there are large cruise ships, there are big cruise ships, then there are the “too damn huge” cruise ships. The Harmony of the Seas (also Royal Caribbean) falls into the later category. It is docked across the pier from us today in Cozumel. Holding more than 6k worth of passengers – it is totally and completely blocking my sunshine.
My cabin is a lovely and surprisingly quiet outside tucked into the forward portion of Deck 3. I have few neighbors. The corridor deadness which totally eliminates through traffic. Much to my amazement, neither the noise from the ice rink or the theater noise are audible from my cabin.
Spending much of the morning in a 14th Deck lounge making a valiant effort to write more on “that paper” as well as stay out of the way of my poor cabin attendant. I then head back to hole up in the cabin for the rest of the day. Today is Cozumel – oh, I said that already – and tomorrow we head back toward Galveston.
I figure if I can force myself into 1-2 hours every morning, the icky thing will be finished by the end of Feb. Complete with all references, citations, tables and other assorted “wow” bullshit. I can’t help still being irritated by the general attitude that a needle can fix every disease while it does nothing to over come the conditions which lead to the mess in the first place.
in which I attempt to draft a couple more pages, discover that I have left some important information at home and find that my computer doesn’t want to do audio. Since neither the speakers or headphones seem to respond to anything on a reliable basis, I am down to using my phone for both FaceTime and YouTube.
Oh, wah. Not. There are much worse fates than not having computer based connections.
As like many cruising itineraries, the first full day after leaving dock is a day spent at sea. With three ports and three sea days, at least the Cruise Director doesn’t have to jam all of the sea day activities onto one day. Tonight has been designated Formal Night (not bothering), a reception around lunch time (might go – tasty snacks), and various scheduled entertainments (now why would I be interested in karaoke or a belly flop contest).
I left my cabin early and headed up to one of the lounges. Last night I scouted out both key card lounges and picked a nice location to work. Out of traffic and right next to both 110 & 220 outlets. Did I mention the presence of the coffee machine? Essential for keeping sanity while working my way through I don’t know how many pages of notes.
This particular ship carries way too many passengers for my comfort. One of the larger ships, but not the largest, she carries over 4k worth of passengers including way too many children and a lot of adults in flip-flops and beer in hand. I am sure that noise cancelling headphones are going to be a serious help.
For those who care about such things, there are 22 Pineapples (Pinnacles) on this cruise, most of whom seem to be local to the area and have earned their status by cruising around and around and around the same routes out of Galveston, Boring,….
And back to my paper, interspersed with detours into cross-stitch and pattern design on MacStitch.
on Liberty of the Seas
and the reason for this ship? Leaving this weekend, not a mega-ship (altho large) and the most affordable when I booked it last weekend. My other options only had more expensive cabins available, weren’t back for George’s next appointment, or didn’t have a lounge with latte machine. Royal? I have enough status that they give me free wifi. Always useful when you find that there is still another item to look up or check reference details.
The Plan –
|Sun, Jan 19||Galveston, TX||4:00pm|
|Mon, Jan 20||At Sea|
|Tue, Jan 21||At Sea|
|Wed, Jan 22||Roatan, Honduras||8:00am||5:00pm|
|Thu, Jan 23||Belize City, Belize||8:00am||5:00pm|
|Fri, Jan 24||Cozumel, Mexico||7:00am||5:00pm|
|Sat, Jan 25||At Sea|
|Sun, Jan 26||Galveston, TX||6:30am|
Current plans? Not leaving the ship. Not doing any of the entertainment, happy hours, or sit down meals. Other than the mandatory safety drill at 1530, I will have no excuse not to write…
I will admit that I turn my phone off airplane mode on approach. I leave the WiFi off, but let my phone seek out and connect with my communications carrier prior to landing. Which means that I am also doing that well before the cabin attendant has announced that “use of small, personal electronic devices to include cell phones is now allowed.”
