Nowhere to go but up
Monday November 12th 2018, 11:20 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Note: there are mouseovers on the photos.

There were three of us that were going to be coming from California, and we booked an AirBnB together for our stay in Salt Lake.

The photos looked good. I’d always wanted to see the inside of some of the quaint old Victorians there and we were actually going to get to stay in one (or was it a Sears catalog house)–circa 1905. And the price was exceedingly reasonable.

As advertised, the two bedrooms were beautifully done.

That’s the good part.

Michelle’s flight landed a few hours before ours and she got there first.

She walked up the uncertain planks that gave a bit under your feet–not quite steps (think gym bleachers) since your shoes could slip between them at any point, but at least they held–and knocked on the door.

The hostess warmly welcomed her in, showed her what she needed to know, and as they stepped forward to the living room apologized over the painting they’d recently hung that had just fallen: the command strips hadn’t been strong enough to hold it. She was so sorry. She urged that we *not* sit on the couch for fear the other would come down too.

(That’s a vaulted ceiling with a whole lot of empty white space so they’d bought huge pictures to try to fill it up some. The walls dwarfed them.)

Oh. Kay.

The attic-type steps to her room were narrow and steep but coming back down, the overhang near the bottom was so low that even knowing it was there, she had a hard time ducking enough and bumped her head. It’s tough being tall.

At some point in the house’s history, air conditioning got invented. Wonderful! Someone smashed out the lower part of the dining area window to put one in. They filled the space around it with what came to hand. The brick broke? Nobody’ll notice, use it.

We tried to puzzle out whether that was a towel or a blanket stuffed up below that obvious one-time leak up there at the ceiling. We weren’t about to touch it to find out (not that I for one could have reached.)

Those kitchen shelves that went way, way up–how on earth did they get stuff up there? How on earth would you get it down? Doesn’t it make you want to scream and run that there are no doors to hold it all in when the earth starts to shake? There was a little folded step stool tucked away that you could use to climb up onto the narrow countertop and reach way up, which even standing on the counter would probably not be enough for me, still, but–just don’t. Even if you don’t have my fear of heights. I looked at the beautiful brown pottery and again felt very Californian: gravity doesn’t always work in the right direction, you just don’t put the heavy stuff so far over your head.

The bathroom tiles were a gorgeous deep green.

The shower was not much more than one hard zap of a stream, and trying to adjust that got a surprisingly heavy head throwing itself down at mine. I ducked and lucked out.

You want an outlet to plug in that CPAP? Then you can only open the bathroom door halfway, and to get in there with the cord going across you’re going to bash your head on the big towel rack hung over the other side of that tall door. Ouch. Everything in there is tall but me. Watch out, that Home Despot sink might fall right over or the flimsy plug-in lamp (the only light source) could land in it.

But this. This is not what we mean when we urge people to go green. That’s the door between the master bathroom and the kitchen. I could just imagine, No no that is not the pantry! (The hostess had already told Michelle about it, no worries there. It was locked.) Four panes of glass with a coat of paint slathered over sideways and a top pane boarded over and painted, too. Please tell me that particular door wasn’t originally in that spot, naked as a jaybird? We tried to figure out where it might have been repurposed from.

The hostess’s room was upstairs too, but for while we were there she turned the house over to us and let us have it to ourselves.

We figured a family must recently have inherited a home that had been lived in for decades by someone who could not manage upkeep and fixed it up enough so that they could get some income off it to help while they rehab it. Those two rental bedrooms are really quite nice. Just ignore the lack of a doorframe so far on the master. Wavy wallboard edges only. But the heating system worked really well and the bed and pillows were quite comfortable, the towels plentiful and thick, the shower curtain one I wanted to copy. They provided every bathroom thing you could think of and I was relieved at the sight of the hairdryer.

You know how they say cool old houses have good bones? I would say this one has started treatment for osteoporosis.

Michelle wondered how to describe the place in any review if she should even write a review, since she’s the one that booked it.

Up and coming? Lots of up. Definitely.

It will be a fond funny memory for a long time to come. That door!

Which time zone is this?
Sunday November 11th 2018, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

We flew off Friday to celebrate my parents’ 66th anniversary and just got home. Tomorrow I find out what happened in the world over the weekend, but what happened in my world was definitely wonderful. All my siblings came and a fair number of their kids and even a few of their grandkids.

