Stash to the rescue
Sunday September 23rd 2018, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

Judy! You like that shade of red so much (her face: you noticed?!) but it’s been a really hard one to find: yarn store after yarn store, and this is what I could come up with. (Reaching into my purse.) It’s way thicker though than… (and it’s not as soft as I want to knit for you. I didn’t say that part.)

That’s a lovely color!

It won’t be… (I tried to briefly describe its potential. It was fuzzy-ish and downright chunky. It was definitely for warmth, not for glamour.)

Oh but I like it! It’s very nice.

And then I pulled out my backup plan: some Malabrigo Rios in the deep Purple Mystery colorway. Much softer a yarn, much more of a weight you’d want for a cowl, perfectly spun and a little bit luminescent in that light and she actually did a little gasp as she saw its merino-y goodness.

Oh that’s PERFECT!

She was happy but now she was really happy, which was the point, and so, Purple Mystery is my project for the week whenever I’m not working on the baby blanket I just started for my daughter’s friend’s little one on the way. The fact that the cowl-to-be could withstand a trip through the laundry if her grandkids should get too helpful just made it all the better in her eyes.



Jimmy Fallon and…
Saturday September 22nd 2018, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Knit

On a lighter note: Lenny Kravitz and the giant scarf his friend had knit him.

Meantime, another hat, 7US needles, this time in the Paris Nights colorway: Malabrigo Mecha, 70 stitches, 8.5″,  at the top *k8, k2tog,* then one plain round, *k7, k2tog,* plain round, *k6, k2tog,* etc, till you’ve done *k3, k2tog,* at which point stop doing the plain rows between the decrease rows. This rounds off the top of the hat without making it pointy.



While trees grow quietly
Friday September 21st 2018, 10:48 pm
Filed under: History,Mango tree,Politics

Thank you for the notes and comments. To my great relief, today was, cold? What cold?

New mango leaves and inflorescence–today they have stalks. This is new.

Meantime, I’ve been riveted by updates on Christine Blasey Ford’s case.

There is no statute of limitations for felony sexual assault in Maryland. Montgomery County’s chief of police just tweeted that all he needs is for her to file a criminal complaint and he’s prepared to investigate.

That would mean that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge could be put under oath by the county, at a time when the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are doing everything they can to stave that off and rush a vote before any truth squeezes out.

Go MoCo! (I grew up in that county.)



Maybe draw an orange smiley face on it?
Thursday September 20th 2018, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Life

Someone sitting very near us on Sunday was sick. I was glad we’d gotten our flu shots, even if hers was just a cold (I hope, for her sake.)

Germ exposure=lupus flare=pleuritis+broken rib=a bad night=a fever+definitely sick this morning.

The day got much better as it went along, though, when it could have gone the other way entirely.

Turns out I had a face mask in my purse the whole time. Although: they scare small toddlers and at this time of year would probably make preschoolers wonder why do grownups get to wear their Halloween costumes to church? Can they wear theirs too? For a whole month?



It’s appearant
Wednesday September 19th 2018, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Food

When you have too many red pears and they need to get eaten and yes, it turns out you do still have that apple corer you bought years ago…

A little melted butter, a little Trader Joe’s brown sugar, 35 minutes at 350. And if they still need it (these did), a little maple syrup on top.



All in its day’s work
Tuesday September 18th 2018, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Mango tree

Well that was fast: the edges of new flower buds popped out from among the tiny baby leaves today.

Note that one of the sources of warmth was directly below.



Spring all over again
Monday September 17th 2018, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Mango tree

If I think about the dozen cowls and three afghans in my mental queue it can be a bit overwhelming. Better to take it one project at a time.

So having a finished one helps a lot.

Photo’d,then rinsed, now blocking.

It was 44F this morning, which is why the mango tree has been back to being lit up and covered over at night of late. Right now it’s 49 vs. 68 under there.

Its response to the artificially warmer nights is that those fruits are growing fast enough to see the difference in a day or two–and some branches started doing a new growth flush today. Which means we could end up with holiday-season blossoms to feed the bees and start up the next batch.

 



Sunshine yellow
Sunday September 16th 2018, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

I was so close, but no, it just didn’t feel finished to my eyes today. But I did happen to start to open a door at church just as Hannah was pushing on the other side of it and we did a mutual surprised oh, hello!

Which gave me the perfect, unexpected one-on-one moment.

There’s this mill outlet, I started to babble, stepping forward to put my purse on the table and open it up, And they had this one single skein (I was not going to explain yarn cones, skein conveyed the idea well enough) and I knew it was just the thing. It’s cashmere. But it took ordering it and waiting for two weeks for it to get to me and all that anticipation… (Then there was the baby blanket knitting time in between because it had a deadline, but never mind.) Tell me if I got the color right?

