Thursday May 13th 2021, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Family

I so love this picture: the exploring, the playing and staying close by each other, the fun of getting their hands squishing through the sand and learning about all the tiny things mixed into it.

Pulp friction
Wednesday May 12th 2021, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Garden

I’d been wondering for awhile if the very overloaded branches hanging straight down on the Gold Nugget mandarin would bounce back up once the weight of all those oranges came off them, or whether after growing that way for so long they were stuck like that.

Turns out they did rebound nicely.

My back suggested I stop picking at seventeen pounds, with about three more to go; not bad at all for a young tree.

Michelle cut, I pushed down on the juicer. After we all drank some, there’s nearly a gallon in the fridge and we haven’t even done all the picked ones yet.

I’ve decided it’s a kid-friendly variety: not tart, really, just sweet (but not too much.) A bit bland. Maybe I should have picked them in April? This is the first time we ever got enough to juice, we’re newbies at this.

But it is the one type of orange that gets sweet even if it doesn’t get the amount of heat that other varieties need to do so, and if we want tart, hey, there’s a Meyer lemon tree right across the yard.

I found that fingertips dangling down in our little 1980s machine did a good job of collecting the pulp into one spot as the juice continued to spin out of it. Grab it out and go for the next one.

Happy Mother’s Day!
Sunday May 09th 2021, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Family

From Richard and Kim.

The happy little dragon lady pointed at the screen and said, Grammy!

Then when Michelle came into view she stared and stared and tried to grok that no, she really wasn’t hiding upstairs like Mathias insisted as I explained, She’s at our house now. (She arrived last night.)

Finally, “Awn-tee!”

Yes it was. Her auntie is here for the next little bit. (Sorry, kiddos.)


Wishing everyone a great Mother’s Day.

Peace, Lily
Saturday May 01st 2021, 8:47 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Garden

The Peace Lily Afton sent me when my father died just opened up some new flowers. When the old ones start to fade it has sent up more, again and again.

It is a very patient plant. I’ve underwatered it, and it perked right up again when rescued. I’ve overwatered it, and it held on till I realized my mistake, poured the unseen water in the outer pot out, and then it was fine.

I’ve had it in an east-facing window this past year and a half, not knowing that’s exactly what it would most want.

And it has been a comfort these long months every time I see it, offering a sense of the nearness of friends, Afton, her Tall One, everybody, no matter how far away we all may be in our quarantines.

(Just now noticing, I really ought to take that brown stick out–the florist’s card is long gone.)

As for the human Lillian, she was upset that her brother got to do something she didn’t and he was getting all the attention for it, too, while she got told no when she tried to grab away what was clearly now a toy. If someone’s going to use that it was going to be her!


As blog is our witness, someday we get to tell her that yes, she did, she cried because she didn’t get to scrub the toilet.

The kid whose first word was “Pup-EEE!”
Monday April 26th 2021, 11:09 pm
Filed under: Family

Mathias was at soccer practice, or as my mom calls it when the players are that little, swarm ball.

Suddenly, he decided he was a puppy and sat down on the field, with half the team joining him sitting in front of the goal there because it looked like fun. Woof!

Four fingers!
Sunday April 25th 2021, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Family

Sundays are prime FaceTime times so the kids called and we celebrated Mathias’s birthday a day early.

How he could possibly be turning four seems unfathomable. It’s like we missed a year or something.

Ganache me why
Wednesday April 21st 2021, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

Houses. Just because you spent a whole lot of money on your remodel doesn’t mean your house here, 2 bd 2ba on a tiny lot, even with a lake easement, is worth essentially as much as–

–this one, more than two and a half times the size on three times the lot in the same zip code. 

Besides, I figure ya gotta have space to scandalize the neighbors by ripping out the bushes and planting fruit trees.

But the burning question is, do they have a bakery around there that’s as good as the one that delivered these for a certain tall person’s birthday this week. I think not.


For real
Friday April 16th 2021, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Family

Wait wait wait. I’m still back at “Bahbah” for bottle.

But “Grammy!” as she points at my face on the screen? “Grampa!” It both hit home how much of her babyhood we missed, and how she’s even more adorable every time. They all are.

