I met her at the Safeway just down the hill from our house. An slightly bent-over woman with a walker who didn’t appear that much older than me. We exchanged comments at the cheese counter about getting an education, then that education didn’t guarantee common sense. And, that occasionally, being a woman meant that you just had to work harder.
She also remarked that, long ago in Tokyo, wearing her USA team clothing didn’t get her a seat in a restaurant. Apparently being Black was more important than being courteous to a visitor. We introduced ourselves, chatted a few minutes longer, then went on our ways. And I am thinking – Olympics?
Finding information on the male athletes from 1964? No problem. Finding one of the women? A bit more of a challenge. But starting with the name Rosie and assuming California – I found her. Rosie competed in the 80 meter hurdles, coming in 8th overall. There are other athletes in her family, she doesn’t capitalize on them. For years, she has been quietly supporting various athletic clinics along with other Olympians. She is a tireless advocate for seniors. None of this she told me, and it took a while to dig it out.
are key underpinnings of the military. Without them, the team doesn’t function. In high risk situations, people can die. And not the enemy, but your own.
This is a rant. Skip it, if for some reason you think a president pardoning someone for posing with a person as a hunting trophy is all right.
In which case, I am afraid you and I don’t have much in common. I thoroughly believe that all of us have a responsibility to leave this world a better place than we found it. That involves creating all people with dignity and respect. You and I may not agree on a lot of things, but I firmly believe you have a right to your opinion. If that opinion makes you my enemy, then I will shoot back if you shoot at me. I spent too many years as a military officer not to defend myself. But still, you are a person acting on your beliefs. Treating your enemy’s corpse with disrespect is not done. Not only is it outside the law of war, it is the act of animal (and most scavengers eat the remains).
I always thought the US was better than that. We prosecuted Mai Lai. We don’t shoot unarmed civilians, in fact we are even starting to hold police officers who do that accountable for their actions. We still have the shame of Gitmo which may well be a blight on our country and history for decades.
When fellow team members turn in a Seal for going beyond the limits, for acting unprofessionally, for posing an enemy corpse as a trophy, we need to respect their request for the military justice system to investigate, act, and disciple if appropriate. That courts martial found reason to reduce the petty office. That should stand; the judgement, like all others of that severity due to rank and years of service will be reviewed as per regulation. It should not be flippantly over turned because “it isn’t fair.”
What that man did was a disgrace to his fellow Seals, the Navy, and all of us in uniform. We have to be able to count on the system. Our allies have to be able to count on us to police our own. Commanders have to have the ability to count on order and disciple in the ranks in order to accomplish any assigned mission and bring everyone home safely.
Seriously, I thought we, the US, were better than that: that someone with power but no military background would do something so awful. An act, trigged by who knows what, that will have far and long reaching consequences.
Think about it at the next election. Is this a person you would trust with your life, your child’s life, your grandchild’s life if they can so blithely do what seems to be politically expedient without any understanding of the long term implications. Or, as one of George’s colleagues said – if this man was the preacher on the pulpit – are his morals those of yours? Would you attend?
Yes! I have turned in 2/3 papers that having been hanging over my head since last spring semester. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do them. Rather it was more a matter of getting some unbroken blocks of time in which to sit down, concentrate, think about what I was trying to accomplish, then generating words in document that met the format of what was required.
I can’t say that it was difficult. Tedious? Unquestionably. Boring? Not really, other than the fact that I obviously have no love for precise US grammar, punctuation, US spellings, or all of that other nonsense that is required when producing documents for official grading. That–and I absolutely LOATH Word (yes, the Microsoft Program). I can deal with Paper (Mac), Open Office, and grew up on Word Perfect. But Word? Nothing intuitive about that program. And trying to permanently get rid of all the tracked changes? Gocod luck with that as they seem to magically re-appear.
I rewarded myself with cross-stitch time since the nice long walk I had planned had to be put on hold due to all of George’s conference calls. By the time he was finally off the phone, it was dark. Since we don’t have enough reflective vests to go around – walking around our area which is lacking in sufficient street lighting is not a really great idea.