For what? She had no idea what I was doing or what I was talking about. Did you make something?

I pulled it out and showed her what it was, and with it mostly done it offered a good account of itself.

For you! I answered.

She was speechless.

YES! I love that color! She couldn’t believe I’d done that for her. That I’d seen it and instantly thought of her. But I had.

Same time next week, then!

For my part, it almost feels like cheating that I’ll get to be happy twice over the same project. But I think I can live with it.



De-peches moi
Saturday September 15th 2018, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends

I knew I wouldn’t have the car Monday, I knew it was the end of the season, and after calling, I knew that today, anyway, they still had some. Whereas this time last year they did not.

So on the spur of the moment and with some egging-on from my other half I drove to Andy’s and got more peaches, these enormous Fairtimes. Because we’ll be going through perfect-fruit withdrawal soon enough.

Afterward, I delivered two of the last from the previous batch to a friend; they’d kept really well in the fridge at their peak, helped by the layers of soft towel to keep down any bruising, of which there was none.

There would be no more Cal Reds until next year. For the person I took those two to, I could share.

We had a great time swapping stories and catching up on each other’s kids.

And I learned something new.

Thankfully, her husband likes a good ripe peach.



Pilot light hat
Friday September 14th 2018, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

I had an appointment to get my hair trimmed today, and looking at her schedule a few days ago, Gwyn realized that the person she’d put on her calendar to do right before me–was my old friend Kevin. Whom she knows from her theater work. We’d once done a double-dose on her Facebook page of, wait, how do you guys know each other?!

One of the three Kevins from the late great Purlescence.

Kevin’s hat wasn’t fancy, because the wool was a thick single and the yardage short and you run out fast if you try anything more than a simple beanie; it’s hard to join skeins and have it look good when it’s spun like that. But the Malabrigo colorwork stands on its own.

We had a great mini-reunion. It was the first time the three of us had been in the same place at the same time together. He loved his hat.

After I finished it last night… There was some bright yellow cashmere I’d bought specifically for someone who wears that shade all the time. It was not my color at all but I knew it was hers.

Between the, oh, that would be perfect for –! and the two weeks till it arrived, which coincided with the need to not use my right arm much the first week of the broken rib, that cowl lost its urgency.

And yet not. It sat in my stash and nagged at me. I should be a good person who doesn’t care that I don’t love that color–it’s not about me. I knew that it wasn’t just the potential gift nor the fiber but the being clearly thought about that that friend needed right now and why wasn’t I getting this done? What was the holdup? What was my excuse?

With that hat happily grinning Look at me! (You did it!) Look at me! I started off the day casting on that cashmere so that I would have something to work on while Gwyn finished up with Kevin.

If it’s not done before Sunday, I can show it to the recipient halfway along and then she gets to spend a week looking forward to it.

Thank you, Kevin. And Gwyn! My knitting got relit!



Seventy-two stitches
Thursday September 13th 2018, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

I had the deadline but I needed some internal peer pressure to help me slog through the tight stitches on the small needles–Malabrigo Mecha on 4mm instead of the 4.5mm I thought I’d picked up–so I borrowed you guys. Hope you don’t mind.

We made it. Thank you.



Already the biggest yet
Wednesday September 12th 2018, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Mango tree

Hanging down now from the weight of the fruit: this is good.

The forecast said 53F for last night, reality was 49F at 7:30 this morning; there was a black ring now around the stem of a mango at the top of the tree, a sign of cold damage; I expect we’ll lose that one.

So tonight the tree got the first frost covers of the season to go with the warming lights.



Nope
Tuesday September 11th 2018, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Life

They can’t make major noise before 8:00 a.m. but they can certainly arrive earlier and set up for it.

I love waking up in the morning and looking out the overhead windows at the big branch (not touching the power line) on the camphor tree, where there’s almost always a bird or two perched or flitting around.

At workers up there looking down in, not so much.

All that anticipation and trying to be ready for it, and when the guy said Tuesday or Wednesday it wasn’t Tuesday.

Just keep them away from the #@% skylights, that’s all I ask.

On a far more important note on this day of remembrance: Blue Man Group, with the link courtesy of Holly.



Stalk it to me stalk it to me stalk it to me stalk it to me
Monday September 10th 2018, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Life,Lupus,Mango tree

There was no prior notice. I was not yet fit for company at that hour but at least I was dressed for the unexpected door knock. Richard was just getting up.

