The kitchen in the attic
Thursday March 04th 2021, 11:06 pm
Filed under: Life

A few moments of, wait, what?

I pictured the balancing act of trying to lift something heavy or awkward in or out of these cabinets. If that place were a business OSHA would be having words with them.

On this one, I started off thinking, wow, you can get an actual mansion for what you could sell a Silicon Valley postwar tract house for–and then I got to the master bath. Where the tile edging on the vanity and up the side of the shower is a motif of lipsticks. With walls the color of–okay, Tammy Faye Baker’s old news, who’s famous these days for outrageous shades of brilliant rosy red on their face?

And then we get to a cute old house that the owners were clearly trying to make over for its big day on the market along with its ADU over the garage.

But someone way mismeasured for that countertop. And you know it’s new, because the backsplash behind it is the latest fad that will age every house it’s in 30 years from now and that home has already been around the block. I did a double take. Go look at that sideways fridge, it’s a hoot, and the cart blocking it from being rolled out is even funnier: you WILL diet. No more pandemic munching for you!

To be fair, maybe it’s the angle of the camera and the corner of the fridge isn’t bumping the ceiling.

But oh, then there’s this one. I’ve always adored stone houses. And with a play structure for the grands, room to run, and the waterfront just far enough away for while they’re little?

I clicked on the street view and thought it was showing the wrong address. It wasn’t; it was just showing what it used to look like.

Man did that house get Cinderalla-ed.

That light-filled addition at the front completely changes the whole character of the thing and it’s just stunning.

Note that the child’s play structure at the side got changed to one for an older child and the trees have grown since Google drove by.

And there’s enough light and space in that atrium that you could grow a dwarf mango in a pot there. Y’know, the important things.



Pony, express
Wednesday March 03rd 2021, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Life

This is so cool. A woman in North Carolina who grew up on a horse farm is volunteering her horses for kids to read to them, and sometimes ride them.

The horses feel loved that someone is taking the time to talk to them and they hold still while they do. The kids feel the attention of the horses with no correcting or feeling judged if they get a word wrong, in a community whose literacy rate needs help.

In some cases where parents cannot get their kids to the horses, the horses have come to them.

If the Washington Post’s paywall doesn’t get in the way, go read it. It’s such a great story.



He got us in hot water
Tuesday March 02nd 2021, 11:47 pm
Filed under: Life

For the record: today, March 2, 2021, the new water heater was installed by JohnA at Water Heaters Only with a six year warranty promised on the thing.

I have never been offered a warranty on one before. We hired the people who only do this one thing because they have a good reputation and they get it done for you that day, but this was better than I’d hoped.

The last time one flooded the master closet it was a Saturday when I was off at Stitches West for what turned out to be the last day my minivan was still running.

This time I was the one who had to deal with all the googling and the calling and the emptying and the cleaning.

The carpeting got ripped out that time and a new floor put in there. We may need a do-over.

There was a pan under the tank and a spigot and it was supposed to empty outside, and it did but there was way more water than it could handle. There is now a wider taller beautiful much more functional pan, not smashed in on the side by the guy putting the heater in over it this time, our beautiful new water heater, and (shout it from the rooftops) it does not have a thermocouple! The part that broke every two years!

The guy on the phone had asked me to read off the model number and when I did, went, Oh, that’s an old one!

(Yeah, it was an old model when we got it that the other guy must have gotten a very good deal on at closeout but we had no way to know that at the time.)

It is amazing how much stops when you don’t have hot water. Yes, Texas, I know, but still.

It is amazing how cold a tub can still be in the morning after three large pots’ worth of hot water off the stove gets dumped in with the chilly stuff when there wasn’t even that much of the chilly stuff.

It is mind boggling how much stuff was in that closet that reached the floor, how much water it soaked up into the clothes that didn’t, how many loads of laundry had to be done (nonstop the whole blinking day), how many things had to be aired out and dried. And oops that hanger with the paper across the bottom is still wet.

I was almost too tired to knit, but I even got a little bit of that done at a moment when I had to just stop right there and put my feet up while the washer washed. One lace motif done. Yay.

So I measured and yes my apricot seedling hit 6″ today. Grow tree grow!



Derelicted
Monday March 01st 2021, 11:24 pm
Filed under: History,Knit,Spinning

An 1829 stone mill in England, powered by the nearby stream (until it wasn’t.)

