All the things
Saturday June 12th 2021, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Life

And of course the hair was back to its curly self the next morning, and then some, with the weight of the length gone. That’s the silly stuff.

The sliding door repair guy is coming. The termite guy came. The tree guy is coming (can’t tent the house with branches hanging over it, and they are again. There has to be a foot clearance.) I need to call the guy to do the dry-rot repairs. Just a cascade of long-delayed home improvement triggered by the termites now that we’re fully vaccinated.

There is a holly bush that was trained by the previous owners to be flat and tall and spread wide at the top as if it had been espaliered. The trunk cannot do that 12″ clearance. There are multiple bird nests in it every spring, it makes a very protective habitat for smaller species, and I cannot fathom losing it.

It’s also a potential termite highway all by itself. It will not survive the process from inside the tent and it doesn’t sound like they can keep it outside it.

Still gotta call the shed demo guy, too. Got to leave some excitement for Monday, right?

Meantime, just because, a piano graveyard with cows. Where frogs got under the keyboard of one and jumped up and down and had fun, because how often do they get to create sound like that?

Friday June 11th 2021, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I was going to joke about okay, now you’ve seen me so you’ve pretty much seen his face, too.

But the car didn’t.

My big brother whose face I compared mine to yesterday was riding a bike today on a beautiful day after work and a car came speeding without looking. Morgan shouted and the driver matched his frantic yanking of the wheels to avoid the hit.

And just just just avoided a strike from the car but not the one with the pavement from that momentum mismatch.

As he lay in the road people came to his rescue–except the driver, who hesitated and then took off.

Three broken ribs, and another one cracked, along with his shoulder.

But he’s alive and himself and will heal and yay for helmets and as he dryly noted, his bike is okay.

Praise be.

Oh hi big brother
Thursday June 10th 2021, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

September 2019, Kimber gave me a nice haircut and we agreed on the next March for me to come back in for a trim. But March 2020 didn’t quite turn out as expected. She is fully vaccinated now and I am, too.

She combed it out and held it up for me to marvel in the mirror with her: Look how long it is!

Yeah, I told her, I pulled the two halves to the front and snipped a few times over the pandemic, otherwise there would have been about ten individual strands down to my waist. I lost a fair amount when I was sick and it got pretty sparse at the bottom.

Do you want this much? (About two inches.) Or this much? (About four, maybe even five.)

I held up my hand to motion the four/five.

My self-snipped edges fell gently away to the floor, finally, after all this time, curling into circles on impact after she’d conditioned it straight. The straggly ends by my face got evened out and morphed into done on purpose. It looks great.

I took a picture when I got home, and of course it didn’t come through, but I have to say I was dumbfounded to see my older brother’s face looking back at me from that photo. Twins.

Except with hair.

And I know exactly who would tell me, with a grin, not to complain over not being able to get a haircut.

Kimber waved me off at the end with, See you in two years!

I laughed/winced, Not that long!

A little rough around the edges
Tuesday June 08th 2021, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Life

Two more days and counting till the haircut appointment.

I had a six months’ trim appointment that never happened because Covid did.

It’s been a long time coming.

How about you all?

DIY house
Monday June 07th 2021, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Life

I mean, I always wanted to live in a repurposed pickle vat, didn’t you? I gotta say, though, they take the aluminum siding thing to a whole new level.

I actually like the kitchen, even if everything’s standing on its tippy toes.

(Oh, and, the cowl is cast off and almost dry.)

Dad would be glad
Saturday June 05th 2021, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

Today would have been my dad’s 95th and even though he was allergic to chocolate, he loved it and we love it, so it seemed a good day to celebrate, and, yeah. We got in the car to head to Mutari in Santa Cruz. Richard pulled up Waze on his phone just to be sure everything was cool road-wise.

Nope nopity nope. Bad accident. (Turned out later that friends of ours were stuck for three hours in that mess, and one can only pray for the people who were hit.)

Michelle turned and headed north. Dandelion here we come!

We even scored a jar of their dairy-free fresh chocolate/freshly roasted hazelnut spread that was sold out online. For that, she forgave my asking about Imagiknit a few blocks away, and so we came home with four unexpected skeins of Malabrigo Mecha, too. Make more art! Yay!

And then after we got home.

Richard’s glasses came in and he needed to go to Costco to pick them up; did I want to come?

Not overly, and I dragged my feet a little; Costco on a Saturday?

It turns out it wasn’t too bad, actually, but as I started in the door their guy called out after me.

“I’m with him,” pointing at Richard.

“No, you can’t come in without a mask.”

“Wha…Ohmygoodness, I’m sorry, I forgot, here let me grab mine” (fishing it out of my purse while the guy was offering one from the store.)

He was apologizing, saying they make him say that–and then added, “Some people, you know, they think it’s mostly a hoax.”

The way he said it made it clear he was one of those who thought they were probably right.

