The Maine idea?
Friday February 28th 2014, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Non-Knitting

Anybody else own these? Anybody else with any experience who can weigh in? Or know anybody?

It’s not just the fact that the bottoms are white, which is a new thing to me. And one would notice that part more because of that. They do come a little far forward from the rest of the shoe compared to my other Birks and I’m afraid of tripping over them–so far, I’ve only tried them on so I don’t know.

I bought them via Amazon and Amazon directly and not a third-party seller; I noted that the promise on their page of free returns vanished after I’d placed the order. Huh. Note to self: save a screenshot. Who knew I would need to.

The price was $107 off so clearly they were someone else’s return, and I don’t mind because they seem to be the real thing and brand new. (Not to mention the price jumped right back to retail after they arrived.) But after trying them on, I went Googling for images to see if mine were an anomaly? After a quick glance, they don’t seem to be.

They’re growing on me–I do need a pair of closed-heel shoes, unlike all my other Birkenstocks, and these will do quite nicely. And they do need to be Birkenstocks: the shaping across the bottom of the foot steadies my shaky balance.

It’s just–I’ve never had a pair of shoes before with buck teeth.

Stephanie in San Francisco
Thursday February 27th 2014, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Knit

For those who haven’t heard, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee will be doing a booksigning at Books Inc in San Francisco next Thursday night.  I called ahead to reserve a copy of her latest book to make sure I’d get one; you never know when it comes to non-knitters running a knitters’ event.  Always fun to see their jaws drop at the turnout she gets. See you there!

Wednesday February 26th 2014, 11:36 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

It rained today! And is supposed to continue the next few days. Cold and wet and so desperately needed.

It’s been bugging me that I didn’t give due credit Saturday night. When we were taking the scooter apart at the convention center, I stood up from it and grabbed its seat to put it in the back seat of the car, but my balance being what it is I was immediately staggering hard against the back of the car instead. The woman who’d been admiring my shawl raced to go help as best she could: by opening the passenger door for me.

I needed to wrangle the seat into the back passenger door first and there was a moment of wait oh that one, but I was exceedingly grateful that she was trying to make a difficult task easier for us as best she saw to do.

I so empathized with her sense of loss that her chance at getting that pattern was going away, but the generosity of her stepping forward was a big part of why I swooped that book out of the scooter’s basket and signed it for her. One stranger doing a good deed to another and in return.

But she deserved more credit than what she got that night as I was trying to write up the day’s Stitches events quickly and collapse in bed. This post is overdue.

New beginnings
Tuesday February 25th 2014, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,My Garden,Wildlife

The plum tree mid-bloom. Such a flimsy looking little thing and yet it will soon offer so much fruit. I got a note from a friend that she was saving plastic produce clamshells for me: ready to thwart the raccoons and squirrels again?

Oh yes please thank you!

And to help keep the smaller critters at bay… Yesterday Coopernicus perched on the fence, watched me for several minutes, then spread his wings wide and swooped right on over right next to the window.

Got any snacks under that picnic table?

Afraid not. They all fled awhile ago, hon.

Today I saw him on the wooden box–how did he get there without my seeing him coming!? Oh wait. That’s a hawk’s specialty.  Then he fluttered on over to the back of the chair there, looked at me and said something tongue in beak: I can only guess it was along the lines of look, lady, some of my best hunting is in that alcove and if you don’t fill the little feeder there as well as the big one I’m going to have a harder time keeping my lady fed in style.  Can you help me out here?

Sure, right on it.

And on a side note: my father the art dealer has a really cool column up that I thought I’d mention. Cecil B. DeMille, when remaking his Ten Commandments movie in color, commissioned a painter to envision fourteen scenes for him to work from, and all these years later Dad immediately recognized and confirmed for the owners who that painter was, the scenes having been left unsigned. The same who painted George Washington in the famous “Prayer at Valley Forge.”

Here, I’ll let Dad tell it.

I definitely had something to chauffeur it
Tuesday February 25th 2014, 12:00 am
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life

Michelle had a long day today with three appointments in two cities, a bit much for her at this stage in her recovery from her accident and so I offered to drive.

After all the years I played taxi mom, it was in a way an odd thing to be back in that role, hair gray now, my daughter towering over me. But it meant I had a fair amount of time to sit and work on my current project that I so much want to get in the mail and on its way to the person who needs it.

