On his side
Saturday January 01st 2022, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

People were vaccinated. People got tested.

And then we prayed hard, took a deep breath, made the decision, and drove. No airports. Cars only. Except for an elderly aunt in southern California who I don’t think drives anymore, the one we were being the most careful for. Masks on all.

Richard’s cousin was having her eight-year-old son baptized this morning and that is a fine reason for people to get together to celebrate.

Her brother and his family did the twelve hours from Arizona.

We did two hours from up north.

Her in-laws came from I have no idea where.

Etc.

I had missed several of these family gatherings due to having had pneumonia or bronchitis at the wrong times and I hadn’t even met her youngest–and he’s in kindergarten now.

(Who’s that guy with the long gray hair?) From across the room, he happened to turn around. (MICHAEL?? Long!? Gray?!?) I made a point of telling him I loved it, because it was gorgeous, and he chuckled and said his sisters had offered rather eagerly to cut it. But he’d been finding he liked it this way.

And so we had a grand old time, with lunch at his sister’s afterwards.

She and her husband had bought a fixer-upper and after a year of work had pulled off a gorgeous job of it, and I’m sure they enjoyed how much it got exclaimed over.

But the best part of course was the visiting, and the seeing the kids in such different sizes than they were, and how interesting they were to talk to.

That view. I instantly saw why they’d fallen in love with the place. (Avocados 4/$1, said a sign near their street.)

Um, that flying saucer thing? That’s someone’s plate and toasted cheese sandwich photobombing against the double-paned glass. Oops. For when Johnny’s sharing pictures of his day at some point in the future.

The lovely old aunt got talking about now vs back in her day, and turns out she’s a Golden Girls fan.

One of the younger cousins exclaimed, Oh! That was my favorite show when I was a kid!



Late to the party
Friday December 31st 2021, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

We had a TV when our kids were young enough to be distracted by Sesame Street while I was trying to throw dinner together. When that died, a friend’s grandma looking to unload her old one fobbed it off on us: picture a huge 1960’s set made to look like built-in wood furniture with a silvery sparkly panel where the speaker was. My parents had one newer than that when I was a teenager. We watched one presidential debate where we debated which candidate was which as they stood there in their wavy-edged shades of green.

When at last we got offered a trip to the dump for it, off it went.

Several years later, our daughter’s friends, finding it unbelievable that we didn’t have a single TV in the house, all chipped in and surprised her at her 13th birthday party with a new one of her own.

The next morning, without texting even being a thing yet, they collectively went, Oh wait–maybe you don’t have one because your parents don’t want one? Do we have to take it back?

We told her, no, it’s fine. But there will be rules. Homework comes first. Etc.

And so our other kids started hanging out in her room with her to watch shows their friends had been talking about.

Later that year, she caught I think it was strep throat–and we had an old VCR still and she wanted to watch a Star Wars movie, so, sure, we dragged it out of the closet and set it up for her.

Look at the colors!!! she exclaimed as the opening started up.

Five minutes in, her low-rung-manufacturer TV suddenly went black. It never came back on. It hadn’t even made it to her next birthday.

We never did get around to replacing it–but our computers eventually pretty much did.

So with that intro: today I found out just how much we all missed out on all those years. Reading about The Golden Girls in random news articles so that at least I knew what it was while it was on the air in no way compares with (and probably everybody but me has already seen this, but) watching The Herring Wars, where Betty White went off script and ad-libbed with a straight face and had her co-stars convulsing with laughter.

Those five minutes were from one of the greats. And she was a lovely, lovely person. She will be so missed.

I’ve never bought a season of a TV series before but it’s time for that to change.



What it was all about in the first place
Thursday December 30th 2021, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

After a day of distractions and things that got done that needed to but that were not knitting, I finally sat down and got a few long rows in on that afghan.

And was surprised at how joyful it felt. Any sense of work or long slog still to go or any of that just fell away and all that was left was, this is beautiful and she’s going to love it so much. So much. I can’t wait.



Because of course you do
Wednesday December 29th 2021, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Family,History

The record for December snowfall in the Sierras has been 179″ for forty-two years.

We just hit 210″ and the month isn’t over, although the current storms probably are–but there’s a new wave arriving Monday. We’re at 70% of normal for the season so we need to keep going, but it’s been a great two weeks.

Meantime, up in the Pacific Northwest, Little Lily lou-who who is no more than two thinks a half dozen inches or so of snow is a very very good reason to ask for hot chocolate. Nonstop.  I am so proud.



Icy what you did there
Tuesday December 28th 2021, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Life

Note to self: next time, finish the row you’re knitting before you go do that flying leap thing.

The top of the freezer is dedicated to ice packs and most of the time I think that’s way overkill but every now and then, just every now and then I think, that’s actually a good thing.

And it really did help. Just hoping my gauge wasn’t too funky while my fingers were frozen. (Yes I did. I’m stubborn like that.)

Meantime, way more fun, a new song for the season: Masked Christmas. Jimmy Fallon playing chess with his golden retriever. Because of course he did.



