Never forgotten
Friday October 16th 2015, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Life,Politics

In the choreography of G_d department that let a grieving mother know she is not alone.

A few friends of mine shared, via Facebook, an account written by a woman who was out having a meal last week with her friends. They happened to be the mother and sister of Sandra Bland, the young African-American woman on her way to her new job at a university in Texas who was pulled over for not signaling and who inexplicably, inexcusably died in a jail cell for it days later. Some say the background of her mug shot was the jail floor, that she was already dead by the time it was taken.

But this, rather, is what the woman writes about.

A man walked into that restaurant and sat down at another table, alone.

After some moments the writer, marveling, got up the courage to go ask him if he were indeed he. He was, and, invited, yes, he wanted to meet them very much.

“He took no record, he made no statement. He did not try to turn it into a publicity stunt. He simply made space for a sacred moment, and then let it pass without trying to gain anything from it.”

They, not he, asked for pictures to capture the moment.

He said Sandra’s name at Tuesday night’s debate to comfort her mother and sister, that she might not be forgotten.

Because that’s who Bernie Sanders is.

Timing is everything
Thursday October 15th 2015, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life,LYS

At knit night tonight I very nearly finished the first hat out of that so-soft Eco Duo. I eyed the bin, my fingers wanting to play with more.

And I said to Sandi: You remember putting that note on Facebook about this being on sale this week?


And I dashed right in and got some. And then all week long I’ve had the day wrong because, y’know, Purlescence is Thursday.

She laughed.

I almost missed tonight because I was sure it was Friday!

In case this happens to you too
Wednesday October 14th 2015, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Politics

Open Enrollment time of year, with required medical screening. Because why should April and tax time have all the fun?

And every year our insurance company starts bouncing claims come August or so, claiming I have other insurance. Every year I call them. This time I actually went to their website to see what gives, and that other insurance they list? It’s them. Same account. Same everything but with the previous year’s date. But that’s double coverage and reason enough to stiff everybody for months on end, right? Every. Year.

I think the state insurance commissioner and I need to have a little chat.

I will be so glad when we take the age discrimination out of Medicare and come into the civilized age.

Tuesday October 13th 2015, 11:01 pm
Filed under: History,Life

Watching the debate…

Jim Webb’s smile as he thought back on the North Vietnamese soldier who had shot at him who, he said, of course, wasn’t here now.

And the smile got bigger.

Was anyone else creeped out by that? I thought, that war is still damaging you, isn’t it.

And then there’s this man’s story.

So cast on already
Monday October 12th 2015, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

Writing this down so I can figure out later when I did this.

Some time ago I knit a very soft hat out of Cascade Eco Duo, an undyed baby alpaca/merino blend.

I had gotten in the habit when I was so very ill of wearing a wool hat at night that someone had gifted me with, and I love her hat and her for it. I used it every night for about five years.

But the Eco Duo was quite a bit softer and I found my attempt to knit it for someone else completely failed–it became mine instead.

I packed it on a trip to a colder climate and that was that, I never saw it again. I’ve felt good about that. I had knitted it with the intention of giving it away, and someone out there who needs it against a harsher climate than mine has it, I’m sure, whoever they may be.

But when I got an email from Purlescence saying they were having a 40% off sale on that particular yarn this week that I knew was so soft and had no risk of crocking dye into my hair in my sleep if I sweat, I found myself jumping in the car and fondling skein after skein to determine the very softest, holding them up against my face because they’re going to spend a lot of time there. It’s still in the crazy-eighties by day but it’s getting pretty cool at night.

I bought two. One to knit up for me. One to give away.

Quick, cover those
Sunday October 11th 2015, 9:29 pm
Filed under: Garden

Tuesday, there were these tiny bits at the (okay, what’s that word for the armpits of the branches against the trunk–coming back two minutes later to add, I just have node idea) on the fig tree that I thought might become the breba crop of next spring.

And then we had an unseasonably hot week with more of the same predicted.

Today, with zero expectation of seeing anything different, on a whim I went to go take a good look.

