First ice cream
Tuesday February 20th 2018, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

Wait. Daddy. This is Alaska and we’re always bundled up trying to stay warm and yes I’ll hold the napkin for you but you want me to put something that looks like snow *inside my mouth*?

It felt like snow, too–the next photo was of a baby recoiling in shock and betrayal.

The next photo was of a baby doing a double take.

The next photo was this long, thoughtful look as it dribbled down his chin: Cold. Food?

Yes. Yes. I think I do. I don’t know how but I like this. Daddy? More?



One more way to stay in touch
Monday February 19th 2018, 11:57 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Garden,Knit,Wildlife

There! I said in triumph, done with it for the night. I octopused it.

You what? He wasn’t sure he’d heard that one right.

You know how octopuses can squeeze into anything? I got 61″ of afghan and that ball into that ziploc. (Warning: great National Geographic video in that link, annoying announcer–you might want to turn the sound off.)

Meantime…

I was talking to a friend yesterday who has just bought a house a half hour north of us and is getting ready to move into it. This is a rare and marvelous achievement around here these days. I was wondering out loud if she’d like a fruit tree as a housewarming present.

Because I know how many times I’ve wished I’d planted mine when we moved here, rather than most of them at 25 years later when my kids were newly grown and I needed to still see something grow up year by year under my care. Plus I wanted the fruit. Plus I think they’re pretty trees.

She instantly knew exactly what she wanted and she was ecstatic–was I serious?

Absolutely! As I thought, my late father-in-law is the one who encouraged me to start gardening, and that would be the best use I can think of for some of the birthday check he gave me in December just before he died.

I checked the Dave Wilson site and they said the Blenheim (Royal) was the #1 apricot in California and the top-rated one in their taste tests. But also, as I said to her yesterday, one good thing about apricots is that they’re a little tart and squirrels don’t like tart.

It turns out she knew her apricot varieties and Blenheim was her favorite. Well then.

Yamagami’s, my favorite nursery, had the Royal variant in stock. Perfect.

She helped me get that big thing out of my small car this afternoon, exclaiming, I can’t believe you did this! I can’t believe you already did!

Take pictures for me when you get it in?

She couldn’t wait to.

And I came away thinking, how often do we get to spend money on something that will last the rest of the recipient’s whole life? That tree will keep giving and giving and giving, and you learn with the first one and who knows where it’ll take her from there.

I could hear one of my favorite doctors in my head, an avid gardener, when I asked him about the squirrels, answering happily, I have MILLIONS of apricots! They hadn’t touched them.

I said a little prayer for Jennifer’s tree to grow and thrive along with her three little kids. They need to wait a little while before they climb it, though.

A bowl of them (cupping my hands for size) in five years? An excuse for a visit.

She’s looking forward to it.



Made my day
Sunday February 18th 2018, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

I put down the afghan and came over to the computer to try to figure out what to write about tonight and an email had just come in: Jerry and Vivian, with her saying she’d stolen one of his hats for the picture that they were posing for.

With the most radiant smiles.

I tell you.

I described to them what Stitches West was, that it was this coming weekend, and to let me know what colors or fibers they’d like next and I’d be right on it. And I wished they could see how big the smile was on my face too right now.



Springing forth
Saturday February 17th 2018, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knitting a Gift

Progress.

Meantime, the blueberry flowers look like pale blueberries, the first two Santa Rosa plum blossoms opened today (that’s the mango tree under the frost covers for the night in the distance), and the August Pride peach, which spent last year in curl-leaf-disease survival mode, is in sparse but full bloom, giving it its all.



Six titles so far and none sufficient
Saturday February 17th 2018, 12:09 am
Filed under: Life

Someone dear to me had a co-worker she knew was abusive and a liar and she was not at all sorry to hear that he’d quit.

Except maybe that’s not exactly what had happened.

Everybody was suddenly ordered to go take the rest of the day off, go somewhere nice, out, enjoy.

In the middle of our deadline?

Them: (Clear. The. Building.)



Two-thirds
Thursday February 15th 2018, 11:44 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

Yay for the postal employee yesterday who checked that zip code before letting my package go into the system: I had two numbers transposed. The rest of the rather unusual-sounding address was a match so it was clearly going to the right place now.