Ponddemonium
Monday December 27th 2021, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Life

After all that drought.

When the ground is hardpack-dry, water just rolls right off it rather than soaking in.

But when it’s been raining on and off for a week, never too much at once and yet relentless, it apparently starts doing what you’d expect and want: I saw this big pond this morning, ran across the house and grabbed my camera, came back and outside and snapped its picture.

Huh. And considered a moment–and walked back inside and across the house to Richard to show him how much water there was out there (but thankfully not against the house anymore!) and told him the picture was showing the ponding as being shallower than it really was.

Then I walked back outside. I wanted to see if I could get it to photograph better–to show how I’d seen it.

And now it was that much less.

The ground had absorbed it that thirstily and that fast.

On the other side of the house, I have a plastic trash can under the eaves that had a little garden debris in it and its lid had been left off. The roof is dripping on it, but still: it’s full. Of water. It’s full!



Sweetness
Sunday December 26th 2021, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Food

Not that I, for one, need more sweets right now. But I once made a pecan pie with Lyle’s Golden Syrup rather than corn syrup out of sheer curiosity and was surprised to find not only that it worked, it was an improvement on the traditional. Which would be great news to those allergic to corn.

I just stumbled across a recipe for making your own golden syrup. Hey. For a pecan pie, I think you’d want mostly brown sugar in it, and that would merit a close watch but I’ve caramelized sugar enough times to feel I can pull this off. My only question would be, do I buy a couple of traditional lemons or use Meyers from my tree? They have a little orange in their parentage, but then orange and pecans do dance happily.

Stop me now. We’re still only halfway through that Buche de Noel!



Grateful
Saturday December 25th 2021, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends

Knowing that we are cautious about exposure, and knowing we might say no, our friends Phyl and Lee invited us for Christmas dinner.

We did church by Zoom last week because it just felt like a time not to go; it turned out that an out-of-state visitor contacted the bishop a few days later to say they were so sorry but they had covid. I don’t know how big the outbreak from that is but I do know three people who’ve gotten breakthrough infections so far. But at least their cases are being ameliorated by their vaccinations and hopefully they won’t have to go through what I did when the virus was new.

Our friends had gone to quite a bit of effort to get the tests and they were okay.

We decided to say yes, and what can we bring.

Bring yourselves, they said, the rest is taken care of. And so we did.

Turns out they had bought a pre-prepared dinner from the grocery store so as to be able to just put it out there and enjoy the company.

But when they opened it up, everything but the ham had gone bad, had been delivered already bad, and I guess my instinct to call to offer again to bring something wasn’t far off but having no idea why I should I respected their request.

They put in the unexpected effort with what all else they had on hand and pulled off a lovely dinner, and after all the isolation of these past two years a Christmas evening spent with friends was a feast indeed.

There’s a new Shaun the Sheep Christmas special they played for us afterward that I would have bought it for my grands if I’d known. Those guys are so creative! And funny.

A definitely good time was had by all, with a strong awareness of how fortunate we were to have that time and each other.

Merry Christmas and G_d bless us, every one.



It will be an inside job
Friday December 24th 2021, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

I was kvetching at myself for not getting anything done on the afghan all week.

It somehow snuck up on me that, wait–actually, I finished a hat this week, knit another, started a third, and stumbled across a half-done beaded silk cowl and finished that, too, because it was Christmas week and you never know when you’re going to need extras. (Suddenly thinking, y’know, if I’d knit those hats in stainless steel yarn I could have added an inside pompom for a clapper and made my own carol bells. Cool! Watch out next year!)

A very Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, and peace and good will and beautiful music to everyone.

With thanks to Margo Lynn for the heads-up, this is really cool.



When teeth work better than pruning shears
Thursday December 23rd 2021, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knit,Wildlife

A Shaun the Sheep ad for wool, just for fun and so I can find it again.

Remember when I named a lace pattern (after not finding it anywhere else) Rabbit Tracks? Search engines having had their limitations in 2003, I looked for pictures of actual tracks made by rabbits to see if it fit and found no definitive answer–drawings in children’s books didn’t count–so I just went with it.

Well, I got a little help today after looking a little closer at the lace pattern certain claws and teeth were making in the mud out there. Again, it wasn’t quite definitive but it looked like a decent approximation. Alright then.

My yard looks like it has chicken pox and I’ve never seen anything quite like it out there.

So I had this post hopping around in my head gathering momentum about how I guess the whole rabbit thing is okay because they’re eating the weeds that I’ve been trying to fight off ever since the first time they told us not to water our lawns for the previous drought. The grass died. The weeds held a rave.

Worse: a few years ago, my neighbors planted an invasive but decorative tall grass that grows in impenetrable clumps with a bajillion poofy seeds that fly off like dandelion puffs, and all the sudden last summer it was everywhere in my back yard. Everywhere. Despite zero watering. The roots go deep and I found out the hard way that the stalks rip your skin off if you don’t wear gloves and when they’re growing under the thorns of the low-branching pomegranate tree and threatening to outcompete its roots, I had me some doubt as to how far this was all going to go.

