When I spent part of summer there, it was Camp McCoy. July and August in Wisconsin can be humid on top of being hot. There were fields all around us. I was there as a doc, part of my annual time as a reservist. The reason my unit was there? The year was 1980 and we were dealing with another set of refugees – that time from Cuba.
Now why anyone would decide that Wisconsin – not near water, not near many Spanish speakers and certainly not a camp in great condition was a good place to temporarily house 10,000 male refuges is beyond me. Then, unlike now, there was a positive attitude toward the refugees and a definite dislike of Castro’s Cuban government much of which was regularly briefed by the earlier Cuban refugee population which. for the most part, had settled in Florida.
I was at Camp McCoy to provide medical care for the Military Police Battalion deployed from Kansas which was providing security for the site. In addition, we an an Air Borne reserve unit or so out of Chicago that came every supper to hang out and get in their jumps.
I am mentioning all of this because that summer our issue wasn’t measles (as is the problem with the current Afghan refugees) but rather STIs (sexually transmitted infections). By the time my unit (5501st USAH) showed up many of the other challenges had been overcome. The refugees were down to spoons, and plastic at that, due to the amount of violence (prisoner on prisoner – excuse me – refugee on refugee) that can be perpetrated by turning even plastic knives and forks into shivs. Most of the window no longer had glass for the same reason.
The US Public Health Service was providing the health care for the refugees. The two nurse practitioners were excellent as was the PA. Their supervising doc was out of his depth and apparently spent his time drunk in his bunk. That was the rumor. I never even met the man. End result is that of the four of us on our side (one pathologist, me, one PA, one NP) I became the go-to doc for everyone when a doc was needed due to clinic issue, emergency transport, medical issue, or common sense.
If I could deal with 10,000 men who kept passing around various STIs because of a stupid policy. Some [idiot] had decreed that treatment should be given only to those with positive penile cultures. The lab had been told not to process rectal cultures. Contact tracing was almost impossible. Solution? Literally butt loads of penicillin. I signed off the meds for the PA and NPs and they started aggressively treating anyone with a problem and all mentioned buddies. [Of note, besides those who wanted to leave, Castro also tossed out a lot of prisoners, mental health patients and every gay man that was identified. Which is how we would up with such an interesting collection of individuals. In August, in Wisconsin, during haying season. Did I mention a lot of steroid dependent asthmatics?)
Anyway I see no reason why we should be stopping the flow of refugees for measles. Yes there may be a few contagious individuals. So send a team to Ramstein Air Base with a load of MMR and solve the problem. Identify all contacts so far, isolate as you can. And realize that getting everyone to the US will ensure that health care will be provided to those who really get ill. Under the current conditions the transmission chain is going to keep going . There is a reason that most refugee camps run by MSF and other NGOs in low income countries provide measles vaccine to all children on entry to the camp. Wisconsin had decent immunization of children. And Ft McCoy? Out in the middle of nowhere.
It is not like we aren’t already dealing with SARS-COV2. Much rather deal with someone escaping from a war-torn country than someone who denies science while demanding medical care as their oxygen level tanks.
I thought this puzzle was going to be easy.
Admittedly, I expect a certain amount of challenge from any of the specialty puzzle makers. After all, if the wooden puzzles were the same style and cut of your ordinary jig saw puzzle there wouldn’t be any point now, would there? You know what I mean? Puzzle pieces that are all a consistent squarish size of which each side has either a knob or an indentation. Yes, there are five standard variations (four knobs-> four indents) but that is about the limit. Edge pieces have that lovely straight edge….
Wooden fancy puzzles? Not so much. All sizes, shapes and only the rare straight line. I have to admire the artistry of the actual graphic designer who draws the jig saw template. In the case of this puzzle, we are talking fish…. and the border is not a straight line.
See what I mean?
and, in case it isn’t clear –
in which you can see the border, the fish in the border and all the irregular pieces making up this particular whale. Probably should have spent time doing something else, but it was a case of ….. I will fit in just one more piece.
Or at least that is what I woke up thinking. Now if I could just remember the rest of it?