It would have been the usual drive into UCSF had not someone decided (planned or otherwise) to have a major accident along our route to the Bay Bridge. Traffic had been at a crawl for more than two hours when, rather than enter the freeway through the car pool entrance from University Avenue I decided to buzz along the frontage road on the bay side. It was better until the entrance at Powell street which was still a crawl.
Once actually in the HOV access road in the maze approach, everything picked up and we sailed along till the Civic Center exit (where our ride-share passengers wanted to exit to Harrison Street). I didn’t see anything around there, but George says that it is now a good location for new tech start-ups.
The UCSF visit went well! Lab is all good. His platelets continue to creep up and his red cell count is stable (since RBC’s turn over ~ every 120 days, it means that he is making his own). We are due back on Friday, then Monday and perhaps then weekly.
I really should have gotten back at those papers, but instead spent the afternoon stitching.
Yes, I am finding it almost meditative!
George has been watching. various college and pro sports over the weekend. If I hadn’t out with him, it really can’t be avoided. Some won, some lost.
I hiked down the hill to the UCBerkeley Campus, then across the campus to Haas Pavilion to watch Cal play the Riverside Highlanders. As per usual, I was there for the band, but didn’t mind seeing the Cal Women’s Basketball team win their game. It is a rebuilding year since two key players graduated last spring and one transferred. Plus a new coach. There were definitely rough edges.
Cross stitch at a game doesn’t work – but knitting does. I hauled along the “Hitchhiking beyond” that I started while George was in the hospital. I didn’t like the way it was shaping up, so frogged it from 3/4 down back to about 1/3 and happily enjoyed my garter stitch while watching.
Cross stitch? –
I spent a good portion of the day tramping up and down stairs as I alway seemed to be needing a thread that wasn’t in front of me.
But I made good progress during the day on my Dragonling; knocking off about 1830 to do a rush clean up of the house prior to some friends coming over for dinner.
Even better, they brought dinner! So we had squash & Tofu stew over brown rice with asparagus as a side. The last of Shana’s Zupfkuechen was served as desert.
We left home right before 0700, stopped at Peet’s for coffee, at NB Bart for a passenger and hit the road for UCSF. We were there, parked, checked in before 0800. Which meant we were out of there (lab draw, visit and all), on the road, and home via Acme Bakery by 1000.
What should be obvious is that everything is going extremely well. Blood count is stable, platelets continue to slowly climb, and George is gradually feeling more energetic.
Otherwise, I am rapidly becoming addicted to cross-stitch once again. Or rather, Ranald Spangler’s Dragonlings. After all, who could resist “The Mystery of the Empty Cookie Jar” by Dragatha Christie? It is only 65 stitches wide – but 373 long so it might take a while (90 colors and few blocks color).
For years, I was an unabashed DOS supporter and dealt with the early versions of Windows before I became so frustrated that I shifted to Linnux for a number of years. After starting the kids (well the three younger in anywise) off with MAC products in the first place, I shifted over while stationed in the UK. Wow – that was 2008-2010. Seems like either yesterday or a different lifetime. There have been more than the occasional challenge with some particular software needs, since not all developers produce for both operating systems. Noah wound up needing a windoze machine since his CAD-CAM engineering software just doesn’t run properly in emulation.
I purchased one of the original iPads. I still have the heavy sucker. It works, it doesn’t leave the house. In fact, some of my favorite bubble popper games run on it just fine. The software no longer updates, and neither do many of the programs. But as a basic tablet on which to read, play solitaire, or watch programs – it is just fine. I mention this because I wound up wasting the morning dealing with my iPhone. As we were late getting out of the house, arriving at Apple 20 minutes after they open meant about an hour wait for a tech. Nice young woman, managed to do a magic reset and recommended yet another software update (seems like the last update fixed a number of problems, but then added a new one that bit me.
From there, since my local JoAnns failed to have about nine colors that I need for my new cross stitch project, we detoured to Michael’s in Emeryville. Five minutes to find what I needed (four of the colors- the other five – nope) and 20 minutes standing in line to check out.
