Email’s playing 52 pickup
Monday October 03rd 2022, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Family

Post #2 for the night: Richard just found and fixed the other problem with my email and it is apparently now throwing out everything that it’s been telling me it sent but it didn’t for the last ten days? Two weeks?  Anyway, if you get something from me that seems weirdly old, it is, and my email works again. Thanks.

The wild wild Wests
Friday September 30th 2022, 8:49 pm
Filed under: Family,Wildlife

Berkeley Breathed, the guy who wrote Bloom County and does again intermittently on Facebook, posted a video recently of him walking out his front door as noted by his security video and later watched by his horrified wife.

Either that young western diamondback rattlesnake pulled back really fast–or (as it appears) he kicked it in the head and walked on, completely oblivious as it recoiled fast. From there, the camera shows the snake gathering itself up and moving forward again after a moment, jaws very wide this time and tongue flicking, going across the front of his doorway and beyond.

While you see some of the guy’s shadow as he’s presumably getting in his car having no idea how close he just came.

So of course that was the first thing that came to mind when the kids up north sent a picture of their five and three year olds staring at the 18″ or so long snake slithering across the pathway right in front of them.

It was pretty.

Their parents let them respectfully hold still and observe this benign new bit of nature–but told them that if they were at their grandparents’ houses (Arizona/CA) and saw one, it might not be the same kind and they were to move away from it right away.

Love nature first of all, a healthy respect for what it could do after that. I was so proud of them all.

(And here I’d thought the skunk on our doormat had really been something.)

Play ball!
Wednesday September 28th 2022, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

My mail got hacked last week and yonder computer nerd worked on it briefly and all seemed well–except that I’ve found that at random times it will both say that I responded to a message and that it got sent while telling me it did not, in fact, send it. I can only guess. So if you’ve sent me anything and I haven’t answered, please know that I did but I can’t tell if it got anywhere and trying twice made no difference–and yet at other times everything’s perfectly normal. We’ll get this fixed, and sorry, meantime.

Back to the trip.

Sunday, Spencer wanted to play with yarn, too, so while Maddy was putting every bit of her concentration into her stitches, he kept batting her ball around.

Maybe we should tell him this is not, in fact, how you make socks.

I looked at him with blue yarn all over the floor and pronounced to his sister with a grin, Spencer is a cat.

She enjoyed that very much: it is always fun to pretend to be a cat. But she was too busy to join in just then.

I remembered then that while getting ready for the trip I had come across a very small ball of turquoise Rios in the bottom of my purse that must have fallen out from the carry-around project previous to the one that I didn’t know would be important on our flight in a few hours. So. It was too small to worry about and just enough yards to tangle with to his heart’s delight. It was the same color and yarn as the baby blanket I had made four years earlier for–you guessed it–Spencer.

And so he could have his own, truly his own, to play with to his heart’s content. (While keeping a close eye on him just to be sure.)

First project
Tuesday September 27th 2022, 10:22 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

I cast on five stitches of Malabrigo Mecha for Maddy, a soft thick wool, and did the first row to get it started.

Random draping back loops and added and missing stitches later, she had herself a little rectangle (mostly) and asked me, But what do we DO with it? Knitting clearly made practical things as well as beautiful and she wanted to be part of that, too.

I asked her to let me add a little to it, and I doubled its length with some nice steady stockinette stitch and then showed it to her doubled over.

She instantly figured out we had a finger puppet there, and she was right! So I got out a yarn needle and sewed up the sides for her.

She is very proud of her finger puppet and how it lets her show off her knitting.

I debated dubbing it the Cookie Monster but quietly decided that was up to her; a seven year old might not want to be associated with toddler motifs.

Actually, it kind of looks like Her–now His–Majesty’s guards with the bear hats thing going on, only in blue.

Monday September 26th 2022, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

We’re going to take a detour on the story here to go to the ringing of the doorbell today.

I had ordered a dress two months ago for my high school reunion, which was to be next weekend–and which got cancelled last week because not enough people had RSVP’d. Oh well.

Tracking said it had arrived in town Friday; the woman in Ukraine who’d been doing some special tailoring had gotten it out in time for that event–

–but once again, there was no mention of when it might actually be delivered, just where it was. Right in town. Going nowhere. After my mail was held over the weekend, this morning’s Informed Delivery notification said no packages today nor soon on the way. Great, I thought, here we go again.

