Dr. Prince
Wednesday October 31st 2012, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Politics

A little looking around… It IS the same Greg Prince! I thought so! He and his wife threw a big bash for my dad at their home in Maryland when Dad turned 75, and all of us kids came into town for it. Lovely people, just the best.

It wasn’t long after Richard and I had done some remodeling, and I remember his wife in their kitchen telling me why trash compactors are a bad idea: you cannot access them while the pusher is down, for obvious safety reasons, but that means you can never really clean them. She’d given up and had had hers removed and replaced with a simple pull-down drawer. She was right.

Dr. Prince invented a vaccine for a form of newborn pneumonia that is now given to a quarter million infants around the world, saving many lives.

And he is a Mormon. Who knows Romney and has mutual good friends with him.

So he found himself interviewed by Lawrence O’Donnell after writing a cri de couer for the Huffington Post after the 47% video surfaced: he had donated the maximum allowable amount to Romney’s first presidential campaign, he said, but that was Romney 1.0.  Romney 2.0 has utterly turned his back on the unfortunate. “That’s Republicanism, not Mormonism!” He was horrified at our church being equated with some of the things Romney has said and done in this campaign. “Mitt Romney is *not* the face of Mormonism.” Looking out for one another is what it’s all about.

Preach it, brother. And thank you.

In his latest ads, Romney’s been trying to prey on the fears of auto workers, telling them that their jobs are about to be shipped to China and to vote for him to save them.  And yet he opposed Obama’s bailout that did save them at the time that private sources of credit had vanished in the bust, and Bain itself is right now shipping 100% of its American Sensata employees’ jobs to, where else, China. Despite being profitable here.

The heads of GM and Chrysler felt compelled to step up and publicly pronounce Romney’s ads about their products and companies wrong. They are doing quite well right here at home, thankyouverymuch.

Yet Romney is still pushing down on those same ads that are trash and he won’t come clean. And he’s certainly not improving as the pressure of election day gets closer.

Shall I mention that Romney’s family and friends invested in the last few years in Hart Intercivic, which sells voting machines? And that three of its five board of director members donated at least $50,000 each to Romney’s campaign? As reported by Forbes. Voting machines. With the owners of the company voting for one candidate with their money.

I’m with Dr. Prince. If a good Mormon ever runs for that office, more power to him, but Romney isn’t one.  We do have a good President, though–and you don’t have to constantly guess which side of every issue he stands on. Please vote, and please vote for Obama. And a better Congress, too. Thank you.

Only a little post-storm attic distress
Tuesday October 30th 2012, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Family,Life,Wildlife

My sister and nephew (on Richard’s side) in Manhattan are fine, my friend Afton’s been allowed to return home, my daughter in Baltimore ended up with two leaks in her roof that the landlord is getting right to, my sister-in-law in New Jersey says they’re not going anywhere till things get cleaned up a bit–but all of them are fine.

And as I ran an errand in the late afternoon I marveled at how ordinary and untouched everything around me was. Real weather is a spectator sport in California, pretty much. I marveled at how few lives were lost back East, as terrible as Sandy was of a storm, while sobered at the ones that were.

On a different note. Or somehow not entirely; nature continues. Ahote, one of the peregrine fledglings of a year and a half ago from the San Jose City Hall nest, has in the last few months grown his adult plumage, found a female, (unbanded, so, not from one of our observed nests, yay for genetic diversity), and found a territory they clearly call their own together in anticipation of spring, having been seen numerous times by one of the falconistas, who took their picture today near the Bay. He’s on the left, she’s on the right. Beautiful.

Monday October 29th 2012, 11:09 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

From the shark falling out of the California sky, which was funny (since nobody was hurt and it lived) to the one swimming past the front porch of a flooded home in New Jersey today. Yow.

I’ve been reading updates from my sister in Manhattan and my daughter in Baltimore, along with various others.  I’ve been hesitant to call for fear of draining needed cellphone batteries at their end.

To all in the path of Sandy, my prayers go with you. Stay safe.