Then home to find my new toys had arrived. Embroidery Floss storage toys might not interest you. For that matter, cross stitch may not interest you at all. If it does, you already know the following (and if not, you are welcome to stop reading). Designs usually come on charts which can be PDF files or hard copy printed. Most of us, when using hard copy, print an extra so that we can write all over it while preserving the original. The design itself can be full coverage (the whole fabric is covered – duh) or be elements with portions of the fabric showing. In either case, counted cross-stitch depends on the correct placement of the correct colors. Old school is printed paper, and colored pencils or markers in order to check off every square that has been stitched.
(Bored yet? I warned you)
Obviously, this is problem in search of an electronic solution. Enter Pattern Keeper. which unfortunately is only available in Android at the present. The program imports – can get rid of overlap sections and can be marked off square by square. It also will highlight all the instances of a particular symbol. The stitch area can be expanded or shrunk as needed.
And yes, this is pregridded fabric. It so much fun!
lest you be judged? Something like that anyway.
Last year in my Legal Writing class we had to write, then perform an appellate brief. The perform is said advisedly: who in their right mind would put themselves into a position where they are standing in front of a judge’ panel and attempt to give their opinion while being continually interrupted? Yes, I know some lawyers thrive in that type of environment, but for someone who is not particularly confrontational, the idea of standing up and arguing with an important issue on the line? Shivers – not me. Now take George – no, your really can’t take him, I am planning on keeping him for a long time – he is someone who can take passive/agressive to a fine art in avoiding confrontation. But give him a chance to argue an appellate brief? He is all over it in a moment. Thinks it is one of the great opportunities of all time; to make a point and think on one’s feet. He loves it. Strange? I certainly think so.
This year I received an email from one of the faculty members. One of the judges had an emergency, could I fill in? Me? Really? Ok, why not? When? The 13th; Friday the 13th appearing on Wednesday – ok, I can do that.
The performance is held in building 198 in the 4th Floor Moot Courtroom. If you are training lawyers, you want them to have the real experience – right? I decided to head into town early. Since Miriam was headed back to New York today, it seemed reasonable to make one BART run rather than two. Arriving hours ahead of time, I was able to find a quiet corner in one of the lounges and read through the briefs. The expectation (which George tells me doesn’t always happen, is that the Judges actually read the briefs ahead of time – makes for better disruption and questions). From 1200-1300 I listened to three of this year’s presentations.
All the students today, with the exception of one are LLMs. Smart, capable and well prepared. There was a significant variation in the spoken and written language abilities. The advantage seemed to go to the French and Spanish speakers over the Asian language speakers. It was noticeable in the written briefs, and even more so in oral arguments.
Think about it – writing and speaking- with answering questions on your feet – at a professional level in a language that may be your second, third, or fourth. I think it is an obvious challenge, especially thinking about those times between 1999-2001 when I was stationed in Munich and allegedly working in German.
It rapidly became clear that this was not a traumatize the student experience. Rather, the goal was to point out those things done well: logic of argument; use of cases; ability to respond to questions. I am fairly sure that these self-same faculty are nowhere near as kind to US students preparing for Moot Court.
It was an interesting experience, made even more so by my phone going out to lunch part way through the afternoon. Being as how I rarely travel without my laptop, I had an alternate method of communication. Yes, I know I could have found any number of land lines. But exactly how many phone numbers do you keep in your head anymore????
Seriously, this was the second outpatient visit at which George’s labs values continued to improve and let him avoid any transfusions (yes, Steven, George doesn’t need those platelets you donated on Saturday, but I am sure that there is someone else you are helping keep alive).Platelets are the critical indicator. In all of us “normal” people platelets turn over rapidly. Shelf life in the blood bank is maximum of five days (of which one day is probably lost to processing and another to transport). Packed red blood cells are good for almost 30 days.
But today, as on last Friday, he didn’t need any of that. It makes for a pleasant, much shorter stay and a chance to get back over the Bay Bridge before the traffic really begins to suck.
I headed to UC Berkeley School of Public Health late in the afternoon. The program marked the 35th Anniversary of their Wellness Letter. The nominal fee collected from subscribers has funded scholarships. Meanwhile, Miriam and George took a walk, ending at the Rose Garden just in time to see the sunset.
