Old San Diego
Sunday November 15th 2015, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Family,History

We explored the very old building where the Mormon Battalion landed in San Diego in the mid-1800s, having been commissioned to build roads and defend the territory for the US against a Mexican army they never saw. Fort Sutter happened while they were in California and some stayed while the rest went home to their families in Utah.

The boys pumped water and panned for gold. Maddie cheered.

Day trip
Saturday November 14th 2015, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Love. As Carole King sang about it, it’s the only thing that’s real.

More tomorrow: after an early flight, playing all day at toddler speed and flying home, we’re both kind of done in for the day.

Friday November 13th 2015, 10:28 pm
Filed under: History,Life

These were the types of people so many Syrians have been fleeing from.

I am grateful beyond words for those who put their home addresses on Twitter under the porteouvert hashtag: my door is open to you. Come. Safety and comfort and a real place to go for any stranded after stumbling away from the horror as the authorities demanded that all seek shelter inside.

Thus they take in the whole world. We are all Parisians today.

I remember when being able to run a single errand was a triumph over lupus
Thursday November 12th 2015, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Life,Lupus

Dropped Richard off went to the clinic went to pick up my new glasses prescription went to the approved pharmacy across town went to the bank got a receipt for that check and the small Martingale royalty check eight years after publishing was fun too went home hugged daughter dropping by for a moment called the audiologist got told oh oops our bad come back and we’ll fix that for you put the laundry in the dryer grabbed a bite of lunch drove to Los Gatos got the filter put back on the hearing aid that they forgot while cleaning them yesterday went to the bird center as long as I was there anyway got birdseed had them put it in the car left birdseed in the car for the weight and the recent mild back injury tried new glasses on went oh wow how far away is the floor put new glasses back in new case put old glasses on have to drive you know wished again I could settle on what to start for my next carry-around knitting project started more laundry grabbed Time magazine disappointing knitters worldwide picked up Richard from work read while waiting put laundry in dryer made dinner covered mango tree did dishes vegged out at the computer a bit

and oh right I’d better go make that bed now that the sheets are fresh. Extra covers for the mango and us at 38F already out there. Brrr. Done. G’night.

Now you see him
Wednesday November 11th 2015, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life,LYS

I debated the wisdom–no, actually, I thought it was an outright rather dumb idea–of taking fluffy blurry yarn to an eye doctor appointment. Those always take several hours so I knew I had to have something, and something smooth and plain on bigger needles than 4mm would have been better and I tried but in the end I just couldn’t make myself have another project going at once and so it talked its way into my knitting bag after all. Because it already had a few rows done.

It was a wispy brushed suri alpaca and silk that Fyberspates had given the perfect name of Cumulus to; a skein had grabbed me at Purlescence.

I’ve seen the retina specialist just a few times over the years, and yet he remembered me yesterday and particulars about me to my great surprise. I’d always thought he was a really nice guy; this time he just glowed.

He was also quite apologetic as he came in and I smiled, No, no, you’re fine!

Turns out he has decided to retire. He was taking his time seeing old friends, clearly, not knowing when he might get that chance again. I asked him what he would do in his retirement and he said he’d be continuing to guide residents at the medical school and to see his pediatric patients.

And I thought of all the preemies whose sight has been saved because of him, still getting to see him, and it made me so glad for him and them both. The new doctors coming up will be well served too with him still their mentor.

He was as thorough and careful as he was when my child was his young patient 22 years ago for a visit or two–and he’s the one who’d cleared his schedule despite his staff having told me no: when there was an emergency he was the one who’d taken over and made everything okay again.

He described my macula problem in detail. And then smiled and said he had that too. Way too early, no reason to risk surgery yet. Same with the cataracts, same with the corneas that will need transplanting some day. All in all, a little bit of aging but really, things do look good and should for some time.

He took great joy in that, and how could I not too?

He laughed at the end when I mentioned that somehow even blurry yarn had worked out there.

Another hour or so last night and again today and there you go, I did actually do most of it with my eyes dilated and now it’s done.

(Pattern: the lace pattern from my Water Turtles shawl in my book or, if you have the Barbara Walker treasury series (and really, if you knit, you should), it’s her Arrowhead Lace, used with permission. Knit between the asterisks, since the side edges don’t apply when you’re working in the round. I cast on multiples of ten till it went over my head easily and worked till I didn’t have enough yarn left to do another full repeat. I cast off very loosely to it would have lots of give. Not blocked yet. Cast off edge shown on bottom.)

