Underneath it all is this almost gargoyle appearing monkey. Dressed differently according to the season, I just noticed this version the other day. Walking down the hill with Miriam and Angel, I took them this route on purpose.
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 …..
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.
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.
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….
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.
As you might expect, with the power out for almost 48 hours that I really didn’t have much in way of refrigerated/frozen food which survived. In many ways, I was luckier than most. Since effectively neither George nor I were in the house for the last five weeks, I had almost nothing on hand. I bought a few things after we arrived home on Thursday and planned on catching up over the weekend. As the weather changed, the winds came up, and the threat of power loss increased, I decided to go day by day.
Then on Friday, it looked clearly like we would be in with the rest of those lucky individuals whose power was going to be cut for the weekend. The fact that it didn’t happen until late Sat evening just put of the inevitability. I had the container in which George’s meds had been delivered along with all the freezer packs. After moving over enough meds to take us through to Monday morning, neither the fridge or freezer were accessed again till Monday morning.
And, since Monday was a clinic day, I felt perfectly justifiable in putting off the task for another day. So there I was, neither cheerful nor energetic, but dutifully clearing out the fridge. Cheese went. Not temperature stable for 48 hours? Out – cheese, hummus, yogurt, cream cheese. You can see the trend? Oh, yes, and the container of Half-and-half.
From the freezer, obviously the popsicles which had thawed, leaked and refrozen landed in the sink. Unfortunately, so did two containers of very good ice cream and some single servings of quiche and crumble that Shana had made. Same disposition for the single servings of home made noodle soup (again from Shana) and a few other still in the original packing treasures.
Then I made the run down to the garbage cans – no way did I want all that melting and smelling up the kitchen – even if our bio container would have been large enough to hold everything.
It was just one of those days which we all have, necessary tasks which feel so much better once they are completed.
I know that I have shown you my solar powered lawn flamingos. They certainly helped last evening when we had to climb the flight of stairs to our house. Most of us who live in cities are so used to the light pollution that we don’t even notice it. Until the power is out and block after block of houses are dark. As we drove from Shana’s home in Richmond back to Berkeley, there were lights, traffic signals and a significant amount of traffic. Starting from San Pablo onto Marin, at the traffic circle we head up Los Angeles which comes to end at Spruce. The west side, the downhill side, is brightly lit. The east side is totally dark. Right onto Spruce, left on Eunice up the hill to Euclid. Dark, all dark.
Inside the house, it was really dark. Borrowing a couple of matches from Dani (she and Alex had tea lights every votive they owned arrayed on their kitchen counter) I found a couple of large scented candle jars. This is fire season – I only wanted flames safely inside glass containers. I could have done without the scents – but hey, you use what you have,
Then I remembered the birthday present Shana gave me (correction – she says Carmen is to blame! Carmen emailed, she swears that flamingo is Canadian. But then it would be like the Canada geese, no passport. Canada Flamingo? The final estimate is that I can jointly blame Carmen and Stu).
No biggie, right?
But it turns out he does this!
Bright enough to use as an alternate to a phone for a flashlight. Just about bright enough for me to start and monitor George’s IV antibiotics (which will finally finish on Wednesday).
And bright enough to use as a nightlight as I staggered around the place this morning, getting ready for the drive into San Francisco. The traffic was horrible. Ok, probably not as bad as DC, NY or LA, but I am not driving there now am I?
As it turned out, the trip was well worth it – platelet transfusion as expected. But no blood required so we were back out of the city before noon. Even better, he doesn’t have to return till Thursday (rather than Wed & Fri) so I am more than pleased. There is actually a chance I might actually get a chance to sleep in one morning.
It was about 1430, Dani and I were upstairs looking for potential costume materials for her when my stereo started blasting. We looked at each other. She flipped the light switch – there was LIGHT!
The power was back on. I am not going to count on it lasting. The winds are due to pick up again tomorrow. But I am taking advantage of it for the moment. Shana is spared having to feed us supper again. There is hot water! The kettle works! I can actually see to hook up IVs. For that matter, I can even charge my phone.
Trust me on that. But just after I emailed last night – first one set of lights blinked out. Less than a minute later, all the other circuits went dead. And it was quiet, a very quiet 2230. Good writeup in the Berkeleyside which is an on-line only Berkeley newspaper.
