It seems that there are two options for cat boxes – this particular one is call – to no one’s surprise….Sushi.
(photo furnished by the Eldest who just couldn’t resist the idea of more “cat in boxes or bags”
It seems that there are two options for cat boxes – this particular one is call – to no one’s surprise….Sushi.
(photo furnished by the Eldest who just couldn’t resist the idea of more “cat in boxes or bags”
and there was marked success at the Farmer’s Market yesterday.
Obviously, I was presented with cherries –
Additionally, apricots, nectarines, peaches, and the most incredibly strawberries made an appearance in our kitchen.
I had two bouquets of flowers, supper brought in from a local Mediterranean restaurant and an evening spent quietly stitching.
The high point of today is going to be banding of the Falcon chicks shortly before 1400 PDT (which you can recalculate to your own time zone.
There is a Burmese Street Food restaurant on Shattuck in downtown Berkeley. Last year I had lunch there almost every week. It was an easy stop heading back from UCHastings after morning classes, take BART, have lunch, then show up for 1400 class at Cal on Tues/Thurs. I had eaten there often enough that I really didn’t need to look at a menu.
When everything here shut down, they closed as well. When your primary customers are students, faculty, and staff from the University, even if you could be open, it simply doesn’t make sense. Like many other restaurants here- it is family owned and run. About two weeks ago, they started offering take-away between 1100-1700. I’ve grabbed lunch a couple of times and missed the time slot several others. Even tho my two favorite choices are not on the menu, I could find an alternative.
Today I had planned on lunch, then realized that I wouldn’t have wheels. Yes, I could have hiked into town and back (or ridden the bus up the hill). But has become increasingly peoplely out. George had to head to UCSF for an appointment this afternoon. Since they are not letting in anyone who doesn’t have to be there, I didn’t see any point in riding along to sit in parking garage. Mostly because the lightening is totally inadequate for reading, stitching or knitting.
When I offered lunch to Dani as a bribe to pick up Burmese, she begged off. But a few minutes later, she sent Alex up with a most excellent salad.
(insert imagination here – I forgot to take a picture before enjoying every last scrap).
Miriam went excavating in the garage looking for, I think, some warm weather clothes. Personally, I think she is leaning way too far forward. This is not NYC, it just doesn’t get all that hot here around the bay, even on this side. And for that warm 1-2 hours in the afternoon? Just get out of the sun.
So anyway – she went exploring. All the way in the back* Miriam found a plastic contain packed with photo envelopes. She brought them up to the house and spent the next hour going through the box. Many of them she either didn’t remember ever seeing (or hadn’t seen).
I am hoping to convince Angel, along with Miriam that the decent ones (defined as not blurry and some clue as to who&where really need to be scanned. One of those projects that has been on my to-do list for a couple of decades now.
*I would show you photos of the garage, but seriously, I don’t think you need to see. And, since the place is pretty packed, there isn’t really much to see. Except for everyone in the families (+ several others) treasures.
It is about an hour, give or take a few minutes, from leaving the house in the morning to returning. Not every morning, mind you – just on those when I am dropping Angel, then Miriam off. Angel needs to be at work at 0600; it is still dark in the morning. No longer raining, it may be safe enough sometime by June for him to return to biking in and back. But for now, I feel much safer in making sure that he arrives safely. Only about 5 km (3 miles for those still stuck with Imperial meaurments). We (since making one round trip is slightly more convienent for me than heading back to the house to pick up Miriam) head back College, down Bancroft, swing right on Oxford and zig-zag over to Walnut & Vine.
Fortified with coffee (and chai for Maus) I we head to Richmond. Miriam is “going to the office.” Said office was formerly known as Shana’s second bedroom. It seems to be working out. Her cats are entertained during the day while Shana sleeps (nothing like working nights) and Miriam accomplishes more work that when she has access to all the distractions here.
Currently I am taking I-80. With so few people driving to work, it is actually faster in both directions than surface roads but I am sure that will not last.
So an hour later, I hike back up the stairs from the driveway and am greeted at the door by the cat who is insisting that he did NOT get fed this morning. I happen to know that he inhaled the first half of his breakfast. Still, he does such a wonderful, pathetic “I am so starving and skinny, sad cat” routine. The cat who, prior to being able to fly in the passenger portion of the plane, was on a vet supervised diet in order to reduce his royal fatness to an acceptable level.