Nah, so it was on to puzzles (Whimsy this time) and finishing the second Cryptid so I am ready on Friday for #3.
That just leaves me Zodiac, Seasonal Skies, and There is no Planet B for monthly SALS. We are not talking about Pixels, or Aster’s Amazing Adventures, or the Ingelside Urn. … Too many projects I am thinking…
I only had one shift week before last and none this past week so I had been hoping to spend a bit more time with a tapestry needle in my hand (as apposed to a syringe loaded with vaccine de moment).
As mentioned before, this seems to be the year of the Stitch-a-Long for me. I am reasonably current, considering all.
In the last few days – I have been working on
Cloudsfactory.net – I have to finish the tree holding the mother and baby sloth, then stitch the tiger – so 1-2 days more on this one.
from Stitchonomy. Last year she started 1 Oct. This year? Figured that most of us would really like to be done BEFORE Halloween. The frame is that of a book. Yesterday I stitched the cats, today the pumpkin head – and – surprise, surprise, apparently Mothman has struck here as well..
3. Cryptid – Part 2
of which I have half it’s frame stitched – so have the other ½ of its frame and the night crawler. AND some outlining/backstitching to do before Friday to the tune of another 600 or so stitches
4. And Follow the Yellow Brick Road is FINISHED!
This was a six month SAL which the last part just dropped this month. The designer is LittleDoveDesigns, It is stitched on 16 ct Fiddler’s cloth with the called for DMC (except for a few detours into shiny). Now that I look at it, I need to add Dorothy’s face and the cables on the balloon. From there – it may well land in the pile of shame till I figure out how I want to finish it.
5. This particular SAL is based off a TV series, which, no surprise, I have never seen. Even so – the first part of the pattern looked cool so I signed up. When the designer hit some family issues, she offered to release the rest of the pattern at once rather than monthly to any of us who were interested. That may have been a good deal for me, or perhaps not. The total stitch count was a lot higher than what I expected – much of which turned out to be huge solid color blocks.
I am thinking this is 18 ct white Aida and the thread is one of the Sulky blendables (no – I was NOT interested in stitching black….). I am down to the last 5k or so of stitches which actually go reasonably fast as it is mostly fill in. Given how many other projects I have – I really don’t expect that I will finish it in Sept.
And that was today…..
since life as most of us in the US (and particularly those of us who were active duty at the time) literally saw our world crash and burn. As a country, somehow we were shocked to be attacked on our home ground. An experience that all too many in the rest of the world had been living with for centuries. Whether those attacks were carried out by pitchfork wielding neighbors, rival tribes, arrogant colony seeking countries, or major military battles. Why the US, with its long standing behavior (which I really think is one of those less pleasant attitudes passed down from the Brits) of assuming it knew best for other countries and governments, thought it was exempt is beyond me.
But now, we are twenty years on. I had friends among those who died at the Pentagon. Others that I know lost family and friends when the Twin Towers were attacked. And a planeload of passengers chose to sacrifice their lives in a Pennsylvania field rather than allow the plane they were on to be used as the fourth bomb. And this doesn’t count the tally of those who risked and lost their lives in NYC to save others; nor does it include all of those living with the aftermath of stress and disease as a result of exposures on that day.
And where are we as a country? Why are we surprised when there is a definite portion of the US (and that portion traditionally contributes significantly in terms of military service, police, and fire fighters) who don’t trust the US government or its leaders. Who want a simple answer. And are absolutely tired of doing anything that even remotely could be considered a sacrifice for the benefit of others.
Many of these individuals feel that they have been at war for 20 years, that (in their religious mind set) that the current pandemic might just be a punishment sent by their deity, and that they are losing their last vestiges of freedom and choice.
I don’t agree. I find the arguments completely spurious. Twenty years on, I want to remember those who died by making sure that there is a world to pass down to the next generation. That those who sacrificed are remembered daily, and that I am willing to make those sacrifices needed to keep others safe. My personal choices affect others. It is the small things. Traffic lights, seat belts, masks, immunizations, standing in a queue. Those small considerations for others that may just mean that there will be forty years on. And not a failure of democracy in the US, a country where it has become too easy for people to put their own desires ahead of the welfare of all of us.
