The jet lagged
We went around the tornado area in very rough skies, even at 3900 feet Monday, and eventually got here. About three hours sleep last night.
Sam’s diploma is in hand and she is beautiful.
My childhood friend Karen, Sam’s roommate and we had a grand day visiting.
I have no idea what time zone my body thinks I’m in–off to bed.
And to go to see real green again
I saw a Bewick’s wren at dusk on the fence, peering into the neighbor’s garden.
This was huge to me. I had had a delightful courting pair, as I do every year–and then they vanished. Seeing a Bewick’s had been a near-daily occurrence for years and they had become my favorites, and then nothing. For two months. I could only assume the neighbor’s cat had gotten them, as so often happens to their kind, but there one was tonight!
And. There is a squirrel who’s been taught to water ski, here, just for fun.
And. When Sam graduated the last three university degrees, illness got in the way: I once had to call Southwest and explain the Crohn’s and the bleeding, and the good woman on their end took my nontransferable ticket and reassigned it to Richard’s name so he could go in my stead.
This is Sam’s third graduate-degree commencement (this was for her previous one, go, Sam!) and I think it’s safe to say this one’s her last. And so tomorrow I arrive, via Southwest of course, in Baltimore: Johns Hopkins here I come! (Don’t forget to water my potted cherry tree while I’m gone, gotta feed those future birds, right?, ‘kay thanks ‘bye.)
Is this thing working again?
I’d been wondering why the site was being so slow for me and where all the comments had gone and then this morning it refused to let me delete spam. I did manage to get that one note in at the bottom of yesterday’s post and then we had no access.
Richard, a computer scientist, put in seven hours today dealing with tech support and fixing the wonkitude. There may still be a little weirdness, and if you come across any please let me know. He missed Maker Faire so that I could have my blog and website back, which hurts (me more than him; he’s watching it live now online and saying don’t worry, it’s fine. It helps that Michelle went and brought home the most exquisite chocolate.) I tell you, he’s the best, and so is she.
Along the way he found out that another site had my Marnie’s Scarf pattern picture up with a link to my page, which is cool, but it had been renamed, which wasn’t cool at all and he logged a protest.
I’d been wondering for awhile why on earth I was getting occasional requests for help with a Goddess Dream scarf when I had designed nothing of the sort. Nobody ever gave me the link (because surely I knew it, I guess) and I wondered why they didn’t ask the person who’d made it. I mean, I like to be nice but it’s a little hard to walk someone through the details of a pattern you don’t know and you’ve never seen.
It’s been nine years since I put my own free patterns on my site and I always have to go back and remind myself what I did where; it has at times taken hours to walk a new laceknitter through the work in their hands that they can see but that I can’t. I may have years and years of practice at my work, but generally they’re asking because they don’t. I was there once, when there were no online sources to turn to and not even any books in print that I could teach myself laceknitting from; I’m very glad to help.
It’s all about passing along the love of the craft. But I have to have enough information myself to start from.
I did have a wonderful time yesterday answering a woman who said, “I’m 93 and I’ve been knitting all my life but what in the world is an ssk?”
I so hope to be knitting new things at 93! And how cool that she was online to ask me!
But those times people asked about the Goddess Dream scarf I was wondering why on earth…when I had no knowledge of and nothing to do with it.
The responsible party is here. I very much appreciate that they linked to my pattern rather than just taking it, but I think they just had no idea what problems they were causing me and other knitters by changing the name to something they thought more catchy or impressive. I adore my friend Marnie, in whose honor I posted that freely as she had freely spent her time and efforts helping me recover after a major hospitalization for Crohn’s disease, and I’d like her name to stay attached to my pattern. Her great acts of service and love, only one of which is posted with her namesake scarf, represent a level of unselfishness and good-person-hood that I aspire to.
I guess I’ve got a ways to go yet. I certainly should have asked the people who asked me why they’d come to me so perhaps I could have found out sooner what was up. My apologies to all those who didn’t get the help they were looking for at the time.
Cherry, cherry baby
(Sorry for the earworm.)
Out of milk and orange juice, and there was something else we wanted to look for.
Which they didn’t have. But Richard humored me while I went to go see if the latest batch of ooh look, they’re all ultra-dwarf this time! trees at Costco included, by wild chance, a Stella cherry again.
Found one. Didn’t look great. And then two more that did. I actually got a choice.
