Lockdown day seven
Sunday March 22nd 2020, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Church by Zoom for the first time today, and it was odd and wonderful and distant and intimate all at once. The pretty background music? Agonizingly distorted for us, wonderful for someone else, yay for the chat function on the side–it got turned off.

I wished out loud for closed captions and someone said, There’s got to be a way to do that. Someone else said, That’s okay, I’ll type them! And he did. Wow. (So then I lean forward to read the words I miss and I look way weird to the camera’s eye.) We’re getting the hang of this.

Meantime, Lillian is somehow seven months old come the morning and we know how blessed we are to have her.

(p.s. Nope, I didn’t: I bought the owl hat at a craft fair last Fall.)


Lockdown day six
Saturday March 21st 2020, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Knitting a Gift

1. It had been two weeks since she’d sprung us and she was hatching another plan for helping us be sure we still had depth perception. We were not to be exposed: she would do everything. She had us look at the menu and decide ahead of time.

Restaurants are allowed to serve to-go only, curbside.

She drove us to this ice cream shop. I had never seen parking freely available around there before. Ever. Everything around it was closed, as well it should be, and even the restaurants had the lights really low, trying to cut costs with the hit to their income or what I don’t know, but this one had their door open wide on a chilly day like the Whos in Whoville calling out to the larger world, We are here, we are HERE!

Dandelion Chocolate Hazelnut totally for the win.

We’d actually tried calling Timothy Adams, thinking to get some hot chocolate to take home, too, and to see our old friends there (at the prescribed six foot distance and from the car) and it hurt hard that there was no answer.

One dessert place can stay open and the other can’t? What’s up with that?

2. Why that cashmere cowl got ditched for so long, as it turned out: I’d started it, I’d changed the pattern, and I hadn’t known where to go with it from there. When I rediscovered it I continued the second part and figured it would tell me how to end it: whether to expand it outward so it would be in three sizes to match the three stages, or whether I even had enough yarn for that.

It did tell me. I didn’t. I got to where I was unsure I could do another repeat as is, even weighing it repeatedly and doing the math. I just wasn’t sure and I’m not one to do a game of yarn chicken over an hour’s worth of work that isn’t a necessary risk.

So I followed Eleanor Roosevelt’s dictum: if you make a mistake in your knitting, do it again and make a pattern out of it. The four-stitch-repeat top now matches the four-stitch-repeat bottom as if I’d meant to frame the picture like that all along.

I’d thought that small yarn small needle project would cling to me forever but it is finished and drying and somehow it is actually done and part of me can’t quite comprehend that. But I don’t mind that it is.

3. Seemed as good a reason to celebrate as any. Michelle had brought us blueberries.

Forever after
Friday March 20th 2020, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

It took me a day to find the words.

For those in the knitting community who may not have heard yet. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka YarnHarlot, friend to all, welcomed her second grandchild and first granddaughter this week.

Two days later Elliot’s baby sister was gone from them.

My younger sister lost a baby at birth, with the scant consolation that she knew she likely would. His older brothers insisted still on a birth-day cake and blowing out the candles in his honor and memory.

Charlotte Bonnie.


Part of who we love and are, they are with us forever.

Lockdown day one
Monday March 16th 2020, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

The six-county San Francisco Bay area is, as of this afternoon, essentially on lockdown: we can go to the doctor, the pharmacy, the grocery store, we can hire a plumber if need be and the plumber can come, but otherwise we are to stay home. Period. Till April 7.

There is a race on to hire delivery people and shelf stockers, with one company offering health benefits and sick leave even if the jobs turn out to be only as long as the pandemic, I’m sure those being a necessary component in the face of the incurred risks they’re asking people to take on.

I ordered a bar and some two-ingredient peanut butter cups from Dandelion Chocolates just to do my small part to help keep one of my favorite places afloat (the pastries in their shop! And it’s right around the corner from Imagiknit!) And because I’m curious: how good is something with no sugar and no salt, just peanuts and fresh 100% chocolate? I have a diabetic brother and I want to know, but if anyone could pull it off, they could.

And then, having perused their list of chocolate bars for longer than maybe was good for me and as a sign of our definitely doing better–we hadn’t done this since before Christmas and we were way overdue. I asked and he grinned and two pounds of Esmeraldas cacao nibs got roasted, Cuisinarted, and thrown in the melanger. An hour later I added .6 lb extrafine sugar; I figure we’ll come out about 78%-ish.

It’s just at the beginning so it’s slightly gritty, but I dipped a spoon in about an hour into it and man. That was good.

Dandelion sells Esmeraldas at two different sweetness options. Just saying.