I found myself telling it with a keen sense of love for this good man I’d seen working there for years, so that it came out almost joyfully, “I had Covid. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. There was one day there where my oxygen was so low that I knew if I moved a single muscle I’d be out–there was just none to spare. I’m so glad I survived! I had long-hauler syndrome, and after they gave me the vaccine it was gone just like that!” snapping my fingers. (It took about a week, but a week is nothing after a year of that.)

His face was a mixture of wonderment and relief as he took all this in. Somehow the incoming crowd had thinned just then so that he had that moment to have that conversation and to consider what I’d said. On a Saturday, no less.

“It’s real?”

I nodded, answering, “I am SO glad for the vaccines!”

As I walked off I was smiling and he was really smiling, like he was finally at peace. He finally knew what to do and it was clear he’d made the decision. He was going to get his, too.

Heated subject
Wednesday June 02nd 2021, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Life

A little context on yesterday’s post: years ago I asked someone for a quote on redoing our heating system. Our house was built with radiant heating under the floors that had failed before we’d bought the place, and the previous owners had put in the cheapest possible substitute system, knowing they were about to sell. It caused us much grief.

He told me $60,000. He said he would build a new ductwork system on the inside.

I was staggered.

It took me awhile to call someone else because I was afraid of having that number reinforced, so I mentioned it to the contractor who took the small job of building our then-new awning.

I got an entirely different reaction: he did a startled double take and then laughed really, really hard. YES that number was outrageous! NO, I absolutely should not pay it!

He then explained that sometimes when a contractor really doesn’t want a job he’ll bid it stratospherically high like that, sure that you’ll walk away. But if you don’t–then hey, he’ll have to do a job he dislikes but he’ll get paid really really well for it so why not.

The new ductwork across the roof along with a new top-brand HVAC unit? Thirteen grand.

P.S. On the falcons: another “I meant to do that” moment. All four San Francisco eyases have fledged successfully and the one that disappeared from camera view for a week and was feared lost showed up again yesterday as if he’d been there all along. Which surely he had.

Still, there are moments like this. The one named after Rachel Carson of “Silent Spring” fame was reported flying and fine afterwards.

Don’t let them (de)bug you
Tuesday June 01st 2021, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Life

Second day, second quote.

Richard told yesterday’s guy just before he left that we had someone coming to look at it today, too, and he instantly crossed out the number he had just written on the paper he was about to hand us and replaced it with one that was 10% less.

I mentioned to contractor #2 today that there were pink chalk marks on the ceiling from yesterday’s guy marking the spots.

Instantly we had a discount on the job.

Our daughter’s reaction afterwards: Oh, so they crossed out the stupidity tax. You DID know to get more than one quote.

After the CZU fire
Sunday May 30th 2021, 9:23 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Last time I saw him pre-pandemic he was just starting that amazing sprouting thing that boys his age do.

Today he gave a talk in church at the pulpit. (We were still on Zoom for it due to my feeling under the weather yesterday.)

I was gobsmacked: when on earth did the short kid turn into this tall young man who had to lean down to the mic? Wow.

He told us of his dad asking him and his brother to come with him on the long drive up into the mountains to Camp Lehi: there was a need of volunteer workers in the effort to restore what had been before the CZU Complex fire last summer.(Post-fire pictures in link.) Camp Lehi was a church-owned property in constant use in the summers in particular–or was.

He said he figured this was his one chance ever to be allowed to use a chainsaw so he said okay. Power tools!

He had been there with his family on ward campouts a number of times; he knew what used to be there. Trees can only grow so fast, but on the human side there was so much to do.

What he hadn’t expected, he said, was how as he put in that hard physical labor he envisioned his efforts going towards people gathering there again. Enjoying each other’s company there again, laughing together again, seeing wildlife there again.

Making memories there again.

He felt an overwhelming sense of joy that he got to be a part of helping make that happen. He had not expected that.

Scrub those off the list
Saturday May 29th 2021, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Garden,Life,Wildlife

The problem with only focusing on what you want, she groused silently at the scrub jay, is that you cut off what you could have had.

I had chased it out of my Stella tree on seeing it yanking away in there. It got its not-yet-dark red cherry. The rest of the cluster, pale and small and far too unripe to nourish anything yet, was left on the ground.

Carrion our wayward son
Friday May 28th 2021, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Life,Wildlife

Sing it with me, Have a piece when he is done…

Andy: Mom and Dad can do it. I flew before anybody. I can do this, too, I know I can.

The fledgling stands on the prey with both feet, gripping it hard, preparing to take off to eat breakfast someplace more interesting than home because it’s no fun when there’s no sibling around anymore to try to grab it from you. Grip, flap, lift: an initial try at getting it up to the light fixture. Nope. Go back, grab it again (how DO the folks manage talons and wings at the same time?) get it up there, did it, great!, okay this time lift it up to the ledge.

He did it!