So now it’s almost done–and then I’ll be able to dive into the new Stitches yarn my fingers are so antsy to get to.

The rose-colored shoes
Sunday February 23rd 2014, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life,LYS

DebbieR and her husband stopped by! She surprised me with an oven mitt she’d made me–no more burned hands and no more flipping blueberries at Richard and we all had a good laugh together over that. It was very kind of her. We had a too-short but sweet visit.

The best part of Stitches, with Kris my potter friend helping me figure out what was being said in that loud echoey room, was when the announcer came on to say that the lost engagement ring belonging to this person in that booth had been found–and the whole convention center burst into cheers and clapping, thousands of people wishing the couple every happiness forever. I added the echo this time.

And there was one other thing yesterday that I’ve been mulling over how to say without invading their privacy. And–I could be wrong. And yet….

They’ve been vendors at Stitches for a number of years now. I have bought a little from them but not a lot, much though I might want to; I’m certainly not their most frequent customer. But yesterday when the crowds were down there was room for my chair in there and I wanted to see what they were up to these days. So I ventured in.

His face seemed–distracted, inwardly so, as if a bit lost from the crowd. In pain, is how it felt to me.

She, not the more gregarious one in the past, struck up the conversation, feeling the edge of my soft Lisa Souza-yarn shawl and telling me what a pretty color it was on me.

I kind of laughed, held up a foot with a deep rose Birkenstock Fayette on it and said, “And it even matches my shoes.”

“Ah. Women and their shoes.” Something in her voice–it was by no means disdainful, it was a knowing of humanity and loving it in all its foibles.

It was not the voice of the saleswoman I would have recognized from the past.

But I said, “No, actually, I have the feet of a man.” (I didn’t add, and then some. EE-wide.) “This is the first time I have ever been able to buy a shoe just because it was pretty, that was purely frivolous.” And I silently marveled at it and she did too for my sake.

I admired some of their newest yarn but when I tried to imagine justifying it to Richard, I could not; it was a quite good price for what it was but it was still well beyond me this year, and I put it back down as she engaged me in conversation some more, both of us enjoying each other’s company in the moment, knitter and longtime familiar face to same.

Something was…different.

At one point I saw the two reaching out for each other’s hand for just a moment’s touch and it seemed so pure and so private and so intense that I felt I was an interloper and, happy for them, wheeled on.

Richard had come early the day before when he was picking me up and had waited while I was oblivious and I wasn’t going to do that to him the second day; right at 6:00 I was at the doors, not knowing the freeway was a parking lot and I could have had more of my once-a-year time talking to friends.

She brushed gently past on her way and turned to get my attention and wish me all the best, holding me in her eyes a moment, connecting one last time before I left, that most beautiful handknit hat on her head.

With, I finally noticed as she continued on her way, no hair showing at all from underneath it. Suddenly I knew. I would have given anything to race after her to go befriend her anew and beyond the pleasantries of the day, to tell her husband that my husband would understand, that I had come to Stitches five years ago needing to put myself squarely back into humanity and friends and creativity and life! two weeks after being so very ill that none of the medical personnel had thought I would survive–but I had, and she would, she had to, if I could she could, please be well.

And please know that my prayers now go with you both. I am so glad I got to see you. I’m sorry I didn’t see sooner.

And I’m also not. Because for those wonderful moments you created for me you didn’t have to relive all that but just be.

Stitches, day two
Sunday February 23rd 2014, 12:32 am
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life,LYS,Wildlife

I got off to a later start than I’d intended. Because I was walking down the hallway towards the front door when I looked up.

It’s been at least two years since I last got to see a pair of Cooper’s: the female picked herself up forty-five minutes after hitting the neighbor’s window, by his account, but she was never seen by any of us again.

Today, looking up through the skylight, to my very great surprise, there they were, two gorgeous raptors at the tipsy-top of the silk oak next door towering over that yard and ours, swaying in the flimsy uppermost branches, one flicking its tail for stability from time to time, the sun shining directly on their orange chests. King and Queen of the Mountain.

They were courting. Wow! I called to Richard to come see, too, and he came immediately, but before he could get there the two hawks dove thataway in perfect synchrony.

At Stitches: the brother-in-law of the Antonio I know introduced himself at the Malabrigo booth. He was thrilled with his new scarf and insisted I take some of a new test yarn they had.