Pictures are limited because I left my silly phone back in the AirBnB yesterday for the day, but thanks to my nephew Joel I did get this one taken.

Oh wait. I need to shrink that. Tomorrow. Right now I’m going to go crash in my own bed in my own house. ‘Night, all.

North and south
Sunday November 04th 2018, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

Spencer got his afghan and a matching hat yesterday.

Every child needs their favorite blankie. A hat, maybe not so much near the southern border, but then that means it’s the one warm hat he’ll have should he need it.

His cousin in Alaska could show him how it’s done.

Just as soon as he learns that putting on his mom’s boots doesn’t substitute for putting on pants in order to go play in the snow.

I can just picture the two together someday and the San Diego cousin going, You mean you get cold on purpose??

So we did this today
Saturday November 03rd 2018, 10:19 pm
Filed under: Family

Introducing Spencer.

Maddy made me promise to come back. I promised.

Crisp and sweet
Wednesday October 31st 2018, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Garden,Knit,Life

Just for this afternoon, I needed a project I didn’t have to pay attention to for the doctor’s office and I was fresh out. (Routine appointment, no worries.) Grabbed some violet merino/cashmere/silk Diamante I’d had Colourmart six-ply for me and cast on an hour beforehand and got enough done that you could tell what the pattern was going to be (and so it would be long enough that the curling bottom wouldn’t bug me–blocking will fix that later.)

I found myself sitting next to a fellow grandmother and knitter, a woman from India who loved watching my hands work as we delighted in each other. She was a treasure.

The doctor was the ENT whose love for taking care of his fruit trees had triggered my planting mine, and look where it got me now. Enthusiasm is contagious that way.

So I brought him a gift in a small Penzey’s box: one perfectly ripe, slightly funky-shaped rather small apple that had grown to fit the produce clamshell that had been squirrel-proofing it. I told him it was my final Fuji of the season.

He laughed in wonder, saying he’d picked his last Fuji in August!

Microclimates R Us, I guess.

It smelled perfect. I hope it was. There had been two, and we can tell you that the other had made it clear how good they were now.

Birdie trampoline
Saturday October 27th 2018, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Family,Mango tree

After connecting up the wrong rods while it was in a heap on the ground and having to undo and needing Richard to get the side supports but he had to duck way down to get in and only he could reach to screw that top support in… We did it!

Well. I’d measured three times before ordering. We did want the mango to have room to grow. It’s, um, big. It’s 53 pounds, ergo it has not been hoisted over the tree–yet.

I sent up a bat signal.

And said to Richard, Can you see that thing with the Cooper’s hawk’s talons?

Wouldn’t survive it, he thought.

Or the Great Blue heron landing top and center?

Saturday October 20th 2018, 11:03 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Garden,Life,Mango tree

How hard is it to find a thing that works.

Plenty, turns out.

I spent several hours today researching and looking and trying to find a good heater for a small greenhouse. All I could find was cheap Chinese knock-offs that looked like the old tried and true but had dismal, awful reviews. Whatever happened to the ones built to last? To even work?

It finally hit me: Sears used to make good tools for the working man. You didn’t want to freeze in that garage with the door open to the world while you worked on that car.

And so I tried them, knowing full well their vulture capitalist CEO is trying to kill the company as fast as he can for what he can skim off the top and he’s certainly not putting any money into improving product lines.

Lo and behold. One color left: bright red. I can handle that. Stellar reviews. Hey. Happy reviews. One said, I tried all those others but this one actually works and actually keeps working.

So it will be my wistful wave good-bye to what once was, both Sears and decent appliance manufacturing standards, and it is on its way. Wish me luck.

All by way of saying, I’m going to have to let Eli gently down and tell him that (hopefully) I’m not going to be needing him to cover and uncover the mango tree when I’m out of town anymore: my husband told me he thought I should order that Sunbubble greenhouse and a good heater and not to have to worry about being here at the right time every single morning and night, flu or not.

Get the big one, he said. You know it’ll grow into it.

I finally let myself feel just how freeing that will be. The tree can just…quietly, on its own…do its own thing.

Christmas is coming early.

My husband’s the best.

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!