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.



Home sweet home
Friday October 12th 2018, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Life

So I have this new homeowners insurance policy, new company, same agency I’ve had forever.

I got a note from the agent: the company wanted to know why I had a mailing address that was different from my street address? Was that where I wanted my mail sent?

Wait what?!  Where on earth did they get that? No, we’ve lived in this house 31 years and have no intention of moving, where did that come from?

And then I looked up the address he’d referenced. Bffffft!

It was, get this, not only in the next town over, it was the chapel there of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They were billing the Mormon Church for our house.

I emailed the guy back and told him just where that address was.

He burst out laughing, he told me.

Just like I had.

Did the church have a policy through their agency? The insurer? I wondered. I told him, I actually am a Mormon, but I go to the one in my own city. (I didn’t bore him with the details of, except for the biannual stake conference–that’s there. The family history satellite center, too, for anybody at all who wants to access the huge genealogy database.)

He had NO idea how that got into the system, just, none, and neither did I, but he was happy to straighten that out for me, and now he’s got an office story for the ages.



Bill-ious
Thursday October 11th 2018, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Life

Flu week: when it actually feels good to be able to sit up and pay all the bills. So weird.



On being the old camera film that waited for development
Wednesday October 10th 2018, 10:22 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Life

Still fevers, still needed to crash mid-day but at least I managed to read half a book this time rather than falling asleep. “Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science.” 

My surgeries were seven years after Gawande’s book came out. Maybe that’s why Stanford asked me to sign a waiver before they let anyone new to the knife anywhere near me. (I signed it, with some qualms.)

I could tell them what was really done well and what could have been done better, if I only knew how to. I at least got to meet the one doing the asking to be part of the surgical team.

Nothing serious at all, just, it’s easier to learn the longterm effects if you actually get that feedback, which there is no way to offer. I don’t think it occurred to them that patients would know anything.



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.



Reel to reals in Maine
Tuesday October 02nd 2018, 9:54 pm
Filed under: Life

LLBean email: You have a $10 gift certificate you haven’t used and it’s about to expire.

Me: Okay, whatever. (Clicking on Sale.)

And that’s how the funniest I-must-be-getting-old?! conversation I’ve had in awhile got started. I have a clutch of a wallet that I bought when my oldest was maybe as old as high school: it is safe to say it has seen better days. As in, I’ve been thinking for about five years now that I really need to ditch it but hey, the leather isn’t torn too much. (Yes it is.)

Bean had, at half price, one that looked very much like mine only a bit thinner; throw in that $10 off and I could have a nice one for $24 and free shipping? That’s actually interesting. Yeah, I could put some money into that.

A last-second thought stopped me.

I opened the chat function on the site: I can’t tell from the photos. Does this hold a checkbook too?

James, whoever he was, managed to not quite say, A what now? But he had no idea how one would know. None. The picture says it holds a cellphone, he said helpfully, while clearly wondering if the latest Apple X would actually fit in there–maybe not. Check. Book. A small book. Right?

I had to explain to him what one is like. You have the pad, and you have the ledger, and the wallet has to be able to open all the way so as to lie flat.

It has three sections, he said helpfully.

But does it have pockets going across for the edges of the checkbook to tuck into to hold the two pieces in place.

Let me get you a product specialist.

I waited…

The product specialist clearly did the same thing I did: she measured her own checkbook. But at least she had one and she knew what they were. It’s 7″, hers was 6″, it should fit.

But does it have the pocket for it to hold it.

She at least knew why one would want that. Some more checking and waiting…

It does have a pocket. She was pretty certain it would indeed work. She wasn’t sure it had two like mine, but hey, one would do the job, so, good enough, I ordered it.

The 8-track-tapes of finance. Who knew such a thing might be endangered.



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.



Greens and blues, Sara said
Friday September 28th 2018, 8:40 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life,Politics

The last few days prompted a conversation wherein an old high school friend opened up yesterday and told me about her being a survivor.

I asked her her favorite color.

(Solis colorway. I had knit up all I had of that. I was actually out. I had to do something about that.)

Today I kept feeling like, go to Green Planet.

Cottage Yarns in the opposite direction has a better inventory on all things Malabrigo.

Go to Green Planet.

I finally said a little prayer, and felt like, yes already fer cryin’ out loud, honey, Green Planet.

Well alright then.

I brought the pair of needles I would be using, went there, found just the thing, waited while they wound it and dove right in, both the knitting and the conversation at the table.

Some old Purlescence friends happened to be there, and one of them asked me how I was doing. I told her the last few days had been pretty intense.

And with that everybody felt permission to talk about it and the conversation got going. Of the five of us sitting at that table, four had followed every hearing and every update.

