They that have ears to hear
Monday November 21st 2022, 8:33 pm
Filed under: Life

I wouldn’t have wanted to say I was desperate nor to have admitted it to myself, for that matter.

They had me come in an hour after I called this morning, which was wonderful.

The tech asked me what the problem was? I told her that Saturday the right hearing aid was simply dead. Entirely. I’d tried switching batteries between the two and that clearly wasn’t the problem.

She had me hand her both–cleaning them was a good idea as long as I was there–and then she, from behind her mask, asked me a few more questions.

I explained that without my hearing aids I’d once been oblivious to a fire alarm going off; could I step back several paces and have her lower her mask so I could lipread?

She did, and we did our best from there. She went off to a room that away and I sat down to knit. When she came back, she showed me what had happened: the connecter piece between ear and hearing aid was broken. It was under warranty. They could send it in, no charge.

I’m seeing my grandkids tomorrow, I told her, and I so want to be able to hear the little ones.

I’d never seen her before, I don’t know if she was from the other office covering someone’s holiday-week hours or what, but she had just seen just how deaf I am.

Hang on a second.

She conferred with the other tech. She called someone, apparently her boss, and then she disappeared in the back.

They did, they had one in stock on hand for that brand and model of that hearing aid and she fixed it. No charge, happy Thanksgiving!

I managed not to burst into tears as I gave her my heartfelt, Thank you!

It’s pie time
Sunday November 20th 2022, 11:47 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends

Knitter friends meeting by Zoom. Here on the other coast, I hadn’t had dinner yet.

Pumpkin pie? We were talking desserts, mostly chocolate, mostly chocolate cream pie, and man did I want to run go start baking.

Finally someone grinned, “My aching hips” and we all cracked up.

(Afghan: finished the ninth repeat. Six more to go.)

The fencing match
Saturday November 19th 2022, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Friends

To my neighbor’s chagrin, but I said no, no, it was funny.

I had my phone in my hand about to–I totally forget what because just then I saw movement out the window: the large dog from next door was sniffing the mango tree. He really wants to know more about whatever hides under that mango tree; the few times he’s gotten out of his yard he’s gone straight for it. It’s such a shame I planted it where I can see it.

I walked outside and the dog’s expression was a horrified, Busted!

He ran. But only to where he’d be just out of my sight. All! The! Smells! to be explored!

I was coming around the corner.

He ran. He stopped and turned. Nope, I was still coming.

At last he gave it up as a lost cause and ducked through the hole I now saw made by the wooden temporary panel angled just precisely so, and it shook and shimmied a moment after while I stood there wondering how that big dog got through that small a space.

And here’s the funny part. I’ve never had a dog and I could be wrong but so help me he clearly wanted me to get the blame for his shenanigans so he started barking at the intruder.

Which had been him.

But never mind that part, territories must be defended and so he barked some more till he’d convinced himself he’d done his job and kept me out. Or something.

Hours later it still makes me giggle.

We really do need to get those six feet replaced the right way once and for all.

Pile on
Friday November 18th 2022, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Life

The nights have been mid-30s this week.

Which is why a box was dropped at our door this morning: a snatch-proof ten foot plush blanket. Watch out, the ombre dye job in the comments is real–but I’m okay with that. Let the warm and cozy begin!

Almost halfway
Thursday November 17th 2022, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

This was one and a half repeats last Friday.

I just broke out the icepacks again.

Love you, Grandma Afton up there
Wednesday November 16th 2022, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Grandma M! he laughed.

This being in the morning with the whole thing over with, I guffawed: “I had the same thought!”

Our oldest was born during our grad student days and when she was maybe two months old we got invited to the wedding reception of an old friend of his. Who happened to live in a small town high in the mountains in Utah a few miles from his grandmother.

We were Saving The Planet (yes kids that was a thing in our day too) and not using disposable diapers. We had cloth diapers, but not just any cloth diapers, they closed with velcro so you wouldn’t have to worry about stabbing your baby in the dark of the night. Or you.

Grandma offered to watch the baby for a couple of hours while we headed over.

We forgot to tell her, but figured velcro is pretty self-explanatory anyway.