I started this practice a number of years ago, right after SFO adopted the use of Mobile Passport. Since I was flying into the US regularly from overseas locations, and being too cheap to fund a system that the government should be providing, Mobile Passport proved ideal. But, you can’t load your data to include entry information if you are not connected. WiFi works, or phone carrier network works. Initially, the App always went for Wifi, and if it was turned on and not connected, then you were stuck. So I developed the habit of turning on my phone without the WiFi on approach, loading the data and then being at baggage claim eight minutes after exiting the plane. That is right, eight minutes. Easy, Peasy, no lines. faster at SFO that Global Entry. Faster than the kiosks which were a huge improvement over static lines which took forever (which anyone who entered through US Immigration in Houston or Toronto up until the last couple of years can attest). I can’t say how things are now, since I haven’t been out of the US for almost a year. For that matter, the last time I went any where was last June to DC for the ISTM meeting. I can’t claim attempt to decrease my carbon footprint – family and baseball just have disrupted my schedule along with grad school which wiped out any opportunity at the Spring TA season.
But anyway, turning on my phone is just habit. Besides, I needed something to read while waiting my opportunity to escape the plane, being seated in row 34/36. (and, just so you know, rows 33 and 35 don’t exist on this particular plane). It was packed to the gills complete with a number of families (small crying and screaming children), a number of travelers who didn’t see to comprehend that ONE carryon doesn’t mean a roller, a duffle bag, a computer bag, a backpack and some shopping bags.
I could partly understand those members of the Chinese tour group, which numbered about 40, having more than a small back pack. But the rest of the passengers? Especially those who were sitting up front and could check luggage? Not so much. My backpack, with a week’s worth of computer, clothing and cross stitch, fit under the seat in front of me, which turned out to be a really good thing. The pilot was cheerful, one cabin attendant (obviously the one on the tannoy) spoke with the speed of light, and the other two trudged up and down the plane attempting to hand out pretzels and beverages.
I am now ensconced in my Houston hotel with a 0700 scheduled return trip to the airport in the morning. From there I am off to Galveston and a week on the Liberty of the Seas with the plan of completing the rest of my last outstanding paper somewhere with a latte machine, meals prepared, and no other demands on my time. Since George is now on an every two week schedule for UCSF, this seemed like an ideal window of opportunity. The Liberty was the RCCL ship with a reasonably priced cabin available. RCCL because I see no reason to pay for wifi and am sure that I will need it.
(in which I typed out this whole post which then refused to save….) –
As I started back at the cross-stitch this morning – this one section just didn’t look right. Specifically, the purple just didn’t look like it fit in
I finished later last night than normal; it was dark except for the light around my chair. And purple is purple? As it turns out – no – it isn’t. As it turns out, 3838 and 3835 are both in the purple family, and it in the same bin in my stitch bow roll. But 3838 tends toward the blue end of the spectrum and is several shades more saturated than 3835 which is definitely more closely aligned with reds. And this particular area has more than a few pinks.
So, I spent 15 minutes unpicking 12 stitches in a careful manner so as to not disturb the stitches around them. The only time previously I had managed to insert the wrong color, it was five stitches and it was fairly easy just to stitch over them. Not an option in this case.
So this is the new end result.
Unlike in knitting where you can tink or frog (knit spelled backwards for taking out one stitch at a time or rip-it, rip-it for tearing out a whole section) I can’t find a special word in the cross-stitch community for this careful removal of a few stitches.
So it is place a few stitches here and there in between running an errand or five…
Yes, I can stitch along the diagonal – see!
This is a 20 stitch wide diagonal with the first two completed. The fabric is 16 ct white Aida easy-count (translated to – it comes pre-gridded in 10s) Total pattern is 341 x 225 and is a full-coverage design.
But what I was going to say is that my discipline went a bit off the rails as I ran into just a few too many places where, rather than parking the thread, I went ahead and stitched another one or two stitches so that the particular color would be finished. And my nice, even edge turned into this –
It is cheerful, the colors are bright. but neat? rather not….
Underneath it all is this almost gargoyle appearing monkey. Dressed differently according to the season, I just noticed this version the other day. Walking down the hill with Miriam and Angel, I took them this route on purpose.