I drove home after Jerry’s two hats went on their way feeling grateful beyond anything I could begin to say that I could do something that could actually help–what do people do who don’t knit?–and I pictured their surprised faces as they opened the box. I really should make the whole family matching hats in solidarity with their dad, but, at least there’s a start.

Then I dove back into the waiting afghan.

Early last week I was at eight repeats and wanted sixty and I was fighting the sense of, how could this ever be done?

So just do it. After nearly seven hours’ work on it today I hit forty. (I am alternating typing with icepacking.) My yarn planet has gone from Saturnine to Martian, with Pluto a little too wishful thinking quite yet but I am going to have to scour more off the cone soon. That’s a very good problem to have.

Like the hats I just wish, really really wish, I could deliver it in person when I’m done. Which won’t be too long now.



The things that matter
Wednesday February 14th 2018, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

When you crawl fast pushing an upside-down paper plate across a wooden floor, it makes a deeply satisfying amount of raspy noise.



Love by chocolate
Tuesday February 13th 2018, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Life

My friend Karen dropped by today to pick up the amaryllis I’d promised her (thank you, Dad!) and we ended up chatting awhile.

One of the things she told me was something that in 30 years I’d never known about her: that her family had had an older neighbor who’d never married and had no family around and they with their seven sons had just kind of adopted him as their local grandpa and he loved it. They had had him over for dinner at least once a month for forever and made him theirs.

When he could no longer care for himself and needed to go to a memory care unit, they helped him with that move. He’s 96 now.

She was talking to someone who worked at the nursing home and that is how she found out that the residents got fruit for dessert: but no chocolate. Never chocolate. There was just no reason for it in the caretakers’ eyes, I suppose, nor for the expense.

“Not even, like, brownies?”

Nope.

Well that was definitely something she could do something about–she knew how much he loved the stuff and went to his room and asked him if he’d like some chocolate.

Now, he might have some dementia but he remembered chocolate. Definitely yes. Yes please!

So now she has something she know she can do to cheer him up, to connect to him wherever he may be in there, every time she comes.

And I thought I would pass the good word along. If you don’t know how to visit or what to say to someone in a nursing home–bring them chocolate.

And if it’s ever me in there, dark would be great, thanks.



Cone-iverous yarn
Monday February 12th 2018, 11:46 pm
Filed under: Knit

It had felted to itself a bit in the scouring and was a pain to separate, yard after yard. I knew that going in–I’ve done this before (but I wanted to preshrink this as much as possible in the expectation that it would go through the laundry later.) It was 332 grams and the length to match. I pretty much knew that, too.

But today I told myself my Sabbath day of rest was over and it was time to tackle it anyway, and with visions of finding the perfect swift and big-ball winder at Stitches next week so as to avoid this next time, I gradually created what my husband calls a yarn planet to continue the afghan from. Knowing I might have to do this one last time for it. Maybe not.

Subtract 36 g for the cardboard, and that cone still has 572 grams left vs. the 332 scoured and plumped up next to it.

The afghan. It’s coming. Slowly, but it’s coming.



Brown, blue, what else do you knit for a guy?
Sunday February 11th 2018, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

As of just now there is a second soft, washable wool beanie (Bobby Blue to go with the previous Stonechat brown mix) to mail to my friend with the massive skull scar curving widely from the top of his head and halfway down  in front of his ear. The good news is that it was a slow tumor, and there are treatments in trials for curing it. They couldn’t get it all, but they believe they bought him plenty of time before they have to face it again and there is great cause for hope. Thank you for all your prayers and good thoughts Jerry’s way.

The best news is that he feels completely himself again with it gone, and that was no sure thing going in.

(Note to self: Malabrigo Rios, size US6 needles for the body of the hat, 80 stitches was the right number in stockinette. I considered doing cables but thought, nah, he doesn’t need the extra warmth where he lives. He just needs not to look quite so Star Wars bar scene-ish while his incision line gradually recedes.)



Stitches pre-Stitches
Saturday February 10th 2018, 11:54 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knitting a Gift

The rest of the Tropic Snow peach flowers have opened and the tree is just glorious.

I had to wind, scour, and let dry the next 300+ grams of the coned afghan yarn, having run out of what was ready, so knitting-wise I had a day or two on my hands.