He had no way to know that his apricot matched the color of the chests on those beautiful hawks just earlier. So perfect.

Allison at Imagiknit was wonderful as always. If you ever want to know what Malabrigo’s up to next, her store is their American flagship.

Susan at Abstract Fibers and I connected again today; I adore her and oh my, such beautiful dyework. She sent me off with some Valentine.

Kris and Mel and Ben and I chatted some more.

I went back to the Cephalopod booth, where I had almost…almost…and then stepped across into Karida’s space yesterday and away from her temptation, but I told the woman, “That skein haunted me all night. I had to come back and get it.”

She was amused and surprised and gratified. “It haunted you?”

“It haunted me,” this time picking it up with no intention of letting it go back on that wall. The Rainbow Gum Forest photo I’m seeing on her page doesn’t begin to do it justice (it’s the skein at the bottom of my picture), but I can only hope I will.

I bought some baby alpaca from Lisa Souza. I always do. I always will. With silk this time. I wanted so many of her yarns that it stumped me and I just bought the one in Joseph’s Coat.

Teresa Ruch had some tencel in the most intense, shiny shades of deep rose that was probably *the* most elegant skein I saw at all of Stitches. But laceweight tencel is not my thing. I had thought it was silk, and I put it back, quietly disappointed.

We talked a little, and I told her of a bamboo blend I had made into a shawl where the bamboo had been slippery–and it had quite easily snagged way out to                                                    here. And then some. (Like, a foot.) I can fix such things, but yow it was a bear and it had made me highly reluctant to try bamboo again. Granted, the openness of the lace had probably contributed to that, but…

She took that as a challenge: she showed me how hers was spun and why it thus wouldn’t be likely at all to do that. When I told her that I knew bamboo could be from the inner or outer part of the plant, that that affected softness greatly–and it’s never labeled as such and you have no way to know, she joined in with me on the last part of the sentence and affirmed as I ended with, unless you feel it in person.


And with that she decided she wanted me to be convinced enough that she pressed some of her 4 oz/227 yard hand-dyed turquoise in my hands, a lighter color than many of hers are, a bit of purple added in, a beautiful yarn, and asked me to try it out.

I so wasn’t expecting that. I certainly will.

Stitchsisterz had round balls of 100 g/400 yards of cashmere for $25 that was perfect as the carry-along strand to a likewise-fine baby alpaca/silk I’d wanted something to go with–and as I paid for it, the second woman in the booth scooped a copy of my book out of my basket and without even asking the price looked at the one printed on the cover and handed me $25 right back and would I sign it? Um, twist my arm? Thank you!

Jimmy Beans Wool was across from Lisa, and I wasn’t even going to dare look–but that one colorway of Madeline Tosh yarn required I go over there to see closer up. They told me that MadTosh had custom-created Technicolor Dreamcoat for them.

Twenty years ago I knitted a Kaffe Fassett coat in 68 colors that my husband called his Technicolor Dreamcoat. Or sometimes his Joseph’s Coat. Are we sensing a theme here?

I just got the one–really trying to be good this year, honest–and it was showing at the top of my bag as I sat in that chair as I wheeled around and I had random people asking me repeatedly, WHERE did you get that?! (Which also happened when the Valentine’s was at the top, and when the… It’s all good, all of it.)

I later said to Kris, “You can go to your local yarn shop and maybe find a yarn that almost, almost is exactly what you want. Then you come here once a year and you can find”–and we said it in unison in both word and arm-sweeping gesture, “EVERYTHING!”

Then as Richard and I were taking the scooter apart at the curb cut, some random woman in the deepening dusk saw by the last of the light and from the convention center the Wanda’s Flowers shawl I was wearing and exclaimed over it. Really exclaimed over it. Like, this was the thing she had been looking for all day type of exclaiming over it. Richard said, “Yeah, it’s one of her designs,” as he hoisted the scooter up and in, as I said, “Yeah, it’s Lisa Souza’s yarn” (thinking in the moment that that’s what was so pretty. I was wearing it in her Foxglove color, baby alpaca.)

The woman looked just speechless that we were leaving, and that shawl was going away, and she would never find it again, and and and, and I said, “It’s my last day, I’m not coming back,” (as I told Mel and Kris earlier, I’m too Mormon to shop on Sunday–they laughed) and I whipped out a copy of the book, read her nametag, confirmed the who to, signed it, and handed it over to her as she stood there stunned and speechless and happy and trying not to lose which page that shawl was on. I was pretty sure she’d be able to find it again.