The guy showed me his badge, which matched his clothes: he worked for the city. (I was thinking, oh, I guess it is after eight now.) Could he…gesturing to the back yard and saying a whole bunch of stuff that, whatever it was, I just had no idea. He’d caught me with my hair still wet. When your electronics run nearly nine grand and you don’t want to short them out, that detail matters.

I can’t hear you yet. I’ll get my ears and be right back. (So much for worrying about that.)

A minute later as I came back to the door, there was no sign of the guy. I looked around the side yard, I looked down the street. What had all that been about?

Just then he came around from way around the other side where he’d been assessing the camphor tree that I’d almost paid Chris’s crew to trim back last week, but hadn’t because it wasn’t over the house and we were already at a grand on what had to be done.

It is a perching tree only for the birds; no nest could be hidden in those leaves.

The city wanted to trim it–it was growing into the power lines.

(And afternoon-shading my mango, sweet cherry, and two of my peach trees this year as it’s gotten bigger.)

Coooool. That sure worked out!

The guy was a little surprised at how complete the change was in my being able to follow him. He pointed to his ear and said he wears hearing aids, too, but even looking, I didn’t see them. Some of the ones for people with less loss are really small.

Good for him. More people should.

Several hours later, after getting done with the tree across the street, he and his crew walked past the door and disappeared again around the back. Well hello.

They would be back either Tuesday or Wednesday for it.

I went outside to water my trees this evening when the sun was low enough–and saw those acanthus stalks. The ones around the camphor had been stomped down to the ground, and rightly so. Nobody should have to work through those. As flowers, they feed the hummingbirds and bees, but as dried-up husks they are, as I’ve mentioned occasionally, vicious porcupines that I use to keep critters out of my fruit. My fruit’s pretty much done, though, the figs under netting excepted. I’d been putting off dealing with them because it doesn’t matter how careful you are, you’re going to get splinters hand and foot. And there are a lot of them.

I skipped watering the trees that were around where those guys would be working–you don’t want them slipping in mud and landing on any fallen stalk parts I might have missed under the leaves. Those still upright were four to seven feet high and quite obvious. Thankfully the bottoms of the stalks tend to be smooth for just enough space to leave you a part you can grab.

There were well over a hundred of them, easily.

How the prickers got in past my shoes to stab me in so many places I don’t know, I thought I was being careful.

I looked at my big yard-waste bin stuffed as high as it would go. There were two piles more to either end of the yard for what didn’t fit in yet, but they would be well out of the mens’ way. The bin gets emptied Wednesday and then those others can go in.

I get to handle them twice. Oh goody.

But there is a huge amount of satisfaction in knowing that those workers are going to show up expecting to deal with the worst and they’ll find that someone thought of them and how it would be to take one wrong step and get stabbed through their clothes top to bottom and took care of the problem so that they could have a better day.

They’re certainly going to be improving mine. More sun for my evergreen mango this winter. A better chance for the fruit to actually ripen.

Bring on the chainsaws.



Stone aged
Sunday September 09th 2018, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

I had a favorite blouse I was going to wear to church today. It’s a cheerful reddish-plum color and I was looking forward to it.

I could not find it this morning for the life of me. Not in the closet? Not in the ironing. So strange. I searched both places multiple times wondering what on earth was wrong with me that something so obvious could somehow just not be found like that.

Eh. I gave up and wore something else. Something in a deep teal blue. (I took a photo to show you but the blog ate it.)

Something that…hey, yes, definitely matched the lapis and sterling necklace Frances Begay made me a number of years ago. I realized in surprise as I took it out that I hadn’t worn it in several months despite how very much I like it. This other blouse was the perfect thing to wear it with. Well then.

There was a new face at church, there just for the day as it turned out, a woman my age and style both in hair and clothes and we found ourselves out by the water fountain after the main meeting at the same time.

She looked at that Navajo necklace and exclaimed how much she liked it; she had a squash blossom one, herself. She reached tentatively with a “may I?” to hold it up for a closer look at the details.

The design was “Basket of Blessings,” and my daughter had commissioned the pendant for me, and I, the silver-beaded chain from the artist.

That focal point created a connection on the spot, and we two women of the turquoise generation found ourselves swapping stories and laughing together as the clock ticked on as if we’d known each other our entire lives.

She was in the middle of the stress of helping a kid move while tending to other family while being away from home.

I was so glad she’d come. She was so glad for those moments. We parted friends, even if I never heard her last name.

It hit me a little later: I was suddenly so glad I hadn’t been able to find the blouse that would never have gone near that necklace.