Apparently, non-native flora or not, those rabbits really go after the stuff.

And the grass, our grass, real grass, is actually starting to make a comeback because the critters don’t touch it.

I was thinking, hey, I can live with that, as movement caught my eye and I looked across the yard.

A third one.

All in view, point A, point B, point C.

Three. And spring is a long way off yet.

Yow.

Well, they’d better get back to work, then, those shoots aren’t going to get any younger nor more tender. (LEAVE MY FRUIT TREES ALONE.)



During a break in the rain
Wednesday December 22nd 2021, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

Just before Christmas last year our doorbell rang: someone had put a box containing a beautifully-done buche de Noel down on the mat–but then had made sure we would know so it wouldn’t just sit out there. Not everybody risked touching the bell but he did. Hopefully with his elbow.

When I described the person whom I’d called out Thank you! to just as he was reaching his car, and the delight in his face as he turned and waved back, Michelle affirmed that yes, that sounded like him. One of the owners of the bakery. She knew we’d like it.

We did, it was very good–but I have to say that even so, my favorite part was his getting to see the expression on my face as I opened that box and went WOW at their work of art. It was a privilege to see him getting to see how much I appreciated that gift, both from our daughter and from his shop in their efforts.

So you know what happens next, although I didn’t: the doorbell rang today.

Now, one really ought to take the picture before the first pieces get cut off, but, hey, y’know.

There was a tag stapled to the top of the box this time. Door Dash.

And I thought, the world has changed in this last year, hasn’t it. I’m glad that bakery is still here! And glad the guy was able to have help with the delivering this time and that he had too much to do to do it himself.

But still. There was a twinge at not getting to see that friendly face again so that I could say how good these taste, not just look.

We kind of skimped on lunch a bit so we could justify seconds.



Rain times ten
Tuesday December 21st 2021, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Life

(Older picture of it.)

I got an email yesterday that our project was finished. Was there anything I wanted to mention?

Yes, I answered: the big window (about 4’x7′) is lying in the back yard. If you could get that. Plus a bag of debris the painters stashed in the monster philodendron, and a tray that I’m happy to toss or recycle, whichever applies.

And so I got to say thank you to Armando one last time, a tad wistfully, and to wish him and his hat-loving daughter a merry Christmas. I’m going to quite miss all of them.

Tomorrow, though, for the first time in nearly seven weeks, I can sleep in. Mid-week. No alarm. No having to get everything done and my hair dry enough for hearing aids before their 8 a.m. start. We’ll actually have the house all to ourselves!

The final bill popped up and it instantly settled any question as to whether we’re going to dive right into doing the kitchen and the flooring next–I am going to have a little time for sorting and donating and clearing out first.

Somehow I’d found that hard to do with a bit of an audience.

A few hours after Armando left it started to rain and the ten-day forecast chart is a beautiful wobbly wall of blue. Already the inch-age-ness is less than originally hoped, and yet, unlike some of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge years, the clouds made it on through and past the ocean and the water is coming down. We so, so, so much need that. Go rain go.



Happy Birthsday!
Monday December 20th 2021, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends

Happy Birthday to my grandson Parker! And my mom! And my cousin Carol! And my friend Carol! And my friend Sterling! And my friend Jessica! And my friend Lisa! And my friend Julie’s dad!

Okay, who am I missing here because at one point I was counting ten. Clearly, 12/20 was the day to come discover what this life is all about.

(And on a side note, it suddenly occurred to me a few minutes ago that the paint is certainly dry by now and that it was okay to put the wreath back on the front door. Bonus: no pine sap in that one, which is good, because I manage to brush my hair with it every time I walk through the door, and every time I think, And I knew it was there, too. Do other people manage to do this? Or is this just me?)



Post haste
Sunday December 19th 2021, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

I’m totally going to quote Afton here, with her permission.

Her husband was…

“…up and drinking his coffee.

As he was standing on the porch, at 6:35, AM, here comes the postal truck.  To drop off a package filled with very lovely yarn from Alison Hyde all the way from California.  As the startled tall one accepted the package he asked the bleary-eyed postal worker

“Are you the early shift or the late shift?”

And the slightly weaving man answered after careful consideration

“I’m not sure.” And

Turned around, slid into his truck, and sped down the street.

As they said on Hill Street Blues

Be careful  out there”



Go Rod!
Saturday December 18th 2021, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

All the noise and random people walking around didn’t happen today and it apparently seemed safe to venture forth. Look who’s grown some winter fluff.

You know it’s a quiet day when the best you can do is take a picture of a rabbit.

I did get a hat doorstop-ditched to celebrate a friend’s retirement; his wife has bronchitis so I didn’t ring the bell. Instead, I went around the corner afterwards and texted Richard so he could tell the recipient (since they were already on the phone together) to go find his surprise.

Not the party we would all have wanted to throw together, but hey. Love finds the expressions it needs.