San Diego and home again
Saturday October 21st 2017, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

“Ba-bye!” I waved at Maddy.

She instantly got it: we were leaving. “NO!!!” and she turned away as she wailed it, trying to make it not be so. (She is, for another few months yet, two.)

Me too, little one, me, too. But she definitely had me smiling all the way home.

After we landed, my phone buzzed an incoming text: photos, of two little boys who had fallen into bed after a fun, long day.

And both of them had their pumpkin hats on their heads as they snoozed.



Talking about the weather
Friday October 20th 2017, 1:42 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I wondered why my favorite weather site, after a recent upgrade, no longer automatically reloads as the temperature changes–you have to hit refresh now. And it kind of bugged me.

Until a conversation between the resident geek and the non-resident geek about user interfaces accommodating the disabled. Turns out, that feature I liked so much would have been making it so that the blind couldn’t have their program read it to them out loud.

Well then. I’m glad someone took that into account and broke the site just enough.



Throwing cold water on it
Wednesday October 18th 2017, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

I do really like this.

But…. I don’t know if T’s grandma has been allowed back in yet to see if her house is still there…

When I picked up this skein at Cottage Yarns, Kathryn commented that it looked like one dyelot from one side and another on the other; I said that’s why I wanted to know what it would look like. (That and I liked the colors).

I was expecting the bright and the dark to intersperse going across the rows, and for the most part they did. And yet somehow there became this stark division between the narrower darker top of the cowl at the beginning and there below the midpoint.

It’s drying right now and maybe that dampens the effect for the photo, but: it’s too easy to look at this and see bright fiery flames shooting up into the sky with the darkened ash and smoke rising up from them. Yow.

Um, maybe someone else should get this one and I should start over.



Closer to home
Tuesday October 17th 2017, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

There was an emergency of some sort and the doctor was an hour late. When she finally popped her head in the door, apologizing, I held up my needles and went, Hey, no problem–if the person after me is antsy, go see him first, I can wait.

She came in chuckling and told me that actually, he was held over in the eye department and wasn’t even here yet.

Alright then.

Afterwards, I drove home through much thicker smoke than this morning–again, it was stinging the eyes and again, you could see the breezes move the air. I checked the local news.

Sausalito in the North Bay.

Dublin in the East Bay.

Bear Creek in the South Bay, about ten miles from Richard’s aunt’s house in the mountains, but at least we’re not having the 50 mph gusts that sent embers 15 miles out like in Sonoma.

Our hard-working crews were right on them, and with a shift in the winds the air right around here was tolerable again by sunset.

But I keep re-checking the news on the bigger fire in Bear Creek.

I had been blogging about a month when I posted this (scroll down halfway.) Robert’s Medicine Blanket is very much treasured and used here, and that mat, too.

Robert’s home was near the fire area last I heard from him. I’m sure he’s fine, but I’ll sure be glad when the fires are over.



A breather
Saturday October 14th 2017, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Knitting a Gift,Life

A few days ago, the Mercury News ran a photo taken from the Mormon Temple up in the hills in Oakland, looking towards the San Francisco cityscape across the Bay. There was only the barest shadow of any of that visible in the smoke, and the nearby zoo said they could only see to the far end of their property.

Today, despite the fact that Santa Rosa had to expand its mandatory evacuation area and those fires are not yet out, we happened to stand about where that photo had been taken from. The Bay Bridge and the water were in the distance, the skyscrapers beyond, almost as they’re supposed to be. The water was a subdued blue. I’ll take it.

We returned home surprised/not surprised at how crowded the freeways were for a Saturday afternoon–southbound, anyway.

I wound yarn.

I knitted yarn.  Malabrigo’s celebratory Anniversario colorway in Arroyo, just a one-skein cowl to feel like I’m getting something done, and as my hands worked the softness I found myself looking forward to finding out who this one was for. So, so pretty. One cannot help but be cheered by it.

And typing that out, the strikingly obvious came to me: Duh. I have to knit for G’s daughter, who grew up with my kids. This cowl or another one and maybe I should wait to give it to her till she finds out if she still has a house, or, if not, maybe all the more quickly, but… Yeah. Her. Alright then, I’m on a mission here.

And finally I felt like I had found my footing again.



Blessed are the night owls
Friday October 13th 2017, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

So, the annual women’s dinner at the church tonight: nobody knew, when we scheduled it, that it was going to be a week when we could all particularly use each other’s good company and the time to just talk mid-week and decompress a bit together.

Someone at my table asked another, How’s your daughter? Was she okay…? (And I thought, ohmygosh, I forgot she lives up there!)

And the response was, Her cousin called her in the night and insisted she had to evacuate. Now.

Why? (Looking out the window.) There’s nothing anywhere near us. Everything’s fine here.

Get out! You have to get out!

He was adamant, so they got ready to go–and opened the door to go to their car and the fire was right there.

They made it out. They don’t yet know if they have anything to come home to but they made it out.



