The artist daughter of the art dealer
Thursday March 31st 2022, 8:50 pm
Filed under: Family

There was an international competition for an exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City on the theme of All Are Alike Unto God, and my sister Anne’s piece made the cut. What is amazing about it is that every one of those faces was done in watercolor.

So we got to take Mom there to go see it.

Mom took off her mask just long enough for me to snap her picture. And if you embiggen it, you’ll see that the couple standing in front of the heart holding a great-grandchild are our Mom and Dad. Here you go, you can see them a little better now.

Con Brio
Wednesday March 30th 2022, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

The medical news part of the trip didn’t really hit me till I wrote it down for yesterday’s post, and then the whole of it was all at once.

While we were actually there with Mom, with our son John, while we were at the Sunday dinner at my brother’s house with his two younger kids and our two older sisters and Mom, the overriding feeling was simply joy: after two long years, we finally got to see each other. We got to be there.

My niece showed me where the peach tree I’d given them for Christmas a few years earlier was growing. My sister told me hers was starting to bloom. (Pictures, and they do embiggen: my Stella sweet cherry today.)

We got to see Richard’s younger sister.

We got to take Mom out on the town. Including where, in October 2019, all six of us kids had approached a local restaurant as we were out walking and said, We know you’re booked solid but we just buried our father and our Mom was hoping for Italian and could you possibly squeeze us in tonight?

And they did. They didn’t have to, but they did.

For the memories of that day and their kindness, Richard and I took her back there Saturday night. It was the best food of the trip. Brio in Salt Lake City–if you go there, go there.

Salt Lake City: part one
Tuesday March 29th 2022, 8:24 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

After I spent all that time trying not to grouse at my husband because I wanted to go see my 91-year-old mom and he wanted to wait till the Omicron counts were down to where it was safe for us to walk through the airport for her sake, it turns out he was very very right but not just for the reasons we thought.

They test the sewage here and extrapolate from that the percentage of the population that has the disease in that moment. He wanted that count to go below where it would be inevitable that you’d be exposed to at least one person at the airport and then bring it to Mom, even if she is boostered. I couldn’t rightly disagree.

Finally those tests were encouraging enough that I talked to him and to Mom and went to go book the tickets.

As I looked at that screen I felt strongly that I should book it for two weeks out. I looked at the ticket prices and noped out, even if the thought remained persistent, and booked for three weeks out with the idea in the back of my head that you do have 24 hours to cancel without penalty.

But I couldn’t get a hotel room. At all. Not one single room in the entire city, not fleabag nor Marriott. So I looked at the fares for a week earlier again, talked to Mom and Richard again, canceled the original and booked the new and felt an odd sense of relief about it. Hotel, piece of cake, car, got it. Sooner is always nicer anyway, right? (Later, Mom said to me, But of course–three weeks out was going to be General Conference. I was stunned–DUH. People fly in to Salt Lake City from all over the world for that. How had I missed that that was the weekend! You can tell I didn’t grow up in Utah.)

What we had no way to know. No. Way. Was that in between those two weeks, our 34-year-old son, who lives about a half hour from Mom, was going to be diagnosed with lung cancer. They caught it very early while scanning him for something else and the doctor was as surprised as we were, given his age and that he’d never smoked.

But he lucked out and he should be fine. Even so–there are times when you just want your parents with you, and there we were.

About a week before I booked those tickets, the sister-in-law of one of my nieces, having had epilepsy most of her life, died after being hospitalized for months after a particularly severe seizure. There was a GoFundMe to help her in-laws with their immense expenses, and I contributed to it because, family. And because you do what you can when there’s nothing you can do.

Yesterday her young son went to her and said that M, his five-year-old sister, had thrown up in her bed. The parents found their daughter seizing. It was her first. And it was a grand mal. Just weeks after burying their sister for that.

