Mountains on mountains
Thursday March 16th 2023, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

1. His co-worker was what? I blinked. She’s going skiing?! Did she check first? Road closures? They’re hand-shoveling out the buried chairs on the ski lifts.

2. Everybody’s trying to figure out how four goats came to be running around in traffic in San Francisco. The people who rent herds out for munching fire-prone hillsides have said nope, not theirs.

3. The silk tape cowl is finding out what size it wants to be when it dries. This is nearly the whole 150 grams’ worth: it’s big and it will likely stretch some from all the weight. Note to future self: I started with 70 stitches on size 9s and increased to 84. It was a quick knit, but also not because the yarn was a bit of a hassle.

Although, compared to some silks it was thankfully a lot less snaggy on the fingers and it offered a chance at easy retrieval at a dropped stitch if you were careful.

But what I like best about it is that it’s done. I’d been needing more of that.

Wednesday March 15th 2023, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Life

A large window blew out 43 stories up on a skyscraper in downtown San Francisco. Yay for those reverse-911 calls pleading for people to stay home during the storm; thankfully nobody was hurt. Today I ran to the grocery store and was amazed at all the tree debris shoved to the side of the road. The next town over is still out of power and so their schools are closed, because the schools are required to feed the children.

Which means yesterday they called out for pizza for the entire district’s student body one hour before lunchtime. Can you just imagine being the owner who got that call? I wonder if it took every pizza parlor in town. Probably did.

Our old contractor Chris’s man Joel came by this afternoon. He measured, he observed, he poked and lifted: we had four panels broken. He would get back to me with a quote on lifting the one back up and then tacking the cracked and broken back into place, risking the wood beneath by exposure over time, vs replacing all the of them so they’d match.

Is this a trick question.

But he was trying to make sure he’d be doing what we wanted.

I pointed out the one in the corner. He lifted it–it’s not supposed to be able to–and saw where the cream colored paint ended about 18″ down the dark brown beam, whereas it was supposed to have been entirely painted. I do have a contemporaneous small can of that paint that I bought so as to have it for emergencies.

And so we go forward from here.

The next atmospheric river is supposed to start Saturday/Sunday night and go to at least Wednesday.

And then it just really took off
Tuesday March 14th 2023, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Life

In the immortal words of the late Richard Thompson, author of the Cul de Sac comic and Richard’s Poor Almanac,

“March comes in on clumsy feet

Kicks the trashcans down the street

Spills some garbage on the lawn

Blows the rest to Hellandgone

Knocks the branches off the trees

Gives the power lines a squeeze

Then March leaves. And as it goes

the sun comes out. Then it snows.”

(Yeah, we had a fun day today. Noisy, though. 77 mph winds at SFO, 97 in the hills.)

Between a rock and a wet place
Monday March 13th 2023, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Garden,History,Life

The phone rang at dinnertime.

It was a reverse-911 call from the county warning of the incoming storm and pleading for residents to stay home and stay put if you’re not in an evacuation zone. And don’t drive through water in the roadway!

We are staying home and staying put. It’s supposed to start pouring any minute, strong winds, the works, and then another atmospheric river is expected next week. You know the “Drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry” line? The levy wishes.¬†They are dropping boulders from helicopters at this point to be able to reach it.

And yet all was quiet here so far. So I took a moment to photograph the biggest Anya seedling: I love its formation, it’s such an elegant little bundle of hope, and its leaves have really grown. It just makes me so happy.

There was enough air movement to twirl its skirts a little.

The flowering pear is at that glorious moment of full bloom mixed with the incoming leaves; it had waited all winter for this.

The start of the storm keeps being pushed back–11:00 pm, they think now. Edit, nope, 1:00 am.

That pear tree was a staked newly planted whip when we moved here. Hey, little apricot? You’ve got this.

Petal power
Sunday March 12th 2023, 10:08 pm
Filed under: Garden,History,Politics

One of the companies affected by the bank failure: Etsy. 95 million buyers, 7.5 million sellers, per the Washington Post. The Feds have declared that tomorrow all depositors are to have access to their funds after all, at no cost to taxpayers. Such a relief.

And to change the subject: the one peach that needs a pollinator is going to do just fine this year, rain willing. I love how similar and yet how different the flowers are. The Indian Free, with the darker pink interior, produces peaches with a dark red center.’s silk ribbon leaped onto my needles.

I don’t know how this is going to go (understatement alert)
Saturday March 11th 2023, 10:48 pm
Filed under: History

The abrupt Silicon Valley Bank collapse: the accounts that vanished in the last few days were the ones that smaller-to-middle-sized companies simply doing normal business rely on to make payroll.

If the early reports and gossip are true, the richest investors triggered the run via insider information. They bailed themselves.

