Playing Musical Chairs in the kitchen
Monday April 10th 2023, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Life

I should have written it Dec. 26th and kept wondering why I hadn’t yet. It should have gone right out the door. And yet.

Then today suddenly felt like the day and I sat down and typed.

In my experience, at least, I wrote on my post, the on-off switch always goes first on an aging KitchenAid mixer, and this one’s about ten years old: you have to plug and unplug it. I got a replacement after it snagged a bit of my not-short hair when I wasn’t careful. Also do not put your hand down in the bowl unless it’s unplugged even if it’s stopped because it might turn itself back on–which is how I broke my wrist on a previous old one that had that problem.

But the motor is still strong. It has a reset button if it should overheat but it’s never overheated. There are two sets of bowls and whisks, making it easy to beat egg whites at the last, since they need a clean and dry bowl, and not have them deflate while you’re putting the rest of the recipe together, it has the beater and dough hook. It could last another ten years, potentially–you just have to know and not risk the risks. Tie your hair back.

Oh and where the bowl comes down to the base with a thump it’s taken the paint off the machine. But the bowl covers that up.

So with that glowing review (not exactly) I said a little prayer that the person who really needed this would get it, and hit Post. There are lots of people out there who can’t afford one of these machines at all and I just wish I could give them all new ones because there’s nothing special about me that says I should be able to so easily. But I’m able to. So just tossing this in the recycling felt wrong but by golly I was going to let them know what they were getting into with this one.

Holy inbox, Batman.

The first person who answered, I immediately felt, it’s her. She’s the one it’s for and why I held off on posting this these last few months. It needed to be when she would see it. A few messages between us later, I feel that way even more so. She just was.

The second guy wanted to know if it still had its box. After ten years? (Why on earth would I hoard that…) No? Never mind then, he said, not interested.

Yeah you just wanted to sell it on Ebay, thought I.

Somewhere before person #8 (at which point I marked it as Taken, which auto-deletes it from the site) there was a proud mom of a daughter setting up her first apartment, who quite enjoyed that I was so delighted for her daughter’s sake at that milestone as was she; I told her there was a very very small chance if enough people flaked out on me–but did she need a Cuisinart toaster oven? I’d inherited one that I’d be glad to offer.

She checked with her daughter, got back to me, and said, Yes please! I don’t think she knew that she never even had to compete with any other free cyclers or anybody else to get it. It just happened and was meant to be.

I get a bunch of space back in my kitchen after ignoring a gadget we just weren’t using. Everybody wins.

And it would still be here in the way and unappreciated if she had kvetched to herself about the changes in her own life–it’s hard to know you’re about to miss your kid so much–but rather, she shared with a stranger her delight at her daughter’s next step forward into adulthood.

And I was delighted with the both of them. And everybody won.

There is actually a third old-version-5-qt bowl.

After thirty years of that particular size and shape and appearance being the designated barf bowl when anybody’s sick (with fervent thanks for the disinfecting power of dishwashers) some traditions were just too hard to let go of. It stays.

Sunday April 09th 2023, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Family

We were talking to our grandson Hudson and he told us he’d been asked to speak in church today.

So he started out with a joking, What I really wanted for my birthday was to give a talk.

…And then at the end of it, referring to his older brother, he said, And if you really liked this talk you should ask Parker.

Brought down the house.

What on earth were they afraid of
Saturday April 08th 2023, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,History,Life

His migraine. So I ran off to Safeway to try to buy a leg of lamb for Easter, but there wasn’t much to be found but flapping tags and empty shelves. So I did what I could and yes that ham was, um, cute. Definitely for people who don’t like leftovers.

But he wanted it to be what he wanted it to be more than I’d realized, and after a few hours of psyching himself up and a quick toasted cheese sandwich each to keep us from shopping hungry we found ourselves heading for Costco quarter after 5. They close at 6 Saturdays, normally; today, turns out, they made it 7. Because customers.

Going to Costco on a Saturday is never my thing and going right before Easter Sunday was really not my thing and I simply wasn’t going to, but if he was that determined even while feeling like that then of course I would go with him.

And he found one!

