For real
Friday April 16th 2021, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Family

Wait wait wait. I’m still back at “Bahbah” for bottle.

But “Grammy!” as she points at my face on the screen? “Grampa!” It both hit home how much of her babyhood we missed, and how she’s even more adorable every time. They all are.

But there’s nothing quite like a 20-month-old learning to talk and taking so much delight in it.

Just wait till we step out off of the concourse and into real life and our faces and voices match all those FaceTimes.



Happy Birthday!
Thursday April 15th 2021, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

One of my kids got their second shot for their birthday and our first iris bloomed in celebration. It’s a happy day.

Meantime, I’d procrastinated because they’re not due this year for another month: did anybody else feel like this? It was weirdly comforting to do the taxes. It made no sense. But it was all so familiar after all these years and I guess it felt like the old life back again. Or something. Am I just being pandemically weird?



Collaborative
Wednesday April 07th 2021, 8:51 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

Seven miles instead of 75. It delays his being fully vaccinated by five days, but still. I conferred with him and then grabbed it. I also immediately canceled the original. The site said Sutter would offer it as a first shot to someone else and asked that that be made possible as soon as we could, which was only reasonable.

Immediately after I finished that up, the doorbell rang: my friend Constance, who lives hours away these days (there’s a shawl in my book named after her.)  She had been in the area on a work assignment and was stopping by on her long drive home.

We ended up on chairs in the shed. It was trash day but for obvious reasons I had not put the bin back right away. This gave us a spot that was outside, as one should in a pandemic, under a ceiling-height roof and with sides, as my lupus needs to be out of the sun, and it was perfect enough of a spot for visiting that I wondered why I hadn’t thought of that a whole lot sooner. Anyway. We had a lot of catching up to do after not seeing each other in person for too many years.

And then I sent her home with a 5 gallon fiber pot full of new topsoil and peat moss and a baby Anya apricot tree to put in it, kind of a grow kit. Just add water. After you get it back out of your car.

And on a totally different note. My late father, a modern art dealer, would absolutely have howled. Sometimes the art world can get a bit precious, and that poor innocent couple who picked up a brush from somewhere in the spilled paint on the floor and scatterings of paint cans and such in front of the mural and added their touch to what they thought was a public-invited graffiti project, well…wouldn’t you?

(When in doubt read the little white box on the wall next to the art in the gallery, but never mind.)



Happy Easter!
Sunday April 04th 2021, 9:45 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

Someone in the neighborhood was having an Easter feast with several cars’ worth of attendees. Probably all vaccinated, right?

Still, it left me with a sense of, oh, if only.

I texted Happy Easter to my kids. In response we got a photo of one exhausted toddler sound asleep mid-dinner in his high chair and some FaceTime with his 18-month-old cousin who, having discovered this wondrous indentation right there in the center of her, had to show us her discovery of having a belly button. As every not quite entirely verbal yet baby that ever was has done for all of time. While her big brother made sure she had enough jelly beans. This was clearly Jelly Beans Day, to her amazement, holding some out in our direction. She opened and got help closing the little plastic egg halves again and again.

The St. Bernard, as always, refused to hear her name coming out of a screen because she knew that’s just not real. She got to her feet and walked away.



A five hour tour
Thursday April 01st 2021, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Family,History

Whoah! Suddenly there were green boxes. All in the same two places. Did we want to go (I looked them up) 317 miles round trip or 146? We actually finally had choices, but only at those two.

Was this a trick question?

Wait. Maybe it kind of was. On 24 hours’ notice, too. I asked him if he was serious and I looked up distances and I basically twiddled my fingers a few minutes to let anybody closer snatch all those slots in Antioch. The 7:30 one did vanish, but none of the others.

We had had appointment slots get claimed while we did the required repeated hoop-jumping so many times.

A few years ago, Sutter Health scooped up our formerly independent medical clinic in a trend of providers consolidating to lower their administrative costs and fight insurance companies.

Well, there’s finally an upside for us: Sutter lets their patients schedule a covid vaccine at any of their facilities they’re willing to get to. The drugstores go by the county you live in. Sutter goes by Sutter.

He’d been okayed by his doctor a week ago, who was surprised that that hadn’t happened yet, and both of us have been looking multiple times a day every day since. With everyone 50 on up eligible as of today, and everyone over 16 in two weeks, and the medical officer of our more-populous county having sued the state in a fit over the fine points of the law re distribution, ending with us being dead last to receive vaccines, (gee thanks) all the sites said three months and we figured that’s just how it was going to probably end up being.

Green boxes! Tomorrow! When the screen said Confirmed Appointment I nearly burst into tears for sheer disbelief and gratitude.