At least it was quiet in my the house. Most of the time, none of us notice all the background noise produced by various machines, electronics, and appliances. I wasn’t able to say the same for the renters up the hill from us. Quiet? No – they had been partying hard since 2000, complete with barbecue from the smells of things. Suddenly they were literally (as apposed to aware of their affect on others) in the dark. More noise, complete with laughs, shrieks and giggles.
Rather than starting WWIII in the neighborhood, I just shut my window. Plus, I finally realized that it was Saturday night. If you are young, I guess Saturday night is for partying.
Which takes us to this morning when I started smelling smoke in the house – nothing burning near us – just the wind had changed. It was now blowing from Sonoma to us. We still have no power and I am expecting the situation to remain unchanged through tomorrow. The dividing line turns out to be Spruce Street runs parallel to Euclid only four blocks further down the hill. Peet’s was packed this morning with hordes coming down for coffee, wifi and a chance to charge their phones.
I am sure that there are still those who don’t believe PG&E should have shut off power. But then, perhaps they are not paying attention to the brush fires this afternoon along HWY 24 near Walnut Creek. Or the continuing spread of fire in Sonoma. Or all the trees down along the route we took from Berkeley to Richmond (California) due to the high winds.
Practically speaking, all of us are going to have to make changes. It isn’t just the US. Or some areas of Canada. There were massive wild fires last year in Sweden destroying millions of acres. There have been fires across huge swaths of Russia. My intrepid friends in Australia note that fire season now starts two months earlier. There are fires burning in New South Wales and Queensland.
We can also hold our politicians accountable. Yes, I moved back to a country with a leader who epitomizes the “everyone for themselves,” attitude. Who has cut safety funding, who has cut both education and senior citizen services and benefits. And doesn’t believe that it is anyone’s responsibility to leave the world in a decent shape.
Me? I am reading regulations, I will vote, I will play my part. But I believe in leaving the world a better place than what I found it. I won’t pat myself on the back for reducing my carbon footprint this past year – my decreased travel was not voluntary. But it has made me stop and think about waste, cost, and where I spend my precious dollars as well as who I want representing me.
Depending on where you live, you may/may not have followed the massive Northern California wild fires last year. Paradise (the town) was destroyed completely. Other communities and scattered homes were also affected, either directly by the fires, by blowing debris, by the efforts to control the fires, etc, etc. At minimum 86 people died. It might well be more as this has long been an “off-the-grid” area where weed has traditionally been one of the largest cash crops. At best guess, one of PG&Es transformers blew, starting the fire which spread extremely rapidly due to high winds and drought conditions.
There has been a lot of finger pointing for the last year. A lot of he said/she said. A lot of “no one is personally responsible.” What I do know is that PG&E, like some of the other massive industries (see Boeing) underwent a culture shift in the last 10-20 years to an emphasis on making money and paying dividends to stockholders
Honestly? Maintenance and upgrades of an aging electrical system aren’t cheap. Money spent on maintenance isn’t available to pay high salaries to certain executives and stockholders. At the same time, no one seems to want to pay the real costs of the energy they use. So – no win all around and more finger pointing.
None of this is helped by the fact that this fall, we once again have extremely dry conditions, high winds, higher than normal conditions, coupled with areas of brush not cleared and trees interfering with power lines. Yes, PG&E is making progress on clearing trees and branches away from power lines and transformers, but it isn’t realistic to expect that years of neglect are going to be remedied in a few short months.
Parts of the area have already gone through one power outage. To say that the communications were terrible is an understatement. As it turned out, most of the areas that “might have to be turned off” were not. And, of course, there are all those whose very lives are dependent on electricity who suddenly realized they were going to have a problem. Now, I can understand the issue if you are living in one of the accessible buildings – it is part of the cities responsibility to make sure that your respirator will have power. That you have a location where you can recharge your electric wheelchair. But for everyone else. Hello? What part of living on a portion of the Hayward Fault don’t you get? An earthquake could easily knock out your power. What were you planning on doing?
The city of Berkeley has been desperately trying to identify those at highest risk and assist in plans. For a city of independent people, leftover hippies and the like, there seems to be a huge element of “you need to take care of me.”
With PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) literally supplying millions of customers, I would have expected some confusion. After all, I guess it is too much for some people to understand that if some portions have to be taken off the grid – everyone downstream is going to be without power. Because of the cost (see above) most areas are supplied by a single source. You turn off that grid area because it is in a high fire risk zone and ……. you get the idea
Which leads us to today. It is unseasonably hot. It is windy. The hills in which I live are fairly high fire risk. Not only is it dry, but over the decades, people have planted eucalyptus, a lot of eucalyptus trees. Originally, our power was scheduled to go off at 1700. Now potentially it is 2000. We have made plans: Richmond is not affected which means that I can drop off everything that needs to stay cool or frozen with Shana. I have a couple of coolers. Because of George’s med supplies, we have lots and lots of cold packs, all of which are frozen. We will leave only if there is an actual fire. Everything is charged, and frankly – I can get internet on my phone if I am desperate.