It doesn’t have to be large and obvious – it could be as small and polite as this pin
or larger and more flamboyant like these
This is not a day for going shopping, dealing with holiday decorations (hello? for those in the US – Thanksgiving isn’t even over!) or those idiots who are trying to capitalize on individuals service for their own personal gain.
“Thank you for your service” has become trite. Most say it with about as much meaning as people greet with “how are you doing?” Few really mean it, want an answer. In the US, it has become a pro forma way of passing off obligation to others. No, I agree that when one is created by someone who means it, you can tell. When you are greeted by someone else who has a family connection to the military, when someone recognizes that it is not only men that serve. I will save my American Legion rant for another day.
The US attitude toward the military has undergone a remarkable change since I was in high school and University. That was the time of the Viet Nam War. Patriots served, most of the men in my High School served. Being found unfit, in that rural area, was not a matter of pride (as it seems to have been for those with money in other areas of the country). At University, it was another world. Most of the young men in my classes were on academic deferments, a serious motivation to study. Protests ran often and deeply divided the campus. Even the International Folk Dance group, a non-political gaggle if there ever was one, had a serious discussion about continuing to use the Armory for the weekly dances. As no other space was available on Tuesday evening, political feelings took a back seat to practicality.
In the late 70s, post Viet Nam, when I joined the Army Reserves, being a part of the military was totally and completely unthought of. Why would anyone do that? The war is over. I had a slightly different attitude, spurred by school loans and a decision that those who served deserved health care. That and it would be a chance for someone else to pay me to get out of Minnesota at least once a year.
Seems rather superficial, now that I think about it from 41 years down the line. On the other hand, I doubt that everyone has completely altruistic reasons for their choices. But in 2013, two years after the Army invited me to retire, I was in Esperance, Western Australia. It was Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veteran’s Day – whatever you want to call it. Esperance is that Australian town which, in 1979, fined NASA for littering after the Sky Lab broke up and dropped pieces all over their town. It is also a place where knowledge and connection to WWI runs deeply.
I wrote about it then.* The experience of standing with veterans from Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada. Talking to a woman who had deep ties to the area. Standing with other women who had served their countries. It made a difference to me, and I think it made a difference to others, knowing that, even in your small town which others might considered off the western edge of nowhere, that serving our respective countries binds us all together. That moment of silence, a chance for reflection.
So, for my fellow service members, wear your poppy with pride in recognition of all those generations prior to ours who served our respective countries. For everyone else, if you want to thank someone, be sincere and think about what you are saying. Better yet, wear a poppy today and tomorrow, reach out and do something positive. Participate at one of the cemetery clean-ups. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, deliver meals, reach out to those families you know with a member deployed. Bring my world a little closer to yours.
* the absence of pictures from posts prior to 2015 is a result of moving servers from Germany to the US. When the Germany site came down, the links were broken. I have to find the old picture archives and upload those one by one by one.. and .. there are other things that are higher on the priority list.
I made a commitment to myself that I would limit my start of new projects subject to the completion of projects underway. I am also rewarding myself with needlework time as I complete sections of THOSE papers. You know which papers I mean; those papers which will finish out the incompletes of last spring. The “I”s that will turn into admin “F”s if I am not careful. Never having received an F in my life, this is not an additional accomplishment that I feel warrants achieving.
Never mind – finishing things.
I made progress on the legislative draft. Not finished but should be complete by the end of tomorrow. And I finished two cross-stitches. I am not posting either for the moment since they are both presents. One due this week, the other not till March. But having finished something somehow set my mind at east and let me figure out how to approach the last section of the middle paper.
Pat brought up a point in response to my post about friends around the world that I really think merits further thought. So many people have become dependent on social media for their relationships that we forget that social media is not always a bad thing, that it may not serve to isolate rather than bring together. It can be a way for those who are isolated, house-bound, disabled to be able to connect with others.
