Tuesday January 09th 2024, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Life

Done. Finally.

First I had to sign that I knew that I was going to lose eyebrow hair follicles permanently. I told her, well, then it’ll match the other eye: I fell down the stairs with a glass baby bottle when I was a baby.

She did a double take because she hadn’t seen that, looked closely and marveled at the scar, That must have been big!

Well, I don’t actually remember. But I was very lucky.

The biopsy results should be in in a week, but if it was anything it was skin cancer, in which case they’ll do Mohs surgery to make sure they got every cell of it. She thought likely it was not. I told her one of my kids had melanoma in her late 20s, caught by an astute doctor who just didn’t like the looks of that (and it wasn’t what she’d come in for at all, but he caught it.)

She was glad I’d brought this in and gotten it dealt with.

My lump is gone, that part of my face is numb, and the relief is intense. It is done. Thank you all for your prayers, your thoughts, your messages, and your friendship. It means the world to me.

Monday January 08th 2024, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Life

And doing all the things to keep myself productively busy.

Thirteen more hours….

Socket to me socket to me socket to me socket to me
Sunday January 07th 2024, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life,Lupus

We were visiting our oldest’s for Thanksgiving when she offered me some lupus-protective sunblock for the walk we were about to take with the grandkids: and that is how I found the lump in that upper socket.

I just figured a zit was about to pop in a weird spot. It didn’t. I mentioned it to the optometrist, who immediately referred me to the right eye doctor.

It has grown since then. Not a lot. It is harder. A little. But definitely.

They could not get me in before January.

All this time I’ve been ignoring it, going, it’s no big deal, I can’t do a thing about it yet if it is, things have always turned out okay so far so this one will, too.

The theory on that anti-tumor-necrosis factor that granted me these last 20 and a half years is that it could cause cancer about twenty years out, and since I was trying really hard at the time to still be alive the next day that sure sounded like a bargain to me. It was.

So it’s kind of interesting to find myself trying not to freak out after all this calm nonchalance now that the appointment is only two days away. I don’t know if I’m finally giving myself permission to feel the possibilities?

No! Because I said so. Look at all that yarn and plans (acknowledging that I have let myself down with a bit of a knitting slump of late) and hopes waiting on me. My grandkids. Time. I want all of it.

Just typing that out loud makes it sound pretty overwrought. Good. I’m quite happy to go back to the no-big-deal.

I just want to know–but when I do, maybe I’ll just want to be back to where I didn’t have to know yet, and I know that, too.

You know exactly what I need to do here: get those needles moving. Create some love to put out into the world.

Being told out of the blue today that an old friend has inoperable stage 4 cancer says that sometimes things turn out a very big deal and life is so fragile and you just never know. Love your dear ones.

Me, I’m looking forward to helping my oldest granddaughter in her pursuit of learning to be a lifetime Knitter with a capital K.

No ice
Saturday January 06th 2024, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Garden,Life

Happy Birthday to my sister!

It’s finally getting down to cold enough tonight that I had to cover the mango tree for the first time this season. This has never waited till January before.

Meantime, last Labor Day I mentioned heading to the Kings Mountain Art Fair via the shorter route that I’d forgotten I’d promised myself I would never drive again, even more so with part of the northbound lane, it turned out, having fallen down the mountain from last winter’s storms. This is the much easier road I took home with much better visibility.


And yes that’s an origami-style (totally stole that description) Tesla Cybertruck that that guy probably made history when he hit. I’m picturing the high school basketball chants of, We are #1! Hey!

Poor kid…

Run in your socks
Wednesday January 03rd 2024, 10:26 pm
Filed under: History,Life

That amazing evacuation of a plane on fire with smoke already in the cabin.

Turns out, Japan Airlines not only gives a safety lecture at the beginning of their flights, they show a video of inflated emergency chutes and how wheeled luggage and high heels can destroy them. How reaching for your luggage (and having bags fall towards people as you rush and then stop to pull up the handles) means you and those behind you might not make it that far anyway.

Although I imagine the actual flames on the other side of the windows might have concentrated the mind.

Not one person on Flight 516 grabbed their baggage. All three hundred seventy-nine people got down those steep chutes and off that plane in time with not a single serious injury.

Because they’d been informed when there wasn’t an emergency on how to think it through when there was one.

And on a different subject: things are much better and it looks like my brother might be able to go home in a day or two, now that he’s post-op. Going straight to the ER had been the thing to do and they got him in time. I am so grateful. Thank you all so much for your prayers and good thoughts sent his way. You guys rock.

Looking up
Tuesday January 02nd 2024, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Life

The view out one side of the house vs the other, just before nearly an inch of rain let loose. That patch of bright blue was gone in not much more than the time it took to walk back over there.

Somehow, I didn’t knit today: I wound yarn. I got it ready for when I’d be ready, and it felt just right.

(p.s. This has nothing to do with anything, but I saw this photo and went, Wait. Who thought that was a good idea? What homeowners insurance would be caught dead covering that house? Who would buy a house that couldn’t be insured? Who *did* this? And if the Zillow link doesn’t come through, it’s the 23d photo here on Redfin. “And she’s buying the stairway to heaven…” Can you imagine hauling a couch up to that loft?)


Because-I-can’t-do-anything-else-about-it knitting
Monday January 01st 2024, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life

The tops of hats are my least favorite part to do: to keep from growing any gaps between the knitted-together pairs of stitches and those around them, I pull the yarn consciously taut, and I tend to keep it taut all the way around those rows. It makes for a dense, warm top of the head, but it’s a pain in the hands to squeeze those needle tips in there over and over.

But hey, you’ve got two pairs of size sevens tied up till you do, so….

I needed to go finish yesterday’s hat. I didn’t really want to–I wanted to start something new, something brighter, something cheerful on a gray day.

And then the phone rang. It was my mom.

My brother is suddenly in the hospital and he’s going to have a rough go of it for the next little bit and we are all praying hard.

I sat down with that hat and realized it was offering a chance to control one small thing in my life and have it come out the way I wanted it to, right now, no waiting. Make it.

Even working the ends in felt like a relief. Whoever it’s for, including possibly a doctor or nurse taking care of him, it’s ready, and I need to go start another one.

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.

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.

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.

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.