A little food between friends
Saturday September 15th 2012, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Food,Recipes,Wildlife

Lemon juice with pears sounded kinda boring, and I wasn’t inspired by it enough to brave the thorns on the lemon tree in the dark. My mom once created a pear-lime pie that won a recipe contest, but there were no limes around. (Gotta get me a tree for that…)

But the idea of sour to balance the intense sweetness of the ripe Bartletts that needed to be used up got me thinking. Yes we did still have cranberries in the freezer. I was curious. And so:


Pear Cranberry Pecan Crisp

2 c quick-cooking oats

~2/3 c brown sugar or to taste

most of a stick of (butter would be better, but for the dairy allergy in the household, I used) Earth Balance, melted

Shakes of cinnamon to taste

about 1/2 c pecan pieces

4 large ripe Bartlett pears, sliced up

About a half cup cranberries. Note that mine were still frozen. I think next time I would mix the cranberries and brown sugar separately before throwing it all together.

Bake in a buttered or cooking-sprayed 13×9 pan at 350 for about 35 min, maybe 40, depending on oven and pan: I waited till the cranberries were split open and cooked to early-mushy-looking; the edges of the pan should be good and bubbling.


I thought I was making breakfast last night when I did this but there was only a very little left by the time we three went to bed. It is safe to say we were very pleased with how it came out.

And on the wildlife front? I set out some suet crumbles this afternoon for the juncos and towhees that don’t care for the safflower in the feeders. A birdy-looking version of crisp, I found myself musing.

A jay showed up to steal the last big clump.

I ignored it. It had probably already gotten the rest of it when I wasn’t looking anyway. Go ahead, stare at me, I know the hawk has recently gotten a taste for jay meat–you’re letting down your guard, you know, you’ve got your face to the window.

Hey! You’re no fun! You’re supposed to shoo me away! It stared, just in front of the food but not touching it, waiting the signal.

All it got was a smile out of me. No, really, I wasn’t trying to feed it to the hawk, I was just curious how long it would take for it to give up and just grab it and go.

Now, one birding site I recently read claimed that scrub jays have a bigger brain ratio and are smarter than squirrels: they not only hide food for the winter, they remember forever where every single morsel went (which is why the squirrels watch the jays. A little thievery between friends.) And so, like the squirrels, you can never set out enough to make the jays be satisfied, despite the fact that in our climate there’s abundant food year-round. Hoarding is in their biology.

I knew it wasn’t hungry. Eh, what’s a little suet between friends. Go ahead. I went back to what I was doing.

It kept waiting for me like a little puppy pleading with me to play the game. Oh, finally, okay, and I waved my arms to give it the good scarecrow try. And at that, it at last scooped up that beckoning beakful, just to let me know it was still the one in charge around here, and flew off satisfied at last.

Glad to oblige.

Claim it
Friday September 14th 2012, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Family,Wildlife

You just missed it, I told Richard this morning; the hawk just chased thataway. (Gorgeous picture at the link. Feather–and fan, said the knitter.)

Kissed him goodbye, walked back in here, and a minute or two later, there it was coming back again, swooping past the porch in front of me and rising up into the olive tree, wings and tail wide. I guess catching breakfast on the fly hadn’t quite worked the first time.

It observed my typing awhile.

Equinox is when day and night are equal; solstice, the shortest or longest day of the year. Next week is fall equinox and I always see Coopernicus more when the season draws close to those four times. It affirms its territory, it claims its place in the world.

By the light.

What Pamela and Sandi did
Thursday September 13th 2012, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Friends,Lupus,LYS,Wildlife

I missed it the last two weeks with that flare going on. I got my blood test results back yesterday–1.9 on the neutrophils is what it was like when I was on chemo for six and a half years, what’s up with that? Going and being in a crowd was just not the wisest thing to do; things are settling down and the bleeding seems to have stopped and the cardiac cough that was bugging me is almost gone too, so, why would I want to risk revving up my autoimmunity by being exposed to anything?

Because it was knit night. And I missed my friends. And Pamela’s moving away soon.

Coming onto the main drag on my way out, there it was. A Cooper’s hawk, quite possibly my male Cooper’s hawk. On the phone wires running just this side of the train tracks, looking down on the road I was on.

And at that moment I felt like everything would somehow be okay.