California law does not allow businesses to not pay workers on time, not anticipating situations where they’re scrambling to get at their own funds in their own bank accounts so they can do so. Legally right now, they could tank as fast as that bank.

This isn’t about bailing out the rich, it’s about rescuing those of us at the worker level who rely on that next paycheck, whose employer was perfectly solvent, successful, and had fully expected to continue from day to day.

Note that a few decades ago, Chrysler repaid the Feds in full and early. Different business but still a useful precedent.

Edited 3/12 to add: one of the companies that had its money in that bank? Etsy.

Rare but it happens
Friday March 10th 2023, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Life,Wildlife

Those stripes on the chest are protective of the young: they signal to adult peregrines that this is just a kid hanging around, no reason to hassle them, they’re not trying to steal your mate nor your territory.

But since no other male had chased him off at the abandoned nest and he got there first and then she showed up, well, it took a number of days to convince her but there you go.

The falconistas say this pair should mostly likely succeed this year after all.

Flight feathers are usually molted as a symmetrical pair wing to wing and he’s missing just one, so that makes him easy to spot till the new one grows out.

Just to add re the California flooding: the road nearest the Bay is under water and the city put out a warning and we’re definitely not traveling anywhere, but we’re doing fine.

Oh, and, thank you all for the advice re the microplane. My daughter reminds me that she thought they were a good idea too so she bought me one a year ago.

That was the Christmas we had almost no lemons because the unusual, intense summer heat had so stressed the tree that it had dropped the fruit before it had had any chance to ripen. And so the microplane had been forgotten.

And now I know where it is!

Look at the flip side
Thursday March 09th 2023, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Garden

Four peach trees just starting to burst into bloom in sync with each other, which never happens. Just as the deluge begins. Hey honeybees, work fast for me, willya?

So, confronted with a bag of thawed cranberries from Michelle’s freezer, I reacted as one does: I baked. I used her Miyoki cultured vegan butter and skipped the baking soda in the recipe, although it probably is the one thing that needed it if anything does but given my antipathy to it nothing does, so, anyway, so I did that. I squeezed out nearly a quarter cup of Meyer lemon juice (glad to pick and use up two off that tree, so many dozens more to go) and shorted the unsweetened oat milk accordingly. (The dairy allergy thing.) I added a tablespoon of Penzey’s powdered lemon peel rather than grating the ones off the tree because Meyers may have the best lemon juice but the white pith is very bitter.

That’s my excuse for that laziness.

So those were the changes I made to the cranberry lemon cake recipe. I made 24 cupcakes out of it. 350F, 25 minutes was just right, and that brown sugar on the bottom and cranberries on top of it was heavenly.

I can only imagine how much better with real butter and buttermilk these could be, but they were very good as is and that time will come all too soon. It’s great to have her home.



Hunkering down
Wednesday March 08th 2023, 11:17 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden

Massive rain is coming, with tomorrow alone expected to be 10% of a normal annual amount (we’re already at over twice that total.) So after a quick visit with Richard’s sister who’s in town to fill in on some childcare, he and I ran to Michelle’s apartment and between the three of us got it very nearly empty tonight.

The first of the Anya apricot seedlings, at 16 days old in this morning’s bright sun. Soak it in while you can, little one.


Vampire alarm
Tuesday March 07th 2023, 10:51 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

You know how the beep beep beep makes you go spend way too much time looking for which smoke alarm it is that’s going off?

That sound was driving us nuts one day last week, but we could not find it and at the end of the day we had to give up and go to bed: I took off my ears. He wished he could.

And somehow in the morning all was silent. Huh.

Then this morning it was back; the only difference is there were more people here now for it to annoy.

Michelle started staking out smoke alarms, waiting for the sound to coincide with the flashing light that would nail the culprit. Won’t work, we told her; we did all that.

It somehow sounded to me like it was coming from the printer, which made no sense. I touched all kinds of plugged-in things to see if they felt too warm. Everything was fine.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

It might not end this time. It had to end.

It was somewhere in this room–we all decided that much.

Much deep cleaning behind stuff and much squelched frustration later, they found it. At least they hadn’t had to move the piano to get to it.

I did not believe that that could in any possible way be what it was, much less be the source. It was. I could not believe that thing was still in this house. It was.

In 2015 our 20-year-old carbon monoxide detector finally started screeching the alarm it was made for–five minutes after Joe Lerma turned off our furnace up on the roof and knocked on our door, white as a sheet, exclaiming, Are you guys okay?!

That furnace had been damaged by its installers and with the air intake filter now burned away, was pumping carbon monoxide down our air vents. No we were not okay, all we’d known was that it wasn’t working well so we’d called him to come inspect it. But we’d barely turned it on because it had just felt wrong somehow, so our exposure had been thankfully low.