Excuse me, is this yours?
Tuesday November 10th 2015, 11:50 pm
Filed under: Life,Wildlife

I know crows and ravens like sparkly things. I also know they tend to gift people they like with their treasures. I would never have put me in that category, given that I don’t allow them to land in my back yard. They don’t take it personally; territory is a language they speak and they seem to be cool with that (thinking of the descriptions I read by a researcher who captured and studied some crows and then got bombarded and harassed to the third generation of them.)

Ernie was lying on the ground in the back yard this afternoon, but how he got there, your guess is as good as mine. There’s no small child around, or big, either, to have lobbed it high and far over the fence. No mud had splashed over him from yesterday’s rain. And there is no way on earth I would have missed seeing him bright and shiny there for twenty years since our youngest outgrew the Muppets stage (and I don’t recognize it.) But perch on the overhang from our bedroom and drop it, it would have landed right there.

Pristine. The loop *is* a very sparkly gold.

Hey, guys, don’t you think it’s a little early to be bringing out the Christmas ornaments?

C’est une mystère.

Go with the flow
Tuesday November 10th 2015, 12:19 am
Filed under: Family,Garden,Knit,Life

Rain blessed rain, we were doing it Camelot style again: mostly in the middle of the night. It stopped, the sun broke through here and there as we got up and started the day, and then it started in again.

At one point the thunder and lightning were nearly simultaneous as we heard that huge BOOM. Richard was working from home rather than out driving in that and we held our breaths a moment.

The power held.

It came to .54″ here at the eye of the storm.

I was finding and getting rid of kinks from a pattern and feeling productive.

Finally, the sun was out but going down fast–and the Christmas lights weren’t coming on. Huh. It’s getting cold, they sure should be by now. I checked everything, and then with Richard searching for ideas I did again. Breakers were all good. Everything’s plugged in and set. Had a squirrel chewed through the cord under the tomato bush?

Did you check the box?

Of oh course! And so it was, his Rube Goldberg of a thermostat was somehow dead, why, we have no idea. So I bypassed it and simply plugged the lights directly into the orange cord and ta daah!

And… The Acurite was blinking. We changed the batteries and I cleaned off the mud outside and the surprising little bit that had somehow gotten inside, but the temperature sensor part, which I use to read the temp under the mango cover without having to go outside, was still dead.

Two sets of electronics knocked out by the rain. The sensor is designed to be outdoors but the instructions say not to leave it where it will get wet. Um. It’s never been a problem before.

It wasn’t going to do me any good inside, though, certainly, so since the station part wasn’t blinking anymore I might as well try. I stuck it back under the mango cover.

It came back to life! Within an hour, but not in the first five minutes, I know that. Maybe it had just needed to dry out? It’s clearly working fine now.

Maybe I should explain that the rain reader is a third gizmo around here… Who knew we would turn into such weather nerds?

(Oh and? Last week’s falls didn’t improve my balance and I fell out there again. Twice. Always did like splashing in mud puddles as a kid but somehow I missed those, just the cushy bushes.)

Rung, out
Sunday November 08th 2015, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Tom’s mom (he was a college classmate of mine, small world) told a tale in church today that had us laughing.

She grew up in a small town on the Canadian prairie and attended I think she said it was a one-room schoolhouse–but whatever, it was small and very old-fashioned and if you were late for school you got your hands smacked with a ruler: you *will* be on time.

So one day on her way to school she and her friends got distracted and explored the new cellar being dug for a new building along the way.

Her friend’s dog landed down in there too.

Should they leave it there? Or risk being late for school? Should they tell? Should they try to get it out?

Finally, they just couldn’t bear the idea of abandoning the poor thing and they had to do something, so they tried to get it up the ladder.

All the pushing from behind in the world was not getting that dog up that ladder. The harder they pushed the more it was nuh uh, not gonna, you can’t make me.

What to do.

One of them had a precious roll of lifesaver candies. They considered. They pulled out the yucky pineapple ones that the dog was certainly welcome to and placed them on steps above its nose to entice it upwards. And it worked! The dog went up a few steps, snatched the lifesavers, and hustled back down to the bottom of the pit to crunch away happily.

After doing everything they could think of they gave up and climbed the ladder themselves and tried to make up for lost time getting on their way, when running up behind them came that dog. It had been capable all along of getting out of its predicament, it had just felt all along that being with them was the important thing. Mud walls, dirt floors? Those were a problem?