My mom, husband, son, and I were together when my sister texted about her granddaughter. I texted my niece, who is close to her cousin who was right there next to me, and said I didn’t know if it was appropriate or wanted but we were all ready to come immediately to Children’s Hospital to be with them, or anything else we could do.

The answer of course was that visitors are limited, (because of course they still are) but the offer was very appreciated and the support and love meant so much.

That trip. It had to be on that timing. And it was.

Pardon me, I’m gonna vent
Thursday March 24th 2022, 8:50 pm
Filed under: Life

Of all the things in the world, this is so low on the totem pole. And yet–I hate that I so often come out of CVS with my stomach gnarled in knots.

The local store thanked me a few years ago for getting our prescriptions there, saying that corporate wants to shut them down along with a lot of others because it’s cheaper for them to do it by mail. (Corporate is actually doing that now to a bunch of stores but I don’t think ours–it’s too close to the clinics at Stanford.)

Meantime, they’re terribly understaffed and they always have been.

California law requires that a pharmacist be available to answer questions about any new med, with a list of questions they’re to offer the patient to make sure they know what the med is for and how to take it. So it appears that if they want to do business in this state they have to at least have some real live people around somewhere.

They’re supposed to call you when it’s time to refill. They don’t anymore. They didn’t announce they weren’t doing that anymore. I was going to say they don’t even print the fill date, having searched for it, but turns out it’s actually there in super-fine print that didn’t have to be. Way to tell me I’m getting old, guys. Okay, but, so that’s on me, I should have seen it.

All of which adds up to: I take an asthma med and I thought I had another box, reinforced by the fact that they told me two weeks ago that they were going to refill all my meds April 7. But I don’t. I have one single dose left–and I am flying tomorrow to my mom’s.

I raced over there to say I have a problem. They said they would call me. They did not. I finally went back there tonight just before they closed, determined to sit there and wait till they filled the darn thing.

They said, But he never answered.

He? He who? My doctor’s a woman. Whom did you send that refill request to? He hasn’t been my doctor for years, I’ve corrected that in your records before. I’ve been on this for years, can’t you just give me a week’s worth? I’d be happy to pay out of pocket. I need to breathe–and I am flying to a high altitude tomorrow.

The night pharmacist, someone new to me and stuck in the middle of all this, sympathized greatly but could not offer more than hope that the doctor would respond in time before my flight–but if not, she told me, I could have it filled at any CVS in any state, all I have to do is offer the relevant information for them to look it up.

I thanked her very much for that, and because I could see how badly she wanted to do more.

I am not flying to sit in a stupid pharmacy waiting for an hour and a half for an understaffed pharmacist to fill a prescription–I’m going to be with my mom. Family here could get it here and overnight it to me, if they were willing to take a few abrupt unexpected hours off work that that would entail, but, let’s not. So hopefully first thing in the morning, or, Hey, Mom! Want to go to CVS just for fun?

I can just hear her offering the classic expletive from my childhood: “Joy and rapture!” Except that she wouldn’t be saying it, I would.

I can just hear her laughing reading that line. Hi, Mom!

Earlier, the daytime pharmacist looked at the screen and made the same mistake I did and told me that it was not time to refill it yet–and then went, Oh wait, January February March, yes that IS three months.

Right. The April 7 thing? That was only for the heart meds, I guess not the other because it was officially expired but that didn’t make them act on it at the time. Nor say anything to me.


Oh yeah. By the way. I’m flying out of town tomorrow. In case you don’t hear from me for a few days? No worries.

I’m going to save that dose for the morning.


(Ed. to add Friday morning: got it!)

Fellow enthusiast
Wednesday March 23rd 2022, 8:21 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden

The now-friend who got those freecycled paper bags last week? Turns out she grew up in my town with an apricot tree in her yard and wished she had one.


It wasn’t very big, and it had only just started to wake up and take on the new growing season, but it was one of last year’s and when I transplanted it into a  bigger pot, I noted the good root structure. It reminds me of my third-year one, that was tiny the first year and took off the second. This one has started to, too.