I doublechecked with my sweetie….
I asked one of the employees for help getting it into the cart past all the lilies on the forward part of the pallet. He moved those out of the way, made sure which tree I was pointing to, I read the tag again just to be certain that this trunk and that tag went together, and then as he brought it over and set it down he started peppering me with questions, very interested: how much were those? $18.99? When do they produce?
I checked the tag: mid-June here, and I told him they grow to only six to eight feet tall and produce about nine pounds of cherries a year. (Found out after I got home that we should get our first ones next year; it doesn’t take them long.)
You should have seen his eyes! “My mother could grow one of those!” Something that small, that productive but not overwhelmingly so, that enticing–what a cool idea!
And so my delayed Mother’s Day present sounds like it means someone else’s mom may very well get one too. Or maybe the Kieffer pear or one of the peaches or apples or that nectarine over there. But the fact that Costco was out when Richard went to get me mine earlier meant that this conversation happened and now there’s all this other good that can come from that. Picturing that fine young man planting a fruit tree for his mother just totally makes my day.
They take so little effort. They last so long. They flower, they fruit, they give so much.
p.s. Michelle saw what she was very sure was a golden eagle as she was coming out of work yesterday, and today, not far from her office, a local golden eagle intruded on Clara-the-peregrine’s territory near her fledglings and Clara firmly escorted the much-larger bird out of there–one of the very few that can prey on peregrines, but not this time. Eric’s pictures of the encounter, here.
Bowie are you going to love this one
“Stace spation?” he asked, turning and looking at me with perfect comedic timing.
Wait. You’re right, that didn’t come out right.
He lifted an eyebrow. Impishly, “You know that’s got to be the most expensive music video ever recorded.”
“Depends on what you count as an expense.” We were both laughing by now.
The first line out of the captain’s mouth took me by surprise the first time I played it earlier today and I cracked up and had to show it to him. Don’t miss it.
(Meantime, today’s falcon photos from Eric. Comet did finally make it out of there after about six hours.)
Edited to add Wednesday morning: Captain Hadfield is front-page news on the Washington Post this morning, with more details, including some of his space experiments. He’s clearly a born teacher.
Actually, that part wasn’t new
Monday May 13th 2013, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Family
From the daughter of a ham radio operator, after listening to me read a line of pattern row out loud to myself while transcribing from my notes. I was reknitting that last new pattern to fix a few quirks: yo, ssk, k1, yo, sl2-k1-p2sso…
Michelle listened to me a moment–not interrupting, like when I’m counting stitches, no problem–and then told me her earliest reaction to having seen some of my written work for the first time was, and she said it with a grin, “Mom is learning to write in knitters’ Morse code.”
Actually, this one is a no-remorse coda: the first shawl is fine, just, this time it’s coming out even better.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Sunday May 12th 2013, 10:51 pm
Filed under: Family
My late sister-in-law and I had our baby girls ten days apart 31 years ago and the girls have always been good friends.
Jessie and her husband came by for dinner tonight and while they were here, Sam called from across the country.
We chatted a moment and then I asked her if she wanted to talk to Jessie?
There was this sudden doubletake at the other end–Sam had forgotten her cousin had moved to California. And then an enthusiastic, YEAH! that made my day. People I love loving each other. It’s wonderful.
Parker bounced happily in all his little-boy-energy glory at getting to Skype with us; Hudson looked at the people-movement-and-speech on the screen with great big wide eyes. *Such* a beautiful baby. Our grandsons have *such* good parents. I love that I got to show them the flowers they’d sent.
I talked to my mom, John called, Michelle made the dinner, and a fine day was had by all. I know how lucky I am.
Save some for me
Happy Mother’s Day!
This morning Richard and I came home from an errand and there was a Cooper’s hawk at the top of the tree behind our front gate, duly noting our arrival. My territory, your territory, no-wings; welcome!
Didn’t quite catch the best moment, but, an Oregon dark-eyed junco male (the one with the black head) feeding his mate. He takes good care of her and it charms me to no end.
And below, the black squirrel that had a bad case of mange two years ago and went bald in patches and her fur grew back in white, making it look like she’s wearing a tank top and head band. She’s easy to spot. She does look like a very agile small skunk from a distance.
