Hamming it up
Saturday May 04th 2013, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Friends
We went to a book release party tonight.
B is a knitter and she and her husband Leigh worked with mine back at the time when she told me all about this big knitter’s convention that I’d never heard of and that I just had to go to, she said, while I was marveling at the idea of there being such a thing–you mean there are a lot more Knitters with a capital K like us? Where have they been hiding? And so we went together that Saturday.
Tess was a little girl hiding under the skirts of the display tables at her mom’s booth while B had one of her twins in a baby frontpack; my big splurge at my first Stitches West was hand-dyed silk from Melinda, Tess’s mom, never to be forgotten.
Everybody oohed and aahed over B’s little one and she had great fun saying his twin was at home with Daddy for the moment. She told me how odd it felt to be with just one of the babies.
The twins are in high school now; they of course were there tonight to celebrate their dad’s book, too, and I mentioned to one (with apologies upfront for talking about remembering him at such an age–I’ve had teenagers, I understand) that the first time his parents had gone off on a date after they’d been born, I’d popped on over to help out. His folks had come home and just stood there in the doorway a moment: one baby was being rocked in the baby seat with my foot, one baby was being held in my arms, I was petting the cat and I was reading a good book. Everybody was happy. They went, wow, you *are* an experienced mom!
Besides work, Leigh has done a lot of ham radio volunteer work with my husband, and their kids and two of ours are hams as well; there were years of memories to share and stories to swap. And a good time was had by all.
Oh, and, I asked Richard what kind of bird makes this song that I’d never heard before but he didn’t know.
But it was short short long long, dot dot dash dash, honey.
U with an umlaut over it in Continental Morse Code, he told me (after looking it up to be sure).
Friday May 03rd 2013, 11:25 pm
Filed under: Life
Object in distance is larger than it appears.
Went back to the audiologist this morning. Got the base turned down some more and that did it at last: the new molds finally sounded as exquisitely perfect as the old, and with no dangers of feedback. YAY! Happy dance, happy dance. John told me he aspired to make that much of a difference to all his patients the way those aids have given so much back to me.
Chatted with other-John at Los Gatos Birdwatcher and picked up some seed as long as I was down there, got to share my enthusiasm at being able to hear some of the birds again. More happy times.
On the way home, a large blue rubber mat flipped up from under the wheels of the car in front of me on the freeway. I had this sudden just-a-blink to think, wait, I just had perfect, I have to have more time than that to enjoy the perfect in.
There was no way to dodge.
I slowed enough that it had time to head back downwards and under (I thought) rather than up against my windshield; phew. I glanced in the rearview expecting to see it. Didn’t. Wondered, noted the traffic might be blocking my view of it, kept glancing, kept thinking that distinctive pool-water blue should surely show up back there.Â Remembered my dad and the similarly-encountered box. (Haven’t I blogged that? It caught on fire under the gas tank. I was ten. Dad pulled over, raced back there and pulled it out and stomped it out and only then said, marveling in response to our relief, I didn’t know it was there.) Prayed.
There was no real place to pull over.Â The sound wall was right up against the breakdown lane and I’m going to open my door right into the traffic? No.
The guy behind me had pulled a good ways back, and he stayed there and nobody zipped in in front of him. I noted the sign: next exit a mile and a half. Eventually he pulled into the middle lane, sped up next to me, and looked pointedly down.
Right. I was going to pull off there anyway.
At the bottom of the ramp there was a light just ahead so the oncoming traffic would be slowing if not stopping, and behold, a pullout bulbout for utility trucks. Perfect and ohthankyou.
I got out. It fell to the ground. It was someone’s water toy, far as I could tell, a foam rubber chaise lounge–broken now. Well, gee, so sorry about that as I snapped its picture, pulled it into the dirt and got back in my car, safe now, and snapped another picture–if anything’s wrong with my car I want to be able to prove I did indeed meet up with Pool-onius Thunk.
Everything seems to be peachy fine. Just one of those weird things.
Thursday May 02nd 2013, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Family
You know that one person’s color combination is someone else’s total no-way-jose. And I am, after all, the daughter of a modern art dealer.
I was wishing I had a smallish zippered-top tote and went looking. Richard glanced at my computer to see why I was suppressing a guffaw–and then wrinkled his face trying to think of something positive and polite to say.
Finally, “Turn back before it’s too late!”
