Dig a little deeper
Tuesday December 30th 2014, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Family,My Garden

So we had strong hands to help, it had been 17 days, and you’re supposed to put it to ground between two and three weeks after its arrival. For us, today was the day it needed to finally claim its spot in the yard.

I knew it was cold and I knew it was windy. I did not know that tonight is supposed to be the coldest night of the year and 34 degrees, along with those 40 mph winds that have been going on–uncovered and Christmas lit, in its protected spot on the patio the mango tree had kept a good nine to fifteen degrees warmer than the surrounding outside temps.

At least it came tied to a stake taller than it was. “Put one of those big heavy black plastic bags over it,” opined my sweetie, and I did and the thing was just barely long enough to let me put gravel over the bottom edges of the plastic. Yes the bag is touching the leaves, which is a frostbite risk, except that there’s warmth under there. The remote-read thermometer that I put on the ground but away from any lights is saying 53. Outside air is 45, having dropped by three degrees since I started writing this while the other has not. Good.

I’m thinking a second string under there might be the way to go if this weather keeps up. But the mango and the mandarin will, hoping those covers hold in place, make it through this night.

(Baby photos to come as I get permission to share. They’re kinda busy over there. Can’t wait to take my own.)

Edited to add–it went down to 27 that night, as it turned out, and 24 the next.)

Good guys
Tuesday December 30th 2014, 12:00 am
Filed under: Family,Life

The master bath suddenly sprang a fast faucet leak last night, which you don’t do when you have a drought but you can’t do much about late on a Sunday night, so Richard and John started off their day playing plumber and handyman with several trips back and forth to the plumbing supply shop and the hardware store. They picked out the faucet that I would have had I been there. Well done.

The old one that our contractor had chosen had had exposed sharp under-edges just out of sight that I more than once had cut my fingers on. The new single-center-handled one is flush with the countertop and could never do such a thing.

Saturday the wires that are twisted up into a steely yarn running from the bottom through the top of my bird feeder suddenly simply broke when I went to go fill the thing.

The menfolk didn’t tell me they were going to work on that too but all the sudden there they were out there next, figuring out how to thread the new wiring up through the plastic center part. Yes of course they’d picked out the screws and wires while they were out there to replace the old–done. I didn’t even know they’d checked it to see what they would need, much less paid any attention to it.

Next thing I knew they were on the roof. Nope, can’t set this up on that metal flashing, you need a piece that…

They finally sat down when we met up with family at a restaurant for dinner.

And after all that, the new carpet is still clean. Even by the door near the bird feeder.

Up in the mountains
Sunday December 28th 2014, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Children, cousins, aunts, uncles, greats, Grampa my FIL–a happy get-together of fifteen of us tonight to start off the week of the wedding. Not all who are coming are in town yet but the ones who were got a chance to catch up on each other and we got to show off pictures of Dad’s newest great-grandchild.

Time to crash. Calling it a night.

Life is good
Sunday December 28th 2014, 12:07 am
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit,Life

A glitch. Richard to the rescue. My mail is working on the new computer now.

Things are settling in where they belong.

To every person who took part in knitting and piecing together my get-well afghans (and the Congratulations on finishing your book! one from my Campbell knitting group is in the other room, it should be in the photo, too) I just wanted to thank you all over again. You wished me back from the edges of life and I think of you all every time I see what you created for me. Every time. All that time, all that love, all that good yarn, offered in hope, taken from string in a skein to one-of-a-kind works of art. It is something to try to live up to and to be worthy of. (Hey RobinFre–“Same as it ever was.” Nails it.)

We got to see a video of our granddaughter sneezing. I tell you: there is nothing like the sights and sounds of a newborn, even across a screen, and we are utterly besotted.

Rug rates
Friday December 26th 2014, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

No clutter. (In here, anyway. Definitely incentive to keep going on that.)

No dust. (Repeat row 1 from here to finish.)

No more 20-year-0ld blue carpet. It looked nice–once. But this matches the furniture and the tile in the entryway and it just makes me so happy to look at and to squish my toes in and the fact that the installers were wonderful started off its presence here with happy associations. Richard having thrown his back out between the quote and the installation, we needed more help moving stuff than we’d expected. They tried not to let us pay extra for that. I finally got a better number out of the guy on the extra labor–and then I about doubled it. They’d earned it, and I wanted them to be happy to come back to do the living room later.

No more 12-year-old Windows XP computer, either. When Microsoft said they would no longer support a system that was on about a quarter of the world’s desktops and on machines sold as recently as two years prior, my reaction was, Go ahead. Mac my day.

We’d been saving our pennies for months to replace both ours and now we have.

More baby pictures: Parker admiring the baby, then, Parker holding the baby, looking rather dubious about this. Or studious and trying to do it right.