A few goodies in the cart, a few practical items, and then I headed for the lines while he went looking for one last thing.

It felt odd. Most of the lines were now self-checkout, but a number of people were like me and wouldn’t use those. And yet…

Well if they’re not going to get in this one I certainly am, look how fast that woman is scanning things and her bagger is tag-teaming with her to speed it up. They’ve got this down! Wow, I’m going to look for them next time.

And yet.

Even though it kept becoming the shorter line, people were coming up, and in an echo of what I’d seen on approaching that I hadn’t quite put my finger on, were starting to turn in behind me and then abruptly pulling away into the other lines that were quite a bit longer, and at one point there were five people waiting there and there that I could see while my stuff was going onto the conveyer as they rang up the guy in front of me, and still nobody was getting behind me. And now another person coming up started to, took a look, and moved into one of the longer lines, too.

The clerk was an older heavier black woman. The young bagger was mixed race and part black.

And the people who turned away out of her line after they saw her, every single one of them was Asian.

This is not to stereotype. This is to report what I saw. Note that the guy in front of me was Asian. But it took me straight back to the college American history class where the professor said that one of the things about immigration to the US over the centuries is that unless they were black, every newcomer had someone they could punch down at and wrongly think they were better than. (Edited in the morning to add by way of explanation, 64% of the local Asian population are immigrants, and by their accents at least some of these were.)

Finally, a Hispanic man turned in behind me, quite happy to somehow snag the short line on such a day.

She was checking me out now. I had to do something. I made a point of looking her in the eyes and saying, “You are amazing. You are so fast. Thank you!”

I saw in that moment that she’d been keeping it all in check but at those kind words and the noticing implied behind them, she suddenly nearly burst into tears and she thanked me, the  bagger thanked me, too. We could have given each other a hug on the spot if the counter hadn’t been in the way.

I left wishing them a happy Easter and meant it as fervently as I ever have (even while thinking, I should have said and Passover and Ramadan, too, since they all come together this year and you never know.) They both wished me one as well, and clearly meant it, too. I felt befriended.

I know I’m choir-preaching here, but, man, just go love one another. What else matters? I wanted to tell those people who made their bigotry visible how much they were missing out on because that is one gracious, lovely woman there who was trying her best to give them a better day in the one way given her to do so, and the young man, too.

I am so glad we went to that store when we went to that store near the end of her day. Richard had no way to know that’s the real reason he so strongly felt we had to go there.

And that going at the last minute was the only time to go.

Friday April 07th 2023, 8:48 pm
Filed under: Garden

The first cherry blossom of the year.

The long-planned visit and the unplanned one
Thursday April 06th 2023, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Family

The Amazon driver had been called in at the last minute to help with the unexpected crush of deliveries. Which we found out when Michelle was at the door thanking her with feeling: her friends had so hoped that she would get it in time to put it in her luggage because shipping to their country was so prohibitive.

It had made it in under two hours before she was to leave for the airport.

And somehow those two very rushed women found the time to share that brief exchange that made the one glad she’d filled that extra shift and both of them glad to see the other so glad–and even more, knowing that the recipients at flight’s end were going to be absolutely thrilled.

Scoot, scoot, go that way
Wednesday April 05th 2023, 9:50 pm
Filed under: Garden

There were four of them at first. Quite docile. They were interested in the starter pots filled with composted lobster and crab shells where the seeds had never sprouted–but not the pots where they had–they were exploring every place in them where there was any indentation in the soil and twice, an abdomen throbbed downward into such a spot.

What on earth (literally) were they doing? There were no flowers there.

Well then it must not have been honeybees, he said.

I went back out and took pictures, this one being the clearest. I looked them up just to be sure. Classic worker bees from everything I could find.

At one point there were at least six, and since they were investigating right where the seedlings are that I’m tending to every day it seemed like this could escalate quickly.

Our elderly neighbors years ago had honeybees move into their compost pile, and after I saw them swarming one afternoon above the fence between our yards, the husband told me he was setting up an actual hive for them. We chatted about how my fruit trees would help feed them well.

Jim passed away and I haven’t asked his widow if that is still there.