Don and Cliff saved six plastic produce clamshells for me, to my great delight, and now I have that many more plums and apples protected from those little thieves that in the past have stripped my Fuji apples clean in a day, two months pre-ripe. The little stinkers.
I know you’re supposed to thin the fruit out to one per branch but there aren’t a whole lot this year to begin with. I left the first cluster I found at two–safe now–and then went eh and snapped a clamshell around the whole threesome I found next.That tomato package was big so I was going to make the most of the space.
They may come out big they may come out small but we will at long last have our first homegrown apples (and plums!) Twenty-one years after I planted that Fuji. Thank you Don and Cliff!
One month already!
Happy first-month celebrations to Hudson!
Costco had Stella ultra-dwarf cherry trees today.Â Grow it in a big pot, never have to prune, go ahead and make use of that one little sunny spot outside the laundry room that’s too close to the house for free-range roots.
About ninety cherries a year forever after for about the price of a skein of yarn. (Oh wait. Pot and potting soil. Three.) I am seriously tempted.
Good locks with that
The little peregrine eyas is back on the roof as of this afternoon,Â drenched by Glenn so he would preen rather than blindly flee at his release; he has seen his brothers and they have looked up and seen him. Dude! Where ya been!
I took a ride in the Radio Flyer wagon! You’ll never believe it!
(Actually, he rode back up in the elevator in the traditional peregrine-baby-rescue apple box. Don’t know why it’s always an apple box. But it’s always an apple box.)
The area where they shaved my scalp for skin cancer surgery, July two years ago: I’ve been waiting a long time for that hair to grow back in, wearing it pulled back from my face in combs so the gaps wouldn’t show.And then there was that time last August where we had to whack a bit nice and close to free me from the back of the hair dryer when we were defrosting the freezer. (You might want to check to see if there’s a protective screen covering yours. The hair dryer, I mean. I’ve heard from half a dozen people now who’ve had the same thing happen.)
It was time. My friend Nina’s daughter Gwyneth is a gifted stylist, the only person I would ever go to for as long as she may live around here, and I made an appointment for last Friday, showed her how things were at this point, and asked her help.
It’s still a little below the shoulders in back–I gotta do my earth mother/artiste thing–but it’s a lot shorter; she did a fabulous job and I am very very happy with how it came out. I keep looking at this one spot (and that one and that one), thinking, how did you DO that? How did you get that to behave exactly perfectly in the pattern it was going to curl into once it was shorter?
All of this is of no real importance to anybody but me, but I wanted to record it so I could go back later and see when that cut was. Also because I know how hard it is to find someone you absolutely trust with your hair, and if anyone around here is looking, everybody I know who’s ever gone to her has had the same reaction: Gwyn is absolutely the best.
Monday May 06th 2013, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Family
Parker has taken to photobombing when the camera points at his little brother. Smile! (Didn’t go through. Will have to use stand-ins here for now.)
Does anyone else remember not just playing marbles, but trying to have the prettiest ones, so you would finally get Mom’s permission and watchful eye and go simmer them on the stove–no boiling, it’s always a risk but still you don’t want a million shattered bits of glass in her pot, just those clear marbles with the thin twist of colors down the center, making them leap into crackly patterns surrounded by transparency, breakdancing into kaleidoscopes within while staying smooth and round on the surfaces. Hopefully. The final objects were never a sure thing till they were safely cooled off and done.
Woke up this morning with the mental image of my eyes close to the stove from my then-height, standing staring intently (and a little bit bored) at those small glass balls, watching the tiny bubbles forming and slooowly separating from the sides of the pan but no big airholes allowed to form (keep that heat down), waiting for the marbles to become more colorful, done just so. They took a very long time at that age and a steady concentration.
Haven’t thought of those in…! But it suddenly seems like it was early training for appreciating the steady click, click, click process that is knitting, keeping the stitches bubbling steadily up. Sometimes with a cooling-off after the finish to realize that no, I didn’t mess it up and yes this IS gorgeous.
I not only coveted my oldest sister’s prettier-than-anybody’s marbles (which is what got me to beg and plead for that one session at the stove), I wanted to be able to sound like her too, like, yesterday, at the piano, and I remember her playing Fur Elise. A lot. That one seemed simple enough to aspire to–well, the first part of it, anyway. I started lessons the last year she took them.
I just didn’t quite get to this point in that first year, though. These guys had way too much fun. Don’t miss the picture frame falling down and the window shimmying.