Road trip road trip!

He couldn’t change his schedule at work that fast and had to be in meetings concentrating in the noisy environment, so that meant me at the wheel and, as is normal for me, not hearing the GPS. His co-workers on the phone were cheering him on. The traffic was relentless. Google said 75 minutes to three hours; it was nearly the latter (so much for the idea that nobody’s commuting by car right now), but we tried for a good hour early just in case which got whittled down greatly but not quite entirely. We made it. We were good. The staff said of course I could use the restroom!

A stop at an In’N’Out drive-through for burgers to minimize contact, eating in their parking lot (which also meant we didn’t have to drive into the sunset); he spelled me at the wheel for the long road home.

He got. His shot. He got it! Moderna. Four weeks till the second. Neither of us wants to make that trek again but the appointment’s on the books and his if he wants it and if we have to we will in a heartbeat. We want to see our grandkids! And we so want not to get nor give Covid-19 to anyone.

As we rounded the bottom of the San Francisco Bay on the return, I mused out loud that, if we’d ever driven alongside what looked like the end (it wasn’t quite) of the Suisun Bay before, I couldn’t remember it at all.

He couldn’t either; maybe on our way to Yellowstone when the kids were little? Maybe?

So strange to see a whole beautiful wide Bay–that wasn’t ours and whose contours we did not really know. But it welcomed us anyway, and we are grateful.



From the ground up
Friday March 26th 2021, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

When we were little kids playing hide and seek, didn’t we all secretly wish we had a trapdoor? Although, this one has a certain Cask of Amontillado feel to it, doesn’t it? Is that really a telescoping stairwell? Hey up there! Don’t move that dresser!

Personally, I’d just as soon build in the walls of the whole actual ground floor and not leave the house hanging waiting for the ending of the first story, but that’s just me.

I’ve been wondering what a good little Mormon would do with a wine cellar in a house–I mean, to my eyes, it begs for a yarn store impression with a skein stuffed in each slot, and think of all the designs you could make with the colors of your stash before you even knit it, but then how would you mothproof them?

I do really like that greenhouse, though.

How about the latest peach flowers at my nice peaceful house instead. Where, while doing the dishes, I had a sudden pang of missing how one daughter could call from the other room, That was a small Corelle plate.

Or, That was a bowl.

She could identify each piece by sound when they fell. Practice makes perfect.



A pandemic conversation
Tuesday March 23rd 2021, 8:45 pm
Filed under: Family

Your turn or mine?

Flip a coin, he said.

(Looking briefly around. No coin to be found. I handed a cashier cash once these past thirteen months and they stared at it like I’d just poisoned them.)

Uh, how about a credit card? (Yeah that’s a bizarre thought but it goes with the money theme of deciding for you when it doesn’t really matter, right?) Heads or–no wait, top or bottom?

Top?

(Flips it in the air.) Top. You win!

p.s. Thank you, everybody. This is the pattern by Louisa Smith that DebbieR was referring to and I really like it.



Colors for the win
Monday March 22nd 2021, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

I kept flipping back and forth between pictures 22 and 23 to be sure: no, the one photo is not an inversion of the other. There really must be two almost-identical spots in that house where you have to climb a ladder to find out what’s on the other side of that door above. Doors. Guys. Would a circular stairway have killed ya?

The grandkids would LOVE having a secret hiding place where the grandparents wouldn’t go!

Wait. Circular staircase. Attic. Yarn stash. Right?

And then there’s #23 and 24 of this place, which I’m linking to not because of the house but because of the quilt shown there but not quite shown enough. There, across the room from the spice rack lamp. Does anybody have any idea what that pattern is called so I can run look it up? I love the colors and if I could see it spread out a little bit more I’d love to knit it. Pick up stitches or intarsia? Panels or all at once? Copy or riff? (Riff, always.)

Given how much I’ve needed inspiration in that direction I’m glad I stumbled across that, even if whatever I make next is totally random from there.

Time to start sketching and trying and thinking about it.



Covid covetings
Sunday March 07th 2021, 11:27 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

The closer we get to being vaccinated, the harder it feels to wait. I’m trying not to be antsy.

We had a great time Facetiming with the northern grandkids today–but Lillian wanted us to BE there, not just be pictures that interacted with her.

With you all the way, baby girl, with you all the way.

The state is allocating doses by county and has decided that ours having had the best compliance and the fewest cases and deaths with ample resources to deal with the illness means we’ll be the last to get the vaccine.

Which feels a little like punishing the well-behaved, but on the other hand there are so many people whose circumstances put them in so much more need than us. We can simply stay home and wait a little longer.

We’ve proved that.