I don’t want a break-off hive setting up camp…quite…there.

So I moved those two sets of starter pots several feet away. Nudge, nudge. I probably should have taken them farther but first I wanted to see if they would follow them.

They ran away from my approach but came back, looking for them. One persisted for an hour as the sun faded, zigzagging back and forth over where the one had been, then the other. It’s like the figure-8 dance they teach elementary school kids about had become a mobius strip that had broken. Straight lines back and forth where IS that thing it was just here guys I promise it was!

I tried to gently chase it in the right direction–they’re right over there!–but it wasn’t having it.

One of those sets was apricot kernels that had never sprouted; I think the other was tomatoes that didn’t, but the windstorms blew my markers away.

No loss there, others grew and I have definitely enough of both.

I’m delighted to have proof that the honeybees are still around.

But maybe not quite so close to the back door? (Just don’t burrow into the house, that’s all I really ask. Hopefully the 17-month-old house paint will discourage that?)

Well of course!
Tuesday April 04th 2023, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

Dislike the drive (freeways in San Francisco are a mess, the Cypress Structure that collapsed in the ’89 quake was never rebuilt) dislike the driving around and around for blocks to find a parking space but for Dandelion Chocolate and celebrating a birthday? Count us in.

And so she and I did. We decided to make it a to go in order to get away from someone who was coughing, but not before getting some finger puppets to some parents whose little kids were antsy waiting for their cocoa. Brought goodies home for her dad.

As we were sitting at the table at home munching away and sipping the last of the hot chocolate I gave a nod towards the calorie count of the day.

Her: When you’re 60 you should just enjoy life!

I guffawed–as she instantly realized her math was off. Oh wait…

“When I’m 64!” (thank you Paul McCartney.)

At that point we both lost it and laughed ourselves breathless. She topped it off with, You should just enjoy life! Not every day! (gesturing towards the Dandelion bag), but, enjoy life!

But see, that’s why I brought a few of their bars home. So we could break off a small bite. Every day! And when we run out we’ll just have to go back. Right?

Held in reserve
Monday April 03rd 2023, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Life

It was just one of those little pieces of information that kept bugging me for an explanation.

I’ve kept a tab open with the major California reservoir levels listed and with all our storms, found myself checking it every morning: the drought was boring but the anti-drought is shiny and new, I guess? And hopeful.

While Trinity…just sits there. It’s finally gotten up to 51% of normal, as if it were determined to hold onto the essence of droughtiness to remind us not to ever waste a drop. There are a few other reservoirs that are just shy of normal, but they’re all in the southern end of the state while Trinity’s well to the north and really, how on earth could it say it’s half what it should be, much less so far from full after all these storms?

Surely at least the mountains surrounding it will make up for it when things melt, given the 237% of normal snowpack.

And that of course is it. Although it still doesn’t satisfy my sense that it should look better on paper by now. But it will supply plenty of water to the Central Valley farmers over the summer, and that’s the relief that all my staring at that graph had been searching for all along.

The weather is still calling for them
Sunday April 02nd 2023, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

I didn’t knit the last two hours or there would have been two done these past two days. Hats were not what I most aspired to be working on, but they are always useful, so, hey.

Well then at least no stockinette stitch, I argued at myself as I picked out the yarn.


Note that a dear friend of our daughter’s dropped by last night and found herself leaving with a previously-knit one. They do come quite in handy that way.

Saturday April 01st 2023, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

This (scroll down a bit and click to the right to keep on going) is some serious and seriously fun crocheting, and it probably even pays the bills.

Meantime, today was the first of two days of the semi-annual World Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, with two more two hour sessions to come, Sunday at 9:00 and 1:00 Pacific time.

We were surprised and thrilled to hear a dear friend’s name called out and watched him and a few others come up to the stand in their new roles. He’d mentored one of my kids back in the day and had made all the difference in the world. Such a good man.

I laughed out loud when one fellow by the last name of Bragg said that when he spoke at his first Conference, he mentioned at the beginning of that talk that he’d been asked to speak on humility.

Whereupon his son immediately received a sardonic message from a friend: Really?