Astronaut helmets
Wednesday February 24th 2021, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Family

The message: ‘What do you think?’

I clicked.

I guffawed. They even used NASA in some of the poses. I think the space enthusiast has been watching too many Mars Rover segments (with good reason, given that his old team wrote some of the early software.)

‘It would make it hard to get a decent haircut,’ I typed back for him to read when he had a moment in his workday.

I later pointed out that within a week of when such a thing could get here, the 1C segment of the population is supposed to be able to get our first shots in this area.

Oh. (I saw in his face the lovely thought growing that all this pandemic stuff could really, actually, finally end…) That’s right.

Spaceman Spiff, over it and out.

When everything is new
Sunday February 21st 2021, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden

I’ve been trying to take progress pictures from the same angle and against that narrow line on the basket where the wood end sticks out like a belt loop between the apricot seedlings. The taller one is now 3 3/4″.

Not bad for something planted January 11; last year it took till April just for them to sprout. Which is why I’m so taken with the plugs infused with rooting hormone that I tried this year–I’m getting a two month head start on my future fruit bearing while hoping that ends up cutting off a year of waiting to see how they’ll turn out.

Meantime, Lillian wanted to know what happened to that white snow stuff and where did this water come from.

And I want to see my grandkids climbing the trees to pick the fruit
Friday February 19th 2021, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden

Anya+? apricot seedlings Thursday, and the earliest and so far most vigorous one on the left there again on Friday 24 hours later.

One of my kids asked me about a year ago why I was so caught up in watching my fruit trees grow and I told him, I raised each of you for eighteen years and then I needed something else to nurture and watch grow and develop across a timespan like that.

He hadn’t ever thought of it that way before but yeah, he could definitely see that.

He will be three in this quote forever
Monday February 15th 2021, 8:29 pm
Filed under: Family

FaceTime with cheerful grandkids this evening.

Mathias: “What color am I turning your hair today, Mommy?”

February 14th
Sunday February 14th 2021, 11:32 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

Chocolate cupcakes by Michelle and my first-ever bingewatching: the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. I know, right? Where have I been. It was great.

And chocolate hearts from the Heart Attack at the door yesterday.

Saturday February 13th 2021, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Family

There has been snow up north. Our little Alaskan was ecstatic, his little sister, who was too young when they left there to remember it…not entirely sure about this mobile cold as he tossed some up in the air. But he was having so much fun so it must be cool, right?

I asked the kids how many inches of the stuff they got and the answer was, oh, about half a Lillian.

The grandma next door brought the kids cake pops.

Lillian went straight for the chocolate side.

Also: our doorbell rang this afternoon. I opened it just in time to see what I was pretty sure was a girl I know from church running as fast as she could to where a car was parked out of the line of sight of the door, so having seen what she’d just done I ran out too and blew a kiss their way (I don’t think they saw it as she was getting in) and waved and yelled, Thank you!

They definitely saw that: hands waved back, front seat and back.

I brought the bag of goodies inside but I’m leaving the door like that through tomorrow.

I bet it totally put a smile on the face of the Amazon driver who stopped by shortly thereafter.


Want to grow a superb apricot?
Thursday February 11th 2021, 11:50 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Garden,Life

Being able to putter around, checking on my seedlings, doing laundry, making a lemon almond cake just because the daughter wished out loud for one, making a spinach souffle with vegan parmesan (for her dairy allergy) and bacon bits that turned out surprisingly good: vegan cheeses aren’t great on their own but it turns out they do pretty well in recipes.

After yesterday, it was a day of just being really happy about all the little things. It’s raining and cold? Have a second mug of cocoa. Why not. He loved it.

I have Anya apricots starting to sprout again and a bunch more kernels still in the fridge.

Last year I followed instructions online that said that after the required cold months, soak them overnight–and had a 70% rotting rate. This year I followed instructions that said for the next stage put them in a wet paper towel in a ziplock in the fridge, did that for a few weeks and I have eleven that are looking good so far and one that rotted. I put them in Root Riot plugs that have rooting hormone added, and the roots that are just starting look much bigger and healthier than anything I ever saw last year.

Probably you should just stick them straight in the Root Riots out of the fridge without the whole paper towel nonsense.

So I have a question for you all: does anyone want some of those saved dry kernels? You cannot buy the trees anywhere, they’re not on the market, period, and the developer’s orchard of them has been ripped out and replaced with almonds. If you want to taste these you’ll probably have to grow your own.

