Friday, April 27, 2018

TGIF

Happy Friday, all!

It's been a busy week: dinner with family and friends, working on details of remodeling our new apartment, dealing with broken ipad and 27" iMac.  The iMac was mysteriously damaged on the top, as if hit by a hard object.  The screen is shattered in a 3 inch semi circle with the long cracks radiating right and left.  It's an absolute mystery.  There is nothing that could have fallen on it.  And I found it upright, not fallen over.  Nothing around it.  It was fine when I went to bed the night before.  Husband knows nothing.

A complete mystery.  Did someone break in?  I have no fookin clue.  Poltergeist? Perhaps.

And my iPad?  The on/off switch is stuck in place.  Cannot turn the damn thing on.  I'll take both into the Apple store next week when I get back from my short trip to Colorado.  What a mess.

On the upside, I have a new camera and I've been actually reading the manual.  Taking pictures to see what it can do.  It's a Leica V-Lux and a gift from my husband.

A fixed lens 25 - 400 zoom, 2.8.  Very light (I require light) and many bells and whistles that I am in the process of discovering (hence the manual reading).

The news of the world continues to upset me.  I am  heartened, however, that on the same day, Bill Cosby was found guilty, and the guy who has been raping and murdering people in California since 1976 has been caught by DNA matching.  This guy was living in a town about an hour from where we live.  Imagine.  He's 72 and Cosby is 80.  I hope they both spend the rest of their lives in a prison cell.

But, ahem, I'll move on.

Last night we attended the opening of an art exhibit, right here in our building.  We have some talented painters among us.  Wine and cheese greased the wheels as we walked up and down the hallway admiring the paintings and schmoozing with our friends.  In the fall there will be a photography exhibit, and you know we'll be submitting work.

This morning I attended a breakfast for new residents.  A congenial group, we sat with the various mangers that keep this place running, and met some of the newest residents -- some even newer than we are!  The place is full up now,  when only a few months ago there were 15 available apartments.  So, a whole new crop.

So, all in all, life is pretty good.  Gotta grab the good stuff while you can, right?

Hope you grab some good stuff this weekend!


Monday, April 23, 2018

Monday Musings

The hubs and I have been in our new home for a month now.  Hard to believe how quickly the time has passed.  Numerous dinner dates, dog walks, meetings with the Wellness Director, housekeeping, facilities and marketing.  Marketing gave us a lovely gift basket that included TWO bottles of wine.

Our dance card has been full and sometimes we get very confused:  was she the physician?  was he the one who lived in Thailand? 

As life would have it, one of neighbors has died in our first month.  A gentleman we did not see often, but we saw his wife frequently.  A fall at  home landed him in the hospital, and hospital acquired infections finished him off.  Hubs mentioned to another neighbor that it was "a shame," and she quipped back, "It's not a shame.  It happens here all the time."  And that's the truth of it.

Our friend Vlad is moving into assisted living this week, and he's okay with that.  His apartment will be identical to his current place.  He'll now have helped with some of the daily tasks he has trouble with.  Here is his lovely braid that his caregiver gave him last week.  He wanted me to come over to photograph it.

He has sworn to not cut his hair or beard ever again.  He wants to let his freak flag fly and go out in style.  At 97 years of age, he can do whatever he wants, and he knows it!

Another neighbor, as it turns out, was aboard the Southwest flight that lost an engine and a passenger.  Watching her talk about it, she had a  dazed look on her face.  It took four more flights to get her home that day.  I can't imagine what it must have been like to board a plane after that.  I guess you've got to get back on that horse and ride.

Tonight, it's dinner with the Lams, who greeted us when we moved in, hauling items from the car to our apartment.  She, talkative, he, reserved. 

So many good people live here.

And die here.  The world in microcosm.