And, just in case – go watch Exhibit 13
Since a hot Sunday in Sept when George and I got married. And, amazingly enough, we have survived at least 16 moves (six of which were trans-Atlantic), houses, apartments, stairwell living. Numerous vehicles, split households due to jobs. Oh, yes and our four amazing off-spring- now ages 42, 32, 30, 28 plus a couple of partners of said off-spring (so fill in ages 29 & 31).
One of our two witnesses, my Aunt Ruth died this past July at the ripe age of 91. It was her help and sense of humor which got us through that day, along with George’s friend Charlie who traveled from Washington DC to watch his long time friend get married.
As we both remember it, we were up cleaning house before 0600 in order to make sure that things were more or less ok for the reception that was held at our just moved in to house.
In December, we will have been here in Berkeley 6 years. Frankly, that is longer than we have lived anywhere during our marriage. Yes, we owned the house in Heidelberg for 14 years, but there were not all that many years that both of us were there. For that matter, George has owned the house here since 2009, but five years of that doesn’t count as the house was leased.
Where was I? Oh yes, marriage, moving, children, travel. In sickness and health.
So far, so good.
Unlike most of the rest of my SALs (stitch-a-longs), this particular one drops mid month or so. It gives me a chance to get a jump on some of the other projects. But then, this is now the 9th and I will see September’s plant all too soon. Since I have figured out how to load each month into PatternKeeper (fabulous app – android only) without importing everything that has been previously stitched, the ~800 or so stitches go quickly enough once I get my starting point pegged.
The pattern is by Climbing Goat Designs. The fabric is a navy 16 ct Aida (there are no partial stitches, I am not fussing with evenweave) and the thread is all DMC.
was actually started last Friday and finished Monday, but puzzles and the deer got in the way.
The pattern is by Tiny Modernist with the frame available last December and each of the 12 parts being released on the 3rd of the month.
This month is Aladdin.
While I was at it, I stitched a bit more of the vines on the frame as I would rather not have several thousand stitches to go come December when the last segment drops. The frame is being stitched with 4086 sulky, the rest in DMC. The fabric is actually a rather sunny yellow courtesy of Fortnight Fabrics.
has been hanging out on the hill behind our house for several weeks now. I am not sure that there is much there to eat besides ivy, but he has to be finding something. On a few days he has company; today he is on his own.
Like the others of his ilk, these particular black tail deer normally live in the local park and stray out only after dark. Perhaps taking pleasure in being road hazards? One has to wonder. But this was just before 1500 in the afternoon.
it is this wonderful color all of itself. And with fall comes Pumpkin Lattes. (side note – one of the Peet’s near here on Shattuck is too heavy on the spice and lite on the pumpkin syrup. My local Peet’s, who thank goodness have their expresso machine fixed makes them perfectly. They also know me by now…)
Is also made and distributed by Nautilus (see yesterday’s post for the link).
As it turned out, this puzzle was more of a challenge. There were several dozen tiny whimsy pieces, all relevant to farming and harvesting. There were buckets and shoves, rakes and hoes. It was more of a challenge than I was expecting!
Another new puzzle to add to the multitudes I already have on hand. It is laser cut wood and made by Nautilus Puzzles. They have some of the best packaging. No wooden boxes, but a lovely drawstring bag to hold the pieces. If you click on the picture, you will get a larger image and perhaps be able to see some of the fun whimsy cut pieces.
The designer of this piece of dark fun is WitchyStitcher. Called Cryptid – the frame was released last month and the first critter was released yesterday. Mothman (and I am linking you to the excellent Wiki article) also was featured in a 2010 horror film. Apparently a few members of my family have seen it.
This is Mothman.
The fabric is a 16ct Aida (Charles Craft) hand dyed by MyVintageNeedleArts in Sweet Potato. It is the absolute best Halloween background color yet.