We didn’t stay long, but when we came back Grandma was trying to be nice but clearly she. was. ticked.

Where were the diaper pins?! How could we hand her a kid with no pins on her diaper? Did we know just how long it had been since SHE’D had a kid in diapers–and she had to go FIND the stupid things?

Bless her heart–she did it.

After we got home an hour away and fed and went to change the baby, size-wise on her she was wearing kilt pins and we realized what we’d done to his poor grandmother.


The at-home sleep study that I drove three and a half hours a day for two days to drive Richard to/from work to have the car to pick that equipment up and drop it off again the next day?

It only got the oxygen reading on the finger. They wanted a do-over.

I told them, well, the velcro on the chest belt did keep giving way gradually and I kept pushing it back up all night.

No commute problems this week.

So I got the equipment back yesterday, set it up, and again the velcro just wasn’t doing its job well enough. I reviewed the video again. Nope, I was doing it exactly the way that guy was.


It was a miserable enough night ahead with prongs in my nose, rubber on my finger, a belt around my chest, tubes in the way whenever I tried to roll over and #$!-unhelpful lights on the equipment that stayed on all night that I wasn’t going to do this a third time. I went looking and I did, I found a large safety pin and I pushed it in place to hold that belt and I definitely called the entire contraption stupid in my frustration.

The pair of green lights in the morning conveyed that the test had worked this time. (Waiting for confirmation on that.)

But I thought you had to be a *great* grandma to safety pin velcro.

In a warm house
Tuesday November 15th 2022, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden,Knitting a Gift

If I do a full repeat every day, I’ve been telling myself, I’ll have it done before the wedding.

Fully aware that if they do come to their cousin’s wedding, too, their luggage will be weighed down with baby gear while they’ll be wrangling a one-year-old and the last thing they’ll need is to have to stuff a whole blanket in. I should ship it.

But one takes the motivation and the deadline one has. So far, they know nothing about it.

I was pretty proud of myself for how much I’ve gotten done the last four days–it just had to get past that point where the bottom curls up against your hands like a toddler grabbing your legs and whining when you know all they need is a meal and a nap.

Today I did the most of all. Momentum and all that. I finally decided, okay, give the hands a break, put it down, you want to be able to do this tomorrow. Pace it.

That was when I looked to my left and saw what had been quietly waiting all day for me to notice. I don’t know how many times I’d walked right past it.

I had moved the bag just yesterday and there were a bunch of I thought roots: y’know, I really need to plant those…

That’s no root. All that (matching lavender!) color happened today. I almost missed it. I almost missed discovering how divine saffron crocus flowers smell.

I will need to remove those bulbs very carefully from that bag.

Tomorrow. It’s way too cold out there right now.


A bit of a splurge
Monday November 14th 2022, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

They grow cherries. They know cherries. They’re in Michigan. (They decided to let their subscribers know they were cheering on Gov. Whitmer.) And everything I’ve ever bought from them (not that that has been a lot) has been good. Their cherry/fig/onion spread in a toasted cheese sandwich? You kind of have to smash it a bit to make it spreadable but trust me that sandwich is going to be good.

So I wondered if I could send my kids a warm cherry pie out of the oven to make Thanksgiving easier, as I looked at the picture in the catalog of their Mamma Mia’s sour cherry pie in a bottle.

I have bags of pitted sour cherries from my own tree sitting in my freezer, and I can tell you they make the best pies I’ve ever baked. But my children are not here.

There was only one way to know how the bottled ones could turn out.

The delivery. Richard opened the jar for me. I didn’t even make the crust (sorry, Scott!) though I did roll it out super thin, the way I like it.

My mom made a lot of pies while I was growing up. She called it the one last chance in a meal to get nutrition down her kids, so we’re not talking chocolate cream here, we’re talking fruit.

Someone once asked her for her pear lime recipe and won a recipe contest with it–without mentioning it to Mom, but it got back to her because such things always do and I remember Mom being both irked at her friend’s rudeness and loving that Mom, really, was the one who had won that thing. Score!

Pistachio grape pie. Cherry. Peach! After our pick-your-own expeditions in the summers we kids would just be waiting for the best part of dinner.