And we rode off into the very last of the sunset.

Stitches day one
Saturday February 22nd 2014, 12:11 am
Filed under: Knit

Pictures after a little sleep.

Richard took a bit of time off work and got me to and from Stitches so I wouldn’t have to wrestle the chair. He’s my hero.

Reading Facebook posts later, it was amazing to me how many booths I’d entirely missed seeing and I am very glad I get to go back tomorrow. As Mel and Kris put it, This place is HUGE! (And Mel added, And there’s so. much. YARN! and I laughed.) I got to re-meet their son Ben, no longer the little kid from way back when but a gifted artist himself.

I got a few of their pieces, including replacing a honey pot my nephew broke (poor guy. He was upset, I wasn’t. Things happen.)  Some new bowls came home, too, and two mugs Nina had ordered. Beautiful, beautiful work.

I found the Buffalo Wool people to show them the cowl I’d made from their $10 don’t-buy-this-you’ll-be-sorry skein-rejects Halloween sale; I had been dying to know. So I asked Ron, Can you tell me which of your yarns this is? Because it doesn’t seem to be listed on your site.

He instantly knew: Moon. (I just looked it up on Ravelry: 25% bison down, 75% tencel.) It had been made for them at a mill on Prince Edward Island till the place shut down four years ago, and since then they’d moved all their milling to the US but that particular yarn hadn’t been made since then.

The mill on Prince Edward Island is gone?!

I told him that when my folks had retired and packed up their house after about 40 years there, Mom had come across a box in the basement and had wondered, Where on earth did this come from?

Oh I knew. I remembered it. I’d used some of it as a teenager. The mill at Prince Edward Island. Natural, light yellow, light orange, darker orange–I’d granny-squared a hat and scarf from it in junior high. (They were too scratchy to wear unless it was really really cold, but when it is, the scratchiness actually helps keep you warm. I learned something new.)

Huh.  Looking down at the cowl in my hands, so I had knitted PEI yarn again without even knowing it, and one would definitely be okay with this against your neck. That’s really cool!

Someone came in halfway into the conversation, and turns out she’s the one who’d dyed my skein. She too knew exactly what it was and when–and she was quick to tell me it’s not hard to overdye if you don’t like that shade of limegreen; I grinned and told her my website is named spindyeknit.

Ahhh… Okay!

But I dunno that I ever would. It has a history now and character. I’m quite delighted.

Someone said hi and with my face blindness that makes it difficult to recognize people I seldom see, I had not a clue and was very sorry that I disappointed her. She told me her name and my brain was pleading for context; she got away from me before I could make up for my lapse, and if she reads this, my apologies, and thank you very much for stopping to say hi.

Things quieted down in the late afternoon and I found myself in The Sassy Sheep booth with just the two women running it. I didn’t recognize them, and after 20-odd years of Stitches I do recognize the regulars; they told me that this was their first time here.

I said something to the effect of, it’s quite something, isn’t it? They exclaimed in unison, “Yes!”

It’s our Disney World.

We swapped stories, connecting knitting experiences to places and times in our lives, when suddenly a skein of yarn was being stuffed in my basket from behind: Twinkle, a merino/silk/sparkly stellina blend in the deep, deep greens and turquoises and deep blues and glittering ice of Glacier Bay as the dyer told me of what an incredible experience it had been to get to go there and see that place:  she urged me, “Go. Play!”

Oh wow! Oh you bet. Thank you!

I took the copy of my book back out of my basket that she’d been admiring earlier and, pulling out a pen, asked her her name.

(Both of them gave me their cards and I will edit their names into the post tomorrow–it’s in the basket and the basket is in the car for the night and I am pulling a blank. It’s been a great but long day.)

Oh and. I was looking for Karida Collins of The Neighborhood Fiber Co, whose colorways are named after areas back home, and went for her silk in particular: it is exactly the weight I want, it is exactly the softness I want. The colors are glorious, and it is exactly perfect.

So I was puzzling: this or that or that one? I really like this one, although do I need another bluegreen–although it is different from…

And as I mulled it over I happened to turn the tag on that bluegreen over.

Sold! Oh honey, that was so coming home with me.

The name of the colorway? Families of ours, are you reading this? Rock Creek Park. Richard grew up a short walk down the hill to Rock Creek Park. I have to knit this. I can only hope to make it as perfect as Karida did.