Since my friend, at who’s house I have been staying, arrived back in town, I am freed from cat sitting duties. Not that the cat was willing to be “sat.” This particular cat is high on complaining from under the bed, scolding me, and evening whining. But not being willing to come out for a visit. So I was perfectly happy to leave her lording it over me (she thinks she won because her person is back and now I can just shove off – thank you very much) and head to my own bed for a night.
What was also on the agenda for the day was a stop at UCHastings for an afternoon seminar on current California legislation (in the Trump era). The time was well spent, informative, and reflective of the fact that California, by itself, is about the world’s fifth or sixth largest economy. Scary that. Which explains why a certain regime is so unhappy with the state’s willingness to maintain all the rules which have been applicable for the last 30-40 years. (and no, I won’t go any further down that soapbox or rabbit hole). Not that many people showed up, which means there was a lot of food left over. Cannelloni, yum.
North Berkeley BART to 29 Sushi to home. And laundry, and house clean up. and sorting stuff out.
Nothing exciting there…
and that border that I mentioned?
From Artifact Puzzles comes this lovely
what it doesn’t say is that the border is not straight – oh no, not at all. Randall Spangler created the original painting. I have mentioned him before – he is the one who designed those two impossibly cute dragons dealing with computers.
any way –
the whimsy is easily seen in the crown – what I wasn’t expecting was that all those curlicue pieces turned out to be the border…
and there were a lot of fairly small pieces to tuck in here and there. I started this puzzle then detoured for a while.
Part of the joy of starting a new puzzle, especially one from LibertyPuzzles, is opening the box and gazing at the heaped up pieces just waiting to be freed. I am not compulsive about jigsaw puzzles; I neither lay them all out, or start with the edge and work in. Rather I enjoy seeing what the whimsy pieces of this puzzle represent, which often coordinates extremely well with the puzzle picture or theme. If a few edge pieces happen to tumble into their own pile, that is also fine.
In the case of this puzzle, there is the easel (the painter showed up later), various people, sailing vessels and a pair of crossed swords.
there is a kind of peace in fitting things together, not being in a hurry and knowing that – at the end – there is actually a reward – the view of Lugano.
or should that be owl followed by shirts? Nah, the shirts were completed long before dark when I started on the Owl
Feeding my puzzle addiction, I discovered a new purveyor of wooden puzzles. This particular manufacture has only a few available, and, as it turns out, they are made in China. Less expensive than the US made ones certainly. But the quality of the puzzles is certainly not the same standard. The owl wasn’t all that difficult to assemble, but the pieces didn’t fit as smoothly as I would have liked.
The shirts – the theme today was books.
there is the elegance of reading
which didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped
and then there is the reality of what is appealing to certain members of the family
and before you scratch your head – the clothes pins are to keep excess fabric out of the way and avoiding it being caught either under the hoop or in the stitching area. I know this because…..Both shirts still need to be washed and a few threads trimmed. It is all progress as I am working my way down my bin of “garment blanks.”
We had a break in the middle of the day – I had a sewing machine in for service. George proved that his feet are up to par since he drove both down and back. Remember that we have a standard transmission, so if he was going to have foot pain, I am sure that it would have been triggered by the drive.
and no, there is nothing in this post about sex, the government, or politics. It is my summary as I sit here with an ice pack on my wrist wondering why I wanted to put together rolling carts. It is not that I can’t do it, mind you, but why I wanted to. Did I think I was a mid-20s guy with strong hands and wrists (think Engineer Guy who is currently in Connecticut happily working and likely playing with lasers).
Perhaps I should go back to the beginning and explain myself? Right.
Phase one was cleaning up the studio. That totally chaotic room that I had claimed as mine when we relocated to the US West Coast from Germany. I have no clue how I had planned to jam in spinning wheels, a loom, sewing machines, a serger, needlework frames and supplies for all of the above. Oh, yes, and a dress form, ironing board, some kind of working surface and perhaps the knitting machine that has been boxed now for 15 years..