Did me in, I tell ya, I burst out laughing. The LLBean site: it lets you design your own tote bag (even if it won’t quite let me link to my concoction–yeah, I’d probably hide it too if I were trying to sell the things). Handles, body, pocket, bottom, gusset, you tell it what colors go where on the dream knitting (or boat, but c’mon, knitting) bag of your choice.Â They do stop you from putting ember orange in some areas, but it’s okay in the body with the jadeite pocket, the purple zipper, the spruce handles (worse than it sounds)… And those handles will be the color of the body on the inside edges and the chosen handle color on the outside just to make sure you get the full effect of that contrast.
Actually in a weird way I kinda like that one I clicked together. But then I am my father’s daughter.
Oh. Hi, Dad! *waving*
Wait, how did it get to be May 1st already?
Wednesday May 01st 2013, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Life
A new amaryllis open, another about to be, and a third coming up behind.
“Is the background music in here always this loud?” I asked Richard as we sat in the clinic’s pharmacy waiting area. I had only barely ever heard it before, just enough to know of its existence, but wow, it was enough to drown out a conversation. Who knew.
“I don’t know. I’ve never noticed it before.”
The idea of being able to have music you can totally hear but don’t have to consciously acknowledge–I can barely fathom it.
In the evening, I was trimming back the heavenly bamboo (which isn’t actually bamboo) to get a little more sunlight on the August Pride peach and snipped back some of the berries. I was feeling guilty for depriving the birds of a possible treat and out of curiosity googled the plant after I came back inside. We have a whole long row of them.
Nandina. All parts of it are toxic. Birds can eat some of the berries but too much will kill them, particularly cedar waxwings (which I love and rarely get to see). Considered an invasive species in many areas.
Y’know, I might go cut that back some more. The former owner of this house isn’t even alive anymore, she won’t mind in the least.
Meantime, the left side of a baby sweater is finished and the right side is coming along. To be continued.
Ears, next round
Tuesday April 30th 2013, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Family
Can you believe Hudson is three weeks old as of yesterday? With the best mom in the world.
I told the audiologist today that I had taken to turning the hearing aid volume down two notches to avoid the feedback and it seemed to work while not impacting the sound too much–and I can always kick it back up as needed.
He, meantime, took the aids apart and put the new molds on.
No feedback. But the sound was noticeably different. And not in a good way.
“Does it sound hollow?” he asked me.
“The base is too loud. Happens sometimes as an effect of going further into the ear, but I can work on that via the settings.”
That helped some, and I’m giving these a try, but so far I want to go back to the others. It’s definitely nice to have options, though. While we were at it we bought a clip-on bluetooth mike that I can pass around a room or hand to a speaker. Lanyard now added. I’ve wanted something like that forever and now I have one!
And: this afternoon I was looking through a skylight and happened to see Coopernicus! Perched near the top of the neighbor’s tall tree, and I got to watch as he suddenly dove down.
I walked to the other side of the house but he was faster than me, which certainly wasn’t a surprise; there was not a critter in sight near the feeder. Not even a squirrel.
Friends dropped by tonight and we experimented with/without the remote mike–either way, I heard them far better than I ever have before. Cool. Next round, hearing grandsons!
Trying out this idea of guarding my tree fruit via the plastic clamshells that produce comes in. First thought: I’ve only got two apples and four plums covered and we only have two months before the latter are fully ripe–we’re going to have to eat a lot more strawberries etc if we’re going to get these all covered in time. Or bum clamshells off everybody we can. We have our first good crop of the Santa Rosas, which is a nice problem to have.
Side note: I asked Dave Wilson growers via their Facebook page last fall if my Santa Rosa plum could work as a pollinator for their new Pluerry plum/cherry/etc hybrid. They answered that they hoped so but they didn’t know yet; it was just too new a plant. Today they surprised me by going back to that question, now that they’ve had another spring with it, and affirming that yes, it does, along with Flavor King and Burgundy plums.
Their Pluerry has won all the taste tests across all fruit types. Guess what I want to plant.
The clamshells, meantime, only snap closed at one end with a branch in the way, but it looks to me like the only thing that could defeat one is a raccoonÂ sitting or swatting hard enough to break it or the branch.
I only kept one fruit among the three baby peaches. If the twig can’t hold up the weight of the plastic, it’s a pretty good sign it’s not strong enough yet to support the fruit either. One, though, held. It got the first clamshell.
Don’t call it white trash. Call it reuseful recycling.
Sunday April 28th 2013, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Life
Sunday School. Dave was speaking.
Dave was in high school when we lived in New Hampshire and we knew him and his family there from church. It was quite a delight to have him end up here, well after we did. We were young parents then; he’s the father of his own young family now.
