Dr. S.
Wednesday October 27th 2021, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden,Life,Lupus

The eye department couldn’t fit me in all on the same day for all the testing they wanted to do in answer to my query Monday, so after going yesterday I came back today to see just the technician for that last test.

There was the standard question yesterday of, do you have any new allergies.

Dr. S. mentioned by way of reassurance that he’d gotten that same fiery red rash from that brand of heart monitor, but it had faded away after a few days.

We were having a mutually surprised moment: you needed one, too? (How could you be old enough..! Answer: we’re sort of not. But him even less so, and I at least have lupus as an excuse.)

He was fine, he assured me, they were just checking.

He was quite delighted with the homegrown pomegranate. “Look how BIG it is! I love pomegranates!”

Coming through the door on my return home this afternoon, the answering machine was just finishing up.

It was Dr. S.

He had gone over that visual field test’s results. (Immediately, clearly, rather than waiting till the end of the day to get around to the paperwork. He’d wanted me to know right away.) It had taken a little more energy for me to see the flashes on one side, he said, consistent with the optic nerve having been narrowed by what appeared about 25 years ago to be optic neuritis. It had changed since last time, but only a little. From all he could see, there was nothing to worry about–but come right in if anything changes or you have concerns.

And then his voice sounded more emotional than perhaps he’d intended. “I’ll see you in a year. Come back in a year. Thanks.”

A promise that he would be here and that surely I must as well.

I felt that.

I appreciated that, and wished he had held off two more minutes to call so that I could have gotten off the freeway and grabbed that phone in time to say, and you, too. All the best.

To life!

Coopernicus Junior
Tuesday October 26th 2021, 8:55 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

It completely made my day when an adult Cooper’s hawk showed up this morning and hung around, unafraid of my movements with the camera. ‘Here, let me give you a profile view now.’ It was giving the local crows and ravens a seasonal heads-up that it does, in fact, own this space.

And to remember that.

And then it swooped down past the windows of my newly-widowed neighbor, an avid birdwatcher, to offer her comfort, too.

Stretching up to the vanishing point
Monday October 25th 2021, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

For two weeks I woke up in the morning with the thought of don’t waste time before starting in on that afghan, you only have till the 31st, and spending the day all the way till bedtime alternating between knitting, thinking of knitting, resting my hands from knitting, and being grateful for the distraction from Stupid Things My Health Does.

I did, I got to start the atmospheric river blue above the San Francisco Bay fog line while said river was pounding away out there in the storm. I had wanted those times to overlap and they did.

This evening I glanced towards the lowering sun and decided to take a picture while there was still at least some natural light.

Kat had second-guessed herself and wondered if I would want hooks on the slab of my redwood she’d polished for me so that it could become a wallhanging. That made me wonder, as I was knitting, if I should make it possible for her afghan to be the wallhanging, and that became the plan.

I was going to knit a plain section at the top after the darker blue: to start it off by doubling the number of stitches, putting every other one on a holder, knitting a plain band twice the height of what you’d want in order to run a dowel through and then double-needle-binding-off it along with those held stitches at the back of the afghan. One horizontal pocket across, coming up!

But when it came right down to it during those last few rows? When I laid it out for this picture?


I will offer to add it, and if she wants me too I will in a heartbeat, just like she would have added hooks in a heartbeat, but for my eyes I’m going to leave it the way it looks best. Just like she did.

Edited to add: and after I laid it out a second time once it was finished and could only get bad photos with my 6S phone that I’m not going to besmirch all that hard work with by posting here, I finally found the stitch I’d been looking for. The one that was why I was missing one when counting out the center stitch for where the lace edging would meet up in the center at the top.

Can you see it in this picture? I didn’t either. I didn’t find it when I was knitting, either, no matter how much I looked for it, and I did.

I dropped it about the time I hit the tippy top of the tree. At the inner edge of the lace on the left. Probably when I put the thing down to run answer the landline.

