Lillian Syvlie
Saturday August 24th 2019, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Family

Our sweet Lily arrived last night, 6 lbs 6.7 oz at exactly one month early. She’ll be in the NICU for a few weeks but she’s beautiful and she made it here and we cannot wait to meet her.

(Edit to correct the typo I didn’t see till this morning: her middle name is Sylvie, after Sam’s dear friend and doctoral thesis advisor.)



Tomato monster
Friday August 23rd 2019, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Garden

What I was noticing was the Big Boy tomatoes under the bird netting that were growing bigger and not being eaten by critters. Yay.

Also, that there seemed to be one area in which the plant hadn’t sent up a major branch.

It had been trying all along, I found out tonight, but the netting had caught on it. But it couldn’t stop it. It curled back down and up and around again as the leaves tucked in tight. I cut and cut and cut away at that netting to let it out to see the world.

All those intertwined loops. I think it knitted itself.



I ran and did that
Thursday August 22nd 2019, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life,LYS

It wasn’t upside down when I took the picture. Nor when I sent it. Again. It’s doing what it wants to do. I think this was Queguay colorway, Malabrigo Mecha, anyway.

See, I knit someone a hat, and looked forward to giving it to him at church.

Didn’t see him. But he’s always there! Nope.

Knit another hat. In case his son visits him again, and you couldn’t leave him out, right?

Didn’t see them.

So last Friday, being at Fillory for the informal knitting group and always feeling like I should buy a skein to pay for my afternoon’s entertainment, I hunched down at the display of Mecha yarn and said a little prayer, a bit of a joke to G_d: See, when I picked out the color he didn’t want to disappoint me so he didn’t come, right? But if I pick out what he wants then he’ll be there, right? So which one should it be?

This skein leaped into my hand. I worked on the afghan while the staff wound it up for me.

Sunday’s coming. It needed to be finished.

I even got the ends run in, just to make sure I don’t get tripped up at the last minute by procrastinating that part.

To be continued.



Moose with dandelion
Wednesday August 21st 2019, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

Not blocked, no daylight for the photo to help the moose show better, and I cast off too loosely in my hurry to finish it tonight and need to go back and tighten that up.

But yes, basically, it’s done and a small part of me cannot comprehend how that could be possible.

It’s either snowing or it’s coming down with chicken pox but I think it’ll do quite nicely.



Oh honey
Tuesday August 20th 2019, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Life

An old Purlescence friend Facebooked yesterday about some honey she was considering at a farmer’s market, and that when she’d learned the source and sampled it she’d bought two. She described it as smokey, caramel-y, with a depth of flavor like nothing else.

I would have gone right past that display without a glance–actually I did at first–at Andy’s Orchard this afternoon but then that well-known picture of the vendors caught my eye and then the jars, familiar only because of Lynette’s post. Hey. Those!

The Honey Ladies’ name has long been passed around on the neighborhood sites as where to go when you have a bee swarm where you really don’t want it. They’ll happily come and put those honeybees to use in a better spot.

She’s the one who saw the guy first and yelled, Hey! You can’t bring that in here!

Which drew the attention of apparently the police thankfully nearby, and of the Gilroy shooter himself: she and her husband were his first targets.

The lady at Andy’s told me that they’d thought they were going to have to amputate her leg but right now it looks like they can save it after all. The woman’s husband took more bullets–but they both lived, their son was unharmed, and they are coming along bit by bit.

So Andy’s is one of the places now selling their honey. Of course it is. That’s what our Andy does. I bought three.

By far the best is the one Lynette raved over.

Checking me out, the lady said, her eyes on me, questioning how I felt about this, You know, a lot of people are afraid of that.

I told her it came highly recommended so I had to try it.

Now that I have, I wish I’d bought more, and I have an extra excuse to go back sooner rather than later before they’re all sold out.

Poison oak blossom honey. From rescued bees.

Who knew, right? Of all things. Even poison oak can leave in its wake something highly good and desirable.

