This is just a short note to let you all know that I am alive, well, and heading out of town on the 9th.
(and if you need further information here is your link to Wiki.)
Kris puts me to shame as she runs regularly, as in many days a week early in the morning. In a wnd eak moment, I agreed to go hike around Lake Sacajawea with her. Only 3.6? miles (old money here), snap right?
The temperature was perfect for a brisk walk (she took pity on me and my sandals). There were s few joggers, a fair number of walkers with dogs. And, a lot of ducks. In addition, there is that flavor or goose that was called “Canadian” when I grew up. I have been corrected and will now attempt to be correct – they are Canada geese. To be Canadian – specific country here, not continent – you have to have a passport…
and there they were. We stopped for lattes on the way back. The rest of the day was not necessarily spent by me in what others would consider productive. I didn’t plant and water, nor did I clean out gutters and blow away layers of early fallen leaves.
Oh, and it rained. I hardly recognized a heavy rain till in landed on my head.
After arriving yesterday at Kris & Doug’s home, it was time to relax, run a load of laundry and attempt to sleep in a bed planted on solid ground and not rocking with the wind.
Today was a day for chatting, stitching and otherwise relaxing.
Maple Lane SAL is by TheFrosted Pumpkin. I think there are six parts – monthly starting with Oct.
The Owl Forest Alice started six months ago – I have finished the first 11 parts, just about done with part #12. Unfortunately, #13 is out and I would really like to get it mostly stitched before part #14 drops. I am expecting a total of ~ 20 parts (they come out every two weeks.
And finally – Love you to Death is by Silver Creek Samplers and just needs more time put in….
actually on time – or so close as to not matter.
The Ovation of the Seas docked on time this morning. There was the usual line up of people just ready to dash off the ship as soon as it was cleared. I have never quite figured out why anyone would want to schedule an airline flight (is that redundant?) within 2-3 hours of docking. There is no guarantee of the ship’s on-time arrival, the presence of customs agents available to clear one, transportation, or the absence of traffic problems on the way to the airport. Seattle is not San Diego. The airport is not 10 minutes from the port, so visible that you can watch planes take off and land from the comfort of the ship at dock.
I went to breakfast, waited till about 1000 and wandered down two decks to find a line stretching almost to infinity with cruise director’s staff going nuts trying to enforce social distancing. Not happening when there are that many people wanting to get off the ship at once. Not being interested in hauling my suitcase and backpack down a couple of flights of stairs, I just hung out until an empty elevator showed up, then waited in the Schooner Bar till the line pretty much cleared out. Thru the line, down the ramp, down the escalator, across the arrivals haul before hitting another line for Immigration. Then outside where I hiked back to the same area where Lyft had dropped me off on arrival.
Had a lovely chat with my Lyft driver who has been at it for several years He works from 0300~0800 on most days, then heads home to take over childcare duties on those days when his wife has to be in her office. Today was not one of those days, so he was planning on driving till about noon. Dropped me off at King Street Station where I was able get my e-ticket printed and find a seat.
We were between scheduled trained. Seattle’s King Street Station is 1920’s deco. In attempting to keep much of the original look and feel – the tannoy has not been upgraded. Think vast, echoing and completely unintelligible when any announcement, whether live or pre-recorded, was made.
As this particular train originates in Seattle, we pulled out promptly on time, Two stops down, as the train filled up, I was joined by a pleasant but extremely garrulous gentleman. No further audiobook listening or stitching was accomplished.
Not even five minutes late, I arrived in Kelso-Longview and was met by Kris. I realized it is just shy of a year since I was last here. Looking forward to the visit, then I head home on Tues.
After staying in Ashland this past night, I drove the rest of the way to Portland. Discovering that the people for whom I was hauling toys from my garage lived in the SW area which turned out to be the easiest to reach. Lovely, I avoided downtown Portland completely.
I don’t think that Keith was expecting the number of boxes and toys which I off loaded. He was thinking small, circular sock knitting machine. I have one of those but it is still buried somewhere in the garage. Instead, I happily gifted the two larger knitting machines complete with stand, a spool rack, a warping mill, several rigid heddle looks, and a bag of weaving toys.
