No, not me on the keyboard. Nor me sitting there unpicking something that I thought I had stitched correctly only to find the mistake several rows further down the cross stitch.
No – this pecking was for real. A slightly red on the bead real.
I was sitting on the back deck, the first day we have had in just about forever that the air was fresh, clear, and cool. Somewhere ahead and in the redwoods was this irregular tapping sound. Hammering coming from one of the houses on the road above us?
No. One each small woodpecker busily excavating, stopping for a second or two before resuming his work.
His head was not as bright as the picture in the Audubon Bird Guide which leads me to believe (along with the fact that red-crested woodpeckers are found in the SE and not the Pacific Northwest, that this particular young bird is a different woodpecker. Or sap-sucker? No black and white strikes Anyway – he provided more than an hour of entertainment.
Since we all have come to the conclusion that, whatever it was that went wrong for George in early June – it is probably not infectious – he doesn’t need the pik line anymore. He has been off the IV antibiotics for more than a week with no change. So today – I got to drive him to UCSF so that he could check in with the Infusion Center. They confirmed he was fine and pulled the line.
Followed by pressure dressing x 30 minutes just to make sure that there was no bleeding around the insertion site in his arm.
Which means that Noah and I hung out for about 90 minutes all together. Since we found a nice, free, shady spot in Golden Gate Park it was not as onerous as it could have been. He had his phone + ear buds. I had the baseball game + stitching.
The As won, which was just the icing on the cake.
Or perhaps the icing is that George is fixing dinner while I sit here and type.
It is true – memorials are for the living. An attempt to remember with occasional side trips into glory or honor. Not counting in these particular numbers, those that provide a stark memory to how things go wrong.
When I was stationed in the UK, it seemed that there was one thing consistent in every small town and village. A memorial from WWI stood in the center square or entrance to the town, that, though it might have had a patriotic saying or three, always had the names of those local who had left for the war and never returned.
For remember, in former times, soldiers were buried where they were killed. No one had the ability, resources, or thought to bring home the bodies of those who had failed. It is in this vein that we [the US] still have cemeteries in Europe. It is for the same reason that there are Commonwealth cemeteries outside the UK where you can read the names not only of the fallen, but of the countries from whence they came.
When we make a huge fuss and production, it is more to show the importance of those in the ceremony than it is for those who have actually lost someone. Nothing is going to bring back my colleagues from 11 Sept. Nor my National Guard soldiers killed when when their ambulance was hit in Baghdad in 2003. Nor the countless sons, daughters, wives, husbands, parents who have lost their lives in service to their country, just in my lifetime alone.
But if you want a memorial that stands cleanly and starkly for the toll that was takes – The Wall is it. Stark, listing name after name after name without decoration; the dead from a war that never made sense. Speeches are not needed. Flowers are for the living.
Names can be remembered.
There are 19 years separating us from those horrible events. There are voters now who were no t even alive when those planes came down: into the Twin Towers in New York; into the Pentagon; into a field in Pennsylvania.
I do not need to reiterate the stunned, shocked, non-understanding of how this could have happened. Over the next days and weeks, as the toll of the dead mounted and names were attached to those lost, pieces of the puzzle were put together.
But it didn’t change anything for those lost, for the families and friends who were forever changed. It did change everything for all of us. How we viewed each other, how we traveled, how suspicion of anyone from the Mid-East skyrocketed. This change, unfortunately has become permanent. Imbedded so deeply that it is hard to remember how things use to be.
I had colleagues killed at the Pentagon. Individuals with whom I had served just a few short months prior. Sitting at meetings, sharing a coffee. It is now hard to pull faces out of my memory, harder still to think of all the changes that have cascaded through their families in the intervening years.
All I can say today is please, hug those close to you. Make a few phone/skype/zoom/internet calls. Tell them that they are loved, appreciated, though of no matter where they are or their current job.
Sometimes, you just don’t get a chance to say goodbye.
Since, as I keep whining, we are not cruising the Pacific for our 42nd Anniversay, an alternative was needed. A safe alternative, one which did not involve burning grasslands, torching trees, or billowing clouds of smoke.
I also nixed the idea of trains, buses, or planes. Since I am the one driving, I also did not want to spend a huge portion of my day behind the wheel. Hence, Bodega Bay. Located in Sonoma County, it borders directly on the Pacific. At least for the moment, it is south and west of all the fires. The fog is dense, providing a protective layer from the smoke traveling on the high winds.
Yesterday, when we arrived we walked along Doran Beach. Absent of just about everyone I kept imaging the size of the creature who could have discarded this on his hike along the beach.