And only then did I ask Richard if we were going to need to unplug the machine and run for the bathroom counter tomorrow while he has his conference calls with work. Plug it back in quick and shut the door? Because that thing is noisy.

That, he decided, was a problem he was going to be okay with having. We would see when we got there. But hey–homemade chocolate!

And all because Dandelion wrote this book that got us started.

From here to there and back
Saturday March 07th 2020, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

She called. Then she came over. She was insistent.

Mom, you haven’t gotten out of the house in three weeks. We need to give you a change of scenery.

And with that we took a drive through the mountains and redwoods, in and out of fog and intermittent rain (at long long last, rain today!), with views of the reservoir below and hawks in the skies above. And one peregrine falcon watching the traffic pass below.

It was glorious. (With one brief backup here.)

A hacking cough
Tuesday March 03rd 2020, 7:30 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

That was a long week.

To play catch up: I messaged my doctor Thursday, heard back from her nurse, answered, and then the doctor took over and emailed me to get in there. Yes I’d had some serious breathing problems with my flu that had been scary a few times but I told her I was doing better than I had been and I didn’t quite see the point.

The phone rang, with the question: what time would you like your appointment to be? They were not messing around.

The time when I knew I could have a ride there was when I could only get a physician’s assistant.

Who had my chest x-rayed (scarring in the lungs, didn’t seem to be new) gave me several minutes of an Albuterol treatment and swabbed up my nose to test for the flu. But when I asked about The Virus I got a sharp rueful snort: Only the health department runs those, she told me with a serious case of If Only in her voice.

At that time, the entirety of California was allotted 500 tests for COVID-19, although that had doubled by the time I got home. They were clearly reserving them for those needing hospitalization–where the medical teams would need to know what they were dealing with so as not to contract it nor pass it on to more patients.

Our county has the most cases in the state and two are of kids that go to the schools ours went to, and the numbers go up every single day. It’s definitely here.

The test results were negative for influenza types A and B and that’s all I know.

Richard started coming down ill himself on Thursday, though thankfully never as bad as mine was; Friday morning the blog was out-of-the-blue dead and he was too sick to deal with it.

He took a stab at it a few times yesterday, waiting for call-backs or messages, and today he overdid it trying to get both his work work done and the blog working again, and hey! Look!

If you see anything wonky let me know. For now, it looks like we’re good. Yay. Thanks for sticking it out with me.

Throwback Thursday
Thursday February 20th 2020, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden

My sister found an old photo at Mom’s. I think those were my seventh grade glasses.

1961 or two, the builder was going to plant a single rhododendron in front of each new house on our street. Dad talked him into digging out six feet deep along the front of ours, replacing it with rhodo-friendly soil, and planting the whole length of it in Blue Peters, light purple with deep purple centers.

Years later, a housepainter climbed that brick half-wall to the left in front of the back door where it was laid in more a checkerboard pattern with staggered gaps. The guy stumbled, the bricks crumbled, and between them they sheared off nearly an entire big woody plant and a goodly part of another, too, if I remember right. (He was okay.)

Dad talked to his insurance and then called the local nursery, asking how much it would cost to replace a six foot Blue Peter.

There’s no such thing, he was told. Blue Peters don’t grow that high!

Dad: Mine do.

The primary reason
Wednesday February 19th 2020, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Family,Politics

Well, that was a spirited debate. Wow!

So I’m just going to change the subject here and say, it’s all about the world we’re creating for our children and what we want them to live with.

Vote well.


Zoom zoom
Tuesday February 18th 2020, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

My ’07 Prius’s fob’s buttons hadn’t worked for years, but at least it unlocked the car when you walked up to it.

Until it didn’t.

At least you could get the physical key out of the fob with great difficulty and a broken nail or two to open the driver’s side door, put it back in the fob, and then stick the fob in the slot to start the car when the fob’s battery was dead.

Until a piece of the back went missing after time in that slot and it wouldn’t go in anymore.

At least you could replace the battery.

Except now you couldn’t–we’d done it so many times the screws were stripped and they wouldn’t come out.

The cheapest new fobs cost a crazy amount of money, so we took a chance on simply replacing the plastic cover of the one I had. Didn’t know that was an option but it was.

Ordered this fob cover.

The most useful video on how to change it over was here.

A white pillow in the lap to help find any dropped tiny tiny screws should that happen. Highly recommended.

He replaced the battery. The new fob cover now has all the innards the old one had. We did not glue it like the video says, just the screws and the slides and the snapping together mixed with a bit of hope and the old physical key inside the new cover and then he sent me outside to go see.

The open button worked. The lights came on. Would you look at that!

The close button worked. The lights went off.

Cool! I was not expecting that. I was just hoping to get back to how it had been.

It was cold and I hurried back inside.