But I do not blame the friend younger than I who drove into the next county and got his first shot. I so get that.



Takes two to tumble
Friday March 05th 2021, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

In answer to Chris and Sharon, Richard was the one who started talking over a year ago about eventually retiring near the grands. The ones south have a great deal of family very close by, the ones north, none whatsoever. But right now he’s happy to be here and in the After Times they’ll all be easy to fly to.

But you move to a place where you’d want to live anyway even if the kids were to take a new job and not stay where you’ve moved to. He does like Portland. I think I was ten the last time I was there other than in the airport so I wanted to familiarize myself a bit.

But we’re happy with our neighborhood and friends, and peaches and blueberries that blossom in January, I mean, how do you beat that?

Speaking of those peaches.

The one that started blooming a month ago is now about 2/3 of the way leafed out and it’s finally going to rain tonight.

The growing-leaves stage mixed with cold weather is how you get peach leaf curl attacks; once they’re fully leafed out the fungus is somehow powerless, and it can’t grow in warmth. It wants new growth on a chilly night.

We get ocean cold with our rain.

The local gardening columnist said to put a lightweight frost cover over to help keep the rain off. Well, we have those for sure, although it would take two of us to try to wrangle it over.

My sweetie was very dubious about this idea but he wanted to be supportive. I couldn’t do it by myself: after days of warning spasms from having to haul all those wet clothes around in the water heater blowup, after carefully doing back exercises to ward off what they threatened to become, this afternoon I bent over a box that had been delivered and without even picking it up it felled me right there for a moment. Protests of innocence at it got me nowhere. Here we were again.

It took me awhile to be able to stand up so as to go get an ice pack.

But I really wanted that tree covered, and the ice packs were helping some, so we went out there tonight together to try to wrangle the thing. Visions of summertime peaches right outside the door can get the better of you like that.

He got the fruit picker to try to maneuver the thing over the top–and not knowing I had just fallen down on the other side of the cloth with my foot tangled in the acanthus stems that border the tree, he caught his own foot and fell with the picker and bloodied his face–thankfully not against the tines. I finally extricated myself at the sound of his voice and got over there, where he then tried to get up by holding onto the picker held upright for leverage so I tried to hold onto it on the other side to steady it for him.

With a man more than twice my weight and a back already like that.

And now his matches.

He wasn’t surprised when I told him his shoulder was green.

It’s a really good thing our house is a ranch right now.

It’s time to look at each other wryly and say in unison, and not for the first time, Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to do that?



Astronaut helmets
Wednesday February 24th 2021, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Family

The message: ‘What do you think?’

I clicked.

I guffawed. They even used NASA in some of the poses. I think the space enthusiast has been watching too many Mars Rover segments (with good reason, given that his old team wrote some of the early software.)

‘It would make it hard to get a decent haircut,’ I typed back for him to read when he had a moment in his workday.

I later pointed out that within a week of when such a thing could get here, the 1C segment of the population is supposed to be able to get our first shots in this area.

Oh. (I saw in his face the lovely thought growing that all this pandemic stuff could really, actually, finally end…) That’s right.

Spaceman Spiff, over it and out.



When everything is new
Sunday February 21st 2021, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden

I’ve been trying to take progress pictures from the same angle and against that narrow line on the basket where the wood end sticks out like a belt loop between the apricot seedlings. The taller one is now 3 3/4″.

Not bad for something planted January 11; last year it took till April just for them to sprout. Which is why I’m so taken with the plugs infused with rooting hormone that I tried this year–I’m getting a two month head start on my future fruit bearing while hoping that ends up cutting off a year of waiting to see how they’ll turn out.

Meantime, Lillian wanted to know what happened to that white snow stuff and where did this water come from.



And I want to see my grandkids climbing the trees to pick the fruit
Friday February 19th 2021, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden

Anya+? apricot seedlings Thursday, and the earliest and so far most vigorous one on the left there again on Friday 24 hours later.

One of my kids asked me about a year ago why I was so caught up in watching my fruit trees grow and I told him, I raised each of you for eighteen years and then I needed something else to nurture and watch grow and develop across a timespan like that.

He hadn’t ever thought of it that way before but yeah, he could definitely see that.



He will be three in this quote forever
Monday February 15th 2021, 8:29 pm
Filed under: Family

FaceTime with cheerful grandkids this evening.

Mathias: “What color am I turning your hair today, Mommy?”



February 14th
Sunday February 14th 2021, 11:32 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

Chocolate cupcakes by Michelle and my first-ever bingewatching: the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. I know, right? Where have I been. It was great.

And chocolate hearts from the Heart Attack at the door yesterday.