What are those? I was asked at the Cal Women’s Basketball Game this evening.
It was a much more intelligent question that the previous – What are you knitting? Are those Warrior Colors?
Hello? This is a Cal Basketball Game. I am sitting the CAL Bleachers. I am wearing the exact same colors (blue, gold, and a bit of white). I have no idea where the Warriors got their colors, but, since Cal has had Women’s Basketball since the late 1800s – I have a feeling that Cal had these particular colors first.
Anyway – back to the Owls –
There is actually a nice history behind the owls. I purchased them in 2010 while on a P&O Cruise with Noah. We were headed up along the Norwegian Coast with with a great crew and a passenger collective that averaged age 74. Which doesn’t seem anywhere as old to me now as it was then. It certainly was a bit much for Noah who had age and interests in common with some of the crew. In Aleslund, after hiking to the top of the overlook to see all the islands which made up the town, I stopped at a Husfliden on the way down. Besides all the standard amount of Rauma yarns, fabrics, trims, and patterns for traditional garb as well as a number of lovely wooden handmade items, there was a case of jewelry off to one side. Sitting by themselves on the top shelf were these owls.
No question, these were my souvenir of the trip, even if they were in a color that I rarely wore. So now, when I am stuck on land, they bring back a bit of my travel memories.
It was a few years after WWII, but the industrial area in Richmond where the major shipyards were located gradually started undergoing a transformation. As the post-war period no longer needed ships, other manufacturing took over for a while. And then, for years, the area went to seed. Undergoing a renaissance in the last decade, there is now a ferry terminal for those San Francisco bound with that rare offer of FREE parking. Columbia has taken over a major portion of one of the old buildings and runs a significant operation including their “employees warehouse/discount” store. To which others (trust me) can receive an invitation. About 2 years ago, they extended the courtesy to all with a military ID, including retirees. With prices running 40-60% of retail on Columbia, Mountain Hardware, and now Praha – if you need one of their products, it is worth the drive. This area is also now home to the Rosie The Riveter Museum.
Where was I? Oh, yes, heading into Craneway Pavillion – which was hosting this year’s holiday craft market. This is not your ladies auxiliary market. There are no hand crocheted toilet box covers, nor did I spot anything even remotely plastic or disposable. But if someone is shopping for artisan wares – this would be the place to go.
We spent a couple of hours wandering through about 200 vendors. There was nothing I needed, and surprisingly little that I wanted.
This followed me home (purchased by Dani since she remembered that once upon a time….). This mug was made by another Rose with a studio in Oakland. The cat was because, when first starting out, she shared a house with a fluctuating number of others, usually about 10. And, there was a cat in about every room. I gave her the “clowder of cats” but forgot the alternative (a glaring of cats) when I had stopped by her display earlier to admire the bowls. She said that the two siamese were the only ones which were distinctive out of that “bunch of cats.” It was a number of years before she headed out on her own, catless, but still uses the image.
From there, it was off to coffee and back to the house. It has been a quiet evening.
I wish you all joy and freedom.
Her birthday actually was Wednesday. Dani works at a location which does a huge amount of business over the December holidays. Which meant long days at the warehouse. She was returning home so exhausted that getting time with her dogs and the occasional meal was a real stretch. By her request, we put off her birthday dinner till tonight.
Our family tradition has been to go out for dinner to the restaurant of the birthday person’s choice. Given that we lived in Europe for decades, some of the more horrible, child friendly US locations were never an option. This year, with George still in that 100 day home restriction post stem cell transplant, I ordered in. After careful perusal of the menu, I found something that was reasonably safe to order for him (yes, take-away is also on the banned list. Unfortunately, most packed with preservatives is completely safe, so is cooking at home, but not leftovers).
Her choice was Korean from one of the places on Solano Avenue (Bowl’d). I hadn’t eaten then, but am quite likely to do that in the future.
It is hard to figure out what to give adult children; an Amazon gift card just seems so impersonal. At the same time, it let her pick what she wanted. And she did. Noah and I also make a bookstore and paper store run so she had some presents to open (books are always good, and magazines, and coloring books). I actually think that the Bob’s Burgers Cookbook and the Dark Crystal (Jim Henson’s Muppet original) color book were her favorites.
