Sinking feeling
Thursday August 23rd 2018, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

There’s some construction going on next to my husband’s commute with a lot of digging and we found ourselves going over a set of steel plates set on the road across from all that. Well, okay, there’s a utility-undergrounding project going on on that road but why the half-mile gap?

The plates were a bit wet last week.

Our water table is high enough that you can’t build basements, and I figured it was just displaced water from the construction work. Although, this was at a high enough elevation that it surprised me that it would happen there.

Then there was standing water.

Then there was an actual, splashing puddle this week, and he was Not Happy about driving over those plates and wondered why the city hadn’t gotten on this pronto.

The things you learn after being married 38 years….

Turns out that when he was a teen, growing up in a house that was about halfway down a steep hill, there was a water leak next to the road at the bottom there. A crew came out to try to patch it but they couldn’t find the source and while they looked, the amount steadily increased. Not good. They had the road blocked off to traffic, but finally had to ask the neighbors to move their cars off the street altogether so they could test further up.

So Richard U-turned the family cars and got them out of the way–this after having run various errands and having parked in front of the house a few times.

The guy jammed some kind of pole through the roadway to test what was underneath.

There was no longer anything underneath. Where my in-laws’ cars had just been, there was nothing but a huge cavernous sinkhole below the roadbed starting at the upper edge of their property, going the width of the street, about twelve feet deep, and thirty or forty feet long and he got to see just exactly how close he’d just come.

He definitely did not want to be driving over those steel plates.

Yesterday and today there were men standing in the hole he’d been sure was being created there. The men’s heads in that pit were at street level and it took up two and a half lanes of traffic (no bike lane for you!) with several flag men to keep people from driving into the abyss or each other as westbound diverted into eastbound.

A little water is like a little kindness: it can quietly move that stubborn mountain out of the way all by its little self.

The better Angelus of our nature
Friday August 10th 2018, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

My sister-in-law’s been dividing her time between various northern Californian loved ones and we got to have her again today. She’d been to the ocean with our aunt and uncle, so I took her for chocolate at Timothy Adams.

She happened to mention that her husband, having grown up in Arizona, has loved real Mexican food all his life, and so does she: but living in Texas, there was only Tex-Mex where they are and it was not the same thing at all.


And so we took her out to dinner at Estrellita. It was what she’d been missing.

We came home to Andy’s peaches for dessert. I cut a few, served them up, and Jennifer took her first bite, I’m sure wondering if they would live up to my hype.

Her eyes flew wide open and she took it in for a moment–swallowed, then pronounced, I. have. never. in. my. life. eaten. a peach. like. this.

Then she said to me, Did you have any yet?! Take a bite take a bite!

I grinned. I knew what those were like.

She was off to see our niece next and then her childhood friend north of San Francisco, who’s had early-onset Alzheimer’s probably since her 40s and could definitely use a connection like that to how good life is despite all the things she can’t do anymore. And whose incredible angel of a husband could use some of his own good coming back to him, too.

Are you sure? as I urged her to take enough of the Angelus peaches for all.

I can get more a lot more easily than they can, I told her.

I couldn’t wait for her to get to see their eyes like I got to see hers.

Change of fortune
Monday August 06th 2018, 11:14 pm
Filed under: Family,History

Before he died, my uncle, the late Senator Bob Bennett of Utah, told all his kids to read, “Red Notice,” by Bill Browder.

Which one of them happened to mention on Facebook the other day in memory of her dad.

I picked it up today and I finally made myself put it down just now with a third to go because there simply is no more time in the day.

The man can definitely write. And Uncle Bob was right: everybody should definitely read this.

Caaahs and effect
Sunday August 05th 2018, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Family,Wildlife

I was showing my sister-in-law around the fruit trees in back when suddenly she did a startled double take.

Oh, that’s the dead crow.

The !??!

I explained.

She burst out laughing, just like I did when the lady at the bird center told me all the crows in the area would caaaah a funeral together at their fallen comrade, and then leave and not come back–because they didn’t want to be where a crow had died.