Mobility, done
Thursday February 20th 2014, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Life

Martin at Starkpower gave us one more thing to try, since Richard had the equipment to do so, but no such luck.

The guy at Batteries Plus in San Jose was quite surprised when I said we’d been referred to him by the online seller of the lithium-iron batteries (he said to say thank you, Martin), that I’d never heard of their store before but I was glad they were there; we got there an hour before they closed at eight. He had one single battery in stock to match our good one–only, it didn’t, because it was a different brand and it would be taking a risk to put them together.

And Stitches time I am not going to risk. We settled for the plain-old heavy plain-old lead-acids, and actually even a little more so, 14V instead of 12V to try to make it through the whole day for sure. They were pre-charged and they tested them for us to make sure they were okay and we tried it at home with the scooter put back together to be sure.

And I am good to go.

Now to just remember all the things I was going to remember before heading out tomorrow.

Dearly wishing we still had the minivan so I could use the ramp.

Batteries, part two
Wednesday February 19th 2014, 11:52 pm
Filed under: Family,Non-Knitting

While the second peach tree blooms merrily…

The doorbell rang and I didn’t even have to sign for the box as I saw the FedEx guy on his way back to his truck. I opened the door and yelled, ‘Thank you!” and he called back over his shoulder a cheerful, “You’re welcome!”

We got the first exploded battery out of the scooter’s case two days ago, but the second was well wedged in there. We put on rubber gloves to avoid any leaking anything and pulled. And pulled again, putting our whole bodies into the effort to get those things apart.  Released and reassessed. Carefully avoiding damaging the case, kind of holding our breath, he gave it another try thisaway while I said a silent prayer and I imagine he did too but whatever, about a minute later it came free from the case and the industrial-strength velcro holding it tight. Nothing broken and neither of us ricocheting into the walls.

He connected up the new batteries and I screwed the case back together and plugged the thing in.

About an hour later, Richard said to give it a try.

It’s too soon, isn’t it?

Just try turning it on. What color is the indicator?

Well, from this angle it’s green, from that it’s yellow.

Just try.

Nada. Dead. I unplugged the thing and brought the case back over to him.

“Oh wait,” I suddenly said, turning back around and disentangling cords, not having realized that someone had put a second one on the scooter at some point probably thinking it went with it, “It helps if you plug in the right one.” But I had no idea now which one had been and which hadn’t. (Edited to add later, of course we had had the right one plugged in–that indicator had been on.)

Richard unscrewed the case again–no small job–and tested the batteries, but one being dead didn’t mean anything if it wasn’t ever charged up to begin with.

It is plugged in again, only this time we’re sure it really is plugged in. Putting the key in gets you zero on the indicator still. Waiting, hoping hard…

If nothing else, the local Fry’s Electronics has a pair of lead-acids in the right size. Hopefully not expired. So there is at least a backup plan.

(Update: zero volts, one, 13.3 on the other.)

Giving Birth
Tuesday February 18th 2014, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

Stitches is coming, Stitches is coming!

Meantime, 58 rows x  110 stitches today and a cowl in Lisa Souza‘s handdyed Earth Birth colorway is almost ready to come off the needles.

Asphalt and battery
Monday February 17th 2014, 11:51 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Hudson’s second day of walking and he was ready to be scooped up instead, my son says of when he snapped this today.

My backstory: the speeder who hit my car fourteen years ago severed the connections between the visual and balance centers of the brain and it makes it exceedingly difficult to walk in visually intense places; my left side collapses, my muscles go spastic and the slightest bumping-int0 sends me flying. The lupus made healing more difficult. I wasn’t epileptic–yet, warned the neurologist, but he told me I was very close to it and not to risk it walking around for long periods in loudly-colorized heavy-motion environments like Stitches. Sit.

So now, the batteries on the scooter didn’t seem to be holding a charge anymore. Increasingly over the last several years they’ve been problematic, and last year it seemed like I had to stop every few minutes and recharge for as long as I got to zip around after I did. (Hi, I’m Alison, do you mind if I borrow a plug in your booth for awhile and block your customers’ way in?) I didn’t see how it could manage this year at all.

It would be much better for lead-acid batteries if I used them all the time, but I don’t; in most of my life, I can manage with a cane.