It was a very good evening to be at Purlescence. (Hey, and if you want a really good lace shawls book *cough* they’ve got it.) I was so caught up in the drama of go/not go that I’d utterly forgotten that Pamela and Sandi had been working on repairing my spinning wheels. Pamela had wanted to learn how for the sake of when she will be far from the expertise of the shop.

One turned out to be ready for me to take home.

Years ago I found a friend-of-a-four-times-removed friend who had bought an Ashford Traveler spinning wheel. Cute little thing. As far as I could piece together, she put the drive band on too tight and couldn’t get the darn thing to spin worth beans. (She also had her roving separated not in lengthwise strips but short fat wads.) Maybe someone told her she couldn’t get a high enough ratio on so small a wheel to make those linen curtains she was dreaming of spinning and weaving?

So. She bought a second wheel, an Ashford Traditional. Uses the same bobbins. Got a distaff for the flax.

They sat in her garage for years till the day we found each other. She sold me everything: her wheels, a goodly stack of books, all her fiber, getitouttahere, $150.

Eighteen years later, my Trad has had a hard life. One kid tried to balance her Welch’s grape juice on it and  stained it a permanent purple puddle; another kid tripped over it and his teenage foot smashed the flyer. That was after the wheel had fallen out of the car and smashed the original flyer and maiden. I bought new parts, again, but after the second blow it was wobbly and a pain to to use–the uprights had a tendency to wiggle apart as I spun and the flyer would simply fall out.

The Trav fared a little better but it was always stiff and arthritic, whatever the drive band. If you pumped the treadle just as hard as you could and then let go, it would turn maybe seven cycles before stopping. I read an article in Spinoff years ago that said it should be closer to 100. As if!

And now the Trav is glorious. It’s scrubbed, repaired, lovely, it works and looks fabulous. They’re not quite done with the Trad, but give them a few days. (Don’t worry about that purple, guys, it’s part of its charm now.)

I can spin again. Do you hear me, life? I can spin my own yarn on my own working wheel again! Thank you Pamela and Sandi!

The cellist’s son
Wednesday September 12th 2012, 10:43 pm
Filed under: History

Learning to play an instrument across one’s childhood teaches discipline and perseverance, the practice of patience towards what will at long last come.

From Karen Bentley Pollick, this: the mother of Ambassador Chris Stevens played in the Marin symphony and he was part of the local classical music world, growing up.

From my friend Diana I grew up with: she served with Ambassador Stevens in Damascus and knew him very well. He was a great man and a dear friend.

Thank you, Dana Millbank at the Washington Post. Thank you John McCain for your tribute.

Thank you to these people of Libya for this.

It was a day for reading all I could, wishing that all the grieving loved ones might know that we grieve their loss along with them, and then I sat down with my silk project and created long rows of stitches to bring a little more peace into someone else’s world. To look forward to that. The day demanded it.

May the memory of Ambassador Stevens and the good people that were with him spur us on to make the world–right here in front of us and the whole of it as well, a better, not worse place. They deserve that. They gave their lives for that.

Just like the cheerful chickadee
Tuesday September 11th 2012, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

One of the charms of the acrobatic little chestnut-backed chickadees is that they like to put their feet together and stab at a seed (which I often can’t see) held between them. Fearless little things, marvels the klutz watching them risking hammer toes from the other side of the window.

Not sure how I missed seeing it before, probably because they don’t have to with hulled sunflowers, but, scrub jays do it, too. I think there are some olives left in that tree. So it was that I got to watch a jay standing on a long 2×2″ that runs along in front of it over at that part of the yard, the bird’s long talons wrapped around the board as that big beak tore away at its prize.

Only–the 2×2 wasn’t completely steady. It moved, the jay lurched, it did a wheelbarrel roll onto its blue head and then its side and scrambled up fast and grabbed its meal to make sure no thieving squirrel had taken off with it. And then stole a peek at me: you didn’t see that.


Stay tuned
Monday September 10th 2012, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life,Warm Hats Not Hot Heads

I had wanted to do this ever since the first time I heard him play: the gifted pianist I’ve seen a few times playing in the atrium at one of the Stanford clinics, creating a place of peace for all who come into that medical building whatever may bring them there.

Wait–you MADE this?!

