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Rallying around
Sunday November 10th 2019, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

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I’d seen the note sent out on their behalf a few days ago asking people to pray for her.

Her mother-in-law is in town now to help with their two little boys, and the one time I saw her really smile this morning was when I asked if she was the grandma. She was!

When I saw him gathering up the kids afterwards I said to the husband, half apologetically, “One more person coming to ask…”

He was happy to explain. His wife had had a doctor appointment, and the obstetrician had said, You’re way too big to be three months along. So they’d ordered tests.

She had a tumor the size of a watermelon on an ovary. (Where? How? She’s tiny!)

That’s when the first note went out because in their shock those young parents needed every bit of support they could get, with someone else appointed to do the talking and fielding any responses so they didn’t have to quite yet.

He sent out his own note this afternoon.

The surgery was successful. The tumor was benign (they will biopsy it again to be absolutely absolutely sure.) The baby is doing fine in there. His wife is recuperating and on bed rest for the moment, but would welcome texts.

That I can do.



Screen play
Saturday November 09th 2019, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Life

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So there I was, having been given my own small screen to watch while the bigger one went on so that I could read the closed captions. Hey, and it had someone signing, too! I studied sign in high school with a semester in college but that was a long time ago.

Wait. This isn’t…

So now I’m wondering if American Sign Language and the Samoan (maybe Tongan?) version as presented in the US are the same?



Home, home on the range
Friday November 08th 2019, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Knit

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The eagle is begun and done and now for the mountains.

This time, I wanted the mountain range to be a better match to the view where they live, so I spent a lot of time looking at photos, both online and some I took in September–and I actually did a pretty good job knitting that skyline the first time, especially on the left.

The new ones have begun.



This old house
Thursday November 07th 2019, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life

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  1. The new keyboard came.
  2. The old keyboard decided to work again, with just a few keys needing to be typed a little more forcefully.
  3. The one total holdout is the arrow for moving the cursor to the right.
  4. My keyboard refuses to be a Republican. It won’t even curse.
  5. While, on the afghan, I hope to officially hit the halfway mark tonight. I want this one longer than the original so I’m putting in an extra few inches before starting the eagle.
  6. I ended the feather-and-fan part with a purl row this time to emphasize the break between the waves and the hillside rising above the bay.
  7. This is a better combination of needle size and yarn for making that moose.
  8. It finally occurred to me for the first time today that knitted moose are typically found in…Christmas sweaters.
  9. Tough.
  10. I pulled out the finished original afghan and was relieved at how the eagle and snow and mountains rescued it from any singleseasonativity.
  11. Thanks to, he said, the street tree the city planted three feet from the outtake out front, Bernie the plumber came today (this happens about once a year) and it is amazing to be able to run a full load of laundry and not have the sewer back up. Yay Bernie!
  12. And, 12, I have discovered a bug in the update here. If you see numbers 1-12 before each of these, tell me, because on the preview page I don’t but they should be there. And it keeps deleting my title. Let’s see what hitting publish does to it.


N pe can’t type that title either
Wednesday November 06th 2019, 9:41 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

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I set d wn a cup next t the computer and missed. Which means it instantly went lying across the keyboard my clothes the rug my she’s.

Sometimes bviusly n t always but sometimes autocorrect gets it right–never thought I’d be glad r autocorrect.

The new keyboard is supposed t come tmrrw.

While I was expressing frustration with the keys that won’t type Richard said just copy and paste the letters in.

Hey. Slow but it works. The man is a genius.



Red-y for anything
Tuesday November 05th 2019, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Family

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We interrupt this blog for a photo of a certain adorable two month old.

(Nope re the dress, store-bought, sorry. Remember Think Music from the Music Man? This is Think Knitted.)

I find myself as I write this in sudden need of knitting a Lily of the Nile dress and am wondering why I didn’t think of it before. Just let me finish this afghan first.



He did what I wanted
Monday November 04th 2019, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

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He’s bald and he’d recently had the flu and it’s been as low as 29F at night and he was freezing.

Last week I gave him all five hats and he immediately offered his friend next to him his choice of one. As I had hoped.

Yesterday he confessed that he was down to one, because various friends had liked this one or that one so much so of course they had to have something made with love like that. His eyes pleaded with me to understand, but believe me, I did. I told him, That’s what they’re for!

Not to mention, it’s not like I’m running out of yarn.

I could just picture randomly running into some stranger, recognizing what’s on their head, and going, Oh! You’re I.’s friend! Cool!

(And the potential, ??? Who are you???)



Parfianka pomegranate, year three
Sunday November 03rd 2019, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Garden

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So how do you know when a pomegranate is ripe, I wondered?

I went looking for the answer several times over the last month or so, each time hoping to find someone who’d grown that particular type. And found this:

You can’t really tell by the color.

You can’t tell by the stem end.

If you get it wrong and let it stay on the tree too long, it loses some of its flavor. Wait. This was definitely news to me, because I planted my tree after tasting pomegranates from Jean’s that had been left in place till they’d begun to split open. I had never tasted anything like that in my life, and given her age I knew I might not again unless I grew my own. So I did, and wondered if I should leave them till they split open, too.