(I’m thinking of my mom’s fierce poison ivy allergy and wanting to say, It’s okay, Mom, it’s okay, I’m fine…)

P.S. I gave Richard some and he called himself agnostic on the issue, that honey simply tastes like honey to him, so then I had him sample their blueberry. He was surprised: Oh! That IS different!



Dr Who?
Monday August 19th 2019, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Life,Lupus

The phone rang seconds before I’d have been out the door to Andy’s Orchard and blew up my plans for celebrating having gotten the mammogram over with this morning.

A strange male voice barked, “Your appointment with Dr. H next week is cancelled!” He sounded almost–I dunno, accusatory?

“Oh okay” (me, wondering, Are you for real?)

“Do you want to come in at 1:00!”

Me, ever so mildly: “It’s 1:08.”

He backpedaled hard. “How fast can you get here.”

And suddenly I’m on for 2:00, with mixed emotions. Fun. Save me the last Kit Donnell peaches, Andy? If there still are any? I gave the last of mine to that potluck yesterday, where they were raved over.

When I showed up, there was a young man at the desk who, when I told him my name, got this terribly sheepish look and then relaxed and laughed a little because I did so he’s okay, really, it’s alright.

And so I went in for my annual no-current-cardiac-problems checkup.

The doctor, who is my age, explained the cancellation in the sparsest of words and strongest emotions: his mom… He had to go see her…

I told him, My dad, too–we answer every call now.

I described my reaction to that new carpeting at church: how it felt much more like when my blood pressure was tanking hard years ago, before he got that under control. But maybe it was just asthma?

Sounded more like the latter to him. But (and I’m writing it here so that I can find it later) he added after a moment’s thought: probably there wasn’t, but if there was any amyl nitrate in that installation it could mimic the chemically similar nitroglycerin.

Holy cow. I’d been given that one single time in the hospital and my reaction to it had triggered the alarms and sent people running to my room–yeah that was a fun day.

Or maybe I just needed to use the inhaler last Sunday. I did.

Did it work?

Who knows, yes?, but I was out of there.

But you know what? It just felt like a relief to know that whatever it is, he knows about it. It’s not all on me anymore.

And he knows I know about his mom now and that my heart goes with him and his family on their long flight home.



As I would want someone to do for my own mom
Sunday August 18th 2019, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

We were at a potluck supper with friends this evening and rather than hanging out for a long time at the end, my husband felt it was time to go. He waited patiently as I wrapped up a conversation. It was definitely early.

I might quietly have conveyed that I’d like to stay a bit longer but somehow I found myself feeling like yes, it’s time (while wondering at myself for that.) And so we thanked the hosts and headed out.

Which means we pulled into our driveway just as our elderly neighbor next door was in hers, needing help. I called out a cheerful hi–and found myself going over to her.

She was frustrated. She was at times fighting tears. I gave her a hug, while quietly wondering how long it had been since she’d had one.

Richard had headed inside so I texted him, Come. He came.

Her car window was stuck down. He got it up.

There was a tool she needed to fix a problem inside the house and he had that tool and went to go get it. He’s a geek–he’s got all kinds of little things like that. When he gave it to her, we both knew she might forget it and we might never see it again–and that that was fine. The message that it conveyed backed up our words that she could call us anytime and know that we were glad to help.

We also found out that her daughter across the country whom I’d been quietly messaging a few times to try to keep her updated about her mom as best I could has cancer.

Just like the mom had had–at the same time I was diagnosed with lupus. Twenty-nine years ago, and we were both still standing right there. That left room for a great deal of hope.

We told her we’d left that dinner early and that now we knew why.

Suddenly she needed a second hug and she got it.



Don’t worry be ready
Saturday August 17th 2019, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Knit

Does anybody else do this?

I’m not one to cast on lots of projects at once. Yarn may be the boss of me but I don’t like it to nag; a hat in the purse and a kids-only-try-this-at-home project is all I want going.

And yet, when something the scope of that afghan is almost done, I scatter those last few days into winding and scouring coned yarn, admiring stuff in my stash for why I bought it in the first place, making no commitments but getting the most likely contenders that needed that bit of prep work in view and drying for the final winding, dreaming away at what they could be as I go and grateful for mill-end stores that help me afford my habit.