Trying to change the leopard’s spot
Sunday October 28th 2012, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Wildlife


Okay, this is silly, but it grabbed my imagination and wouldn’t let go. You’ve probably heard about it by now, but. A two foot leopard shark fell out of the sky on a golf course in San Juan Capistrano a few days ago. Didn’t hit anybody, and someone grabbed it into their golf cart and dashed for the clubhouse.

Was it an osprey? A peregrine? Whodunit?

Now, every kid out there has been taught that hurt animals are angry animals and to stay away. The story doesn’t say: was it a two-row golf cart? Did he put it in the back to keep those teeth away? Or just right down next to him? Did it set off the Fasten Seatbelt sign?

Someone got it in a bucket with water, okay, there, phew. No! Wait! Sharks are saltwater fish, hey, run, grab some salt out of the kitchen for me, we gotta save this thing! And so they poured salt around its wounds, and someone snapped its picture.

Then they got it to the nearby ocean and somehow, incredibly, the thing had survived all that enough to recover and take off. No bones to break when you’re cartilege-only, I guess, but wow.

And now he can tell his friends about the raptor and the humans that got away.

Fall flew in
Saturday October 27th 2012, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

They are stocky, with racing stripes–dark, white, dark and again across the tops of their heads, a bike helmet effect: the white-crowned sparrows are in town again. Didn’t see them coming. Last saw them in the spring. It’s nice living near the bi-cycles of a major flyway.

And yet. My children never had the overhead change of seasons I had growing up, where waves upon waves of wings would pass in wide dark-against-the-sky swaths overhead as the timing of the light changed. There is nothing to compare to that experience in northern California–but certainly, and happily, no absence of birds in the winters.

It turns out that these like the safflower seeds I’d changed to to ward off the squirrels. Not only that, but in the past, the white-crowneds have come to the yard to eat berries off the bushes but haven’t tended to venture up close all that much; now they’re up close. Who knew.

But the chickadees don’t love safflower, and I love chickadees.

The squirrels haven’t found out yet: I finally started putting just a little sunflower at the very bottom of the feeder before covering them over with safflower camouflage. The finches fight for the top perches while the chickadees dart in below and get what they like. I know their wily ways.

And I want all the fall and winter birds I can get.

(Edited to add: and I just found this. White-crowneds’ songs changed over time in San Francisco to be heard over the human noise, and when the old songs of earlier years were played back, the sparrows didn’t recognize them. And suddenly my head is singing Ricky Nelson, I went to a garden party… Or, wow, the late Ricky’s sons singing it.)

It’s easy when it’s only a few minutes
Friday October 26th 2012, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Life

We went to hear the St Michael Trio perform at Stanford tonight.

Always a good time. Always a lot of old friends to run into who go, too.

We were talking to some of them when a very short elderly woman intervened, wanting our attention as if she knew us. Oh okay. The concert had ended and there were a lot of people talking in the foyer at once; the sound now was an impossible cacophony of joy.

Richard was paying attention, but more and more she focused on me as a sympathetic soul as she told her tale I couldn’t hear. I finally realized she was talking about the death of –somebody, through a major medical error–I caught the bit about the needle through the windpipe as Richard winced.

All of it said perfectly straightforwardly, even cheerfully, glad to share the news with old friends who would want to know. Richard told me later she was talking about her mother–who would have had to have been well into her hundreds if the story were new.

We had not the slightest clue who she was.

And then her middle-aged what I took to be her son found her and anxiously pulled her away from us, sorry to have bothered us.

No, no, really, I found myself wanting to tell him as they disappeared quickly into the night; I’m glad we were able to be an audience when she needed one for a few minutes and I’m glad she got to put on her best and have her hair done and go out and enjoy a good concert. I hope someday when I’m old and perhaps bonkers someone is patient enough to listen to me, too. To be with me.

In the mix
Thursday October 25th 2012, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Family,History

My laptop is alive! Turns out it was the charger that was not and there was a spare in the house.