Threads are a combination of DMC & Anchor Black along with DMC Diamanté and some light effects combined with a few quiet shades of DMC. It is a lot of Black. I have my own black cone of doom.
This SAL will last till early January. One part releases every week x3 a month (which gives all of us some catch up time. I am hopeful that this will be my only carryover, but I am not holding my breath.
POD (point of distribution – thank you very much) which is in Union City – for those of us who have no clue about anything in Alameda County or the East Bay other than Oakland and Berkeley. Trust me, Union City is about as far as one can get from our house and still be in the same county. Driving there is easy since our operations hours are 1500-1900.
Leaving just after lunch lets me skip the traffic, drive calmly and arrive early enough to sit in the car and stitch for an hour or so prior set up. The days are starting to get shorter and this is an outside set up, so I am really glad we aren’t open later since I detest the East Bay freeways in general and after dark in particular.
As it turns out, once again we are offering all three US available vaccines. Since the majority of who are now coming in are school aged, most immunizations are Pfizer. As it turns out, it is mostly young men. Something to do with wanting to play sports. What impresses me is that more than a few are also dragging along older siblings or parents.
And I am the vaccinator. Three vaccines? Three separate immunization stations. We have everything color coded and have the client head to the correct table. Absolutely no way do any of us want a med error. So I bop between tables as required.
I enjoy working with this crew. It is a mix of county employees, contract employees and volunteers. And any day that we provide more vaccines than workers is a great day.
I am home by 2030 and not completely wiped out.
The pattern is Chocolate Cravings by Deborah Dick of Tempting Tangles.
This particular stitch-a-long is 25 parts total (now that I think of it, same as her Coffee one which I finished last year and have hanging on the dining room wall). I started nagging her then about the fact that she had designed Coffee, and Tea, but no Cocoa. And really, I don’t have a problem with the idea of chocolate instead.
If I remember correctly (hard to do when one is a horrible record keeper and we are 40 weeks into the SAL) the fabric is a Zweigert 16 ct Aida in Mocha (or something very close to that). Except for the two blues which are DMC #12 Perle, the rest of the threads are all Threadworx bought when they discontinued dying #12.
Five parts to go, which means that I actually will be done with this before the end of the year.
when the truth should be avoided.
remember what I said about fever and chills Saturday? Well, my fun lasted through to yesterday morning. So there I am, checking in at the Oakland Outpatient VA facility. They ask me if I have been exposed to COVID.
No. Ill? No. Fever or chills in the last 2 weeks?
And I mention that I had a normal reaction to my booster.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. The screening person then informs me that I can’t be seen.
Why? I don’t have COVID, I haven’t been exposed. I had a normal reaction to a booster, same reaction as I had last February.
She calls the nurse. Nurse says no.
I very quietly and firmly insist on speaking directly to the nurse. I don’t have a choice about today’s visit. I am out of an essential medication.
After 20 minutes, one of the nurses comes down. I carefully explain, and suggest that they talk to my doctor since I will need medication in any case. He wanders back upstairs. Another 15 minutes pass and he comes back to say that I can be seen after all.
It is now five minutes before my appointment time.
Turns out, this appointment was worth it. This particular physician grew up and trained in NYC. He landed here on the West Coast because of a fellowship at UC Davis. Late 50s, he just shook his head over my hassles with the SFVA staff, reminding me that as a teaching facility, they put more stock in tests and less in patient’s experience. Lab? My lab from July is fine (this is the lab that I thought was ok but was refused as “off” by the teaching staff earlier this month). He isn’t worried. I can have my refills.
I am even willing to drop back in five months. I appreciate consideration and kindness.
“this post is being released a couple weeks after I wrote it.”
I worked a shift yesterday at one of the Union City PODs. Since we had all three US available vaccines, I went ahead and got my “augmentation” shot as recommended by my Oncologist. Moderna as it happens to be.
Perhaps you might remember my whines last Feb when I received my second shot and felt like cr*p for a couple of days? Well, guess what? Even though the blood tests had come back flat – no immunity here folks – my personal immune system had a different reaction when challenged. I was very glad one of my co-workers had offered to cover my shift at Eden Community Center. By 2130 last night, I was sure that I didn’t want to work today.