Pre-shrunk deep teal baby alpaca/wool and plum purple cashmere are drying as I type.

Thank you everybody for the wonderful words on my Anchorage afghan.



Climb every mountain
Friday August 16th 2019, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,LYS

Went to Fillory to hang out and knit among friends for awhile and it suddenly hit me that wait–this thing is actually somehow almost done!

It’s taller than wide already. It’s certainly stretchy, but in its relaxed state it’s about 41″ wide, whereas I usually consider 45″ square to be the minimum for a receiving blanket.

I didn’t know when I started it small that I would be able to find more of not only that discontinued yarn but that dye lot–and I had no idea those little 50 gram balls would go as far as they have. But then, this is a much smaller blanket than the monster 1700g Rios one was. It’s for the baby to drag around behind her once she’s walking and to take everywhere she goes, and you don’t want big nor bulky for that.

It is 70/30 baby alpaca/mulberry silk. Super soft, not super practical, and yet it leaped onto my needles that first day and demanded to be for that granddaughter.

One friend held it today and swooned at the softness and totally made it feel like I’d gotten it just right–she had no way to know how much she was helping.

I debated out loud about adding an edging; the consensus was, it’s fine as is, especially for a drag-around lovie.

I’m still torn. Maybe add just at the sides rather than all the way around? Because small as it already is, it’s going to go through the hand wash cycle in their laundry.

Where the baby alpaca will want to shrink the fabric. Whereas the soft single-ply spinning means the 30% mulberry silk will make the yarn want to stretch out, most likely lengthwise. Plus there’s the lace parts, which will flatten out wider and who knows how that’ll come out.

The middle part is knitted mostly solid to give a sense of the immense height of the snowy Alaskan mountains above–but also for there to be no yarnover holes right where it’s most wrapped around that baby in that climate.

Really the only answer is to give it a quick rinse and blocking when the main part is done and see what size it is then and call it from there.

But I’m finally at the point where that is something I get to worry about now and it actually surprised me.

Somehow I am only at the start of the tenth ball and there were twenty-one. If disaster strikes and she needs a new lovie like the old lovie (good luck with that–this was seat-of-the-pants designing all the way) I’ll be able to make one. If I don’t add that edging.

Remind me if that does happen, that on that chart I (mostly) used for the moose, I added a stitch’s width to its muzzle because it looked too deer-like.

I’m pretty happy with this.



Survivor
Thursday August 15th 2019, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

This. Is the bike of a lucky man. Friend of my husband’s.

Who somehow had the skill and sheer great fortune that when a car pulled directly in his path on the freeway and then braked, at a time when the motorcycle was doing 80, the rider managed to lay it down well enough so as to be able to walk away. The steel toes in his boots were worn completely off. He’s limping but apparently, nothing broken.

That gorgeous shade of red and black is parked for good where they towed it, because I don’t think it’s going anywhere again.

The crazy-artist side of me wants to ask, if you made that a colorway, if you tried to put a name to both the experience and those colors and encompassed it in stitches to try to make sense of it all–not that wool would stand up where steel did not–what would you call it?



On a 99F day
Wednesday August 14th 2019, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Knit

I at long last got to the overpass (mannn…) and with hardly anybody moving had time to look down and see what turned out to be an upside-down sewage truck on both sides of the freeway, looking impaled by the divider.

I was sure that one was fatal.

Found out later, nobody was hurt. Not even the guy it hit while trying to avoid the one at fault. Yay safety regulations and sheer great luck.

I made it to Cottage Yarns and showed off the Rios afghan and bought my first Dos Tierras skeins in the most gorgeous Solis bluegreens.

I took the other freeway home. Clearly, quite a few other people had diverted, too. But hey, I got to see Katherine for the first time since May, and that was my biggest reason for going: keeping tabs on how my friends are doing. I’m glad I went.

