I ran and did that
Thursday August 22nd 2019, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life,LYS

It wasn’t upside down when I took the picture. Nor when I sent it. Again. It’s doing what it wants to do. I think this was Queguay colorway, Malabrigo Mecha, anyway.

See, I knit someone a hat, and looked forward to giving it to him at church.

Didn’t see him. But he’s always there! Nope.

Knit another hat. In case his son visits him again, and you couldn’t leave him out, right?

Didn’t see them.

So last Friday, being at Fillory for the informal knitting group and always feeling like I should buy a skein to pay for my afternoon’s entertainment, I hunched down at the display of Mecha yarn and said a little prayer, a bit of a joke to G_d: See, when I picked out the color he didn’t want to disappoint me so he didn’t come, right? But if I pick out what he wants then he’ll be there, right? So which one should it be?

This skein leaped into my hand. I worked on the afghan while the staff wound it up for me.

Sunday’s coming. It needed to be finished.

I even got the ends run in, just to make sure I don’t get tripped up at the last minute by procrastinating that part.

To be continued.



Oh honey
Tuesday August 20th 2019, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Life

An old Purlescence friend Facebooked yesterday about some honey she was considering at a farmer’s market, and that when she’d learned the source and sampled it she’d bought two. She described it as smokey, caramel-y, with a depth of flavor like nothing else.

I would have gone right past that display without a glance–actually I did at first–at Andy’s Orchard this afternoon but then that well-known picture of the vendors caught my eye and then the jars, familiar only because of Lynette’s post. Hey. Those!

The Honey Ladies’ name has long been passed around on the neighborhood sites as where to go when you have a bee swarm where you really don’t want it. They’ll happily come and put those honeybees to use in a better spot.

She’s the one who saw the guy first and yelled, Hey! You can’t bring that in here!

Which drew the attention of apparently the police thankfully nearby, and of the Gilroy shooter himself: she and her husband were his first targets.

The lady at Andy’s told me that they’d thought they were going to have to amputate her leg but right now it looks like they can save it after all. The woman’s husband took more bullets–but they both lived, their son was unharmed, and they are coming along bit by bit.

So Andy’s is one of the places now selling their honey. Of course it is. That’s what our Andy does. I bought three.

By far the best is the one Lynette raved over.

Checking me out, the lady said, her eyes on me, questioning how I felt about this, You know, a lot of people are afraid of that.

I told her it came highly recommended so I had to try it.

Now that I have, I wish I’d bought more, and I have an extra excuse to go back sooner rather than later before they’re all sold out.

Poison oak blossom honey. From rescued bees.

Who knew, right? Of all things. Even poison oak can leave in its wake something highly good and desirable.

(I’m thinking of my mom’s fierce poison ivy allergy and wanting to say, It’s okay, Mom, it’s okay, I’m fine…)

P.S. I gave Richard some and he called himself agnostic on the issue, that honey simply tastes like honey to him, so then I had him sample their blueberry. He was surprised: Oh! That IS different!



As I would want someone to do for my own mom
Sunday August 18th 2019, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

We were at a potluck supper with friends this evening and rather than hanging out for a long time at the end, my husband felt it was time to go. He waited patiently as I wrapped up a conversation. It was definitely early.

I might quietly have conveyed that I’d like to stay a bit longer but somehow I found myself feeling like yes, it’s time (while wondering at myself for that.) And so we thanked the hosts and headed out.

Which means we pulled into our driveway just as our elderly neighbor next door was in hers, needing help. I called out a cheerful hi–and found myself going over to her.

She was frustrated. She was at times fighting tears. I gave her a hug, while quietly wondering how long it had been since she’d had one.

Richard had headed inside so I texted him, Come. He came.

Her car window was stuck down. He got it up.

There was a tool she needed to fix a problem inside the house and he had that tool and went to go get it. He’s a geek–he’s got all kinds of little things like that. When he gave it to her, we both knew she might forget it and we might never see it again–and that that was fine. The message that it conveyed backed up our words that she could call us anytime and know that we were glad to help.

