Category Archives: Old Lady Yarns

Tales of the wacky Grandmother

My Aptly Named Blog

Well, I think the last two months of silence have verified my choice of blog title. But I thought I’d post a little update to catch you up on the last several weeks:

Let’s see. Back in September of 2006, I accepted a new position at the Parable Group, Inc, a marketing and retail services company for Christian bookstores around the country (headquartered in San Luis Obispo). I’m the Mailing Services Coordinator. So for those of you wondering why I was driving home from work in SLO in my last post, now you know.

Why did I switch jobs? Did I hate working for Dad? Did we have a huge fight? Nothing so dramatic. In fact it was quite the opposite. I left for a month of holiday making in the UK, and nothing happened. Dad went an entire month without needing me to do anything. That got me thinking, “Why should he pay me? I’m a grown woman, and I’m mooching off my father!” Enough of that.

So I sent out a few resumes, went through a few interviews, and landed my new gig less than 2 weeks after returning from vacation. In fact, I was in the second half of my interview with a local solar company when I received the offer from the Parable Group. Good thing too, because though I liked the people at the Solar company and the concept of solar power, the actual job sounded tedious and unappealing.

I am very happy at the Parable Group. It is an excellent working environment, and I’m not sure I can praise it enough. Sure, there have been little bumps here and there (our departmental assistant quit in my 3rd week), but overall, I am very thankful to be a part of the family here.

Christmas passed peacefully. Perhaps a first for the Smith clan. We also had a lovely birthday party for Grandma Goolsby, which was a very very good thing, as Grandma passed away on February 5th.

She had a heart attack sometime in the evening of February 4th, and the family spent nearly all of the day at the hospital with her. Monday morning, I was able to visit her for an hour before heading to work, but my wonderful manager encouraged me to go back at lunch and stay as we knew the end was near. Grandma passed away around 5:30 that night. Mom was with her, and I walked in with Mom’s dinner, just as the nurse was pronouncing. Heather, Micah, and Dad had left just 30 minutes or so before as Grandma was doing well, and expected to make it through the night.

Her funeral was yesterday, February 12th, in Fresno. She was buried next to my grandfather who passed away when I was very, very young. Several of her friends came, and all of the Fletcher family (the Fletchers were my grandparents’ best friends and are considered family). It was a nice service, though I have little experience with funerals to compare it to.

The family is doing well, mostly. Mom got very sick before the funeral and again after we returned home. I hope she is feeling better tonight.

On the knitting front, I am nearly finished with the meandering cables cardigan that I started right after my last post. It really is quite lovely. At least, the fronts, and back are lovely. I have started the sleeves, but not gotten past the ribbed cuffs yet.

I took a break from the cardigan to knit my very first pair of socks.

I’ve been knitting for nearly 10 years, and I am ashamed to admit that I have only now braved a sock pattern. So you’ll forgive my enthusiasm as I tell you that I have finished my first sock, and I am very proud of it! It is from a kit I purchased in Lyme Regis back in August. The British pattern claimed it was for a medium sized adult foot, but my first sock is better sized for a small adult. So either my gauge was off (impossible!) or the British have smaller feet than Americans. Either way, I won’t be wearing these socks once I finish the second one. I plan to give them to my friend Mary Ann who went with me and the delightful Jan to Lyme Regis. She has a small frame and I expect small feet, though I must confess to not noticing them at the time. I figure if they are too small for her, she can give them to one of her children.

I will post a picture of the socks once both are finished.

For my birthday, my sister took me yarn shopping in Cambria, and I came home with 25 balls of Debbie Bliss Alpaca/Silk in a lovely shade of rosey-pink. My plan is to knit it into a sweater for Heather’s birthday in August. The fabulous Rookses and Millers combined their efforts and gave me a $50 gift certificate to a new yarn shop in SLO: Yarns at the Adobe. It is a small shop, but well stocked for the space. I picked up 8 skeins of Manos wool in variagated black/pink/red. I went over the gift certificate with that purchase, but the yarn was too lovely to pass up. I’m thinking it will make a fine sweater for Sarah or maybe a blanket and hat and something else for baby Miller.

Once I finish the socks, I’ll start the sweater for little Natalie Rooks who was born on January 14th. She’s so absolutely adorable (click on the link to the Rookses website for pictures) . I am completely smitten with her and plan to spoil her with lots of hand knit items and free babysitting hours.

After the baby sweater, I really need to get to work on Pemberley projects, as the Annual meeting is practically right around the corner (July 13-16) . I really must work out the Darcy scarf pattern and complete it for the auction table.

Although, I also want to knit up the lovely mohair yarn I picked up last time Stephanie and I went to Cambria. At first I wanted to knit it for Sarah Miller, but then I found the Manos yarn and it is much more Sarah than the red mohair. So I’m thinking now that I’ll knit the red mohair for Sarah Hamner who is also expecting.

Yikes! Too many projects, too little time!

And for those knitters who have yet to discover it, you really must subscribe to David Reidy’s fantabulous podcast, Sticks and String. There’s a link on the side so you’ve no excuse! Unless of course you don’t have high speed internet. It’s a bit of a long download on dial up. SO UPGRADE already! There are many knitting podcasts out there, but so far David’s is my favorite. It’s well planned, well executed, and I must confess, his Australian accent is just plain sexy! So subscribe now!

20 Minutes to Kill

I’ve got 20 minutes to kill before dinner . . . let’s see if I can write up the opossum and the pocketbook story.