Your average microphone amplifies all frequencies, which isn’t as useful as you might think for those who are actually hearing impaired since impairment is nearly always in the upper frequencies, and when you’re hearing s and f and th sounds at a thousandth the power that everybody else is, amplifying the lower pitches too simply blasts those consonants right off the hearing chart; so for us, all a mike really does is amplify the vowels. The vowels do shape the consonants around them so at least you can make a guess at what the actual words are, so that’s something at least, but it takes all one’s concentration, and seeing the person’s face to help fill in the gaps is almost a requirement. Skip the mike? Well, there’s a reason they call it speaking up: the pitch of the voice does exactly that. Eh, it’s a given–pass the mike.
I have so often wished it were polite to knit in there, for patience’ sake…
I had the new hearing aids on.
I craned my neck a bit to see who they’d passed it to. Dave was at the far end of the room, I’d say about 20 feet away, barely visible past everybody, and I suddenly noticed two things:
The usual soft babble of baby noises and occasional chattered aside to the point at hand were absent; all was still as he spoke.
And I was hearing every. single. word.Â And clearly. Granted, Dave has a deep voice and that always helps. But in that room that I have sat in for many a Sunday for many a year, where I have heard zero whispers there or anywhere, where I so often haven’t been able to hear the person seated two seats away–no chattering with me, folks, I’m so well behaved, and too often have heard only a little of what those actually holding the mike were saying…
There it was in his hand.
Every. Single. Word.
So this is what it’s supposed to be like.
In the frog of where
Saturday April 27th 2013, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Family
So we had several paper bags’ worth of old documents that needed to be shredded, a task we’d been avoiding for awhile. Time to get to it.
I googled… (Not open on Saturday, not open on Saturday, well so who *is* open on Saturday.)
Okay, backtrack. A number of years ago a local woman wanted to set up a yarn shop, and as she later told me, she and her husband went to check out a spot that sounded like it had potential. It was in San Jose.
They walked in the doors, looked at the cavernous size in that old building and told the rep in disbelief, We can’t afford THIS!
No, no, let me tell you what the rent is going to be. Turns out the owner had an eye towards gentrification and a yarn store was exactly the kind of image he thought would up the value of the neighboring spots in his building.
She made the place gorgeous, with a welcoming front that would pull anyone inside. One of my knitting groups met there for awhile.Â I once quietly pointed out to another knitter the bullet holes through some of the squares of glass near the high ceiling and wondered how long those had been there.
I guess the place did its job too well; the owner decided to bring the rent closer to the newly-perceived market value about the same time the downturn hit. And that was the end of that shop. It has been missed.
So here I was today, four years later, looking up shredding services, and was stunned to see the picture as well as the address of one place pop up on my screen.
I looked again.Â Yup, that’s it, that’s the spot. And thought, what a comedown! I mentioned it to Richard.
“Well, it is kind of the same.”
He put his hands together over his imaginary goofed-up knitting and then pulled them forcefully apart: “You know. Rip it, rip it.”
Flowers for those needing a little Spring, still
Friday April 26th 2013, 10:34 pm
Filed under: My Garden
Another of the amaryllises from my Dad is opening up, with a third about to.
This red rose bush (unlike the yellow one next to it) was diseased and stunted when we moved here and we very nearly cleared it out, but hey, it was already there and I was quite sure I was never going to plant something as fussy to care for as roses; Richard looked up what to do and treated it that second spring with who-remembers-what-now.
That was 25 years ago. Over a year or two’s time it gradually came around, and since then it has simply thrived of itself, blooming profusely, asking nothing of us. It just needed a little bit of help and attention to get past that one rough patch when it was younger.
Thursday April 25th 2013, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Friends
I had no idea. I was suddenly overwhelmed at the sight of it as I sat at a red light. I keenly missed him all over again, was keenly aware of the injustice done him for which he forgave so freely, and I wondered how his wife and kids are doing. I should take that as my cue to go make the effort to find out.
They just finished an addition on the street side of the high school my kids went to, and in the shade of a massive, beautiful old oak tree there, today for the first time I saw the bench. Maybe in part because I don’t drive past there much anymore, and maybe it had been moved there April 4th, I don’t know, but I had never seen it before.
That date, I found out later from the school’s website, was officially Albert Hopkins Memorial Day and that bench had been given to the school in his honor, inscribed with the words, “In Memory of Albert Hopkins. Live happy, love freely, seize the day.” On the website: “He gave, he listened, he encouraged.”
I couldn’t help but wonder if those two rogue cops might now have kids at that school where Albert showed each child who came into the Academic Center for help that their success was everything to him. He would have taken them in under his wing if they needed anything, anything.