I bought Anya apricots at Andy’s Orchard last summer: so at least one parent is an Anya. Andy only grows what tastes good. The other parent might be one of John Driver’s other two varieties that Andy grows, it could be a Blenheim or something, there’s no way to know.

It should take three to five years before you have fruit.

But then oh what fruit. Anyas are what apricots were always meant to taste like and never could be.

Yours for the asking and the willingness to take care of them.

Big brother
Thursday February 04th 2021, 10:23 pm
Filed under: Family

Mathias: “Coronavirus is little?”

His mom: “Yes, it’s very small.”

Mathias (thoughtful pause…) “Is Lillian the virus?”

A pop-up add becomes a pop-up subtraction
Saturday January 30th 2021, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Family
  1. We celebrated by Zoom the tenth year of my sister-in-law being free from her breast cancer.
  2. It took the three of us (mostly the other two) but we got the Sunbubble dismantled and the plastic cut away. I do have hopes of putting bird netting of some kind around it in replacement, at least enough to keep the squirrels out of–I haven’t decided which yet, a fruit tree or the coming tomato patch.
  3. I have a question: can anyone tell me what this thing is coming out of the tile quilt star over the stove at this house? I’m just not grokking it. That custom design work, interrupted and covered over. For–what?

Over on the coast
Saturday January 23rd 2021, 11:31 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

Were they open? Yes they were, for pickups and deliveries. No the pandemic had not done them in. Hallelujah. So let’s help them stay that way.

There’s a week-long storm rolling in and you do not want to drive Highway 17’s twisty steep narrow mountain passage in the rain and next Saturday looks like a really bad idea. But today was going to be dry and the fire-damaged trees haven’t fallen across it–yet.

I grabbed a hat project that had a second ball of Mecha for the next one in the bag because you never know, right, and we headed out to the car.

I did not knit a stitch. I wasn’t going to miss a moment of seeing every moment of every sight out of sight of the house. (Wow that reservoir is low for January.) We have now been in quarantine for a solid year here.

To Mutari Chocolates in Santa Cruz. Where a dairy allergy is taken good care of and the small-batch chocolate is the very best. It’s a splurge we try to do a few times a year, and the daughter is here for the moment, so, of course.

The hot chocolate.

The chocolate covered orange rinds that are her absolute favorite.

The wild Bolivian bars were mine.

The wild bay laurel truffles we tried were…different, and curious, but declared good.

I confess we did not try the douglas fir truffles. I decorate Christmas trees, I don’t eat them.


Most of the time it goes perfectly well
Friday January 22nd 2021, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Somebody, somewhere, is finding $150 worth of groceries outside their door and wondering who their benefactor is while thinking, ‘hey, cool!’ I hope they really needed it.

I just spent 45 minutes trying to fight my way past Amazon’s circular website h*ll trying to report a Whole Foods order that’s listed as delivered when it was not–at least not at my house. I can get it to list every item as not delivered, but then when I ask for a refund it demands I return the item (and then would probably tell me I can’t return groceries, but never mind.)

Just don’t charge me for what I didn’t get. I can even give them the Ring history to prove it. No car pulled up. Nothing came.

I’m typing this while a bit ticked, all the more so because I’m really hoping it doesn’t come out of the pocket of the one who can least afford it (so just don’t mess up like this, guy) but I’m afraid it might.

I said to Richard, who knows that I remember what it’s like to be young and poor and that I am quite generous on such things, “And I went back and changed the tip to zero. Because I’m mean like that.”

At that he laughed and saved the day for both of us.

If those groceries do actually finally come I have a day to consider adding some level of thank you back in.

But the unrefrigerated shrimp that were a bit of a splurge will be going straight in the trash.


Update: Michelle went on a quick walk and found them next door. I texted the neighbor, wondering if she was in bed, while Michelle went back over there and waved her arms upon seeing that she was up, she was on the other side of the window and the new neighbor opened the door and at the explanation said ohmygosh oh no those aren’t mine take them!

The frozen shrimp wasn’t even cold anymore. Trashed.

But I did put a bit of a tip back in over at Amazon. Because the guy did at least give us a good neighbor story for later, and he tried. Sort of.

From Martin Luther King Jr. to my grandfather
Monday January 18th 2021, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Family,History

June 23, 1964

The Honorable Wallace F Bennett

Senate Office Building

Washington 25, DC


Dear Mr. Bennett:

Your vote together with those of your midwestern colleagues in the Senate was the sine qua non for passage of an effective Civil Rights Act. You have earned the sincere gratitude of freedom loving people the world over. I add to theirs my sincere and heartfelt thanks.