When I was a freshman in college eating dorm cafeteria food, the vending machines in our basement sold Hostess fruit pies if you got to them soon enough after they were restocked.

Man, they were a sorry, sorry apology for my mom’s talents and my childhood, but I bought the cherry one. Twice during the year, though I tried more times than that. They were all sugar and cornstarch and goopy and no flavor and I always assumed the red was sheer food coloring. There was none of that tart cherry essence, no hint of almond, and I remember wondering if there were more than one or two cherries in the whole thing–probably not.

They were pricey on my student budget and they never satisfied.


The first bit glopped out of the jar onto the pie crust but most stayed right up inside there. I got a small spatula and started scooping.

There were a lot of cherries and also a lot of their juices cooked up into the food starch and that part was looking a lot like my dorm memories–I prepared myself to be disappointed.

And yet. The flavor! All that actual fruit! Cherries, definitely, almond, it’s there. I had the spatula all to myself afterwards. I reached back in the jar and got that very last little bit.

Baked? Cooled (some of it never got to) and once it finished setting up?

It’s not my tree’s sour cherry pie. But it’s definitely something I’d send to my kids for when they have too much that has to get readied to put on their plate.

From San Diego with love
Sunday November 13th 2022, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Friends

Jen said she was coming to town briefly.

Krys said we had to get together! She’d host!

A bunch of us came. I brought a box of slab apricots from Andy’s Orchard, the healthiest tasty (and fastest!) thing I could think of on the spur of the moment.

So many memories, so much catching up, so good to spend time with friends, especially the one we never get to see.

As I was leaving and we hugged I asked Jen, So: when are you coming again?

She looked like, oh if only, and I grinned, Trick question, right?

She laughed and we got one last hug and I wonder when the next time will ever if it will ever be. But it had better. Because I said so. So there.

(p.s. From a recipe that they had way too much fun with. And the comments!)

Saturday November 12th 2022, 9:09 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

We did it. They just called Nevada. 50 in the Senate. Done.

All those people in Georgia who told reporters that yes, Walker was a terrible candidate but they were going to vote for him anyway for the sake of Republican control of the Senate–

–but now that that’s not happening, they can vote in the runoff for a person they want to be able to proudly tell their grandkids years from now that they had. Because Warnock is a profoundly decent human being who puts people first, and we will only learn more about that as these next six years happen.

So very kind of you to take such good care of those conflicted Georgians, Nevada. Thank you.

Where there should never be corporate cost-cutting
Friday November 11th 2022, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare

If I’ve sounded at all antsy of late…

I’ve gone several years at a time without it happening, and when it did it was always at night, almost always after I’d eaten not only a late dinner but one that I knew was a risk. You’re at a restaurant celebrating a friend’s dinner? Just enjoy the friends and food and if you have to deal with it later you deal with it later.

Middle of the afternoon. Never like that before. And again. And again. And again. And again. Simply ripping open after coming unglued from the top at random. Eight times in, what, 18 days now?

Monday I sat down after the latest and wrote a letter to the manufacturer saying whatever is going on with your product is not acceptable. Fix. It. It is making it impossible for me to so much as leave my house. Insurance only pays for one bag per day and did they have any idea what patients are charged out of pocket for this stuff?

The answer to that being nearly $400 a month for the most humble of bodily functions that the surgeon’s knife took away.

They verified who my supplier is–whether to work through them or to trace a possible source of the problem, I don’t know.

They (which, I’m not sure) have now FedExed me replacements.

One bite, two at most, one swallow of fluid. Every snack, every meal. Digestion by water erosion. No high fiber. I haven’t had a cob of corn in 14 years. No spicy foods that deteriorate the seal.

And then today it happened again anyway.

Maybe I should write the FDA, too.

They’re in hot water
Thursday November 10th 2022, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Life

I still get the emails and delete most of them, but I thought, eh, okay, I need a break from election updates, I’ll bite.

One very ordinary looking house out in suburbia somewhere. (Redfin link here if the Zillow one doesn’t work.) Complete with Narnia lamp out front.

And then you get to picture #10.

That’s the living room. That’s the dining room. And that’s…

An attempt at a new definition of living on the water. But you’re going to have to hold your plate the whole time you eat or everybody else is going to be wearing it.

