Thank you, Daddy
Monday December 09th 2019, 12:01 am
Filed under: Amaryllis,Family

My dad mailed me amaryllis bulbs every December, and sent me home with six monster bulbs a year ago November when we were there celebrating my parents’ anniversary.

It would be his last time.

The first of those just opened up again today despite being outside while the nights are cold. It is white, and planted in a red pot, one of the nicest I have.

It’s like a bright wave hello from him every time I look up.



Not seen on their Wish List
Friday December 06th 2019, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

There was some discussion here of Lego/not Lego with a too-young younger sibling–we had a memorable case of Lego Stomach and x-rays when our own were going through those stages–so I took a look around Amazon to see what they had in the way of larger ones but ended up ordering none. Just not our choice to make for their kids.

About an hour later, I noticed my gmail had a new message: Target, offering me 40% off on many of their Lego sets.

They don’t miss a beat, do they?



It’s just a little thing, but it will grow
Tuesday December 03rd 2019, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift

The afghan is finally in the fun to knit stage, but I wasn’t about to tote those two cones I’m working from to the baby shower tonight–one time of having everything tangle in the bag was enough.

Suddenly gauge swatches have a whole new meaning. That trip all the way through the laundry offered a realistic view of what the finished blanket will feel like and to a lesser extent how it will look.

The mom-to-be held up the swatch with a laugh and I held out my arms: “It’s this wide–and it’s going to be” as I swooped my hand down over my feet. “I figure every baby needs a blanket that keeps the mom’s toes warm on a cold night.”

There were a lot of young moms in that room and there was this resounding “YES!”

 



Lavender cachet
Monday December 02nd 2019, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

After an inextricable (I tried!) tangle for reasons of utter stupidity the lavender afghan got ripped back to nothing this afternoon for the–I think third time. I don’t think that halfway time counts.

So that was fun.

Just. Let. Me. Get. Past. Two. Inches.

The originally planned bottom edging that I’d tossed after changing the stitch count (too wide the first time) and didn’t want to hassle with the math to work it back in is now back in the game and halfway finished.

And then, only then, did it at long last hit me: there is a lace pattern going into this project whose name includes the maiden name of the mom-to-be. THAT’S why my brain had been so insistent that it had to be in there.

I am marveling at just how slow I was on the uptake.

And typing that, I just pulled out the tape measure: 2.25″. Alright!!



Turkey spinach mango barbecue soup
Saturday November 30th 2019, 8:44 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Recipes

Yeah, sounds weird. I would show you a picture but it all disappeared too fast.

Richard’s aunt always asks at the end of Thanksgiving whether I want to make stock out of the turkey bones or if she should toss the carcass. There’s only one answer.

This afternoon I shredded the most obvious meat off it and then boiled it down, stopping when the broth tasted good about two and a half hours later. Note that it had been stuffed with mandarin orange slices, and they went into the pot, too, along with a bit of pepper.

Good thing I had an extra large strainer–it had been a big bird.

I had some small yellow mangoes that had been picked too early to be very sweet; they were okay, but even after ripening for a week they were still more cooking mangoes than the dessert type they’d been raised to be.

Which would be perfect, right? I debated, standing looking around my kitchen, and then thought of my father’s description of my more adventurous mother’s cooking: “You’ll never be bored at Frances’s table. It might be INTERESTING,” and he would laugh his big laugh for sheer joy and pride in her.

A half a bag of spinach (grocery store size, not Costco’s) rinsed and nuked for two minutes.

I poured three+ cups of that broth into the blender, followed by the drained spinach and several glugs from a bottle of smokey Trader Joe’s Apple Bourbon Barbecue sauce and let’er rip.

I poured my green soup into a large bowl and added one of those mangoes, diced fairly small.

I nuked that for two minutes or so, added a bunch of the turkey, and put it back in for about 20 seconds.

And then came over here to write it down. Because that was very, very good and I definitely want to do it again.

Maybe thicken it next time. Or not.

Right now there’s more of all of where that came from. Yum.



Designed it mentally all the way home
Thursday November 28th 2019, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift,Life

Over the river and through the woods and up to the top of the mountains.

Where we saw snow and ice as we turned onto their road and along the switchbacks coming down. Only at the last house, at the bottom of the hill, did it clear up. (Turns out they’d had hail earlier, too.) The redwoods towered over us. We pulled in.

His aunt was hosting.

I like to surprise people, but colors are things people have strong feelings about, so I showed his cousin who grew up in that house the photo I posted here yesterday.

Motherhood had been a long time coming for her and I’ve particularly wanted to celebrate with her and her husband.

She pointed out the lavender and said she really liked that one.

You like lavender?

I love lavender!

I told her I’d put all those others together in part because I only had that much of each–except for the lavender. Colourmart had had a closeout on it (in a different weight, but, same yarn.)

She didn’t quite want to hope out loud for plain lavender until I made it clear that that was totally what it was there for, and then Yes! Please the lavender!