If you haven’t read Tom Standage’s “The Victorian Internet”* I might suggest you borrow it from your local public library and peruse it. He makes the point that our methods of written communication have changed, but Western Society as a whole had a long standing history of communicating in written format. For anyone who reads any fiction at all set in Edwardian, Georgian, or Victorian England, sending notes and letters was just as common a task as managing household accounts. Because of distance, most wrote letters. Your friend from school? You communicated by letter with them over holidays and vacation periods. Announcements? They went by post. Invitations? The same.
We seem to have a natural inclination to want to share thoughts, feelings, and knowledge with others. Mostly by the written word, as it isn’t time dependent on reaching the other person at the exact moment we have the thought. It will be there, waiting for them when they have time. But that element of time has changed as well. When communication was routinely by letter and post, unless you lived city center in a major metropolis (read NYC, London, Rome, Paris, Frankfurt) you did not expect a reply back the same day. If the distances were greater, you automatically added in round trip postal transport time for your letter.
Now? It seems like everyone wants an instant response to whatever method of communication is attempted. Rarely, anymore does anyone pick up the phone. Rather, send off a text or email. I am discounting snapchat, twitter, instagram and Facebook for the moment since those are “toss it out there and see if anyone responds” methods of attempting communication. Personally, I don’t view those as communication methods since they are not really targeted and an answer is optional.
All those years of radio and television which occupied the intervening years between the development of more instant methods of communication and the present did change everyone’s mind set. Rather than actively controlling one’s time, increasingly people became passive consumers of whatever was put out. Watching is not the same as reading. Seeing is not the same as creating character voices and actions in one’s own mind when reading Agatha Christie vs. watching a BBC production.
But those intervening years were hard on those home bound. Yes, entertainment came to them via radio and TV, but it did not come with human interaction. People would pick up a telephone rather than send a note or an invitation. At first this change could be viewed simply as an economic barrier, but it rapidly expanded to the point where, if you could not communicate on a phone, you were going to be excluded. Think of everyone with hearing or speaking impairment, those with mobility challenges such that reaching that phone in a reasonable time was not an achievable accomplishment.
Fast forward (see, a VCR term) to today. There are those who are unable to handle direct human interactions and might well have functioned much better in a society with strict structural behavior norms and codes. But I honestly believe that those individuals are a rarity. Rather, the modern, although occasionally annoyingly immediate forms of electronic communication, while perhaps bombarding us to the point of overload, also provide for some individuals in our society, their only window on the world. The only method by which they may become a productive and self-valued member of society. Amazon (Amazon, Audible) no matter some of their faults, provides a significant amount of customer service through individuals, who by working out of their homes, can have gainful employment. You don’t have to hear to be able to answer a chat, resolve a request for a return of an electronic book or audiobook.
So Pat’s point is well taken. The same methodologies which bombard us with trivia and may push people into superficial relationships also offer others a chance to have friends, to connect, and to live full lives even without the ability to leave home, drive a car, or travel the world.
*I referenced a book of his about this time last year when I went on a rant about lawyers, and the total misappropriation of words and misuse in the English Language. Should you be a native speaker of a different language, I am sure that you would be able to find parallels. Not sure why you would try, but there it is
I always start the drive to UCSF with both fascination and dread. Fascination for what challenges will be on offer: from insane drivers totally senseless sludging of traffic to the death defying exploits of those totally crazy enough to drive motorcycles between lanes from frustrated individuals with a time limited destination in mind. The dread (not dead as my spell checker keeps wanting to insert) portion of my mental state comes from not knowing what we will find at our destination.
I mentioned that Miriam is in town which makes for a slightly shorter trip (although the stop at Peet’s has the added Chai for her) as we don’t have to stop at the North Berkeley ride share.
Today was well worth the drive and what seems like a forever wait while the lab does it’s fancy tests. No issues, no need for blood transfusion. Even better? It seems like the newly invested stem cells have turned to the task of settling in and are done arguing about who does what, why and where. Platelet production has apparently been deemed as appropriate as an acceptable task. This is the first time since early August he has escaped without having a platelet transfusion. A jump from 17 to 34 might not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things. But considering the last time he had any increase was in June…..