But there’s nothing quite like a 20-month-old learning to talk and taking so much delight in it.

Just wait till we step out off of the concourse and into real life and our faces and voices match all those FaceTimes.

Happy Birthday!
Thursday April 15th 2021, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

One of my kids got their second shot for their birthday and our first iris bloomed in celebration. It’s a happy day.

Meantime, I’d procrastinated because they’re not due this year for another month: did anybody else feel like this? It was weirdly comforting to do the taxes. It made no sense. But it was all so familiar after all these years and I guess it felt like the old life back again. Or something. Am I just being pandemically weird?

Wednesday April 07th 2021, 8:51 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

Seven miles instead of 75. It delays his being fully vaccinated by five days, but still. I conferred with him and then grabbed it. I also immediately canceled the original. The site said Sutter would offer it as a first shot to someone else and asked that that be made possible as soon as we could, which was only reasonable.

Immediately after I finished that up, the doorbell rang: my friend Constance, who lives hours away these days (there’s a shawl in my book named after her.)  She had been in the area on a work assignment and was stopping by on her long drive home.

We ended up on chairs in the shed. It was trash day but for obvious reasons I had not put the bin back right away. This gave us a spot that was outside, as one should in a pandemic, under a ceiling-height roof and with sides, as my lupus needs to be out of the sun, and it was perfect enough of a spot for visiting that I wondered why I hadn’t thought of that a whole lot sooner. Anyway. We had a lot of catching up to do after not seeing each other in person for too many years.

And then I sent her home with a 5 gallon fiber pot full of new topsoil and peat moss and a baby Anya apricot tree to put in it, kind of a grow kit. Just add water. After you get it back out of your car.

And on a totally different note. My late father, a modern art dealer, would absolutely have howled. Sometimes the art world can get a bit precious, and that poor innocent couple who picked up a brush from somewhere in the spilled paint on the floor and scatterings of paint cans and such in front of the mural and added their touch to what they thought was a public-invited graffiti project, well…wouldn’t you?

(When in doubt read the little white box on the wall next to the art in the gallery, but never mind.)

Happy Easter!
Sunday April 04th 2021, 9:45 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

Someone in the neighborhood was having an Easter feast with several cars’ worth of attendees. Probably all vaccinated, right?

Still, it left me with a sense of, oh, if only.

I texted Happy Easter to my kids. In response we got a photo of one exhausted toddler sound asleep mid-dinner in his high chair and some FaceTime with his 18-month-old cousin who, having discovered this wondrous indentation right there in the center of her, had to show us her discovery of having a belly button. As every not quite entirely verbal yet baby that ever was has done for all of time. While her big brother made sure she had enough jelly beans. This was clearly Jelly Beans Day, to her amazement, holding some out in our direction. She opened and got help closing the little plastic egg halves again and again.

The St. Bernard, as always, refused to hear her name coming out of a screen because she knew that’s just not real. She got to her feet and walked away.

A five hour tour
Thursday April 01st 2021, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Family,History

Whoah! Suddenly there were green boxes. All in the same two places. Did we want to go (I looked them up) 317 miles round trip or 146? We actually finally had choices, but only at those two.

Was this a trick question?

Wait. Maybe it kind of was. On 24 hours’ notice, too. I asked him if he was serious and I looked up distances and I basically twiddled my fingers a few minutes to let anybody closer snatch all those slots in Antioch. The 7:30 one did vanish, but none of the others.

We had had appointment slots get claimed while we did the required repeated hoop-jumping so many times.

A few years ago, Sutter Health scooped up our formerly independent medical clinic in a trend of providers consolidating to lower their administrative costs and fight insurance companies.

Well, there’s finally an upside for us: Sutter lets their patients schedule a covid vaccine at any of their facilities they’re willing to get to. The drugstores go by the county you live in. Sutter goes by Sutter.

He’d been okayed by his doctor a week ago, who was surprised that that hadn’t happened yet, and both of us have been looking multiple times a day every day since. With everyone 50 on up eligible as of today, and everyone over 16 in two weeks, and the medical officer of our more-populous county having sued the state in a fit over the fine points of the law re distribution, ending with us being dead last to receive vaccines, (gee thanks) all the sites said three months and we figured that’s just how it was going to probably end up being.