Note that I had certainly not needed more yarn at the time Colourmart had put it on sale this past summer but that color and only that color had felt compelling–that someone was going to need it. It bossed me into it, and when it showed up here there was this unfathomable sense of joy and a certainty of purpose that mystified me because, I mean, it’s just yarn, really; I wanted to know what that purpose was, and why was I so excited about this? Ever since, it’s made me happy every time I see it.

Now I know why.

The mystery that she didn’t have any way to know anything about (and still doesn’t) has been solved for me.

Her baby’s due at the end of January. I need to get a move on.



The grandparent years
Tuesday November 26th 2019, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Family

Southwest: There are three seats left at this price…

Me: Book’em, Dano.



Ready, set, go!
Friday November 22nd 2019, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Family

I’m just going to leave this little bit of happiness right here.



Rose
Tuesday November 19th 2019, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Family,History,Life,Politics

Thank you, everybody, for all the notes. So appreciated.

Rose came out of the vertebrae reconstruction surgery talking nonstop. She’s drinking clear liquids and the Rybka Twins (I had to look them up) whose booksigning the injured had been on their way to stopped by her hospital room wearing cheerful neon pink and big smiles.

Which meant her parents posted a photo of Rose with them with a great big grin of her own, holding up her newly signed copy in front of her face.

I think everything’s going to be okay. Time and patience and a lot of medical skill to come (there will be more surgery) and physical therapy and she’ll get there. Maybe even pick up an Australian accent just for fun before she comes home–she’s a singer, she’s got a great musical ear for it.

Today was such a relief.

That, and, I spent ten hours watching the impeachment hearings and at the end of it went, wait–I just need two more days like this and this afghan is actually somehow finally going to be done!

 



The longest plane ride her daddy ever took
Monday November 18th 2019, 11:09 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

He’s there with them now.

My cousin’s wife was visiting with their youngest daughter (who’s I think 12) and niece in Australia and were in a terrible accident over the weekend. They’ve all survived, so far. But their daughter was going in for her second surgery today after massive brain swelling.

His wife posted that she had been pouring her soul out in prayer while overwhelmed with the memories, the 40 minute wait for the ambulance, her own broken bones as she was trying to help her daughter not bleed to death, her niece calling out for her mom, who was not there.

And the flies! So many flies, and holding that gauze she just could not keep them away from her daughter’s face to at least offer her that comfort.

And in the moment she thought that in her prayer she suddenly knew: it was the flies. Rose had needed to stay conscious, and the annoyance of those pesky bugs, that insect insult on top of all the fear and pain–

–had been what had kept her awake.

And she woke up again after the first surgery, which was on her brain.

Update: and she is responsive now after her second. Go Rose!



Veterans Day
Monday November 11th 2019, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Family,History,Life

All day long I’ve been remembering that Veterans’ Day when I was on my way to Cottage Knits, my route taking me past Golden Gate National Cemetery.

As I waited at the light at the corner that edges two sides of it, there was an elderly man near the end of the row. He was stooped, his head was bowed, his white hair blowing in the wind and chill, his face the picture of grief. I wanted to leap over the fence and hold him up. To somehow ease his unspeakable pain.

This pageĀ says moreĀ than I ever could.

Love you, Dad. Miss you, Dad. Thank you for offering your life for our ideals and for our whole world’s sake.



N pe can’t type that title either
Wednesday November 06th 2019, 9:41 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I set d wn a cup next t the computer and missed. Which means it instantly went lying across the keyboard my clothes the rug my she’s.

Sometimes bviusly n t always but sometimes autocorrect gets it right–never thought I’d be glad r autocorrect.

The new keyboard is supposed t come tmrrw.

While I was expressing frustration with the keys that won’t type Richard said just copy and paste the letters in.

Hey. Slow but it works. The man is a genius.



Red-y for anything
Tuesday November 05th 2019, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Family

We interrupt this blog for a photo of a certain adorable two month old.

(Nope re the dress, store-bought, sorry. Remember Think Music from the Music Man? This is Think Knitted.)

I find myself as I write this in sudden need of knitting a Lily of the Nile dress and am wondering why I didn’t think of it before. Just let me finish this afghan first.



Parfianka pomegranate, year three
Sunday November 03rd 2019, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Garden

So how do you know when a pomegranate is ripe, I wondered?

I went looking for the answer several times over the last month or so, each time hoping to find someone who’d grown that particular type. And found this:

You can’t really tell by the color.

You can’t tell by the stem end.

If you get it wrong and let it stay on the tree too long, it loses some of its flavor. Wait. This was definitely news to me, because I planted my tree after tasting pomegranates from Jean’s that had been left in place till they’d begun to split open. I had never tasted anything like that in my life, and given her age I knew I might not again unless I grew my own. So I did, and wondered if I should leave them till they split open, too.

