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.

Home sweet –whoops!
Tuesday February 23rd 2021, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Life

Houses again.

Tell me: how is this up to code? You take something out of the dishwasher, you step towards the table to set it, and you’re falling backwards down the stairs.The condition of the wall down there implies you wouldn’t be the first.

Or picture #30 in this one, because don’t we all need space in the garage of our 1.84M house for an almost-new supersized backhoe? With room left over for your tools, bicycles, and a leather couch!

And now! Drumroll. For when your inner unicorn needs its sparkle polished. This one. Michelle calls it a cross between an office and a YMCA. I noted the Ikea-imitating bed in the 7.77M house, the only sign that the thing actually has the bedrooms it says it does.

That figurine knife holder seems to be auditioning for Shakespeare’s, “Et tu, Brute?” line. While the fat chicken smirks.

We debated whether picture 16 was a bathroom or an elevator. Maybe both?

I can’t help but notice that the property tax is estimated at $7260/month and the rental value at $1802/month. I’m just not sure that that works out.

The AI couldn’t get the math right
Monday February 22nd 2021, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knit

The leaves are getting bigger.

Four inches. Curious. At 1/4″ a day if it keeps that up it would be six feet tall by the time it drops its leaves for the winter.

Except that it would be pruned and shaped before that point and all the side branching will take up energy, too. Still. It’s feeling pretty good right now, watching it take off like this.

That one apricot seedling I kept last year possibly got overwatered and stopped growing and I’m waiting to see if it will leaf out at all this year, so it feels all the better to have a vigorous, healthy plant. Last year I gave away the vigorous one, thinking I’d have a more dwarf variant because the other grew slower.

Until it didn’t at all.

Meantime, someone tried to teach a machine how to write knitting patterns. “And it even began to give its patterns names, including Spinches Bottom Up, Squig Dyity, and Owls Punch.”

Interweave warned its readers, Don’t swatch this at home.

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.

Snow days
Saturday February 20th 2021, 11:43 pm
Filed under: History,Life

Things I learned:

If you have a defibrillator, do not put an iPhone 12 in your chest pocket–its magnet is strong enough to turn it off.

If you go camping in the out yonder in Alaska in the winter, take a flashlight with you and look down in the outhouse because you don’t want to be bitten by a bear when you sit. (She’s okay.)

But the best story was the woman who was delivering groceries to a couple in Texas but her car slid down their hilly driveway and got stuck in their flower bed. There were just no spare tow trucks out there.

She got taken in by the couple whom she’d delivered to, offering her heat and power and a safe place to stay, whereas it turned out her own apartment had none of those things and no water. They tried to help with her car but had no snow shovels.

So they took her in as if she were their own, just as they would want someone to do for their own grown daughters. For five days.

I mentioned that one to my husband and he told me his sister in Ft. Worth had taken people in, too. Power, water, warmth, and safety. Because she can. So you do.

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.

Burnt bridge
Thursday February 18th 2021, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Life

Here, let me distract you from the rest of this post with a picture of the August Pride peach that is still somehow blooming despite two days of rain since it started to.

My old audiologist told me a year and a half ago that he was going to be retiring and selling his practice, by way of explaining the new guys working with him; they would be taking over then.

The younger guy is a total sweetheart. I wondered if he was out of grad school yet, he looked so young.

The one maybe ten years older sexually harassed the receptionist with me sitting there in the waiting area perfectly capable of seeing what he was doing. The expression on her face was, Get away from me with that.

It wasn’t long after that that she quit.

And then we had this year of pandemic.

I got a call yesterday from a voice I didn’t recognize. It was not the young guy.

I was coming in for a hearing test appointment, he told me, and he was making sure this was a good time.

(???!) I have no appointment… (I did not say, I had a hearing test last week at the medical clinic while they were ruling out a brain tumor. But I knew I had had absolutely no contact with this office since before I got sick with presumed Covid last February.)

Right, we’re making you one and this day this time and does that work for you.

I answered, There is this pandemic going on and we are so close to the vaccines. I’m not coming in before then.

His voice escalated from officious to angry. He blustered. We fully protect our patients…we wear masks…

(Well yes because you’d get fined $500 in this county if you didn’t and I know that as well as you. I didn’t say that.)

It had to have been that guy. I bet he remembered that day just as well as I did and what he’d printed out on the office’s printer and waved close in the receptionist’s face while invading her personal space and that whole little scene and likely the look on my face, the only patient in the waiting room, as he made her flinch. He knew who I was.

I knew who he was.

They have years of my records so I didn’t burn any bridges.

But he had already, and just did again.

My old audiologist used to have an office near here, which is when I met him, but he moved it years ago to have a shorter commute and for me it’s been a real hike across bad traffic to get there. I’ve been wanting to make an appointment with a much closer one for some time so I can get started: they can ask for those records and I can get some new aids. Or at the very least replace the chipped ear mold that has been causing me grief for lo these too many months.

Three weeks till that first shot–if all goes as announced.

While all I can do is to shake my head that man, what a way to kill your business and you can’t blame the virus for it, either. But it was his choice.