We also found out that her daughter across the country whom I’d been quietly messaging a few times to try to keep her updated about her mom as best I could has cancer.

Just like the mom had had–at the same time I was diagnosed with lupus. Twenty-nine years ago, and we were both still standing right there. That left room for a great deal of hope.

We told her we’d left that dinner early and that now we knew why.

Suddenly she needed a second hug and she got it.



Climb every mountain
Friday August 16th 2019, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,LYS

Went to Fillory to hang out and knit among friends for awhile and it suddenly hit me that wait–this thing is actually somehow almost done!

It’s taller than wide already. It’s certainly stretchy, but in its relaxed state it’s about 41″ wide, whereas I usually consider 45″ square to be the minimum for a receiving blanket.

I didn’t know when I started it small that I would be able to find more of not only that discontinued yarn but that dye lot–and I had no idea those little 50 gram balls would go as far as they have. But then, this is a much smaller blanket than the monster 1700g Rios one was. It’s for the baby to drag around behind her once she’s walking and to take everywhere she goes, and you don’t want big nor bulky for that.

It is 70/30 baby alpaca/mulberry silk. Super soft, not super practical, and yet it leaped onto my needles that first day and demanded to be for that granddaughter.

One friend held it today and swooned at the softness and totally made it feel like I’d gotten it just right–she had no way to know how much she was helping.

I debated out loud about adding an edging; the consensus was, it’s fine as is, especially for a drag-around lovie.

I’m still torn. Maybe add just at the sides rather than all the way around? Because small as it already is, it’s going to go through the hand wash cycle in their laundry.

Where the baby alpaca will want to shrink the fabric. Whereas the soft single-ply spinning means the 30% mulberry silk will make the yarn want to stretch out, most likely lengthwise. Plus there’s the lace parts, which will flatten out wider and who knows how that’ll come out.

The middle part is knitted mostly solid to give a sense of the immense height of the snowy Alaskan mountains above–but also for there to be no yarnover holes right where it’s most wrapped around that baby in that climate.

Really the only answer is to give it a quick rinse and blocking when the main part is done and see what size it is then and call it from there.

But I’m finally at the point where that is something I get to worry about now and it actually surprised me.

Somehow I am only at the start of the tenth ball and there were twenty-one. If disaster strikes and she needs a new lovie like the old lovie (good luck with that–this was seat-of-the-pants designing all the way) I’ll be able to make one. If I don’t add that edging.

Remind me if that does happen, that on that chart I (mostly) used for the moose, I added a stitch’s width to its muzzle because it looked too deer-like.

I’m pretty happy with this.



Survivor
Thursday August 15th 2019, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

This. Is the bike of a lucky man. Friend of my husband’s.

Who somehow had the skill and sheer great fortune that when a car pulled directly in his path on the freeway and then braked, at a time when the motorcycle was doing 80, the rider managed to lay it down well enough so as to be able to walk away. The steel toes in his boots were worn completely off. He’s limping but apparently, nothing broken.

That gorgeous shade of red and black is parked for good where they towed it, because I don’t think it’s going anywhere again.

The crazy-artist side of me wants to ask, if you made that a colorway, if you tried to put a name to both the experience and those colors and encompassed it in stitches to try to make sense of it all–not that wool would stand up where steel did not–what would you call it?



I finally asked
Sunday August 11th 2019, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Life,Lupus

Item 1. They replaced the carpeting at church last week. People were complaining about the smell. It was intense. (I did a mental grin upwards at the late Ski, who’d ordered the previous one ~25 years ago, thinking, at last they’d corrected his color choice. He was so proud of that mismatching green. Shhh.)

I spent much of the time holding very still with not one oxygen molecule to spare. Yow.

This week I was hoping the place would be aired out far better by now–but the answer was, um, some.