That smile
Thursday October 12th 2017, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

This morning was worse and the eyes burned constantly. One could only wonder whose house one was inhaling.

The OSH hardware store sent most of its N95-rated masks to the counties that needed them most. (The sign was at the drugstore.)

And then, some time in the afternoon, (graphs at the bottom in the link) the wind must have shifted and gradually it became clearer out–even if Beijing still had better air than our town did.

I’m wondering if every bit of yarn, every blanket and pillow, every rug and stitch of clothing is going to need to have the smoke smell washed out.

Then, when it all just seemed a bit much, the phone pings.

And Mathias and his mommy save the day.



Burning issues
Wednesday October 11th 2017, 10:26 pm
Filed under: History,Life,Wildlife

The light coming through the windows during the day was yellow with a tinge of orange. Outside looked like sunset at  2 pm. We got a reverse-911 call telling us just how bad the air quality was and to stay indoors if possible and where to find out details; the recording repeated the URL.

Your city or county probably has a reverse-911 warning system but it might only go to landlines; check, and sign up your cellphone if you can. There were people in Napa and Sonoma who didn’t get warned of the fire in the middle of the night because they had VOIP and their old landline phones didn’t work when the power company cut the electricity to keep a substation from blowing up.

My neighbor has a dead tree limb hanging off the power line just across the fence, and with the news that the fires apparently started with trees downed by the winds sparking the PG&E lines I am suddenly much more aware that yes, I do need to bother the city about that.

Meantime, the breeze made the air suddenly and startlingly visible: little swirls and twirls blowing southerly while I tried to process seeing open air moving (and did it settle downwards a bit at the end of the puff?) Later a larger swoop again paintbrushed the pointillist ash particles. And just like that, they disappeared back into the jaundiced background and held still again.

I left the door half open while filling the bird feeder and that was really dumb.

A scattering of dove wings as the hawk appeared out of nowhere and across the roof and away and wow did he move fast. The power of nature!

An evening commute thrown off by a bomb scare, to which the only rational response was an Oh come ON in the direction of the perpetrator.

Meantime, I got three pounds and 2500 yards of merino yarn wound, scoured, spun out, and drying for the morrow, and I am looking forward to working with simple wool and wood of my choosing: nature, domesticated.



October skies
Tuesday October 10th 2017, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,History,Knitting a Gift,Life,Wildlife

We are about 75 miles south of the fires raging in California’s wine country, with San Pablo Bay as a large break of water between here and there.

But the firesky sunset was intense and the clear awning over the patio glowed a deep, unfamiliar bright yellow that was both novel and startling and I could only pray for the people who went to bed in a calm night and woke up to walls of flames coming right at them, neighborhood after neighborhood. Would I have the presence of mind to grab for my hearing aids and glasses before I ran?

It is smoky and thick and smells like burning plastic outside.

Yonder Cooper’s has a tail feather coming in in the center. Like its daddy, when I needed it, there it was and it let me enjoy its presence for several minutes. It is new at that, though, and I am mindful of its skitteriness. Then it lifted to the fence and stayed a bit longer but flinched that the camera had come out while its back was turned.

The second photo was taken trying to capture it taking off. Crouch, wings out, leap! Faster than a speeding iPhone 4S!

Re the Crohn’s, today was definitely going in the right direction. Grateful for that and hoping hard.

The candy-cane-plied red and faintest beige yarn came out looking more brown the further you get from it (and when it’s wet. Which it is here.)

And… The smoke alarm just went off. Oh fun. That doesn’t mean the air is that bad…?

Six smoke alarms and a bit of teamwork later, we have new batteries and we have peace and quiet and we have a definite appreciation for how good we have it that they were not actually telling us to grab whatever we could and run.

 



Hanks a bunch
Monday October 09th 2017, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Knit,Life

Crohn’s flares: food becomes hard to digest and you don’t much want to eat anyway (so you try to at least make everything you do eat super-duper healthy.) Yeah, been through this before. And one of the things that happens is your muscle tone vanishes, just vanishes, faster than makes any sense.

Not this time. Not if I could do something about it, I told him last night: and so, treadmill, yes, and I was going to wind up yarn in the morning.

And that is how this 420 gram cone finally got turned into a hank. (Oops, broke a tie there. No, two. It is big.) It’s about two thousand yards and my niddy-noddy holds two at each go-round. Somehow, thankfully, it did not pop off the thing and fall into a million tangles on the floor. (You know, Alison, you really could break the yarn and make it into two or more if you weren’t trying so hard to prove you didn’t have to.)

It is scoured, as pre-shrunk as I could make it, and I may have to take a hair dryer to it. All the better to strengthen those arms with.



The Stitches stash slowly winds its way down. Only the best yarns.
Sunday October 08th 2017, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

Those needles I freed up? They had a new project going on them and it probably would have been for the woman sitting behind me–if it had been finished.  I’d rather offer her a choice of more than one color if the one I’m presuming about is not ready to hand right over, so I didn’t say anything to her quite yet.