Anyway, due to the Poppy wearing holiday being celebrated on Monday, his next visit is scheduled for Tuesday.
I had planned on heading over to UCHastings for a noon time seminar. But then, I had registered on the premise of both blood and platelet transfusions were likely to be in the offering. Instead, I sent mental apologies winging their way to the event organizers as we headed to the freeway and the road home.
stands for Student Veteran’s Organization. UCHastings has almost 900 students in total. Less than 30 are veterans. Think about it for a second. This is well under the number at other schools in the area. The rejoinder might he that law school is specialized and there just might not be all that many who are interested. I could accept that, but for the fact that there are more at Golden Gate. The Academy of the Arts (which is private, and admittedly in another field) has over 900 veteran’s. UCBerkeley has over 400, which, with all the schools combined is over 1%. 22 is not 1%.
Several of us think there are multiple factors contributing: lack of faculty who are veterans, lack of support at the school, and an obvious anti-military bias at the executive level.
Why am I bringing all of this up?
The current president of the local chapter organized a luncheon yesterday and asked the former chair of UCHastings Board of Directors to be a keynote speaker (former Navy Officer – used the GI bill for law school). He also twisted my arm into saying a few words. The attendance was sparse – former navy, army, Air Force, and coast guard totally about 10 plus three from the student veteran support office at SFVA, one rep from UCSF and two from UCBerkeley. The new student Dean is incredibly supportive, the school dean seriously less so. There was food, I was appreciative of the chance to meet a couple of the new students and reconnect with a number who I knew from last year.
Oh, what did I say? A bit of history about Armistice Day vs Veteran’s Day. How the holiday was viewed in other countries and a reminder about what the poppy stood for. (after all – what good is a forum if I don’t sell poppies?)
But the best? I received this from Jill later in the day –
For those of us who travel and are at all sociable, you collect friends around the world. If you don’t travel, but have professional interests–likely the same. For all the fiber fanatics, there is Ravelry, so again, communications with other people who share your interest around the world.
Thinking back, I first started “collecting” people who I knew only over the internet in about 1995 with the original Knitlist. Hosted on a university server somewhere, it wasn’t one of the alt.knit.whatever discussion groups. Rather, it was a traditional group list just slightly advanced from the original bulletin boards of Fidonet. It was how I got to know Pat in Michigan, Cat in Australia, Isobel in New Hampshire, and Mary who lived in upstate New York at the time. Not all that long after, the deployments to the Balkans started which added Kris from Washington State and Val from the reserves. Shamash, the Reconstructionist list added in Ira in Boston, Steven in Los Angeles, and Steve in Rochester.
My first serious, organized attempt at staying connected started in 1998 with my deployment to the Balkans. That email list has continued to the present day with additions and deletions as time and interest dictated. Some included are people who I have known since college, others are those who I have gotten to know in the last couple of years. Two are adults, but I first met when I delivered them back in the days when I was doing OB. I have added those with whom I have served, from both the German and UK military.
I mention this now as I think of one German reserve officer who I first met in 1999 while attached to the German Military. A very junior sergeant then, Christian was looking to attempt the US Army’s Expert Field Medical Badge. We are now 20 years down the line, he is a fire department Capt, works search and rescue and is an officer in the Reserves. Or one of the most brilliant medical corps officers I have ever met – Beverly is now retired from the UK and, after earning a PhD, continues serving by researching veteran’s health in Scotland.
There are those I know from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, Israel – military, former military, families, friends, average people working to improve the lives of others. I would like at times to believe that I make a contribution, but perhaps the most important part is to simply stay connected and remember.
What can I tell you about today?
A small amount of work on my papers, a stop at the grocery store, and run by JoAnn’s.
The reason for the last was simple – one set of patterns were on sale for $2.99 and there is going to be serious consuming accomplished over the winter holiday break. Should I mention that I also had a 40% off coupon? Considering that I am planning a couple of serious cross-stitch projects, that kind of savings on embroidery floss can not be under estimated.
It wasn’t a difficult trip into San Francisco this morning. We have Miriam in town which means automatic access to the HOV lane without having to detour to the Ride Share at North Berkeley. I took that time spared and spent it on a run past the Berkeley Public Library to return three books before I had an overdue issue.
