Justice Ginsburg
Friday September 18th 2020, 8:28 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Who had just too much laid on her frail, aging, but willing shoulders. It’s up to us now.

I am gutted.

Vote for the fourth-year cure
Friday September 04th 2020, 5:20 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Politics

Back when our kids were teens, Richard’s older sister had been feeling unwell and after running lots of tests, her doctor sent her to a hematologist.

Her first inkling of what she was in for was when she had to walk past the oncology sign to get to the man’s office. Nobody had said anything about cancer. It was her fortieth birthday.

And thus began her fight with a type of lymphoma that, at the time, had had zero cures and three known cases of remission ever, and it was not caught early.

They can cure it now. Back then, they kept coming up with new treatments that kept giving her a little more time. Her youngest was eleven, and while they were telling her to put her affairs in order she wanted to see her kids grow up.

Eight years later, she got her youngest off to college and saw a son married to a good woman. Six weeks later she was gone.

Richard had just started a new job when he heard her diagnosis and had no accrued time off but his boss’s reaction was, Go. Now. Go see your sister. I don’t want to see you for a week.

The fact that it was summer vacation made it easy to throw the kids in the car and drive to Salt Lake City.

We did that long drive so many summers after, wanting to see her while we could, wanting to be supportive in person as much as possible.

And every time we drove home, the Sierra Nevadas gave way to flat farmland and signs like the ones beckoning, Pistachios $2/lb!

(Those were the immature nuts that were closed as tight as a fist and a royal pain to crack. You want the ones that smile for the camera, you pay $3 but they didn’t tell you that till you got out of your car, and if you wanted them shelled that was a whole ‘nother thing altogether.)

The family of knitting friends who immigrated from Iran own one of those pistachio orchards, that being a traditional crop back home, and I’ve often wondered if we ever passed their farm. Wonderful people.

Michelle is doing the long drive home from her sister’s and asked us if we wanted her to pick up anything along the way. We knew where she’d be coming through, so I said something about maybe pistachios–don’t take the time for us, take care of yourself first and foremost, but if you want to stop and if you’re interested, sure, I’d be interested.

Some hours later the phone rang.

She was sorry but there would be no farm stops on this trip.

No problem at all, we weren’t counting on it–it was just wistful memories.

Because, she said: farm after farm had great big Trump signs. And she just couldn’t.

And I wondered, do they want so hard to stay unconflicted and unchallenged in their bubble that they’re willing to kill off half their summer tourist income for it? Not to mention, and all that for someone who’s tried so hard to take away the healthcare they maybe have no idea how much they might need someday?

I guess they do.

Keep them open
Monday August 17th 2020, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Knit,LYS,Politics

I’ve mentioned Cottage Yarns in South San Francisco from time to time.

I got a Buy 3 Get 1 Free! email from Kathryn.

She’s only doing curbside because her county doesn’t allow customers to touch anything inside the store. You can’t pick up a book. You can’t squish and gauge which merino is softest. You have to know what you want.

Well I do. So I called and ordered fourteen skeins of Rios in Ravelry Red, with a conversation with my friend Afton to the side and headed on up there.

I asked Kathryn how it was going.

She said that while the county had everything completely shut down for two months, her landlord was only willing to cut the rent by 25%–while knowing her sales were zero for that time. After that, no breaks, no nothing, pay in full or you’re out.

So she is scrambling to make that rent.

You walk in her store (back when you could) to find cubbies along the walls on up to the ceiling, narrow aisles with more cubbies and more yarn above your head. Yarn yarn yarn. It’s a small space with a huge inventory. She doesn’t just sell Malabrigo, but that’s what I come for the most and she has more of it than anyone I know.

She’s not tech savvy and doesn’t have an online shop, but she will mail if you know what you want. She told me people have come to her after being able to find only a skein or two online elsewhere of something–whereas she’ll have a full bag or even two, enough to actually do a big project.

I showed her my ocean afghan so far. Most of it came from her. She was quite pleased.

I almost, almost bought the two bags of Rios in the Jupiter reds and browns colorway, but I was already picking up that red for a future afghan and had a request in for Matisse Blue to make another ocean afghan because a family member preferred that as the background; she’s checking to see if her yarn rep has it.

I texted Afton from the curb about that bag of Cian she had–my ocean’s background color, and got an enthusiastic, YES!

And so between the two of us we were able to help Kathryn out a bit and cheer her on. And, selfishly, to help keep my favorite yarn source going.

And then I went to the post office to mail Afton’s off to her.

Last week, the place was just deserted.