Blink. Eight figs. Eight actual figs. In October. On what was a whip in March with badly-strangling roots that I had to cut apart so I could plant the thing, with the tree kind of sitting there for a month or two while they recovered and took the measure of their new environment.

That little tree clearly just wanted to do what it was created to do.


Saturday October 10th 2015, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit

I was looking for a particular Baby Alpaca Silk Petite from Lisa Souza in my stash….

And stumbled across a forgotten ziploc. A dk-weight silk shawl in a (sold out) color called Claireberry.

I had put this down to go knit for a nephew’s fiancee, and then another project for someone else, and then another one, and having been unsure how to finish this one I never quite had and then I’d simply forgotten it.

Pulling gently from neck edge to needle to see, it seemed pretty long as it was. Six long but simple rows and call it done, and that, my friends, is how you pull off a whole ‘nother lace shawl in just one day to try to impress your blog. It’s blocking and I’m waiting for it to hurry up and dry.

Last night’s shawl having nicely cleared the spot for it.

Where’s that BASP? I thought I knew right where…. Well, while I’m waiting on that I got a thousand-plus yards of Lisa’s silk wound up and five hundred of Karida’s super soft dk Penthouse. All ready to go in sweet touch-me perfection.

Cast on!

In one week
Friday October 09th 2015, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Knit

I knit most of the day yesterday, I knit a fair bit today, and the new lace shawl is done. It started off from a pattern of mine last Friday right before that infamous doorbell ring but quickly morphed into a one-off, an experiment. A risk.

I walked with it over towards a mirror, throwing it over my shoulders to see it off the needles for the first time. There were faults I rather expected to find in how it all came together.

And they were not there. You know that feeling when something suddenly turns out so exceedingly better than you had any expectation of? When it feels like you’re looking at the prettiest thing you’ve ever knit, and you’ve knit a lot, and who knew that was coming? It felt like that, and the unrulyness of the lacework hadn’t even been blocked out yet.

A little water and it settled right into perfection. If I had a fan I would blow it at it to hurry it up already.

And then I had no project and a thousand little yarny voices yelling ME! ME! and I want to knit them all, but most of all I want to KNIT.

It’s been too long since I felt like I wanted to just dive into it like that and I do now. Amazing what total success after a lot of hard work can do to how you feel about that work.

Can you frame that question better?
Thursday October 08th 2015, 11:14 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit,LYS

Amazing how much knitting you can get done in one day when you want to get past the fiddly stuff to the mindless part by knit night time. And I did!

I was wrong the other day. It wasn’t rubber from the plate frames, they were plastic, the rubbery grit was maybe road dust? Tire particles, I think. Whatever, still, I tossed the old ones from both cars. Who needs to advertise car dealerships?

The lady at the DMV was right: the car does look better with frames around the plates.

And so at knit night tonight, I half-jokingly, sure I was being outlandish, asked if they sold any that had, y’know, a knitting theme or something.

Sure! Okay if it says I’d rather be knitting above and Purlescence below?

Me, quite surprised: Sure!

How many do you need?


Got’em, and Greg went into the storeroom and to get one for someone else at the table and came back with them.

Me: How much?

Pamela (new employee, old friend): Free, they’re free advertising for the shop.

Me: But but but. Thank you! Cool!

And then I came home with them.

A certain someone grinned, rolled his eyes in great exaggeration, saying, I drive that car, too–and he patiently put up with me.

Well hey, I was just opening a discussion here. His and hers. We need to find/have made a ham radio one for you to go with mine for me, right?

He’s thinking about what he might like his to say. I think it might be a good idea for me to either take my second one back or find someone else who would really like one too.

There she goes
Wednesday October 07th 2015, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life,Mango tree

(Mango tree today, lowest, next branch up, and top, rollover notes for details.)

It was a bit of an adventure but it is done: the van is sold and gone.

My next-door neighbor happened to be outside as a crew of strangers were soaping and hosing it down after the grand trek to the DMV and were making it beautiful (wow, they really did–I had no idea it could still look that nice) and I got to tell them how happy I was that it was going to a new family that would make good use of it again, as she added her enthusiasm to the idea. It had served us well.