I got the doors propped open with a flower pot on one side and a chair on the other before the meeting, but during it found myself having to put my head between my knees. Hey I did better than this last week, what’s up with this. I made a break for it and went for that chair. Yes it was near noon on a summer day and in the sun, but you worry about paying for it re the lupus tomorrow after you make it through today–can’t get to the one without the other.

Jenni saw me and immediately followed me out and stayed by me and asked if I was okay. I searched through my purse I should have used last week but before that hadn’t had to use in years, even if I’ve periodically replaced it at expiration.

I found my inhaler. It helped. Not as much as I wanted, but it helped.

Item 2. I had to go back in to the one of the less aired-out parts to retrieve the Trader Joe’s chocolate goodies from the mother’s nursing lounge at the end.

A young mom was in there: Oh, are you the one that brings those? Thank you so much!

Me: Yes, it is the most fun job–and I take requests.

Her: You always bring my favorites!

I left with a big grin on my face.

Item 3. The upshot: the realization that there was no excuse not to ask. I needed to send out a message to both wards that use that building to make sure there are no serious peanut allergies in either one before I bring TJ’s chocolate peanut butter cups in there. Whether I ever know about it or not, I do not want to leave some poor kid fighting to breathe.

I’ve only brought them a few times but I never should have without making sure first. Checking with the leaders like I did was not enough.

So now I’ve asked.



And it’s the week the Kit Donnells are in. Woot!
Saturday August 10th 2019, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Knit

Hey, Mom, wanna go to Andy’s Orchard with my friend and me?

YES!

I sat in the back as they caught up in the front seat (her dear friend just moved here a week ago) and just about finished the back of the baby sweater a mile from home.

Kit Donnells are some of the best peaches out there–and one of Andy’s creations.

On a total non sequitur, I was mentioning to Holly a few minutes ago about a message Richard got in the early days of DARPAnet, the precursor to the internet.

So I had to go find it: the fractured fairy tale Ladle Rat Rotten Hut. Enjoy.



Well actually yes it was
Sunday July 21st 2019, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Friends

The doorbell rang. I saw the back of the head through the window as I approached, told my husband it wasn’t anybody we knew, and opened the door to–Holly!! HI!

Turns out she’d been in my town for something else and thought she’d drop by and oh by the way she’d embroidered these hand towels for me just for fun.

She used the facilities before she left and only afterwards did it smack me upside the head that I had just the perfect new towels to hang in there–if only I’d pushed her out of the way and run down the hallway ahead of her with them.



Totally buffaloed
Saturday July 20th 2019, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit

Buffalo Wool Co is moving to a new mill and dyer and cleaning out old stock. They held a mystery offer: for $20 you would get…yarn. What color or blend or how big a skein would be random and unrefundable, but given the warmth and rarity (not to mention natural machine-washability) of bison fiber that $20 was going to be well spent no matter what you got.

My husband has some of their socks and admitted that he didn’t want to wear any other kind anymore, only theirs, preferably their bison/silk ones.

I splurged and he has six new pair of the bison/silks, despite my knowing that “Mom got me socks for Father’s Day” was a line that could live in infamy–except that he really did want them. And he really did appreciate them.

So here I am, I’m seeing that mystery yarn thing, I passed on the chance so that other people could have what few skeins those might be at this point because hey, I have more than my share of good things.

And then, closer to moving time, my friends Ron and Theresa from Stitches and whom I adore ran that offer again.

This time my greed got the better of me before the day was over.

The package came.

It seemed…dense.

You guys!!!!!

It’s the bison silk. Nearly two thirds of a pound in laceweight.

I feel like I just won the yarn lottery.



Graph-feat-y
Thursday July 18th 2019, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

Sherry found on Etsy what I didn’t on Ravelry, and thank you, Sherry!