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday with Words - A poem by William Everson

ELEVEN

But at length we learn,
Finding the chastening pattern to school desire:
Not tamper with time.
Neither rowel the future nor finger the past.
The world wars on.
Our subsequent fate involved in its toil,
But the abstract voice that spills from the box
Cannot bring it clear.
Even the purpose by which we have come
Loses distinction,
With the lover's face and the wife's affection,
Here in the wilderness,
The waste of the world,
Bounded betwen the continent's back
And the absolute West.
We rise in the dawns,
Enter the day;
We eye the weather and watch the sea,
In its manifest purpose,
Marshall itself for another assault.
Whether or not we re heroes or fools
Is hardly the point,
Who have learned in this
That all achievement is only attained
By the thick sequence of forced geginnings
Composing an act,
As the soldier,
Crouch and kiling,
Must also know,
Bent by his gun.
Having fastened on this we can only endure,
Immersed in the chorework of the will,
And wade up time,
Where the glacial future,
Frozen and formed in the stone ranges beyond our sight,
Yield only the iridescent trickle
The bleeds from its throat.

William Everson
from The Waldport Poems, 1944


Our new friend, Vlad, a friend of Bills, gave me a lovely hand printed page of this poem.  It was printed in 2005 on the occasion of the exhibition, Printing at Waldport; William Everson, Adrian Wilson and the Legcy of the Untide Press.

Everson was a teacher of mine at UC Santa Cruz.

Thank you, Vlad.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Monday Musings

I'm musing.  But not much.  The roses are in full bloom and the garden smells sweet.

Fran came over yesterday to photograph our dogs and get information on them for the Phi Beta Barka group on campus.  There are now 14 dogs living here, and, we discovered, there used to be a St. Bernard!  We wouldn't have sweated Boo's 100 lbs. had we known.  This place makes exceptions to the rule all the time, but they won't tell you that.  So when you get an exception you feel you've won the lottery.  I guess that's the point?

The dog group gets together occasionally and people help one another out with dog walking and even sitting.  If we are away on a long day trip, this will come in most handy.  As we are traveling in May, this came as a great relief to us.

I've also been drafting our bios for the community resource book.  I've read quite a few bios of our residents, and feel I got the gist of it, so decided to take control of the narrative instead of having someone do a write up of us.  It's an interesting exercise to sum up the lives of two people in 350 words or less.  (Good practice for the obits.)  You should try it.  Just for fun.

Of course we're keeping one eye on the news of Drumpf's lawyer, Mr. Cohen.  This could be the beginning of the end, for both the Prez and his children.  I'm speculating that Don Jr.'s wife filed for divorce because she sees which way the wind is blowing.  All three 'kids' that are Ivana's could be in deep doo-doo for their business dealings over the years.  If they are guilty, I would love to see justice served.  But because they are rich, I doubt they'll spend any time in prison.  Dang.  While I take some pleasure in the law catching up to this administration, I am also fearful of the chaos that would ensue if a change of leadership needed to occur.  I mean, it's not like the VP is any great alternative, right?  I skim the headlines, watch the PBS News Hour.  I don't have the stomach for more than that.

The unpacking continues...we did a bit of a push yesterday and it is helping to eliminate some spacial and visual clutter.  We know there is an apartment opening up soon that is the floor plan we desire.  So, what to do with regards to unpacking?  We are leaving most of the books in their boxes, in the apartment and the storeroom, but if we're going to be here 6 mos or longer before moving again, I'd just prefer to get these boxes gone.  We'll be checking with the powers that be and see if we can get a reliable timeline.

That's what's on my mind this morning.  Pretty mundane, if I do say so myself.  If you've hung in there for the whole post, then kudos to you.

Happy Monday, y'all!

Friday, April 13, 2018

TGIF

The hubs and I ventured out into our new neighborhood yesterday, going well beyond the dog park where we take the pups to run and do their thing.  Folks around here have been asking if we've been to "the pond" and we certainly had not.

Armed with the information on how to walk there, we finally did.  We've been having rain off and on for a couple of days and I didn't want to go that far in case of a downpour.

We went out our back gate along the pathway, to the dog park and through to an adjoining neighborhood full of sweet little houses with signature yards of Davis, CA, mainly because they are mostly natural landscapes and not lawns.  Natural landscapes that were painstakingly put together with a lot of do-re-me.  A good living for landscapers in our area, I hope.