Unfortunately, looking at my garage, the absence of these items hardly makes a dent….
Otherwise, I had a lovely afternoon. There is a lovely coffee shop with in walking distance followed by stitching, listening to an audiobook and and sipping my latte.
As I dropped a “new” table cloth on our breakfast nook table this morning, I took a good look at the placemats. But first, the tablecloth was simple. Blue and white patterned, ocean themed upholstery fabric rescued from the bargain bin shelves at JoAnns. The bit left on the bolt, the two ends serged and it look just fine.
But now we come to the placemats. We have gone through a lot of placemats over the years. Picked up here and there. Not one set of the store bought ones have survived years, children, spills and multiple moves including transatlantics.
The two sets which have survived both date from the mid to late 1980s. (which means that they are older than 3 of 4 offspring. Handwoven – the first set was my first attempt at weaving placemats. The warp was perle cotton and the weft a cotton filler. I didn’t know much at the time with the result that I didn’t use as fine a dent reed as would have been sensible. They have become stained over the years as well as surviving multiple trips through the washer and dryer. But they still bring a smile to my face.
The second set is even more special. They were a gift from Carmen, woven on her rather large Gilmakra loom which took up a significant space in her Wheaton, Maryland home. There were at least eight in the set, maybe more. Since they are scattered around (table, tray, side table) I think I still have them all.
They graced the table this evening as four of us enjoyed Indian take-away. A visual reminder of enduring friendships and well made household items.
and the song goes on.
I finished my paper yesterday at 1309 PDT, plus a minute or so to duplicate the file, rename the duplicate and PDF the sucker. Then I emailed it off to a friend who promised she would do an initial read for coherency.
It actually took me less than three hours to work through the formatting changes, deal with the references (45 of those suckers, or was it 46), and make sure that I didn’t sound too sarcastic or irritated.
All of this was actually several hours after I had planned due to what I mentioned yesterday. But then, if I had knuckled down months ago, I wouldn’t be sitting here patting myself on the back for finishing one week before the absolute, final, last, drop-dead submission deadline now would I?
The rest of my day was spent relaxing, stitching, knitting and checking in with various friends by FaceTime, WhatsApp, or Zoom. Aren’t choices nice?
And then there are the Cal Falcons who are so ugly they are cute. Fuzzy, which cheeping stomachs with wings.
There are a lot of tasks one can perform while procrastinating. So far I have not been desperate enough to tackle dresser drawers or the floor of my closet, but I am reasonably sure that those tasks are in my future. One of those many “clean up” tasks on my list included clearing up the in-boxes in several of my email accounts.
It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone that I have more than one email. I have been on email for decades – starting, in fact, in 1986 while working for AMC (Army Material Command), adding in personal when I went on Fido-Net, then transitioning to one of the “big carriers” when we relocated to München in 1999. Which actually wasn’t all that long ago…
But anyway, I was looking down the names on my email list and figuring out exactly how long I have known some of the people. And then decided that I really didn’t need that proof that somewhere along the line, I had earned my grey hair.
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….
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.
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.
For those of us who travel and are at all sociable, you collect friends around the world. If you don’t travel, but have professional interests–likely the same. For all the fiber fanatics, there is Ravelry, so again, communications with other people who share your interest around the world.
Thinking back, I first started “collecting” people who I knew only over the internet in about 1995 with the original Knitlist. Hosted on a university server somewhere, it wasn’t one of the alt.knit.whatever discussion groups. Rather, it was a traditional group list just slightly advanced from the original bulletin boards of Fidonet. It was how I got to know Pat in Michigan, Cat in Australia, Isobel in New Hampshire, and Mary who lived in upstate New York at the time. Not all that long after, the deployments to the Balkans started which added Kris from Washington State and Val from the reserves. Shamash, the Reconstructionist list added in Ira in Boston, Steven in Los Angeles, and Steve in Rochester.
My first serious, organized attempt at staying connected started in 1998 with my deployment to the Balkans. That email list has continued to the present day with additions and deletions as time and interest dictated. Some included are people who I have known since college, others are those who I have gotten to know in the last couple of years. Two are adults, but I first met when I delivered them back in the days when I was doing OB. I have added those with whom I have served, from both the German and UK military.
