Friday May 12th 2023, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

There was an unexpected knock on the door. Michelle opened it, listened a moment, turned, and called, It’s for you, Mom.

Years ago I confessed to Sandy next door that the town paper had run a piece on older dads, interviewing them as they chased after their toddlers and small children. Rodger had talked about the joy.

I noted that no mention was made of his previous life and wife and children nor just what kind of joy he expected them to feel after he left them. I have always kind of wanted to meet him, because I just didn’t get it: why, I wanted to ask the man, did you deliberately lose so much? Your ex is a privilege to have as a neighbor and her kids are the best.

On the other hand, if he hadn’t, she would never have moved into that house and I would never have met her. So there’s that.

I saved the article and saved the article and at long last tossed it, thinking, she doesn’t need the agony of reading that.

Oh! she told me when I finally mentioned it–No, I didn’t see that, actually, I would have loved to have. I’m long past worrying about all that. And then in a conspiratorial tone, hand to one side of her mouth and kind of mocking herself: I’m curious!

In early 2020 after a medical crisis she sold her house and moved into assisted living near her son and oh goodness it turned out to be about two weeks before Covid lockdowns began so she couldn’t even see him except to wave hi through the window.

I texted her kids pictures of the old house as changes began with the new neighbors, paint, landscaping, and asked if I should share them with their mom; the answer was, No, not yet anyway; it would be hard for her.

Her daughter at the door today told me that Sandy had passed and they had wanted me to know. The family was holding a remembrance together on Mother’s Day here.

Turns out Sandy’s ex had also recently died. His memorial service is tomorrow. Also here.

His obit does not mention her. Just his wife of 42 years, children, and grandchildren.

Her obit does not mention him. But I knew she loved him. Just their children and grandchildren.

Who clearly co-ordinated between each other to make everything as easy as possible, since Sandy’s kids live out of state.

While I wonder at how, somehow, when the one was gone, the other went, too, her 84 to his 90.

Carly Simon wrote a song, Like a River, to her late mom: Do you know any more about God? Are you dancing with Benjamin Franklin on the face of the moon? Have you reconciled with Dad?

I think, from what little I heard on the subject, that by the ends of their lives, they had.

And oh how I miss her.

The nature of things
Thursday May 11th 2023, 9:24 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knit,Wildlife

Looking around, I’m not sure but I think what we had was a Stinkhorn mushroom.

Not, sorry, a Stinkface, as I initially relayed to my husband. It still makes me laugh, even if I was wrong.

Maybe that potential treat is what the little guy sunning himself near the blue flower pot was interested in.

A question: I’ve been going through old stash and came across these blues. The big ball, 167 grams, is merino laceweight dyed by Lisa Souza at, the hank and its wound-up twin (they are, even if the photo insists on adding extra purple and depth to the unwound one) are Cascade alpaca lace–pretty sure that’s not baby alpaca, sorry, but it’s okay; the teal blue to the left is 50/50 tussah silk/merino, and the darker blue is–quite sure that’s from Lisa, too, baby alpaca laceweight where I bought an extra hank just in case but didn’t need it.

These were together in storage because I was always going to knit them doubled in dark/light stripes. Or maybe three. Or something. But it never happened. If anyone wants to play with some laceweight, let me know and it’ll be on its way. Stored in a ziplock inside a heavy plastic bag.

Edit: yarn spoken for. Thanks!

The elevator question
Wednesday May 10th 2023, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Life,Politics

I thought this was brilliant so I wanted to pass it on. Conversation sparked by E. Jean Carroll’s success at holding her attacker accountable in a court of law.

The primary election season is coming up faster than we’d rather. So–and this is coming from a young and female point of view in a discussion that began for her with some friends in college–consider the candidates.

You’re on an elevator. It has no security cameras inside nor out. Someone else comes on. Do you instantly get off that elevator and wait for another one, or do you feel fine because there’s no need to have there be anyone else seeing much less recording what this guy’s going to do while you’re alone in a space together where nobody can intervene for you? Where nobody knows?

Now, if you’d want off that elevator car because you can’t trust that person with your personal space and body, why would you think he would have more empathy for the public at large than what you knew he didn’t have for the actual human being right in front of him? What kinds of choices would he make after being elected? After gaining the power he’d sought?

And then we talked about some of the political candidates we wouldn’t vote for but wouldn’t cry if they did get elected because we know they’re decent human beings with good intent.


C’est une mystère
Tuesday May 09th 2023, 8:38 pm
Filed under: Garden

I planted a few more apricots after our Seattle trip and today I was looking to see if there was any sign of life.