Figs are supposed to be sweetest in the morning. Yeah yeah yeah whatever, I wanted a homegrown fig and I wanted that bit of affirmation of good things created and nurtured and forget the sewer truck effects and I wanted my fig now and I went out and picked a couple and shared with my sweetheart who enjoys them but doesn’t adore them quite like I do.

Well who knew. Figs like super-hot days. They’re their native territory. Could not have asked for better.

I have a bit of very pretty new yarn calling to me.

I need to finish that cream afghan.

Edited to add, I forgot to write what I sat down to say in the first place: I got a surprise in the mail. From Afton. Who’d just been to Peru. It was fingerpuppets she’d bought there. The most perfect souvenir–thank you, Afton!



The best comes after the longest wait
Tuesday August 13th 2019, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Food,Garden

Looking around as things ripen and beckon, I got it half-right last summer: I did need two layers of bird netting for the figs. One to go over the small tree, yes, but the closer-meshed one heaped at the base to keep smaller critters from being able to squeeze in and climb up from below.

The over-netting is held down by old oven racks, a heavy doormat, and reinforced by some flower pots in front of that mass of mesh.

Those flower pots got shoved aside last night. Skunk? Raccoon?

Every fig was still there. I had another perfect one this morning. Soon I’ll have enough at once that I’ll need to stuff them or wrap them and roast them and make a supper out of them and still we’ll have some to share. At last.

To quote Andy Mariani: August is the Sunday of summer.



The first ripe Black Jack of the season
Monday August 12th 2019, 9:41 pm
Filed under: Food,Garden

Fresh figs: Nature’s fruit geodes.



I finally asked
Sunday August 11th 2019, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Life,Lupus

Item 1. They replaced the carpeting at church last week. People were complaining about the smell. It was intense. (I did a mental grin upwards at the late Ski, who’d ordered the previous one ~25 years ago, thinking, at last they’d corrected his color choice. He was so proud of that mismatching green. Shhh.)

I spent much of the time holding very still with not one oxygen molecule to spare. Yow.

This week I was hoping the place would be aired out far better by now–but the answer was, um, some.

I got the doors propped open with a flower pot on one side and a chair on the other before the meeting, but during it found myself having to put my head between my knees. Hey I did better than this last week, what’s up with this. I made a break for it and went for that chair. Yes it was near noon on a summer day and in the sun, but you worry about paying for it re the lupus tomorrow after you make it through today–can’t get to the one without the other.

Jenni saw me and immediately followed me out and stayed by me and asked if I was okay. I searched through my purse I should have used last week but before that hadn’t had to use in years, even if I’ve periodically replaced it at expiration.

I found my inhaler. It helped. Not as much as I wanted, but it helped.

Item 2. I had to go back in to the one of the less aired-out parts to retrieve the Trader Joe’s chocolate goodies from the mother’s nursing lounge at the end.

A young mom was in there: Oh, are you the one that brings those? Thank you so much!

Me: Yes, it is the most fun job–and I take requests.

Her: You always bring my favorites!

I left with a big grin on my face.

Item 3. The upshot: the realization that there was no excuse not to ask. I needed to send out a message to both wards that use that building to make sure there are no serious peanut allergies in either one before I bring TJ’s chocolate peanut butter cups in there. Whether I ever know about it or not, I do not want to leave some poor kid fighting to breathe.

I’ve only brought them a few times but I never should have without making sure first. Checking with the leaders like I did was not enough.

So now I’ve asked.



And it’s the week the Kit Donnells are in. Woot!
Saturday August 10th 2019, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Knit

Hey, Mom, wanna go to Andy’s Orchard with my friend and me?

YES!

I sat in the back as they caught up in the front seat (her dear friend just moved here a week ago) and just about finished the back of the baby sweater a mile from home.

Kit Donnells are some of the best peaches out there–and one of Andy’s creations.

On a total non sequitur, I was mentioning to Holly a few minutes ago about a message Richard got in the early days of DARPAnet, the precursor to the internet.

So I had to go find it: the fractured fairy tale Ladle Rat Rotten Hut. Enjoy.