The Rowan Yarns sign someone threw out the window.

So many broken windows.

Scrolling some more… All. Those. Cones. of yarns, just left there to go down with the buildings, although it says the lovely old stone one might yet be saved.

The chatter on Ravelry, with someone checking their stashed orange yarn from Colourmart and there it was: the tag showing that it had come from that mill.

To quote them as they quoted Colourmart:

“one of our mill suppliers found this yarn in a warehouse they have taken over. They think it may be pure cashmere, but it might just be a cashmere mix (with perhaps wool or silk). It definitely feels like it has cashmere in it to us so we have shown it as 10% cashmere, we think more, but we are selling it cheap, for just a bit more than our wool price 🙂

Sounds like the Hinchcliffe’s take over of Dobroyd Mill in the 90s.”

I said to my Richard, looking at the cones left behind and the descriptions, All that cashmere!

His reaction was, All those moths by now.

And a lightbulb went off.

The tag is so faded. It was a year-end super duper one-off special quite awhile ago where I got a kilo of cobweb weight cashmere, no guesswork on the fiber on that one, for $50 postpaid. (Frankly, it’s a lifetime supply for making wedding-ring lace shawls. In black no less for my aging eyes.)

I remember I bought a second one with no tag, just their description online like the quote above–with a warning that it had some moth damage, so it was even cheaper ($25/kilo I think) and like all Colourmart cones came in its own heavy clear plastic, sealed off. I put it in the freezer on alternate days to kill any bugs, then have their eggs hatch in the thawing, and then to kill those off too. Repeat to be on the safe side.

I’m not sure, but I just might have a cone or two from that beautiful old mill, too.



Not an angora
Monday March 01st 2021, 12:01 am
Filed under: Friends,Life,Spinning

Someone in a breakout room after Zoom church said something to me about someone’s video and I explained about not hearing well without closed captions.

This is someone who’s known me for 34 years but she was astonished, and tried to explain how watching a video works. You just listen! Like we’re doing right now! Not noticing that I’d asked for repeats quite a few times while trying not to dominate the conversation by my deficits.

I explained that my hearing aids need to be replaced, my audiologist just retired, and with the pandemic I just haven’t gotten out there. I have to make do with these for the moment.

Still she stayed baffled, and hearing-splained it to me again how simple it was: you turn on the video and you listen to it. While I was sitting there thinking, wait what? Are you okay?

Then later she said something that was even more off–such that for the first time I found myself counting up to figure out how old she was (80 can’t be too far off) and wondering how her family is doing if this is becoming their normal. Huh.

It was that or be offended. Actually I confess I was, while trying hard not to be–not so much for myself but because I knew it could hurt a friend who has a lot on her plate right now.

It helped that the woman was struggling to remember if she was getting this right. She wasn’t.

I shot off an email to my very patient friend Afton and tried to be over it.

And then the doorbell rang.

It was a new couple from church whom I’d only seen by Zoom with their young son: they had baked us some bread.

I had seen their son helping his mom working on that loaf at the end of the Relief Society Zoom because that’s when the meeting was and they wanted to get it to us before dinner and the timing was what it was, but I didn’t know any of that.

The kid had the bread. The dad was holding…

…A beautiful, big, tawny-colored rabbit about the size of a Maine Coon cat. Who was absolutely chill with having a complete stranger pet it behind the ears and down its soft back. I asked if I should have it sniff my hand first like a dog would want and they said, No, just go ahead and pet him, he’s cool.

Little tufts of light and dark blondnesses wafted into the air.

I mentioned the spinning wheel and the hair scrunchy I once made from a friend’s dog.

They got pretty excited and there are now definite plans to comb the rabbit. It’s not a long haired one but we can make do.

They had no way to know they had totally saved the day. The worry over that thing someone had said who probably really isn’t responsible for it anymore? It went poof with the lightness of bunny fluff floating on the breeze.



Gradations
Saturday February 27th 2021, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Garden

One to five and a half inches. Three were started at the same time, the littlest later and popped up last week.

So I celebrated by planting some of my sister’s Lebanon White squash seeds she sent me, a variety I know absolutely nothing about other than that she likes them, and some zucchini, along with a pepper that one of my friends reacted to the idea last year with, Oh, that’s cool!