Then, starting at about 7:30 in the video, yelling all the way as he drags it and its drag against the concrete turns him slowly around in the little wind tunnel he’s creating and suddenly Whoops!…

Every cat who ever licked its paw in a defiant show of, I meant to do that… Yeah.

(P.S.) If you’ve ever gotten on your own case about not getting something done, you’re in good company: this house is like our first one, which was a split-entry where the builder only finished the upstairs and left the downstairs as framing and insulation only so that first-time owners could afford a place and put in the sweat equity themselves. We did that.

Fifty years. I’m seeing the raw plumbing for maybe a bathroom, possibly a downstairs laundry room if they once intended a separate living quarters, a bedroom, closet, and family room down there at the least. It’s a nice house.

But that insulation and lumber have been waiting a long time for someone to put up with the hammering and disruption and noise. (Can we get rid of the ivy while we’re dreaming.)

New ears
Thursday May 27th 2021, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Life

I got the new hearing aids yesterday.

I opened the door today and a siren went by, closer than the road even comes as far as I could tell and I asked where was that?! Thinking it was coming right next door.

Oh, over on X road I’m sure, was the answer.

That was two streets away. No way. But then it turned a corner and faded and clearly she was right. Huh. You mean sirens can actually sound like sirens again?

Some sounds are too bright but the brain has already adjusted somewhat.

One of the sources of improvement, though by no means the main one, was better-fitting ear molds–but I warned the audiologist beforehand that a previous new set had had to be whittled down because with my connective tissue disease, being tight against it meant it bled. And if it’s not tight, you don’t hear as well. I knew the tradeoff all too well.

So the new ones went in. She programmed them as I sat there, then had us talking for me to figure out how these were working, and did one more test where she took them out and put them back in with a wire alongside them all the way into the ear canals to test how they were actually carrying the sound.

While I was thinking, one more bit of space taken up. I can’t…

They came back out again so she could be done with the wires and I had her look at the left ear. It was already red.

So the upshot is, I do hear better with the new aids. Mostly. There is still brightness that drowns other frequencies out but that already seems to be calming down in my brain: I’ve had recruitment before and I know it goes away and it’s a sign of where the old aids were failing and not conveying sound. The brain overreacts to sounds it hasn’t heard in awhile but you just keep going till it doesn’t. Just like a new eyeglass prescription may be the correct one for your eyes but man it feels weird for the first hour and day.

She said that these molds do conform and shrink just a tiny bit with the wearing.

I’ve found I have to put them in and not touch them for anything because the slightest movement against them sets off that inflammation. Which I did today. Then I was wearing them not quite all the way in, which didn’t work. I gave up and put the old smaller-mold ones in to give my ears some time to calm down because I really want the new ones to work at their very best.

The sound is comfortable on the old ones. The fit is, too.

The difference is, now I know what I could be hearing and wasn’t with them.

I just have to work my way through that adjustment period. Carefully and bit by bit.

Americans’ lives matter
Wednesday May 26th 2021, 9:50 pm
Filed under: Life

The mass shooting at the Valley Transit Authority yard in San Jose this morning hit far too close to home. A neighbor whose kids grew up with ours we were pretty sure used to work that shift if he doesn’t still and every few hours over the course of the day I looked to see if they had released the names of the victims. I did not want to call Ingrid and make me be one more thing she had to deal with. So not my place. If he was gone, there would be a right time to come offer a hug.

Just like they walked a few blocks over to our house and offered company and love a few weeks after I got out of the hospital in ’09.

Those names were released tonight. Her husband, a fellow Ham radio volunteer with my husband, was not on that list.  Deep breath.

But eight other families and sets of neighbors and loved ones….

We have to do better. We HAVE to do better.

All the more to look forward to
Tuesday May 25th 2021, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

I did not get my new hearing aids yesterday: they were supposed to have come in by then but they hadn’t.

I did not meet the termite guy today: when he wasn’t showing I finally called, explained that I was hearing impaired, and had I gotten the day right?

The woman checked: our appointment was for next Tuesday. I thanked her.

The hearing aids are now at the office and someone canceled an appointment so I’m in for tomorrow.

But I have not yet finished this cowl. So, as a potential option, I guess that one’s going to have to wait.

P.S. Today the youngest San Francisco peregrine, a female that had hatched four days after the others, soared gracefully off through that sky like she’d been doing this all her life. (Unlike the jump up/fall down/swim in the Bay/get rescued drama of her sister.)

While over at the San Jose nest, the first egg of the pair’s do-over attempt not only hatched early this morning, but by afternoon was begging to be fed. And was. Usually they consume the rest of the yolk and that tides them over till the next day, when they have a little more strength for holding their heads up with beaks open.

But this one just got right to it.

Squirrelocity part two
Wednesday May 19th 2021, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Life

With thanks to Anne for the heads-up, Mark Rober, former NASA engineer and the guy made famous by putting out boxes for porch pirates that sprayed them with stink bombs and glitter while shooting videos of them from inside the box, has posted another Rube Goldbergian squirrel course in his yard. Enjoy.