So we finally took the scooter apart Friday night after planting that pear tree, as long as we were being productive and virtuous, to see what type of battery it was so that maybe we could simply finally ditch the old ones.

Uh, yeah. They’d ditched us first. They’d exploded.

We looked up the type and Richard found something that really appealed to him: a lithium-ion version. It would easily take ten pounds (!) off the weight of lifting that 90-lb scooter, they would last far longer, and when and how long you charged them vs how often you used them, all those issues would be over. They wouldn’t randomly explode if you left the chair plugged in all night.  (ahem)

But it was late Friday California time and the by-far most reasonably-priced place was closed for the weekend, today would be a holiday, and they were on East Coast time. But what could I lose. I sent off an email.

And got an email back Saturday! When they were all supposed to be off work.

It was not quite a sure thing in my mind till this morning when I checked my email, when, there it was, the order confirmed: two batteries, already FedExed. I would be good to go.

The guy at hadn’t been sure I would want to fork over the second-day shipping charges for something that heavy, but hey, as long as we were in that deep. Their website wasn’t set up to deal with anything but the cheapest and slowest way here but he found out what it would cost and promised it could be done. I asked Richard if he was sure, and he was emphatic that he didn’t want me to be stranded by that chair anymore, he wanted me to be able to just go and enjoy Stitches and the Aquarium freely, year after foreseeable year to come with the much better and lighter and longer-lasting batteries and just not have to worry about it anymore. He’s a peach.

I cannot tell you how freeing it feels now, and just wait till this weekend!

And to Martin at You’re wonderful. Thank you so much.

You have to come
Sunday February 16th 2014, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I rebooted my phone today, thinking, well, that’s at least one thing I can do. Wasn’t expecting anything–but then when I typed out a name and phone number I knew and hit go, all the sudden my whole contact list came back to life. I have no idea why on earth it had disappeared but I’ll sure be asking questions. What a relief, though.

Meantime, a story I wanted to tell last night but for the late hour:

About fifteen summers ago, my sister who then lived in Texas (and North Carolina before that) told me she and her family had a work-related reason to drive to Salt Lake City for about a week, y’know, just in case we wanted to meet up with them.

My younger kids had never met her nor her family. My older kids didn’t remember them. Every time we had had specific reasons to get together over the years something had gotten in the way, and I did not want to let that happen again.

This was well before my parents retired there, and I ended up calling my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle David. Carolyn and family would be staying with her in-laws; Aunt Bonnie and Uncle David offered us to stay at their house for I think it was five days. They wanted to see us and they wanted to make sure we wouldn’t miss our chance for the cousins to get to finally meet each other. Come!

After a long hard day’s drive, we arrived to find Aunt Bonnie on crutches. Wait, what on earth happened to you?!

She had broken her hip a few weeks earlier. She had quite deliberately not told us because she knew we wouldn’t come if she did, and a hotel for six for that long was out of our range. It was that important to her and Uncle David that their nieces get their families together that they simply kept quiet.

Uncle David was the one who made up all the beds upstairs and prepared the rooms, there being no way she could. We would have done at least that much ourselves and spared them, had we had any idea, but they just waved any concern away and welcomed us warmly.

I will forever be grateful for their uncommon kindnesses. We all will.

My cousin John took his parents in a few years ago to take care of them as his dad’s Parkinson’s progressed.

Talking to him today, he had never heard that story about his folks. He told me that he’d been fielding call after call for two days of people wanting him to know what his dad had done for them and how grateful they were.

I could just picture John getting off the phone and asking his mom to tell him about that time when… She’s earned every moment of it. And so has John.

I did not know as I was planting my Comice pear tree on Friday with Richard’s help that the day’s news would make it into a memorial to my uncle, but now it will forever be so as it grows and thrives and bears the most perfect fruit in great quantity, to be offered freely to all.

(Ed. to add, Hudson started walking today!)

Sunday February 16th 2014, 12:23 am
Filed under: Family,Non-Knitting

Watched Olympics at Michelle’s tonight till late.

And somehow in the course of the evening discovered that my Iphone 4s had


as in 0


Nada. Everybody has packed up and gone home. No idea why. Every address, every phone number, every email addy, poof. I’m hoping we can recover the info at Verizon on Monday but we won’t know till then. Has anyone else ever had this happen?

