The bees’ knees
Sunday October 14th 2018, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

Felt great to feel good today–just a bit tired first thing but that wore off, so we went to church with face masks on both of us just to keep our friends on the safe side.

I was afraid H’s mom had already flown home, but no, there she was. Turns out that although she mostly quilts and crochets, she knits, too, and she was gobsmacked that I had made her this softness and that her daughter and I had plotted together on the color. She instantly put it on and proudly wore it the rest of church, even though it was thick Mecha and it was 76 out.

I looked and looked for the woman who’d exclaimed over my half-done yellow cashmere I’d started for her last month and finally resigned myself to taking it home yet again and hoping for the next time.

We were maybe three steps from the entryway by the door to leave when the hall door opened and she was backing up against it almost into me with her arms full. Turns out she taught one of the primary classes.

THERE you are! I’ve been looking for you! I pulled her cowl out of my purse, stuffed into a small ziploc.

She almost cried. She told me her elderly mother had been diagnosed with colon cancer this past week to go with her other health problems and it had been very hard. “Your timing is perfect!”

She said it again, marveling, and gave me the hug that was really most of all for Someone looking out for her up there in those moments who knew more and deserved it more than I ever could. Her favorite color was supposed to have been sold out before I ever even saw it listed. One cone suddenly became available at the moment I signed in to Colourmart that day. It’s hers now.

So now I understand why I couldn’t find her earlier.

Oh! I almost forgot–there was a middle-aged woman I didn’t recognize with small children whom I did, and before church started she was trying to calm the toddler down. He was okay while they were in motion but not once she sat him and his baby brother down. Routine was Mommy and Daddy here once a week and this was someone else and not how you do it and he was Not Having It. I mah MAHMAH!

Turns out, yes, they were out of town and yes, she was the grandma holding down the fort, glad to connect with another grandma as I brought him the most colorful finger puppet in my purse, a parrot with bright red-white-blue stripes in its wings and yellow in its tail and beak. And another puppet for his 20-month-old best buddy who’d climbed under the bench and suddenly popped up onto it to stand there next to his sobbing-suddenly-not-sobbing friend. Hey! One for him, too! (In no way was I about to instigate jealousy between the two.)

I was back in the aisle just as 92-year-old Jean was coming up from behind with her walker.

“If I’m really good can I have one too?”

I guffawed. I didn’t even know she’d seen any of that. I dug down in the purse for whichever Peruvian hand knit treasure should come up.

“A honeybee! For your garden!” Jean’s garden is the great passion of her creativity.

I think she really was hoping for one of those bright parrots, though.

Looking at these other two bees just now, I find the stitches were pulled shut at the bottom–oops! Not a finger puppet! That’s a first–clearly she needs a do-over.

I also need to make that other grandma a cowl, quick. Washable looks definitely the way to go.



My husband brought home flowers from a Trader Joe’s run
Monday October 08th 2018, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Because fevers are kind of boring. Flowers are more fun.

He’s a good one.



Baby hat
Sunday October 07th 2018, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

Curious. And here I thought that skein looked pretty close to a solid color.



Let’s see, do I have any more yarn around here…
Saturday October 06th 2018, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Due to three two-hour sessions today of General Conference: Malabrigo Mecha in Hollyhock, size 9 US needles, done. Two more sessions tomorrow.

I was afraid it came out a little small (see picture), but once it hit the water it grew really nicely.



He’ll never be this tiny again
Friday October 05th 2018, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit

Spencer, so very very new.

Meantime, a conversation two days ago: no, you can’t pay me to knit a cowl for your mom like yours but tell me her favorite color.

Her: Purple and pink and happily wears wool.

Me, now that I’ve finished the survivor’s one:



On the fence about it
Monday October 01st 2018, 11:14 pm
Filed under: Family,Wildlife

I saw a juvenile Cooper’s hawk yesterday for the first time all this year if not several now, and unlike the skittish adult that has on rare occasion swooped by since Coopernicus vanished, he was perfectly happy to be admired as he perched on the fence–he even swooped back towards me and around the patio again.

It is a week past equinox. Which means it’s more likely that he was eyeing territory to claim come spring, if not now; it would be great to have one in residence again.

I would love to point out hawks in our own little bit of wild to my grandkids someday.



Introducing Spencer
Saturday September 29th 2018, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life

I wanted to officially finish the blanket the day the baby was born and so I held off on those last few things.

Meaning, I have some ends I need to go run in right now and a tag to sew on. (Edited to add, done!)

7 lbs 3.5 oz, 21″, and a perfect little baby boy in every way. We are over the moon.



Today we run, tomorrow we pay
Tuesday September 04th 2018, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Her first appointment was at seven across town and then she came back to get us, mine was right after we dropped Richard off at work. Her next one was at ten, my audiologist at 11:45 five cities south, and she drove drove drove to give me another day off from having to do that and to get me where I needed to go.

