Want to grow a superb apricot?
Thursday February 11th 2021, 11:50 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Garden,Life

Being able to putter around, checking on my seedlings, doing laundry, making a lemon almond cake just because the daughter wished out loud for one, making a spinach souffle with vegan parmesan (for her dairy allergy) and bacon bits that turned out surprisingly good: vegan cheeses aren’t great on their own but it turns out they do pretty well in recipes.

After yesterday, it was a day of just being really happy about all the little things. It’s raining and cold? Have a second mug of cocoa. Why not. He loved it.

I have Anya apricots starting to sprout again and a bunch more kernels still in the fridge.

Last year I followed instructions online that said that after the required cold months, soak them overnight–and had a 70% rotting rate. This year I followed instructions that said for the next stage put them in a wet paper towel in a ziplock in the fridge, did that for a few weeks and I have eleven that are looking good so far and one that rotted. I put them in Root Riot plugs that have rooting hormone added, and the roots that are just starting look much bigger and healthier than anything I ever saw last year.

Probably you should just stick them straight in the Root Riots out of the fridge without the whole paper towel nonsense.

So I have a question for you all: does anyone want some of those saved dry kernels? You cannot buy the trees anywhere, they’re not on the market, period, and the developer’s orchard of them has been ripped out and replaced with almonds. If you want to taste these you’ll probably have to grow your own.

I bought Anya apricots at Andy’s Orchard last summer: so at least one parent is an Anya. Andy only grows what tastes good. The other parent might be one of John Driver’s other two varieties that Andy grows, it could be a Blenheim or something, there’s no way to know.

It should take three to five years before you have fruit.

But then oh what fruit. Anyas are what apricots were always meant to taste like and never could be.

Yours for the asking and the willingness to take care of them.



Okay I’m gonna spill here
Wednesday February 10th 2021, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Life

Three weeks ago I was suddenly hearing a loud low buzz, and acutely aware that our modem had done that in warning before we happened to luck out in finding it smoking just before it became something much worse I went looking for what the source of that sound could be.

Except not only did everything seem fine, the sound didn’t stop when I left the room. The furnace maybe?

Why didn’t that plane flying overhead stop flying overhead?

Wait…

It was sudden onset, it turned out to be in one ear only, I’ve never had low-frequency tinnitus in my life (high, yes, forever) and I have a friend who went through an acoustic neuroma.

Which is why I linked to that article on tinnitus the other day–after sending my doctor a note.

Plus I fell three times last week, which was getting a little ridiculous but probably didn’t have anything to do with it.

Her nurse almost immediately wrote back to tell me to make an appointment. Half an hour later, she checked, I hadn’t done it yet so she got right on the phone to make sure that happened.

Oh okay.

Tuesday my doctor would be in.

So yesterday I went in and she ruled out a bunch of ordinary stuff and referred me to ENT and audiology. I was quite sure she would, but we are still new to each other and I wanted her to be there from the beginning of this with me should it come to anything. When I mentioned my friend, she nodded a definite affirmative of yes: we needed to rule that out.

I went home and called. The ENT receptionist told me she could schedule the one in eight days and the other the week after that. Yes she was seeing the referral, it had just come up on the screen.

Usually when a doctor is the one saying the patient needs to be seen you get in a lot faster, but no.

I hesitated, and when it was clear we weren’t going to do better than that and having just waited four days that had felt so very long that it reminded me of when I was five days overdue with my first baby (I cannot begin to tell you how many years long those five days were), I told her why I was trying to get in.

She exclaimed, “Ohmygoodness!” Suddenly, with apologies for making me wait on hold (take your time! And thank you!), she got me in on both for this morning, with their permission.

It has been a long time since I’ve had that thorough an exam in audiology. Tympanometry–I remember that from a class in college even if I’m not sure I remember how to spell it right. I also remember being taught that if you push a tone and the person hears it and then stops hearing it while it’s still going, they have a brain tumor.

That stuck with me: the idea of being able to help uncover a problem on that level, to be able to help a patient that much as a non-medical person–wow.

So I wondered if she was going to test that.

She didn’t as far as I know but there have definitely been equipment updates since my time and part of me wanted to ask her to explain this and this and remind me the details on that.

A few minutes in the waiting room with my knitting, and then a new-to-me ENT: my old one had retired at the pandemic.

The doctor was late. I knew he’d squeezed me in. He complimented the purple Mecha hat in progress and started to ask questions about it but realized he needed to get a move-on; I thanked him and we went on from there.

He was quite pleased with the hearing test results: bilateral and still the same as the last time they’d tested. My hearing aids, however, particularly the right one, need to be replaced. He knew his stuff: when I told him they were the latest and greatest Oticons when I got them, and when that was, he knew about them but also what’s out there now, and in my experience, the ENTs leave that up to the audiologists but he was up on what the patients would want to know about.