It’s not lace but it’s definitely a moose. Done from the vantage point of looking not quite straight on, and I want a side view, so, another three stitches’ worth separating the front legs from the back stretching that belly out, and likewise on another stitch’s worth lengthening the muzzle.

So far, that’s what I’m going with but I’m not up to there yet.

It is amazing how much faster it is to knit a 182 stitch per row afghan than a 279-stitch one.



Got that one right
Sunday July 14th 2019, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

I’d been thinking…but I hadn’t quite convinced myself that that was the right choice for her and she wasn’t there anyway, so, never mind.

Church was over and the navy cowl was still in my purse as people were standing around chatting, the crowd gradually fading.

I still don’t know a lot of the new people but at least their faces and personalities have started to become familiar.

Then I saw the woman I’d given the most recent cowl to and she was talking to one of her friends from back before the ward boundary changes; I walked up to them saying, I was looking for someone wearing blue!

The first one laughed, the second had no idea, the first started to tell her what she was about to be in for (man, she caught on to me fast!), and then there was the “are you allergic to wool?” out of me.

Handknit wool and silk. In a perfect match to her outfit.

She went home thrilled.

I need to start the next one, because that was just way too much fun to miss out on next week.



Middle age? You too?
Sunday July 07th 2019, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Bill was twelve when we moved here. His oldest kid is now in college.

Marcus was a teenager at the time. He took a job back in this area after grad school, and with the recent changes in the ward boundaries now lives in our ward again for the first time since high school.

He did not know Bill and his family were here from out of state for a reunion celebrating Bill’s widowed mom.

Which means that just like the shopper at the grocery store yesterday whose face lit up for us all as Ginny and Michelle and I first laid eyes on each other, I got to see the moment Marcus looked up, saw the middle-aged man looking expectantly and happily at him, just waiting for him to notice: that sudden stunned wide-eyed double-take and recognition as he leaped out of his seat, that arms-thrown-around-each-other moment of pure joy.

Thinking about it happily all day, I realized that what it did was make me want to always, always treat everybody in such a way that they would feel like that years later when they randomly run into me like that. And I so want them to know I feel that way about them. I want that to be for everybody. No exclusions.

The somebodies we’re used to seeing in our day-to-day life and taking for granted.

We love more deeply than we ever really know.



Blessed were the five year olds
Saturday July 06th 2019, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Garden,Life

We lost the earlier pomegranates to, as far as I could tell, the serious windstorm we had in the spring, so it was nice to see some new ones starting out.

And then I found this big one hiding.

Looks like something straight out of New Orleans, doesn’t it?

But the story of the day is that Michelle stopped by and, wanting an ingredient she can no longer buy at the much-missed Milk Pail, asked if I’d like to go to the little boutique grocer in the other direction with her?

Sure! Haven’t been in there in ages!

But then I found myself needing to do just one thing before we left, and then another, and oh that, too, while she waited patiently. It’s not like we were going to be gone a long time, she could have pushed me. But instead, it was a happy, No hurry.

We compared notes afterwards and turns out that as I dithered, both of us began quietly wondering if we would run into someone. There was something of a sense of anticipation.

We were almost done in there when there was this sudden three-way exclamation of surprise and recognition and arm-throwing-hugging and joy, pure joy.

Ginny, retired now, is a master teacher and all four of my kids were extremely fortunate to have her. Me, too, for that matter. For just one example, I learned from my oldest the visual rule of three in a composition. She mentioned it to me as an oh everybody knows that as she pointed out its elements in her drawing.

Now, I’m the daughter of an art dealer, I spent several summers of my childhood museum-hopping across the country with my family, and I had somewhat intuited it but had never had it explicitly spelled out in my life. The moment was a revelation to me.

Ginny taught my five-year-old who taught it to me: the eye is pleased with images it can divide into threes subconsciously. This is why a photo that is split straight in half looks off, somehow. Why two-button polo shirts always feel wrong. You need an odd number. Starting with three.

