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.
Perhaps Amazon is not your frequent “go to” location for shopping. In the US, it has increasingly become the shopping point of choice.. Most certainly for every one who subscribes to Amazon Prime.
While I was a student, there was a significantly discounted price, which I more than saved in shipping charges those first few months. Since then, I found a military discount. Paying on an annual basis works for me. It also works for everyone else in the household who is a lot more interested in the streaming portion of the services than I.
Personally, I think it is bad enough that Amazon saves my browsing history (which I clear on a regular basis) much less have them able to sell my viewing history to anyone. But that is not why I started down this particular rabbit hole. It was because of a package that came in the mail today.
This package – full US letter paper size.
And this was the contents.
I mean really….
After spending yesterday morning at UCSF, it was my turn to wander back into the city today. With that last paper hanging over my head, it was obvious that being home – where I have cross stitch, a computer, knitting, and a dozen other things calling my name – was not going to be the place to write.
Arriving before even the library opened, I set myself up in a corner of the Law Cafe and started getting organized. By 1300 when I was meeting one of this year’s MSL students for lunch, I had revised the outline, rewritten the intro and cranked off another four pages.
I took a break late morning and wandered up a floor with the plan of getting addresses from a couple of people (thank you gifts are always in order…). The faculty member for my paper was at her desk. She mentioned that she had spoken with the Dean of Students and would be fine if I wanted another extension on my paper considering everything (note – She is obviously swamped with work this semester and has a significant number (might be close to 100) exams to grade prior to 2 Jan when final grades are due). Since my advisor was in her office, I stopped there as well. OK, now down the hall to see Grace. And follow up with the official email requesting an extension.
Please note, this is not why I stopped. My plan had been to say that the paper would be in by NLT Wed next week. But if everyone thinks I should have more time in which to procrastinate, who am I to argue.
There is a lovely vegetarian restaurant on the corner (I think) of Larkin and Market. By the time we were back from lunch, I had the official extension back in my email box!
Perhaps this is a good idea, I have a lot to get done in the ext couple of weeks. But just maybe, it is not.
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).