May they all make it safely home, too
Monday February 28th 2022, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Knit

I wanted it done in a day but that didn’t quite happen.

Meantime, Thursday, Richard was driving home from across the Bay when the Check Engine light came on. Nothing seemed wrong with the car otherwise as far as he could tell so he drove it home.

Which is how we found out our mechanic isn’t open on Fridays. We spent three days hoping hard that this would not be the time we would have to be trying to replace the ’07 Prius–not this year.

The cable to the battery was loose. They tightened it. They couldn’t find anything else and that did the job, and sent me off with, If it does it again bring it right back in here.

Somehow, the phrase ‘dodged a bullet’ came to mind and immediately got stomped on hard. No. No we didn’t. Come on.

Speaking of which, if you’d like to support Ukrainian knit designers without their having to ship you anything physically, this site lists several and I just bought several patterns. (I’d tried Ravelry’s ‘Advanced Search by country’ feature and had not found Ukraine listed, though it may well be now.) That gray hat that is the first thing that shows up in Blackbunny Fiber’s link stretches out on the head across its top into a sunflower per the Ravelry pictures. Perfect.

Sometimes a queue requires being interrupted
Sunday February 27th 2022, 8:55 pm
Filed under: History,Knit

I’ve spent the last two days wishing I had some yellow yarn, but since I never wear yellow I don’t buy it either.

I was thinking about that again this evening as a purple beanie went slowly round and round in my hands during my Zoom knitting meeting as people were talking about the attack on Ukraine: where we could donate. Where we could hope to do the most good from so far away.


Moments after it ended, I suddenly remembered back when I bought way more than I used and what a mistake and a waste I’d thought it was at the time (and I gave some of it away) but… I went running to look.

I did still. There you go. The octopus leftovers. That blue, a bit darker in a different dye lot, for the sky, a yellow with a slight peach to it for the sunflower national flower. Superwash merino. I can dive right in after all.

You know if I walk around with their flag on my head a lot of people are going to ask for one.

Let me just finish off the top of that other beanie to get it off my needles and out of the way.

Gotta earn those calories, right?
Saturday February 26th 2022, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

Picture taken before all that vegan butter and sugar were added.

In case you ever needed to know, if you use one of those cheapo little $10 (it was then, anyway) battery-powered apple peelers and start right at the top on a big Granny Smith, yes you can, in fact, get a continuous length of apple peel long enough to be able to go play jump rope with.

“Mom, what are you *doing*!”

You might consider washing your sweater after you try it out, though. But it didn’t break!

An interesting Thanksgiving table
Friday February 25th 2022, 10:07 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

This made a good metaphor for the moment–sometimes you *do* have to push the bear away that’s threatening your loved ones, even when it has claws and you don’t. (BBCnews link.)

Meantime, Pres. Biden’s Supreme Court pick for the Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson, is married to a man whose twin is married to the sister of former House Speaker Paul Ryan’s wife. Ryan praised her intellect, her character, and her integrity (his description) today.

We’re going to have a great Justice on the Court.

Such a strong, strange-feeling mixture in the headlines this week.

A modest proposal
Thursday February 24th 2022, 10:57 pm
Filed under: History

A rueful laugh/if only/and yet, and yet, maybe: I read someone’s comment that the way to stop the war is to offer UK, US, or European citizenship to every Russian soldier who defects.

As the world prays for the innocent on both sides.

High maintenance
Wednesday February 23rd 2022, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Knit

Last night, Richard set the heat to go to 75 at 7:00 a.m. to try to last us the day.

7:30 a.m., I made a tall mug of hot cocoa. I made a second for him. I made a third for me and poured it into a thermos.

8:15, the lights went out.

He took the car into work because he sure couldn’t do it from here.

I put a long piece of scotch tape across the fridge and freezer side-by-side doors to keep me from having a stupid moment borne of 28 years’ habit of opening those particular doors. (On a side note, if I buy a new, prettier fridge with no broken shelf, how will I ever get one that will hold up as long as that one has?)

I started reading a book.

I drank my cocoa, but to no one’s surprise it was near room temperature three hours in.

I opened the thermos. That cocoa was still hot–careful. It was 1 pm. I sipped away as I finished the book. I thought, if that’s been too warm too long to be safe don’t tell me because I’m only being guilty at that for today.

I made progress on the barely-begun new afghan project.

I made progress on organizing a whole bunch of stuff.

I wished I had more hot cocoa.

I wished the city would hurry up and finish with their power upgrade/maintenance work. I thought about how we live a block or so from the infamous Pipeline 132 that blew up that neighborhood in San Bruno so thank you I’d rather utility work got done right rather than in a hurry. I can wait.

I didn’t want to wait.

I wished for takeout.

And then at 4:30, half an hour early, the lights suddenly clicked on oh thank you thank you.

When he finally got through the commute home, we finished off the lemongrass chicken in the fridge to make sure it wouldn’t go bad.

But the last of the milk in there was still cold.

The scotch tape saved the day.