The fifth, a younger woman, had not; she wanted to know but she’d shied away from finding out and was not even sure what the story was, and it hit me: we’re talking to a survivor and it’s still all too close to home for her. But we did not pry and we did not ask.

The woman across from me started talking about Jeff Flake and the woman in the elevator confronting him, demanding, Look in my eyes! We come to the courts for justice! We who are hurt, who have suffered injustice, we look to the courts and you want to put a rapist on the court! There are many of us and you ought to be ashamed! We come to the courts for healing, for justice!

I chimed in that Flake had gone back to that hearing room and had still voted yes–if. If the FBI were given a week to investigate, then yes, move the nomination to the floor. If.

Something changed in the room.

The witnesses will be interviewed after all.

The fifth woman gathered up her things now and said she had to go, but she had one request: could she give me a hug?

Yes! (Oh honey yes. Yes of course.)

She thanked me and then headed out the door into the waiting daylight.



Congressional hearing
Thursday September 27th 2018, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Knitting a Gift,Life

I promised myself I would use the time to knit. With the time zone difference and our morning schedule, I missed some of Dr. Ford’s testimony but what I saw was riveting and heartbreaking and as real as it gets.

Kavanaugh‘s Yale roommate said he was mean when he was drunk. Today we got to see the guy sober–and I wouldn’t want to be around him when he’s anything worse. Self-righteous, highly partisan, self-pitying, loud, angry, bombastic, rude, steamrollering, and over the top: this is the kind of man that women stay as far away from as they can.

Judy’s cowl is almost done.

I can’t change what the Senate might do tomorrow, but I can make a difference to one woman with it.



Lazy way to do laundry
Wednesday September 26th 2018, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Life

Yeah, it was time.

So I headed on over to the station that charges more. Punched Yes on the screen for Express, and no I didn’t want the super duper a la hoppity Hooper version, thanks, wax just blinds the cars behind me at certain times of the day. ’07 Priuses have no pretensions anyway.

Pulled the car over to the left, waited my turn in line.

And then couldn’t (oops) reach to enter my code without getting out of the car again; okay, no big deal. Back in quick and roll up the window and pull in as the green light blinks. I so loved it as a kid when my mom let us go through these; I remember giggling in fake-fright that those things would get us, look, here they come! Duck!

The rollers came down, the water started to spray.

And that’s when I figured out a chunk of my skirt was still on the outside of the car.



Maybe draw an orange smiley face on it?
Thursday September 20th 2018, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Life

Someone sitting very near us on Sunday was sick. I was glad we’d gotten our flu shots, even if hers was just a cold (I hope, for her sake.)

Germ exposure=lupus flare=pleuritis+broken rib=a bad night=a fever+definitely sick this morning.

The day got much better as it went along, though, when it could have gone the other way entirely.

Turns out I had a face mask in my purse the whole time. Although: they scare small toddlers and at this time of year would probably make preschoolers wonder why do grownups get to wear their Halloween costumes to church? Can they wear theirs too? For a whole month?



Nope
Tuesday September 11th 2018, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Life

They can’t make major noise before 8:00 a.m. but they can certainly arrive earlier and set up for it.

I love waking up in the morning and looking out the overhead windows at the big branch (not touching the power line) on the camphor tree, where there’s almost always a bird or two perched or flitting around.

At workers up there looking down in, not so much.

All that anticipation and trying to be ready for it, and when the guy said Tuesday or Wednesday it wasn’t Tuesday.

Just keep them away from the #@% skylights, that’s all I ask.

On a far more important note on this day of remembrance: Blue Man Group, with the link courtesy of Holly.



Stalk it to me stalk it to me stalk it to me stalk it to me
Monday September 10th 2018, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Life,Lupus,Mango tree

There was no prior notice. I was not yet fit for company at that hour but at least I was dressed for the unexpected door knock. Richard was just getting up.

The guy showed me his badge, which matched his clothes: he worked for the city. (I was thinking, oh, I guess it is after eight now.) Could he…gesturing to the back yard and saying a whole bunch of stuff that, whatever it was, I just had no idea. He’d caught me with my hair still wet. When your electronics run nearly nine grand and you don’t want to short them out, that detail matters.

I can’t hear you yet. I’ll get my ears and be right back. (So much for worrying about that.)

A minute later as I came back to the door, there was no sign of the guy. I looked around the side yard, I looked down the street. What had all that been about?

Just then he came around from way around the other side where he’d been assessing the camphor tree that I’d almost paid Chris’s crew to trim back last week, but hadn’t because it wasn’t over the house and we were already at a grand on what had to be done.

It is a perching tree only for the birds; no nest could be hidden in those leaves.