Had there been an acoustic neuroma one ear would have been markedly different now from the other. They were not. He offered a brain MRI if I wanted one, it was up to me; but to him it all looked okay, and he was clearly relieved to be able to tell me that.

And that’s as close to a brain tumor experience as I hope I ever have.



Offerings to the honeybees
Tuesday February 09th 2021, 11:32 pm
Filed under: Garden

It was a day. More tomorrow.

Quick, more peach flowers! 



Thank you, Ruth
Monday February 08th 2021, 11:54 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life,Lupus

Eleven years ago Scrabblequeen Ruth very generously gave me her treadmill so that I could get my exercise while doing the no-sun lupus thing. For which I have been very grateful and I have put it to use day after day year after year–if nothing else, I had to make it worth what to me was her sacrifice.

Starting a few months ago, the belt gradually got a little off-center, but it didn’t seem to hurt anything.

Two weeks ago it was suddenly slowing down intermittently just enough to risk throwing me off it and then it would get going again. A few days later it jammed. It started up again, jammed again, and with that I turned it off afraid of burning out the motor and went and googled treadmill problems.

I think we can fix it, or at least, he can.

We haven’t, though. I am intensely grateful for how much good that exercise has done for me for all this time.

But let me try this a bit longer first.

It wasn’t till I stopped using it–while still having the habit and the need to–that I let myself fully consider the thing.

The floor holds still.

My compensation for my destroyed sense of balance is purely tactile and visual and the treadmill is a distinct challenge on the tactile feedback part. I got good at it–but it required constant paying attention to where and how my body was so as not to fall, and you don’t want to on one of those. There’s more than one way to get tired.

Race-walking in circles entryway/living room/family room/kitchen/dining, I find I’m free to walk faster and take longer strides than I dared before and am comfortable doing so for a lot longer–it’s so much easier for the three-dimensionally-challenged. In these two weeks I’ve doubled my exercise time without having planned to.

But none of that would have happened had that machine and even more, the generosity of the gift behind it not gotten me to establish that good habit in the first place.



Two cans and a piece of string
Sunday February 07th 2021, 9:51 pm
Filed under: Life

A new thing learned: according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, apparently some–not all–types of tinnitus can be heard by a physician putting their stethoscope against the patient’s head. (I’m assuming that’s assuming the doctor has decent hearing.)

Huh.

I’ve had ringing in the ears apparently since I was a toddler who overdosed on the baby aspirin I got into while Mom wasn’t looking. I studied audiology in college and learned a lot I wanted to know but walked away from it after being told I could never find a job in the field because my hearing wasn’t great. It would be years before an astute ENT doctor linked that overdose and the progressive loss since to an allergy to NSAIDs I didn’t know I had.

That’s okay, the English major thing turned out better anyway.

But they can actually, objectively listen to my inner-ear hair cells screaming that they’re not responding to sound anymore but only doing what they want to do like a kid in a temper tantrum?

I had never been told that one in my life.

Huh.



Peach flowers
Saturday February 06th 2021, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Garden

The August Pride peach gave us the first blossoms of the year.



Taking a good look
Friday February 05th 2021, 11:56 pm
Filed under: Garden,Life

Yesterday morning I reached over and picked up my phone, looked at the time and thought at it, it’s too early to be awake, put it back down and went back to sleep.

Usually I bring it out by the computer after I get up. And maybe I did. But I also went in the kitchen, stepped sideways looking down at the mug in my hand I was mixing the cocoa into, looked up–and creamed my head on the overhead cabinet door.

Which I always always shut so that I don’t do that. Um.

Shortly thereafter I realized I didn’t know where my phone was.

Which apparently was in silence mode.

The sheets have been changed, the blankets shaken out, there are no iPhone bits in the bottom of the washer, nothing under the bed, it’s not in the Instant Pot, it’s not in the chocolate machine, it’s not under the microwave, it hasn’t fallen behind the computer desk (although that’s nicely dusted now), it didn’t fall behind the piano, it’s not inside the printer, it didn’t land in his shoes, it didn’t end up in the ziplock bag with the hat project, it’s not outside where I was pruning the cherry, nada.

So that’s what I mostly did today, too. At this point I’m beginning to eye the fridge and wonder if we should pull that out to look behind there, too, having a tall husband who occasionally puts things up there briefly because he can see up there whereas I cannot.

Because I really wanted to take a picture of the first peach flower of the year that opened this morning. I love how short winter is here.

Just watch your head on those branches is all.


Saturday morning update: I woke up and felt the impulse to roll over and grab my phone.

As if. I ignored it.

A few minutes later, the feeling persistent and pushing at me, I did roll over and look to prove to myself I was being silly.

And there, black against black, was the edge of my phone just barely discernible, lodged between the bed frame and the box springs. Even looking at it, I had to reach down and touch it to be sure.

And the little stinker was even still half charged.