I mention this now as I think of one German reserve officer who I first met in 1999 while attached to the German Military. A very junior sergeant then, Christian was looking to attempt the US Army’s Expert Field Medical Badge. We are now 20 years down the line, he is a fire department Capt, works search and rescue and is an officer in the Reserves. Or one of the most brilliant medical corps officers I have ever met – Beverly is now retired from the UK and, after earning a PhD, continues serving by researching veteran’s health in Scotland.
There are those I know from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, Israel – military, former military, families, friends, average people working to improve the lives of others. I would like at times to believe that I make a contribution, but perhaps the most important part is to simply stay connected and remember.
It was after sundown and I was contemplating food and drink. As part of this thought, I decided it was time to head toward sleep. That and there was this bag of laundry. As I reached to put on my quilted vest, the light bulb went on. I didn’t have the vest. In fact, I had left it on the bed at home. No big deal, except for the fact that the keys were in the right hand pocket. No way to get into my friend’s house.
Checked in with Dani who checked, found the vest and verified that the missing keys were exactly where I thought they were. She agreed to pick me up at NB. Originally my plan was to just stay at home. But that would have involved getting up at really dark:30 to be dropped back at BART. And either staying up tonight or getting up even earlier to deal with laundry.
In stead, she very kindly brought me the vest (complete with keys) and headed back home. I dashed back into NB station in time to just miss the outbound train. 18 minutes later, I boarded the Warm Springs bound train (the only one at this time of night headed in approximately the correct direction. Implied was a train change at MacArthur. No problem, only a few minutes wait. and wait. Then, apparently, we were also the connector train for SF bound passengers from Dublin/Pleasanton/Fremont/Warm Spring. So there we sat at 12th Street for 15-20 minutes waiting.
At this point, I am trying to decide if I am going to make it to Outer Sunset tonight, or sometime in the wee hours of the morning. We finally board the TWO connecting passengers and roll slowly to West Oakland, crawl through the tunnel and creak to a stop at Embarcadero. After dashing up the stairs, out the gate, through the turnstile to Muni – I see the N-Judah just closing its doors as I hit the platform.
Ok, why should I worry about another 18 minutes of delay. It is not like being stressed is going to make the trains arrive any sooner. Finally the time is up and I board. Oh, wonderful, this is one of the older trains without working signage. I know the route fairly well, but trying to figure out where we are once we leave the more densely packed stores is a bit of a challenge. The lights are just being turned out at the corner store (39th & Judah) which is my landmark for the 40th street stop.
Jessica’s cat, of course, was not at all grateful that I had made the effort to get back to her. Clean water, clean box, fresh food? None of it counted as she whined and grumbled at me from her favorite hiding place beneath the bed. After all, she was expecting service long before 2300. Tossing the clothes in the washing machine, I remembered to take out the trash bins before collapsing.
How do I define old friends? Is it those, like Carmen, who I have known since 1968? That is, by number of years, length of time we have known each other? How many years does it have to be before we can consider this use of “old” as valid?
Or do I qualify the phrase by meaning anyone who is older than I? Perhaps that might be a way to consider, but saying “older” friend would probably convey the same information.
Why all of this ruminating?
I am sitting in a rental car, Rose Hill Memorial Cemetery/Mortuary/etc, in Whittier California. Rather than send you to Maps, let me just tell you it is about 20 miles or so from the Long Beach Airport. At 1400 I will be attending a graveside service for an “old” friend.
Pat qualifies on either or both of the above criteria. We first started working together in Germany a significant number of years before. She had an uncanny ability to quietly explain to those who didn’t want to hear why they were going to do things the correct and proper way. Integrity, the ability to bend without compromise and a quiet sense of humor won her the respect of just about all her colleagues and commanders. Those who couldn’t deal? They learned that Pat taking a stand meant she was firm on unassailable grounds. They also learned to appreciate that the words “I told you so” never, ever crossed her lips.
After I was transferred to the UK in 2009 we kept in touch mostly by email. As like many of us, as we both transitioned into a retirement from US Army employment, those plans to get together were delayed by this, that and the other thing. She moved to Switzerland; I was spending a lot of time on ships.