But they looked so good…

There were two fruits that had made it past the one inch stage (and our not watering while we were gone for three weeks in September when Lily was born.)

Heft it, was the advice I found: it should bulge and it should be heavy.

Define heavy?

It should be large.

It was. How large?

Tap on it and listen.

Oh great, good luck with that one.

Don’t pick it: clip it.

Okay, that I know how to do.

Michelle was going to be dropping by for dinner and I thought, one to try now, one to leave for later in our experiment. We’ll compare and know better what to do next year when there will be many more of them.

The verdict is, it was probably harvested just a little early, but the seeds came away easily (almost all of them anyway) and it was as good as anything from a grocery store.

But the thing that struck me was all those little bite marks and a long clawing on one side. So many times over the months it hung there that something stealthily approached, tasted that gorgeous red exterior, and then went, This is supposed to be food?? and let it be, leaving a mosaic pattern behind. At least once something larger tried hard to pull it away but it held on to where it needed to be to grow.

They never got past the tough exterior.

They never found the sweetness inside.

But we believed, and we did.



Apricots
Friday October 25th 2019, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Life

It was not how I intended it to go but it was the way it needed to go.

My dad loved dried fruit, particularly apricots, and he said the apricot slabs from Andy’s Orchard were the best he’d ever had. That was high praise.

I asked around the family before his funeral to see if anybody wanted me to bring some when we flew into town and got a resounding YES!, surprising me at hearing how many people Dad had told that those were his favorites.

So last Monday I drove down to Andy’s and bought two three pound tubs.

The clerk quietly stopped me: did I know…?

The Premiums look so pretty. And Andy only grows what tastes good.

But the slabs are the ones that were so perfectly ripe at picking that they went smush, so they won’t win any beauty pageants, but the flavor!

I thanked her, because I’d known that but had forgotten it, put one of the tubs back and got a second slabs one.

My thought was, it’s cheaper to get the large containers than lots of individual small ones and I’d rather spend the money on the apricots; people can ziplock for themselves however much they want to take home. Or whatever. But six pounds should do it, if for no other reason than that there’s only so much luggage space and I had to pack sweaters and wool skirts.

And so, after our flight two days later, the first tub was opened at Mom’s.

Saturday, the second tub was opened at Mom’s. And that’s after only one person took me up on the sandwich baggie thing.

We slowed down. Mom, six siblings, spouses, and a few of the grandkids, we were trying not to eat them all. But they were good.

One of my brothers said something wistful and I asked him, given our family’s round-robin tradition, “Is this my year to give to you for Christmas?”

He considered a fast half second, his face totally lit up, and he exclaimed, “Yes!”

Saturday, Mom looked at where that second tub had gotten down to and was a mixture of pleased we’d enjoyed them so much and, “Hey, leave *me* some!”

So guess where I went today. Beat the Christmas rush and all that, because I have no idea at what point Andy sells out for the year. Let us help him speed up that date.

I bought some fresh fruit and veggies, too, and as we loaded up the back of the car together in the 90 degree heat (normal is 71) I asked the clerk, If I run an errand for an hour or so would these all be okay in here?

Sure, no problem.

I drove off telling myself that, well, but realistically it’ll be longer than an hour, and then the half hour home after that.

I’d never tried to find Fillory from that direction before. Near the freeway but not either of those two freeways. I had my yarn and needles in my purse all ready for my Friday afternoon knitting group and wanted to go. Let’s see, this one connects to that freeway with the exit to the… Yeah, no problem.

Now, on my way to Andy’s I’d realized that I ought to check my phone when I got there to be sure.

I realized on my way to Fillory that I should have checked my phone back at Andy’s to be sure.

I realized that where I found myself awhile later looked familiar not because I was going the right way but because it was where I got lost a couple years ago trying to find the place when… Some maps programs are better than a particular one. And you cannot just pull off to the side of the freeway to read what you cannot hear: GPSs are lost on me.

The forty minutes I’d spent in extra traffic getting around an accident on my way south and the half hour I’d blown looking for my turn along my way north added up to its being rush hour now.

I found my way back to the freeway–that I could do–and went straight home. Sorry guys. Next week.

Which is how I ended up pulling in my driveway just before Sandy’s son pulled away with his wife for their long twelve-hour drive home. I hope they stop somewhere in between for the night. They’ve been working hard on making that house more elder-friendly.

I waylaid them with just-picked figs from Andy’s, to their great delight, and they caught me up on his mom. It’s a lot easier to talk about in person than across texts when it’s a hard subject but both of you love the person you’re talking about. You can see the emotions in each others’ faces. You can be a better comfort to each other. We were able to be there for each other. I’d needed to be there.

I’d thought they were leaving town tomorrow. I’d come so close to missing them.

I almost, almost, offered to run back in the house and grab them a tub of those apricot slabs in Dad’s memory. If I find out they like such things, maybe when they come back in a few weeks.

When they can share a tub with his mom before they leave again.