It felt surprisingly difficult in those last few seconds to watch it being driven away. If I ever see it again on the road, I won’t even know–it’ll have plates (I think it already does) that it never had with us.

How do we get so attached to something so transitory and meaningless, something of no life. And the only answer is because my kids grew up with it.

The neighbor asked what we were replacing it with; I laughed and said, What we are or what I wish? What we are, probably (and I motioned zero). For now, anyway. Too many home repairs to do.

Now, a Tesla. If it were a Tesla I could definitely understand getting too attached to that. The X-model SUV as long as I’m totally dreaming.

Maybe it’s just as well we’ve got a humble little nine-year-old Prius. It’s a good little car and it serves the two of us well.

Interrupting Darwin
Tuesday October 06th 2015, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden,Life,Wildlife

So what would you do with a volunteer tomato taking over the yard, flowering month after month but never setting a single fruit while the other tomatoes do? Keep waiting? Rip it out before it takes any more nutrients from the cherry tree above?

So that’s what was on my mind as I stepped out the door to start the Tuesday watering.

I’d noticed the little junco for a few days now.

Clearly I wasn’t the only one.

There it was on the box again, right next to me as I stepped onto the patio. With one eye gone and the other warily watching the sky, it didn’t take off till after I went past it and turned back again.

That post yesterday about being the boss of this place?

There, up on the telephone wire. I mentally apologized to the Cooper’s hawk for wrecking his breakfast and quickly got back in the house and out of the way.

He stayed there patiently another minute or so, feathers unruffled but a sure thing gone.

For now.

I finished the watering tonight and went off to the first night of a new knitting group; Alex found herself with a copy of my lace shawls book as a thank you. May there be many happy memories there to come.

Suite, 16
Monday October 05th 2015, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Garden,Life,Wildlife

I was asked if I would, said sure no problem, and ended up back at the DMV to ask for a one-day permit for driving the PNO van.

And got told no, the buyer needs to come in and get that. But they spelled out all the fees he would have to pay and they were half what he was expecting. Cool. I’m quite happy to make his life easier.

Then this evening I was out working in the yard, noting how much faster the late sun fades now. The camphor tree had several thick clumps of thin, weak sprouts from where it had previously been trimmed by Chris’s crew and those had gotten tall enough to start shading a few fruit trees a bit and this would not do. It’s easier to remove those when they’re new.

So there I was with this big trimming hook overhead when suddenly to my left a raven took off from the redwood tree just past the fence, heading towards my backyard.

Watching it come, I waved my arms as if to shoo it away as soon as it came past the shed.

Darn if the thing didn’t do an immediate abrupt turnaround and go straight back to that tree. If it was testing me it was conceding that it had been caught.

I’ve seen you chase my Cooper’s hawks and trying to steal their catches. I know you would kill my songbirds’ babies and that your population has been exploding while theirs are just hanging in there. You know I own this yard. Not you.

Then it came again.

There was nothing I could have done to keep it from doing what it wanted to do.

I waved again.

It again braked hard mid-air as if its heels sought to connect with something to help and again it veered back to where it had come from, swooping behind the redwood this time as if to hide.

Here it comes again.

Once is an oddity, two is curious, three and more, definitely a pattern–I started counting, watching, letting the camphor take care of itself a moment; nothing here but that raven and me.

I surely looked ridiculous. I was just a powerless little thing on the ground and its flights were almost as high as the top of that redwood. Each time it came in in a path that would take it straight over my back yard and me in the middle of it, but each time I would wave my arms just before it was quite overhead and each time it would stop right there, wings raised high flapping hard not going one inch further, then sharply away. The times it spent disappeared into the back of the tree became a few seconds longer.

The thirteenth time it retreated at last not to the redwood but across the clear open sky above several neighbors’ houses, one beyond the other, getting smaller and smaller and gone.

Yeah, like I trust that–I kept staring.

