Superwash fine merino is a parent’s friend
Monday April 24th 2017, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Malabrigo Rios. Just plain stockinette, so the sides are curling in until I can get them sewn to the other side.

Newborn sizes do knit up fast. My hands needed lots of breaks today and yet I still got the back done and the front begun. Five inches past the cuffs when it’s time for the sleeves? I can do that.

I was by no means sure I had enough yarn for cable work. Plain is warmth enough this time around.



Almost…
Sunday April 23rd 2017, 10:51 pm
Filed under: Family

Waiting, waiting….



One kid home, one incoming
Friday April 21st 2017, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Family

A (local) cousin’s wedding. Stories already and no time to type. Later.



Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing…
Wednesday April 19th 2017, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Amaryllis,Family,Food,Friends,Life

My daughter-in-law had a moment of great inspiration that blessed a lot of us. That will be a story to tell, probably next week.

Meantime, today I had an appointment with the ENT who, years ago, diagnosed my hearing loss as being caused by an allergy to aspirin and thereby stopped its progression. I owe him much. He’s also the one whose love of his garden sparked my own fruit tree and veggie planting and I adore him.

He was running a moment late. And because he was running late, I ended up pulling back into my driveway exactly at the moment a neighbor from across the fence was standing right there, having stopped to talk to the guy next door after having walked all the way around the block in hopes of seeing me and finding me not there. But then I was.

If you remember the saga of the big ragged broken sad ugly Snoopy weathervane skewered on the fence that bugged me so much for so long and an elderly neighbor’s anger at my asking her to take it down or to let me help her do so, this was her.

I wanted peace between us after that. Praying was something I could do while trying to figure out how to create some positive interactions, and we have had some since then.

I stumbled across an article on war brides from her native land that left me feeling for the first time like I could understand why she came across the way she did–it was a survival tactic that had helped those women survive.

Whether it actually applied to her or not I don’t know for sure, but I do know that for me it helped a lot.

Last week I left a stalk of bright red amaryllis flowers in a vase by her door after no one answered. (At her age, I just hoped she was still there but nothing had changed in her front yard, so…)

Here she was, responding in kind. She had a surprise for me. I looked in and laughed, “You didn’t need to return the vase!” There were dark-chocolate-covered butter cookies in there, too. Wow. Yum. “Thank you!”

But here is the thing: she was radiant. She glowed with love, and we gave each other a big hug and I didn’t even know she does hugs. My next door neighbor shared in by saying I’d given them an amaryllis, too, and his being there made it all the sweeter. Had he not stepped outside to put his trash bin away just in time to see and delay her by visiting a moment she probably would have missed us both.

She said, “But when the flowers got old they dripped red. It looked like blood!” She turned and said it a moment later to him, too, in case he hadn’t heard it the first time. I grinned at the scandalousness of its dastardly deed. Yeah, they do that. And thought, actually, it would probably make a great dye for my wool, but who would ever sacrifice the number of flowers it would take to find out?

Only later did the thought occur to me that, oh, I hope that didn’t cause her any flashbacks. But judging by her face and her voice, I think, I think, we did just fine there. Replace the old memories with the new. Better. Happier. And hey–amaryllises!



If the shoe should fit
Monday April 17th 2017, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Twenty-ish years ago I dragged my husband to the mall and got him to try on some badly-needed shoes. He settled for whatever to get himself out of there as fast as he could–this was just so not his thing.

Mine, neither, honey, I hear you.

Again, the man needs a new pair of shoes.

And so I went looking this evening. All over.

Just try to drag his eyeballs over to the screen to look at such a thing. Now, if it had been gadgets? Plus ca change…

We found one awhile back from LLBean that he liked that was cushioned and nice enough for mostly anywhere–but when he wore them out and I ordered a new supposedly identical pair (I flipped through old orders to double-check), you put them side by side on the floor and the sole of the new was a full inch narrower at the widest point than the older. I don’t get it. They don’t want repeat customers?

And so we are back to shopping, with a whole lot more to see/not see in person in the same timeframe. Check those return policies and I wish each manufacturer listed local inventory so we could buy from the little guys.

Okay, typing this got me to go look up Rockport just in case. They say they have extra wide. Hmm. I will ask them in the morning about those has-Beans.

It’s a step forward.

(Thirteen, in case anyone’s wondering. Wide. He’s got small feet for a 6’8″er.)



Pictures
Monday April 10th 2017, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Family

Wore’em out.



Happy Birthday, Hudson!
Sunday April 09th 2017, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

So we were all awake till about 1:30 a.m. Friday after that accident and had to get up before 5 a.m. Saturday for Richard’s and my flight.

I went to set the long-unused alarm clock–unused because no matter how nicely loud it is for me, the bright green numbers light up the whole room. Who thought making it like that was a good idea? (Why haven’t I replaced this?)

It was dead. Great. I set my iPhone to go off next to me, knowing how tired we were, knowing I wouldn’t hear it, knowing Richard would probably sleep through it and really really not wanting to miss both our flight and Hudson’s fourth birthday.

And so I woke up at 4:15 a.m. (the third time I did) for worrying about it and called it a night.