There was–but not of an apricot. It looked like half the inside of a kernel with its brown skin sloughed off, but softer edged, less solid somehow, poking partway out of the soil as if the seed had been turned upright.

I tried a gentle tug. It didn’t budge. It was, however, vaguely slug-like. Ew.

By 5:00 I was sending my mom a picture.

Two hours later I took this one, and in those two hours it had gotten taller and the bottom of the cap was splitting open a bit more: one umbrella, coming up.

Did it come from the coconut coir the jiffy-type pots were made out of? Seems to have; the soil was new and therefore would have been sterile. Or is it growing off the edge of the actual apricot kernel that’s under there? I don’t think so; it’s too far off to the side.

So far I’ve been letting the little science experiment do its thing and show me what it wants to look like at every stage. My problem is, I have no idea what type of mushroom it is, whether it’s safe to even touch it (I washed my hands thoroughly after losing at tug o’ war) and I most certainly don’t want it sending spores around the inside of my house.

Nor do I want squirrels digging up my kernels and taste-testing them, as apparently happened to two that I found out of the dirt and apparently bitten and spat out the last time.

I want to see what it wants to do, I just don’t want it to have done it. No, that doesn’t make much sense but yes it does.

There are apps for identifying plants but when I tried to sign up for one I found out my phone’s too old to qualify. Anyone have any remote idea whether I should be intrigued or alarmed? Thanks.

On second thought, given that rate of growth, I think I’ll put it outside for the night after all. Oh, look, the stalk is half again taller than when I took this picture and started typing. The cap is bigger, too.


Quite the leaf to fruit ratio there
Monday May 08th 2023, 9:41 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden

Eight percent chance of rain; dry conditions will continue, said the forecast, which I checked before going outside to snap a picture of my springtime mandarins because that sure didn’t sound like what it looked like to me.

The idea is to text my mom a photo a day, just for fun.

It was a faint drizzle as I hurried back inside, turning to fat drops almost immediately. Never did add up enough to nudge us past the 41.6″ so far for the year, though.

The normal amount for an entire year is 12.5″ and we’ve got seven months to come.

I expect the return of drought next because I can’t remember ever having two back-to-back rainy years here, much though our aquifers could use it, but we are still adding more energy to the system so we’ll just have to see how it all plays out.

XKCD’s chart on the effects of that from a scientist’s point of view.

How to politely say don’t go when you know they’re going
Sunday May 07th 2023, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

Friends are moving away, and I missed them last time but today I got a cowl into her hands before they leave: cashmere, because nothing else would do (yay for mill-end outlets so I can).

She just happened to have put on a dress this morning that matched it.

I need to be more ready to do that more often in more circumstances, because, man, it felt good to know she’d be taking part of here to there when they arrive at their new life.

I will so miss them.

New world
Saturday May 06th 2023, 9:15 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

After a long-planned trip abroad, our daughter got home today after 22 hours in travel from where the sun is halfway out of kilter in its path and season.

She’ll be starting her new job soon, with time to find an apartment across the country. So much change.

Cargo, car go
Friday May 05th 2023, 8:12 pm
Filed under: History,Wildlife

You know Russia doesn’t think their invasion plan is going so well when one of their guys goes on record claiming the Americans started the whole thing because they’ve got a volcano in Yellowstone that’s going to wipe out all of North America so they were out to expand their territory.

Say what now?

Ukraine is like this warden: Get this snarling thing out of here and send it back where it belongs.

Thursday May 04th 2023, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Friends

She was coming into San Francisco for work, with time to spare on the front end of the trip, she told me.

I was afraid I was being pushy when I asked if she might like a meet-up? Imagiknit is, or was under the previous owner I’m not sure now, the central point for all things Malabrigo coming into the US; if they had anything new coming out you’d be able to see it there first.

She hadn’t wanted to make the assumption that I’d be willing to negotiate the maybe an hour of traffic to do any such thing, but I wanted to, very much. Turns out she did too. I surprised myself by actually having  a hard time falling asleep last night because I was like a little kid the night before Santa.

I was finally going to get to meet Lisa!

Coming up on South San Francisco, the highway sign suddenly flashed, Crash ahead lanes blocked past 380.

Which is the connector between the two north/south freeways and the airport and right ahead of me. I went up the overpass and got out of the brake lights just ahead.

But that meant having to pull over once I finally got into the city to figure out how the heck to get where I wanted to be. I turned on the Waze app. I hadn’t earlier because my phone battery’s been iffy and I knew the way there–the way we usually go, anyway.

Yay Waze. There was even an open parking spot.

We had such a good time. Such a good time.