I designed it, I answered him, as he looked back down at the piano hat in his hands in wonder. I told him the Malabrigo merino was superwash, but I’d put it in a pillowcase before putting it in the washing machine, and his expression was, Oh no, I’m not doing that to it, as he explained he would just handwash it with a bit of soap. With a look of, That’s okay, isn’t it?

Absolutely. Cool. He totally gets it. He was so thrilled. He was so not expecting that. I wasn’t really expecting it to be so appreciated, but he did and he gave me back more than I gave him. Whoever he is, he’s such a good soul.

The man over at the reception desk had his own big smile going on; he’s the one who, after I showed him last week what I was working on and why, told me what day the pianist would be back so I could do that. Clearly he had kept the secret. Clearly he was taking joy in his friend’s joy.

I had knitted it a tad loose, having once knit a piano hat too tight; fair isle work is something I just don’t do all that often and I was trying to keep the floats from turning it into a tourniquet. I wanted it to be able to stretch to fit someone who was bigger than I am.

I didn’t say anything about all that, but there he was, flipping it over to see what the inside looked like and going Oh! at the floats. I don’t know if it was a so-that’s-how-she-did-it, or if he’d seen knitting being done before. He put it on without turning up the ribbing so that it bagged just a bit, and admitted he used to have dreadlocks. I tell you, he was totally rocking that look and will however he may wear it.

I forgot to tell him, if the tag bugs you, it’s just me showing off, feel free to clip it–but don’t clip the yarn holding it on, that’s the cast-off end right at where I started to work it into the fabric. So I’m mentioning it here.

And then I listened a bit till someone else stopped to talk to him, and it was time to beat the start of rush hour. Went off to the post office and sent off a baby alpaca hat to someone facing a life-changing diagnosis and also the now-finished one to Representative Cleaver, with a note of thanks for his shout-out during the Democratic National Convention: he had noticed our group’s efforts to promote peacemaking in Congress, even though he hadn’t gotten one of those hats; I had noticed his recognition of what we were trying to do.

Some days are simply what yarn was created for.

The six degrees of Helen Keller
Sunday September 09th 2012, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Thanks to my cousin Jim passing the word on, I found out that my great-grandfather met Helen Keller. In front of the Mormon Tabernacle Organ that my son has played–so I know just how much sound that thing can put out in person: you wonder if the windows are all going to fall out when the organist really wants to pull out all the stops (which is where that phrase comes from).

Now, let me tell you a story about Heber J. Grant. Born in 1856. He was completely tone deaf. He was also a strong believer that anything he worked hard enough at, he could achieve, and so at one point in his life, he decided he wanted to learn to sing. I mean really sing: he got a pianist friend to work with him, telling him when he had the note right or not and learning by how it felt in his throat because his ears just had no clue. Memorizing, practicing, because after all, music was an important part of the church services. He got to where he had a repertoire of three hymns that he was assured he was doing well.

And then they announced he was going to sing a solo in church.

The pianist played the intro. He joined in.

The congregation suppressed twitters all around–the oops moment of being caught off guard and reacting in spite of themselves.

He soldiered on, got through it, sat down, and leaned to the pianist, “Didn’t I sing that right?”

“Yes, you did,” she whispered back. “I played the wrong introduction. I’m so sorry!”

Rhythm, pitch–he’d had no idea.

His youngest daughter was my grandmother with perfect pitch.

Sitting in the front row at that Tabernacle building is where, at an annual, long-scheduled Grant family reunion that was held the weekend of Gram’s passing at 96 (I think she let go then so that we could see more relatives in the extended family), I heard for the first time her father’s voice. It had been remastered from a very old recording for that reunion and all of us out-of-towners would have missed it had the funeral been held at any other time.

Singing.  My tone-deaf great-grandfather was singing one of those songs again in his great old age. It sounded like an old man’s voice, but he only hit a few notes wrong. I would not have known he couldn’t hear better.

Wow. Just, wow. Helen Keller held his hand and didn’t let go. He guided her to that organ console in front of all those pipes. Alexander Schreiner belted out that hymn for all he was worth and they got to hear it as they could, together.


Edited Monday to add: I finished that post, went off to bed, and the obvious suddenly hit me: Helen Keller had learned to speak like my great-grandfather had learned to sing. By how it felt.