I waved goodbye as her ride took her off for the airport, started a load of laundry, walked in the bathroom a few minutes later at the other end of the hall–and stumbled into this reverse-direction Niagara gushing upwards out of the bottom of the toilet all the way up to the seat and flooding across the room and down that part of the hall. I had never seen anything quite like it.

Showers, faucets…everywhere else in the house was fine.

I managed to turn the washing machine and the water to the toilet off while thinking, I guess I just mopped my floor with laundry detergent. Got my money’s worth out of that load, didn’t I?

I was soaked. The towels still are. But at least all this had waited till our daughter’s weekend with us was over–and, I’d run the underwear load first and it was done. Go me.

The plumber told me to call the city, the city told me to call the plumber, the tree guy got a dial tone in edgewise to say they were coming first thing in the morning to trim away anything overhanging the house like the homeowner’s insurance demanded (I’d been hoping they could squeeze me in this week and they were making it happen), I called the agent, and then the city’s plumber showed up after all.

By this time it was about six.

His truck was blocking my car. No problem; I was pretty sure I could get around him to go pick up Richard. This time, there really was no choice but to get behind that wheel, broken rib or no broken rib.

As he watched me come up next to my–it turned out, dud of a car, I was befuddled–and then suddenly burst out laughing, laughing that was the antidote to the intensity of the day, so much so that he laughed, too. It was so unexpected, because she always, always remembers, even when I don’t.  She’s so careful about it. But she’d gotten up so early.

It’s quite my fault. After a dozen years I still have never gotten a back-up key fob for that car. They’re too expensive (something like $250 last I checked) the car’s too old to bother and I’m too cheap.

Richard Ubered home.

Hey, I can splurge all that fob money I saved on the plumber now!



At 16 and 17 and ’18
Monday September 03rd 2018, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I was in a discussion group Sunday where the subject was, what do you do to fight off depressive thoughts?

My rather long answer was this. (In retrospect, hey, it wasn’t even about knitting!)

When I was a teen, my aunt had twins. She complained of pain for several days afterwards and was dismissed. She said, But I’ve had children before and it was never like this.

Oh lady you’ve never had twins before.

With the end result that her appendix burst on the operating table after they were finally listening to her. It was a very near thing.

Her doctor then sat her down and told her that he’d seen too many patients with so many responsibilities–she had six kids including those newborn twins–after serious medical circumstances go spiraling downward and downward and downward and he did not want it to happen to her. He prescribed her an hour a day of exercise. Go join a gym. I don’t care how you do it, do it. You must.

Which is how my then-sixteen-year-old sister with the brand new driver’s license got flown out to California for the summer to help out. I was seventeen; I had a summer nanny job I was committed to. I tried not to be jealous, and by all accounts it sounded like Anne had the time of her life. The greatest human need is to be needed and boy was she ever.

But I never forgot that lesson. I was already in the habit of race-walking several miles a day and that cemented the idea for life: exercise isn’t just to stay in shape or control weight, it’s to help a person be in charge of how they feel about their life.

I am typing this just after getting off the treadmill that was a gift from Scrabblequeen Ruth some time ago. (Thank you, Ruth!) I’ve been experimenting: if I hold my right arm by my side will it bother my rib less?

I did put off using it for several days after the break, and rightly so, but when I finally used it again the rest of me felt so much better that it seems to me to be worth it.

We’ll see what my doctor says tomorrow. If there’s a better way to follow my aunt’s old doctor’s counsel, then I’ll do that. But I think we’re good.



Les fraises
Sunday September 02nd 2018, 10:19 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

 

We were going to make sorbet but found a small Rubbermaid in the back of the freezer with the last of the strawberry from last year. Done.



Mutari!
Saturday September 01st 2018, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

There’s a new chocolate shop in Santa Cruz and we wanted to check it out. How would it compare to our old favorite? We had to go to both on the same day to know, right?

What better way to celebrate having our daughter in town?

Given that seven million people live in the San Francisco Bay area and that there are only three routes over the mountains between San Francisco and well south of San Jose and two of those are two-lane roads and what beach traffic on a holiday is like, we hit the road before nine, and only had to do a little stop-and-go. We knew it would mean we’d have time to kill when we got there, but spending that time parked on the freeway vs walking around in our favorite beach town, hey.

Downtown parking before ten, no problem.

We bought books at Bookshop Santa Cruz in thanks for their being open for us. I tried to remember exactly what it looked like before the ’89 quake destroyed the original; there’s a plaque on the building saying they’d reused the iron balconies from the old on the new to try to keep some of the history of the place. I remembered an upstairs restaurant, I think in that building, long gone….

The doors were open on the sock store across the street, too. They had a pair that pictured cats playing on stacks of books: for $8, I’d found the one thing that most describes my friend Constance. Hey. That’s a splurge I could do.