You know those moments when every sentence spoken contains an entire world behind it that you want to find out everything about? The Cliff notes of a life clearly well lived. All the questions I could have asked, and can only wish for a next time to squeeze more of those in. But what I learned of Lisa is that I could ask, that she is warm and welcoming and loving and was instantly a good friend in person, not just online.

I have a face to put to the emails now.  It was a privilege to get to borrow that little bit of her time.

She bought some yarn, I bought some yarn, and a good time was had by all.

I turned Waze back on to go. It took me the fastest way, not the way I preferred, but knowing about that crash I went where it told me.

My phone just barely made it home. I plugged it in. Nope. Wouldn’t charge. A few hours later Richard waved a small gizmo that looked like a scratching pad for a kitten and said, Here, use the WiFi to do it.

A little later, a perplexed, Huh from him. Nope.

I don’t know how to get cherry guts out of its port; I’ve certainly tried. It had hung on just long enough after that escape-pied in the kitchen the other day to make today happen. When I needed it to be, it was a resounding 6s.

And so was the day. Thank you, Lisa!

Sixty grams to go
Wednesday May 03rd 2023, 9:29 pm
Filed under: Knit

Intermittent bursts of rain, triple what the forecast said. Cold. Doubled sweaters. Knitting to warm up my hands so I could knit.

I know, it’s not the two feet of snow that Michigan’s upper peninsula got, but this is the weirdest start to May ever.

It was a 15 grams of laceweight kind of a day. That’s (let’s see: 100g divided by 15=6.666 per, 875 yards divided by 6.666= 131.38 yards), so, yeah, 131 yards knitted on size 3.5 mm needles. So far.

Keep it raining and I might actually get this done!


Tuesday May 02nd 2023, 7:43 pm
Filed under: Food,Life

Dear Whole Foods,

This is how much I wanted fresh sour cherry pie: we drove an hour over twisty, nail-biting mountain roads to Santa Cruz to a nursery that had a single English Morello tree left and set aside for me and then we did that drive in reverse. I cleared out gravel that went a foot deep, left behind by the former owner’s gardening plans. I planted it. I watered it. I rescued it from a huge Japanese beetle invasion by scouring the Internet and then a friend scraped off his barbecue grill for me and I scattered the ash on the beetles at night and watched them fall off dying and turning into fertilizer to put back the leaves they’d stripped off that tree.

And it survived. But fruit was a long way off; it took two years before it actually started growing.

It’s doing great now, thanks for asking, and even in the drought we got ten pounds of those little cherries the last two years, enough to invite friends to help with the picking for their own pies.

And I learned: you really really want to pit every one of those tiny things by hand before you throw them in the freezer for Christmas baking. Trust me, you do. So I spent hours pushing down with all my weight on that pitter to get them to skewer the way they were supposed to skewer: no pit left behind.

There were none. Go me.

Now, I don’t go to your store all that much but I do appreciate how easy it is for my dairy-allergic child to find what she needs there, and so it happened that I had a twinset of your pie shells in the freezer for her. “Palm fruit” rather than palm oil? Give your marketing crew my regards.

Now, one would think that after driving over dangerous Highway 17 to get that tree, planting the tree, taking care of the tree, picking the tree, pitting the cherries, and freezing them in two-pound pre-pied amounts that I would also go to the bother of making my own d*** pie crust, but, today, I did not. My tree is in bloom, there’s more fruit coming soon to make way in the freezer for and heck, I just wanted to taste that goodness again. Badly.

I know that you’re trying to Save The Earth (TM). I know that you don’t want those earthmoving monster trucks to dig any more metal out of this beautiful planet than they have to, or heck, maybe you use recycled Cadillacs, I dunno, but I think that maybe–just maybe–you might want to think about having those aluminum foil pie tins be a little bit thicker.

Because: this is the tricky part, lean in close, I want you to hear me on this one: when you put the filling into that crust, or indeed when you take the culmination of your glorious work out of the oven, the tin underneath isn’t supposed to, indeed for the satisfaction of your customers absolutely cannot, accordion itself in the center and flop over like a dying fish.

Chinette paper plates are far stronger than your attempts at playing heavy metal.

Picture taken before I dropped my phone in the goo charging side down.

Right as rain
Monday May 01st 2023, 9:03 pm
Filed under: Life

What is that sound? (Glancing out at the dark.) I was trying to work out a frustrating computer problem and it was being distracting.

The wind had blown around a tray that had had seedlings in it (oh is that where it went) and the piece of plastic was being drummed on at the edge of the patio like the sky was tapping its fingers, demanding to be paid attention to because it was way more fun than what I was doing.

The rain was right.

The week after
Sunday April 30th 2023, 9:51 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden,Life,Mango tree

Before we left for Seattle ten days ago, the pomegranate tree still had some leaves in the bright light reddish gold of early spring.