The trick, though, is to set it out at night and then retrieve it at night so they don’t associate you with harming it and that peach tree it was under was long since done and I’d only been remembering the retrieving part during the daytime. Which wouldn’t do.

I have seen zero crows in the yard–though I did see one croaking away at full blast at the top of the tree next door yesterday, where it had direct eye contact with the deceased. No translators were available.

What mine really seemed to protect against was squirrels–they clearly did not want to go near that beak.

Nobody has confessed to ruffling its feathers.

But at this point I figure it’s been dead out there for three weeks, and if I put it over in the apple tree it will have moved and thereby be deemed alive–telling the squirrels to scram and the crows to come celebrate. Free food!

Jennifer’s guffawing did it. I remembered. I bagged it.

That Napoleon guy
Saturday August 04th 2018, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Family

I was cleaning the house, as one does before one’s sister-in-law arrives from Texas, and stumbled across a spring alumni magazine I hadn’t gotten around to reading but hadn’t wanted to let go of before I did. I almost chucked it straight in the recycling. This was not a day for being patient with clutter.

But wait.

Okay, years ago when the movie Napoleon Dynamite came out, Newsweek ran a small blurb praising it, with that iconic picture of the curly-red-headed lead character.

All I knew was, I turned the page on my magazine and why on earth was my husband’s high school picture in Newsweek?! In his suit–I recognized it.

But wait (looking more closely), is that… (reading). Wow. Man is that guy a dead ringer from back in the day (although mine’s better looking.)

So here I was, alumni magazine in hand tonight and the cover looks sort of like an artsy-fartsy graphic that you might even think was that guy. It couldn’t be. What would that movie have to do with BYU?

Plenty, it turns out, given that the writer and most of the actors were students there at the time; the cover story was an interview with the cast. I’d had no idea. And they were funny!

I’ve said for years I really ought to see it just to see how else that guy looks like my husband 40 years ago. Now I want to see how those guys pulled off those scenes they described.

They borrowed a van and it broke down, so, okay, they shot that scene right there in the middle of the field. They needed a cow in front of the school bus and theirs was a no-show; well, everyone in this quite small town has the same first three numbers on their phone, so they just dialed the last four numbers randomly till they got someone.

I’m doing this movie (oh they knew who this was) and we need a people-friendly cow. Know any?

Well, we’ve got Bessie the 4-H cow. And so Bessie was there in ten minutes.

I want to watch her world debut. Finally.

Anybody around here seen it?

Even if it doesn’t have Christmas lights in palm trees
Tuesday July 31st 2018, 9:54 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Non-Knitting

Ugly Christmas Sweater season is coming (but is still far enough away that prices haven’t risen yet) and my 20+ year old one was handed down several years ago to a teen who wanted to wear it in a play and then she found she loved it so I gave it to her. It was as formal a one as I’ve ever seen.

I happened to find this on, the screaming opposite of my previous one, and for $3 it was mine. It is both tacky (why are the tree and the wreath sunk down in their diamonds unlike all the centered motifs?) and bright and, well, pretty, in a way, and best of all it made me laugh. The beads are bright and big and glittery and a certain baby who will be nearing three months by then will want to try to reach for them all.

It was in near-perfect condition–just let me steam that one side that wants to curl under. There are even Christmas bells and holly on the back.’s mission is to keep good clothes away from the landfill. The commission paid is low enough that nobody’s going to steal from stores to sell there, as has been known to happen on Ebay; this is where you send good stuff out of your closet that you hope will find an appreciative home because it deserves it. Basically, it’s a national garage sale, hence the classic crewneck silk/cashmere sweater I got for $2.30 and the deep green cashmere tunic-length perfect sweater for $7. Which I’m actually more likely to wear holding the baby: they are definitely snuggle-worthy, and hand washing is easy.

Prices sag on things that stay too long. Sales happen. Shipping is always $5.99 or free.

Well, look at that: Ugly Christmas Sweater has its own search on Swap. Someone creatively listed a plain red crew as an “Ugly Christmas Sweater kit.” Go to town!