We ate an overwhelming amount of food and still had enough left overs for meals tomorrow. I didn’t take pictures or bake a cake. Instead, I selected a number of individual tortes at Masse’s Pasteries. [And no, I have no clue as to why my browser gave me some kind of security warning. I have been gettin a lot of those lately, none of which have been valid.]
On the fiber side, I decided against knitting a third “Cal Colors” hat and started turning the yarn into a narrow scarf while watching a heart-breaking loss of the Cal Women’s Basketball team. I think they are still working through the changes that have come with a new coach as well as not always having the skills to deal with a really aggressive opponent that barely skirted the boundaries of good-sportsmanship play.
The Case of the Empty Cookie Jar is finished. It still needs to be washed, pressed, and framed. Since it is one of a set, I may delay the finishing until the second one is done so that they match.
Since my choices were clean, organize, sort–you get the idea–or find a short project, I started a Thea Gouverneur sampler featuring the essential food group of chocolate. I had purchased it Amazon and have the matching 2 – Coffee and Tea on order.
If you live in a mixed gender household you may, perhaps, have dealt with the discussion on toilet seat up or down. If you happen to have dogs, cats, or small children, the chances are that this discussion is moot. Obviously, toilets are not provided as drinking vessels for pets or play areas for small children. But in other households, the position of the toilet seat, I have heard, is a problem. We solved it a long time ago. Just completely close the thing so that the inconvenience of having to reposition part or all of the seat/cover is an equal burden on everyone.
This essay is not about toilet seats; it is about a shower.
When we renovated the downstairs/main bathroom we elected to go with a large, walk-in shower and completely eliminated the tub. Before you even start a discussion about resale value of houses without bathtubs – I don’t care. I was more concerned about safety and water usage. Resale of this house will not be my problem; those in charge at the time can deal, As well as point out the hot tub on the back deck if someone really wants to soak. As far as small children – tubs are a really bad idea. Slips, falls, injuries and drownings occur. It is pretty hard to hurt yourself or drown while sitting on the floor of a shower. Just saying.
what you see in the lower left hand corner is this –
which unfolds to this –
it is positioned such that handheld shower head reaches without problems. For anyone not stable on their feet, feeling ill, or otherwise not up for standing, it is great.
impinges on the space and is a bruising risk to the next person headed into the shower,
This seat – it is not a toilet seat. It needs to be folded out of the way when not in use …..
Started 12 Nov. Finished 20 Dec. 66 stitches by 369 rows. Stitched on 16 count pre-gridded Aida. I still have to wash her and block her, but am rather pleased.
and I don’t even want to show you the rest. Noah and I are tackling the left-side bay first. It is the unit with shelves, and therefore the most manageable. But there is a long way to go.
Do not expect frequent updates. But there will be updates, because I have hit my limit of chaos. And besides, it is a great alternative to finishing that paper….
And I am headed down the hill to Haas Pavilion for another Cal Women’t Basketball game. But first an addendum to yesterday’s post:
As Noah and I were returning home from picking up burgers from Barney’s
Heading east on Vine with Noah after picking up burgers from Barney’s, I needed to turn left onto Shattuck. About ½ way through the cycle, a woman in dark clothing, obvious grey hair started across the street in the crosswalk. So I waiting. Good person here, pedestrians have the right of way. Even if they are strolling. Even if they are walking with their phone held out in front of them talking. It took her the rest of the light to get across the street while I snuck behind her as soon as there was space. And then Noah and I went down the rabbit hole of older women, shorter hair with a perm, walking slowly. I actually never saw her face, but we both judged her on the hair…
Otherwise, we sorted out several boxes of “stuff” in the garage ending in a break till the garage pick up on Mon.
There was, what I charitably will presume was a well meaning woman about a year ago who made a comment about my shorter hair making me look much younger. I blew it off at the time rather than get into a discussion but there are just so many things wrong with that statement. The first is that I want to look younger than I am. Considering the source (my age with obviously bleach blond hair) such things are quite important to her.
