younger me

Today, Facebook bought Instagram. For one billion dollars. My mind is so boggled by that amount.

I feel conflicted about this. I rejected Facebook several years ago, but I am an avid Instagrammer. Do I have to leave the fold now?

Today, Instagram’s photo of the day theme was “younger me”. So here I am, 20 years ago, with Rhea on my lap, in the shed her dad built in the backyard. It seems (it is!) a lifetime ago.

I think about how my life has changed in oh so many ways. Partly through growth, partly through personal decisions, partly through relationships. Partly through technology.

So it seems fitting to span those decades with an Instagram edit of how we were then.

Because inside, I’m still the same person. Are you?

my backyard

Such gorgeous weather this weekend. While I’m sorry my scheduled birthday dinner party didn’t eventuate for reasons previously mentioned, I’m delighted that I got to hike again today, instead of spending the afternoon cooking.

I really am very lucky.


It’s my birthday. With the unexpected change in living arrangements last week, let’s just say that my weekend plans needed rearranging.


I joined the Sierra Club last year, but have never been on one of their hikes or attended a meeting or in any way received value from my membership. This morning I decided to rectify that, and join a scheduled hike in La Jolla Valley, a place I like a lot. So I was tootling up the coast fairly early, and I stopped at a gas station to buy some water. When I got back to my car, it wouldn’t start.


This turned out to be reasonably problematic, because I didn’t have my wallet with me. I’d only brought my driver’s license and $20. No credit card. No AAA card. Hmm.

A nice guy tried to jump start it, but it still wouldn’t work. It wasn’t the battery. The gas station had a mechanic on duty, but without any means to pay him, he wasn’t interested in my problem.


So I called my landlord friend Ceiri, and asked him to locate my wallet and read me my credit card number. Then I went back to talk to the mechanic again. He had zero desire to work on a Saab, but he sent his apprentice out with a big rubber mallet. As I turned the key, he whacked the fuel tank under the car, and broooom, it started.

This is a trick I have never seen before. He explained that sometimes the fuel pump gets stuck, and hitting the tank unsticks it. He recommended I drive straight home (which I did), and get the fuel pump replaced ASAP (which, on Monday, I will do). I hope the car will start on Monday morning, or I’ll be under it with a mallet myself.


So instead of hiking with the Sierra Club, I visited the farmer’s markets with my landlady friend Tricia, then took a hike in the hills behind my treehouse. Very pretty, both activities.

My plan for tonight was to see Ana├»s Mitchell in concert. Knowing L wouldn’t want to come with me now that Daddy was back in town, I put the call out to my girlfriends to see who would be my date. Three different ladies responded, but Romina put her hand up first. However, this morning she texted to say she was very ill and couldn’t go. That’s OK, as I didn’t have reliable wheels anyway.

But then Tricia offered to lend me her car so I could still go. How nice is that? I quickly contacted Friend 2 and Friend 3 to see if they were still available for tonight, but they were not. So I went alone. And it was great.

And when I got home just now, Ceiri and Tricia had left a gift at my door. How nice is that?

It really was a rather lovely birthday after all :-)


Next up the Colette sew-along that I seem to be doing all by myself (sister??) is the Pastille dress. Here I am wearing the second muslin, which is definitely wearable. I think. Or is that print just too much?* Tell me honestly. It’s a cotton sateen with a slight stretch, bought from “The Loft” at Michael Levine where fabric is sold by the pound. I probably paid about $2.50 for it, and I still have plenty left over.

I opted to omit the hem pleats, because they were sure to get lost in the busy print, and the fabric is not very crisp anyway, so probably wouldn’t hold pleats nicely.

I knew from my internet research that I would need to majorly adjust the back. Rather than doing anything tricky, I followed lsaspacey’s lead (scroll down to the first photos) and took out two inches straight across from the armscye, then drafted a new back armhole facing. This is a pretty inelegant way to do it, and the results were not that pretty. I should have maybe (a) started with a smaller size bodice and done a full bust adjustment or (b) done a radical swayback adjustment.

I also added two inches to the waist, because the first muslin was snug (1″ would have been enough) and removed two inches from the hips, because it was crazy wide there. But now I look at the finished garment, the waist is too high, which is maybe why it was tight. Just lengthening the bodice may have been enough.

:::sigh::: I have soooo much to learn about pattern fitting.

When it was just about done, I gave it the Mena test — as opposed to the Mensa test — (I basted the zip opening shut and succeeded in putting it on — yay, no zip required!). But the back was still really baggy, so I took out an inch of width, starting at the neckline and tapering to the existing waist. It’s better, but still not right. As well as extra fullness in the back, the side seams of the skirt angle to the front from waist to hem, telling me that my back center waist is too low.

Or my front center waist is too high. I don’t know … it’s complicated. I think maybe I need to take a class or something.

Until I find someone to take some photos for me, this is all you get. I don’t know how to adjust the back, and it’s not a job one can do alone without a dress form. Elizabeth, when you visit, maybe you can help me?