So I grabbed a length of white yarn, looped through the one left hanging as if I were finally knitting it, connecting it where it should have been connected to and then ran the ends in along the back.

From the front you could never know. From the back, almost so.

That was close!

It feels so weird not to have this huge project hanging over my head anymore. It’s like, what do I even do with my needles now? I’d better decide quick because I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and the next day and the cardiologist hasn’t even seen the monitor results yet as far as I know.

A Malabrigo Mecha hat is always a good and soft and warm and useful thing. But after nineteen skeins of the stuff in two weeks, um, let’s go try something else.

We’re fine
Monday October 25th 2021, 10:13 am
Filed under: Knit

This is the first year we’ve gotten more than a single Page orange on that tree and yesterday’s storm blew nearly all the leaves off the thing.

I don’t think that works.

One and a half skeins to go out of nineteen
Saturday October 23rd 2021, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Food,Knitting a Gift

Our local forecast now says 2.73″ of rain tomorrow as the atmospheric river tries to play a game of Noah with us. That’s a huge amount for California and the biggest storm in two years. It’s badly needed.

And so it came to me as I knitted above the top of the redwood that I ought to memorialize that.

Which is why the section above where I’m working now, where I will repeat the lace pattern that frames the beginning and sides of this thing, will be done in Malabrigo’s London Sky, a lavender-ish blue. My skein is a nice deep shade of pouring rain.

The afghan is so close to being done.

Meantime, the last chocolate bars to be poured from the melanger are the most fun because you can swirl them and it shows better than the ones that were hotter coming out–but you can’t see the effects till they set. You have no idea what they’ll look like.

A whale mid-dive, a parrot looking askance back over its shoulder: Hey! No splashing!

No more monitor
Friday October 22nd 2021, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

This is long and meandering but it’s late and I don’t have time to edit it.

My cousin Virginia cut her beautiful shoulder-length hair very short and posted pictures on Facebook and got lots of compliments over her new look.

And then she quietly sent out a note to her cousins that she’d had cancer nine years ago, had long since beaten it… and the haircut was to make it seem less abrupt when it starts falling out again.

All those hats knitted as carry-around projects, a moment here, a row there, they were ready.

She said she had a blue one from me from years ago but yes, she’d like a soft white one, very much, thank you.

And so today, I–

Waited till 3 pm. On the nose at the two week mark, off with the heart monitor and into its box to ship back to its manufacturer so they can report to my cardiologist. My skin had a fierce enough reaction to the adhesive that I’m amazed it stayed on. I hope I don’t have to do that again for awhile.

So that got mailed and the white hat, and also one in purples and another in greens. She hadn’t wanted to ask for too much. I had wanted to give her all.the.hats. I compromised.

Andy’s dried slab Blenheim apricots in another box for my mom, the ones picked so ripe they go smush when cut. The best.

And a warm winter outfit to my niece’s baby girl.

But before I headed out for the post office, one last note on the diary notebook to return with the monitor: yes I pushed the button at 3 a.m. this morning but, um, ignore that. I was asleep. Pushing it woke me up that wait, I did what? No. Nothing to see there. I was dreaming.

If only we could solve all health problems that easily.

And then at the end of the day, finally, I knit and got past the tree.

And then said, But what I really want is to go make a batch of chocolate, darn it. We’re out, and the pre-pandemic Trader Joe’s bar doesn’t count.

Wild Bolivian Mix, in the melanger now.

I said to Richard, I calculated wrong so I didn’t put in all the sugar I measured and now I don’t know how much I did and is this sweet enough?

He took a taste and considered thoughtfully: it was good, and yet, “Seems a little too sweet to me.”

And it’s not enough to me, even though I like mine quite dark. Good. Right in between. That means we hit the sweet spot.

Maybe I do too art, just a little
Thursday October 21st 2021, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

(Daytime photo that gets the colors right.)

Somehow, when there were only four pairs of branches done, it looked like a rib cage. The last one helps.

I wanted to give that sense of looking up and up and up that happens among redwoods and I think the angle and vanishing point help.

