And with that, March is over
Finally got that car in today, now that I wasn’t waiting for repairmen or appointments.
Oil change, routine stuff, and… a cracked drive belt. Caught before it could leave us stranded on the side of the road. Good thing.
Oh and? My one request of the universe right now would be that it not be an April Fool’s joke–and he did post it March 31, not April 1: George Takei announced on his Facebook page that he just bought a house in Devin Nunes’ district to run against him next year.
May he live long so we’ll all prosper.
Thursday March 30th 2017, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Life
One phone call in the morning to clarify a question and then I think we’re done. And it’s not even April.
I typed that, read it, and went, Hah! Oh wait. That printer we’ve been putting off replacing–time’s up. Got to be able to print these out. Okay, so, almost done!
(p.s. If you got the same email I did about a sale on some jadeite/merino/silk yarn and had the same reaction of, what the heck is jadeite like? I found this. Yow. I guess if you’re going for the politician’s proverbial asbestos suit… )
Thank you Mike at Speedy Appliance
Wednesday March 29th 2017, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Life
The sweet, sweet sound of a working washing machine these past eight hours. The guy was a gem and he knew his stuff.
I’ve wondered from time to time how we would do after a major earthquake and the potential disruptions to water and power–this past week was a small glimpse. So I am all the more grateful to be able to hear sudsy water swishing back and forth and the ding as the load finishes.
Mike even pulled out my dryer and checked the outtake to make sure all was well there. No charge, just doing it because he could–and he mentioned that given the angle it should be kept forward a bit from the wall.
That drawing I won, with the tickets and the parking and the food
Richard took a break during a break and she came down beside me at row 11 a moment.
We both did complete double takes: “Oh my goodness!” in unison. She told me she thought she’d go strike up a conversation with the woman several rows below with the white hair who was knitting during the down times, having no idea it was me.
We couldn’t hear much more than that, either one of us, and gave up but we did get a good hug in later on the way out. An old Purlescence friend. Good times.
So I have now see my first game of ice quidditch. The Sharks were ahead, then down, then won in a stunning overtime that–wait–you mean there aren’t four quarters? It really is over? Oh okay.
The fix of the day at the break of day
Monday March 27th 2017, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Garden
Dawn today was officially at 7:00 am sharp.
After waking up at 5:30 because my subconscious was afraid I wouldn’t hear the alarm, at ten of I turned on the outside light, opened the door, and waved at the work van to let Mr. Chavez know I was ready whenever he was.
We walked around the house to the culprit and he quickly determined it was indeed the thermocouple. He showed me how he could tell this was so and noted the GE model and said it was particularly bad for those going out–his own, he’d had to do this twice already, every three years. So we would probably have to do it again, but meantime, the heater was built in 2013–it definitely had life left in it. He noted that some manufacturers have moved away from thermocouples altogether, for the next time we’re in the market. You’ll want to get one of those.
And then he got to it.
Well, as long as I was already outside at that hour I decided to do what I’ve known for a long time I should do but really really had no particular desire to get up early to do: I walked around the fruit trees and the–what are those big leafy plants along the raised border called again–and picked off the snails and crushed them. I’d done this at evening many times but wow, at the break of day is definitely when they’re out.
The copper tape around the base of the trees meant I only found two small ones in one tree where they’d climbed the grass over the barrier; the rest were in those big juicy green border-plant leaves.
As he worked they started heading downwards into hiding for the day, with me going oh no you’re not.
The trick is not to push your hair out of your face with the hand you pick them up with (this hand, snails, that hand, hair.) A few of them, um, panicked at being grabbed.
It was a near thing a time or two.
He finished up, I paid him, I waited the half hour he said to… And then another just to make absolute sure.
That was the best best best shower in a long time. Thank you Bernie Chavez.
(Washing machine repairman: Wednesday.)
A nest to feed
The hawk swooped barely above a squirrel’s head on the fence to let it know who was boss and landed halfway down the birdnetting tent over the still-tiny sour cherry tree. The tent flinched but held and with a shuffle of feet so did he. I really need a decent-sized tree over there and rather regret having put in an ultradwarf, but the new pomegranate next to it is likely to put on some height soon to make up for it.
My phone rang and I reached for it, breaking the spell of the moment, and he took off.
Later, a solitary dove landed under the bird feeder when not even a squirrel was visible. I thought, that’s perfect for him–but for you, not so much. Don’t you know…?
I went back to what I was doing.
I looked up just as the enormous Cooper’s wings flapped wide in a hard turn right there as its feet simultaneously grabbed the dove falling backwards from the window. Bird yoga. The hawk flew hard with it, slightly wobbly as it made its grip sure, across the open yard swooping low then up at the last over the fence and steeply back downwards, whether to the ground or up again to the cover of the neighbors’ trees (which is more likely) I don’t know. The ravens would steal it in an instant if they saw and he would know where they would be and where they could see. I never took my eyes off him but I had no idea where he’d gone. He’s good.
He watches everything.
Chavez is coming at 7 am and we should have fully hot water in that tank by mid-morning.