It isn’t to me. Appearing younger is what I can do in my head as long as I don’t look in the mirror. But mirrors lie – after all – everything is reversed so why not sneak in a bit of aging change? Mirror, Mirror on the Wall and all of that. The same reason applies for why I don’t add hair color to cover my grey. I have earned those gray hairs. And, since they have grown back following chemo – every single last one of them is precious to me.
Part of what triggered off this chain of thought was George making the remark this morning that he was finally feeling hair bristling on his head. The chemo that they use for stem cell transplants for some reason has a much more devastating affect on hair follicles than the R-CHOP that was inflicted on me. I had hair starting back within about three weeks after my last dose of chemo and was willing to wander around without a scarf on my head by the time we took our Phoenix cruise to Iceland & Greenland in Aug/Sept of 2017. OTOH, my hair departed my head, covered my pillow and clogged the drain within 10 days of the first course of chemo. It was actually a when George was leaving the hospital–so 4-5 weeks later–when all of his exited stage left.
What the (hopefully) well meaning woman also didn’t get is that I really, really don’t like hair around my face. Not after spending 30 years in uniform where my choices were short or long and pulled back. Short takes a lot of care. Taking the time to get a trim every 3-6 weeks is just nuts, at least for me. For others, it is how they think of themselves. But there is absolutely nothing easier for me than grabbing a scrunchie and I am done. Out of the way, least likely to pull out or damage hair and easy to remove.
Also in the back of my mind is every old, blue haired lady that I ever saw. They had short hair, often permed. I am so not interested in turning into one of them. Accepting the “as you get older your hair should be shorter” idea that society seems to place on aging white women. I am not familiar enough with other cultures to be sure that it is the same. But at least in the SF Asian community, that seems to be the case. At the same time – mixed grey and brown hair straggling around one’s face isn’t terribly attractive either. And yesterday, when I was in the check-out lane at Costco (long, long story) I noticed that on the woman ahead of me in line. And when my first thought was – she is too old to wear her hair that way – I realized, that I too, might well have drunk the koolaide.
Examining one’s attitudes isn’t always that fun. But it might actually result in an improvement in behavior. And it certainly would have kept me from thinking–Old? You, who are bleached blond and wearing too tight clothes designed for someone in their teens is commenting on my appearance?
Like so many of us living in the developed world, I have enough clothing. More than enough, as a matter of fact so that I don’t have to do laundry every week. This may be surprising to those of you who met me through cruising where I take the minimum and do laundry fairly frequently. The result on ship is that I wear the same things over and over, especially noticeable on those voyages of more than 14 days. If you are also prior Forces, of course I have excess civilian clothes, I just didn’t need them for years and years, but they did pile up.
But today, Thursday, I have no excuse about needing to be somewhere else. I don’t have to head to San Francisco, I don’t have to shop. I would like to stitch a bit. But what I really need to do is find the laundry basket under the pile of discarded clothing. So off I went, basket in both hands, shopping bag stuffed with the extras slung over my shoulder.
Now, there are as many ways of doing laundry as there are people who manage it. But there are some constants. It is always smart to check pockets. Tissue is an awful thing to wash; money, while useable, is not as nice to handle after it has made a trip through the washer and dryer. And coins? I am so glad we rarely use cash (except for BART parking) as I absolutely detest the sound of coins in the dryer. Then there are the credit cards, Clipper cards, size 24 needle packages and all the other things that can be forgotten. Since I am the one doing the laundry, I usually check my pockets as I toss things into the basket.
Not so other people in my house. Then there is the “turn things right side out.” Again, if I am the one doing the laundry, I have to turn it now or later. But if those particular items belong to the guy I married? He gets them back the way I found and washed them. It jus shouldn’t be that hard to take t-shirts out from under a sweatshirt or turn socks right side out.