I can’t wait to see Madison crawling and later walking on this. It’s finally here and ready for our grandchildren.

Mother and child, home on Christmas
Thursday December 25th 2014, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

And they are home.

While, over here…

Michelle set her alarm for quite early so she could start orange rolls for breakfast for Sam. John and Richard got up quite early so they could pick her up from the airport. Sam beats everybody on earliness because the only flights from Alaska in December within reach had a six-hour layover in the middle of the night in an airport and then a red-eye here.

Food and festivities and we had an absolutely wonderful day, laughing much. We all got to see Madison across the screens in all her sweetest, sleeping cuteness. (She took his mommy away for a day. Hudson is wary. Give him a day.)

Richard opened Holly and George’s gift of their hammer dulcimer and his eyes got huge. He repeated quietly, all day, I am blown away. I am blown away. I am blown away.

I was chuckling just now, typing that, and he said, reasonably enough, Well, I *am* blown away. I am!

I am, too, but I knew what was all wrapped up over there, and the stand to go with. We hope to do the gift justice, and he gave it a good start by practicing for a good hour quietly as we all chatted.

Sam fell into bed at 7 pm. John helped some more and then did likewise at eight after being on his feet working on the food with Michelle for hours and she was ready to do likewise when we left her place. We got home, Richard sat down a moment, and fell instantly asleep himself.

Well, *somebody* has to get this room ready for the carpet installers coming at 9:00 am. And I had the easiest day, certainly.

After two hours of that, I’m ready to fall into bed myself. It wasn’t just this room–I had to move everything out of the way for them to pull the piano and heavy couch into the other room.

I sat down a moment to take a break and go tell the blog our new granddaughter’s name while hoping everybody else had such a wonderful, perfect day like we did.

And that’s when it hit me. I still have to get all those tubs of yarn stash out of the closet–they’re doing that part too. Okay, a little more to go and then I call it a night.

Joy to the world
Wednesday December 24th 2014, 7:11 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Twenty and a quarter inches, 8 lbs 4 oz, 1:00 this afternoon and all went well.

Parker was given a big-brother package by the hospital and, finding a stuffed animal in it, he took it out and gave it to his new sister.

From Germany with love
Tuesday December 23rd 2014, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Holly of proseknitic.de arrived today with her husband; I finally got to meet George! Given that they live in Germany, time together is a rare and wonderful thing much less getting to see both.

Richard had to leave in the middle for a doctor appointment, and before he left from there he called: would a follow-up on this date work with my calender?

Holly said, He’s a good one, and I said, Yes he is!

And while he was gone George slipped outside a moment himself. She’s got a good one, too.

Richard made it home and so we carried on. Fresh-pressed apple cider all around. They took their leave, we had dinner chez Michelle, and then we had a little last grocery shopping to get out of the way, not wanting to go anywhere near a store on Christmas Eve. With me pleading fatigue, the menfolk dropped me off at home on their way to Costco.

Yup. They left me alone in the house for just long enough. I can just see Holly and George grinning right now reading this… I thought about it, cut up a white sheet of paper, wrote FRAGILE–twice–and added it to the bright gold paper.

And since it was a Costco-sized roll of wrapping paper, it’s on its second Christmas, just about everything’s been wrapped in the stuff (again), there’s still a lot left, and nobody has noticed a thing.

Bwahaahaaa. With a huge side of Thank You!

Carpet diem
Monday December 22nd 2014, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I had a list for the day, checked it twice, was tired enough that I only got half of it done and considered it good.

Meantime, our nephew and his wife whose wedding we flew to Atlanta for in July will be staying with us for his brother’s wedding.

The phone rang this morning, after the shop’s checking of quantities of both workers and material available: the desperately awful 20-year-old carpet in the family room will be out of here and the new one in, the day after Christmas and two days before the guests arrive. Thick and plush, good for the coming baby to crawl and walk on and lovely to see.

No. More. Formerly-and-still-trying-to-be blue carpet. At long, long last. Soon!

Chimney sweep
Monday December 22nd 2014, 12:12 am
Filed under: Family

Michelle’s ward meets two hours earlier than ours does and John went off with her.

Which means we came home from church to find the tree up and a whole bunch of other Christmas-readying stuff done as a surprise: parental figures walking in the door and noticing in 1, 2, 3…!

One other surprise: a photo Michelle had found of my husband’s great-grandfather all dressed up as Santa  ~1885.

Looks to me like some handspinner tried to hide that last bag of merino fleece up the chimney and forgot it was up there.

His day
Saturday December 20th 2014, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Family

My husband, son and I all got to Skype with Parker and his family for his birthday. Parker had had a long and overstimulating day (presents! And nobody gets to open these but Parker!) and he showed us his toys as he played with them. And happily shared them with his little brother. I was impressed.