Parking at UCSF, the two of them headed up to the clinic while I took the N-Judah to Civic Center in an attempt to resolve some paperwork at UCHastings followed by sometime in the law library.
Returning to join them, it turned out George only needed platelets, so it was a much shorter stay in the infusion center than I initially thought. The time save, however was more than lost on the way home as the traffic was backed up to the freeway entrance. I absolutely detest San Francisco traffic. I don’t mind the trucks and delivery vehicles, they have a reason to be on the road. But all those cars with one person each, that idiot so busy chatting on their cell phone that they can’t responsibility drive? No, I don’t care for them at all….
Women’s Basketball (not dogs chasing toys)
Today marked the last of the exhibition games before the official opening of the basketball season. Specially the UCBerkeley Golden Bears. From here on it, I will generally refer to them just as Cal. Yes, there are other UC schools in the system. At last count there are ten campuses, five medical centers, three national labs, and the stray law school here and there. It makes for an extensive system, which, according to their press info covers more than 280,000 students.
Ok, that is a lot of information that you really didn’t need or care to know.
Anyway – we live up the hill on Euclid from Cal (UCBerkeley). It is a fairly easy roll down the hill to various campus events but a much more demanding hike back up. Since George is on limited house arrest (doctor’s appointments only) I look Maus with me. She is in town for about 10 days. Both spending time with her dad and considering the logistics of a move to the area.
The women’s basketball team was playing the Vanguard Lions. I will acknowledge that I had to look up the Lions (Costa Mesa). Their team over all was quite a bit shorter and incredibly scrappy. The Bears won.
More importantly, the Straw Hat band was there. I enjoy the band. For the last two years, I have made lapel pins for them. Miriam and Angel designed the pin for this year
Wandering over to where the band members were gathering, I ran into Benjamin. A trombone player and a sophomore, he is an occasional member of the Right Field Bleachers crew. He will delighted to get a pin and happily announced to the whole gathering that I had brought neat pins. I get just enough made to cover most of the band members who play at the women’s basketball games including the alumni who cover during the winter holiday season.
Hiking all the way home got to me; Dani kindly rescued us partway up the hill.
And, if you can’t find a poppy, but know how to knit or crochet – go to Ravelry, there are literally dozens of free patterns. If you don’t do handcrafts, draft your nearest and dearest who does. A couple of suggestions include Carol Spillane’s crocheted poppy or Susan Resaul’s knitted poppy.
It is that time of year again. When I pull out the earrings that I purchased in Australia and add the pin acquired in New Zealand on the same trip in 2013. In the UK it is easy to find poppies. It seems that someone is selling them on practically every street corner. When I lived in Camberley, there were displays as well on many store counters. It was a pound, proceeds going to various veterans’ causes.
If this is not ringing a bell with you, I will elaborate. Last year was the 100th Anniversary of the ending of the Great War, the War to end all Wars. The war that later became known as WWI for obvious reasons. For years Armistice Day was celebrated on 11 Nov – 11:11 to be precise in recognition of the wars end (leave it to politicians to want to time the signing of a treaty so that it would be memorable). The poem, “In Flanders Fields” written by Canadian military physician John McCrea, references those poppies which have become the symbol of those fallen in war. In most of the English speaking world – the 11th is recognized as Remembrance Day. In the US, as of 1956, the day was renamed Veteran’s Day with the intent of recognizing more than those killed in wars.
Consider this your heads up, giving you enough time to plan what you are going to do for that day. Not shopping, taking advantage of sales, enjoying the day off work, or simply sleeping in. Rather, that Monday (Nov. 11 falls on a Monday this year), think of those – it may be your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents – who served in and survived WWI. Family members who might have served in WWII or any of the conflicts after that. Some of us have served since then, in various militaries in different parts of the world.
Find and wear a poppy. You have enough time. That poppy serves as a reminder that freedom and choice are not cost free. That we all have a responsibility to vote, to express our opinions, to support those currently serving. And to never forget the past.