Thursday May 02nd 2013, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Family
You know that one person’s color combination is someone else’s total no-way-jose. And I am, after all, the daughter of a modern art dealer.
I was wishing I had a smallish zippered-top tote and went looking. Richard glanced at my computer to see why I was suppressing a guffaw–and then wrinkled his face trying to think of something positive and polite to say.
Finally, “Turn back before it’s too late!”
Did me in, I tell ya, I burst out laughing. The LLBean site: it lets you design your own tote bag (even if it won’t quite let me link to my concoction–yeah, I’d probably hide it too if I were trying to sell the things). Handles, body, pocket, bottom, gusset, you tell it what colors go where on the dream knitting (or boat, but c’mon, knitting) bag of your choice.Â They do stop you from putting ember orange in some areas, but it’s okay in the body with the jadeite pocket, the purple zipper, the spruce handles (worse than it sounds)… And those handles will be the color of the body on the inside edges and the chosen handle color on the outside just to make sure you get the full effect of that contrast.
Actually in a weird way I kinda like that one I clicked together. But then I am my father’s daughter.
Oh. Hi, Dad! *waving*
Ears, next round
Tuesday April 30th 2013, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Family
Can you believe Hudson is three weeks old as of yesterday? With the best mom in the world.
I told the audiologist today that I had taken to turning the hearing aid volume down two notches to avoid the feedback and it seemed to work while not impacting the sound too much–and I can always kick it back up as needed.
He, meantime, took the aids apart and put the new molds on.
No feedback. But the sound was noticeably different. And not in a good way.
“Does it sound hollow?” he asked me.
“The base is too loud. Happens sometimes as an effect of going further into the ear, but I can work on that via the settings.”
That helped some, and I’m giving these a try, but so far I want to go back to the others. It’s definitely nice to have options, though. While we were at it we bought a clip-on bluetooth mike that I can pass around a room or hand to a speaker. Lanyard now added. I’ve wanted something like that forever and now I have one!
And: this afternoon I was looking through a skylight and happened to see Coopernicus! Perched near the top of the neighbor’s tall tree, and I got to watch as he suddenly dove down.
I walked to the other side of the house but he was faster than me, which certainly wasn’t a surprise; there was not a critter in sight near the feeder. Not even a squirrel.
Friends dropped by tonight and we experimented with/without the remote mike–either way, I heard them far better than I ever have before. Cool. Next round, hearing grandsons!
In the frog of where
Saturday April 27th 2013, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Family
So we had several paper bags’ worth of old documents that needed to be shredded, a task we’d been avoiding for awhile. Time to get to it.
I googled… (Not open on Saturday, not open on Saturday, well so who *is* open on Saturday.)
Okay, backtrack. A number of years ago a local woman wanted to set up a yarn shop, and as she later told me, she and her husband went to check out a spot that sounded like it had potential. It was in San Jose.
They walked in the doors, looked at the cavernous size in that old building and told the rep in disbelief, We can’t afford THIS!
No, no, let me tell you what the rent is going to be. Turns out the owner had an eye towards gentrification and a yarn store was exactly the kind of image he thought would up the value of the neighboring spots in his building.
She made the place gorgeous, with a welcoming front that would pull anyone inside. One of my knitting groups met there for awhile.Â I once quietly pointed out to another knitter the bullet holes through some of the squares of glass near the high ceiling and wondered how long those had been there.
I guess the place did its job too well; the owner decided to bring the rent closer to the newly-perceived market value about the same time the downturn hit. And that was the end of that shop. It has been missed.
So here I was today, four years later, looking up shredding services, and was stunned to see the picture as well as the address of one place pop up on my screen.
I looked again.Â Yup, that’s it, that’s the spot. And thought, what a comedown! I mentioned it to Richard.
“Well, it is kind of the same.”
He put his hands together over his imaginary goofed-up knitting and then pulled them forcefully apart: “You know. Rip it, rip it.”
Dancing before you know it
The Dancing Queen amaryllis, it blooms yet again. I think I’ve had this bulb about ten years now.
My mom reports that her recovery from her knee replacement surgery is going quite well. But then she is one patient for whom they never had to worry whether she would let pain get in the way of doing her range-of-motion exercises so scar tissue won’t set in and limit her later: if it needs to be done, my mom gets it done. There are walks waiting to be taken and flowers to see!