But they looked so good…

There were two fruits that had made it past the one inch stage (and our not watering while we were gone for three weeks in September when Lily was born.)

Heft it, was the advice I found: it should bulge and it should be heavy.

Define heavy?

It should be large.

It was. How large?

Tap on it and listen.

Oh great, good luck with that one.

Don’t pick it: clip it.

Okay, that I know how to do.

Michelle was going to be dropping by for dinner and I thought, one to try now, one to leave for later in our experiment. We’ll compare and know better what to do next year when there will be many more of them.

The verdict is, it was probably harvested just a little early, but the seeds came away easily (almost all of them anyway) and it was as good as anything from a grocery store.

But the thing that struck me was all those little bite marks and a long clawing on one side. So many times over the months it hung there that something stealthily approached, tasted that gorgeous red exterior, and then went, This is supposed to be food?? and let it be, leaving a mosaic pattern behind. At least once something larger tried hard to pull it away but it held on to where it needed to be to grow.

They never got past the tough exterior.

They never found the sweetness inside.

But we believed, and we did.



Inviting
Saturday November 02nd 2019, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life,LYS,Politics

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I was at Fillory yesterday, sitting at the large table there visiting with friends and knitting away as people came and went around us, when I found myself getting up to check on the yarn they were winding up for me.

Usually I start off by picking out a skein, paying for my afternoon’s entertainment with it, then pulling up a chair to knit the previous week’s ball into a hat while the staff turns the new hank into a ready-to-knit ball and then they come and bring it over to me. There’s a line at the ballwinder? I’m in no hurry.

But that all just felt too passive this time.

There was a customer I don’t remember seeing before: browsing, going to the clerk to ask a question, looking around some more, kind of hanging back from other people the whole time. She’d been in there about ten minutes.

It wasn’t the head scarf that caught my eye, it was that she seemed so unsure of herself. Maybe she was a beginner and we all looked like experts to her.

But maybe not. Her clothes and accent marked her as an immigrant, I’m guessing from Africa, and I know that rather than the welcoming country we used to be our government has of late made it harder for those not born here, no matter how they arrived, to feel at home.

Often of a Friday afternoon every seat of that table is filled, but this time there were several nice chairs open. Good. I invited her to come and sit and knit with us, if she would like to.

You should have seen the transformation in her face! She had not expected to be welcomed. She had not expected to be claimed as belonging.

Practically speaking, she probably didn’t know if it was a formal class or group or what, but clearly, intruding on it would never have occurred to her. That particular good time and camaraderie she was quietly observing over there was for others.

But we were just random people and she had every right to be right there with us. I knew that it would make our group all the better if she did.

She smiled and shook her head no.

But she was just transformed and she stayed happy and that made all the difference to me, too.



Crescendo decrescendo
Friday November 01st 2019, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Life

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Why Californians dress in layers. Sweater, shawl, cowl, hat, you name it, and if it can squish into your purse halfway through the day all the better.

29F at 7:30 am. (Good thing I set that tap to a slow drip last night.)

49F at 9:30 am.

69F at 12:30 pm.

73F at 3:30pm.

41F at 10:00 pm and going down fast and I’m really glad my bison wool socks order just came. Ignore the lows in the forecast: to cut governmental costs they got rid of the national weather tower for the Bay Area and rely on the one down in Monterey, with our mountains blocking its radar view. The predicted low was off by 15 last night.

This is weather (most of the day, anyway) that is having me mentally designing the warm aran sweater of my dreams. Dress length. At least.

It’s only that noon to four that stops me.



A Costco-sized bag of Hersheys
Thursday October 31st 2019, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Knit

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So this is fun.

Or not.

I could just rip out all seven pine trees to get down to an easier do-over. Tried four times to make it come out looking right. Any variation on the concept will do at this point.

And then I ditched it for the evening, because trick or treaters were coming and you don’t want to have to break the concentration, right? Riiight. It does actually look a little better than this at this point but it’s amazing how much time can disappear into so few stitches. And no, just working them straight up as a solid piece and disappearing the dandelion forever won’t work–look how much extra yarn there is by the time you get to the top. All those yarn overs.

What it needed was a double-pointed needle at every stitch. Got it.

I didn’t want to lose 3000 stitches in a grand frog-for-all but at this point I probably might as well have.

Meantime, the neighborhood posted a map of who’s giving out candy, and in the large square block, that would be us and all of two other homes, the three of us being the points on a large triangle.

Not a single kid came. We were just too far out of their way. But I did get to wear my dad’s jewels-colored jester hat!



Moose Mountain
Wednesday October 30th 2019, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

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I added a 16 stitch repeat to the width? I did? I have to adjust the pattern to match? Good thing I caught that in time. Barely. Here, let’s drop this and this and this stitch down two rows and flip the purls to knits and those knits to purls. Got it.

And on the very row of, I realized that oh wait, when I knitted that first moose I added two stitches’ width between front and back hooves because whoever designed the chart I’m working from clearly had a picture of a moose facing them, whereas I want a side view. Those two stitches (checking the original baby blanket vs the chart) change everything. Also, a muzzle that doesn’t make it look like a deer. Don’t forget that when you get up there.