Today we wandered into and through town out to the head where, munching on the succulents, we found the usual suspects.
and looked down to the bay carved by the ocean out of the sheer rocks
and just to prove that I exist – (note, George’s phone pix, unedited, and, I suspect uncleaned lens)
We picked up take-away from a lovely place which specialized in locally caught fish. George had their Fish & Chips while I went for the fish tacos.
We spent a quiet evening. I had finished all the Zoom stuff earlier while he was on board calls and just caught the end of the As afternoon game.
We head home in the morning.
This is what the world looks like this morning
The time is 0844 on US Pacific Daylight Savings Time. Right now, that “daylight” is an obvious misnomer. Traffic is light, there is ash on everything. The photos were captured on my Cannon 5-D. Cell phones, as it turns out, even the new ones, are not equipped to capture orange sky secondary to reflected sunlight off ash.
The high heat of the last few days obviously has resulted in new wildfires as well as hampering CALFIRE as they desperately attempt to control multiple extensive burning areas.
So far, we are physically safe, but I am making sure that we have everything prepared for a sudden evacuation.
This is the current map –
Even if we had somehow managed to finagle our way into Canada without serious, bank account disrupting damage – the Radiance of the Seas simply wouldn’t be at dock. She never made it back from her Down Under Summer. Obvious if you think about it – her season was cut short prior to end April which is her normal trans-Pacific travel time. Her usual route has stops in Tahiti and Hawaii. This year was different.
But, like so much else, it isn’t happening.
Or, actually not.
Much earlier – in fact before the whole pandemic started, we had planned a cruise this fall. The “we” being George and I. It was going to be a reward to the two of us for having survived this past year.
This was a replacement for the one we missed last fall. That lovely Windstar Cruise was to leave NYC on 26 Oct 2019 and sail over 16 (?) days and end in Barbados. It was a one off and repositioned the ship for their winter season. Obviously, with George not even a full month post transplant, it was off the books.
So I looked ahead and found one of my favorite ships – Radiance of the Seas. She was sailing from Vancouver at the end of the Alaska Season via Japan to Singapore. What an opportunity. Again, this was a one-off route with it appearing that she was headed to dry dock at the end of the second leg,.
Australian/New Zealand friends of ours were going to join us I was considering taking George for a spin around Australia before flying back home (he hasn’t ever been).
And then SARS-COV2 hit and we aren’t going anyway.
So – tip of the coffee cup to our heading to Vancouver today. Even if I really, really wanted to visit that lovely city – the Canadians wouldn’t let us in….
Imagine that – something finished – ok, the main portion done, now just the final finishing to go – this far ahead of a birthday.
Taking deep breath, I took an hour out from stitching and sorted out
two three bins of supplies so that I might actually be able to find something/anything when I needed. Dumped most of my fabric supplies a bag which was then added to the bin of those which come in those long, stupid wasteful plastic tubes. OTOH, that is probably no worse than the tendency of just about everyone to mail off supplies in plastic zip lock bags.
But I digress – not that you wanted to hear me rant about organizing or anything.
Then I went and counted stitched but not finished projects. Several are years old, some this year. There are an even dozen of them. Leading me to decide that tomorrow will be a multi-prong attack
1) finish part 1 of a Halloween stitch along before the next section drops on Monday. 1-2 hours
2) do a color-a-day on Blackwork SAL – which will get me caught up in about two weeks
3) finish the critters on this segment of the Weaver Band before Tues so that I am ready for the next segment to drop. 1 hr
4) finish the Aug section of Family & Friends SAL (also Tues, but it really is Monday in California since we are talking 17 hours time zone difference between the designer and me). 1 hr
4) sort out what I need to finish all those unfinished cross-stitches – and perhaps get the missing supplies (unknown time)
5) and then there is the family stuff, baseball and other insanity.
But small goals are do-able!
ok, there is the small issue of cat in the lap…
which sort of stopped this evening..
But now we come to the placemats. We have gone through a lot of placemats over the years. Picked up here and there. Not one set of the store bought ones have survived years, children, spills and multiple moves including transatlantics.
The two sets which have survived both date from the mid to late 1980s. (which means that they are older than 3 of 4 offspring. Handwoven – the first set was my first attempt at weaving placemats. The warp was perle cotton and the weft a cotton filler. I didn’t know much at the time with the result that I didn’t use as fine a dent reed as would have been sensible. They have become stained over the years as well as surviving multiple trips through the washer and dryer. But they still bring a smile to my face.