Three male eyases
Wednesday April 24th 2013, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Wildlife
For anybody curious about peregrine banding day at San Jose City Hall yesterday, the videos have been edited (although you might want to skip through the first part of the first one where it’s just a rope dangling) and the photographers have now given their links.
Pictures by Eric Rosenberg from below: here.
Pictures by Nick Dunlop from above, standing on top of the roof as Glenn Stewart rappels down, does the weighing and examining and banding and climbs back up: here. Note that Glenn had a hard hat on but I’m not sure Dunlop did as Fernando came at him.
Videos of banding day, here:
http://youtu.be/xL1ojDxDy28 Part 1
http://youtu.be/bXYMWv_cGsw Part 2
http://youtu.be/fKnSuOeh1Po Part 3
http://youtu.be/BlODTqUANFI Part 4
Two blog posts. Do I post this one? (I’m not sure.)
I told the nurse that the cardiologist she works for is so soothing. But if you want me to come in about something, I told her, you have to worry me about it or I’ll blow it off: I’ve had lupus a long time. You get pretty blase’.
She chuckled and handed the phone straight to the doctor and let him deal with me directly. He did not worry me this time either, rather, he said that that kind of description you’d have to have narrowed arteries for it to be a heart attack.
Well then, it was a lupus hit-and-run and it’s over now, right?
He thought so. Added the usual, But come right in or call 911 if anything else…
Dude. If I’d been able to call 911 at 4 a.m.-ish Sunday rather than just living through it, I would have. Well maybe. As it was, I had decided I really did need to somehow wake Richard up to call after all–and immediately it let up. Poof.Â Over. Lack of pain never felt so good. So I figured, stupid lupus inflammation, and went back to sleep.
“How are you feeling now?”
Fine! (Explaining the excitement in my voice) And IÂ just got a new grandson!
He chuckled. He’s so looking forward to that stage.
Or do I just post this one?
When I wrote about the Dancing Queen amaryllis the other day, I promptly got the ABBA song of that title stuck in my brain. It is safe to say I have never cared for that song.
I woke up in the morning and the darn thing was still playing in my head. There was only one escape: replace. I put Carlos Santana on first, a little bit louder than I intended to. You’ve got to change your evil ways! Baby!
Which is how I finally got myself to sit down with the latest yarn and start the knitting that I so much needed to do. Music is Pavlovian: I can’t have it playing and read, rather, it demands that I sit and absorb every sound I can, and I can’t just sit there (at least in my own house) without making something in my hands to the rhythm of the notes.
I ripped out the beginning four times but got past that and kept going, making this project up as I go along, something new, writing it down. Crossing that out. Tinking back. Getting it right.
I had been missing that compelling sense of purpose to the work that comes with a good project. It’s such a relief and a comfort to dive back in. I heart knitting.
Can’t hold on tight, either
They’re so good at not looking in the windows as they walk by, not intruding. (I imagine their job depends on it.)
We still have utility workers who come to read the meters once a month.
Mine has to walk past the birdfeeder.
It was a young guy this time, someone I hadn’t seen before, and as he walked studiously forward he couldn’t help but look up–and he cracked up.
Just a small slit in the bottom for the hanging chain to thread through; it’s been working perfectly for awhile now. The squirrels look down, they see the inside, and they know they can’t climb their way out of a paper bag.
(p.s. If you get a chance to see it: at 7:15 am California time, Glenn Stewart will be rappelling down to the nestbox area from the roof of San Jose City Hall and banding the three young peregrine falcons Tuesday, while their parents, who can dive at 241 mph, will be swooping at the guy’s hardhat-covered head. If you want to see it live, the cam feed is here.)
Dancing before you know it
The Dancing Queen amaryllis, it blooms yet again. I think I’ve had this bulb about ten years now.
My mom reports that her recovery from her knee replacement surgery is going quite well. But then she is one patient for whom they never had to worry whether she would let pain get in the way of doing her range-of-motion exercises so scar tissue won’t set in and limit her later: if it needs to be done, my mom gets it done. There are walks waiting to be taken and flowers to see!
We forgot the candles (do we have that many anyway?)
Saturday April 20th 2013, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Family
An angel food cake was baked.
Parker played and laughed and had a great time Skyping tonight, but singing Happy Birthday was just too over that gotta-be-shy-now edge. He was adorable. And any time we see each other across the monitors now there has to be some flashlight playing: it’s become part of the deal. You…light up myyy liiiiiife…
Hudson, meantime, yawned back at us from his daddy’s arms as if to show his brother how this singing thing is done, and waved his arms and legs and occasionally looked wide-eyed straight into the camera–one time with a smile. His due date was actually yesterday. He already looks so much older than last Monday.
And their parents looked so happy too.