And another with, Then what’s the point?

Heatless Habaneros: all of the flavor, none of the pain. Last time I tried they were plantless seeds and a moot point. This time I have those rooting-hormone plugs on my side. The seeds are a year older, but so were the butternut squash and four out of six of those came up.

I still have another two dozen kernels from the exquisite Anya apricots, if anyone else would like to try growing a few; my plan is to go to the post office Monday and after that wait to go out again till after the vaccines we’ll be eligible for in two weeks. Plunk’em in a plug. Get your head start now.



Stone house, Lynne Stone
Friday February 26th 2021, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Life

Anne was right on that last house: it *is* an elevator! Now with photos of a bit of the upstairs, too, to make more sense of the place and with total art world speak to describe how it came to be.

Meantime, here’s someone I’d definitely want to take textile art classes from. Look at those flowers: she made them. With embroidery thread. Bottlebrush plants took her 20 years’ work to get just right, but it helped her figure out what she needed to know to go much faster with the process. Her work is in a museum, as well it should be. Gorgeous.



Butter emails
Thursday February 25th 2021, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Food,History,Politics

The question on everyone’s minds, clearly, is this: does your butter still spread on your bread?

Who expected an outcome of the pandemic to be, and I quote, rubbery butter?

Who knew that farmers fed their cows palm oil? But apparently they do, and in Canada it has become an issue.

Since everybody’s home quarantining, more people are baking, and they’re using more butter than normal, and the farmers needed to step up production to meet the demand.

So they increased the palm oil in the animals’ feed, (bbcnews link) which apparently does work at upping the fat content in their milk.

Making the resulting lipids not traditionally soft at room temperature anymore.

The farmers, after saying, hey, the US and the UK do this too and it’s not new made clear their intention towards us consumers: Let them eat cake.



Astronaut helmets
Wednesday February 24th 2021, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Family

The message: ‘What do you think?’

I clicked.

I guffawed. They even used NASA in some of the poses. I think the space enthusiast has been watching too many Mars Rover segments (with good reason, given that his old team wrote some of the early software.)

‘It would make it hard to get a decent haircut,’ I typed back for him to read when he had a moment in his workday.

I later pointed out that within a week of when such a thing could get here, the 1C segment of the population is supposed to be able to get our first shots in this area.

Oh. (I saw in his face the lovely thought growing that all this pandemic stuff could really, actually, finally end…) That’s right.

Spaceman Spiff, over it and out.



Home sweet –whoops!
Tuesday February 23rd 2021, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Life

Houses again.

Tell me: how is this up to code? You take something out of the dishwasher, you step towards the table to set it, and you’re falling backwards down the stairs.The condition of the wall down there implies you wouldn’t be the first.

Or picture #30 in this one, because don’t we all need space in the garage of our 1.84M house for an almost-new supersized backhoe? With room left over for your tools, bicycles, and a leather couch!

And now! Drumroll. For when your inner unicorn needs its sparkle polished. This one. Michelle calls it a cross between an office and a YMCA. I noted the Ikea-imitating bed in the 7.77M house, the only sign that the thing actually has the bedrooms it says it does.

That figurine knife holder seems to be auditioning for Shakespeare’s, “Et tu, Brute?” line. While the fat chicken smirks.

We debated whether picture 16 was a bathroom or an elevator. Maybe both?

I can’t help but notice that the property tax is estimated at $7260/month and the rental value at $1802/month. I’m just not sure that that works out.



The AI couldn’t get the math right
Monday February 22nd 2021, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knit

The leaves are getting bigger.

Four inches. Curious. At 1/4″ a day if it keeps that up it would be six feet tall by the time it drops its leaves for the winter.

Except that it would be pruned and shaped before that point and all the side branching will take up energy, too. Still. It’s feeling pretty good right now, watching it take off like this.

That one apricot seedling I kept last year possibly got overwatered and stopped growing and I’m waiting to see if it will leaf out at all this year, so it feels all the better to have a vigorous, healthy plant. Last year I gave away the vigorous one, thinking I’d have a more dwarf variant because the other grew slower.

Until it didn’t at all.

Meantime, someone tried to teach a machine how to write knitting patterns. “And it even began to give its patterns names, including Spinches Bottom Up, Squig Dyity, and Owls Punch.”