But wait, turns out, there’s more: that part’s actually an ADU addition–and it looks like the only windows to the living room of the main house are looking straight into the ADU side and relying on their now-outside windows for light, so if they pull their blinds between you you’re in the dark all day. Not even a skylight, just the front door on the other side of the kitchen.

And the city signed off on that? When all they had to add to the plans was an outside walkway’s depth between the two living spaces?

This is why we hire architects, folks.

14th them
Wednesday November 09th 2022, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Politics

I was trying to see if Colorado had had the good sense to kick out their Rep who failed her GED exam multiple times and who gave guided tours of the lower-floor hallways to some of the Jan. 6ers the day before the attack on the Capitol.

I keep waiting for the justice system to hold all the insurrectionists ineligible for public office per Amendment 14 of this thing we call the Constitution. Only one has been so far–but it’s a start.

She’s down by 64 votes with 1% left to count.

But what that search led me to that I hadn’t heard about was that Colorado had a ballot measure (with a 10 point lead tonight) to tax the richest to pay for school lunches for all kids. Across the board. So that getting a free lunch wouldn’t be a stigma to be avoided, so that kids wouldn’t go hungry for the sake of peer pressure, but instead they and everybody else would simply pick up their tray and go sit with their friends to eat. Food would just be food, and much of it would be locally produced, helping out Colorado farmers as well.

I remember how surprised I was in high school when a friend mentioned she had to be at school early. I asked why?

She didn’t want the word to get out, but, she was eligible for a free breakfast as well as lunch.

I didn’t even know they did breakfasts.

She never told me any details about the boats and the guns and the escape and the ones who didn’t make it and having to learn a new language in a place where only a few classmates looked like her. She simply showed up one day, along with a few others, studied hard and learned fast and was friends with everyone who showed the least bit of kindness, grateful to be welcomed and safe and out of the war.

I was so proud of Maryland for doing right by the most vulnerable.

California just voted down a tax on the richest to pay for wildfire protection and electric charging stations after the governor said the rich would just leave.

But wait. If all the states asked those who’ve benefited the most from our political system to contribute a more just share towards maintaining it, where exactly would they all go?

After all, (looking at Boebert) the US has some of the cheapest politicians campaign contributions can buy.

For now.

Election night
Tuesday November 08th 2022, 11:17 pm
Filed under: Politics

The politicians are playing musical chairs and racing around those last few unclaimed seats but the music’s about to stop.

And it looks for this moment like, welcome to the new Congress, pretty much the same as the old Congress.

There isn’t a word for relieved+exasperated, but there should be. Exasperieved?

In order to form a more perfect union
Monday November 07th 2022, 10:28 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

Tuesday we the voters decide whom the faces of our states will be before the rest of the country:  whom we choose and thus who *we* are.

Destruction of the social good? Of the election process? Overt fascism like my father put his life on the line to fight against to the death if need be?

How many people cheering on those committed to ending Medicare and Social Security are thinking this through? Why do the grandmothers need to starve in the streets so that (name any oligarch) can become even more twisted in their substitution of money and power for human empathy and connection?

Why do women have to be afraid of pregnancy for fear that a miscarriage will land them in jail? This has already happened. But only to women who aren’t white.

Do we want a Beto O’Rourke who drove to every county in Texas to meet and listen to people he knew would never vote for him, but whose voices he wanted to hear in hopes that he could represent them well? Who tried to make the gravity of the power of the Senate a personal responsibility both for him and for those whom he met up with? Who made democracy feel real?

Or Herschel Walker, who held a gun to his ex-wife’s head and threatened to kill her? Who paid for his girlfriend’s abortion and tried to coerce a second but would throw you in jail if you had one? Is there anybody that thinks that man would put anybody else’s anything before himself?

More just. More united. More committed to the ideals of democracy. To supporting and cheering on one another as our fellow Americans. United we can stay standing.

The Ukrainians have gotten a taste of what it’s like to have people in power with integrity who care passionately about them and about their country, and they want to preserve that with everything they’ve got.

We should, too, and all we have to wield is a ballot.

We can do this.