This morning? Ugh. I am with it for the moment, but not sure it is going to last. (Shall we just leave it at fever and chills?) But, as I keep reminding everyone – it is soooo much better than getting SARS-COV2 and landing in the hospital.
in further commentary on Tom Standage’s The History of Motion comes the addition of concepts and terminology that has entered into the English Language (and by extension those of other countries) by the introduction of an automobile based society.
I mention this because certain cultural norms and attitudes are formed by the technology that is standard during one’s adolescent development. Take, for example, my parents generation. The three key influences for those born in the 1920s were 1) the Great Depression 2) WWII & 3) the automobile. The first was economic, affecting some more than others and the rare few not at all. The Second World War changed lives, increased technology, and created (and took away) a vast varieties of opportunities. But the car? They grew up in a society that saw cars and ownership as the norm, They experienced life oriented around personal rather than public transportation. Again – I am primarily referring to the US and by extension Canada and Australia as countries that didn’t have the inherent limitations of centuries of land ownership and embedded systems of transportation. Cars were effectively the new covered wagons.
The closest I can come for comparison is the effect computers had on my oldest daughter’s generation or the cell phone on those of my youngest children (having both Gen X and Gen Y/Millennial’s offspring).
But back to the car – according to Tom Standage, the availability of cars (including the old, used, beaters) allowed teens to escape parental scrutiny and permanently changed the dating and school culture of the US. (this might be a bit slanted toward the white, non-city population, but there you have it).
It certainly was true in the rural area where I went to high school. Accessibility of a car meant everything. It meant independence of movement. It meant the ability to have a job separate from the family. And, for the teen age boys with older brothers (which was the norm in my area) it meant access to beer, the truck and hanging out at the local quarry to drink…
Our society reformed around the automobile.
I hadn’t realized how true this was until we returned from Europe for the last time. The SF Bay Area does have an excellent public transportation network, for a US metro area. But it pales in comparison to Europe. But then, unlike many families, we have maintained one car rather than two for many years (exempting those years where we were physically running two households in separate countries. It is really had to share a car between England and Germany). We certainly haven’t needed more than one since we moved to Berkeley. Until the pandemic, frankly we were a prime example of folks who could have done just fine without a personal vehicle.
And since? Other than medical appointments which Amazon has not yet managed to package and deliver – just about everything we need can be dropped at the door.
This is not a non sequitur. Rather, it is a speculation on whom Kenneth Grahame based his character of Mr. Toad.*
As a child, Wind in the Willows was a wonderful story. Perfectly acceptable that animals could be anthropomorphized, no five year old would ever question the origin of the characters. Rather, a child with an active imagination would just make up their own stories of local animals and look along creeks and streams for indications that there were similar characters in one’s own home area.
But ideas come from somewhere. I am not a believer in a cosmic pool of ideas that randomly and, for some special people frequently, strike them in the head with a demand to be set down or transmitted in some verbal format to others. It may not always be a conscious process, but it does take place in that wonderful and murky subconscious.
Where is all this going?
I am listening to another one of Tom Standage’s wonderful books. A Brief History of Motion tells literally the story (subtitle here) from the wheel, to the car, to what comes next. About a third of the way through the book, the connection to story snapped into focus. Yes the invention of the wheel for travel was interesting as well as the development of cars. I hadn’t really through about the development of railways increasing the use of horse drawn conveyances inside cities as people and goods moved more freely between cities. And, when you think about it, the problem of horse manure is obvious.
Most of us would not have framed the drive toward internal combustion engines as a response to solving transportation while reducing the impact of horses on cities. Seriously? But then most fiction doesn’t really describe the filth and smell of the average city street of the Victorian Era now does it?
The story of the early development of the motor car is fascinating and many of the names are familiar to all of us (Daimler, Benz, Maybeck, Peugeot). All of which leads to the stories of the first competitive races sponsored by various news papers for incredible distances of 75 miles. Or a round trip of 350 miles, completed in a bit over 48 hours. (If you need a reference, horses changed out regularly can average 10 miles an hour pulling a coach, a person is doing well to hike 4 miles/hr which is not sustainable over the long haul.