I opened the door to find the new mailman. He asked me my name. He asked me my address, which confused me, I mean, you’re right here, right. He asked if I knew Juliaa, looking briefly at the yellow puffy package.

Yes, from Ukraine, I answered, I’m expecting a package from there, (with my vyshyvanka silently backing me up that that’s something I do.)

He asked again just to make sure. I said Juliaa… Plumarii? That was her business’s name–which was not on there. But I told him it was a dress.

And then he explained why. I didn’t see till later that the Contents box on the label said Embroidered Dress. I’d clinched it for him.

Because, again, the street address had been bungled, with the first of the three numbers gone missing but at least this time it had the other two. He was very proud of himself that he had worked out that this was mine and clearly relieved at the certainty with which he could say that now because it could be awful if it turned out he’d been wrong. There did used to be another Hyde family at the far end of this street. He wasn’t about to risk handing something international and important to the wrong person and he was new on this route and didn’t know anybody yet.

I thought, what is it with Etsy and this street addresses thing? Is it the Cyrillic alphabet/Ukrainian translation? That’s two vendors now. I thanked him profusely for having gotten it to me.

We probably both knew in that moment about the fuss I’d raised over the package that is still listed as “in transit” on its way back to Ukraine that I’d tried so hard to retrieve first. The Post Office had sent me a survey afterwards and I’d wondered what effect my responses would have on our guy, because the lowest person in the pecking order always takes the worst heat whether it’s deserved or not. So I’d tried not to yell, but, This Was Not Okay.

I need to make sure they hear that I’m so happy at what he did for me this time.

I thanked him again as he left.

It came. It had gotten through. He’d gone the extra mile.

And the dress, oh, the dress: it’s perfect. All of it is. The color, the fit, the quality of the fabric and the work. I’d requested it be of a piece with no slit at the neckline and no opening above the knees like so many of the traditional ones do. (I fall a lot and ya gotta maintain at least some dignity.) They did all that, and the embroidery is on both sides of the seam, going all the way up to the closed embroidered crewneck rather than how it is in the picture. It’s exactly how I’d wanted it to be and the whole thing is just glorious. I will love it for years to come.

The motifs, Juliaa had told me, are representative of the bounty of the harvest.

It was too big for a selfie so Richard helpfully tried, but when someone is 15″ taller and looking down, even while trying to crouch down his photos still made my head look like a swollen basketball and maybe I’ll ask a friend so you can see it. Or we can try again when his back is feeling a little better.

Speaking of which. We did have such a great time playing with the kids on that trip.

Word of mouth
Saturday September 17th 2022, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends

Y’know, I was just saying to my husband this afternoon that I wanted a cookie or something sweet like that but that I didn’t want to bake because then we’d eat the whole batch. If I could just buy one that’s as good as what I could make myself… If only.

And then I opened Facebook to see if anyone needed to be wished happy birthday.

One of my friends had just posted a picture of a gorgeous pistachio dessert from a local bakery she’d driven some distance to try out.

Turns out it was about two miles from us. Never heard of them. Opened in December 2019 and survived the pandemic–wow. Dairy free? Vegan? Nut free? Name your special dietary request and they can do it and everything is gluten-free. (They’re working on setting up shipping nationwide.)

Back in the Purlescence days, there were I think five people there who were seriously wheat allergic–just touching flour made one person break out in hives–or were celiacs, and it was one of those friends getting the word out that this place is safe for them.

You know I had to go try it out.

And then I had to take some to yonder allergic child of mine, quick while it’s fresh, before it starts raining tonight and all day tomorrow (YAY!!!)

So far, Richard and I have tried the chocolate muffin with the mini chips and monk fruit in them; we’re saving the  two frosted ones on the left for breakfast. Oh, and we each had an apple cider mini-muffin. Yum.

But just from those two tastes I’d say that yes. We will definitely be back. Probably way more times than we should.

Friday September 09th 2022, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Thirty-eight years later, I think I finally got my answer.

My dad was an art dealer and spent his career trying to help talented French artists find an international audience. I grew up with paintings on the walls and tapestries that took a month per square yard to create. Our living room’s cathedral ceiling and wall of windows looking out on the woods made for the perfect lighting in beautiful scenery.

When my husband and I bought our first house, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but something was missing, like it wasn’t quite a real home yet–despite the fact that we had picked out the model and the lot and watched it being built in a then-boom town in New Hampshire and every thing in it was something we had chosen.