And–and this is definitely not being typed in order of importance but it’s late and I’m too tired to edit… My mom’s big brother, my Uncle David passed away yesterday, and the mathematician in him I imagine would have loved the 02142014 of the date as he slipped quietly into the beyond, well loved.

Friday February 14th 2014, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Family,Life,My Garden

(Okay, it’s not at all as close to the fence as that photo makes it look.)

We bought a huge pot last fall on closeout at Costco, and on a wistful whim I bought a big bag of soil there too earlier this week; maybe the cherry tree needed more, right?

It was Stitches weekend a year ago that the water heater blew and my transmission did too. One of the things we talked about while deciding whether to try to replace the car right away was how, way back when we only had the one, that uninterrupted quiet time together at the beginning and ending of the work day was something we had actually missed in the years since.

Let me report that it has worked out okay most of the time. (The commute being under four miles does help.) Although, there have been days.

We were almost to the office this morning when Richard said that the one problem with this today was that he couldn’t sneak out early to go buy me roses this Valentine’s.

I said wistfully that actually, I’d really rather have a Comice pear tree than roses. (And I knew they are by far his favorite pears, too.) I had bought that pot talking about a mango tree, waiting for the season to change to where it wouldn’t possibly freeze en route from Florida, but when it came down to it, we both preferred the other, didn’t we?

We did.

We could plant it in that pot in that spot in the back where the tree guys are going to take out a dying cypress after nesting season is over; we could get a year’s head start on growth and then tip it into a hole there later. Or even just leave it in the pot to help keep it small. I already know the neighbors on both sides of that corner are hoping for bigger and over the fence.

And so it was decided. I called Wegman’s Nursery–and yes, actually, they had three, still. I headed over there mid-afternoon. Forgot my sunblock (BAD lupus patient, BAD!) but remembered my hat and I wandered around the place and finally (with help) found the fruit trees in a side yard there.

The Comices looked great, with one particularly thick and sturdy and strong-looking. *Very* nice–I was impressed.

The guy helping me asked if I wanted the (flimsy) pot it was growing in? It would be an extra five bucks. It wasn’t much and I said no and he grabbed the tree and shook the thing off–and all the soil away from the roots. Oh. It was still dormant so he pruned it for me and wrapped the roots carefully up in a plastic bag, pulling the handles tight around the trunk. Laid it across the back seat of my car once it was paid for.

But in the pruning, he lopped off the top, which included a big side branch and looked like a new bare-root tree unto itself and rather than have it be tossed, I asked if I could have it? I mean, I could plunk it in water and hope it sprouted roots, couldn’t hurt to try, right?

The guy chuckled and handled it with the reverence he did the tree itself. This was someone who clearly likes what he does for a living. But he did say that the tree really needed to be planted today, or at least not to let the roots dry out, but, plant it today. I promised him I was going to.

My friend Sally pointed out to me that the little one wouldn’t have the same rootstock, and she’s right, so I checked: the graft they used is supposed to help limit the future size of the tree, although one could prune anything to whatever.  Okay. I know that you can buy rooting hormones but I don’t think I’m that invested in it–so if you’re local and you want to play with it and see if you can turn it into a free tree, let me know and it’s yours. Must supply own partridge at Christmastime.

The pot needed holes drilled into it and the drill needed charging up. Richard took me out to Smitten to pass that time well: order the most excellent ice cream and watch them create it in front of you, frozen by nitrogen. The Tcho‘s chocolate is the first chocolate ice cream I have ever tasted that does that flavor really, really well. It was our first time there and definitely not our last.

Home again, there was drilling and sweeping away of plastic curlicues and flashlight holding and dumping in of guano-covered gravel that had been under some of the trees out back for stability as the Comice gets heavier and hauling of soil and watering and pushing out a well in the pot and planting and more soil and more watering and tamping down around the root ball and wishing there were more to put in there.

We will buy more soil tomorrow. Right now those roots are moist and protected and looking good.

My sweetie gave me my long-wanted Comice pear tree for Valentine’s and helped me plant it and I am beyond thrilled.

And: when I picked him up at work, he was standing outside holding a vase with red roses and baby’s breath and loving my disbelieving laugh of, How did you pull that off?! Google Express? (But they don’t do perishables, I thought, but maybe for Valentine’s?!)

He grinned. “They were selling them in the cafeteria. For a reasonable price, even!”

So was my tree. Make that, so was our tree.

I’ve got me a good one. Just the best.