My yarn is the boss of me. Again.
Saturday September 08th 2012, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Warm Hats Not Hot Heads

The third hat this week is done and it’s ready to go to Congressman Cleaver. My photos and blog aren’t playing together–I want to show some of this stuff off!

Well anyway.

I was walking in the room where some of my stash is, wondering what to make for yesterday’s physician who cleared a path in her schedule when I needed her, and some Colourmart silk in a shimmery ice rose practically threw itself into my hands. It wasn’t what I was expecting; I questioned it; I have a lot of different yarns and colors, and it’s actually easier to knit wool than silk, from a purely selfish point of view. And silk might not be the most practical thing for a mom of young kids. And do I know if that’s really her color?

It listened to me stating all my objections like a patient mom in the kitchen with a teenager with their arms folded. And then I caved. Size 4mm needles and I’m off.

Finally in
Friday September 07th 2012, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Knit

This morning:

Can you get in here right now to the lab and we’ll put a stat on it? And then appointment at 1:00.

Sure thing.

It didn’t really make sense to go home in between, turn around and come back, so I threw an extra 100g skein of yarn in my knitting bag just in case.

And so, after talking to various people on the phone all week, the GI doctor taking emergency calls today welcomed me in–with great apologies at the wait, and then another wait in the middle as she had to dash out to answer someone, but I told her, I’m just grateful you saw me, thank you!

But one of the first things she said when I got there was, Last time I saw you you were in the hospital!

And I said to her, Your baby’s three now?

She was very pleased that I remembered she had been pregnant. (Secret guilt here that I’d never knitted for her new little one.  I am going to make up for it now by knitting for her–not out of guilt but because I’ve always wanted to, and now I have an excuse again.)

We discussed. Not the stream of blood while changing the dressing but not gone either.  She tested: tender here and here, yes, but not really bad and I know really bad. Hmm. Tell you what, she said, I’ll put in a non-urgent request for a CT, and they’ll get you in in the next two weeks; if you don’t need it, cancel. If you need it a whole lot more than you do right now, call me and I’ll mark it urgent and they’ll get you right in.

I asked, and she said there was indeed a new med on the market since the Humira that might be a possibility if it turns out I need it.

There is?! YES!!! She told me the name and I said I’d go Google it; no, says she, I can get you more information than you can get by Googling, here, wait a second and I’ll go get it for you.

Came out of there with a plan and a knitting plan and happy anticipation at telling her thank you for the simple human comfort at being seen in all the ways I’d needed it. Life is good.

Just bake-cause
Thursday September 06th 2012, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Food,Knit,Politics,Warm Hats Not Hot Heads

The lace hat I was already working on yesterday when Representative Cleaver was speaking is finished. The cabled hat that I dropped two stitches at the needle switch awhile ago is now finally ripped way back and restarted: he’s getting a cabled hat and it’s back to halfway done so far.

Had quite a few laughs at the typos in the closed captions during tonight’s convention. John Kerry, it claimed, said: “We do batter where we must, peace where we can.”

That was even better than the spoken “a man and a woman” scrolling across the screen as “a minimum bomb.”  Let’s all go have that proverbial Army-fundraiser bake sale! (As the cold-war saying goes, it’ll be a great day when the schools get all the funding they need and the Army has to hold a bake sale.) Batter up! Bring on their just desserts! Robert Fulghum once wrote about how great it would be if we could stop wars by dropping from the planes colored paper and crayons, a bit of childhood delight revisited to make friends with the enemy below. I guess he’s saying we could let people have the means to draw down the fighting.

Add in some carrot pecan cake and some chocolate chip cookies, too, and surely you can’t go wrong with that.

(p.s. And maybe you’ve already seen this, but how many handknit lace fences are there out there? With thanks to Betsy Bowman for the heads-up.)

How did we miss him?!
Wednesday September 05th 2012, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Politics,Warm Hats Not Hot Heads

Did you hear that!? Knitters?! I sent messages to Ellen and India.

Emanual Cleaver, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and a House Rep from Missouri, got up before the Democratic National Convention today and proclaimed, “We need warm hearts. Not. Hot. Heads!”

I was stunned. Thrilled.  He cribbed our line! Cool! They DID notice in Congress!