You see the problem? I also shipped a couple of plastic bin storage containers on wheels. Next I added a couple of small drawers cabinets;
oh, yes and bookshelves – tucked those in along the wall with the worst of the slanted ceiling. As I mentioned last month,, I did a major cleanup and organize–donating several good size boxes of crafting supplies and some containers to the local arts&craft recycle shop.
Then my new sewing cabinet arrived, which meant moving things around once again. Next on the list is getting the shelves organized, the piles off the floor and into clearly marked containers, and realistically culling. Having vertical storage seemed like a great idea in a room which has zero for closets. Hence, my purchase of a couple of carts on sale from JoAnn’s on a day which boasted discounts plus free shipping. They arrived on Saturday, abandoned next to our mailbox and had to be hauled up to the house.
Each one of these lovely little things came in pieces/parts + screws and fasteners. I can put things together – easy, peasy. If I have the tools. Several hours of searching led me to the conclusion that the red tool chest was somewhere, probably in the garage beside hundreds of kilos of other stuff. It simply was not worth spending hours excavating. Indiana Jones I am not, and we currently have the garage of doom. One day if I am feeling brave, I will share photos. Meanwhile, there I was–all those parts and me without a screwdriver.
Monday when I hauled the boxes (cursing about the weight) up to the second floor, I put together the first cart. Not that hard, just attach cross pieces to the side frames (two of them on the bottom) place this assemblage upside down on the reverse side of the top and fasten with four bolts (Allen wrench provided), turn right side up, add wheels.
Today I decided to take the plunge and buy a screwdriver. Heck, while I was at it, I bought a set since I wasn’t sure exactly what size I would need and had a sneaking suspicion that there just might be more than one size involved. Oh, was I right. Construction went something like this:
take side piece #5 and attach to back piece #7 with two screws from the bag labeled #14. Now take side piece #6 and attach with two #14 screws to the other side of piece #7, insuring that the grove in all pieces is on the lower edge. Now slide in bottom piece #9, putting that grove to good use..
With me so far? Next attache connector #10 on the inside of each forward side piece with screws from bag marked #15. Next find that Allen wrench and use it to fasten bolts #13 through the connector to the front piece (#8) making sure that the bottom is securely in its grove. Finally, fasten drawer pull #18 to the front of the drawer (with the screws provided – magnifying glass recommended by me. 10 screws, five pieces of particle board and two bolts. I needed three sizes of screw drivers in addition to that aforementioned Allen wrench.
And that is just the first drawer. As the instructions say: Repeat steps to assemble three more drawers…..
It took an hour. Not all that mentally challenging, just hard on my wrists. After finishing the first cart, I decided to hold off on the second.
Instead putting together a small six draw cart (metal) that I picked up at Costco today (much cheaper, FYI). The side pieces were fastened together with four cross pieces. The attachment being a bolt and padded washer on each side. Allen wrench, turn – Repeat. Pop on the wheels, tighten them down. Stand up right, slap on top, slide in baskets. Less than 15 minutes from start to finish, including loading the baskets with stabilizers and interfacings.
I think my fun meter is pegged.
From Artifact Puzzles comes another delightful design from Justin Hillgrove. The box titles it “Overwhelming Odds” but I just adore the sense of humor. Perhaps you remember all of my go-rounds with rubber ducks? No? Never mind, just be aware there was a time when there were rubber ducks invading the hot tub, the shower and making cameo appearances in the kitchen.
and yes, it comes WITH its own little duck
Then there are Ecru puzzles – this one has pieces with a complicated structure, a definite trend toward cats
and looked like this when completed (note, this is one of those “mystery” type puzzles…)
the challenge here was two fold – first not knowing what the puzzle would look like when completed. The second was that 90% of the pieces are identical in shape. Even more fun to have to pull out a piece when you realize that the color isn’t exactly right for that location …..not
I am not sure why a skunk wanted to live in our neighborhood. It is not car free, people free, other animal free. But apparently this particular skunk has been hanging out down the back hill from our house for the past several years. I saw it a couple of times on the stairs and gave her a wide berth.
Unfortunately, that skunk decided to chitter at one of Dani’s dogs. A German short-hair pointer, she doesn’t have much of a sense of humor about being scolded by an animal she thinks of as pray. Alex had the dog on the leash, the skunk scolded, the dog took off.
It was a draw – the dog got the skunk, but not before being sprayed.
It is a day or so later. The dog has been bathed, groomed and both upstairs and downstairs have been aired out several times. There is still a definite whiff of skunk in the air.
We are not amused.