My sister offered a link to a James Taylor song that turned out to be a whole series of videos of him, of Joni  Mitchell, the Kinks, etc, concerts broken up into individual songs each. I got needed hours of knitting done while watching this afternoon, although it is safe to say that the chance to watch Louie Louie performed (second down) did not really charm my daughter, tired after a very long day at work. (Richard loved it, I did too.) She said something about my generation and I said, Hey. 1964? I was six. (Five, actually, till the end of the year.)

Watching kids rock out in black and white with the boys dressed up in suits and ties. Amazing. I’m curious; when was the last time you saw a guy in a ruffled tux?

On a definitely more serious note, my cousin Tina said her son was interning with a newspaper and had written an article she wanted to share. The writing was indeed very good, but the subject, superb.

I knew there were refugee camps in Jordan; I did not know that Jordan was actively seeking to take in those fleeing Syria’s civil war, and I most definitely did not know that there was a 60-something couple who had volunteered to serve a mission for the Mormon Church, wherever they might be sent, who, where they were asked to go was on a humanitarian mission–to Jordan. To help take care of the people in those refugee camps, where the needs are so great. Who knew.

Wait. Did I really just put 60’s concerts and Syrian refugees in the same post? We do have it so easy in this country.

How to cheer up a little one
Wednesday October 24th 2012, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

Let’s see if the software is in a good mood today: I rebooted, now trying again on the same process, same pictures–hey, there you go!

Meantime, I have some knitting needing doing. It takes such a long time–but then I remind myself that part of the inherent beauty of it is that it takes a lot of my time. And my love. It’s all about the love.

Running off to get right to it, then.

To top it off
Tuesday October 23rd 2012, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Family,Knitting a Gift,Life

More Parker pictures from our trip.

Or not. Huh. Silly computer. Meantime, we’re home. And the phone rang today: I had finally made a hat, out of a strand of Cascade Venezia merino/silk and a strand of sheared mink laceweight, for a doctor whose caring had made a great difference to me three years ago in the hospital. That bit of a flare at the end of this summer nudged me to just go do what I’d so long wanted to do and say thank you; I would regret it–I had regretted it–if I didn’t, finally. And so it came to be.

I left it in an envelope with his receptionist last week with a note explaining why I’d made it: how his words then had said to me, Wow. You’re a survivor! And so I had been.

He called this afternoon. “It’s so soft!” And he’d so loved my note. His voice was full of wonder at it all.

But first he had to get through my thick head. I was hearing the tones but not the words… I’m sorry–(finally), Oh! Is this Dr. F?


He said it again, and the second or third time I got it, and thanked him right back.

Got off the phone, wondering how on earth I had been that deaf on the phone…reached up to my left ear…and found that although I’d put that hearing aid in hours earlier, both of them…

I’d never turned the darn thing on all day.

But he was patient with me anyway. Like I say, he’s a good one.

Got the photos to work
Monday October 22nd 2012, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Within ten minutes of when we arrived Friday, Parker, who had woken up running a fever, barfed and clung. His daddy cleaned it up and comforted him.

Get a little tylenol in him, though, and you’d never know he didn’t feel well, he was pure toddler running around with a grin.

Within a few hours he snuggled over next to me. I was smitten all over again–and then, just to make sure I knew the order of things, he pulled his daddy’s arm to come sit close on the other side. There. Love. Both sides.  Good. And in front, too, hi, Grandpa!

We got presented with a Parker doodle; after all, as Richard-the-younger teased me in a mock-accusatory tone, “He IS quarter hippy, y’know.”

Works for me.

Parker let us know he had the starving-artist thing down already.

First thing Sunday morning he was down that slide that had terrified  him the night before and was experimenting with the best ways to go and how to vary and control the speed. With his mommy or daddy right there, he can brave anything.

Swinging in the rain
Saturday October 20th 2012, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Family

Finally! See yesterday’s comment for the first day; I couldn’t log in to start a new post.