Don’t forget your surge protectors
Tuesday February 22nd 2022, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Garden,Life

In case you don’t hear back from me right away tomorrow.

Last week we were 15-20 degrees warmer than normal and it was quite pleasant.

This week, not so much: the mango tree has just started a major flush of growth, which means the buds are about to burst forth and some may have, and now it’s under layers of frost covers against possible freezing tonight (she typed, thinking of all those peach blossoms, too.) It’s cold out there. It was cold all day despite two layers of sweaters and a working furnace.

And so of course tomorrow is the day they’re turning our power off from 8-5 to upgrade the electrical system in our neighborhood. The fridge and freezer must not be opened, no food will be heatable. Oh you were going to be working from home? Not Wednesday you’re not.

I haven’t worn thermals since Alaska, but I’m going to. The hot cocoa’s going straight into a thermos first thing in the morning, and I’m going to need it after uncovering that tree out there.

But we did get a hundredth of an inch of rain last night with this cold front and that’s at least something.

I just read the fine print on the notice: shutdown may be canceled without notice due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.

Meaning, if the power is on you still don’t dare open the fridge because that might be right when it cuts off. Or totally not. Come on, guys, how hard is it to shoot an email to a few dozen households?

So we’ll see how it goes.

Monday February 21st 2022, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Non-Knitting

Enjoy the view of the mima mounds, they say… (Picture 3 especially. It’s kind of bizarre, particularly at upper right.)

What the heck was a mima mound?

So I looked them up.

Nobody quite knows. One guy thought they were caused by a combination of the particular layers of soil they have in that area and earthquakes. My first reaction was ancient burial sites (trash or bodies, take your pick.)

But the current consensus appears to be that they most likely are caused by, yes, the effects of those particular layers–and the fact that they induce burrowing critters to push up rather than down as they go. Not sure I quite get why, but okay. Seems Sisyphean to me; how would they ever surface?

In other words, that’s what your gophers could make your yard look like, given several hundred years’ worth of generations in the right kinds of soil.

Note how, despite what looks like a flattened-out one or two in front, they just built the fence and mowed the lawn in back to go up and down along with the waves. (After bulldozing a bunch more to build that neighborhood, no doubt.) So I guess they’re sturdy.

My only problem with the things is that that word instantly sets off The Lion Sleeps Tonight in my head. Especially if it rains. A mima-wet a mima-wet, a mima-wet a mima-wet, hush my darling…

Finicky knitting
Sunday February 20th 2022, 9:23 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

I decided that last hat should have been done on a size smaller needle or maybe even two.

So then rather than doing that, exactly, I went up a needle size, decreased the stitch count somewhat, and substituted the thicker Malabrigo Mecha for their Rios to see how that would do.

And I think the answer is… Next time do floats. Since the biggest problem is the black showing through the white at the front. My usual is to wrap the unused across the back of every working stitch so that things are snug, warm, and don’t catch on things, including in the laundry, but that means needing it to be knit very densely to keep those bits from becoming visible.

I just need to stop being reluctant to knit the thing on size 3 US, frankly. Then I can keep on doing it my way.

I finished the second hat.

In multiple ways
Saturday February 19th 2022, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Garden

The plum tree has decided to start joining the party.

As for the two Anya kernels that had been showing a bit of green mold so I’d given them up as likely lost (but had kept them from drying out just in case), I put them out in the sun yesterday and today during the hours when it was warm out there. Having swelled up to show above the top of the soil before getting infected, they’d at least tried, and I halfway held onto that as a good sign.

I was quite surprised at not seeing the green bits anywhere tonight and what is left of the mold has retreated markedly in size as well as color.

As for the kernels themselves: one of the ones that had been infected has started to split open to sprout, which I did not expect at all. So it looks like I’ll have two out of the original three make it, and who knows, maybe the third one will surprise me, too.

Who knew it was that effective? Sunlight really is the best disinfectant.

And another one
Friday February 18th 2022, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Garden

After writing last night’s post, it bugged me in the night that I hadn’t yet done everything I could, so the first thing I did in the morning was to get my last Costco pot out and one of the new bags of lobster soil. I transplanted in another dormant apricot seedling. While it still was.

What surprised me is that the locally produced topsoil it had been in was hardpacked so tight that the water I’d given it yesterday had never made it through to the roots; apparently it was just absorbed by the fabric bag I’d wanted that tree-let out of. No wonder that other one over there looks so blackened. Yow.

One of the selling points on the lobster compost is that it retains moisture but not so much as to rot the roots. I’d read that and thought, well, that’s spin that’s trying to claim it both ways.

But in actual use this past year that’s turned out to be a pretty fair description after all of how it treated my plants. Either way, today’s seedling now has good soil and a good watering and we’ll see how it does.

Then I ordered another threesome of pots–which is a bit ambitiously wishful, since I have two more seedlings but only one looking alive. But there are three new seeds gestating, and while only one looks promising, it does and I’m holding it to it. The pots are not huge, but they’re big enough to grow an apricot to a giftable size while staying a light enough weight that I can manage lifting them. Including over next to or even in the air-conditioned house if it hits 118 again this summer. I want them to get to grow this year.