I think if I could get this fitting well, I’d make more Pastilles. And I would definitely include pockets next time. This dress cries out for side seam pockets.

*It’s definitely less in-your-face when tempered by a cardigan.

why do i feel like crap?

The universal reaction of my female friends* has been “He asked you WHAT?” and “You absolutely did the right thing”. So I sit here tonight and try to analyze why I feel so bad about saying No to J yesterday.

If it had been any other reason except for taking care of my ‘rival’, I would have said yes. So was it just spite? What purpose does that serve?

I read a quote today that hit me: “There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.”– Don Miguel Ruiz.

Obviously, I am taking this personally. My refusal to help out till the agreed date came from my place of personal pain. Yes, girlfriends, I am ‘justified’ in feeling pain. But I don’t want to live my life in that place. I don’t want to wallow in it. I don’t want to be unhappy.

Nor do I want to be (or be seen as) a bitch. It’s just not me. I have a compassionate soul. Yes, I know there’s a difference between acting with grace, and being exploited. But is the difference in the action of the other, or in my own attitude? If I am honestly OK with helping, does it really matter that another might not be? Even if I am honestly not OK with it, perhaps I should adjust my attitude so that I am?

My response yesterday, when I read J’s email, was to get far, far away. Tonight, I am sad that I won’t see L and the Boy. Sad that I acted from a place of pain rather than a place of compassion. I don’t hate J. I don’t hate his chicky-babe, despite my constant use of this disparaging term. (I have googled her. She is impossible to despise.)

Why am I being spiteful, simply because he loves another? Somehow it makes me feel shabby.

I am confused. There is a very bad taste in my mouth. This is not the way I wanted things to end.

*I need more male friends.

back to the treehouse

The drive home was snow-free. I got my money back on the chains. We were cruising along the 5, having a great time, till we stopped for a bathroom break and I read my email.

J was due back on April 12. But suddenly I learned that he was in LA already. His girlfriend was very ill, so he quit his job over the weekend and returned.

But then he followed up this bombshell with the request that I keep the current arrangements in place, that I continue to care for L while he spends the next 10 days caring for the chicky-babe, her place, and her pet bird.


Um …. no.

So as soon as we got home, I packed up my clothes and my teapot. I took his truck to the carwash to get all the bugs off the windscreen, then returned it to the driveway and hugged L tight.

I am sorry our time together ended so suddenly. There are plenty of loose ends I would like to have tied up. But I’m glad that it ended on such a bright note. We’ll never forget our awesome, snowy weekend. And I’m so, so, SO glad to be back in my treehouse.

I can hear a chorus of frogs.

april 1

Knee-deep powdery snow. A gondola ride to great heights. The best hot chocolate in the world.

Filming a funny/poignant video conceived, directed and edited by L, about her getting lost in the woods, then finding me again.

It was a wonderful day in a spectacularly beautiful place. As she fell asleep she held my hand and said, “I cannot imagine life without you. Luckily, I don’t have to.”

And I silently cried.

an adventure with chains

L & I planned a trip to San Francisco this weekend to visit family, but my sister-in-law unfortunately took ill. So we decided to get away anyway, and drive an extra few hours to beautiful Lake Tahoe. As my car is not too well at the moment, we opted to take J’s big pickup truck.

It’s been a mild winter all over North America, but 2 – 4″ of snow was forecast for Saturday. Neither L nor I own any suitable snow gear, but we figured if we just took our warmest clothes, we’d be fine. I discussed it with a snow-savvy friend, who told me I’d need to carry chains and lent me her largest set.


However, they were not large enough for the truck’s tyres, so I bought the right ones in Sacramento. I asked L to google whether the truck was front or rear wheel drive, and she assured me it was front. So at the appointed time, I put the chains on the front wheels.

A few miles down the road they started making terrible noises. I drove slower. We reached another chain checkpoint and I stopped. The guy behind me told me that my truck was rear wheel drive and I should put them on the back wheels. That’s when I saw that the tensioners had both come off and flown away. The chains were flapping loosely!

I moved them to the rear tyres and used the tensioners from my friend’s set to secure them. We continued. It was snowing heavily by now, and the visibility was poor. Suddenly: more terrible noise. I pulled over and saw that one section of one chain had snapped and was now whipping round wildly. Nothing I could do but keep driving. Then the chain on the other wheel snapped. I kept driving. It was a freaking snowstorm now.


Another five minutes, then even more horrible noise from the back. One of the chains was now broken in two places. I was worried the tyres would be damaged, so I took them off.

I won’t deny it; it was pretty hairy making that drive into South Tahoe. I reckon we actually got a foot of snow, and I have zero experience with snow driving. Without chains. On winding mountain roads. With sheer drops. In a blizzard.

So yeah. We’re here. Scenic pics to follow. I just hope it doesn’t snow anymore, because I still have to drive home.

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