We had so much fun playing with the grandkids. Somehow we found the energy. We sang Happy Birthday at random intervals all day and played with their toys with them and bounced on their rented bounce house (I did, anyway) and read them books and ate pizza with them and made them the center of our universe for every moment we could. We loved seeing how fantastic our son and Kim are at raising great kids. There was a party in the afternoon, their friends and Kim’s family came, and Maddy even let me push her on the swing. She is inexplicably now two.

There was an unusually late return flight available this time and we’d booked it so as to get as much time with the kids as we could. (It seems normally people want to fly TO San Diego on weekends, not away from it in the middle of one.)

Turns out there was a major league baseball game between teams there and here (and that also explains why all the airfares were so stunningly high. Who knew the airlines track the major sports games. Oh wait.)

We got home close to midnight.

We kept our eyeballs open through church (I did, anyway), came home, got just enough food down and at long last crashed like a toddler after a birthday party.

So glad we got to go.



Smash hit
Friday April 07th 2017, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

There was a big storm last night and Michelle’s plane got delayed, and delayed, and delayed, until we looked at the hour and though I almost always go with him to see one of the kids coming in, I begged off this time: we were going to have to get up at 5 am Saturday and then play with the grandkids all day and I just couldn’t safely do that level of sleep deprivation and fatigue two days in a row–I’d long been warned about triggering potential seizures from my multiple head injuries.

No problem, and he headed out into it alone. He expected to get home maybe twelve-thirty if he was lucky.

I, meantime, said a prayer for his safety. Routine stuff.

And then since I couldn’t sleep, but at least I was getting some much-needed rest, I said more prayers for his safety, with no worry, no sense of alarm, just, he took good care of me, please take good care of him; I trusted him to God.

He didn’t see the cars ahead spin out and crash in the rain but he did see the one that was sideways across his lane and stopped well behind it. He saw the driver of that sideways car standing by her driver’s side door.

BAM!!!!!!!

Someone coming up behind had at the last seen Richard’s brake lights and though both bumpers were surely destroyed under those plastic covers (the other guy’s has a very fetching nose ring now, ours, a hoop earring), he had at least braked in time to save both of them from being seriously hurt.

They pulled off the road and exchanged information, and while they were doing so they did not see it but they heard it: someone rear-ended the not-sideways car.

Not the woman’s who’d been standing in the lane of traffic (don’t DO that!) on the other side of her car, which had no lights across the side and gave no warning to those coming up.

Richard’s brake lights very likely saved her life–that and the fact that he was paying attention to the road.

And had I been with him when he was hit, given that I stopped breathing when I was hit in the back of the head in December and had to will myself to live, I’m not sure I’d still be here typing this had I been in that car.

He’s a little sore but says he’s basically okay.

Please. Drive safely.



Stealth knitting
Thursday April 06th 2017, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

Someone happened to say something about someone she was worried about and with that sense of freedom that comes with having just finished a big project, even the ends run in, suddenly I knew I had to interrupt the queue: “A cowl wouldn’t take too long. What are her favorite colors?” Clearly this needed to happen.

The mutual friend was blown away, and came away going, I need to knit. I need to take lessons from you. I need to learn to knit!

I grinned that I’d be happy to teach her.

Meantime she’s got some sleuthing to do. She’s right on it.



Why kitchen scales are essential
Tuesday April 04th 2017, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

So the net went down and the knitting needles went up. (Fixed by the resident geek when he got home so here I am.)

A pattern repeat takes an ounce of yarn and out of my three big skeins I have about half an ounce left, so that’s that. Cast off tomorrow and the Little Boy Blue baby blanket is done.

(It’s so weird to have to delete enough emails from my gmail account to get my iPhone to be willing to take pictures again, I mean, whodathunk? The resident geek is who. Okay, I’m working on it.)



That drawing I won, with the tickets and the parking and the food
Tuesday March 28th 2017, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit,Life

Richard took a break during a break and she came down beside me at row 11 a moment.

We both did complete double takes: “Oh my goodness!” in unison. She told me she thought she’d go strike up a conversation with the woman several rows below with the white hair who was knitting during the down times, having no idea it was me.

We couldn’t hear much more than that, either one of us, and gave up but we did get a good hug in later on the way out. An old Purlescence friend. Good times.

So I have now see my first game of ice quidditch. The Sharks were ahead, then down, then won in a stunning overtime that–wait–you mean there aren’t four quarters? It really is over? Oh okay.



Build-a-nest kit
Friday March 17th 2017, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift,Wildlife

It looks bigger if you gather it round like the curve of the needles. I’m on the second of three eight-ounce balls. As long as it beats the baby here it’s all good.

I was about six ounces into it a few days ago when I realized that the pattern I’d picked and what I was actually knitting don’t look like they have any connection, because I… And then I kept… How did I not see that I… Eh. So it’s unique.

Meantime, a full month behind the Bewick’s wrens doing this, the chickadees (ours are the chestnut-backed variety) dove into the dog fur today again and again and again all day long, at one time managing to lift what looked like an entire pile–briefly, and I wish the camera had caught that millisecond. No way, and it put most of it back for now. It was comically wobbly heading off.