Monday has never looked so good
Saturday March 25th 2017, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Life
She LOVED the blue, passed on the green. So having the washing machine go down worked out well for her.
Had it been my choice, the hot water heater would have waited more than a day to join it.
The city prefers we let them send their inspector on their dime when it comes to gas appliances rather than having you blow up or burn down your house, so, a very nice guy showed up not long after we called–probably not a lot of demand on a Saturday at dinner time–and said the pilot was indeed out.
The winds the previous day had blown open the door to its small outside-facing closet and that almost never happens; had that blown it out?
He looked at the set up and said no, it couldn’t be blown out.
He could get it to relight but it refused to stay lit–probably the thermocouple, he said. Should be an easy fix. This thing says it was built in 2013–no way it should need to be replaced yet, though you may need a new control board if it’s not the other.
So. The washing machine yesterday, the hot water heater today. As the clerk rang up pecan Kringle and frozen macarons with my groceries, I said to her, So what can you do but go to Trader Joe’s and buy sweets?
She cracked up.
The one plumber who answered his phone said he would put us first on his list for Monday, and so it shall be. Actually, wait, there were two, and one said he doesn’t do that anymore but call Chavez, he’s the best in the business.
Chavez, whoever he is, was surprised and thrilled when I passed that word along, pride and humility both in his voice and I liked him already.
The bathtub is full of water for the morning. Room temperature will not be fun but at the outside temp–dang. Just unthinkable.
The absurd with the Sublime
There was a little left of the second skein of Sublime pearl/bamboo tonight but not enough to be absolutely sure I could do another repeat–besides, it’s at seven and the eye is satisfied with groupings in odd numbers and oddly dissatisfied at even-number ones and I knew that trying for nine, there was just no way; I cast off.
It fills up. It drains. It won’t agitate and it won’t spin, it just growls. You know you’re a knitter when your first reaction to finding out the washing machine just broke is, but then how on earth am I supposed to spin this out after I rinse it so it can be dry by the morning?! How am I supposed to block this?!
On the other hand, I have a bright blue cowl done in cashmere, silk, and baby alpaca yarn I’d plied on the wheel and I know she loves that color, too. The practical side says I think we’re good.
But the part of me that made that avocado one just for her wants to tuck it into my purse and offer to switch her if she’d rather. I’d better go get those ends run in to give myself the option, if not her. (Edited to add, oops, scratch that, it’s not that one it’s the 66/34 cashmere/cotton one. Still good.)
It suddenly needed to be knitted, like, yesterday.
After all those afghans, it was amazing how fast 100 stitches of slippery yarn go around and around; it’s a bit splitty, so the blunt needles are exactly on point.
I’ve had a few skeins of this for awhile, waiting for the right person to knit pearls for. Truly: it is made from the chips from rounding off off-kilter pearls for jewelry. Soft, lustrous, warmth in my hands that anyone could wear in any weather.
It’s very much not my color but it’s what it came in that was still in stock–it was expensive to manufacture and was discontinued quickly. Now that I know where it’s going, the color is perfect. It will be treasured.
My phone is refusing to take its picture even after I deleted old ones. You don’t mind waiting till tomorrow to see it, do you? I knitted till pretty late.
The hole the woodpecker made in the dead wood that ended up on the ground, leaving a tiny feather behind.
The tree with a bigger hole now.
The first peach of the season, on a tree hit by peach leaf curl despite my spraying copper; once was not enough. The first two were leafing out during the storms last month, and rain plus cold weather lets the disease attack the developing leaves.
The new healthy leaves are already coming in, and once they’re fully grown they’re impervious to it.
The other two vulnerable trees are leafing out and it’s been raining–but it’s also been warmer.
The Indian Free is happy as a clam, and should I lose one of the others I’m going to put in a Muir, which likewise is resistant and late-blooming.
The breba (spring crop) figs growing below the leaves.
And there are new flower buds today on the cherries and blueberries.
I love the happy anticipation at this time of year. It’s like a new knitting project with enough rows done that you can really see what it’s going to turn out to be.
Tuesday March 21st 2017, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Knit
As I clipped off the ties there was this vague sense that something was wrong, but it made no sense and I ignored it–at the time.
Oooh, man. All those hundreds of yards of wool and that compliant-looking hank was anything but: it was tangled, and tangled bad.
If you are winding yarn into a hank (race-track shaped, for the non knitters, for dyeing now and winding into a ball later) and get interrupted and come back to it and finish with the winding going the other way, you create loops against the loops instead of one big loop–and the yarn must be slowly carefully unwoven back through all those figure-eights. The ball, as it gets bigger and bigger, still has to fit through all those catch points every time around.
I started at about 10:30 this morning. I got interrupted by a few things, including a friend dropping by for an hour and a half, but still: it was 3:30 when I finally got that last yard onto that ball.
Which I emphatically did not knit. I was done with it for the day.
So while I fussed with all that, I had the second-day Neil Gorsuch hearings going to keep me occupied. (The Supreme Court nominee.)