And so an offspring-of-Anya has found a happy home and we got a chance to sit and visit a minute.

She asked if I might like to see pictures as it grows?

Is this a trick question?

Wearing a column dress
Tuesday March 22nd 2022, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Garden

My little Urban columnar apple is still not that much bigger than when I got it in eight years ago, and this year it got a 13″ rabbit cage for its own good. It had its little moment there of, Hey, look! I can still fit into my wedding dress!

Man can it bloom. It was made for spring.

And that’s all you have to do
Monday March 21st 2022, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

(English Morello tart cherry flowers.)

With a heartfelt thank you to Ellen for this: a brief explanation and exercise from an ENT that you can do to get those wandering inner ear particles back over to where they belong and away from where they make you dizzy. Hold this position, this, this, this, this, and done. Vertigo gone, or it might take a few tries. My neck muscles agree with her that one should wait fifteen minutes between.

She figured out the mechanics of the thing and how to address it. Easiest cure ever.

Whether they deserve it or not
Sunday March 20th 2022, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Life

By way of introduction: Dave, who’s lived here most of his adult life, was a teenager whom we knew when we lived in New Hampshire 35 years ago. His oldest is in college now. His grandfather was a rabbi who fled the pograms in Russia.

He’s a lawyer.

So he prefaced his remark in Sunday School by saying that when you think of pardons, we generally think of a Presidential pardon. The difference between a pardon and forgiveness?

You don’t deserve a pardon.

You deserve forgiveness.

The person forgiving you deserves that they do so.

To which I would add, and of course forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning, it means I recognize the humanity in you in spite of what you did. If nothing else, to keep from pulling me down to your level.

Dang. I wrote all that out because his words sounded so brilliant at the time and, Sunday School lesson or no, I still can’t find it in me to forgive the murdering little warmonger over there. I am willing to turn that job over to Christ because it’s frankly well beyond me. I just want him stopped.

I am so glad Dave got to be born here.

Now I just need to know its name
Saturday March 19th 2022, 8:15 pm
Filed under: Garden

The paper bags got picked up.

I wasn’t expecting this at all! (Held at an angle to catch the light better.) It’s gorgeous!

Friday March 18th 2022, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Life

Why on earth did I still have these? They were pre-pandemic, so, three years old? At least.

So I posted on

‘This is a long shot, but before I recycle them, if anyone’s interested in four 50-count (one with a few missing, the rest unopened) bags of paper lunch bags, it turns out that the brilliant idea online of hiding the fruits in your trees from the squirrels that way just means to them that you’re wrapping their gift and they get to have fun opening it. Happy Birthday to them.

The remaining bags are all guaranteed squirrel-free as presently presented.’

I figured if nothing else, someone would chuckle and we could all use that right now and then I’d throw the silly things in the bin minus the plastic wrappings.

Turns out I had two people who not only asked for them but who told me why, and how do you choose between school children taking a baby plant home and a soup kitchen? I asked Richard his thoughts and he said, You can’t know–go with the person who asked first.

I said, And it’s not like they’re hard to get or expensive, so, okay, sounds good.

One of the side effects of these past two years is how easy it can be to suddenly find yourself just really talking to someone and glad for the connection. Today, she’s the one who opened up first.

Turns out that first person (the school kids one) had a husband about to have a surgery that a cousin of mine had had and whose recovery was perfect and he was completely back to his normal life. She herself had a medical condition that I could heartily relate to, so that when I wished her all the best she knew I meant it.

Sometimes all you really need to know is that it can be okay.

And I came away feeling like, and now I know why I had to hang onto those silly paper bags for three years. They were waiting for the right person and moment.

Insert soap opera name here
Thursday March 17th 2022, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

So the new tiercel’s been making a huge display of territory and the falcon’s been receptive but about ready to be done with the planning stage of the season and lay those eggs, when suddenly today one can only guess the previous peregrine decided he really was serious about getting his nest and his mate back.