Three other cowls went to old friends who showed up in town for the weekend, while they were there and I could.  And you know what? It’s really hard to be mopey about what a bad night you had because of the stupid Crohn’s when friends are being totally joyful all around you like that. Hey you guys. That was great. Thank you so much.

I went right home and worked on that new project, picturing all the way the smiles on the friends who already got theirs. They were paying it forward and they didn’t even know it.



Aftobering
Saturday October 07th 2017, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Knit,Life

(I just moved it, here, let me straighten up those edges.)

It’s Aftober, named for my friend Afton who instigated the tradition of October being the month for finishing projects. For whatever reason. Be they new or long-dragging, pick it up, get it done, and now you have a reason to.

And that is how the black scarf got done. And today that’s why the teal silk project that had been carried around in my purse since July–well, I did about half of it today and got it over with. It had been dragging because I only bought the one skein at Stitches and I wanted it to be for me since I could not duplicate that yarn nor that color and it matches a lot of things I really like.

But I am not high on my knitting list right now.

But those needles it was dangling from… I wanted those back. And so I freed them of that soft single-ply bombyx and it is drying now. I didn’t spin it out in the washer because of that loose ply–it would fuzz out like crazy in the spinning and I prefer how it looks now, and thus I am moving it around every so often as the one part of the old drying quilt gets a little too damp.

Bombyx silk, i.e. from the silkworms that eat mulberry leaves rather than, say, oak (re tussah silk) has this distinctive smell to it when it’s wet. How much depends on how much of the siricin (silk gum) has been washed out.

It always takes me straight back to my mom’s kitchen and that little dark brown bottle way up high.

I remember asking Mom about it one day.

She told me that her mom had insisted on feeding her kids cod liver oil and had been adamant that Mom have some for her own kids.

Mom dutifully got that bottle and put it up there… Nothing else medicinal in that cabinet, just that. (Maybe where Gram would see it?) It had been there as long as I could remember, unmentioned and untouched as far as I knew.

Mom got it down and opened it up and let me take a whiff.

EWWWW!!!! Gram made you EAT that?!

Just a spoonful.

Mary Poppins and her spoonful of sugar wasn’t going to help that stuff one little one bit. Gag. I winced that Mom had had to go through that. It was clear she appreciated my horror.

You know how grandparents and kids traditionally team up against the parents? On this one, it was me and Mom together, absolutely. Mom chuckled and put it back up there where it could do no harm.

And no the silk doesn’t smell just like that, but there’s just a hint of reminder of it, somehow, to me, anyway.

Never mind that. Nice, soft wormspit around your neck. It’s what’s good for you.



So I’d better get knitting just in case (like that’s any different)
Thursday October 05th 2017, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Family,Life

The GI doctor could see me today or in ten days but not in between. I should have called Richard from work for a ride but it just didn’t feel imperative and I didn’t.

I spent too much of the night kicked awake, remembering all the times…hoping this would be nothing.

Let’s not. Let’s just really not. (Was it 17 projects, I think was the number, tumbling out of that grocery sack with a list of people I hadn’t found yet but I knew he could, and the surgeon exclaiming, I get to play Santa Claus?! He thought that was so cool.)

A week from Monday hopefully my good doctor and I will have a laugh and a phew! together and that will be that.



What happened in Vegas stays in all of us
Monday October 02nd 2017, 10:41 pm
Filed under: History,Life,Politics

I know someone who loves someone who lost someone and I bet just about everybody else can say the same.

Clean, straighten, organize, laundry, clean sheets… When you can’t do anything you have to do something. One man. Nine rounds a second. Ten minutes.

Stanford Blood Center canceled a staff meeting and kept their doors open longer. Las Vegas didn’t need it from them yet but with over 500 people wounded it’s way too soon to tell. My thanks to all who have been the heroes–and Jimmy Kimmel is one.

I met one once…



Squashed
Sunday October 01st 2017, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Knitting a Gift,Life

After a good head start and then four two-hour sessions of Conference, this is where I am.

I didn’t get that last hat started before the last session began and so my attention wasn’t on it during the one part where it needed to be. Which is how I got to rip it all out after the first row four times. (Note to self: wait for the Tabby Choir to sing. With them, you already know the words.)

Hat number three doesn’t have a stem. Yet. I wanted the orange cast off this time before adding that.

A certain grandma looked at the calendar and guffawed at herself for having willed the visit with the grandkids to be weeks closer than in real life, so it looks like I’m going to put the add-ons on myself, ship’em off so they can have as much time as possible enjoying them, and let the kids negotiate where or if they want decorative parts changed or moved when we see them. And as for that third stem, I think I just didn’t want to do that really fiddly part while trying to listen to the speakers.

I am just a bit pumpkinned out for now. I’ll knit that last hat tomorrow.