By the way, here’s a house that left me instantly smitten. Knit and watch the boats go by. Not too close nor too far down towards the shore and rising waters, but on a hill looking over the homes nearer in. Gorgeous. The fact that there are two painter’s easels set up tells me the people who’ve lived there have taken in that view with the eyes of an artist. I’d love to see what they’ve painted.

I’d be knitting it in no time. I imagine in less of a rush than this project and with more detail. All the time in the world.


When they’re little
Wednesday October 20th 2021, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

There was a baby shower by Zoom Sunday for two nieces who are expecting: the idea was, order baby books mailed to them in advance and then let’s all celebrate and talk about our favorites!

I sent Sandra Boynton board books. As one does.

One cousin, whose youngest is about five now, told them, There’s always some lady at a grocery store who will tell you, Oh! They grow up SO fast!

I think that’s a pretty universal experience for young moms, often when the kids are not being their stage-presence best and so trying to get the simplest things done takes forever; I remember when, for a month, I had four kids under age six.

I answered, The days are years and the years are days.

Don’t ask me, I don’t know how to art
Tuesday October 19th 2021, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

49″ and ready to start the fifth set of branches. It’s getting there.

Then, for the fog rolling in as it comes over the coastal range every morning here, the question is do I seed stitch the transition between white and pale fog blue, alternating colors in a transition? Or long horizontal lines alternating and stacking irregularly? That sounds a whole lot easier to do than seed stitch in two colors, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s the look I want.

Or I could do the color change brutalist fashion like the earth tones below: it’s this color here and that color there. Bam. Done.

Sunday October 17th 2021, 10:38 pm
Filed under: History

One of the speakers at church today (if only there could be a link to our own ward’s talks!) mentioned Corrie ten Boom, whom I had heard of before but this story I had not.

She and her family hid Jews in the Netherlands during WWII but were eventually caught and sent to a concentration camp. Her father, sister, and nephew died; Corrie was released by mistake and made her escape.

Having preached forgiveness as a moral imperative and a means of spiritual and even physical survival in the camps, she continued to do so after the War, speaking far and wide on the subject.

At the end of one of those talks, a man approached her.

I can’t even imagine. She knew exactly who he was: he had been one of the SS guards in that concentration camp.

He told her how grateful he was for what she had said–and he reached out his hand to shake hers.

Forgive him, she told herself. Practice what you just preached. Live it.

Her hand utterly refused to move.

Help me forgive him, she prayed hard.

But she knew exactly what he had done.

Finally, in agony, her inner cri de couer was, I cannot forgive him. Father, You must because I cannot–and with that her hand was suddenly freed and she reached hers out to his and in the moment they connected she described an electricity going through her to him.

And it healed him.

And it healed her.

Musings on an evening where I pushed the monitor button to record the moment
Saturday October 16th 2021, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

There was an article on Graves disease in the Washington Post today. I found it very timely, because that diagnosis is in my chart but nobody’s ever told me much about it beyond the word itself. One endocrinologist retired after ordering the antibody tests, one went on maternity leave, one filled in temporarily, and I haven’t gotten back there in so long–covid being most of that time–that it kind of dropped through the cracks because I simply didn’t need to go in.

My autoantibodies for both hyper and hypo thyroidism generally duke it out pretty much to a standstill.

But it would explain some of this stuff, including the almost two pounds lost these past two weeks. And here I was thinking juggling yarn balls all day long was proving a surprisingly good if implausible diet.

If it is the Graves, it would be quite treatable.

A text came in as I was typing this: I just promised the friends who stopped by last night that I would call them if we need any help whatsoever. She’s young, but she’s had heart experience, successfully treated and fine now. Some people are just easy to turn to anyway, and then you learn more and more why.

*To clarify: the heart monitor’s recording for two weeks straight. They want me to push the button to footmark my notes on it.