One potato, two potato, ten potato, coming from the left again with the redwood having been cover for part of its way back and here it came again. Whether it was determined to go where it wanted to go in the path it wanted to go in if I would just stop paying attention to it or whether it was simply a young one having fun playing a game with me and enjoying the attention–and corvids do play–I don’t know. But from there we went through three more redwood-to-almost-t0-me runs.

Territory: understood. Dominance: mine.

Finally, on round sixteen, it really did head way away, faster this time, across that open treeless airspace and at last that was the end of that.

I know crows and ravens recognize human faces and teach their young to at least the second and third generation to respond to those same faces. I can only wonder if this one had a family memory of a human with a gun.

Conferring with the needles
Sunday October 04th 2015, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knit

Exactly two weeks ago the red leaves and the branches they stem from, some over a foot long now, did not yet exist. Only the green. I keep going outside and snapping photos every day and comparing because there are noticeable changes by evening from the mornings. Go mango grow!

Meantime, this was the Saturday and Sunday in October when the Mormon Church has its general conference in a series of two-hour sessions.

I had been letting worrying about my hands keep me from doing long stints of knitting for too long now–a half hour at a time, maybe, and the limitation was frustrating. I decided this was my chance to see what I really could do if I pushed myself, and so as we listened I got eight hours of knitting done on my shawl, with long icepack breaks between sessions.

I needed to know I could still do that. It went better than I had any expectation of while it let me fall in love with knitting all over again. The Matisse Blue is so pretty in person and the merino silk Malabrigo so soft that I never wanted to put it down.

They’ve had a good workout but there’s no tingling in the wrists: I think we’re okay here. In relief, onward!

Quoth the raven, Ever more
Saturday October 03rd 2015, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden,Knit

The mango tree’s latest, to left and right, including that cluster of four that was almost upright yesterday and sideways today and already starting to swoop up again at the ends tonight, just doing what mango branches do. (For scale, those are tomato leaves in the background.)

So what I had expected to post about yesterday was that an old friend from back home showed me a picture of her toy raven for her team: she measured it 9″ beak to tail and asked if I might make it a Baltimore Ravens scarf so it could be properly attired. Maybe a half inch to an inch wide and a foot long?

Of course I would! (Oh if only all knitting requests could be that easy!)

I googled the colors and thought, bright gold and deep dark bright purple? Even with the size of my stash, do I have those at all? I wondered how long it would take to beg a yard or two from friends’ remnants because I was pretty sure I would need to. Or to buy them.

And then I found it: the bag that held what hadn’t been knitted up yet of the yarn that Melinda at Tess Designer Yarns had completely surprised me with a couple months ago. I wondered if she’d wondered why she was doing it, but she’d put in a half ounce each of worsted-weight soft wool in, you guessed it, exactly the shades of gold and purple I would later be looking for. Neither of us had any way to possibly know. I both laughed and looked at it a little bug-eyed–they were so exactly perfect. Wow. Thank you, Melinda!

The green tape measure had just verified that it was 12″ long, perfect, and I was halfway through that little bird’s quick bit of scarf and hoping to beat the mailman when the doorbell rang yesterday and I threw it down on the footrest to run go answer. This is the picture I took a few hours later after I came back from all that sudden whirlwind.

Kinda mango branch shaped there, isn’t it? 


Opportunities knocking
Friday October 02nd 2015, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Life,Lupus

Way too much sun today. Hopefully it will turn out just fine.

The doorbell rang 3:30, 3:45ish.

My first impulse was to point apologetically at the no solicitors sign and he was leaving but something propelled me to open the door and call after the guy.

I’m sorry, could you say that again?

Are you interested in selling your minivan?


Okay, that van had been sitting dead in the driveway for two years now, the battery drained well away, with us wondering, should we try to sell, should we donate, should we let it sit and pretend someone’s home when we’re not but hey look at that thing, it’s not fooling anyone. The cobweb on the side handle is a dead giveaway if the dust isn’t and we weren’t about to use drought water on it.