The second set is even more special. They were a gift from Carmen, woven on her rather large Gilmakra loom which took up a significant space in her Wheaton, Maryland home. There were at least eight in the set, maybe more. Since they are scattered around (table, tray, side table) I think I still have them all.
They graced the table this evening as four of us enjoyed Indian take-away. A visual reminder of enduring friendships and well made household items.
Last night was a complete chorus. This afternoon, Dani & Alex’s dogs were going nuts.
Looking down over the fence at the end of our parking area to our neighbor’s driveway, the cause was obvious. No clue why it was out in the middle of the day, but worried that this particular coyote is not well..
This particular bright and shiny brochure was produced and distributed by one of the many small ships on rivers and Great Lakes. I forget which one, but they are actively advertising for business. Not sure that they are being realistic with their offers of sailing from Chicago to Toronto, but who am I to speculate?
Anyway – he has his opinions, the cat that is.
my lap is to be devoted to him, rather than stitching or knitting.
What should have been simple turned out to be a bit more complex than either the supervisor or I had thought. The starting problem was simple – you remember that I was complaining about not being able to use Air Drop to move photos from my phone to the laptop? No, well, half the time the phone didn’t “see” the laptop and the other ½, well, my laptop didn’t want to deal with accepting anything.
From there we progressed to “hard drive full” please …… no more than 10-15 minutes into trying to get anything done. Several days of this was driving me nuts. There is a limit to how many times I care to hard reboot my system.
When I looked at what I had on the computer – I could account for less than 200GIG of my 499+GIG hard drive. So what the heck? It wasn’t in any of the files, folders, or system. But there was this category called “other” which had LOTS in it – ranging from 350-400Gig. What the??
.The lovely supervisor tech and I walked through location after location on my hard drive. We went into all the systems files & containers & libraries. It took about fifty minutes, but we located the issue. Believe it or not, apparently one of my dozens of Zoom sessions had been recorded, then stuffed in an archive where I had neither access or clue. This sucker was huge. Just deleting it solved the problem.
I took notes…
(and Apple care has just paid for itself. My other option – of course, would have been to wipe the hard drive and start over…..
No, we are not at fire risk, But the smoke? That is another complete story. The last several days have fallen into one of the following:
the air quality a couple of days has won us the award of “the worst place on earth.” Which, considering Beijing and Delhi are frequently seen at the top, you can get the idea. Even the incredible sunsets can’t make up for it. That is when I can see as far as the water.
In case you hadn’t heard – we have 32,000 acres currently burning and less than 5% under control. And just to make it clear -these fires have NOTHING to do with deadfall or heavy forests – these are grasslands, open area, housing areas. The fires are the result of lightening strikes – over 10,000 in three + days due to the insane weather.
Did I mention dry lightning? The rain never fell and everything was already super dry before this happened. Dani is not headed to Dixon – the fires are within four miles of where she works. Travis Air Force Base went into Evac mode early today – which potentially compounds the fire fighting challenge (air base, reload, refuel, National Guard etc).
California didn’t need this, didn’t cause this – and certainly does not need political abuse from Washington DC when there is an obvious clear lack of knowledge on what has actually transpired. We can only be grateful that the surrounding states are helping to the best of their abilities. But everyone is short this fire season which has started 2-3 months early.
Oh, and there is COVID-19 which is making evacuation, shelters, support, and fire fighting that much more challenging.
I am almost afraid to ask – what next for fear the San Andreas or Hayward Faults might decide to scratch an itch.
A not small sampler stitched on 18 ct Fiddler’s cloth with various shades of 12 ct Sulky, mostly blendables.
The pattern is courtesy of Tempting Tangles, originally issued in 16 parts as a stitch-a-long back in about 2011. It is more or less stitched as the pattern suggests, except for me inserting the creamer and sugar bowl instead of one phrase – “Chai Latte” which doesn’t have to do with coffee. Deborah, the wonderful designer, came up with a couple of other graphed alternatives. But the problem is that anything else would be out of alphabetical order. So, I faked out the creamer and sugar bowl – and “borrowed” the graphic on it from the Tea Sampler she has…
After being totally accepting of snapping the occasional photo with my phone, AirDrop decided not to work. Not from my phone to my laptop anyway.
Sneaking up on it from either side didn’t accomplish anything, nor did rebooting both devices. My laptop could “see” George’s phone. For that matter, it was also registering Alex’s from downstairs. Several days into this, I checked for updates. Nada.
Makes trying to update project pages, send emails with pictures, or, for that matter add anything bright and cheerful to this post.