Sincerely yours,

Martin Luther King, Jr.


Dictated by Dr King but signed in his absence

Grampa considered that vote the most important one of his 24-year Senate career and told us grandkids that. He nearly lost his seat over it, but he wanted to teach us that standing up for what was right was what he was there for in the first place. As should we in all things.


It’s daughter o’clock
Saturday January 16th 2021, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Family

From careful quarantine pod to careful quarantine pod.

After a good dinner, Michelle and I were doing some organizing together in the kitchen and I finally said to her, You know, with all this laughing I’m going to work off those extra pounds while you’re here!

She laughed. Which was perfect.

Pandemic kitchen soup
Friday January 15th 2021, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Recipes

A box of chicken stock, a stalk of celery, green onions, let simmer while deciding what they want to be when they grow up. A little extra virgin California Organic olive oil (insert long lecture about how the Feds allow adulterated and lesser grades to be labeled EVOO but California’s grandfathered law requiring California Organic EVOO to be exactly that means that if you buy Californian-grown and organic and extra-virgin olive oil, that specific combination on the label, then you know you got what you paid for.

And it is revelatory if you are new to such.

Apollo‘s varietals are the best I’ve found. It’s like the difference between freshly grated real parmesan cheese and the (delete the phrase hamster bedding) that shakes out of the green can.

Hey, when you live this close to where so much of the country’s food is produced for so long it rubs off on you. Last I saw the baby artichokes 10/$1 sign was still up along the coast.

A few shakes of gumbo file powder for thickener and flavor.

Hmm, a half hour of simmering later, how about a good long squeeze of Costco Californian tomato paste in a tube. We’ve seen those trucks in the Central Valley, stuffed bottom to top with tomatoes and a few red bombs flying off the back (don’t get too close) and splatting on the road behind them as they go. A few bounce. We saw no pallets, no divisions, and no covers (I bet that’s changed now), just open beds piled high like a giant heaping tablespoon of a truckload.

That’s what I always picture when I see tomato paste.

A half package of frozen okra, stir, and let it simmer another half hour.

Here’s where my mom goes, You’re finally eating okra? On purpose?

Then take a small package of precooked Teton Ranch beef sausage links out of the freezer, in my case, which adds a little pepper to it too, or ham, chicken, whatever floats your boat, slice and throw it in and let it keep going till the meat is nice and warm.

Dish and sprinkle grated fresh parmesan on the servings, not in the pot, because there might be some leftovers (there was, though not a lot) and Michelle’s driving down from Washington State for a visit and it would be nice to be able to hand her something dairy-free and good within a minute when she walks in the door tomorrow after that very long drive.

I can’t wait.

Winter spring summer or no don’t do that
Monday January 11th 2021, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden,Life,Lupus

1. I did the first shingles shot over a year ago and was overdue for the other one. The healthcare provider’s office popped up an auto-notice that my tetanus expired last month.

You do not get near my grands without being up-to-date, not that we can visit them right now, but that was the incentive for me to get it over with.

The nurse insisted on one each arm, not together.

2. I thought about what Mathias had said. Seed starter trays and soil plugs arrived right on cue. I planted tomatoes (or rather, I tried to, they only seemed to actually be able to go in where there was already a hole at the centers.) We’ll make some green inside, too, honey, I thought his direction. And if they get leggy maybe I’ll even buy a plant grow lamp…except that what they need for growth I as a lupus patient need not to be exposed to, and how do you set up a lamp in this house where all its light would be contained and away from me on a timer. Not seeing it yet. Windows will have to make up for my failure of imagination.

3. I twisted my ankle in a good hard fall, more so than last night’s fall, neither one as bad as Richard’s falling over backwards three days ago, and why are we acting so old like that but never mind, icepacks and ankle braces and I’m good to go and he seems pretty much okay now.

4. And now if anyone asks me if the shots hurt I can say no that’s just the other thing. Go, get yours, if you need them!

5. Icepacks really work. I got off easy.

6. Can’t wait to see those tomatoes.

7. There are some pitted Anya apricot kernels thinking about sprouting in their zip locked paper towels in the fridge. I picked out the biggest. One was twins. I am intrigued as to whether that would have any effect at all on what they grow into, other than that most likely they’re duplicates of each other. There is so much I don’t know. I almost chose a botany major and I have at times over the years wished I had.

I could use me some spring right now even if I have to jumpstart it.