I immediately wondered, who knit his? Surely he got one (and that if he didn’t we needed to fix that fast.) So many of us knitters made those hats for members of Congress in our campaign last year to get them to cooperate with each other in mutual respect and kindness, to say to them that no matter who we each were in our own politics, we wanted to make a statement that the too-dominant lack of mutual respect did not represent us well and, as I liked to think of it, we wanted them to put a lid on it.

Some thought it a waste of time. Some just didn’t have the time just then. Some did one, maybe two, with each one making a difference: how many people ever see, much less get offered, a handknit hat, and created just for them? Some threw themselves into the cause. The more hats that arrived, the greater the sense in the thank-you notes that came that, at least in some offices, our voices and our stitches were being received warmly.

Gratitude makes the hearts grow fonder.

I found Ellen’s spreadsheet. We got all the members of the Senate but not of the House and somehow Representative Cleaver didn’t seem to get one.  Wouldn’t it be great to help him reiterate his point that was our own all along? Wouldn’t it be great to send him a box of handknit hats to pass around, or maybe to send to the people that were missed last time around, but at least, we’ve got to have one for him. I think I might have some wool around here somewhere….

There it goes again
Tuesday September 04th 2012, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare

There. No question. No real surprise after the bellyaching of the last two weeks.

My gastroenterologist is on sabbatical till the end of the month. Of course. The new nurse I talked to–well, she tried. After I described the problem re diagnosis of blood hitting air and oxidizing, and this morning there being absolutely no question but it was difficult to gauge volume for that reason…she stopped me with, Did you have any rectal bleeding?

Let me explain to her again why I can never have that again in my life.

Let me explain the Crohn’s+lupus thing.

I’ve got a ton of knitting and writing to catch up on.

(Update Wednesday morning: I simply wasn’t home yesterday, with errands that had to be run, so I never did talk to the doctor; the same nurse called back this morning and totally got it. Today is enough better that we’re holding off on the barium x-ray for the moment.)

Labor Day
Monday September 03rd 2012, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Got to Kings Mountain this morning, talked to Mel and mostly Kris this time, her turn. Brought them chocolate hazelnut torte–and you should have seen the look on her face when I affirmed that it was flour-free and celiac-friendly. YES! (I got it right this time.)

One of the customers stepping into their booth area–I exclaimed Oh HI! and she did a doubletake and then Ohmygoodness!

It was Michelle’s old sixth grade teacher. The one who had believed in her, pushed on her, and, Michelle told me when I got home, had changed everything. Changed her study habits, made her realize which direction she wanted to go in as her middle school friends were making choices good and bad, made it so she ended up where she did, graduate degree and all, it was Mrs. Garcia who had changed everything–and right then, it was clear Michelle wished she’d gone with me.

The Kunihiros had, for the first time, made yarn bowls. I didn’t buy one because Holly gifted me with a red one from another potter awhile ago, but I got to see a couple of women buying the ones today and got to ask them, Oh, are you a knitter?

That’s a sentence that will make you a friend on the spot. They loved it and we talked yarn a moment.

The Kunihiros have a few sheep now, and Kris and I talked breeds and wool and alpacas a bit.

As I was getting ready to leave, Kris suddenly had a thought: would I like some water?

I didn’t want to deprive them…

Mel, walking over to their cooler and lifting the lid to show me the bottles: We have 24!

Well then. And then I admitted that, with no colon, I am under orders to drink 8 oz every two waking hours forever or my kidneys will fail, and that I had taken my husband’s car, which is easier to maneuver and park up there, but had forgotten to put water in it. I always carry some with me–except…and so I  was very very grateful for the offer.

It had just suddenly seemed what she should do.

And a good time was definitely had by all.

Then this evening, there was our neighborhood’s annual block party. Helene was there, and I was telling a few of the parents of teenagers in one little group that she was the woman who had gotten my daughter’s phone number out of her while she was still lucid, lying in the street, and had called me: riding her bike to school at 13, my oldest had been racing to catch up to her brother, flipped her bike, landed head first, broke her helmet and then broke her shoulder as she rolled.

And that’s how we got to know Helene.  We thanked our kids for actually wearing their helmets after they were out of our sight. Last I heard, the elementary our kids went to still has hers on display: this is why we wear these. (Those parents tonight wanted to give their kids a story about helmets they would listen to.)

Helene was gratified at being the hero again, all these years later, and gave me a hug.