Today Richard and Richard-the-younger spent putting together a new swing set for Parker and his cousins and future siblings.  Cedar wood, two swings,  a chin-up bar between them and a slide that terrified the poor kid: too high!  I got the first swing in, and very quickly he was pulling his mommy over there for help not to mention moral support in  getting up on that first seat, the one I’d just been on. He liked it! Hey Mikey!

You know he’ll get over the slide’s height the second his older cousins discover that thing, and like his daddy at that age, the kid was born to climb.

The men were pretty tired by the end of the day.  But how many grandparents get to say they flew in to town and got to help build the swing set their grandkids would use forevermore? It was just a really really cool way to spend a day.  While I helped distract the little helper.

Short and sweet
Thursday October 18th 2012, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Family,Politics

Wow, you guys. Thank you! Boy, Sam’s numbers sure jumped overnight.

Now here’s a political link to enjoy: Romney and Obama at a fundraiser for Catholic charities, poking fun at themselves and each other together for a good cause.

Meantime, we get to hug the kids and play with Parker tomorrow. I so can’t wait.

Sam’s Lupus walkathon is Saturday
Wednesday October 17th 2012, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Family,Lupus

This is the weekend, at last. Our Sam will be in a walkathon for lupus on Saturday. All proceeds go directly and only to funding research into the disease, with all administrative costs being donated. And that funding is the only reason why we have Benlysta, the first new lupus drug since 1955 and which was approved by the FDA last year.

And Benlysta has made all the difference in Sam‘s disease, whose lupus likes to attack her platelets.

I posted about it before, and you good people shot her up to being the #6 fundraiser out of everybody participating.  I so wish I could give so much more; you all did what I could not. Thank you does not begin to express my gratitude–you all are wonderful.

I notice there’s a new person on her team with zero dollars so far. Hmm.

Too close to home
Tuesday October 16th 2012, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Life

Funniest comment from my friend Beth after the debate tonight: “I just put my finger on exactly how I wanted the moderator to respond to Romney going over his time again and again:  Mr. Romney! 10 points from Slytherin!”


I went to the lab this morning for a fasting test. Came home, and the new gardener of the new neighbors two doors down was at work. Ten am.

I went to the doctor this afternoon and discussed the results, which looked very good. Yay! Headed for home…and decided to go this way rather than that, for once. Okay.

And so it was that I saw a guy on a bike calling over his shoulder back to someone else, while not seeing who till I turned the corner there. And then there was the second guy–not tipped off faster because I had come from behind, and he was back where he had no business being. I knew the real gardener had left four hours ago.

It made it much worse that that trespassing guy got on his bike and followed me. I got into my house and he stopped at my driveway. I hesitated for just long enough to send up a quick prayer and called the cops.

They may have been perfectly innocent, but there’s been a rash of home burglaries in the last couple months in this city and we are near the freeway–and the people across the street are among the ones who’ve had their house broken into. With a rock thrown through their window, and believe me, we’ve got lots of windows. The same cop who responded to their call came again, and now he at least had a lead–whether valid or not, only those two men know at the moment.

And they know where I live. But I know what they look like. And maybe they saw that black and white saddleshoe car.  Blessings on our police department, when I told them it was their call on these guys, they came immediately.

Just a few more weeks to go
Monday October 15th 2012, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Politics

Walt De Vries, George Romney’s old campaign and gubernatorial aide during the ’60’s, wrote a cri de coeur to the press. He quotes his old boss, “As you campaign so shall you govern,” in a letter the New York Times posted. He is so horrified by the behavior of George Romney’s son that he felt absolutely compelled to speak up about it.

Meantime, Paul Ryan, on his way to the airport, arrived at a soup kitchen after the patrons had left and the place had been cleaned up for the night, and with cameras rolling and a white apron on, picked up a clean pot and made it look like he was scrubbing it out. His wife and children pitched in. Reporters noted that none of the items they worked on appeared to have been dirty to start with.

The resident Republican here exclaimed to me, “What is he teaching his children!”

There’s a presidential debate on Tuesday night. It’ll be interesting to watch.