Interweave warned its readers, Don’t swatch this at home.



When everything is new
Sunday February 21st 2021, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden

I’ve been trying to take progress pictures from the same angle and against that narrow line on the basket where the wood end sticks out like a belt loop between the apricot seedlings. The taller one is now 3 3/4″.

Not bad for something planted January 11; last year it took till April just for them to sprout. Which is why I’m so taken with the plugs infused with rooting hormone that I tried this year–I’m getting a two month head start on my future fruit bearing while hoping that ends up cutting off a year of waiting to see how they’ll turn out.

Meantime, Lillian wanted to know what happened to that white snow stuff and where did this water come from.



Snow days
Saturday February 20th 2021, 11:43 pm
Filed under: History,Life

Things I learned:

If you have a defibrillator, do not put an iPhone 12 in your chest pocket–its magnet is strong enough to turn it off.

If you go camping in the out yonder in Alaska in the winter, take a flashlight with you and look down in the outhouse because you don’t want to be bitten by a bear when you sit. (She’s okay.)

But the best story was the woman who was delivering groceries to a couple in Texas but her car slid down their hilly driveway and got stuck in their flower bed. There were just no spare tow trucks out there.

She got taken in by the couple whom she’d delivered to, offering her heat and power and a safe place to stay, whereas it turned out her own apartment had none of those things and no water. They tried to help with her car but had no snow shovels.

So they took her in as if she were their own, just as they would want someone to do for their own grown daughters. For five days.

I mentioned that one to my husband and he told me his sister in Ft. Worth had taken people in, too. Power, water, warmth, and safety. Because she can. So you do.



And I want to see my grandkids climbing the trees to pick the fruit
Friday February 19th 2021, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden

Anya+? apricot seedlings Thursday, and the earliest and so far most vigorous one on the left there again on Friday 24 hours later.

One of my kids asked me about a year ago why I was so caught up in watching my fruit trees grow and I told him, I raised each of you for eighteen years and then I needed something else to nurture and watch grow and develop across a timespan like that.

He hadn’t ever thought of it that way before but yeah, he could definitely see that.



Burnt bridge
Thursday February 18th 2021, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Life

Here, let me distract you from the rest of this post with a picture of the August Pride peach that is still somehow blooming despite two days of rain since it started to.

My old audiologist told me a year and a half ago that he was going to be retiring and selling his practice, by way of explaining the new guys working with him; they would be taking over then.

The younger guy is a total sweetheart. I wondered if he was out of grad school yet, he looked so young.

The one maybe ten years older sexually harassed the receptionist with me sitting there in the waiting area perfectly capable of seeing what he was doing. The expression on her face was, Get away from me with that.

It wasn’t long after that that she quit.

And then we had this year of pandemic.

I got a call yesterday from a voice I didn’t recognize. It was not the young guy.

I was coming in for a hearing test appointment, he told me, and he was making sure this was a good time.

(???!) I have no appointment… (I did not say, I had a hearing test last week at the medical clinic while they were ruling out a brain tumor. But I knew I had had absolutely no contact with this office since before I got sick with presumed Covid last February.)

Right, we’re making you one and this day this time and does that work for you.

I answered, There is this pandemic going on and we are so close to the vaccines. I’m not coming in before then.

His voice escalated from officious to angry. He blustered. We fully protect our patients…we wear masks…

(Well yes because you’d get fined $500 in this county if you didn’t and I know that as well as you. I didn’t say that.)

It had to have been that guy. I bet he remembered that day just as well as I did and what he’d printed out on the office’s printer and waved close in the receptionist’s face while invading her personal space and that whole little scene and likely the look on my face, the only patient in the waiting room, as he made her flinch. He knew who I was.

I knew who he was.

They have years of my records so I didn’t burn any bridges.

But he had already, and just did again.

My old audiologist used to have an office near here, which is when I met him, but he moved it years ago to have a shorter commute and for me it’s been a real hike across bad traffic to get there. I’ve been wanting to make an appointment with a much closer one for some time so I can get started: they can ask for those records and I can get some new aids. Or at the very least replace the chipped ear mold that has been causing me grief for lo these too many months.

Three weeks till that first shot–if all goes as announced.

While all I can do is to shake my head that man, what a way to kill your business and you can’t blame the virus for it, either. But it was his choice.