We ate an early lunch at our old favorite, which is a restaurant as well.

They did not know the competition they were in, and turns out they were definitely not having their best day. The service was good but the food and the chocolate both were surprisingly off. Sipping chocolate as grainy pudding? Michelle’s no-dairy version was problematical, too. We felt bad for them.

The second chocolate place had had a note on the door apologizing that they would have to open late today, or we would have eaten there first. Dessert and life being uncertain and all that.

That’s okay. Mutari was definitely worth the wait.

The address listed on a news article someone had linked to that had clued us in to their existence turned out to be old and wrong but we found their new place via our phones.

Having just had that other sipping chocolate, one small spoonful of Mutari’s and I gasped, Oh WOW! Wow. What chocolate! What a difference. This is seriously the best.

We tried their fruit confection. It was hard not to buy a whole lot more on the spot.

We tried their truffles.

We agreed that there was no place but this place that we would go to for chocolate in Santa Cruz from now on. These guys truly know what they’re creating.

The proprietor asked if we wanted to sample their bars, too?

We were stuffed but we weren’t going to turn that down. Curiosity had been the point of the whole expedition. Sure!

She brought out four jars of broken bits with the names of each on top and a board with matching rows of the same laid out, one of each for each of us.

Just behind us as we tasted was a long row of 50 Kg bags of cacao beans stacked on each other, the origin of each stenciled on the burlap. As they said in the store, sometimes there’s a different flavor at the top of a hill than the bottom of the hill of the same variety of cacao and they make micro batches that let you try them individually.

Some of those definitely were coming home with us.

The woman was such a delight that had the cowl project in my purse been done I would have cast off and handed it to her on the spot.

Mutari. If you can go there, go there.



You mean I can knit anything now?
Friday August 31st 2018, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

And in this section of the yarn museum we have the live installation by the visiting 5’11” granddaughter of an art dealer, illuminating the perception of the fleet-ing moment.

Of which there were not, however, a boatload.

Duration: thirty seconds.

Title: Long Drink of Water.



Changing lanes
Thursday August 30th 2018, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

A full-size Bugatti made out of Legos. No glue. Holds two. It actually runs. Frankly, in the last picture, where they’re shown side-by-side, the Lego one is a lot cooler looking; they need to paint the real one to look like that if they want to have a really hot car.

Of course this means instant inspiration and aspiration on the part of the Lego enthusiasts among the grandkids that they won’t outgrow any more than the folks who built this did. Talk about a dream job.



Every day is okay that starts with a fresh fig right off the tree
Tuesday August 28th 2018, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

It is a wonderful thing to walk outside first thing in the morning, find a fig drooping from the weight of the sugar and juiciness it attained to bird-free and to bring it inside to share. There was one yesterday, too, and there will be another tomorrow.

Also yesterday: my new doctor said he didn’t think anything was broken because I didn’t react strongly enough to his prodding around for the sore spot. I told him that one thing he needed to know about me was that my ability to feel pain is diminished (which…can be nice…) and that’s why having this hurt like it does when I move the wrong way was a surprise.

Thus the x-ray.

The report came today: “Slightly displaced fracture of the right anterior ninth rib…”

He gave me a prescription for a few nights’ worth of Lidocaine patches, not enough to get me through till I see him again next week but I figured I’d gone three nights with this already on my own, so no big deal. He assured me they did not cross-react with the categories of painkillers I’m allergic to.

I’d never used them before. I put the first one on right before bed.

Blink. “How fast are these supposed to kick in?” I asked Richard. “Because, wow.”

I woke up amazed at how much of a difference a good night’s sleep makes.

I’m looking forward to that next fig in the morning.



If only I could clone mine
Sunday August 26th 2018, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

Yesterday I mentioned to Richard that I’d been thinking I ought to call my childhood friend Karen. I just really needed to. It had been awhile. Right then happened to be when I was on my way out to pick up the drycleaning and groceries but I wanted to remember to do it. I almost just stopped right there, and wondered why on earth I wasn’t, but it turned out later worked out better anyway.

Because a few hours later, as we were getting ready to go out with friends, he said to me, Were you going to call…

Oh! Right, thank you!

She happened to be celebrating our mutual friend Kathleen’s birthday with her when that phone rang. We three have been close since high school and I make a point of seeing them any time I’m back East. They live about 45 minutes apart.

Kathleen needed someone celebrating her right now.

They just didn’t quite know how to pick up the phone and cheerfully convey the news that hey, guess what, Bob cheated and we split and how was your day?

Kathleen needed me to know, and I think she needed to be with the close friend when the far-away one mourned what was by now old hat to both of them but no less intense a source of pain. The virtual hug and the real one came together in those moments.

I had no way to know. I’m so glad Richard remembered to remind me to call.