Once a year. Kings Mountain and right here at home. We see each other once a year and stop, and take the time, and be together, and talk.

We should do this more often.

Just out of the oven
Sunday September 02nd 2012, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Food,Recipes

Here’s my version of chocolate hazelnut torte, and I would show you a picture if only my blog and camera were playing nicely together today. If you loved fingerpainting as a kid, this is for you.

9″ springform pan (thank you Don and Cliff!), the bottom covered with parchment paper and then the bottom buttered or with a no-stick baking spray on it. Oven at 325.


10 oz really good bittersweet chocolate. This is 22 squares from a Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bar.

6 eggs, separated

1/2 lb toasted hazelnuts*

1/4 lb toasted hazelnuts*

1/2 c sugar

2 tbl sugar

1 c powdered sugar (Whole Foods carries one without cornstarch for the corn-allergic)

1/4 c. cocoa; I use Bergenfield’s Colonial Rosewood by mail from New Jersey

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 c butter or coconut oil.**

2 tsp bourbon vanilla

In Cuisinart, pulse 1/2 lb toasted hazelnuts. Once it’s at the nut meal stage, add cocoa and salt to fine sand but not nut butter. Set mixture aside.

Hazelnut paste: in the now-empty Cuisinart, pulse 1/4 lb toasted hazelnuts till fine; add egg yolks and confectioner’s sugar and whirr a bit more. Do NOT add the yolks before the hazelnuts are ground alone–it is very hard on the motor and you might be buying a new machine, but after they’re ground, it’s a lot easier and a lot shorter, you’re just mixing.

Melt the chocolate: in my 1300 watt microwave, I do full power for 30 seconds, stir, 20 seconds, stir, then 10-second increments, carefully. Chocolate burns very easily so it’s better to let it melt as you stir then to try to get it to melt more first. Set aside.

Beat egg whites, gradually adding in 2 tbl sugar; set aside.

Beat butter, 1 c sugar, and vanilla till light and fluffy. Add in the hazelnut paste (it will be sticky), then the melted chocolate. Add in the first hazelnut mixture. Then, and this is the fingerpaint-fun part, mix those beaten egg whites into that heavy mixture, and really, the only way to do that after the first bit of trying with the wooden spoon that feels like someone tried to Jimmy Hoffa it with a cement block hidden in there is to just go squish it through your fingers as gently as you can till it’s as mixed as much as seems reasonable.

In my dark nonstick pans, it’s 325 for 45-50 minutes. Let cool, refrigerate overnight before cutting into it. Original recipe I worked from said bake 50-55 min but I found that too much in my pans.

If you want a sweeter cake, the original recipe had 1/4 c more sugar than I use.

I actually prefer this without ganache: it stands on its own, but if you want that extra, go to the glaze recipe here.

*To toast hazelnuts, bake at 350 for 14-15 min. Rub the skins off as much as you can after baking: they give a bitterness, but they also help keep the nuts from going rancid before you buy them.

**Note that coconut oil gives a good texture to the finished cake, but if you use hazelnut oil it will be all in crumbles. If you use coconut oil, you will taste it, and whether that’s good or bad is up to you.

(Updated 10/26/13: a little less sugar, a little less fat. Was 1 c and 3/4 c, respectively.)

Saturday September 01st 2012, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Friends,Life

It’s Kings Mountain Art Fair weekend and I’d been looking forward to seeing Mel and Kris.

Only his name was on their artist list. It’s always been both their names, and I noticed that.

I got there just after four: enough time to visit before the 5:00 close (and after the crowds would have gone way down), hopefully not too much sun. It is amazing how deep and how everywhere the shade is in a redwood forest.

Mel exclaimed in delight when he looked up and saw me. I did too in surprise when I realized that was one of their now-grown sons with him: “OHMYGOODNESS! You aren’t little anymore!”

They laughed. His son glowed, just absolutely glowed, when I told him how beautiful their work is. I know he helps with their production and I’m glad he got to see the appreciation in person. And he remembered me! He wasn’t very old last time I saw him.

Kris wasn’t there.

Cancer last year–and they’re sure it’s totally beaten now, she’s okay, she’ll be here Monday.

!?! I’d had no idea. I just knew that I absolutely had to go to see them, no matter the sun, no matter anything. Monday, Crohn’s flare willing (it’s minor so far), I’ll be there.