Today, the parking lot was full right after me. People were wearing masks and social distancing at the blue marks on the floor in a line that went from the two clerks (there used to be at least three if not four during the day, this being the main one in a major city in Silicon Valley) clear across the long room past all the post office boxes to the far window. They were not walking back out to try UPS because it might be shorter–they were walking in, seeing how it was, visibly taking it in stride one after another and putting that commitment of their time into this.

There was an outcry when, along with banning overtime and removing thousands of sorting machines, post office boxes in poor neighborhoods where people might vote were being removed last week–so Trump’s Postmaster General donor buddy had them stop doing that: instead, they put big red plastic locks on so no mail could go in.

We can fight back.

I paid for Priority and for insurance on not what I paid but what it would cost me to replace those ten skeins at full price plus pay for shipping and insurance again. More than I had to. Because I wanted to. They offered, as always, stamps, and I considered, but I’d just bought them twice and I wanted to look forward to an excuse for a next time. And frankly, I didn’t want them to run out for the day because, man, they just might.

All those patient-looking people behind me with that long long long wait were surely in it with the same determination.

The Post Office is under attack. Long live the post office.

Mail yarn. Make stuff with it, and mail that, too.

But can she knit?
Tuesday August 11th 2020, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Life,LYS,Politics

In my mother’s day it was, But can she type?

My grandmother was a member and later president of the Congressional Wives’ Club back when the idea of a woman running for the Senate was considered unthinkable, when the wives were to wear proper white gloves and hats when calling upon one another and to support their important husbands.

Before their landlord priced them out during the first high tech boom, I used to drive to the biggest yarn store around, Straw Into Gold, in the western, flat part of Berkeley near the freeway, not far from the Oakland line. They had everything: spinning wheels, looms, classes, yarn in cones or skeins, and they were the American distributor for all things Ashford of wheel and loom fame.

Except parking. That could be a problem.

There was another warehouse-type building across the broken up alley from them that looked like it had been converted into housing, how legally so one could only guess. (This is not far from where the too-flammable Ghost Ship later came to be.) On its wall facing Straw, someone had written an angry warning, Do not pee against this wall because there are cameras and we will report you if you do.

This was not an incentive to spend too long around there once you walked out their door.

And that is the area around where Kamala Harris grew up, with UC Berkeley, where her mother was a researcher, up the road a bit.

And look where she is now.

I had two candidates I was undecided between and glad I didn’t have to make the final call–but when my daughter texted me to say it was Harris, something in me went YES!!! I knew. I just knew. Yes! She was the right choice and we will be well served having her as Vice President. I can’t wait.

A Republican fought back
Friday June 19th 2020, 10:59 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

Trump is a master at getting information he doesn’t want known released late on Friday nights and at providing distractions away from it.

Thus he stunned the city of Tulsa by announcing that no, they were wrong, there would be no curfew after his rally. This is after saying earlier that “his” National Guard would be there fully armed. He clearly wants the “very fine people on both sides” to do their thing–he has all but incited destruction and rioting.

On social media, peaceful protesters were telling each other, it’s a set-up. Don’t go. Or go protest, but somewhere else; don’t engage. Don’t. Go. There.

All of which demands the question, what does Trump not want us to see in the headlines by the ones he’s trying to create?

Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney of New York who once was a Trump donor, has put Michael Cohen in prison and Roger Stone’s about to be and is investigating Giuliani, is investigating where the extra millions paid into Trump’s inaugural committee that vanished got siphoned off to and is surely investigating Trump, too, found himself seeing a press release late tonight saying he’d been fired. Like Preet Bharara before him.

His response? Too bad. You can’t.

Berman was put in as interim US Attorney. A panel of judges later confirmed him. He’s saying he has investigations to continue to lead and he will leave when the Senate duly confirms his replacement per the rule of law and not a moment before. That the President does not have the power to undo what that panel of judges did. Had Trump brought Berman’s name to the Senate for confirmation, yes, but Trump never did, so, no, he’s not resigning and Trump doesn’t have standing to fire him.

He has work to do and he intends to do it.

Who knew that a Trump appointee could have honor, ethics, and the courage of his convictions–and had this in his pocket all this time to fight Trump off? Go Mr. Berman!

No wonder Trump wanted the headlines buried on the subject. He thought Berman would just quietly leave and it would be over.

But this story has only barely gotten started.

Lafayette Square
Tuesday June 02nd 2020, 10:27 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

The Washington Post compiled quotes from people who had been on the scene in Lafayette Square when Trump, wanting to look like a tough guy in charge, had the peaceful protesters attacked. Tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper balls, shields hitting the unresisting disbelieving faces of people trying to get away when it wasn’t even curfew time and they had every right to be there assembling peacefully. Which is what they were doing. The article doesn’t even mention the medevac helicopter with the Red Cross insignia that buzzed them, sending tree limbs flying at them and besmirching the name of the Red Cross much less the military.