Hudson, of course, then climbed into the empty box and made his own toy out of it. Choo choo!

Two more hours to midnight and then Parker still gets to share his birthday with his great-grandmother, but that one thing, his big day, he won’t have to share with his little sister. Seems fair to me.

Friday December 19th 2014, 11:54 pm
Filed under: Family

Googlemaps showing accidents here, here, and here. Time: two hours and…

(Checking the flight) flight is delayed.

Time: one hour and…

Flight actually hasn’t left the ground yet. Oh.

Time: fifty-eight minutes… Still a red zone on 880, stop-and-go, looks like.

We could wait a little longer.

Time: fifty-one minutes…and no red zones. Still a little early. Forget it, we’d rather have us wait than him–time to go get our kid!

(Edited to add, John’s home, John’s home!)

All you want!
Friday December 19th 2014, 12:03 am
Filed under: Family,Garden,Life

The second errand of the afternoon (I’ll tell you about the first one tomorrow) : getting a coaxial cable to go with the thermostat he already had, then on to the hardware store for an outdoor box to keep that in–but first the cable.

And so he had an excuse to browse his favorite shop. He got his ham radio license after the Loma Prieta quake, when the phone lines were down and we had twenty-four hours of Not Knowing, only knowing that his aunt and her family had been right there by the epicenter. That sense of helplessness wasn’t going to happen again.

They were fine; their house, not so much. And that is when he started volunteering with the city, county, and Red Cross communications teams, collecting a few ham radios along the way, portable here, (s0rt of) big stationary one there.

Oh but they had some big ones.

Here, let me zoom in a little on that sign on the door. “Hey Guys! Your Wife Called! She said you can buy anything you want!”

Well, but hey, yarn, so, I totally get the enthusiasm and the need to see what’s in stock now.

Speaking of which, Purlescence finally had Malabrigo as of this week and they had it on sale and after knit night tonight they have just a little less of it. I do totally get it–I’m just lucky the individual parts to my hobby cost vastly less than his.

And then we were off to the hardware store, where they not only had the weatherproofing box he wanted, they actually had non-LED white Christmas lights. We thought those had already been taken off the market.

For $4.80 a box. (!) Marked 25% more efficient, when we don’t want efficient at all we want heat for the Alphonso mango tree, but hey, just add another strand. Sold!

Turns out the salesman who found them for us has been warming his four citrus trees that way for twenty-five years and was keen to hear about how to grow mangoes.  He had room for one more fruit tree in his yard.

I told him cold prompts them to bloom but below 40 kills the flowers and fruit–but if a guy in upstate New York could do it, I could do it.

He was clearly already figuring out how to do his own setup to make that work.

You know? This could get contagious.

Lucky to get to be busy
Wednesday December 17th 2014, 11:17 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

He was dreaming that I’d gotten up and after 34 minutes he finally rolled over to turn that stupid alarm off himself, growling inwardly at my forgetting to–and there I still was, sound asleep. Oh oops.

Made it through the traffic and rain to that doctor appointment on time by the skin of my teeth.

Which is why I was 2/3 of the way there before I realized that in the rush and the quiet of the house I’d forgotten to grab my hearing aids. Oh goodness.

I was mortified, saying, and honestly so, “I never do that. I *never* do that!” The nurse laughed it off and was wonderful. The doctor, thankfully, had a deep voice and knowing his patient’s deafness well he pulled up a chair to face the opposite direction while being close in and I only had to ask him once to repeat himself. Blessings on the both of them.

Got home in time to do some quick sprucing up (now there’s a good Christmas-centric term for it. Douglas firs, no for some reason but spruces, yes–I guess some trees are just the fir-tunate f-yew, the rest can balsam) before some friends dropped by. They left in time for us to get out the door for our haircuts to be ready for Ryan’s wedding coming up before Gwyn of the most-perfect scissors goes out of town. Got home, grabbed a quick bite (have you had anything all day other than that sliver of birthday cake? No, me neither. Here let me grab this so we don’t shop hungry) and went to the grocery store. Got home in time to grab another quick bite and get ready to go see a friend who just lost his mom after a supposedly routine surgery last week. Yow.

While we kept an ear out for our phones to hear if our granddaughter had arrived early like her brothers had.


Fourteen hours after that alarm I’m finally actually sitting down at home for longer than ten minutes. Oh wait, hold that thought…

Got to hand it to him
Tuesday December 16th 2014, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Family

Theoretically, I should scrub that off. And I will, when we finally repaint that wall. But for now this little reminder of our grandsons’ visit in September with their parents just makes me smile every time I go into this bathroom.

One washes his hands, the other, copying his big brother, wipes his off where he can reach–I can just see it.

Right there.

Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate it!