Sunday December 31st 2023, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

Begin the New Year as you mean to go on….

I hoped to see a particular someone at church today and gift him with a hat in thanks for a kindness of his, but I found myself wanting to make extra sure he got a color he liked.

Turns out he was off visiting elsewhere–but so were McKay and his bride, only, here.

McKay grew up with my kids, so much so that when he ran into my daughter in college someone asked her later if they were seeing each other and she told them, No! That would be like dating my brother!

His family moved away when he was in high school; I was in the hospital when they left, which makes it easy to remember it was 2003, and I hadn’t seen him since. Although I did get to send him and his bride best wishes via Facebook when they got married.

He wanted her to see where he grew up.

And I had two Mecha hats, no sign of that other guy, and plenty of time to knit more for him. But only one time to be able to hand these two theirs in person.

And with that bit of incentive, the cowl I was working on got finished this afternoon (picture pre-blocking) and the next hat went from an unwound hank of good intentions to 2/3 of the way done.

You never know when you’ve got to be ready for anything.

Wishing a Happy New Year to all.

We could totally Kaffe Fassett those
Saturday December 30th 2023, 6:13 pm
Filed under: Knit

Knitted. Boots. Made of a fine strand of leather. $4,100.

Huh. Wouldn’t those be scrunchy socks in no time? The designer’s gold button will help pull those right down.

Yeah, I did. I looked. 1 mm “yarn” is as fine as I could find but you’d want a longer skein of it than I was finding on Etsy. Kind of a fun idea, though, and leather slipper bottoms are easy to find.

What I want to know is, how does it look where they ran the ends in and does it feel okay to walk on them?

Lava-lamp waves
Friday December 29th 2023, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Life

I don’t know if you can see this, but it’s an article in the San Jose Mercury News that describes how this happened yesterday.

Agitate a particular plankton type at night with the energy of the waves from the correct angle and intensity and have the moon’s light just so, and–

–you get bright glowing blue waves in the dark in southern California. So cool. YouTube link.

Splish splash
Thursday December 28th 2023, 9:25 pm
Filed under: History,Life

New Jersey had Chris Christie’s famous, “Get. the hell. off the BEACH!” during Hurricane Sandy. (Also the famous drone photo of him enjoying lounging on said beach with the crowds all gone, drink in hand.)

Combine a King Tide (the highest of the year, according to the state) with a big storm coming at us over the water and that was basically the message officials tried to get out there today: do not come running to sightsee the effects. Especially do not bring your kids to play in the ocean. Do not come near it. The waves are going to come in twenty to as much as forty feet high and you do not want to be pulled in and you will be pulled in. Stay far away from the shore.

I guess these good folks didn’t think this was too near. 

Yeah, don’t do that.

It does look like those kids had a ball while they were rolling like one.

Yeah no, don’t do that.

Good friends, good food
Wednesday December 27th 2023, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Life,Recipes

We had a spur of the moment lunch out with old friends, a great time, and a restless toddler at the next table where two couples were doing the same thing we were.

A panda puppet. Happy faces.

On a side note, if you take my favorite blueberry cake recipe, use Forager cashewmilk yogurt because the dairy-allergic kid is gone and it needs to be used up (but real butter because I can again), swap 2/3 c of the flour out for 2/3 c of almond flour, and sprinkle the tops with half the blueberries and then maple sugar and bake for 23 minutes, it makes eighteen blueberry almond maple muffins and they came out very very good.

And just wait till next time!
Tuesday December 26th 2023, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

Maddie couldn’t wait: she wanted me to help her knit. She wanted to make a finger puppet. She wanted it to be one she had made.

And so I cast on ten stitches, did the first row, and showed her how. Only, this time she was half a year older than the last time we’d tried this and she had that earlier experience under her belt and she took right to it. It became a dozen stitches, sure, but she did nearly all of this by herself. All she needed help with was figuring out when turning the thing not to knit into the too-loose stitch-below-the-stitch at the beginning; yarn tension was not a thing yet.

She wanted it longer but asked if I could add the last few rows to it.

Sure. Did she want it folded lengthwise and sewn?

No, widthwise.

Oh, well then you’re pretty much there. A row or two, she watched carefully as I sewed it, and then it was gleefully declared done and tried on.

It didn’t need to have a face or wings to be a finger puppet to her, it needed to be something made by her. And it was. She’s a natural. It was the day before her ninth birthday and I hadn’t learned till I was ten, I told her (and a half!) She’s good!

Monday December 25th 2023, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

(This isn’t the one, it’s just one of the many like it.)

What I wanted to make didn’t seem to matter: the same old same old Malabrigo Mecha in Teal Feather is the skein that jumped into my purse for the outbound flight. Clearly, it was the boss of me.

I was going to make a fancier pattern at least, but on the first row above the ribbing I found I’d goofed the stitch count for that. I didn’t have the patience to risk tinking back the stitches twice: seventy in plain stockinette it was. Again. No openwork for you!

It was a shorter flight than the one to Seattle so this hat wasn’t done when we landed.