Anyway, as you can imagine, early cars were expensive to buy, maintain, and run which lead to the same issues as with all former wheeled inventions. Because you can own it, you can drive it wherever you want/can manage regardless of other vehicles, animals or pedestrians. (note, this particular problem has not disappeared, it has spread as there are now inconsiderate, idiot drivers world-wide). But, Standage speculates – one each Wm Vanderbilt II may have been the inspiration. I mean really, crashing that many cars, paying an inordinate number of fines, and ducking prison sentences? You really can’t make this stuff up.
I highly recommend the book as both educational and entertaining.
* If you want to read more, go to the Wiki article here which gives background, listing of editions, productions, and potential inspirations. Also of note – A. A. Milne wrote the first screenplay version of Toad of Toad Hall (and about the same time he started on the Pooh poems and stories).
The stake and the machete after all. My sister was kind enough to notify me that our mutual sperm donor had finally passed away. He managed to gasp his last breath in Florida, Apparently witnessed, so that I don’t need to insure that he doesn’t rise up to haunt us all.
Unlike my Aunt Ruth (his sister) who was an incredible person – bright, loving, energetic and about as brilliant as she could possibly be, this man was selfish and manipulative. A born con man if there ever was one. It isn’t a legacy that I particularly care to know more about than I unfortunately do. Scattered broken families and lack of positive communication are not something to which any of us aspire. This is a man who never even bothered to learn his grandchildren’s birthdays.
Completely against tradition, I think the decision has been made for cremation. Probably for the best.
Like I said, it spares me the challenges with TSA or having to find a local hardware store.
Given that I could sleep in this morning, it should be totally and completely obvious that I woke shortly after 0500 and couldn’t get back to sleep. But there is cross stitch, audio books, and the occasional Flosstube. Which for those of you who have absolutely no interest in crafting of any kind, much less-stitching, please feel free to skip the next several paragraphs.
Flosstube is the collection of channels on YouTube which are devoted to… you guessed it… cross stitch which uses floss in case you hadn’t guessed. Nothing obscene or difficult about the concept, once you stop laughing. Anyway – there are probably 800+ channels in the English Language alone. Then add in the Japanese, Russian, and the occasional Western European and I am not going to guess at how many people are determined to use a video aspect of the internet to share what they are doing.
Back to why I mentioned this. I watch a few channels when I have time. Or the interest. On one of those channels, the fact that Michael’s (US craft store chain) now carries Anchor Floss on spools of 10 meters. Hello? I love thread on spools. Where spools might be a bit more bulky to store (and ignoring the issue of plastic waste) the floss is less likely to be kinked, knotted up or tangled. I checked the Michael’s website.Sure enough, there were ~200 colors on offer on 10 meter spools + 20 on 30 meter spools. What could be even better? Pick up available from the store in Emeryville (4 miles from my house).
Early afternoon, off I went. And sure enough – there it was. Two organized displays of Anchor floss ; a rather large one for the 10 meter spools and a compact thread holder with the 20 colors in the larger size.
Yes, I bought a few colors to try. The key color is black. So far I really haven’t found an excellent black. DMC certainly isn’t it. Sulky is a bit better but doesn’t have enough coverage on some fabrics. I used Anchor threads when I lived in the UK and don’t remember being any more impressed with them than DMC, but hey – it is worth a shot.
From there, I went and hung out at the North Berkeley BART parking lot till George arrived. His meeting in Denver ended this morning so he flew to SFO. Which should give you the explanation of why I was picking him up from BART and not the airport. I love him a lot. But 45 minutes to SFO and 90+ back seemed insane when BART would take less than an hour. No one drives through San Francisco, especially heading back across the Bay Bridge after 1500 in the afternoon unless they are insane or absolutely can’t avoid it.
So here I am, back home with my new treasures and wondering why I signed myself up for an 0715 exercise class tomorrow.
(Oh, right, at 1615 I was picking up George)