As I was sitting in the living room yesterday morning, stitching and enjoying the quiet, I started thinking about the reactions of different people to the “stay-at-home” orders that most of are complying with. Then my mind moved on to webpage updates, especially for those fixed pages where I attempt to record progress on non-knitting, and whether or not I should add some additional sections.
Which led me further toward the fact that, unlike a lot of American’s (as well as people elsewhere in the world) because of my circumstances (retired from a US government position) I have a fixed pension that drops in my bank every month. My expenses have actually gone down (no cruises, no in-person conferences, no sci-fi conventions, no associated airfare or hotel bills). I have enough pocket money to buy craft supplies as well as contribute to those organizations in my area which are accomplishing what I can’t do personally.
Which further led me to shopping – now on-line rather than in person. And yes, I am getting to the family story bit – it will arrive shortly.
Anyway, shortly after George and I moved into the house (Dec15-Jan16), we started to “put stuff” in to the house and organize things the way we wanted. Obviously, nothing was the same about the furniture, room layout or shelving as we had in Germany. So it was new location for everything. Then, I started tackling the room upstairs that would be my “sewing/craft room.” About ½ the size of the space I had in Germany with zero shelf space for the hundreds of books and patterns which I had accumulated (and we are not speaking of the 8145 paperbacks donated prior to leaving Germany). Looking back, some of the decisions I made were sensible at the time, and others? Well, let us say that those items have been replaced.
As I started doing more sewing, I decided to use those wonderful JoAnn’s coupons for 50% off or the rare 60% off to accumulate a few of the bigger items. One of those was a dress form. Now, a dress form needs a name, even though she doesn’t have a head. So I named her Gertrude Mergatroid. (see, I am getting there).
And then I thought, whoa – exactly where did that come from? After a few minutes I realized that this particular name had been often used by my maternal grandmother Esther when referring to a generic woman “of a certain age.” Esther was born right around the turn of the previous century (1900 era for those, like me who have a challenge moving their mental timeline back a century after decades of consistency). There were names in her childhood that are extremely uncommon anymore. Gertrude being one, Esmeralda being another. I am sure that you can think of more.
When I look at the dress form, which my youngest daughter Miriam is currently using, I feel a connection going back to that grandmother who died in the early 1990s. And wonder, how many connections and stories are we currently losing from the generation above us as we hunker down in place. What will be missing in family stories that we will not be passing from our previous generations through us to our children, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren.
what kind of stories do we want them to know, want them to remember? About us, about our ancestors? And about how we contributed to our community and world in this time of challenge?
The world is quiet right before 0600 in the morning as Angel and I head out to get him to work. It is still dark, but that grey-around-the-edges that hints of dawn coming soon. As we are west of the hills, the day seems to spring up suddenly as the sun quickly climbs, peeking over the top to release me from night to light my way back. The change is almost sudden. Driving down Bancroft, it is dark. Since Cal is on-line, I have fewer pedestrians to dodge, even at this time of the morning.
By the time I reach the light at Cedar and Oxford, I can see clearly without the benefit of headlights. Left turn for a block, then right on to Walnut. Peet’s is at the end of the block, corner of Walnut & Vine. Original store in the original location. I order from the app, then wait about two minutes. This morning there are two others waiting for coffee. One of the chiefs, and incoming day shift firemen from the Berkeley Way Station. They aren’t getting as many ambulance runs, they are concerned given number of over 65 they support in our area.
Their order comes up, my order comes up shortly after. Peet’s baristas now have a tray with which to carry beverages from the counter to the front door. Easier, fewer trips and less handling I guess. But delivery on a silvery tray? I digress.
Wishing each other a good day, we head back to our respective vehicles. They to work, me to the last check on my paper’s references. It is essentially done. I still may want to make one last revision of the last section – but I will be hitting the send button either early tomorrow morning or Monday morning.
I had planned on making the run this morning so that I would have a couple of hours of peace and quiet. I function best when I don’t have other people to distract me. Early morning hours are best.
Perhaps it is a function of all those years in senior admin positions where I actually had my own office with a door that shut? Anyway, I returned home to find the cat had thrown up on the kitchen floor and George getting dressed.
So much for a couple of hours of peace and quiet.