Intelligently, she didn’t ask. Just ordered and installed a series of solar powered lights along the edge of the drive way. They are pretty…
Since that wasn’t enough, she added a string of lights to the lemon tree… I guess they will keep the flamingo wind chime company
So what words of wisdom could I offer this bright eyed and shiny group of 20s and 30s who are looking for ?what?
My purpose in doing the degree was … what? To not waste my GI bill? To be challenged by a program? To learn how lawyers think? Which, since I had been married to one for 40+ years doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
In any case, I spent time late this afternoon watching faces I mostly didn’t know on Zoom. And, being an active participant – stitching and knitting were out of the question.
You get up early and gather everything you need for yet another trip into UCSF. Load the husband, medical supplies, cross-stitch into the car. Find your phone, grab the car keys. Before starting the car, you order coffee from Peet’s (large latte, thank you very much) so that you can deal with the drive into the city. Stopping at Peet’s, your coffee is there at the take out bar as you walk up. This bodes well for the trip.
Compared to Tuesday, the drive across the Bay Bridge is a breeze. Minimal slow down at the Toll Plaza and the metering lights aren’t on. What is even more surprising is that everyone seems to understand merging lanes of traffic.
Since it is going to be a long day, it is the parking ramp for us. The first anti-biotic is essentially in as we arrive so that George gets to head inside for his blood draw without dragging an infusion along. Blood draw completed, he rejoins me in the car so that I can start his second antibiotic. Apparently the clinic is ok with him hanging out in the waiting room so off he goes for a comfortable chair and WiFi access.
I settle in. It is now 0945. His appointment is at 1200. We didn’t have a choice about the early arrival since one of the blood tests was to measure the trough (blood level just prior to dose) of the second antibiotic. If we had come in later, he could potentially be 4 hours late getting started..
So there I am, sitting in the car. Having parked at the outer edge, I have enough ambient light to stitch. I am listening to an audiobook while carefully picking out stitches of a color that is just not working for me in a sampler. Finally done, I move on to the next project. Every 10-15 minutes, I restart the car as it shuts down so that I can listen through the car speakers. Not a problem, except for one small item that has escaped my attention.
Are you starting to get an idea?
More than an hour early, George reaches me on the phone and I “participate” in the clinic visit. Done, he comes down to the car. I pack up all the stitching and turn the key. Na-dah. Nothing. Just enough to go “click.”
Now, I thought I had started it several times. But, I had forgotten to turn the lights off…. and had been using the car speakers for my audio book. My phone was happily at 90%+
As it turns out, the parking attendants have this lovely, small portable charger. I had walked up to the exit and asked who was the best to call (so they would let them in the garage). Turns out I am not the only one who has had a dead battery. This nice man came down with one of the other attendants (new) and showed him how to jump a car. Small device. I remember the old, huge chargers which had to be wheeled. Just a minute or two and my car started. Obviously, I had enough sense meanwhile to turn off EVERYTHING that could suck electricity and ran the car for a few minutes prior to heading up the ramp and home.
Moral of the story? Obviously, don’t run electronics and headlights when hanging out in a parking garage for hours…
And no, this is not about politics, per se.
I was listening to an interesting Webinar from the One Health group at CDC. Ok, fine. Talk about those things which affect all parts of the biosphere; plants, animals, people. So far, so good. But then the discussion went on to the subject of animal care/pet care/companion care in the face of disaster.
I am still good. But wait – there are huge amount of precautions recommended for anyone who has the misfortune to develop COVID-19 and has animals.
Let us stop and think (excluding the rapid spread of SARS-COV2 in mink farms in the Netherlands – that is its own problem and will be gone by 2024 anyway when the farms are outlawed) – according to conservative estimates – there have been at least 19 million cases of COVID-19 in humans. Deaths are well above 155,000 in the US alone. Look at those numbers for a moment. Think about them.
Now, consider that there have ben 42 (forty-two, no trailing zeros) documented cases in pets (and not all in the US). That is 42. And how many of the 4+ million in the US who have been diagnosed have pets?
The following is my personal take – and NOT the official CDC guidance
Do not isolate yourself from your pet if you are ill. You need them and they need you. Do NOT drop your pet off at a shelter just because you have a positive test. If you are too ill to take care of it, you are probably too ill to take care of your self. Make the appropriate arrangements for both of you.
I am more concerned about those living alone who land in hospital – and haven’t made arrangements for their animals. The same way that pets/companions need to be considered when hurricane, tornado. or earth quake strikes, But this particular disease is not the same at all. Any pet who goes out side is at much greater risk of parasites and worms than they are from catching COVID-19 from you…. Please be sensible