Our second child was born seven months later.

My folks drove up from Maryland to help out for a week.

And then.

Dad opened the big trunk of their car and started pulling out paintings, thoroughly enjoying how surprised and thrilled I was. THAT’S what it had been missing! Art on the walls! Now it could finally feel like home!

One of those paintings had always been a little bit of a mystery to me and now it was mine. Oh, that’s Deer Island, Maine, I was told, like that should settle it.

Okay–but why? I’ve long wondered. Why did someone travel way out there to paint that out in the middle of absolutely nowhere?

The Washington Post just published one of their reporters’ traveling to meet the people and place of the favorite haunt of his favorite author a little more personally.

Now, when I was maybe ten I got a thick heavy book for Christmas full of horse stories. My kind of thing at the time. The further you got into it, though, the darker a turn the stories took. John Steinbeck’s “The Red Pony” is not something I’d give a ten year old, but it was in there.

And then in high school I read “The Pearl.”

That was it. I was done with Steinbeck.

So I was surprised to read that not only was he a favorite writer of this Post reporter, but that rereading him inspired the guy to pack a bag and go learn for himself what the people and place were like where his hero began his “Travels With Charlie” from.

Deer Island, Maine.

The painter was a Steinbeck fan. Clearly.

And I feel like a decades-long mystery has been solved, and not only that, I actually am looking forward to reading that Steinbeck book. Who knew.

Wednesday September 07th 2022, 7:32 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

(Woke up to a second power failure but it cleared up quickly.)

The CDC had a list by zip code of providers of the new covid vaccine. (Lots of helpful links there.) I started trying yesterday, but the one local entity’s site refused to load, and when I asked Richard about going to Santa Rosa for another provider his reaction was that with our having driven three hours to Antioch in traffic and two hours back for his first covid shot, going even further was not enthralling.

Today, still not able to get through online, I called the local one even though their site said not to.

They said yeah they were scheduling but it was going to be weeks, possibly months before they had any more openings–they were booked.

I realized afterward, well, they are the closest off-campus pharmacy to Stanford Hospital.

Which is also I’m sure why the CDC got it to them first around here.

There had to be…

Today the CDC added CVS: one store in one location and they had openings for one single day, so I grabbed them. But I was still hoping for something sooner.

I checked our clinic’s site and got nowhere, so I called them, too. Oh! They do! But they said you could only schedule the covid shots by phone–just like last year’s first shot in the first weeks.

Turns out you had to wait while someone asked you all your ID information and all the health questions and dutifully entered them in while everybody else waited on hold, with him playing a human buffer in the scheduling that would keep all but the most determined self-screened out for now while the supplies are scarce. The on-hold robot voice kept urging me to hang up and schedule most appointments online, which I knew would just shove me to the back of the line on the phone again and nevertheless I persisted and knit and knit and knit, glad for hold music loud enough for even me to be able to put the phone down.

I got in!

You want them–this week?? Uhhh, let me see…

(I’d figured it didn’t hurt to ask.)

CVS is now canceled, he let me jump through the hoops for the both of us, and we are getting our Omicron boosters in the morning. And our flu shots.

(Edit in the morning: CVS was going to do both shots, but the clinic was only doing the Covid. One down, one to go.)

Tuesday September 06th 2022, 7:06 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I had a mouthful of toothpaste last night when everything suddenly went very dark.


So did that mean that when the Flex Alert said to wait till after 9:00 pm to do your laundry everybody started theirs at the same time? Along with turning on the dishwasher for the night? (Guilty.)

Earthquake readiness says we’re supposed to have flashlights by our sides of the bed. He found his. Mine was AWOL. Of all the things not to be prepared about after all the warnings re the power and the heat, I was apologizing to him that I… Oh there it is. I gave him his back.

He called to report the outage and it turned out no one else in our neighborhood had. What? They were saying 12,000 out, not quite reaching to our street (but it did.) Was everybody else in bed at 10:30? Seems like it.

We read to each other, like we do every night, and doing it by flashlight was kind of fun, like when you read under the covers as a kid and tried not to get caught not going to sleep.

Then we tried to turn off the lights in the dark.

But you know those dimming/brightening switches with the flat rectangular panel rather than a small black piece sticking out? How do you turn one of those off when the power’s out? I asked him. So it doesn’t flip all the lights back on in our faces in the middle of the night?