Big brother
Thursday February 04th 2021, 10:23 pm
Filed under: Family

Mathias: “Coronavirus is little?”

His mom: “Yes, it’s very small.”

Mathias (thoughtful pause…) “Is Lillian the virus?”



Silly things
Thursday February 04th 2021, 12:10 am
Filed under: Life

The pandas had their turn, now it’s the crows rolling down the hill of a windshield and rear window in the snow. The lid of the trunk just didn’t offer that same momentum, so it tried the next car.



Random bits
Tuesday February 02nd 2021, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

Our own comic, grandma stereotyping and inverted needles aside. You do need a few more spiders if you want to create the golden Madagascar tapestry. (More details at Wired magazine.)

The pandas in DC sledding downhill backwards on their backs in the snowstorm.

And… I actually got some knitting done today. It felt great.



Stitches for stitches
Monday February 01st 2021, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Knit

The virtual Stitches West is this weekend. Anyone signed up for any classes? I’m trying to figure out how going to the market would be any different from simply shopping online.

I need my knitting mojo back and hanging around yarn and other people who love playing with it is the best way there is.

If only… And next year it’ll be held in Sacramento after all these years of being nearby.

If you’ve participated in one of the virtual fiber fests I’d love to know what you thought of it.

Meantime, Michelle has a co-worker who’s as hearing impaired as I am and who uses a captioning service for Zoom. Which Zoom ought to have built in but they don’t. It would be amazing to have that and worth the cost and we’re looking into it, with thanks to that co-worker for the mention.



Anew
Sunday January 31st 2021, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Garden

The blueberries are waking up and the buds have begun. One of the peaches, too, and it’s usually later than the others, but somehow not this year.



A pop-up add becomes a pop-up subtraction
Saturday January 30th 2021, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Family
  1. We celebrated by Zoom the tenth year of my sister-in-law being free from her breast cancer.
  2. It took the three of us (mostly the other two) but we got the Sunbubble dismantled and the plastic cut away. I do have hopes of putting bird netting of some kind around it in replacement, at least enough to keep the squirrels out of–I haven’t decided which yet, a fruit tree or the coming tomato patch.
  3. I have a question: can anyone tell me what this thing is coming out of the tile quilt star over the stove at this house? I’m just not grokking it. That custom design work, interrupted and covered over. For–what?


It costs a lot of dough
Friday January 29th 2021, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Food,Life

(The full moon with an atmospheric river last night.)

The algorithms are at it again. But then, who needs butter when you could have healthy vegetables with your fat?

I’ve posted the occasional picture on Facebook of my fruit trees and I’ve been poking around via Zillow at a few houses for sale, as I’ve mentioned. Facebook knows all and tracks all: I am told that even if you clear all cookies off your computer theirs will still be in there, hidden.

So. Clearly what I really really need, according to their ad, is a 40-acre avocado orchard in SoCal with a house with lots of windows looking out over the ocean!

My first thought was, man, that’s a lot of toast.

I didn’t even make the connection when I started up a loaf of sourdough this evening, the first one in over a month–till just now writing this.



Buyer be wary
Thursday January 28th 2021, 11:51 pm
Filed under: Life

We’re so not ready for contractors (not to mention, hey, pandemic) but we’re going to need one. The corian could be seamed, yes, but that seam clearly wouldn’t be able to support the weight of the smaller range that’s going to have to go in: we need to replace the countertops, too.

The old range has two burners out of five working again, just enough to take the pressure off the timeline and the quarantine pod.

I’ve been trying to get one definite thing done on the house every day to feel the progress so as to create more progress and am using the whole kitchen thing as motivation.

That sixty-five-year-old bathroom fan that is permanently open to the outdoors has *got* to go. Take a bath, feel a few raindrops on your head in the tub. Roof juice with your shampoo (not to mention a path in for moths where I hang sweaters to dry.)

But still, there are the things I can do. Michelle’s “Oh wow” as she came around the corner this evening felt really good.

For anybody appliance shopping, I did find this one review by a guy who’d ordered a 23″ cooktop and had gotten a 22″ one. It was written two years ago, so maybe the Trump-donating owners of Home Despot have improved things since then. Right. If there’s a paywall blocking you, let me quote:

“I talked to a store manager who actually told me that Home Depot doesn’t sell appliances – they contract to a third-party company – so they don’t accept returns. Then she said they might accept a return within 24 hours of delivery if I brought the super-heavy, bulky box to the store, but I’d absolutely be charged a $225 restocking fee. Website specs are misleading? Not Home Depot’s problem, she said, because I’d “accepted ownership” of the cooktop when I signed the delivery receipt.”

Sounds like a slam-dunk small claims court win to me but I figure that’s something to know and to ask about before you plunk any money down there. Maybe they’ve improved their customer service since then. But if you do go there–I’m not going to–definitely ask about their customer policies first and in detail and in writing.