After putting the second Alaskan afghan project (ie, a washable version) down for two weeks starting with Dad’s funeral, today was the day when I had to make myself sit down and work out exactly what the new layout of pine and moose was going to be across the bottom of the picture because I knew that once I got that done and out of my way the thing would start flying off the needles on its own momentum.

I came so close to merrily hashing it and having to rip out–days’ worth, surely. I caught myself just in time.

And now it’s gone from, why have I only barely started this thing when I’m running out of time if I want to deliver it in person, to, it’s coming along great now. It’s finally hard to put it down. I’ve been waiting for that and needing that and today, this thing’s finally got legs.



Color Guard
Tuesday October 29th 2019, 8:41 pm
Filed under: Knit

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(Photo by Carolyn Richards)

Two men approaching. Turning in tandem just so. Lifting then folding the flag that had been draped over the coffin. Smoothing it down in a crisp motion. Again. Again.

The one striding in controlled, perfect steps to Mom, bowing low with the now-three-sided flag in his hands, thanking her for Dad’s service to our country and then placing the token in hers.

I was sitting next to her watching his eyes looking straight into hers and it was deeply moving.

I know it’s memorized and rehearsed. And yet–how often now do those two young soldiers get to pay their respects to the new widow of a WWII vet? To honor her as well. Our Greatest Generation.

May our country do the same for their families, hopefully seventy or so years away, when it is their turn.



Berryburgers
Monday October 28th 2019, 9:21 pm
Filed under: Food

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I had never heard of salmonberries, so towards the end of our trip to Alaska last month I bought a tiny jar of jam to try.

It tasted mostly like it tried, but there wasn’t any really memorable flavor beyond the pectin and honey holding it together and I’m still not sure what the salmonberries themselves were supposed to be like, so it was left sitting in the fridge.

Then came the Trader Joe’s veggie masala burgers.

Two leftover deli slices each of roast beef that needed to be eaten.

Two juicy but late tomatoes, chopped. Some nights have been cold enough to turn off the gene that makes tomatoes sweet, and after tasting a piece I knew I needed to balance that tartness and the patties’ heat somehow. Just a little bit of sweetness and…something. I went through the fridge and the cupboards, trying to figure out just the thing.

That salmonberry jam. It wouldn’t take much.

Okay, this was going to be weird but let’s try it. I scooped out a goodly tablespoon of the not very jelled fruit and stirred it into those tomatoes and covered the beef on top of the masala veggie rounds with it. Then I grated some sharp cheddar on top, a goodly amount, put the whole thing in the oven at 350 for ten and hoped.

I debated toasting some sourdough to scoop them onto afterwards but in the end did not.

The tomatoes and jam oozed into the burgers below and the whole thing gave way at the fork into more of a casserole effect, with a much better texture than those burgers had ever been before. This is what they’d needed all along.

I should have chopped the beef, too. But that little bit of tart and just enough sweet from the salmonberries completely pulled the whole thing together and left me wishing for more.

And here the whole time I’d been throwing these random ingredients at each other I’d thought of how my dad praised my mother’s cooking every meal. He would tell us, “You never get a dull meal with your mother.

Sometimes, though,” he would add, given Mom’s flair for experimentation, “it’ll be *interesting!*” And then he would guffaw that deep joyful celebratory laugh of his that made the whole world whole.



How much yarn could I stuff in the car
Sunday October 27th 2019, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Life

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(And don’t forget the ostomy supplies.) We’ve never had to do an evacuation here–we could only guess where to begin. The people from Paradise say grab your dirty clothes first, because they’re the ones you’ll need the most, but for us it doesn’t look like it’ll be something we’ll need to worry about.

Rainy season is supposed to have started.

This morning there was a bit of brown to the sky and that was it.

Come the afternoon, though, the wind was blowing so hard that even I heard the trees creak and looking out the window was not sure that taller one was going to hold, but it did. Yay.

Sonoma, not so much. People have been evacuated clear to the ocean, which is not close. I’ve never heard of such a thing before. The coastal mountain range is supposed to be perennially damp from the fog and the redwood needles that capture it.

I stepped outside and the fire smell was now as if our own town was the one burning. You didn’t want to be out in that for long. We were at AQI 194, although that’s thankfully down to the 60s as I type. Just like two years ago, there were Van Gogh Starry Night impressions on the visible wind–you’re just not supposed to be able to see air move.

I get to joke that I seem to have briefly smoked pot for the first time in my life, but as the famous quote goes, I only inhaled. And then that was snatched southward and the next blew in from the homes and the wineries and the everything up north and one could only wonder at what the mixtures held and whose dreams were in that smoke.

So far, as far as I know, no one has died in this, and I am highly grateful for that.

Someone reported doing a U-turn in the middle of a bridge, presumably the newly built Carquinez over the bay–the landing at its northern edge was roaring.

With nearly a million people out of power and who knows how many out of their homes, we are within an oasis of safety and comfort here and know how fortunate we are.

But my friend I.M. finally got his hat that had been knit just for him, his friend got one too, and I know that right now there are two very happy people out there and that helps. A lot.





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