The city wanted to trim it–it was growing into the power lines.

(And afternoon-shading my mango, sweet cherry, and two of my peach trees this year as it’s gotten bigger.)

Coooool. That sure worked out!

The guy was a little surprised at how complete the change was in my being able to follow him. He pointed to his ear and said he wears hearing aids, too, but even looking, I didn’t see them. Some of the ones for people with less loss are really small.

Good for him. More people should.

Several hours later, after getting done with the tree across the street, he and his crew walked past the door and disappeared again around the back. Well hello.

They would be back either Tuesday or Wednesday for it.

I went outside to water my trees this evening when the sun was low enough–and saw those acanthus stalks. The ones around the camphor had been stomped down to the ground, and rightly so. Nobody should have to work through those. As flowers, they feed the hummingbirds and bees, but as dried-up husks they are, as I’ve mentioned occasionally, vicious porcupines that I use to keep critters out of my fruit. My fruit’s pretty much done, though, the figs under netting excepted. I’d been putting off dealing with them because it doesn’t matter how careful you are, you’re going to get splinters hand and foot. And there are a lot of them.

I skipped watering the trees that were around where those guys would be working–you don’t want them slipping in mud and landing on any fallen stalk parts I might have missed under the leaves. Those still upright were four to seven feet high and quite obvious. Thankfully the bottoms of the stalks tend to be smooth for just enough space to leave you a part you can grab.

There were well over a hundred of them, easily.

How the prickers got in past my shoes to stab me in so many places I don’t know, I thought I was being careful.

I looked at my big yard-waste bin stuffed as high as it would go. There were two piles more to either end of the yard for what didn’t fit in yet, but they would be well out of the mens’ way. The bin gets emptied Wednesday and then those others can go in.

I get to handle them twice. Oh goody.

But there is a huge amount of satisfaction in knowing that those workers are going to show up expecting to deal with the worst and they’ll find that someone thought of them and how it would be to take one wrong step and get stabbed through their clothes top to bottom and took care of the problem so that they could have a better day.

They’re certainly going to be improving mine. More sun for my evergreen mango this winter. A better chance for the fruit to actually ripen.

Bring on the chainsaws.



Stone aged
Sunday September 09th 2018, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

I had a favorite blouse I was going to wear to church today. It’s a cheerful reddish-plum color and I was looking forward to it.

I could not find it this morning for the life of me. Not in the closet? Not in the ironing. So strange. I searched both places multiple times wondering what on earth was wrong with me that something so obvious could somehow just not be found like that.

Eh. I gave up and wore something else. Something in a deep teal blue. (I took a photo to show you but the blog ate it.)

Something that…hey, yes, definitely matched the lapis and sterling necklace Frances Begay made me a number of years ago. I realized in surprise as I took it out that I hadn’t worn it in several months despite how very much I like it. This other blouse was the perfect thing to wear it with. Well then.

There was a new face at church, there just for the day as it turned out, a woman my age and style both in hair and clothes and we found ourselves out by the water fountain after the main meeting at the same time.

She looked at that Navajo necklace and exclaimed how much she liked it; she had a squash blossom one, herself. She reached tentatively with a “may I?” to hold it up for a closer look at the details.

The design was “Basket of Blessings,” and my daughter had commissioned the pendant for me, and I, the silver-beaded chain from the artist.

That focal point created a connection on the spot, and we two women of the turquoise generation found ourselves swapping stories and laughing together as the clock ticked on as if we’d known each other our entire lives.

She was in the middle of the stress of helping a kid move while tending to other family while being away from home.

I was so glad she’d come. She was so glad for those moments. We parted friends, even if I never heard her last name.

It hit me a little later: I was suddenly so glad I hadn’t been able to find the blouse that would never have gone near that necklace.



Twist my arm
Friday September 07th 2018, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Food,Life

So after two weeks of cabin fever and after a one-mile test run to Trader Joe’s last night, I decided today was the day to set myself free.

Or maybe not–after all, by this time last year they were all gone. But this has been a longer, cooler season.

Andy’s, on the phone: Sure, we’ve got lots!

And so I drove down to Morgan Hill and bought a case of Cal Reds for me and one for my friend Catherine. I got a bag of Fairtimes and one of Rio Oso, I think the other one was? They were so big that only two peaches fit in each.

I dropped the bag of Fairtimes. At least it wasn’t the cases and at least I didn’t drop them till I was already home and it was an easy problem to fix. What you can’t see in that picture is the juice that’s already puddling on that small plate, reminding me of James Beard’s description of how to eat a good mango: in private and in a bathtub.

It would not wait until I could share it. Despite its size, it demanded to be devoured alone.

So be that way.