I confess that as her story went on I had a stifled and hopefully not too goofy grin: she’d gotten me quietly remembering the time years ago when she’d so much wanted me in her theater production, so sure I would jump at the chance, so sure she could make it happen for me and her surprise when I, with all the gentleness I could say it with, told her in complete seriousness that I would rather have a root canal than be up on that stage. Any stage. Not my thing. Babysitting for those who were, that, I’d be happy to do, I offered. (And I did and it was her one-year-old grandson.)

I felt for that dog. And it got out of there with everybody happy just like I did.

High entertainment
Saturday November 07th 2015, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Life

It was the annual dessert auction fund raiser for the Scouts.

You know Dave is really good at this when I’m not the only laughing and going, wait, what did he say? as he rattles off in hyperspeak.

He noted that it was our first such night without Shirley and that she had always bid on every dessert, at least something, making everyone’s effort appreciated; and here we had (he presented it) someone had baked one of her favorite recipes in her memory and honor tonight.

Meantime, Donna was livestreaming the proceedings for another elderly member of our ward who in her 90’s had recently moved out of state to be with her children. She hadn’t wanted to miss out. Well, hey, they could do something about that, even if we couldn’t bring her dessert.

Richard and I had both been cornered by various people as we’d come in: You DID bring your chocolate torte, right?

Two! (Recipe here.)

They were waiting, Dave knew it, and he saved them to almost last.

T. had told me in no uncertain terms that one of those was going to be his, but his hand faltered and dropped at $150.

Meantime, others were making plans, and two families in cahoots nailed the second one. One of them proudly presented to me afterwards their toddler’s face completely smeared in ganache–she’d had a good time with her slice. (I didn’t think fast enough to go, Hey, Donna, Nettie would love this!)

$295 for the two of them. The mind boggles and it makes no sense to me, although, fundraiser, okay. And I should stop bragging. I know.  Still, a new record, that’s for sure.

All she had to do was ask
Friday November 06th 2015, 11:55 pm
Filed under: Mango tree,Wildlife

It’s been in the mid-30’s the last few nights and I’ve been putting two layers of frost cover over the mango; the leaves are pushing right against the first cover and I know that that could damage them in the cold, lights or no, so I figure this makes them not right up against the outside air. They’re buffered.

So far so good.

Except that last night a small red but tasteless volunteer tomato had fallen near the trunk and I didn’t think anything of it until I woke up in the morning to find a raccoon paw had torn the outer cover; it clearly gave up quickly but still, each nail ripped a small gap and so that one’s useless for using on its own now except on, say, the mandarins, which are a whole lot shorter so far.

Someone asked me today about my raptors and I confessed I hadn’t seen them in awhile–but I knew they were there because the birds were fleeing into hiding and staying hiding a goodly while every day. They saw them even if I didn’t.

I typed out that response and then I got myself over to the couch to go knit.

Right on cue. Not ten minutes after, I heard the dove that had been herded into the window and I turned fast enough to see still-falling gray feathers. The Cooper’s was right under the feeder and it had caught itself a big one.

The hawk stayed eye to eye with me to the count of one, two, three, then quickly wheeled and lifted as if the thing were but a featherweight, tucking its feet and prey in close and flying to the privacy of the trees where the thieving, mobbing ravens wouldn’t know.

How I accidentally signed up to pilot the manned Mars landing
Thursday November 05th 2015, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Life

Trying to rent a car for a wedding we’re going to in a few months.

Ya gotta love Enterprise. The first glitch on their site wiped out my supposedly completed reservation. Huh. What can you do but start over. Were they testing to see if anyone actually reads the Terms and Conditions they’re agreeing to? Because my mommy and daddy taught me you always read the fine print before you sign your name.

So I clicked.

Which got me an empty box declaring three words: Terms and Conditions.

Not a link. Not a way forward out of that page. Just a wide expanse of space. That was it.

I printed it out. You never know.

The breaker blew.

Wednesday November 04th 2015, 11:33 pm
Filed under: History,Life

I’ve been wondering why it hasn’t made national screaming headlines: the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge is gone! No more R3! After two or four years there depending on whom you ask, it’s finally gone, do you hear me, GONE! Throw in an El Nino and boom, drought over, right?

Hey, where is everybody?

So I spent some time trying to find out why, since it’s such huge news, and the answer seems to be that nobody really knows why we had this bulletproof wall of air parked off the coast in the first place.

Which means they don’t know if it might come back at any moment, and that would tamp down the rejoicing, yes.