We played with grandkids. The five year old challenged me to a game of chess–not that he really knew the rules yet but it was something the big kids did and he wanted to show that he was one, too.

His daddy did a we’ve-got-this, strode on over, and coached him on moving what where when. “Checkmate!” after maybe my fourth move with his youngest grinning at winning.

Back at the airport all too soon. Time to finish that silly hat. The last few stockinette rows, the decreases that always take longer than you’d expect, the bind off, and then–just do it. I wove the ends in, fished in my purse for the folding mini-scissors to snip off the extra length, and stuffed the thing back into my purse and finally, finally started the cowl I’d planned to make this trip.

Thus the hat ended up in the overhead luggage bin, well out of reach. The seatbelt sign never turned off. No one on our row but the two of us this time anyway.

Curbside, Uber gave us a wait time of an hour. Oh joy. Not two minutes later his phone buzzed again: someone had decided to take the fare and he was already doing the turn-around into the terminal. Yay!

A 2007 Prius pulled up to us. The man’s name was Jamal, an older guy. His accent was pretty thick but his command of the language was as good as any native-born’s from what I could hear; he clearly loved a good conversation and meeting new people and he was just a joy all around. From the back seat I watched the brim of his old thin faded baseball cap moving up and down and around giving motion to his words. Had we had a good trip? He asked questions, then listened to hear the answers like we were old friends.

He jumped out of the car to help get our luggage out for us.

I reached into my purse: “Do you like this shade of green?”

Confusion in his face.

“I knitted it for you.” Then to clarify, “I knitted it but I didn’t know who it was for. Now I do. It’s wool, machine washable wool. It’s for you.”

Our loquacious driver was suddenly speechless.

He took it in kind of a slow motion, eyes on it, feeling the thick warmth of the thing against the chilly air in the fading light.

It was as perfect a Christmas Eve scene as that little hat could ever have hoped to be a part of.

We wished the best of the holidays to each other and each other’s families with a wave goodbye, pulled our bags on up the walkway and away.

San Diego and back
Sunday December 24th 2023, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

We celebrated us some Christmasing. And his big brother’s birthday. And his little sister’s birthday, but mostly hers since that was the one we were there the day of and the day before for.

But grandkid #2 is the one I told the story to of my dad flying home from France suddenly blind on one side, having to have surgeries to get his eyesight back in that eye–and how we were supposed to be coming for a visit soon after. (I think that was the trip home for my sister-in-law’s wedding.)

We came.

Grandkid #2’s daddy was two at the time. And he was kid #2, too.

His grampa was depressed and grouchy while trying not to be, but he was.

That little boy of ours instantly decided that his Grampa was his total hero and yelled, Grampa! and ran to him and hugged him every time he saw him, even if he’d just toddled out of the room and turned around and yup he was still there so hey there’s serious celebrating to do here! Grampa!

If Grampa growled or was loud (he was a bit hearing impaired) it made no difference: hugging him, climbing up into his lap, being with him was what life was all about that week for my little boy.

And you know what? By the end of our visit, I told grandkid #2, my dad wasn’t depressed anymore.

I added, and I’m telling you this because you remind me of that. Because you’re so cheerful.

Grandkid #2, a tween, looked into my eyes. Then he hugged me for a long time. Then he ran and hugged his Grampa.

I could tell, over the next 24 hours, that he was thinking about that story a lot. About how much of a difference he could make–when all he had to do was love people and be his best self. It changes everything.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, and love to all in this beautiful world of ours.

Cookie cookie cookie
Friday December 22nd 2023, 9:58 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends

A crazy-busy nonstop runrunrunrunrun kind of a day like probably a lot of other people had today.

The teacher friend who needed homemade cookies for a party and was even crazier-busier than we were and had absolutely no time for it got handed plates filled with warm ones right out of the oven, courtesy of yonder daughter.

I think we’re ready?

No flakes time of year
Thursday December 21st 2023, 11:46 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

An eye-popping quote from the movers. A $300+ quote from UPS on a 30 pound box. No and no. It was actually cheaper to fly a dear friend to come visit (twist their arms!) and bring stuff in her luggage than it was to ship it. All the stuff that didn’t make it to Boston that she really wanted to have, she replaced.

Major sorting today.

Then to Dandelion Chocolate.

Answering Freecycle posts.

Out to dinner.

Good stuff in good condition, a lot now in homes that wanted it, a few more pickups to come. Everybody who said they would come, came. A brand new Dowd puzzle, shrink wrap intact, made how they don’t anymore as if the box were an antique book with uneven, slightly browning page edges. Someone was ecstatic. Someone else was wistful. The wistful got first dibs when she said, Hey, these other four puzzles need to go, too. Brand new.

She likes puzzles but not that many.

Turns out Mr. Wistful is a teacher at her old school. I spelled out exactly what was still here and it made his day–they will definitely go to good use.

If you ever want to get rid of a really good Balsam Hill small Christmas tree, or anything else for that matter, post the offer the week before Christmas.