Unlike for the last several years — I am now stationed in the UK with my duty station located on the Sandhurst grounds in Camberley. If you don’t know where that is – neither did I before being assigned. My choice that year was staying by myself or taking some time to head back home to Heidelberg, be with the family. Not to mention joining the community Seder at the Mark Twain Village Chapel for the third year running (2004 was spent in Kuwait).
Being both too cheap to pay the exorbitant parking fees at Heathrow plus not feeling particularly secure about leaving a car at the airport anyway, I was facing the logistical challenges of getting from here to there with the UK patchwork of public transportation.
So – (and, no – I haven’ yet gone through all my backup drives to find the photos. Maybe if shelter-in-place lasts a few more months…
Oh joy, it was raining when I crawled out of bed this morning with less that 5 hours of sleep. Getting dressed was not that rough and my suitcase was packed. I even located my car keys, cell phone, and passport.
There was the particularly jobsworth at the train station who informed nformed me at 0610 (the train comes at 01618) that I should have purchased my ticket from the vending machine
Vending Machine didn’t have a place for a discount.
Yes, it does.
Well, I could not easily find it and could not see my way clear to paying full fare when I am can use HRM Military discount.
It is right there.
Fine, but you are here to sell tickets, aren’t you?
80 minutes later I am at Heathrow, much of it slow train, waiting, and even slower bus which connects train to airport . No way could I have taken the 0718 and made the flight.
I had preprinted my boarding pass. The first gatekeeper stops me – your wheeled carryon looks too big. I demonstrate- it fits in the size thing. Been taking it on the plane for two years. Never mind that the airlines have dropped the size of their overheads, I can make it fit (grin).
Heading down the runway – I got to see the infamous Terminal 5
with its line up of British Airway flights (can you spell Lufthansa? Nicer and cheaper).
Yes, it was raining – rapidly ascending through the clouds
The extremely kind, wonderful guy to whom I am married even picked me up at Frankfurt. After a stop at the commissary, we were home in plenty of time to wash, chop, and cook vegetables. The youngest two pitched in with minimal complaints. The Mole did wonderfully and didn’t even blink at being up and about.
From getting ready (anyone want to explain why my brain kept telling me 1830 like every other year when it turned out the starting time was 1930? I could have taken a nap. Really could have used that nap).
To holding the service –
(photo links which go nowhere removed….)
to the six (hard to get both sides of the table with this particular lens) who sang every single last concluding song. I guess it is one way to entertain those who are cleaning up.
Turning the Voice lose with the camera – she even proved that I was there.
It was well after 2300 when we returned – turkey and leftover tzimmes in tow. Staggered toward bed, it was a really long day, to be topped by a week of eating flavourless cardboard (excuse me, Matzah!)
Continuing my drift into the past, given that is it infinitely more interesting than the present where everyday is like every other day (and not, why is this day/night/meal different)….
12 April 2006, Wednesday
Community Seder, MTV Chapel
After finishing the final email to explain, once again, that tonite was a Jewish community Seder and not open to the general public, we got out the door. Shana came over to help once again (turkey in the oven, potatoes on the stove) but was not feeling well and decided to head home rather than come along.
All the usual on the Seder Plate + turkey, potatoes, tzimmis, potato kugel, apple kugel, spinach pie, salads x 3, soup. There was also a variety of deserts: you simply can not forget either deserts or wine. Even better, two families came early and helped with the set-up making all the difference in the world to my sanity. The teens, sincere there were so many, set up a teen table facing the head table with places for all 9.
The people: 43 three of us all told. Seven families contributing children (Expat, and military) along with six Israelis, a few other military members, some civilian US employees, a couple of locals and few more Expats that we see on occasion. The youngest was barely two, our oldest — I am not sure so I will be polite and figure somewhere well upwards of her seventies. A number of our regulars are back in the States or in Israel: but this is up a significant number from last year, even it being the first night.
The Seder: lead by Annette and Bill as our fearless leaders.
Well, the Haggadahs (Shire’s) that we wanted to use didn’t get here in time. No fault of anyone but for amazon.co.uk whose 1-2 day shipping wound up being 14+ to Jen making it too late to ship them across the Channel by MPS. (would you believe time spent at the Xerox machine this afternoon? Next year we will not do the copyright violation but this is one of the Haggadahs that has both an English and German version). With a fair amount of enthusiasm, we went through the order of the service. Bill moved the piano making it easier to follow the melodies and Annette made packets of the music.