At the end of the street we came to a park which turned out to be the famous West Pond!  We chose a direction and wound around the pond, which is a wildlife sanctuary.  We discovered why we've been hearing ducks and geese all the time.
Boo and Lucy got a good work out.  We walked out to a major east/west road that we drive all the time.  Deep green fields stretch all the way to the little mountain range to the west.  We were looking for 'the loop' but this wasn't it.   We turned around and came back to the entrance.  Next time we'll turn left and see where that leads.

We remarked that if we'd never moved over here, we wouldn't have known about this great natural area so close to home.  It's a treasure in every way.

On our way back into our own neighborhood, we ran into a fellow resident whom we had met on move-in day.  We told her about our fantastic trip, and she asked, "Oh! Do you know about the NORTH pond?!"  So, we're having dinner with her soon to get the scoop on the North Pond.

Hope you have a good weekend, in some wide open spaces.  It's good for the soul.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Monday Musings

There's a post on FB about 1968, and what we remember about it.  To refresh my memory, I "googled" the year and to my horror saw what a shit-storm it really was.  I was only 11 years old, living in a small rural town in a nice new suburb, watching a black and white television which had a screen maybe 12 inches wide.  Probably listening to the Monkees sing "Last Train to Clarksville" which was, I think, the first album I ever purchased.  The world felt generally safe.  Except, except...I remember the killing of MLK, and I remember crying with my mom as we watched that black and white t.v.  Mom said something to the effect that there was going to be a lot of civil unrest following this event.  No kidding.

And I remember Bobby Kennedy being slain in Los Angeles.  My state.  I remember being dumbfounded.  I remembered the funeral of his brother 5 or 6 years before that, when I was in first grade.  I remember thinking, "How much can this family endure?"

I remember the news of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, reported by Walter Conkrite.

Closer to home, I remember standing at the end of our street with neighbor kids, watching the "crop dusters" fly low over the plum orchard, discharging the dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane in billowy clouds that spread wide over the trees.  It would be another another 4 years until the DDT would be banned, and it was 6 years after Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring.  I'm horrified now to understand just how dangerous it was to be outside, within spittin' distance of this dangerous pesticide.  We didn't know.

Sometimes I worry about my grand children growing up in these tumultuous and dangerous times.  But when I look back at the reality of the times I grew up in, I see that this state of affairs is the norm, not the aberration.  We all grew up in dangerous times.  Imagine being a kid in Syria.  Iraq.  Ukraine. Israel.  Somalia.  Haiti.  Myanmar.  

Flint. 

Parkland.

Hell, give me the DDT already.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Monday Musings

We watched an inspiring documentary on the life and work of United Farm Workers Co-Founder Dolores Huerta.


I've been in California all my life, and I barely remember her role in the UFW.  In fact, I remember thinking the grape boycott and subsequent boycott of Safeway grocery stores was sort of a joke.  This is how very little I knew about what they were fighting for.  This is how effective the people in power were, they made sure that we knew little, and what little we did know was inconsequential.  The media was on the side of the growers, not the workers.  The workers and organizers were painted with the broad brush of communism.  And that was that.

This documentary on PBS' Independent Lens is a breathtaking look at the depth and breadth of her tireless work to help the people who pick our crops and put food on our tables.  Her forty years of activism did not end when she retired from the UFW -- she went on to receive a large grant and go back to grass roots organizing, helping farmer workers understand their rights and empowering them to move forward to better lives.

The film is another story of the way in which women are side-lined in history; their stories untold despite lives and work of great courage.

I did get to see her once at the university where I was working.  She spoke at a small auditorium on campus and I remember being impressed with her energy and intellect.  But even then, I didn't quite understand who she was or her history in the fight for justice for farm workers.  I wish I had known.  I would have tried to shake her hand and thank her for her tireless efforts.

The UFW secured basic rights for workers:  fresh water to drink during their day where temperatures could be in the 110 degree range, toilets in the fields, harvesting methods that were kinder to the body, and sick time and vacation leave.  Amazing.  Things we all take for granted. 

Grab a chance to see this film.  It's two hours you'll never forget.  Now I'm onto other films about her work. 


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