It’s got a bad transmission and a bad axle, I warned them, and look at those (slightly sagging) tires. It’s a PNO. (Planned Non Operation status with the DMV.) I was in front of the driveway now, talking to what turned out to be a grampa and his son while the son’s wife managed the small children in Grampa’s truck.

The son’s family had just lost their apartment when the landlord had died. And they needed a car with carseat space.

Father and son jumpstarted the thing and with the dashboard alive now, Grampa got a look at the mileage, which if I remember right was 115k–not bad at all for an ’00. And it was an Lxi, a nice model, leather seats, heated in front. (The young wife did not look impressed on that last part, but even in this climate I know from experience that she will like it more than she knows yet.)

Grampa was doing the buying and he asked me for a price. I said $500 off the top of my head. Turns out the bluebook for poor condition was $1200, but you know? They would have a lot of work to do on that thing and we both knew it.

Grampa wanted to test drive it around the block and I warned him that if he pulled it out of the driveway it might not shift to go back in again; he was willing to take that risk. He pretty much had to to at least see for himself.

He came back a few minutes later with, Axle?

I reiterated it had one bad axle.


Richard just happened to be working from home today, a rare thing, and I was really glad he was there. His conference call ended and he joined us a moment and pointed out that there were disability plates on the thing and you cannot transfer a title with those on.

And thus began the mad scramble: Friday afternoon. It’s after 4:00. The closest DMV was two cities away across rush hour traffic. The son pulled out a screwdriver (do men carry these, like, everywhere? Like a woman’s bottomless purse? But then wait, Richard does too in our glove compartments. Okay) and he got the plates off the van for me. After saying for two years that we should, I was at long last going to the DMV to have them switch the handicapped plates to the Prius and then the other one would be free to go.

Of course there was an accident on the freeway. C’mon, quit rubbernecking, people….

I got there before five. I actually got in that door.

Her weekend was just about to start and the facility was nearly empty. The DMV lady smiled and handed me a form to sign and a fistful of screwdrivers to take the plates off the Prius, with a, “They BOUGHT that?!” after I described the minivan. I wondered about my hand strength and she wished but said they weren’t allowed to help me. Well that makes sense, okay.

So I got out there and swapped the plates and the dour security guard let me back in and I made it and it was even still before five.

Where are the other plates?

Ooooooh (facepalm)… I apologized for my poor hearing, went back out there with just one screwdriver of theirs this time–they have to let me back in with that, right?–unscrewed the handicapped plates again and the security guard opened the door again and even cracked a smile this time. I thanked him.

I would have gotten the car washed if I’d known. I would have at least washed the plates of the van if I’d known. A few small crumbles of dirt and old rubber from the frames fell repeatedly from the sets of plates, and of course my Prius fob picked today to die: taking it apart to enter with the tiny physical key embedded in it is a fingernail-breaking, long hard process when you’re watching every second on the clock and I simply carried the screws around in my hand rather than trying to put them down inside a cupholder. Because of course today is the day I wore a skirt with no pockets. For the first time, it’s new. With a silk blouse. I was dressed a tad frumpy yesterday and I’d tried to make up for it today. Grease and driveway oils come out, right?

I got out of there at 5:17, the security guard opening that door one last time. They can rush you really well without an appointment when nobody else in their right mind shows up near 5:00 on a Friday afternoon.

They did not give me the van plates back. It was a PNO.

The height of rush hour home: just set the car at coast and brake as needed. Past the bridge construction…

The family came back. The van had no plates. You can legally drive a PNO for one day at point of sale to pick up new plates and registration, and our transfer of title will protect them should they be pulled over for no plates that day, and so they left the car here and will pay for it Monday. Monday I will go to the DMV myself with my sale of title form on the pink slip.

Cleaning out the car, I found one of my kids’ high school class schedules tucked in a compartment in the back. That car’s had so many good memories. And now, with a grandpa watching the mechanics on that thing, a new family will grow up with it for as long as they need to.

Nice people. And it feels like they were who it’s been sitting there waiting for all this time. I expect Monday to go smoothly.