Two months left and siblings that came early
Saturday July 28th 2018, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Another 60 grams, and by my calculations I’m 20% of the way there.

Unless I use those two skeins from a different dyelot. They were a close match to the nine in the bag. Let’s see how much the fabric stretches from the weight of the wool as I get further along–it’s a ribbing-based pattern, so it relaxes by closing in on itself for now.

Thank you, Meagan
Wednesday July 25th 2018, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift

Sometimes a friend asks the very question you’d been silently asking yourself and instantly there’s your answer, front and center.

I was describing the baby afghan and all the ocean features slowly going into it and my worry that I could never finish it in time.

She considered. “Do your other grandkids have an afghan like that?”

Mic drop.

No. No they don’t. Pretty, and patterned, but solid colored. The fact that the older boys in that family got sweaters with cars and trucks is irrelevant, isn’t it.

And that is why I called three yarn stores within driving distance yesterday till I found more Malabrigo Rios in the Cian colorway I wanted. The baby’s still going to get that bright oceanic blue I love so much–it’s new this year and the shops say it flies out the door.

Unless he comes way early this one will definitely be done in time.

The sea blanket can come along in its own good time and purpose after that.

The friend who always said, “Color is everything”
Monday July 09th 2018, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Knitting a Gift

Michelle flew home yesterday, Constance drove the four hours home this afternoon and the house is very very quiet. Gotta give those belly-laugh muscles some time to recuperate–they got a great workout.

Constance had brought me a quart of honey from her hives. Bee barf, one of my kids used to call it after a biology lesson in middle school. Yum.

The green Malabrigo hat that came home with me from the trip to Salt Lake because it just hadn’t found out who it was for?

That shade of green? It found out who it was for.

From gold country
Sunday July 08th 2018, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends

Michelle’s flown home–and my old friend Constance arrived.

You know the kind of friend who is kind, who is thoughtful, and who keeps you laughing nonstop? Everybody needs a Constance.

One of the first things she said, was, I want to see my grandtree! She’s the one who had grown up with a Babcock peach, who when I was trying to figure out what to plant told me it was the best peach ever. My family had picked Babcocks at a pick-your-own when I was a kid, and between the two of us I was sold on the idea.

It’s my smallest peach tree but it’s a pretty one.

The critters beat her to the last of its fruit by two days, though; we’ll just have to make this an annual trip.

Well that works
Saturday July 07th 2018, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

They bought strawberries and I bought strawberries and the best way to shrink their footprint in the fridge is to puree them. Such a problem to have.

A lemon off the tree, and, strawberry sorbet for the last night of Michelle’s trip!

My hero!
Wednesday July 04th 2018, 12:23 am
Filed under: Family

My site is back up! Yay for the resident computer scientist!

Andy’s Orchard
Saturday June 30th 2018, 9:10 am
Filed under: Family,Food

Yesterday, the chocolate, today, the peaches!

Oh most definitely
Thursday June 28th 2018, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

A quick trip home for both work and the holiday.

She had two requests: Timothy Adams for chocolate and Andy’s for peaches.

Yes. Yes I think we can definitely do those.

Maybe I do want to knit some more of that after all
Wednesday June 27th 2018, 10:22 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

I’d been meaning to get the other half of this finished for some time. It was two strands of splitty stuff and not my favorite to work with, although I always love how it comes out when it’s done.

Yarn: one lighter shade one darker, vintage stash 95/5 silk/lycra, which I bought quite a few colors of when Colourmart had it. Hudson got a thoroughly impractical but gorgeous blanket out of it in neon royal blue when he was born. (And a cuddly Rios one later, which he wadded up and kneaded into his mommy’s side as she held him and then plunged his head into it. Wool for the win.)

In my experience the silk/lycra shrinks a lot in hot water. You do need some heat when washing the mill oils out.

Photo 1: Straight off the needles.

Photo 2: Hours after being scoured and spun out in the washer, still damp. It definitely shrank (note the buttons), but the pattern looks a whole lot better and both upper and lower edges are lying nicely flat.

I promise not to spend the next month waiting to run the ends in. That’s the easy part.