Now they’re all a lush dark green and the first flower buds have appeared. I love how they mimic cacao pods at this stage.

The Anya apricot that germinated right before we left has started to sprout side branches.

Re the older woman who coughed at church last week: I didn’t see her.

But clearly one of the young men who’d been at the front had seen the whole thing because he wears a mask while breaking the bread for the Sacrament and had forgotten his today and knew just whom to ask. That there would be a ziplock in my purse with a bunch of new ones, readily offered.

I had actually taken it out while unpacking everything from the trip and yesterday thought, that needs to go back in there, and went and got it.

I was so proud of him. He was looking out for everybody, whether they noticed it or not.

It was my old friend Eli, who took care of my mango tree against the cold weather while we traveled when it and he were younger. Whichever college gets him next year will be very fortunate to have him.

The salesman with the deep voice
Saturday April 29th 2023, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Life

On the ROOF?! He was stunned.


Not under the house? Is it a slab?

It’s a slab. It goes up and out. The guy had thought putting the motor that far away would help make it quieter for my hearing impairment but what it did instead was make the noise reverberate through the metal all the way down and it’s much louder.

He shook his head in disbelief. That’s the worst, he said. He couldn’t believe a contractor had done that.

He showed me the motor to a ventilation fan, how it was in this gray metal box. Just to be sure I was right. And then he apologized at how much it was going to cost us to replace the fan alone in that case. We’d already looked at and priced the cooktops.

This was at the place where I bought my Speed Queen washer and dryer, an independent company with a hundred-plus year history with the surrounding community to uphold–they know their stuff and their reputation to uphold and they’re good.

He could not have expected my reaction to the number he gave with apologies: profound relief, mixed with a whole lot of gratified self-satisfaction: I knew it. I knew it.

Then I gave him the number a contractor had given me for replacing the cooktop and fan, and the fact that he was close to ten thousand dollars cheaper. That is not a typo.

He was speechless again. And then–he didn’t want to badmouth the guy–but some contractors, you know, they think if you own a house you’re rich so they can quote anything, he told me.

So. The Hestan? It’s gorgeous and the lights on the knobs are great, but, he pointed out, those brass pieces on the burners? They won’t look like that. At all.

Okay, just saved me from that high end one.

The Bosch? He told me what he did and didn’t like about that one, my choice.

I explained about losing my balance in a car accident years ago and that I fall a lot–so I’d prefer the knobs be between me and the burners. I told him how with the current cooktop set so far forward, I’d set my sweater on fire. Twice.

His face! Man, I think that guy’s going to remember today’s customer.

So now Richard has to decide if he agrees with what and why the guy got me wanting the one I do now.

I am to call the guy’s installer to come look and measure first.

We are finally making some real progress and that portable one-burner Cuisinart we bought, woefully slow when you’re used to gas but immensely helpful in letting us take our time, will hopefully disappear off the countertop very soon.

Friday April 28th 2023, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Knit

I got the tracking number today.

Mulberry silk is slippery on the needles–that’s a given. Laceweight with silk in tiny stitches requires close attention. That’s a given. See yesterday’s post.

But there is definitely motivation now to get that project done and out of the way.

Silk/vicuna 90/10 yarn, 500g, was on sale at $115/free ship at the time. Never mind that it’s in laceweight. That gorgeous shiny blonde effect! (Which color, it turns out, is now sold out unless you buy the 100g cones at $28.76+ship. Which is still 1800 meters.)

I plan for some of it to end up plied with the cone of bison/silk that’s been sitting waiting for…that, as it turns out. Ron at had a Halloween offer a few years ago of $25 for a mystery grab bag when they were about to send their yarn dyeing business off to Stunning String and that’s what he sent me: an entire cone of a single ply of their Sexy line. Wow.

Except bison doesn’t shrink and vicuna seems to a lot. Unless that was the merino in the 98/2 from Colourmart. There may be some interesting effects here.

Raw vicuna fiber wholesales at up to $400/lb. I’ve seen the yarn in stores kept under lock and key at $200 an ounce.

So when this comes I’m either going to adore it when it’s all knitted up or I’m going to adore it the whole way through and I don’t quite know which yet. Even that 2% yarn was enough to show me that this was something the likes of which I had never encountered before–and I am quite looking forward to finding out what 10% vicuna is like. I am really glad I snagged the lighter color so I’ll be able to see what I’m doing, plus I just plain think it’s pretty.

Now I know why I’d been itching to make a wedding ring shawl. For who, I have no idea, but out of what, I do now.

Don’t mind me folks I’m just enabling here.

Vicuna and silk, you guys!