Someone’s elderly mom who no longer had a Christmas tree is going to have her daughter show up with a three foot, perfect little pine topiary. I explained that it needed new lights. I think I’ll add a box of my glass ornaments when I put it out there tomorrow.

Wednesday December 20th 2023, 3:32 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

There was a long string of kvetching back and forth on today over people parking in front of other people’s houses. It got pretty silly (and I wasn’t about to step into that.) C’mon people.

Back in the day, there was a kid across the street with a jacked-up monster truck. Bright red, huge tires, bumpers at window height (illegal now.) Couldn’t miss it. And for whatever reason he always liked to park it in front of our house and not his.

The fact that they couldn’t make any sense out of that I think is why it bugged my kids. Although I certainly rolled my eyes over it myself. It is safe to say it dominated the view out our front window.

So one day that truck was there and clearly the guy had had a good time because you could hardly tell what the paint color was for the layers of mud. How it got splashed that high I did not know.

One of my kids really felt that particular day that this was an injustice too far.

And then suddenly all the Sunday School lessons about serving rather than finding fault came back to me and I had the answer to that: hey, let’s have a conspiracy! Here, I told them, help me fill the bucket. Soap. Sponges. Do it fast before he comes back out. You with me?

They really got into this. YES!

I helped carry the water; they dashed out there and got right to it and made it their project. They started on the side facing our house where they wouldn’t be seen from his. Was it okay to climb that bumper to wash that window? They decided it was. They were giggling by now and having the time of their lives when Sandy next door, who had really been bugged by the guy’s parking habits herself, opened her door in surprise and asked, What are you doing??

Washing! Truck! was the answer. (With that kid agonizing to me afterwards, I sounded so stupid but I didn’t know what to say fast enough and that’s just what came out!)

Ooookay, and she went back inside.

There were still a few soapy/muddy smears here and there when they decided that that was as much as they were going to be able to get away with without getting caught and came in snort-giggling and smiling and anticipating. There was a lot of hanging around the window by the front door to see. And then, deliciously, the guy (18-20 years old or so) came out to get in his truck just like they’d hoped, and–


He walked around it, completely befuddled. Who? How? What?? Huh. Well, okay, and without saying anything to anybody because there was nobody outside to say it to anyway, got in and drove off.

Memory says he parked it in front of his own house after that; I’ll have to ask my kids.

Happy Birthsday!
Tuesday December 19th 2023, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Food,Life

Well, I did think the display on the oven actually looked kind of pretty: kind of a cross between Christmas lights and tech graffiti with every single error code showing at once.

But all we have of it now is its picture. Found the right breaker, tried it, came back in the kitchen, exclaimed, YES!!! and baked a raspberry cake in celebration.

A birthday cake from afar in honor of my mom’s and grandson’s and cousin’s birthsday Wednesday along with five friends that I know of. Happy Birthday, Mom and Parker! And everybody else!

There’s a big storm rolling in. Maybe we should stand flashlights around it instead of candles in it for when the skies blow the lights out again. I kid, I kid… But only halfway.

It’s trying
Monday December 18th 2023, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Life

Woke up to a storm and a 5:00 a.m. power failure. No hot cocoa for you!

I finished a hat project and promptly put it on my head because it was getting pretty cold.

Michelle headed out to pick up some takeout for lunch and just before she got home the lights flipped back on. Yay. Quick, do all the things. First was to zap ourselves that hot cocoa. Everything seemed to be working fine, no power surge effect or anything.

I had just enough time to start a load of laundry when it went out again for another two hours or so.

My double oven is now giving us garlands of light for the full holiday spirit–every zero and every error message all at once.

Bosch can only tell us to turn the breaker off for thirty seconds. (And hope.) It should be as simple as that.

We’d had a chilly day and somehow nobody felt like standing in the cold rain to try that out yet.

I really do need to find some kind of battery operable heater thing for our morning mugs. But man, it feels good to have the power back.

The white elephants
Sunday December 17th 2023, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Friends

The biggest delay was the crowd of cars at the airport. I’ve never seen anything like. It was nearly 3 a.m. her time when we got home.

And so she ate an early dinner tonight and was ready to crash while we went off to a potluck with a white elephant exchange: each person was to bring one thing.

Pick a folded-up number to find out when your turn is.

A quart of honey made the rounds.

But when it was finally the hostess’s chance, she had seen which ones I’d brought and was the first to pick the small gold wrapping on the table.

She got a Malabrigo hat. Once everybody knew what those were the other got snatched up quick. I had a third tucked in my purse in case someone didn’t like the color they got: which means I quietly handed the host one at the end, too, as a thank you for a fun evening and the couple can decide whose is whose, but the hostess was so pleased with hers that he may have to do some serious cajoling there.

Or not.

I was reminded how much more of this I need to be doing–for my own selfish gratification if nothing else. I like making people that happy!

Saturday December 16th 2023, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Family

Checking the flight time from Boston, loving that it’s coming in early. All the more hours with us!