George W. Bush’s old CIA director couldn’t believe his eyes.

Note how conveniently the Reverend Fisher had been decoyed away from St. Johns so as to be unable to object and mess up that photo op.

A former Under Secretary of Defense, until today on Defense Secretary Espy’s Defense Science Board, firmly resigned effective immediately and made his letter public in order to clarify to the country what is at stake and to empower any colleagues who might be dithering to face up to the wrongs done vs our immediate, obvious, beloved, Constitutional rights.

Day 77: I think the full official lockdown is over today but I didn’t get an official pronouncement
Monday June 01st 2020, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Garden,History,Politics

Biden broke quarantine to get out and talk to protesters and to advocate for peacemaking–and I imagine to protect them, as well, which was sorely needed today in too many places.

In Wichita, on the other hand, the cops and the protesters held a cookout together and talked.

Me, after feeling overwhelmed at 45’s mendacities today, I think I’m going to go post the plum tree my kids planted for me. And this peach.

When a citrus tree is new and vulnerable it sends out thorns to protect itself; once it’s grown, oranges generally don’t have any.

The rootstock on my Page mandarin started taking over and sending up stabbiness and later than I should have, I cut those branches off to protect the health of my tree.

And let me tell you, they are sharp.

The peaches were getting bigger and beginning to be targets and those thorns suddenly showed me why I’d let them grow.

Lockdown day 74: Thank you Colin Kaepernick for showing us how
Friday May 29th 2020, 10:40 pm
Filed under: History,Politics


While the news about George Floyd was everywhere, did you see the police dashcam of the young man in Midland Texas who was driving to his grandmother’s? He was accused of running stop signs–he hadn’t, but the cop behind him had–and after pulling into her driveway found himself facing drawn guns from not one but three cop cars. He raised his hands high over his head, but they ordered him to come over to them. As the guns stayed trained on him.

He wasn’t that stupid! Are you kidding me! He laid down spread-eagled on the ground while they persisted. The kid’s 90-year-old grandmother, barely walking with a cane, came out to be with her grandbaby and fell, and at that age a fall can kill a person.

The kid had done not one thing wrong but they arrested him anyway because, Texas cops.

I didn’t have to tell you what color he was, did I.

Those protests needed to happen, and they need to be peaceful to be the most effective, and most of those protesting were.

In Louisville tonight the cops aimed their rubber bullets directly at the cameras of the reporters covering the event, escalating from the Minneapolis cops’ having arrested the CNN reporter and camera crew live on air–but not the white CNN reporter in the next block.

Journalism. The Constitution. The First Amendment is first because it matters most.

We’ve spent these months quarantining against the possibility of spreading covid deaths, those of us doing it right and wearing masks to protect others agonizing over those who refuse to see, who dare the virus to try to get them. Even while 104,166 of their fellow Americans have died so far of Covid-19 but they don’t care because they don’t believe it can happen to them.

Just like they blame police brutality on its victims. Tell it to that grandmother. She grew up under Jim Crow.

I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to spend every day of your life knowing that you could be killed on impulse at any moment because of the color of your skin–but damn if the worst among racist cops aren’t trying hard to teach me. It took the nineteenth violent episode to get Chauvin off the force, much less accused? George Floyd was not the first to die at his hands.

The children of some old friends participated in the then-peaceful march in Minneapolis and I am very proud of them.

There was a large protest in San Jose today at City Hall, and when one one protester got violent–I note that he was white–the police started to be, too, then started using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd–which started to run–

–and then about twenty of them (if not more out of camera range) stopped. And turned.

And took a knee together in a line before the line of officers.

I hope that picture is on every front page tomorrow.

Lockdown day 19: silver lining edition
Friday April 03rd 2020, 10:23 pm
Filed under: History,Life,Politics

(My Page orange tree.)

I’ve heard others marveling over the same thing I’d noticed: the sudden, stunning absence of spammers that had been calling relentlessly all day long for years.

Their greed apparently finally veered too close to political wounds. Their latest scam had been trying to monetize the coronavirus: the new pitches were for fake testing, fake cures, fake insurance, anything people would be desperate to have in the pandemic that they could make a quick buck over and run.

Which could make the administration look bad, and we can’t have that, so the FCC–you know, the same FCC that under Trump thought that it was peachy fine to let companies both sell and throttle our data, that killed net neutrality–told those guys’ providers that if all overseas robocalls weren’t stopped within two days those American companies that were enabling them would lose all access to American telecom systems. Period.

And in our social distancing isolation, when the phone rings now, it’s actually a call you want to take, and you answer.

It had been that easy all along; the FCC just had had to want to do it.

May we never go back.