He seems like a nice guy. We could definitely do worse, given who chose him.
And yet. Too often he’s sided with money over people. That Hobby Lobby judgment that he defended because of the owners’ “sincerely held beliefs”? A Senator said, Well, what if an owner is a Jehovah’s Witness and refuses to pay for employees’ medical insurance to cover blood donations? Where does this end? And what about the sincerely held beliefs of the 1300 employees, don’t they matter?
There were questions about a case involving a trucker, which Gorsuch dismissed as squabbling over a hole vs an opening in the floor of the truck. I wondered what that was all about, since he clearly seemed to be avoiding it, so I went looking.
What he refused to acknowledge was that by his dissent in that case, he was saying a man’s life was less important than corporate rules.
The brakes had failed on the guy’s trailer and he had called for help, was told it was coming, and fell asleep in his unheated truck. He woke up in the early stages of hypothermia and knew he would die if he stayed there. Rather than drive with a dangerous trailer he unhooked it, drove the truck to safety and warmth, and when that roadside help finally came, drove back to the trailer and dealt with it.
He was fired, and Gorsuch upheld that firing. The rules were he was to have stayed put, and he didn’t.
And this is the man who wants to make potentially life-and-death decisions for us all.
I can only pray we get the smiley Mr. Nice Guy he portrayed himself as. We have enough of a tangled mess at the top.
Monday March 20th 2017, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Wildlife
Two ravens landed in my back yard yesterday, standing there watching me, testing, and then quickly lifting away when I objected, flying in a half circle just outside the periphery of the property and jerking back away when I waved my arms when they got too close. Territory is a language they speak (loudly, at times. Caw.) Back to your willow tree, guys.
Every spring, they try. Once. And then the young ones decide the rules their parents had taught them were real.
But that challenge could not be allowed to stand, and the absence of birds at my feeder the entire rest of the day but for two frantic all-ee-all-ee-in-come-free minutes, twice, then frantic scrambles away, suggested that a Cooper’s hawk had seen what those ravens had done and was having none of it.
Time to claim that which is closer to the ground as well as the redwood heights above.
The first shake of the window got my attention, the second bounce still didn’t stop it and then at last the dove turned towards that tree with the hawk now in close pursuit.
He was back in the afternoon: the solitary sentry at the center of the fence, his chest not streaked with youth but not quite chestnut yet either, at least not at that angle in the shadows of the heavy clouds. It could have been just the light. He stood.
A while later, wide wings caught my eye as he came in to guard the top of the awning above the bird feeder, that typical low swoop with the upwards at the end. Three sightings in one day? I looked at my calendar, and yes: equinox. Now I get it.
He stood there for some time, too.
He flew down to the patio to what I had not quite realized till that moment was his other I-am-here: the wooden box. But in the instant his feet would have touched down he tucked them back up again and turned and flew towards the redwood.
I felt like I’d wrecked it. I’d left my tomato seedlings at that edge and he’d seen at the last that they were too flimsy to support him, right when he no longer had quite enough lift to simply land past them. As soon as he was out of sight I opened the slider and moved them to the other end of the box so he could have his perch back.
The one he likes to people-watch from (and also look for finches cowering in the elephant ears against the house.)
It is raining hard and will off and on for the next five days. There is easy food just outside of the rain for the seedeaters and they will want that.
He’s got a nest up there again this year. He will be back.
Sunday March 19th 2017, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Friends
Saturday night I was at Trader Joe’s reading a label at the end of an aisle when a woman I didn’t see coming up behind me, on her way by, said, warmly, “I LOVE your hair!”
She had no way to know I’d despaired over it that very morning and had seriously considered simply cutting it all off–knowing I would hate it if I did.
Surprised, I turned to see a beautiful African-American woman with her softly graying hair in long dreds and told her, “I love *your* hair!” (And I did.) “Trade you!”
We both laughed as she continued on her way, both of us better off for her outspoken kindness.
Saturday March 18th 2017, 10:06 pm
Filed under: History
Wow, what a story. I had no idea of this local history till tonight.
It took forty years for the single student who truly resisted what her classroom was turning into to feel comfortable letting her peers know it was her all along–alone. Only her father, backing her up all the way, had known.
Nevertheless, she persisted.
It looks bigger if you gather it round like the curve of the needles. I’m on the second of three eight-ounce balls. As long as it beats the baby here it’s all good.
I was about six ounces into it a few days ago when I realized that the pattern I’d picked and what I was actually knitting don’t look like they have any connection, because I… And then I kept… How did I not see that I… Eh. So it’s unique.
Meantime, a full month behind the Bewick’s wrens doing this, the chickadees (ours are the chestnut-backed variety) dove into the dog fur today again and again and again all day long, at one time managing to lift what looked like an entire pile–briefly, and I wish the camera had caught that millisecond. No way, and it put most of it back for now. It was comically wobbly heading off.
In Alaska, where the forecast is zero degrees tonight and warm wool a good idea, our daughter reported that her cat cuddled up next to her–but was then flummoxed that her stomach was kicking it.