I got to it later
Monday July 31st 2023, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit

A friend dropped by and we spent a goodly amount of time catching up. It was great. She loved the afghan. Loved how much it matched the real-life version I was trying to picture with it.

At one point, she exclaimed, You should be knitting!

I laughed. I’m on an easier section right now, yes, but that means only six areas of color, five of them in balls and one that has to be pulled through, and to work on that and flip all the strands over from row to row while talking would be like trying to solve Rubik’s cubes while juggling them.

Fruit full
Sunday July 30th 2023, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends

It was her birthday. The whole recent eye and heart scare thing, which is not quite over yet. There was a potluck dinner at her house.

And so the first of the frozen tart cherries got turned into a pie, and if the freezer dies and wrecks everything tomorrow, that bag of cherries and all that work from all those pounds from my tree did what they were most meant to be for, tonight.

We brought her peaches from Andy’s farm to top it off.

Saturday July 29th 2023, 8:56 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Knit

I was poking around my archives looking for recipes for blueberry+almond flour for a potluck tomorrow  and stumbled across this post. With also a picture of what was originally this yarn right after I’d overdyed a cone of it.

2017. Huh. That long. Merino/silk 50/50, $15/150g. I kept meaning to dye up the rest of that and kicking myself that it just wasn’t happening even though that first attempt had looked so pretty, and every time I thought okay this is silly I need to go do that, it just…there was this inexplicable reluctance.

Okay, then, tell me what you DO want to be when you grow up.

It finally did. I would never have bought that color purely for its own sake–but it was an exact match for the siding on my sister’s new house. The slightly ropey texture, knitted up, makes the light play off it as if the wood had weathered a bit over the last hundred-something years.

Perfect perfect perfect.

They somehow still have 48 cones. I had no idea. Hey, and you could overdye it, too!

Meantime, here’s the other side of the afghan. Since the lighter green is named Leaf Bud, and the realtor’s photos were taken at early springtime, a tree just leafing out seemed the thing.

At least, that’s the justification for how that particular doodle is coming out. Either that or I’d have to admit that some part of my brain started a California Coast Oak for my sister in New England.




Deliver us
Friday July 28th 2023, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Life

I was going to toss something in the recycling but first needed to get that last bit of plastic wrap off the top of it. I thought it would be quickly done, as I stood out there by the bin next to the open gate, but it was being remarkably stubborn.

I looked up at seeing someone new coming down the walkway. I smiled a hello.

His face was–wary, is the only word for it. “I’ve got a package,” the UPS man in the UPS uniform with his UPS truck parked in front of the house announced abruptly.

I thought, well, yeah, duh, that’s what you… I mean…  What I said out loud was, “Thank you!” with a smile in hopes of helping his day go better.

Afterwards, the more it sank in the harder it hurt. This very tall, very dark-skinned Black man was simply doing his job but felt he had to preemptively announce to the 5’5″ older white woman in that now-fiercely-expensive Silicon Valley neighborhood (I mean, when we moved here, the couple around the corner were a firefighter married to a hairdresser, just try to buy their post-WWII tract house now, we sure couldn’t) that that’s what he was doing.

I know tensions must be high at work with the strike so narrowly averted and with feelings strong.

But man.

Sometimes what that means is that other tensions you normally squash away can come bubbling up at unexpected moments. Like being afraid of how someone will react to your walking up to their house in complete innocence bringing something they themselves ordered.

I wanted to run after him and hug all better the little boy he once was.

I’m going to put a hand knit hat by the door in hopes of seeing him next time. I can’t mend everything in the world, but I can knit.

Part one done
Thursday July 27th 2023, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Took ten rows to finish the house by today, but I said I would and I wanted to so I did.

I might try embroidering half a white stitch in that upper corner, but the two stitches at the top of the roof line right up with the window and it looks better than I expected.

Ending at a single stitch would have left a sharper angle, but we’re good here.

Oh and. I decided if my sister finds out it’s okay; what I’d really needed was for my mom to see and know about it first, and once I did that yesterday then I was fine with however it works out from there.

Hey–you know what? We could run some sparkly yarn through and make Christmas lights!

A flagpole tilting left would do it… Nah…
Wednesday July 26th 2023, 9:50 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Knitting a Gift

Carolyn, don’t look. (I’m only posting this because I don’t think she ever does.)

The lower windows needed to be wider than the door–but only by a stitch’s worth to look right unless I were to do it in a gauge of sock weight or lighter and let me tell you that ain’t happening in my lifetime. Besides, the point of an afghan is to keep you warm.

Except that what that did was leave me a stitch short for the three windows directly above of identical size exactly over the lower three, and I’d love to know if the builder centered the actual house exactly so. But he could work in infinitely incremental amounts and I can’t.

