the New York Times wrote THE article about the events in Paris today that most needed to be written.

We are all Charlie.

We got a phone call tonight: having been frustrated by the problem for some time, our daughter was finally appealing to her tall dad to help her with some burned-out lights. They needed to be reached so she could see them and know what size to order and she felt too unsteady to risk trying. There were I think six in her kitchen ceiling and three by now had gone dark.

We went over there and helped her unscrew those bulbs. Then asked, why wait on shipping? There was a hardware store almost around the corner.

It seemed to me it wasn’t just the lights–it was that her injuries having been re-ignited last Friday, she needed to fix something to brighten her day that was within her power. Especially today. But she was not up to going to the shop, maybe multiple shops, to look for new ones, and she hadn’t been about to risk another fall by trying to even start the task alone.

Well, we could go, we offered, glad to help. And so we bought new bulbs, a grand total of $12 for three flood types, in LED no less–boy have prices come down–and came back over. With her big strong daddy again holding her steady standing on a chair, she screwed those new lights in herself.

I turned the switch on on the wall. We looked upwards in great satisfaction. Such a difference!

The darkness is a very small part of the world but it tries to claim great power. It deceives only itself. We are greater and we shine everywhere. Every good person in every religion or none who is trying to live by love. Love for those we know, love for those we don’t, love to all simply because we share our humanity and find it good.

We bring the light. We are Charlie.

So old school
Tuesday January 06th 2015, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life

A pronouncement of 20/30 so far at the eye doctor’s and then I dropped him off at work. Back to normal life.

Home was so quiet, but that was also a perfect chance to knit more than just in that doctor’s office and my queue is long. I turned on the stereo and picked out a CD from its list, because if there’s music going at home it compels my fingers to knit in time to it and me to sit and pay attention. To both.

Uh, dear, we forgot to wire the speakers back up to that thing when we moved everything back in this room after the carpetbaggers left.

Giving them the hairy eyeball
Monday January 05th 2015, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Unlike the eye-doc-in-the-box we once saw in New Hampshire 30 years ago, the local surgicenter thankfully does not have closed-circuit TV to the waiting room whereby the patient’s family can watch their loved one’s cataract surgery. I mean gee, I always wanted to… (Or not so much. Gack.)

We tried to schedule it before the kids coming home and the wedding and the birth of the baby and everything else, but today was the day and he needed to see.

An hour and a half after we got there, we were on our way home with me at the wheel and him exclaiming that dark cover-up glasses and all, he could already see so much better. SO much better! He was looking at everything with a delight that reminded me of when I got my first pair of glasses in third grade. Comparing his eyes. Taking it all in.

When Holly and George were here, she told me that it’s better to wait to have it done (like we did) till it really has to be done: it makes it easier to put up with the adjustments that come with it. You know what you’re not having to go through anymore and why you appreciate the skills of that eye surgeon.

He does, oh, he does.

(p.s. My new Mac gave up on trying to change the word yarnovers in an email I was typing to the word earners; now it’s auto-corrected it four times to carnivores instead. And having typed that word, it’s done it six times more. Trying again. Yarnovers yarnovers carnivores carnivores carnivores –okay, that’s funny. It left the first two and last one as I corrected them to and grabbed the ones in the middle that I had previously gotten to hold still and I am just going to leave them on display for now. As presented by Apple. And now it’s grabbed the last one and I don’t even know when.)

Yarnovers yarnovers yarnovers I WILL win this one.

They grow up
Sunday January 04th 2015, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden

Richard wanted, and got, a weather station for Christmas, but I’m the one who most watches it like a hawk: it turns out we are consistently a little cooler than the Wunderground pages say for this area, but then, the breezes off the Bay have a nice straight shot at our end of town.

The thing is saying that the lowest temp recorded in the last week was 24 degrees last Friday.

And yet my tropical trees continue to do fine. As I said to my sister today, they’re what I have now that need close watching over and care and attention. Much though I’d rather be immersed in the day-t0-day of watching our grandchildren, this is what I’ve got. (I’d be one of those babysitting grandmas in a heartbeat.) I do love the idea of our children and their children picking fruit at our house like the time in September when I got to hold Parker high to pick the last two apples of the year; that’s what it’s for most of all, them.

And for sharing of our abundance with the people around us: God’s handknits, created quietly day by increasing days until after all the happy anticipation at long last they’re ready. There is nothing like a warm summer peach ripe right off the tree.

I can’t wait to meet Madison in person.

Best ever start to a year
Saturday January 03rd 2015, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Seated a ways behind her, I snapped pictures of the bride’s grandmother in a wheelchair, hands high and clapping enthusiastically. Snapsnapsnapsnapsnapsnapsnap and then looklooklook oh yes I did manage to capture the action after all–with three or four shots in between that looked like she was holding still.

It was only fair to go introduce myself and show her her photo. She has email? Cool, could I send her this really good one?

Not that I could hear that address over the music–I handed my phone to her granddaughter, who typed it in, I added a subject line since it was going to be coming from a completely unknown-t0-her address, and together we hit send and the three of us grinned at our success.

The bride and groom were lovely and that love was utterly contagious. A wonderful time was had by all.

And then a number of our relatives adjourned to Michelle’s house with us to keep the conversation going over even more good food. Much laughing, with nobody wanting it to end. We got well into the yawn zone.

I looked around the room, wondering when I would even get to see some of them again. Our children are getting older with more responsibilities and more dispersed.

But Richard’s other sister has a son who just announced his engagement, so, hopefully, not too long.

We got up early and dropped John off at the airport. And it is very, very quiet around here.

The day before
Thursday January 01st 2015, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Family,Life,Lupus

If I say it was a crabfest it’ll sound totally wrong–people were totally good to each other.  It’s a Bay Area tradition to serve newly-caught Dungeness off the docks to celebrate the new year. The (non-sun-avoidant members of the) groom’s family tried providing some of those themselves, the Texas contingent adventuring for local flavor while they’re here, but Grampa told me the sea lions got most of the bait. The fishermen didn’t mind helping out, I’m sure.

There’s a whole lot more than a calendar becoming new. Two families together, the young and the old and the in-betweens. A rehearsal dinner and almost done.

The father of the bride smiled warmly as he told me, See you tomorrow!

Thursday January 01st 2015, 1:00 am
Filed under: Garden

Outside temp: 29. Mango tree reading under that bag: 47. Hoping the sensor isn’t too close to a light bulb, but, so far so good.

Happy New Year!