Richard: Well? Did it turn on?

Me: I didn’t try that. (Thinking, actually, I wasn’t done…)

Him: manages not to roll his eyes while I grab a jacket because hey, it’s 45F out there. Let me go make one last run past skunk territory.

So I got to go play again with the buttons and I got to try turning the car on and then hitting the lock button and testing it again and everything was peachy fine and after days of borrowing his key my new version worked! For $13 after tax.

Now, says he. Now that we know that that’s all we need, go order a new cover for mine, too, would ya? It’s starting to fall apart.

That’s the way the crescent rolls
Friday February 14th 2020, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Family

When you’re 34 months old and you look up in the sky and someone took a bite out of the white chocolate sky-cookie, of course you tell Daddy. And then you want to tell Grampa, on FaceTime where you can see each other and share the news and be reassured that he’s going to fix it for you because of course he will.

The moon is broken!

On a windy Sunday
Sunday February 09th 2020, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Family

Being goofy via FaceTime with Mathias while his baby sister watched wide-eyed.

Watching the Sunbubble strain and strain and nearly land in Oz and running out and re-planting the one leg that had managed to free itself and come out of the ground, and later seeing pictures on Facebook of a palm tree in San Jose that simply face planted down the street while another had had its bushy top sheared straight off like a buzzcut on a protesting 60’s rock star.

No rain, February doesn’t believe in rain anymore even though it’s supposed to, just lots of wind that teased that it could pull some in behind it if it wanted to but it didn’t.

I grabbed the plush monkey that his mother had given me for Christmas years ago, velcroed its hands together and loop-the-looped its legs through while Mathias giggled and giggled and made the world right.

Five months
Tuesday February 04th 2020, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Family

Someone’s getting bigger.

Your yarn rings a bell
Sunday February 02nd 2020, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

There’s a certain blue-eyed redhead here whose cataracts came early on, as they often do for such. The first one was operated on a few years ago and as I drove him home he kept exclaiming over and over again at the clarity and the colors and the crispness of everything. He’s the rock-solid-steady type who doesn’t do little-boy jumping-up-and-down excitement but boy, for him, he really did that morning. I was both amused and thinking, wow. Cool. Good for him.

Tomorrow morning we get to do that with the other eye, only, this time he knows how good it’s going to be and he’s quite looking forward to it.

I’m going to get me some knitting done while I wait.

Last time, one of the doctors I’d met while in the hospital in ’09 walked by and recognized me as much by my needles and yarn as my face.

I’ll keep an eye out for her.

Favorite new photo
Thursday January 30th 2020, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Family

Our big strong son-in-law, holding five-month-old Lillian over his head with a big smile.

Just below him, Mathias, two and three quarters, with his favorite soft Shaun the Sheep toy, holding it high over his head and looking upwards with love.

Wednesday January 22nd 2020, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit

Cousin John told me about twenty years ago that he was allergic to wool. After his mother’s funeral in May ’18 I gave him a piano hat made of super-soft old-stash Epiphany yarn: royal baby alpaca, cashmere, and silk and no sheep. I’d remembered.

His parents had met playing in the Symphony and he was a gifted musician himself and that keyboard around his head was the perfect design for him. He was in great pain at the loss of his mom, whom he’d been caretaker to, but took much comfort in the offer of that hat and it meant a lot to me to be able to help in any way.

I told John’s sister that if one of the siblings wanted it that was fine with me but if not, I’d love to have it back if at all possible. She hadn’t seen it. I was given the executor’s phone number.
The man sounded absolutely overwhelmed. The loss, the pain, and now the burden. He was horrified to realize that he thought he remembered it but that he was thinking it had probably gone out in the trash with so much else. He apologized. “There was just so. much. stuff.”

I told him he didn’t have to look for it. But if he did find it not to worry at all about what condition it might be in—I would wash it. He didn’t have to. That was on me. And if I didn’t see it again, that’s okay, just know he had my thanks for all he was doing for our John whom he loved, too.

Monday while I was still in town after the funeral his sister Amy stopped by my mom’s house a few hours before I had to leave for the airport. She didn’t know who had found it nor where but she had the hat, she wanted to make sure I got it, and I think she wanted to see how happy it made me to get it back. So much more personal than popping it in the mail later. (She got a Malabrigo Mecha one, picking a pinks-and-purples colorway and leaving the two blue ones for the mechanic I didn’t know I was going to see the next day.)

It takes a fair bit to make animal fibers pick up smells and there wasn’t much of a one (blame the silk?) but there was some and it’s clean and drying now.

All the things that I knit, all the knits that I give away–that one I won’t again. That’s my Blueberry now.

Thank you, Stan out there. And Amy, and I don’t even know who all else to say that to.