So the second level middle window is off by a stitch but knitting is not a stable solid surface and you’d never notice and who cares.


Suddenly now I kinda do.

Do you see it?

How many times did I count the black stitches marching towards the center there from both sides and not catch this till it was right there being obvious: that nearly finished attic window is not going to be centered. Four black stitches left on this side, five on that on the needles, and it was always going to be like that, I just didn’t see it coming.

It is what it is.

I need to tighten up the back of the two-color K1P1 on the latticework below the right patio so it looks neater.

While my brain yells, Squirrel! Literally. Because there is a tree and I have some cobweb weight, bison/silk so it won’t shrink, in the exact shade of an Eastern Gray. Curling stockinette for the tail flipping you off for messing with its acorns, fine stitches to sew it on to make the toenails. Or something. (Would size 0 lace needles do it for the body. Let me think about it. We are talking dollhouse size so this is in no way a promise, just conjecture. But then this entire thing is by the seat of my pants.)

I’m actually (the mind boggles after two months of work) going to finish the house part tomorrow.

It will honor those cultures that feel that only the Divine can create perfection.

You know, I could stick a tree branch across the top of that window and attic…


Take it to the bank. (Fast.)
Tuesday July 25th 2023, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Quite some time ago, when it was still notable to see a Tesla S sedan in the wild even here in Silicon Valley, fair promises were being made about their producing an affordable electric car for the masses soon.

We were suckers, but willing suckers, we said to each other as we put our thousand dollars down: we wanted to help keep the fledgling company in business long enough for that model 3 to come out. We wanted to make a statement. We wanted the car companies to know that we the buying public wanted the industry to turn electric enough that we were willing to risk a chunk of change to make that statement on behalf of our grandchildren’s future.

We were #134,000-something on the waiting list. We wanted that car.

Assuming, of course, that the resident 6’8″er could get into it. This is the man who over time cracked the dashboard of our first-year Prius (2001, the ones that looked like a pregnant mouse) with his crammed-in knees so we traded it in when they came out with a bigger model. The 2007 we’re still driving.

Fast forward.

We just got an envelope in the mail, and my first thought was, How did Tesla get marketing info on us?

Go ahead and open it, he said when I tried to offer it to him, because after all, like sexist businessmen everywhere do, the company had addressed it only to him.

Inside was a check.

Elon Musk isn’t letting us divorce his business tactics from our household, he did it first. With no letter nor communication (only because I’d long since lost that paperwork supposedly so carefully filed), nothing other than the passing of time that it took for them to do it, we got our thousand dollars back.

And there are plenty of other companies making electric cars now. We got the future we put in that reservation for.

Monday July 24th 2023, 9:41 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knitting a Gift

Maybe five years ago I had an agapanthus plant that had sprouted in an unlikely spot. Nobody could see it. It was very shaded all day. It put out a short, sparse flower stalk, waving, Look at me!

Elio asked if I might want it over…there? Pointing out a corner that was quite bare, and I said, Sure!

He knew what he was doing.

It’s straight out the window and across the yard from here, just past the mango, with sun in the morning and shade later in the day, just right for it. And for me, for sure.

I thought a dozen stalks last year was wonderful, but look at that!

Meantime, I have finally gotten to the point where I snipped most of these ends off with a deep sense of satisfaction. There were about thirty four- or five- yard long strands across each row to constantly pull out from each other plus three solid balls, even if it doesn’t look like much here.

Now to go add a whole bunch more. But at least this side is simpler now.


Look quick
Sunday July 23rd 2023, 5:18 pm
Filed under: Knit

(I posted a picture, briefly, of my afghan for my Zoom knitting group.)

Sunflowers and baby’s breath
Friday July 21st 2023, 8:51 pm
Filed under: History,Life

I was walking into Trader Joe’s yesterday when my eyes met those of an older woman looking into mine with clear and delighted recognition on her part. Ukrainian Orthodox, was my guess. I noted she did a quick glance at my chest, but no, I was not wearing a gerdan this time.

My mistake and one I instantly felt a pang at. I try to put one on before any outing around here for the sake of the refugees, if I’m not wearing an embroidered blouse from there, and instead she was the one smiling and putting me at ease.

I had not been planning on buying more of either for the moment.

She’ll never know it but I’m sure the impact on me of that, of how it made me feel that what I’ve been trying to do is actually more important to the community than I’d had any idea–and not just to me–is part of how the following happened.

What I wrote this morning to a Ukrainian artist I had not previously actually interacted with but whose page I had followed for months:

This is a beautiful necklace and I have admired your skill and art, but had not done more than that.