The service is so familiar to me, cup after cup, asking questions, dipping items, mixing and matching the symbolic foods and adding a lot of music to what is both a celebration as well as a solemn ritual. Ducking in and out from the kitchen so that the matzoh ball soup would be ready on time, sometimes I was behind and sometimes ahead.
We added Miriam’s cup with music to the first half of the Seder leaving the rest to the end as well as offering hand washing to those who were interested. The four questions were sung by a couple of the younger boys with everyone helping and Dayenu was sung by just about everyone (well the chorus – how many verses does one need? Four or five – Dayenu!)
The meal: everyone got enough to eat and then some. Even better, there was plenty of help cleaning up right after the meal so that George, Bill and I were not the only ones. Kathie brought containers along to send home care packages for some of the singles plus anyone who was willing to take leftovers. The rest of the turkey came home with us, although not much was left from two full birds.
There were only three young enough to officially ransom the affikomen (which they found, and tried to raise the stakes on the return).
The last glasses of wine and juice saw a mellow group; some participating, some helping with clean up, and a few headed home as not everyone has the next day off. Suddenly it seemed rather late being well after 2100. I sent two out the door (Miriam to a friend and Noah to see her safely there) while Nina pitched in like an adult.
The cups – Elijah for what will happen, Miriam for that which sustains us now, are on the table with the door open welcoming in the future.
May we all be healthy and able to celebrate for the rest of this Passover Season and the rest of this year coming together again next year to talk about our freedom when we came out of Egypt.
May all of you who celebrate the Easter holiday find joy and peace.
In the middle of everything, the computers of Alameda County grind on. Unsupervised, or just automated, the printer is spewing out Jury Duty summons. I received one last month, but the courts shut down before my report date. George received his summons on Monday. As I remember correctly, he was in the hospital last fall when his number came up. He called them and explained that 1) bone marrow transplant in hospital 2) house bound for a minimum of 100 days afterwards 3) recommendations for avoidance of extremely close quarters for at least six months. No problems, they would take him off the list permanently for medical.
And another summons shows up.
Perhaps they are leaning forward and hoping that the courts will be back open next month. Not. Going. To. Happen. The best modeling predicts things are going to be extremely ugly right about then. And, in any case, there is no way that he should take that kind of risk. Not unless the judicial system can go to Zoom courts…
Think about it – Anything that doesn’t require physically passing something around could be done by Zoom/GoToMeeting or one of the other softwares that link people in video conferencing. Certainly the courts could easily blow through all of the traffic tickets that way without requiring personal appearances. Effective use of both court and law enforcement time. For that matter, it would mean that people would not have to waste an entire day sitting on a bench just in case their number comes up.
Right to a trial by your peers? Ok. Where does it say that those peers have to be in the same room with you? Where does it say that you have the right to reach out and touch someone? If we can manage to support thousands of people through tele-medicine, why can’t we think ahead and set up tele-courts?
And before anyone goes down the rabbit hole about advantages to the wealthy and disadvantage to those of age, color, or poverty – exactly who do we think is tying up the court system (outside of family court) right now? It isn’t grandma on her old age pension, it is the dude with money. It is the larger landlords who have the money to evict their tenants, it is the insurance companies that would rather fight than pay claims.
But anyway…I am thinking of the waste of computer time, paper, ink, postal services for something that can’t happen next month. And this just may be symptomatic of all those automatic systems in place. The ones that let us do dumb things more quickly….
Meanwhile, “the paper” grinds slowly on. Miriam continues to build webpages as part of her “work remotely,” Shana is being the demo model for the local BAR Method’s move to Zoom Classes. Noah is on his way back to San Diego as he has lab classes when the quarter resumes next week. Angel is hard at work – more than half the staff where he works are now either out or gone and people want bagels, Alex is putting together some on-line activities for groups of JCC kids now locked down at home, Dani’s work is shut down – so she is hunting for on-line employment.
As the numbers today went over ½ a million that have tested positive, the curve is slowing only in a few locations. The US has passed Italy for total number of cases. Both Italy and Switzerland are reporting over 1000 cases per million inhabitants; and not everyone who is ill is getting tested. I think that is lot more realistic. California is still lagging hugely in testing, Ignorance doesn’t help; in my area it leads to complacencies.