Thus this cowl of long-hoarded Handmaiden’s Camelspin came to be. Lovely stuff, from lovely people, made mostly of silk and it puddles just so (lack of selfie skills notwithstanding.) Nova Scotia was the colorway, if I remember right, and there’s a bit more green to it than shows here.

I really, really like this. I really like even more anticipating surprising the person it’s for.

There’s enough yardage left from the one ball that I could make a second cowl, and it wouldn’t have to be too much smaller.



Skyscape
Friday February 09th 2018, 11:45 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

I almost missed it. There was the most stunning sunset going on, deep pink and blue streaks as far as the eye could see from right to left and up to down. I walked out the front door to see if it reached clear to the east as well.

Which it did. But more importantly, an older neighbor was out front as well and I went over to say hi; I don’t get to as often as I’d like.

Turns out it was a day when things were going a little rough for her medically, and though she’s not one to complain, today she just needed a listening ear. But first she told me, It IS a beautiful sunset! And that set the tone.

Her triplet grandchildren are in college already?! How on earth did THAT happen?

She laughed: I know, right? Then she told me the suddenness of the empty nest was an adjustment for her daughter-in-law. “She’s a *good* mother.” A few minutes later she said it again, wanting me to know just how much she thought the world of the woman her son had married.

I’d caught her between her car and her front door, which when she went through a few minutes later, she no longer felt so alone.

And all because Someone had nudged me: Hey. You. Look at this sky I made–no, no, go, Look.



Cashmere and cotton
Friday February 09th 2018, 12:13 am
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

I had this afghan I needed to make that I’ve mentioned from time to time for several months now.

The first try ended up being cast off and declared a scarf–spending more time on its yarn was not making me like it better. Done.

The second try got started but was put aside while I tried to decide if I wanted the lace to be a great big border around a drawing in knits and purls of the recipient’s house. Which I have never been to. And which I didn’t know how to ask for a picture of without having to explain why I wanted it–when simply continuing the lace would make a perfectly fine blanket. I dithered. Which means I stopped.

Aside from an hour here and there, which gradually, naturally answered the pattern question, it got put aside again for all the Christmas knitting: ten hats, who knows how many cowls, things that all had a definite time limit–while the afghan reproached me. I’m not good at having multiple projects on the needles but it was just too much to try to get that big one done and out of the way first.

I took it with me to a knitting group get-together Tuesday morning to make myself really dive back into it at long last, but as it dangled from my circs, it was inwardly embarrassing that another knitter couldn’t instantly peg it as an afghan and it made me determined to get it at least to where it was obvious what it was, fast. It was long overdue.

Today, after three straight days of putting my all into it, it is nearly half done and after all this time that feels just unbelievable, and very encouraging.

Part of what happened was I realized I did have a deadline after all: Stitches West. It’s only two weeks away and you know there are going to be new toys that I’m instantly going to want to play with. Anticipation is way more fun–and I’ve finally found that place where there’s great anticipation in this afghan, too. It’s gotten really pretty. I can’t wait to give it to where it’s going.

 



Well I guess they wanted to plant local species?
Wednesday February 07th 2018, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Garden,Life

The unseen unnamed people who bought the house down the street have been re-landscaping it, and one of the things they did was to plant some plants in a tight row in front of what I assume is a bedroom window, about ten of them and all about two feet apart. So that the spaces between will fill in nice and densely.

With redwood trees. I did quite the double take. Redwood trees?! Under the eaves of the house, no less. Okay, they’re pretty and maybe you guys are new to California but didn’t you at least google the name on all those tags?!



Peach flowers
Tuesday February 06th 2018, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Garden

Gorgeous flowers. Click for the close-ups.

The forecast is for no leaf curl disease this year because I paid a professional to spray my peaches this time, but also because the foreseeable forecast is for no rain. It’s been bad.

My Tropic Snow is the only tree I didn’t get around to pruning this winter–mostly because it grew so little last year while barely surviving the loss of so many leaves.

But wow, look at it now.

For whoever else might need to know this, the guy who did the work said that raccoons won’t climb chicken wire: too unsteady and flimsy feeling. Meaning I *can* keep them out!

(The squirrels, though, I dunno…)