In Alaska, where the forecast is zero degrees tonight and warm wool a good idea, our daughter reported that her cat cuddled up next to her–but was then flummoxed that her stomach was kicking it.



Giving us the birds
Wednesday March 15th 2017, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden,Knitting a Gift,Life

My baby Parfianka Pomegranate, the two-year-old Indian Free peach, and the yearling Baby Crawford that’s too young to let fruit but whose flowers will serve the other nicely.

And the first 8 oz skein of Washington Circle Worsted, done. (I might be able to squeeze one last row out of that.)

Two days of having the net down except for a few brief blips made for lots of knitting time. Also icing of hands.

As I was walking around the yard this evening, trying to capture these trees being young and small (or not so small in the case of the IF), I was surprised to see chunks of dead wood on the ground over there near the kids’ old climbing tree.

I don’t know if I have a photo for real or just in my head, but, when our kids were young the two older ones threw a long hose again and again up and over one of its upper branches (before it grew too big) and improvised their own swing out of it. Never mind that we had an old swingset at the time; this was way more fun. Because they’d made it. In a tree. Be like a bird. It was a playground unto itself in their childhoods.

As they got older and more in need of their individual spaces we added a bedroom too close to that tree and it gradually grew over it. Richard and I quite a few times heard the thud in the night of a raccoon dropping off a branch and landing overhead and ambling around, with paw prints in the morning across the bathroom skylight like a two-stage verification process.

And then there was that notable year when the nocturnal black beetles that favored that type of tree dropped down through the heating vent and landed on my head at night. This was before we found out there were breaks in the heating system up there that gave them that pathway from the tree. OUT!!!

And so we cut that side of the tree off, and I would have told them to take it all–but Richard remembered the climbing tree days and he couldn’t quite bear to erase the thing.

Alright, so at least we got it away from our bedroom.

There is a big knot hole where one of the larger branches was taken out.

Between it and the house is where I found those chunks of dead wood.

When we bought this house, the sellers had cut down two white-fly-stricken Modesto ash trees (the third lived seven more years) leaving stumps about eight feet high. Why, we did not know–till we found we had woodpeckers nesting in the cavity just below the v-shaped top of one of them.

Richard was the first to notice it. And that the parent birds never flew directly to it; they zigzagged here and there, mostly over in the tall still-living tree next to it, before dashing into the hole at the last–where, from a respectful distance, the tall guy could put our children on his shoulders one by one to see the parents feeding their babies.

When we added on that bedroom, those stumps, very regretfully, had to go.

And now, around the corner on the other side of that room… There’s a hole gouged out that’s angled sharply down. I’m again not quite tall enough to see into it.

But there are thicknesses of leaves of the still-living tree directly above for the parent birds to catch bugs in and zigzag to their hearts’ content through.

He’s right. The tree stays. Or at least the bottom seven or eight feet of it, after nesting season is over.



That was cold…
Saturday March 11th 2017, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift,Life

Dear? The milk is… (swish swish swish) crunchy??

(Adjusting the fridge control from arctic to iceberg lettuce.) Well, that’s one way to get a taste of winter in California.

Meantime, here’s the cowl, dry now, as requested.

It’s been two whole weeks since I bought Karida’s bright, deeply saturated blue superwash merino at Stitches–the Washington Circle colorway–and it got to me at last and I started the receiving blanket I’d bought it for. We’ll call it the carry-around project by way of excuse, or at least while it’s still small, but I had to at least get it begun. It would not let me be till I did.

It is somehow a surprise (and not) that there are only two months left before we’re due to meet the little guy. And in Alaska, even in May, he’ll need a blanket that’s just his size.

 



A new generation
Tuesday March 07th 2017, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Family,Life,Wildlife

Storms and squirrels and who thought it was a good idea to run that thing over their tree? Chomp. The Comcast guy came tonight, after I had no internet all day, and pronounced the cable full of water.

Remember that day when part of our road was flooded so we ran off to the phone store in the other direction to update to the new cheaper plan because nobody in their right mind would be out in that, so we wouldn’t have to wait? (The storm where they evacuated 1400 people in San Jose by boat, as it turned out. Yow.)

Richard tonight said that because of that his phone was now a hotspot so, here, and he set it up: I can blog tonight while waiting for the new cable to be installed in the morning after the guy gets permission to go into the neighbors’ yard again; 8:30 pm was a little late to knock on their door and then climb up that pole.

The skunks are breeding out there somewhere in the dark and would surely love the interruption… Nah, I’m with him. Come back tomorrow.

If it were July Adele would be sending him off with homegrown tomatoes. It’s a shame it doesn’t rain in July.

Meantime, a Cooper’s hawk landed on the fence this afternoon and then hopped on down and stared into the bushes, cocking her head this way and that: I KNOW you’re in there! Come out and let me grab a bite!

The juncos, finches, wrens, towhees, and white-crowned sparrows kept from panicking and outwaited her and she took off.

This was the best look I’ve gotten at the newcomer yet. The juvenile markings were fading but not quite gone.