Which is why I tried to fix the pomegranate photos above because hey, Ginny’s probably going to see those, but the program burped. Never mind.

She wanted to catch up on each of the kids, and me, and I wanted to on her and her twins-plus-twins grandkids. I told Michelle the story of going to the fifth grade teacher’s funeral and afterward, a tall man who was carrying an easel with a flower arrangement to help put it away started approaching us and Ginny gave me a heads-up that we needed to get out of the guy’s way.

I said, Ginny. That’s my son.

The shock and exclamation of delight and at 6’9″ he wasn’t a kindergartner anymore, wow!

Michelle grinned.

Turns out Ginny recently lost one of the great friends of her life, and we grieved with her. I wish now I had asked her a whole bunch of questions about her friend and I certainly should have, but I was trying not to take up all of her time in the middle of a narrow aisle in a store when she surely had other things to do.

I think of all the children, and all their parents, to whom she has made all the difference in the world. The classroom where, when a child needed to calm down, they got sent to the little curtained off enclosure she’d made where they raised butterflies, where a Monarch they had helped sustain from its earliest stages could land on their shoulders and another on their outstretched hands when they just needed a moment alone like that.

I wonder how many adults out there now are looking back on those days and planting milkweed. To befriend life back. She taught us so well.



They took a long time to fill
Friday July 05th 2019, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

Knit two afghan rows, make myself put it down and do something else for twenty minutes for my hands’ sake, repeat. That’s been the pattern for lo these many days.

Which is how I quit knitting and saw the note on Facebook from my friend Michelle in San Diego. We met when her fussy toddler was made happy by a finger puppet at Lisa Souza’s booth at Stitches years ago.

I went straight to the USGS site. From 8:16 to 8:50 pm tonight, there were four earthquakes where yesterday’s was in southern California: 5.0, 7.1, 5.5, 4.9. Felt from Mexico to San Francisco to Sacramento. (We didn’t.) Yow. That last one happened in between when she posted and when I signed in a few minutes later.

Remember when they took out the concrete floor to the shed to get at the roots after the neighbors cut down the redwood tree a few months ago? We had two water containers, 35 and 50 gallons, that they had to empty so they could move them out of the way. We’ve been putting off refilling them because we don’t have a new floor to that yet–we were waiting till the neighbors are done with their addition to their house before throwing more contractors’ trucks in this block. We didn’t want to have to empty them again to move them again to have to fill them again. One does not waste water here.

Dude. Four earthquakes in a half hour and the biggest one in twenty years: you know that’s increasing pressure elsewhere in the system.

We did what we should have done from the beginning and, flashlights in hand, washed off the very dirty tops of the lids and refilled those tanks, relieved when we could finally put that second one back on. Done.

The idea of having the storage for a water emergency but with no water in it after such a strong warning was unfathomable. Yes you don’t waste water, but we are so much more than the worth of 85 gallons.

We will rest a little easier tonight knowing that’s done.

Okay, so, back at last to the afghan. I’ve got time for one more row.

(Edit, there was another 5.5 at 9:18. That’s a strong aftershock.)



They did it!
Monday July 01st 2019, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Garden,Life

A great big pot of applesauce with a very small blond boy standing over it, grin big and hand wide as if about to do an exuberant splashdown into that tasty goop: it’s not my kid so I’m not putting his face here, but it was a great photo and it made my day.

I passed Ellen’s recommendation on to the mom of the Victorio Strainer so she doesn’t have to cut the seeds out next time, and then promptly ordered one myself so we could both use it when the Fujis come on. My mom used to have something like that all my growing up, only big, metal, and heavy,  essential to her for getting tomatoes to the right texture for chili sauce; my tomatoes have started turning color (bird netting was applied today) and I was feeling nostalgic. Mom, what’s your recipe? I know you told me thirty years ago…

Plus, all those apple seeds.

So we will try out that new toy and hopefully it will last for generations like Mom’s. Thank you, Ellen!