Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Fall Foraging


I don't know if it is a result of the drought, or climate change, but the pineapple guavas that grow near my workplace are ripening two months earlier than usual. 

I adore these fruit. They grow on silvery evergreen bushes (small trees, really) that produce lovely edible flowers in the winter. Apparently these fruit (which have a slightly gritty pear-like texture, and taste like a kiwi that's been misted with kerosene) aren't true guavas, but members of the myrtle family.  The fruit are smaller than a hen's egg. I have a tiny pineapple guava, growing in my garden. It is a painfully slow grower, but some day I hope to harvest my own crop. Until then, I scrounge them off the sidewalks.

These fruit fall to the ground when they're ripe, and once they do, only the local squirrels and I are willing to risk eating them. (I wash them very thoroughly.) 

I work around the corner from the family housing for UC Berkeley's graduate students, and last year I didn't get a single fruit. The grad students' grannies harvested the entire crop in one night. 

I'm sure the squirrels weren't pleased. 

The Pen Is Flightier Than My Word


We may have bought a few vintage pens at a recent estate sale. And, to be honest, we may have already owned one or two. The prices were too good -- a Waterman and two Esterbrooks for ten dollars. 

My penmanship (penwomanship? penpersonship? handwriting!) is appalling. I learned cursive in grade school, and never used it after that time. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Aaaaaaaaugh! I'm an Idiot!


I've been working steadily on an ambitious knitting project: an elaborately patterned cardigan, made up of yarn that I dyed with plants that I either foraged or grew in my garden. (And no, I did not dye that crazy green at the bottom. That's just a temporary place-holder.)

The decoration is complicated, so I've been trying to keep the shaping simple.  I'm basing my garment on the proportions of a favorite store-bought cardigan.  

I used the existing sweater to create paper templates. And then I knit to fit the templates. I'm knitting both sleeves at one time, in a large tube. I'm going to cut the tube apart, which will result in two identical sleeves. 

The knitted motifs are based on historical garments, although I shuffled around the placement of the various bits. 

I thought I was really clever. 

But, in fact, I'm an idiot. 

Look at the photo above this block of text. Do you see the area between the two blue knitting needles?  See how there's a big yellow motif, made up of s sort of flower surrounded by brackets?  See how it lines up, inside the blue lines? Top yellow band has a big flower, smack between the blue needles. Next yellow band has the same thing. And the yellow band at the bottom of the photo?  The one that I'm currently knitting?  The one that has taken me two nights to do?

I could just cry. 

Friday, October 02, 2015



I am a connoisseur of life's little pleasures.  This has always been part of my nature -- savoring small happinesses. 

Yesterday, when someone cut down the bushes behind my work studio, I lost a great source of pleasure. 

No more bushes. No more nuts. No more happy crows playing soccer with the nuts on my studio skylights. 

I am going to miss their birdlaughter and the clicking of their claws on the glass.  

I'm going to lose the pleasure that observing the glassshadows of cavorting crows (and their claws and toes) brought to my workday. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015



Thanks to all our friends and family for donating to Robb and my fundraising efforts in support of the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP).  

It was a dazzlingly sunny day, and the meandering roads in Sonoma County's wine country were filled with disabled riders, and their friends and families. 

I'll write more when I'm not quite so exhausted. 

Thank you, everyone. We're overwhelmed by your kindness and generosity. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tomorrow We Ride!


I wanted to thank everyone who has contributed (so far) to our BORP fundraising efforts.  Robb and I are truly moved by the generosity shown by all of you.

We want to offer our most heartfelt thanks to

Anne Ronan
Barbara Jordan
Bethany Herron
Cori Lucas
Chris and Erica Fire
Ed Cullen
Emma Lehman
Isabel Ginsberg
Jennifer Caleshu
Jill Marchant
Joan Bauer
Kelsey Hogan
Lassen Hines
Laura Fichtenberg
Laurel Przybylski
Lisa Braat
Lisa Goersch
Lli Wilburn
Lynn Eve Komaromi 
Madeleine Oldham
Megan Wygant
Mel Bratz
Melanie Treuhaft
Michael Rosenthal and Marlene Roggow
Myrrhia Resneck
Pamela Hernandez
Polly Ikonen
Susie Medak

And if anyone else still is able to make a contribution -- of any amount -- we would be so grateful.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

We found a Doggie!

Robb and I were riding on the Bay Trail this evening. We had stopped to admire the sunset, when we noticed a Very Happy Doggie on the path. She was smiling and looking over her shoulder, as if she was asking permission to do whatever she was about to do.  But the odd thing was that nobody came around the bend in the trail to join this Very Happy Doggie. 

This Very Happy Doggie was accepting of our attention, and I had no trouble reading the phone number on her collar. 

I called her owner, who told us that this Very Happy Doggie had been out with the dog-walker when she was attacked by another dog and had broken loose and fled. I arranged a meeting place with the owner. 

Robb rigged up a leash, made from a spare inner tube. The Very Happy Doggie was very happy to trot alongside Robb's trike. 

The Very Happy Doggie was very happy to be reunited with her person, Jeannie. What neither Robb nor I realized was that this Very Happy Doggie had a large bloody gash on her neck. Despite having just been mauled, this Very Happy Doggie showed no signs of fear or pain. 

I'm sure that as I'm typing this, the Very Happy Doggie (whose name is actually Mia) is charming everyone at the veterinary clinic, as they stitch up her wound. 


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