I woke up this morning with the surprise of a sense of certainty that was completely unexpected that I needed to buy this necklace: for me, but especially for you.

I of course cannot know your specific circumstances at all. I pray for Ukraine and its people every day, and somehow this morning it felt like God was saying, this daughter of mine needs to know that she is not alone. Go be with her. Share the love of her work with her out loud where she can hear it.

And so I bought it and am very grateful for the privilege of doing so. Thank you for making this. I will wear it with pride and love and much gratitude, and I wish you all my very best from across the world.

Such a beautiful letter I got back. It will stay with me a long, long time.

Seventeen inches and counting
Thursday July 20th 2023, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Scene: This evening.

Me: I did my four rows yesterday, and today, five!

Him, putting on a mock pouty face: But isn’t that breaking, the, the, the RULES! It’s supposed to be four!

You goof! I burst out laughing, which is exactly what he’d hoped for. I’m tempted to defy my hands and do a sixth just for that, but, nah.

Three so far
Wednesday July 19th 2023, 9:23 pm
Filed under: Knit

Scene: dinner. Yonder columnar green apple out the window.

Me: I haven’t knit anything yet today. I got pulled away by a brown skein I had to wind that had felted in the scouring and was super-snaggy (just that one color, what was up with that) and it took me a long time. But I promised myself I would knit four rows a day on that thing and I need to get to it. At a minimum, of course, but four. I have to.

Him: You have to? Or you want to?

Me, looking at him: Yes.

So he asked it again.

I counted the amount of time out loud vs size of the project.

He still wanted to know, the little stinker: did I actually *have* to?

I grinned. Well. I’m going to call it a yes. So there.

Now let me just go do that fourth one. I had to stop to wind and scour another 150 grams of the black just now because to my surprise the first was running out. I must be getting something done here somehow after all.

All in it together
Tuesday July 18th 2023, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Life

He’s a fellow gardening and fruit tree enthusiast, so I wore my beaded cherry tree necklace to the doctor’s today. Besides, it’s pretty and I’m a relentless showoff for other people’s art.

He liked it, and I told him a woman in Ukraine had made it for me. In Kherson.

He took a deep breath at that one. Then a quiet, “Wow.”

She had sent me pictures of her apartment, I added, nodding, and had declared, We will repel the invaders. We will rebuild.

We quickly got on with what was supposed to be the point of the appointment, tests, lupus, meds, etc.

But as it was time to leave, he suddenly stopped and turned back to me. He’d clearly been thinking about it because he said, “Please give her all my best.”

He paused a moment, then added with maybe more emotion than he’d intended, “Please tell her we’re all with her.” He wanted so much to convey that. I promised him I would.

And I remembered the time he had had to cancel an appointment with me to fly to his elderly widowed mom in Hong Kong when she had been ill. He had never outright said it but I knew that that was while the mainland authorities were violently putting down large pro-democracy protests. But his mom needed him. He came. Her whole country…

Please tell her we’re all with her.

That I did, and why it was especially meaningful to me to hear it coming from him.

Have we learned our little lesson?
Monday July 17th 2023, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

Intarsia blues.

A white stitch in a green spot in the middle of the row, spotted after the end of the row: I debated the ways I could fudge that, knew that no, I really really couldn’t, tinked back all those ends-wound-around-ends and fixed it. Grimly at first, and then with satisfaction.

Because that is one of the great gifts of knitting: you can make it do what you wanted it to do even if it didn’t comply the first time. Or the second or the third, and you get better at it each time.

Says me.

I reknit the rest of that row and the next and put it down again to take a good look. Time to start the awning, right?

Somehow I had knit two white stitches together a day’s worth of work ago.

Now, THAT I can fix without ripping out. I just have to get to that one, have a length of white at the ready, drop the one from above on down till it becomes two and work one back up, then knit (crochet hook more likely) into the stitch left dangling with the waiting strand and vertical-kitchener it on up and weave its ends in.

Now. No more of these shenanigans, okay, self?

Sunday July 16th 2023, 8:40 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

It was 8:19 and sunset was officially at 8:30 when I started towards the door to see if my tomatoes and latest batch of apricot seedlings needed watering after the heat of the day but I saw and stopped just in time.

There was my little Bewick’s wren doing its nightly dust bath with great vigor.

So I stopped, as I always do, and watched it dance. My phone was nowhere near and I didn’t want to disturb it, but one of these days I hope to catch a video of this: every way a bird can move, it does. Tossing diving jumping flinging.

It flew at last to the top of the wooden box, with a small cloud trailing in its wake. There it did a big shake that tossed out a round cloud like a halo of light against the darkening sky before making a clean break for the tart cherry tree nearby.

And in that moment it instantly had a name, honorable if a not very dignified one.