That’s when we learned you’re supposed to replace those alarms every six years whether they seem to need it or not–they do. It’s not worth risking your life over. Given that we were hospitalized with CO poisoning at our old house in 1985, we’re a little antsy on the subject. How many people get hit with this twice?!

It is safe to say I am not fond of the alarms that failed us. I had no idea the one had been put down and fallen behind the speaker and had never left the house.

It has not been plugged in for eight years. Eight. Years.

And yet it went off from dawn till sometime in the middle of the night last week and it did it again today.

I disabled it, he assured me a few minutes ago.

That wasn’t good enough.

The electronics recycling is being picked up in the morning, I assured him.

And it is out there sitting in that bin and it is not coming back.

We’ve replaced the smoke and CO alarms we replaced after that one and its peers were supposedly thrown out the first time. 2028 (for when I go to check out the date later) we’ll need to do it again.

Monday March 06th 2023, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I don’t know that scrubbing the back of the fridge and getting out the stuff that had not aged well or had frozen at the bottom and all the details one would probably be better off not mentioning (Really? You do eat year-old kimchi? Who knew. Well then that’s why it’s still in there, honey. Do I have to keep it? –Nah, toss it– ) would count as a blog post.

But it sure felt like it at the time.

Editing to add a link to a short video of the yearling male and the female falcon. Rarely, a yearling can succeed at starting a family but it’s more likely an adult will take over.

Somehow it reminds me of a high school dance.

Hail yes
Sunday March 05th 2023, 5:21 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Scene: church. Time: after Sacrament meeting. Characters: the young men, who’d taken the lace tablecloth that had been placed over the sacrament table outside to shake off any possible lingering bread crumbs.

One came running back in and grabbed his dad. People came out the doors to see.

At first disbelieving glance it was a hard snowstorm, but wait, snow doesn’t bounce–it was hail, and it was hailing so hard that the diagonal streaks of white were accumulating as we watched. Not big, dangerous stones like the ones that dented my brother’s car in Colorado one August, just little ones, but the air was white with them.

That dad pulled out his phone and took pictures of the teenage boys with ice balls in their hair, individually and arms around each other, laughing. It was windy and beastly cold, forget the 53F forecast, we weren’t dressed for this. I ran inside and grabbed a few more people to come see and they were in disbelief too as they took it in. Quite a crowd now.

And then suddenly for anyone who hadn’t already come outside, it was too late: it was a hard rain and all proof that it had ever been frozen vanished away and they were just going to have to take our word for it.

Eli’s mom wanted to know who’d had that camera because she’d missed seeing her boy laughing with nature’s glitter sparkling in his hair. Gordon. Oh good.

Back inside for the second meeting as the sky lost its impromptu audience.

When it was time to go, Richard, who had not come outside and had missed all of that, overheard Kimber’s excited little boy: MOM! I threw a snowball!

Close enough, little guy, close enough.

It was the right thing to do
Saturday March 04th 2023, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

We laid out all the pros and cons again this morning, trying to balance out how badly I wanted to go see old friends after four long years away vs what the most right thing to do was and finally threw it up to G_d in prayer because we couldn’t decide. We figured He knew better than we did.

Richard wasn’t going to say it till I did: I felt an immediate, loving answer that driving to Stitches was not what was most needed of us today nor would it be where we’d be most glad we’d been. And somehow it now felt okay that that was so.

It was Michelle’s moving day.

225,000 tech workers were laid off last month and she was one of them. The kicker is that most of those companies are actually doing quite well. She was told there were 400 applications coming in for every job posted.

Her yearly lease was coming right up and it made the most sense for her to cut the biggest expense for now.

Which is hard for her and we know it but already it is so good to have her back.

Her day had its moments (like, the key is *where*?!) and it turned out we were glad we were around and not just coming home after she and her friends had done all the work. A notable one of those unforeseeable moments happened later after her friends had left, and I was glad we were there for her and not off somewhere else.

Next year. Sacramento drive or no.

First date
Friday March 03rd 2023, 11:55 pm
Filed under: Knit,Wildlife

Peregrines: today there were two. But they’re clearly not sure of each other yet. They weren’t fighting each other off the site, which is good, but neither were they best buddies–yet.

Meantime, and I hesitate to say this because it is by no means anywhere near a sure thing, there is a very small possibility that we might take a day trip to Stitches tomorrow. More likely not, so I’m trying not to get my hopes up.

Location location location
Thursday March 02nd 2023, 8:06 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

The peregrines: today a new adult, unbanded, looks to be a female, showed up. Walked the ledge. Went into the nest box–gravel, not too small, not too big, good for supporting nestlings and holding in her body heat for them in those short moments where she might have to fly off to defend them, perfect, perfect. Walked across the top of the nest box and took in that view.

Nice place. Shame the former owners left in such a hurry. It’ll do nicely, yes, quite. Didn’t even have to fight for it.

She’s keeping watch on it from the nearby louver for the night.