Dan and Mom in Space

Today, Wally Funk, 82, became the oldest person to fly in suborbital space. She trained as an astronaut in the 60s when women were not allowed to become astronauts. As I was watching, I couldn’t help but think of Dan and mom one Christmas.

Dan was fascinated with space exploration. He was going to be the first Chaffee in space. When Roger Chaffee was named as one of the crew members for Apollo One, Dan was both thrilled and disappointed. He wrote a letter to Astronaut Chaffee and, to his surprise and delight, Dan received a lovely letter in return.

Excitement turned to horror and grief on January 27, 1967. Dan never again spoke about becoming an astronaut. But that came later, after my story.

In this June 2021 image, our Sun’s glint beams off the Indian Ocean as the International Space Station orbited 269 miles above south of western Australia. NASA.GOV

My older brother Scott was in the army, stationed in Germany and away from home on Christmas. We were spending Christmas at my grandparents. Santa brought Dan a space helmet — the space capsule was awaiting him at home. Dan was also interested in becoming a newscaster as a fall back career, so as a present to Scott, Dan taped interviewed the first woman in space — Mom.

The only thing I remember from that interview Dan asking if the helmet was a problem. Mom said she didn’t wear a helmet because it mussed her hair. The look on Dan’s face and my mom’s efforts to keep from laughing were front-of-mind today when Wally Funk finally made it to space.

I’m sure Dan and Mom were watching.

The Joys of Home Ownership

For the third time in the history of this condo, there has been a water issue from the upstairs condo unit. People need to learn that plumbing issues do not heal themselves!

Last month I went to the kitchen to make coffee and feed the kitties. I saw a wet spot on the carpet and of course thought one of the kitties thought outside the box. I tried to mop it up and the spot got bigger and bigger. Not the kitties.

I called the management company and they sent Tom to check it out. He looked at a couple of the units but nothing seemed wrong in any of them. In the meantime, I saw the spot was growing exponentially. Opening a closet, I found a soaked carpet in there as well. For years the closet has been used for as an extension of kitchen storage. The appliances and dishes had to be removed and the stacked wooden shelving dismantled before the carpet could be removed. I also got busy using the Shop-Vac .

Tadpole Crossing

Shopping with mom was always an adventure. She hated shopping from the time she was a little girl, she hated shopping. Her mother would take her to the store to buy a new bonnet and the sales people would oooh and aaah over the chubby baby. Mamie (mom’s mom) would set her up on the counter and mom would sweep all the bonnets onto the floor. She’d fuss as they tried to try things on her. From then on she was a terror at shopping.

On the other hand, she bought the best presents! Long before online shopping, there was mail order and mom rocked those catalogues: Montgomery Ward and Sears Christmas catalogues were the best! At holiday time she would get so many catalogues, the mailbox was overflowing every day. Russ Emenheiser, the postmaster of the local office, would have to put them aside and hand them off when mom went in to collect her mail. If the weather was bad or the number of catalogues was overwhelming, Russ would hand deliver. He and his family lived two doors down.

Sears Christmas Wish Book 1960
Sears Christmas Wish Book 1960
Continue reading “Tadpole Crossing”

Another birthday

Dear Dan,

Happy birthday — or as we used to say to each other — Happy Happy Joy Joy!

John Kricfalusi, creator

Another birthday and you’re not here. So much is going on on the political front, you should be here to see it.

There have been many time in recent days, I think about calling you, but I don’t know the number where you are. I still have a copy of your outgoing message. Even though I very accurately remember your voice, I still play the message once in a while, just to hear you talk for a few seconds.

Continue reading “Another birthday”

Yarn hoarder

Stash view 3
Just a small part of the stash

I’ll admit it. I’m a yarn hoarder. I see pretty yarn, make a plan (sometimes) for its use, get it home, then stash it away. Once in a while, it will be used for the project I had in my head, but often it doesn’t. And since I’m also a reader and book hoarder (so easy now with Kindle), time is at a premium. Do I read? Do I knit? Do I weave?

For some time, reading has won over both knitting and weaving, with weaving coming in a distant third. I haven’t touched either loom since I moved into this condo 12 years ago. (It’s been 13 since Dan died, but who’s counting?)

I used to knit at all the ball games. Alas, COVID-19. My friend A’ndrea is a knitter, too, and we like sitting on the third base side, right above the opposing dugout. Last year, the coach of an opposing team turned around and saw us. He yelled “There’s no knitting in baseball! Watch the game!” We laughed and told him we were. Every time he turned around after that, he saw us knitting — and our eyes were on the play of the moment. He shook his head in disbelief and asked how we did that. We told him “practice!”

Back to the stash and hoarding. I very rarely throw out any yarn scrap. I have 32 16-qt. bins of yarn, and that’s not the whole of it. I have three spare bins, too. The rest of the stash is in a place I can’t get to easily right now, but that bit is actually minimal and will probably fit in the spare bins.

The reason I rarely throw out bits is because of winding out a warp. Those bits can be used as ties for the warping frame. This is why I was surprised I didn’t keep the last smidgen from a skein I used to make a pair of socks for A’ndrea and another pair for my mom, which she never wore in the two years she had them. But I digress … again.

Mom's socks
Mom’s socks

I knit these socks for mom when she was in respite care several years ago. Last year I took them to the nursing home for mom when she was moved there for the three weeks after her last hospital stay. It was December and she was always cold. There’s nothing like a pair of cozy, hand-knit socks to keep your feet warm.

The home put name tags in every item of clothing so nothing would get misplaced in the wash cycle. After mom came home in hospice, I clipped the tags out,

and yes, (dramatic music)

I snipped a stitch.

20200729_123839

Ok. No biggie. I could repair that if I still had the remnant of yarn.

The socks have been sitting there for over a year because I can’t decide what to do since I don’t have the remnant. I could do it with thread, but thread could cut through the yarn and ultimately make the problem worse. I could look through the stash to see if there was anything close to that. Since I know my stash, I knew that was a lost cause.

So the socks just sat there in the drawer until I could make a decision.

As I was consolidating my stash into the 32 16-qt. bins, Look What I Found! 20200729_123405

Ta da! I can now repair the damage I did. Could I have fixed the socks with different yarn entirely? Of course. Would anyone know the difference? Not unless they got super close; in which case, I could kick them. But I would know and that would bug me so much I’d never be able to wear the socks. Yes, I might be a tad — a skootch if you will — OCD.

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