He confessed he did not know, which sounded to me like, Face it, honey, we’re hosed.

And yet. Turns out the bedroom lights were the ones that didn’t. It was the ones in the closet and the hallway, the ones with the flip-it switches that I’d missed because I hadn’t known which ones to turn off, and, well, we know who the light sleeper is who took care of that.

Let’s not do that again. Which is why breakfast and dinner were both baked at 7:30 this morning, side by side, 25 minutes and off fast, just in time for the dentist to call and ask me, Could you come in a few hours early this morning?

I am writing this several hours earlier than my usual. I’m trying to beat the next outage. And probably so was the dentist.

Oh, and one other thing to add: Happy Birthday to my late Grandmother J and Happy 100th Anniversary to my Grandparents B.

Making a list, checking it twice
Thursday September 01st 2022, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Family

Random thought: pansies, with their big beautiful colorful soft wings of petals, are the butterflies of the flower world.

Meantime, I sent this picture and asked a question because clothing is such a personal thing: Christmas is coming up and these can take as much as three months to arrive, although usually it’s more like two. The rush towards December has surely begun and I imagine there are only so many people (most likely women) available to run the post office in Kiev. And everything seems to route through Kiev.

So now the talented and wonderful Sola Kvitkova (I’m wearing that one, sized up to a large to be sure) has a new order to fill on Etsy, in red as requested.

And once again I am thrilled that I can do that, that I can do my part to support–well, everybody in all of Ukraine, in my heart–and am hoping she and hers stay safe, now and always. That would be the greatest gift.

In this international community
Monday August 29th 2022, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Rescheduled twice till the original reason for it was history, I finally got in to see the neurologist today, six months after the fact. We’re still pretty new to each other.

I was knitting that blue cowl when he came in.

We talked about a bunch of stuff and then it was time to do an exam.

He had me try to stand on my toes. I managed not to fall on him but it was a near thing. He had me lift my toes to stand on my heels. Again the involuntary collapse.

He asked me to grab my cane and repeat both of those and with that extra tactility to tell my brain which direction the floor was in when parts of my feet had abandoned it I had no problem, it was as easy as sitting down.

An offhand remark: he wasn’t mansplaining, he was marveling when he just had to tell me that he’d found out that you can’t just knit something–quickly. That things like sweaters and blankets, they take a long time. A *long* time!

I chuckled. Yes. Yes, they do. I did not say, And you’ll get your turn, but I knew his appreciation had just shown me it was so.

He grabbed a pin from a tall box and poked it around. I could feel it in my hands and arms but more as a slight pressure than anything else. Legs and feet? Okay, that’s a prick point.

I discussed a little family history: (sorry for the repeats to those who’ve read these before.) My grandmother never had a headache in her life, she had no idea what it was like to have one. My cousin was born without the ability to feel pain–like the time he got hit by a car, walked home, told his brother, said he was tired and was going to go lie down, and the brother ratted him out to their nurse mom who rushed him to the hospital in time to save his life. I told him one of my kids wasn’t that bad, but definitely on that scale. And also got hit by a car as a kid and tried to shrug it off.

I had started out as normal myself but for years now my own ability has been impaired. I told him of the time my tall husband took off his undershirt, hit the overhead light, shattered it, ducked the falling glass and fell into the oak  hamper while I, still in bed, just heard the loud thump against the wall and leaped out to save him. Like I was going to pull him out of the hamper? I found myself running across broken glass.

And just sat down on the bed and laughed because we’re such a pair of klutzes–and because I knew that in five minutes I wouldn’t be able to feel the pain anymore. And I didn’t. This can be a bad thing, like during the heart attack and not calling 911 because, um, wasn’t it supposed to hurt, but at other times it can be quite handy. It’s like the bod says, Okay, listen up something’s wrong, okay now I told you–you go deal with it.

He (clearly fervently) wished he could offer his other patients a way to not hurt after five minutes and pronounced me as pretty fortunate for that. He’s right.

On my way out I found myself about to go past a quite elderly woman with a head covering I’d guess as Slavic as she was being pushed in a wheelchair, her face a blank. I was wearing my hand-embroidered, very traditional red and black on white vyshyvanka and the effect on her was instant: an energy that hadn’t been there a moment before as my shirt had her full attention and recognition, she looked up into my face in wonder and smiled. No words needed.