So: two yearlings (hopefully) and one new-to-come: I’m ready for them.

Or I will be after the next Costco delivery.

Signs of spring
Thursday February 17th 2022, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden

Having had such huge success with the 46″ tall Anya-offspring apricot seedling that was planted in lobster compost last year, two weeks ago I transplanted two of the ones that had come out so tiny into the stuff. One was 4″ tall, the other 6″. I wasn’t sure they’d even survived, and then I accidentally ripped a few roots despite all I could do as I moved them.

I had more bags on order but I could at least do those two.

From what I’ve been able to read, for an apricot branch that loses its growth tip, that’s it, that branch won’t grow nor even sprout out any side branches from its lower nodes until the next year–and that’s certainly how it was for mine. The severe heat last summer did some serious crisping.

Two weeks into their new digs, a week of daytime warmth, and guess which yearling burst out with the green first? The not-dead-yet 4″ one, and there are hints of green on the other. They’re ahead of the ones that got no lobster. Even though their roots were messed with.

So here’s my one that’s starting its third year: it likewise started off tiny and stunted and then played catch-up last year, making it to 26″ only because I didn’t know you shouldn’t do summer pruning and I was trying to keep the two sides at the same height.

And then I found out why that had been a mistake.

But its success is why I was sure the little ones were worth keeping trying.

There are three more small ones, two of which I expect to do fine and one that…it will be a surprise if it does, it looks pretty black, but we’ll see.

I have a friend who told me he’d love to have one of those apricot trees. I figure first I have to get it tall enough to remotely look like at least a bush.

I have high hopes.

But do we get seconds?
Wednesday February 16th 2022, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

We were having ice cream in celebration of the splurge of a bottle of coconut-cream caramel sauce with pumpkin spice because why not. A novelty to us and a favorite for her and she’d found one at the store today even though Thanksgiving is well over.

She made sure we knew that you had to mix the contents up with that spoon first.

My brain has a ’60’s or ’70’s song for everything and I found myself singing in cheerful anticipation, Stir it up. Little darling, stir it up, ohh yeah… I mentioned that I didn’t remember who sang it, just the song.

My better half instantly opined, Bob Marley–but I think it’s shake it up, it’s not stir it up.

Yonder daughter already tapping on her phone came right back with: Dad’s right, it’s Bob Marley. But it IS, Stir it up.

She put down the phone and looked at me in a mixture of wonderment and almost laughing, *MOM* heard the lyrics right! And *Dad* remembered them wrong!

Good to know we’re still doing our jobs and surprising our kids.

And this, children, is why trademarks matter
Tuesday February 15th 2022, 5:11 pm
Filed under: Life




I called Edgepark, the company that handles my ileostomy supplies. There had been a problem.

They said basically, not our problem, you need to talk to the manufacturer. The rep offered to go get me their phone number. I said, I can go look it up myself. She insisted, and I thought, well okay, let her do her job so she looks to her boss like she’s taking good care of the customer, so I waited.

She came back and gave me the number for dealing with that.

I called, not sure if they would answer after 5 pm Eastern time, but they did and I explained that I had had three (name of the) bags come unglued in two weeks and that had never happened in the thirteen years since my surgery and what should we do next.

The young man on the line listened patiently but then asked a question with some confusion.

I explained, I had to stop everything and shower and replace all three components and it was a good thing I was home and I haven’t been doing anything different. (I didn’t say, And that stuff retails at about $100 per change. Yes, if you don’t have a colon nor insurance, it costs ~$33 a day to use the bathroom. For the rest of your life.)

The light bulb went off for him.

We’re Hollister the *clothing* company. (He didn’t say, As in, a top brand among teenagers. Linking to thank them for hiring such a sweetheart.)

My own light bulb went sudden full-blast spotlight. Ohmygosh. Edgepark Medical gave me your number as being Hollister medical supplies!!

He very helpfully offered to go look up that number for me but this time I said (between snort-giggles at this point because he was being so nice about it and you KNOW he’d just gotten a great story to tell his buddies) that thanks, I’d go look it up myself.

(Not taking any more chances.)

It’s all yours
Monday February 14th 2022, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

(And more peach flowers.)

Boxes. Cats love the ones that are just small enough. Kids turn big ones into spaceships and trucks. There’s so much magic lurking inside plain brown cardboard.

There was a box at the front door. It was not expected and not mine. Electronics? Tools? Hey, I know, designer clothes! (As if!) I looked closer.

Ah, yes, okay. The brand that makes the vanilla soy milk she likes has mostly discontinued it, I imagine due to the extreme price of real vanilla on the world market these days, and they’ve been trying to get their customers to substitute this new grain-based stuff even if they don’t want to. When you can’t bake a cake with dairy, though, you’ve got to have something.

Thus the, Hey–your oat cookture is here!