That really hard winter the East Coast had last year? R3 was bouncing all the tropical moisture that was supposed to come to us straight on up towards the Arctic, where it went on vacation and took in the sights and visited Denali National Park and combed the musk oxen at an Eskimo town and toured uppermost Canada and then came back down on the other side of the country and took off its new polar bear coat.

‘They got our water and Alaska’s cold and we got nuthin’.

Rain is predicted again in a few days. We’re off to a decent start.

The light bulbs
Tuesday November 03rd 2015, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Family,Life,Mango tree

I was covering the mango last night, lit by a misplaced flashlight and the Christmas string on the tree, tripped on the novelty of muddy ground, and fell twisting sideways into the tomato bush. No way to know if the pop tent that covered it is damaged; that plant grew right through it like a–okay, kids, ask your folks what a chia pet is. So yeah, a little cushioning there, definitely.

It’s a next-day thing, it always is, but it took me by surprise that when I lifted a more awkward than heavy thing this morning it quite did me in.

I still am having a hard time sitting up straight and I am walking like a ninety-year-old: stooped and slow and watching each step carefully. Must have fallen a lot harder than I thought.

And all day long I’ve been just amazed, going, I only fell and twisted with my own body weight–my daughter’s took it at freeway speed with the force of the weight and momentum of two cars. How does she DO this?! Me, pass the icepacks and I know I’ll be fine in a day or two. Or at worst three.

She amazes me. She’s a trooper.

I covered the mango a lot more carefully tonight. And then, since we hit 39 last night, I put a second cover on top. Just because.

Pent up
Monday November 02nd 2015, 11:44 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit

Rain, blessed rain this morning, 1.57″ at our house and over twice the forecast, an inch officially in the area overall.

Then at nine pm we realized that the lights weren’t coming on on the mango tree and it turned out the outside GFI circuit must have been rained on. Reset. We’re going to have to watch that this winter.

But even without the lights, damp soil helps hold in the warmer temperature of the day far better than dry and that and the frost cover (carefully anchored with rocks at the ground, no gaps) were helping hold in the heat even when none was being added: by ten degrees’ difference from the outside air.

Meantime, I spent an hour and a half–just like I did on Saturday–knitting, ripping, knitting, ripping, doing the math, proving it by making those stitches–and ripping again. Dang. I inwardly warned said project that it was in danger of being Dorothy Parkered.

I guess I scared it. At long long last I saw the rookie error in my math (and I’d had the number right the fourth time, too, darnit, even if I’d had the why wrong) and I got it right. The pattern worked.

May I stop here and give a shout-out to Karida Collins at the Neighborhood Fiber Co. I was using her Penthouse silk, which is a 2-ply spun not too tightly; it’s very soft. There’s always a tradeoff between softness and durability: adding twist makes a stronger yarn but it also adds friction that translates to a rougher hand. I way overspun a bit of rabbit fluff once and made it feel like rough burlap just to prove it could be done.

And yet this luscious yarn totally held up to being ripped out I know six and I think seven times, six fairly long rows’ worth, again and again and again and throw in several more agains and it still looks good enough to photograph for publication.

It was so compelling to me to knit it exactly right. This one’s for the whole world. Karina’s gorgeous handiwork deserves that.

Oh I see
Sunday November 01st 2015, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

1. Today is the 15th anniversary of a speeder totaling my car and my balance. And life has gone on just fine. Changed, though, so somehow I needed to acknowledge the anniversary.

2. Meantime, Maddy might not know what all those shiny wrappers mean yet but they crinkle and make lots of noise and are shiny and were desirable to her brothers so they made her happy.

3. My sweetie happened to glance past me towards my bird book this afternoon and did a double take. He knows each piece of electronics he’s ever ordered but that one totally threw him: what was it? Where had it come from? (How could he not remember this?!)

I laughed and reminded him that I’d ordered new glasses yesterday and had taken my identical backup pair with me to put new lenses into in case they didn’t have anything I liked as much. Which is what happened. And so this old case had come out of hiding and the dusty glasses inside washed off and turned in: I’ve alternated for eleven years now which pair has the current prescription. I want my face to look like what I want my face to look like, and so when I found just the thing I bought two.

Actually three, after one met a size 13 foot one night–I replaced it while I still could.

And he’s right, that doesn’t look like a glasses case. Put wheels on it and it could be a toy express train. Or wings and a tail, a plane.

Soon I won’t be flying quite so blind.