Joe ByeDon
Thursday March 12th 2020, 9:45 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

He laid out in detail what should be being done, what will be done under him, and invited Trump to follow up on his suggestions–he didn’t care nor need the credit for it, he just wanted the right thing done.

C-Span link: I’d almost forgotten what it looks like to see someone Presidenting.

Oh right. Oops.
Wednesday March 11th 2020, 9:23 pm
Filed under: History,Life,Politics

“Well, that’s risky,” opined my fellow quarantinee.

And yet, any gangway off the cruise ship, right?

Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to save the lives of those critically ill with it–that’s what China’s trying right now, with some success.

But first you have to have tested the earlier patients and documented they have it.

The primary reason
Wednesday February 19th 2020, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Family,Politics

Well, that was a spirited debate. Wow!

So I’m just going to change the subject here and say, it’s all about the world we’re creating for our children and what we want them to live with.

Vote well.


Beyond slogans
Friday February 07th 2020, 11:21 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

Watching the debate helped get another 150g cone of merino done towards that afghan.

One moment particularly stood out for me: when Buttiegieg stood up for Joe Biden and spoke of how Trump had for political gain tried hard to turn a son against his father, and a father against his son. Unfathomable.

Biden, taken by surprise, was both grateful and a bit misty for a moment.

When a few minutes later the moderator challenged Sanders with Hilary Clinton’s words about her formal rival, saying that in the Senate, he had no friends, nobody liked him, nobody worked with him, Biden caught the pain in Sanders’ eyes and with his let him know he was okay–and suddenly Biden was reaching towards his old friend and their arms were around each other. Klobuchar joined in the goodwill by talking about bills she and Sanders had worked on together for the good of America and proclaiming him her friend, too.

Buttigieg, Biden, Sanders, Klobuchar: all of them in those moments showed America the graciousness and kindness that we have so missed these last three years.

When they say they want to bring us together–they showed they meant it. They started with each other.

American Lie, not entirely by Don McLean
Saturday February 01st 2020, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Politics

I searched but wasn’t able to find a source for this. It’s from a comment in the Washington Post. (Original version uploaded by Don McLean here.) 


American Lie (The Day Democracy Died)
Source (Another Blogger)

A long, long time ago
I can still remember How democracy used to make me smile
And I knew if we had a choice
Then we could make our nation rejoice
And, maybe, we’d be happy for a while

But January made me shiver
With every vote that Mitch delivered
Bad news from the trial
I couldn’t take one more liar
I can’t remember if I cried
When I heard about T??mp ’s endless bribes
But something touched me deep inside
The day our democracy died

[Chorus] So bye-bye, you American Lie
Took an Uber to the Starbucks,
but the Starbucks was dry
And them Senate boys were talking BS ‘n lies
Singing ..,This’ll be the day democracy dies
This’ll be the day democracy dies

Did you tweet another meme
And did you have faith in the rule of men
If the Constitution told you so
Do you believe in fair elections
Can due process save our mortal soul
And will the march to fascism begin to slow
Well, I know that T??mp ’s in love with power
Cause I watched him tweeting every hour
T??mp ‘s Nazis kicking who they choose
Man they dig those black and blues

I was an idealistic progressive man
With a Drump T??mp Hat and a minivan
But I knew I was out of luck
The day our democracy died

I started singing [Chorus]
Bye-bye, you American Lie … This’ll be the day democracy dies

Now for three years, we’ve been on our own
After hacked emails flowed forth from Roger Stone
But that’s not how it used to be
When the news told truth to you and me
Like they did in Nineteen Seventy-Three
With a voice that came from all networks you see

Oh, and while Pelosi was showing a serious frown
The [P] grabber dressed with a MAGA crown
The Senate was adjourned
An acquittal was returned
And while Bolton published a book on T??mp
The Senate put it in the dump
And we smoked “roofers” in the dark
The day our democracy died
We were singing … Bye-bye, you American Lie … This’ll be the day democracy dies, This’ll be the day democracy dies

When you really need a warm comforting blanket
Friday January 31st 2020, 9:57 pm
Filed under: History,Knit,Politics

To quote Dana Millbank, who was in the press galley. This was just before the Republicans in the Senate voted to hear no witnesses and see no documents:

‘“Please don’t give up,” manager Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) urged. “This is too important.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) stuck a finger in his left nostril.’


I’m never going to be able to think of this as anything but the impeachment blanket. It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it, but at least I got nearly all of this out of all of that.

Remember 1/31 on 11/3.

(Oh and just for fun, today, with appointments on the calendar for next week, we found out we have our first coronavirus case here. Treated at our medical clinic–just like during SARS, when it was California’s epicenter. Don’t touch the elevator buttons with your fingers, yay for tips of canes, and SARS got them to install hand purifiers at every landing.)