Those that think working from home is easy, convenient, problem free are only thinking about access to the coffee pot and the bathroom. Most of us are not set up to easily work efficiently at home. Not to same extent as an office. Especially if you are one of those high and mighty people with a door that shuts.
we have George’s space in the dining area. The desk mostly used as a receptacle for whatever needs organizing and a comfortable chair at the table with better (and safer) access to drinking coffee
I suppose I can detour here to provide an explanation of the blank walls. When Shana and Noah moved to the US and oversaw the renovations of the house starting with fall of 2014 (good grief, time flies) this room was painted dark red if I remember correctly. They went with pretty close to white. Then a couple of years later, we had the windows replaced from the original 1930s to something that was both energy efficient and had screens. Anyone who tells you that there are no high (or low) flying insects in California is just wrong. About a year or two ago, I purchased the corner unit, along with desk and chair for George and moved the over large table out to the living room.
When you have somewhere between four and eight people for a meal, it is nice to have a larger table. This table, complete with chairs, seats 10 without fuss. Fine, it was purchased in Germany and shipped with our household goods in 2014. For the time it lived in the dining room, mashed up against the wall as otherwise there was no room to move (someone had not accurately assessed the available space). I, personally am not a fan of long distances between kitchen and tables. But this opinion was over-ridden by reality.
And it also has become Miriam’s and my working space/office. Lots of airy space, great day lighting. Easy access to coffee and the kettle. We can even turn on the fireplace for a bit of extra heat. But I can see my stitching chair and my needlework frame is calling me.
For those of you who are news junkies – you already know that todays total of cases was approaching 300,000+ and a death toll close to 12000 as of 1500GMT. Yes, from now on, I will use GMT. It is just easier and I know that everyone will convert to their own time zone (well, except for Mary, Anita, and Beverly who are ON GMT). In most countries, we have not yet hit epidemic peaks, much less transitioned into a more easily monitored recovery phase.
I am ashamed to admit there are still those in the US so tied up in politics and conspiracy theories that they are doubting the epidemic is real. As the old saying goes:
You can’t regulate common sense
and you can’t cure stupid.
I am not sure what leaves individuals so secure in their own little bubble that they totally ignore health, safety, responsibility, and a reasonable duty to others.
and – for common sense and clear explanation of basics – I direct you to Pat’s most recent post
So what is my serious discussion?
Personal affairs. Now, if you are over a certain magic age which I will, for the short term peg at retirement, you have probably at one time or another done things like catalog property, make a will, and think about who is responsible for what – should you become incapable of managing your affairs. But maybe not. Or perhaps you haven’t relooked at the paperwork for a number of years.
Folks, it is time to revisit and revise. It isn’t just the major bits: physical property such as real estate and vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, off-site storage, bank boxes, recurring bills…..It is the little things as well: pets, treasures and that all important “STUFF.” For all of us with crafts or hobbies, exactly what do you want to happen to your stash?
Over the last several years, when talking to various seniors (senior? no, not me in this instance), I have heard repeatedly “my family/daughter/children/spouse” will take care of things.Think about it–is that really fair? To not leave any instructions? To potentially set up conflict? To dumb an unholy mess on those who already have enough on their plates with grief?
California law is relatively easy: several years ago, George and I set up a living family trust and transferred just about everything into it, excepting our USAA accounts (Texas is its own little world). Since we are nowhere near the eight digit limit of value, this completely avoids probate. Both a legally good and cost saving measure. We also executed living wills and medical power of attorneys.
George has tons of books and vinyl. I have stash, in the form of fabric, fiber, and all the assorted supplies that go along with sewing, quilting, knitting, spinning, cross-stitch etc. Do we care what happens to any of it? Well, actually yes. The relevant historical books will go to the Magnus Museum. Several years ago, I donated a loom and a large number of weaving supplies to a lovely woman who teaches weaving in an improvised Mexican area (where she grew up). But the rest of it? Do I care? Hummmm… Certainly we are extremely limited on family heirlooms, antiques or collectables. And, it seems like “stuff” counts more than anything that could be even remotely considered valuable.
Take the time you have now been gifted to get your personal affairs organized. If you care who gets your “stuff” at least do the courtesy of making a list. It might not be legally binding but it should help. This is not the time to nourish those festering arguments that have been going on for years; forgive, even if you can’t forget.