So one day last summer, I took lunch to my grandmothers (Grandma=maternal grandmother, Nana=paternal grandmother) who were then living together in Nana’s house. Being the cheap old ladies that they are, they had requested Taco Bell (*shudder*).

I did the drive-thru thing and brought them their lunch. They were in what is now my brother’s bedroom but used to be Grandma’s TV room. This room has a lovely view of the Pacific and a sliding glass door to a large backyard (at least large by Morro Bay standards). These doors were usually open to accommodate the needs of Nana’s dog (who has since run away).

And though they are cheap, both grandmothers refuse to be in anyone’s debt and always insist on paying for their cheap ass tacos. I learned long ago not to argue about this with them.

So the search for the pocketbooks began.

Some days this search took 20 seconds, some days it lasted until the next morning, because the paranoid old ladies suspected each other of stealing and often hid their purses in bizarre places.

On this particular day, Nana found hers first because she had left it beside the chair the day before and reached in to get her wallet. She muttered, “Marie probably took my . . . what’s this warm, furry thing?” and pulled out not her wallet but a baby opossum!

She looked at it in amazement. Grandma looked at it in revulsion (she pretty much hates all animals). And I looked at it in amusement, because it was playing dead (just like in the cartoons of my youth!).

Then I said the words, “It’s a possum!”

Nana threw the poor little guy across the room (it’s not a big room and she didn’t throw him with much force so I doubt he was injured). He hit the wall and slid down behind Grandma’s TV, and there he stayed, quivering and bearing his tiny little teeth.

Despite their age, the two old ladies made a quick exit leaving me with the opossum. I gathered up their lunches and purses and made my own exit with the expectation that the opossum would find his own way to the back yard.

So the old ladies and I went upstairs to redistribute their lunches. Once again they grabbed their purses to give me money. So Nana reached into her purse and pulled out not her wallet, but the remains of a hamburger from the previous day’s lunch. Or what I now think of as opossum bait.

And now you all know how to catch an opossum in a pocketbook: leave a day old half eaten hamburger in your purse beside an open door.

Dead Chickens and a Postholer

I spent Saturday afternoon with my paternal grandmother, hence forth to be known as Nana.

Nana is 90 years-old, legally blind, gradually going deaf, and very slowly sliding into alzheimer’s (her memory loop ranges from 3-5 minutes). All-in-all not bad for 90 (considering the terrible state my maternal grandmother is in at 81, Nana is a picture of health). But the thing about Nana is that she constantly throws herself poor-pitiful-me-parties. She loves to play the martyr.

But let me tell you, she’s no martyr, and her life has few new hardships (the blindness and deafness have been going on since her 70s and her husband passed away before she turned 60; she’s had plenty of time to accept, adjust, and move on). She lives in Morro Bay in a great house with a fantastic ocean view (which she can see). She has full mobility, and more marbles than not. Her son (or grandchild) picks her up for lunch 6-7 days a week. She even comes to the office after lunch and hangs out with Dad and I.

She has so much to be thankful for, yet she constantly complains. I can deal with that most days. It’s the days that she creates drama (for whatever reason) that send me either into exasperated snarkiness or hysterical giggles.

This time it was the hysterical giggles, whilst driving.

She claimed she found a whole dead chicken in her back yard (I asked if it was raw or cooked, but she never answered). She said she was out watering when my dad and brother left and locked her out there (my brother moved in with her over Christmas and the door to the back yard is in his room, which he keeps locked to keep her from going through his stuff, which of course she would given the opportunity). So right away, my radar sensed created drama, and I started feeling snarky.

But the story got better. Having found the dead chicken, she wanted to bury it (yeah, cause chickens deserve a proper Christian burial), but she discovered that she was locked out of the house. So she climbed the 6 foot-wooden fence (uh-huh, sure you did Nana) and went in the front door, complaining that those forgetful boys left it unlocked, again! She then proceeded to search through the garage for a post hole digger (Post holer. For digging holes. For posts.). Spry though she is, I’m fairly certain Nana couldn’t lift a postholer if she found one, which she didn’t because it’s been sitting in Mom and Dad’s garage for 3 years now because Dad needs it to dig one more hole to finish the fence he started to rebuild a month after I moved here in 2003.

But back to Nana and the dead chicken. Having had no success finding the postholer, she tells me that she returned to the back yard and dug a hole for the poor dead chicken with her bare hands. This enfuriated her and she spent most of the morning fuming about how inconsiderate people are, leaving dead chickens everywhere (cause ya know, that’s what kids do these days!).

Yes, I was crying from giggling and doing my very best not to drive off the road. When I dropped her off after supper, I immediately called my brother who was in LA for the day with my father. I had a few questions for him.

“Did you recently pick up a rotisserie chicken from Spencer’s Deli?”

“Yeah, Thursday night. How’d you know?”

“That’s not important now. Did you throw said chicken in the trashcan in the garage?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Ah, this explains much.”

“Jenni, what are you talking about”

“Well, Nana claims to have found a whole dead chicken in the back yard. She also believes she buried it back there too. After she climbed the fence . . . ”

I paused knowing Micah wouldn’t hear anything else I had to say over his own laughter. Having regained his composure, I was able to ask him where Nana was when he and Dad left.

“She was upstairs playing cards.”

“She said you locked her in the back yard when you left. You’re a terrible person.”

“She’s a crazy woman.”

“Maybe, but ya gotta admire her imagination.”

Next blog: the possum in the pocketbook story