A good way to spend a day
Friday October 15th 2021, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden,Knitting a Gift

Twenty-one rows and the start of the third set of branches, a trip to Andy’s Orchard where I got some of the last of the fresh figs of the season–SO good–and some dried Blenheim apricot slabs for my mom, and a visit this evening by friends bearing homemade goodies.

I went outside and cut a pomegranate off my tree and told them to come back for more later–they’re good now, but they’ll keep ripening and get even better.

I sent them home with a bunch of those figs, too, because they love them as much as I do and there were so many in that box and it would be criminal to have them not be enjoyed at their newest and best.

Meantime, I’m hoping the (already stratified) cherry seeds sprout that their son decided needed saving for me because the cherries I gave them from Andy’s were so good a few months ago. They haven’t yet. They’re in nature’s time zone. I’ll just have to wait.

Thursday October 14th 2021, 9:27 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life

So I got the first set of branches done, remembering again why one should always do such a thing on needles that are long enough that you can spread the whole thing out to really see what you’re doing to get perspective as you go. These aren’t.

Darn if it didn’t look like a penguin flapping its flippers.

The only antidote to that was to add another set to give a better sense of tree-ness.

You know those cell phone towers along the freeways that are supposed to be mistaken in passing for pines but instead look like someone electrocuted the Christmas tree?

I kid, I kid, it’s totally fine even if not entirely how I thought it would be. (And a little bit of this is the camera angle.)

I’m better at learning from my mistakes than not making them.

It’s only natural
Wednesday October 13th 2021, 9:23 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life,LYS

The yarn came.

It’s an exact match. That never happens. But it is. Probably came from the same batch at the mill even though I bought them at different times and different San Francisco-area stores. Twelve inches of afghan recklessly knitted in the previous undyed white wool, suddenly totally justified. Man, that feels good.

The tree is branching out now.

And in the strange, strange house department–the pouting telephone stays. The bears stay. (Just sell me one of those and we’re good.) Everything does. Except not the tractor nor, inexplicably plain after all that other stuff, the table under the gazebo.

I’m thinking the ladder for the kids to bypass the stairs to the second floor with would disappear if I had any say in it and having a gun overhead much less in earthquake country is unfathomably Darwinian (did they think the kids wouldn’t figure out that ladders can be moved?)

But should one ever want to put one’s head in a lion’s mouth (scroll halfway down to read where Amy did on a live one) there’s your chance.

I’m not even sure what one of those animals once was and I am so not into carcasses on the wall.

And yet if the power ever went out and the temps were decidedly unCalifornian, you could definitely stay warm.

But first you’d have to drag the ladder over to them.

Speed bump ahead
Tuesday October 12th 2021, 10:23 pm
Filed under: LYS,Politics

Twenty-six rows today, maybe a row shy of twenty-six inches. Serious progress.

Forgive me a bit of a rant, though.

Imagiknit‘s email saying “Your package has been shipped” also says, and this is new, that if the post office is still claiming they haven’t got it yet, which is in fact what they’re saying on mine, they do, check with them, ie, they’re just not updating in a timely manner. I read that as, please don’t make us pay for our employees’ time tracking it down because of the post office’s screwups. I also know how immediately Imagiknit gets their customers’ purchases out there.

Postmaster General DeJoy made it official policy to slow down packages as of Oct 1–I guess not entering them into the system means they’re trying to dodge customer blowback against that slowdown on their part.

I don’t know why he still has his job. I think he’d have to be fired for cause but there’s definitely cause: a whole lot of people, especially in rural areas, depend on timely mail for their meds. My problem is just yarn but still, I do want to start the branches on my tree and I’m almost out of the white for the background.

And of course this turned out to be the first week where my husband has had to drive in to work, and he no longer works where I can just drop him off. We had planned to buy a new car for the commute whenever it finally happened but this has definitely turned out not to be the year to be in the market for one.

So heading out to the nearest yarn store in desperation is not something I can do for a few days either. I’ve been sitting here with my knitting needles chasing that roadrunner as fast as I can go and I’m about to smack right into that wall.

I’m just going to have to wait. Ah, poor baby.