Wednesday February 17th 2021, 11:27 pm
Filed under: Garden

There’s the picture from my old slow iPhone. They like this being in the sun stuff–the one that’s only halfway out of the sides of the kernel is already green down in there. They’ll grow faster later in the warmth of the spring, but meantime, they’ve got a two month head start over last year’s attempts.

Bring on the supersoaker
Tuesday February 16th 2021, 11:52 pm
Filed under: Garden

Signs of summer Alphonsos to come.

I seem to have interrupted a bird that thought that tree a great place to set up a nest–which has never happened before, and I had wondered if they didn’t like the smell of the latex in the sap or something? Or more likely that of the Sunbubble. The squirrels didn’t, so far anyway, which makes it all the better a place for a baby bird to be hidden away in. A cat or a hawk would have a hard time harassing them and our songbirds need all such spaces they can get.

The third apricot cotyledon uncurved its head today and stretched out its new leaves as if to proclaim, Tadaah! Tomorrow the fourth will finish emerging from its seed.

I put them out under the awning during the day for a little extra sunlight. Not too much yet. Just enough.

The desert cottontail put in the first appearance all winter. Rats. I’d hoped it was gone. My baby trees are going to have to be kept up high for awhile.

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.


Making it be Spring already
Saturday February 13th 2021, 12:13 am
Filed under: Garden

I planted the first three apricots I think three weeks ago? The others this week.

I checked tonight and the roots of those three had outgrown the plugs during the course of the day and one big root was starting back up along the other side of the plastic tray. It needed somewhere to head to that matched gravity.

So I just replanted those three inside a large Jiffy pot to hold them for a few days. I want to definitely be past any frost before they go out.

I still can’t get over how much healthier and more vigorous they already look than last year’s.

Edited to add, I just found a tap root on one of the newly-planted ones. I guess they didn’t need time but rather just a few warmer days–and they did all start out in the damp paper towel thing at the same time.

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.

Okay I’m gonna spill here
Wednesday February 10th 2021, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Life

Three weeks ago I was suddenly hearing a loud low buzz, and acutely aware that our modem had done that in warning before we happened to luck out in finding it smoking just before it became something much worse I went looking for what the source of that sound could be.

Except not only did everything seem fine, the sound didn’t stop when I left the room. The furnace maybe?

Why didn’t that plane flying overhead stop flying overhead?


It was sudden onset, it turned out to be in one ear only, I’ve never had low-frequency tinnitus in my life (high, yes, forever) and I have a friend who went through an acoustic neuroma.

Which is why I linked to that article on tinnitus the other day–after sending my doctor a note.

Plus I fell three times last week, which was getting a little ridiculous but probably didn’t have anything to do with it.

Her nurse almost immediately wrote back to tell me to make an appointment. Half an hour later, she checked, I hadn’t done it yet so she got right on the phone to make sure that happened.

Oh okay.

Tuesday my doctor would be in.

So yesterday I went in and she ruled out a bunch of ordinary stuff and referred me to ENT and audiology. I was quite sure she would, but we are still new to each other and I wanted her to be there from the beginning of this with me should it come to anything. When I mentioned my friend, she nodded a definite affirmative of yes: we needed to rule that out.

I went home and called. The ENT receptionist told me she could schedule the one in eight days and the other the week after that. Yes she was seeing the referral, it had just come up on the screen.

Usually when a doctor is the one saying the patient needs to be seen you get in a lot faster, but no.

I hesitated, and when it was clear we weren’t going to do better than that and having just waited four days that had felt so very long that it reminded me of when I was five days overdue with my first baby (I cannot begin to tell you how many years long those five days were), I told her why I was trying to get in.

She exclaimed, “Ohmygoodness!” Suddenly, with apologies for making me wait on hold (take your time! And thank you!), she got me in on both for this morning, with their permission.

It has been a long time since I’ve had that thorough an exam in audiology. Tympanometry–I remember that from a class in college even if I’m not sure I remember how to spell it right. I also remember being taught that if you push a tone and the person hears it and then stops hearing it while it’s still going, they have a brain tumor.

That stuck with me: the idea of being able to help uncover a problem on that level, to be able to help a patient that much as a non-medical person–wow.

So I wondered if she was going to test that.

She didn’t as far as I know but there have definitely been equipment updates since my time and part of me wanted to ask her to explain this and this and remind me the details on that.

A few minutes in the waiting room with my knitting, and then a new-to-me ENT: my old one had retired at the pandemic.

The doctor was late. I knew he’d squeezed me in. He complimented the purple Mecha hat in progress and started to ask questions about it but realized he needed to get a move-on; I thanked him and we went on from there.

He was quite pleased with the hearing test results: bilateral and still the same as the last time they’d tested. My hearing aids, however, particularly the right one, need to be replaced. He knew his stuff: when I told him they were the latest and greatest Oticons when I got them, and when that was, he knew about them but also what’s out there now, and in my experience, the ENTs leave that up to the audiologists but he was up on what the patients would want to know about.

Had there been an acoustic neuroma one ear would have been markedly different now from the other. They were not. He offered a brain MRI if I wanted one, it was up to me; but to him it all looked okay, and he was clearly relieved to be able to tell me that.

And that’s as close to a brain tumor experience as I hope I ever have.