There is always next week, next month, next year. Right?
We ran out of that opportunity the end of last year. She became ill while visiting family in Michigan; I had classes, exams and meetings. By the time I could get free, she was in hospice.
Pat died yesterday morning. As in normal Jewish tradition, we don’t delay burials. LA because her beloved husband, a Holocaust survivor, was buried here in 1997. Her family will sit Shiva, her sons will say Kaddish.
She will reside in my memory.
There is a lovely woman who lives north of the Twin Cities. She happens to adore Snoopy. She collects Peanuts related “stuff” as well as travels to a lot of the shows.
The final score today was Washington Nationals (your might just remember them as the Montreal Expos)
Nationals 11, Athletics 10
FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E (24-32)
WSH 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 5 11 11 0
OAK 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 6 10 10 0
It was painful for all of the As fans. To lead for a number of innings, then have your pitcher get tired. Then to tie it up. Then to have the relief pitcher lose it. Then to come back a run. Then to have your next relief pitcher really lose it. Sad when 6 runs in an inning just isn’t good enough.
Oh well. Tomorrow it is the Blue Jays. They aren’t doing much better than the As. Might actually be a chance to win a game!
George spent the day at the Berkeley Book Festival. I skipped it in favor of going to the game. Like I need to buy more books? He was with friends who we wound up joining for supper (after I zipped home and changed. Fan gear just doesn’t look great in a decent restaurant! )
ball game, which is exactly what we did. Wandered around a bit during the day including a drive up to Grizzly Peak for a look over the city. Between the marine layer and the fog, everything wasn’t quite as clear as one would like. From there we went toward Richmond and the Rosie Museum followed by lunch at Assemble.
Since it was free parking Tuesday (thank you very much Chevy) it seemed more sensible to drive than to have four people taking BART only two of whom had discount cards. I had wanted to get there early, plenty of time for the Food Truck Mafia selections, lots of time to explain the game (George is good at explanations) and time to watch batting practice. As it turns out, the park now opens at 1630 on Tues for home games. Plenty of time to watch batting practice. And, of course, for the ball hogs to hang out in the bleachers and field anything that comes up that high. I can understand wanting a ball or two. But taking home 3, 4, 5 without sharing with the little kids is just beyond me. But now I know who to avoid. It is not like I have the ability to catch anything, but still it would be nice….
Anyway, it was fun. Four drums, a horn, a whistle, three cowbells plus lots of fan noise. Oakland still managed to lose to the Marlins (11:9) but considering it was 18 hits to 9 hits, I was surprised the score wasn’t worse.
Pretty tired by the time I got home which should not be surprising at all…
The As had swept the series so far: 8:3, 3:2, and another 8:3 win.
But then it came home to roost. Errors from the field, stranding runners on base and a series of amazingly bad pitching from the mound led to a Sunday afternoon of watching the As go down 12:3.
It wasn’t that I was in a bad mood before this and my perspective had changed. This round of chemo has left me feeling slightly irritated and completely unfit to be around people.
Baseball fans don’t fall into the same category. The yelling and shouting along with noise making relieved a bit of the worst crabbiness. It helped that George was willing to drive this evening to SFO where I picked up friends with whom I had stayed in Australia last year and spent time with on the Legend this year. Jill and Graeme did the short northern run TransPacific on the Millennium which started in Japan and ended early this morning in Vancouver. I get to keep them till Wednesday when they head home via Aukland.
Did I mention that their plane doesn’t land till 2200?
It has been a lovely day; visiting, stitching and otherwise going nowhere in a big hurry. The only two things I needed to do today – mail a package and a bit of laundry – were easily accomplished.
Then of course, there is spargel –
and served on stone oven (wood fired) dinkel pancake (aka spelt in English).
Other than that – I made a bit of progress on Fractal 54 which turns out to be the second easiest one I have attempted. There aren’t a lot of isolated single color stitches.
Is what it will look like when completed.
So far –
I think I am making good progress.
I’ve a late afternoon train back to Munich tomorrow and an extremely early flight to Barcelona on Sunday.