What you don’t want is the comment said by many after the World Trade Center destruction in 2001 – “I never got a chance to say “I love you.” “I never got a chance to say goodbye.”
Miriam and I are sitting at the large table ensconced at our computers. She is obviously working at home. I am, almost as obviously, not particularly working. There is an incredibly loud screech which repeats. Yes, we have redwoods and other trees around us, home to squirrels and the occasional birds nest. But nothing that sounds like that. What is more, it seems to be coming from inside the living room.
All is quiet for about five minutes, then a few repeats.
Oh, (blinding flash of the obvious), yes. I have a tab on my browser open to this particular YouTube channel.
My plan for today is simple – a few more pages on my paper, some stitching, welcoming Noah home (his flight from San Diego which left at 0715 this morning) had only 18 passengers. I don’t think SouthWest really had to enforce boarding order. Every one had several rows to themselves. If I am really ambitious I will finish clearing off our large table. With this many people in the house + the Eldest who lives close + College Guy, it is reasonable to use a table that easily seats eight.
While many people are banding together, supporting their neighbors and using social media responsibly, there are plenty who aren’t. Which means all of us need to be quiet, but firm. This is NOT a hoax. The disease, with reasonable infectivity (no where near that of measles) is spreading rapidly. If the distancing measures put in place have the intended effect, we will not see it for 14-28 days (two incubation periods). Most people become ill sooner than 14 days, but there is a range.
There are more sources of bad information and rumors than there are accurate. One of the challenges in the rush to share data in the medical community is that the whole peer-review process is being skipped. What this means for all of us is the following:
1) the authors are doing their best to provide what they know in an effort to help educate and further care and treatment of COVID-19 patients
2) no one has checked to see if the methodology (patient selection, lab reporting, etc) used in the “study” meets scientific method, valid analysis or even common sense. This process weeds out a lot of marginal information that does not prove to be valid on a second go.
3) the general press is hungry for anything they can find and report. So a study that may/may nat provide information that is medically valid gets picked up and circulated widely by and to people who have no idea of what really underlies the report.
Example – YOUNG PEOPLE AT RISK FROM CORONA VIRUS!!! the xxxx report (and unfortunately, CDC is partly to blame for this mess) says that XX% of ICU patients are young adults!
Somewhere down in the report, if you read the report and not just the headline and first three paragraphs, you will find that the age grouping for “young” is 20-50 in one report and 20-64 in another.
Hello? I do not consider those in their 30s, 40s, 50s as young adults. They are adult. Period. Normally a young adult is someone in that transition period from secondary school through University to first job. Maybe 18-23/25. I checked this with Miriam who is waiting for a conference call to start. She gave me the above number. I gave her back the age range actually used in the paper. When she was done chocking, her response was – anything about that is AN ADULT.
Perhaps the intention of the wording was to engage the Florida spring break crew – but that is not the job of the scientific community. Our job is to clearly and accurately present the facts as we know them. Grouping individuals into age bands is common. But grouping 30 + years is deceiving. Yes, the numbers are so low as to be not useful for the under 50 (especially if you eliminate the health care providers), but that doesn’t excuse poor analysis and worse writing.
The World diagnosed numbers exceeded 258,800+ by 1600 (GMT) and deaths are now over 10k world wide. This is still fewer than the US alone has had die from Influenza this year. There might be an island out there that is unaffected, but complete disease sparing of anywhere is becoming less and less likely. Even the “ocean floating boat community” which considers itself exempt from most societal constraints is not going to be able to dodge this one – everyone has to dock for supplies sooner or later.
Extra vitamins, anti-malaria drugs, dietary supplements, herbal remedies are not going to magically protect you. Taking care of yourself, avoiding crowds and those that are coughing/ill, and washing your hands are all proven to decrease your chances of disease.
Off-soap box for now!
Rather than provide you with another day of doom and gloom (I think all the major news outlets, TV stations, and talking heads are doing more than a complete job of that) I will divert to one of the new residents of our house.
Arriving in December along with Miriam and Angel when they moved here from New York over the winter holidays, Kitty wasn’t a completely happy cat. After being forced to diet for weeks – who knew that the airlines both had and enforced a weight limit on under seat animal carriers of 20# (around 9 kilos) – Kitty has settled into a reasonable routine.