Green boxes! Tomorrow! When the screen said Confirmed Appointment I nearly burst into tears for sheer disbelief and gratitude.

Road trip road trip!

He couldn’t change his schedule at work that fast and had to be in meetings concentrating in the noisy environment, so that meant me at the wheel and, as is normal for me, not hearing the GPS. His co-workers on the phone were cheering him on. The traffic was relentless. Google said 75 minutes to three hours; it was nearly the latter (so much for the idea that nobody’s commuting by car right now), but we tried for a good hour early just in case which got whittled down greatly but not quite entirely. We made it. We were good. The staff said of course I could use the restroom!

A stop at an In’N’Out drive-through for burgers to minimize contact, eating in their parking lot (which also meant we didn’t have to drive into the sunset); he spelled me at the wheel for the long road home.

He got. His shot. He got it! Moderna. Four weeks till the second. Neither of us wants to make that trek again but the appointment’s on the books and his if he wants it and if we have to we will in a heartbeat. We want to see our grandkids! And we so want not to get nor give Covid-19 to anyone.

As we rounded the bottom of the San Francisco Bay on the return, I mused out loud that, if we’d ever driven alongside what looked like the end (it wasn’t quite) of the Suisun Bay before, I couldn’t remember it at all.

He couldn’t either; maybe on our way to Yellowstone when the kids were little? Maybe?

So strange to see a whole beautiful wide Bay–that wasn’t ours and whose contours we did not really know. But it welcomed us anyway, and we are grateful.

From the ground up
Friday March 26th 2021, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

When we were little kids playing hide and seek, didn’t we all secretly wish we had a trapdoor? Although, this one has a certain Cask of Amontillado feel to it, doesn’t it? Is that really a telescoping stairwell? Hey up there! Don’t move that dresser!

Personally, I’d just as soon build in the walls of the whole actual ground floor and not leave the house hanging waiting for the ending of the first story, but that’s just me.

I’ve been wondering what a good little Mormon would do with a wine cellar in a house–I mean, to my eyes, it begs for a yarn store impression with a skein stuffed in each slot, and think of all the designs you could make with the colors of your stash before you even knit it, but then how would you mothproof them?

I do really like that greenhouse, though.

How about the latest peach flowers at my nice peaceful house instead. Where, while doing the dishes, I had a sudden pang of missing how one daughter could call from the other room, That was a small Corelle plate.

Or, That was a bowl.

She could identify each piece by sound when they fell. Practice makes perfect.

A pandemic conversation
Tuesday March 23rd 2021, 8:45 pm
Filed under: Family

Your turn or mine?

Flip a coin, he said.

(Looking briefly around. No coin to be found. I handed a cashier cash once these past thirteen months and they stared at it like I’d just poisoned them.)

Uh, how about a credit card? (Yeah that’s a bizarre thought but it goes with the money theme of deciding for you when it doesn’t really matter, right?) Heads or–no wait, top or bottom?


(Flips it in the air.) Top. You win!

p.s. Thank you, everybody. This is the pattern by Louisa Smith that DebbieR was referring to and I really like it.

Colors for the win
Monday March 22nd 2021, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

I kept flipping back and forth between pictures 22 and 23 to be sure: no, the one photo is not an inversion of the other. There really must be two almost-identical spots in that house where you have to climb a ladder to find out what’s on the other side of that door above. Doors. Guys. Would a circular stairway have killed ya?

The grandkids would LOVE having a secret hiding place where the grandparents wouldn’t go!

Wait. Circular staircase. Attic. Yarn stash. Right?

And then there’s #23 and 24 of this place, which I’m linking to not because of the house but because of the quilt shown there but not quite shown enough. There, across the room from the spice rack lamp. Does anybody have any idea what that pattern is called so I can run look it up? I love the colors and if I could see it spread out a little bit more I’d love to knit it. Pick up stitches or intarsia? Panels or all at once? Copy or riff? (Riff, always.)

Given how much I’ve needed inspiration in that direction I’m glad I stumbled across that, even if whatever I make next is totally random from there.

Time to start sketching and trying and thinking about it.