And I looked in her eyes and loved her too and smiled back.

I said to Richard later, not for the first time, And this is why I wear these. This is part of why I buy these.


Miss Lillian
Tuesday August 23rd 2022, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

The beach is done, the seed-stitch hillside above it is done, the steps built into the hill are finally done and the first redwood has begun.

Once this thing is finished and washed, the yarn will bloom and fill out and the areas will all look more solid.

Meantime, Lillian celebrated turning three today with much enthusiasm. It’s fun to be big!

Do what to it?
Wednesday August 17th 2022, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit,Life

Next Tuesday, Amazon said. The box showed up today. Ask me if I mind.

Comes assembled, they said. But, it turns out, screw the knob on the drawer yourself, lady. Yeah, I think we can handle that. (Note the lack of application of said knob. That drawer came in handy already!)

I tested out the setup by talking with my mom while trying not to lean on its slight wobbliness, and we now know that my sister Carolyn’s name types out as Kill Christmas. You know, I can actually do that kind of word mangling better than it can but it’s trying.

Speaking of whom, she and her husband have been househunting online. A few days ago, she flew to see her grandkids in Ohio with a day trip to the town in New York where she’s been looking. On that very day the most perfect house for them went up for sale–and now it’s theirs. Great condition and reasonably priced, to top it off. And she got to see it in person. Because it was on the one day.

I can’t wait to see what she does with her new horse carriage in back. Would it kill Christmas if I asked her for a pony? Always wanted one when we were kids.

Nina got her peaches and dried apricots from Andy’s and I threw in some of his plums, too. The lady at his farm agreed with me that fruit straight off the tree was the perfect homecoming after time in the hospital.

My heart monitor came off and went in the mail per protocol.  So did a birthday present for Lillian, who is turning three whether her Grammy can fathom that number so soon or not.

Writing all this it suddenly struck me what it was that I didn’t do today and I didn’t even think of it till just now: I didn’t knit.

Wait, how did that happen?

Friends from when our kids were little
Sunday August 14th 2022, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

About twenty years after she moved away, M-L was here at church today, catching up with old friends: she was on a trip that took her close enough to here that she couldn’t pass up the chance.

I cannot begin to say how much it meant to get to see her.

We laughed over memories of her twin toddlers being told to offer Oreos to my husband and those two adorable little boys sneaking around the corner, snarfing down the creme centers, putting the cookies back on the plate, and proudly offering up the soggy remains as if no one could possibly ever catch on.

Her husband was the one who, during the flood of ’96, opened his front door to see if any water was backing up, just time to see their koi from their backyard pond swimming past his feet. Brad loved to tell that story.

He was also the first person in the county they’d moved to to contract covid, when even the tests for it were new. The first one there to survive the ventilator. He wrote a rare-for-him Facebook post that day of his intense love for his family, his gratitude to all who’d taken care of him, his plans to hike in Finland with his family the next year where his wife’s mother was from. He was going to go to rehab to build his strength back up and then at long last, home!

He stood up at the side of the bed–and was suddenly gone. This was before they knew covid causes blood clots.

I’ve long kept in touch with M-L, but to get to see her and share in person the love and the support and the grief and the pride in her now-grown kids and mine just meant so much.

We got home. I had an email waiting. Richard made a phone call and was out the door but told me not to come and not to be exposed. Were visitors allowed? As he explained afterwards, Part of being visiting clergy is an inability to read when you need not to.

And so he in his K95 mask got to visit our friend Nina, who is in the hospital with meningitis, and to be there for her husband, who knew Richard would know what this is like.

I tried to keep her company before and after by email while trying not to wear her out. I know how responding to even the most appreciated message or in-person visit can wear out a sick body even while reviving one’s spirit.

She is delighted at my new phone gadgetry and could I call her on it, she asked.

Today? Or would tomorrow be better, I asked.


I told her I’m looking forward to it.

But it’s good
Saturday August 13th 2022, 8:56 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

If you take the Post’s recipe and use a bit less sugar and a tablespoon less butter and add in an egg, then it’s totally a health food, right?

(I added too many blueberries because I had them so I was going to use them, it overflowed, and Richard walked in the door saying, You’re burning something, with me responding, It did at the beginning but don’t open that oven yet.)

I’m typing this to remind myself to scrape that out of there after it cools and before the next time I set the oven to preheat.