During the day he sleeps a lot, in the evenings he prowls. On a schedule known only to him, he nags for food, pokes his head in corners, and vary studiously avoids doing those things which will get him in trouble – at least while someone is watching. After several months, I am more than used to him stalking around the living room in the evening, occasionally complaining, or watching the squirrel channel through the back living room door.
Then George decided a treat was in store and a package arrived via DHL – full of various Haribo candies. As an aside – I think he ordered on line in an attempt to get the German versions of the candies rather than the US market version. A number of products are like that, most noticeable Nutella which has a different formulation (related to oils used) in North America than Europe. In any case, there was marked interest in various gummis. Being good, and liking my teeth In my head, I declined. Forgetting about candy, I settled into my chair to listen to an audiobook and stitch.
But there was this funny crinkling sound. Looking up –
said cat was sitting on the end table. Like most cats, he likes things that crinkle. Ok, he isn’t allowed on the end table, but I was thinking this was actually pretty funny. Cat finding the only thing in the room that could make interesting noises. You can see several bags of candy sitting on the table next to him. After carefully considering his choices, he picked up a bag and headed toward the stairs.
I sent the picture to the family on WhatsApp. Next thing I know, Miriam is flying down the stairs and takes the ill-gotten goods away from the thief. Turns out Kitty adores Gummi Bears. As in rips into the bag and eats them.
And of course he gets sick.
To sum up this day –
The Chinese are now seeing more imported cases than local transmission… which means vigilance but not hysteria.
The Germans & French are having increasing numbers of cases (exactly as one would predict based on transmission curves. The numbers, I think, also accurately reflect an extensive amount of testing.
The Italians are in a world of hurt. Not only are they out of hospital beds, intensive care facilities, but illness is now breaking out in health care workers. The two main tracking sites –
Worldmeter site – by country breakdown
and Johns Hopkins University – if you really like maps rather than tables
no longer have updates from Italy.
The world total will be over 230k by the time you read this. The US is now over 10k in cases. This is probably a gross underestimate – you can get tested if 1) you know someone 2) you are a celebrity 3) you are “important” politically. Believe it or not – there have been challenges for ill health care worker getting tested.
The same idiots are proposing to activate the USNS Mercy and the USNS Comfort. No surprise, it would be at least a month; non-active ships are non-active ships. Secondly – exactly where are those health care workers coming from? The answer, of course is Navy military facilities in DC, VA, CA which are currently supporting active duty, families, and some limited numbers of retirees. It is not like the local community is going to have any capacity to absorb these patient populations.
[edited to correct ship names on 20 March, thanks to Steve, my upstate NY navy buddy who also notes that “Mercy was in the midst of an overhaul, and I think Comfort is too. They are owned by the Navy, staffed with Civilians, and a combo of medical personal.”]
Ignore any SPAM you get which promises a cure, a medication, or supplements, vitamins or any other “sure fire way” to cure your ills. Snake oil is snake oil.
The same way – all the surfaces tests have documented that viral PARTICLES can be found for hours afterwards. Infectivity hasn’t been proven. If we test any surface, we can find virus and bacteria. So be smart, take your shoes off at the door, wear sensible clothing, keep your fingers out of your month. But don’t wash your books, hug strangers or cough on people.
Family & Friends
Thank you to everyone who has checked in. It is good to know that people are ok, keeping themselves entertained (all of us old folks are hunkered down, while the younger generation is busy taking care. of themselves, their families and the community around them). So far I have heard from France, Germany, the UK, Canada, Australia, with further reassurance about family members in far flung regions (Korea, Indonesia, Central and South America). We are a small world, thanks to electronic communications.
UCBerkeley has moved all courses on-line that it can. Some courses (science labs, theater, art, music) just don’t lend themselves as well. We are still waiting to hear what UCSan Diego is going to do at the quarter start. Since Noah has both physics and engineering classes – completely on-line just isn’t a possibility.
For those of you who enjoy classical music – this data base covers a wide range of free streaming options from chamber orchestra to opera to full up symphony.
I wrote a whole page on my paper – then spent the rest of the day on various cross stitch projects. I am now 20k/76K completed on Farewell to Anger
the several Stitch A Longs (aka SALs) are caught up and I should not start anything new….
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.
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?
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!