Back a few years ago now, I met the aforementioned New Zealand woman (and long term Australian resident) in the upper deck lounge on the Mariner of the Seas. The ship itself was being repositioned from Galveston to the Far East with the first leg ending in Europe, the second in Dubai and the last, I believe in ending in Singapore. Jill was working on the most amazing cross-stitch called Fish City (link here) which is an amazing Stewart Moskowitz design. Each one of those fish has character, each unique. I was in awe.
The downside was that I decided that I might just want to start cross-stitching again. It was a craft I had done when Shana was in elementary school and had really fallen by the wayside. Admittedly, I still had supplies on hand; moved from Germany to the US to Germany to the UK (with more than one stop in the Middle East) back to Germany. But it looked like something I was interested in starting up again. And, there is a real limit to how many knitted hats shawls, scarves and sweaters one needs. Especially when a relocation to the US loomed in our future. With that relocation to a much warmer area was going to take a way the need for most of my wooly lovelies.
So – cross-stitching. I started and finished a few things over the last 3-4 years. And have a few things left to finish. Stitched a number of fractals, stitched a couple of small scenes on request for one daughter’s wall. Collected more than a few patterns and a lot of supplies which more or less sat while I spent a lot of the last couple of years with machine embroidery and grad school.
But then Jill, once again, suckered me in. She sent me a picture of a Randal Spangler pattern that she was stitching. I fell in love with with silly little dragonling who was attacking a keyboard. Yes – dragons and computers and total insanity. The patterns were produced from the original artwork by Heaven and Earth Designs. And they were having a sale. Need I say more? I bought a set of four patterns and am working on the first one.
But the virtual lounge?
Turns out that both Jill and I are on Apple products. FaceTime is a great way to connect. There are a few time zone considerations – what is 1600 on Wednesday for me is 1000 on Thursday for her. But we can stitch over FaceTime and chat with each other. I do miss the lounge, and her husband Graham who very kindly make the coffee and water runs so that we didn’t have to risk someone else moving into our chairs. But this works wonderfully. It is easy to see each other’s progress. She can see my chair and bookshelf (oh, whoop) and I get the occasional glimpse out her balcony onto a Gold Coast beach and a portion of the Pacific.
Ok, I can see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay, and by extension the Pacific Ocean from my living room window. But you get the idea. But it makes stitching a bit more fun, keeps me on track. It is almost obvious, I know people who use FaceTime, WhatsApp, and other modes to talk to family on a daily basis regardless of where else they are in the world. But stitching together, an obvious extension of this, just took that extra jump of imagination. The same idea would work for knitters, model train builders, just about any craft where you know someone else in another location. Seeing + talking makes communication just so much easier.
It is often hard, as we get older, to figure out what to get someone as a gift. There are family members with anniversaries, birthdays, milestones. There are good friends, acquaintances, times when you need something but unsure what would be best.
I am long past providing candy or other food items. Just too risky since I have no idea of most peoples’ preferences, dietary restrictions, of house rules. The same actually goes with flowers and plants. This last I learned again when George started the whole stem cell/bone marrow transplant routine as plants/flowers/gardening are on the forbidden list due to risk of virus, bacteria, and fungus. Books are good, but you have to know a person’s reading tastes. Fiber person? Easy peasy. But for every one else? Much much harder.
Then my Kiwi friend Jill sent me a present after she and Graham were house guests a couple of years ago. It was an idea she picked up from someone who had stayed with her (Gold Coast, Australia). The company is Whogivesacrap and they do good things with their profits. What is their product, you ask?
Seriously, it is something that we always need. It is bulky to purchase and bring home. It gets consumed continuously and requires restocking. But good quality bamboo toilet paper, supporting sanitation, and delivered as a thank you gift? Not a bad idea at all.
Katey is an extremely hard working woman at UCHastings, providing support to students, faculty, and staff. One of those warm, friendly people who gets things done. She did a tremendous job for me and the LLM students last year. Flowers are transitory. Toilet paper? It may last a while. On the 3rd I had asked her for her home address, which she trusted me with. The box arrived yesterday. She and her son built the Christmas Tree pyramid in their bathroom while laughing hysterically. He is thinking about decorating it, and adding lights.