Unless it was a third male altogether.

It’s been over a century since there were enough of them alive to bother to fight over a good territory–and there’s nobody alive but all of us to be able to tell what it’s like when they do.

This video shows both camera views at once: same spot, different angles. The one on the right, a UCSC student is trying to figure out where they went, and the fixed-position one on the left, way up in the sky, shows part of the comeback attempt with Grace looking on and yelling Go Team Go!

But at this point nobody’s quite sure who won.

Needleless to say
Wednesday March 16th 2022, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knit

It took me a moment to grok the thing.

And then I started trying to rescue about twenty stitches: the wooden tip had come clean off the cable when my knitting needle self-destructed as I’d picked my project up.

Huh. I think the last time that happened was a good fifteen or so years ago. I looked at the tiny screw sticking out, thought, well that’s probably stripped, and simply jammed the pieces back together. And they held! For three rows so far.

Didn’t I just buy that longer size 9 needle to work on that afghan? I did. Where did I buy that. It’ll come to me. Always spring for the better-made needles (those weren’t.)

Meantime, the last Anya seedling is suddenly really getting the hang of this sunlight and green and roots thing. Even if it kind of looks from that angle like it’s being devoured by a tick.

All in good time
Tuesday March 15th 2022, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knitting a Gift

This one’s roots needed somewhere to go, that paper cup wasn’t doing it anymore, so it just went into a large pot like last year’s seedlings. It feels like my baby just graduated kindergarten or something.

The knitting: somehow it got a lot longer than it felt like it was.

Between the yarnovers that draw the eye upward, these are redwood saplings.

Like the many being planted in our parks to start the thousand-year journey towards replacing the ones that have burned.


Because sour cherry pie is the best kind
Monday March 14th 2022, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Garden,Wildlife

My friend Sue, recently home after two years abroad, put out a note that today was going to be Pi Day and she’d left her pastry blender behind in South Africa; could she borrow one?


And so she was the other person who stopped by yesterday, briefly, but it got me thinking I wanted to celebrate the day, too. I had prefab pie crusts in the freezer and could cut to the chase instead of the butter.

Last year when we had so many tart cherries on our tree, I pitted and bagged them by the quart so that they’d be the right size to pop right into a crust. I grabbed a ziploc out of the freezer this morning.

But it was the season’s remainders and the amount a bit random, about half, which explained why it seemed so small.

Well huh. I’d forgotten about that.

I rolled the crust out very thin and lined four large ceramic bowls with it: two for cherry, two, peach slices, and, just for fun, folded the edges down galette style. They took about 45-50 min at 350.

Each of the four Mel and Kris cereal bowls served two.

Meantime, on the peregrine front, Grace the falcon is trying to get that gravel just so for the eggs that are about to arrive at City Hall. She’s had several tiercels (males) fighting for the territory and her and one was the victor long enough to get a name and possibly future progeny–only to be ousted the next day by a new new tiercel.

Who so far is TT, for, The Tiercel. Much bonding has taken place and he’s definitely the victor of the year.

They’re really going to have to give him his own name before they start naming the eyases (babies) to come.

Sunday March 13th 2022, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Garden

Friends dropped by for a visit; we hadn’t seen each other in awhile because we’ve been doing church by Zoom so as not to expose my mom when we finally get to go see her, but with Tony’s death they just needed to come make sure everything was okay.

We’re fine, no worries, great to see you.

She’s an avid gardener so I showed her the littlest apricot seedlings: This one’s a week old, this one’s a few days.

They’re so cute!

Aren’t they?!

I offered her one for their condo patio and she’s considering it. But then she made clear what she really wanted: to know when the peaches at Andy’s were coming on, because I’d given her some of those last year and she couldn’t wait to go buy more.

We are looking forward to it together.