J.P. Morgan - customer service? I don't think so.

So, I left around 9:30 am to run errands this morning. My husband was on the phone already at that time waiting to talk to somebody at J.P. Morgan about a problem with his credit card. When I came home almost 2 hours later, he was still waiting to talk to a customer service representative. He gave up at 11:30 am because he has better things to do and the phone battery was beginning to run out.
Why do companies do that? Put you on hold when it's quite obvious that nobody is going to answer the phone? I realize it's the holiday season and people have time off. Why not just put a notice on there saying that there's nobody available to help you and to call back after New Year's? Two hours really seems excessive to me.


Bridget and Sebastian

The presents have been unwrapped, the turkey is in the oven and I have a bit of downtime. So, here are a couple of pictures of the cutest presents I received. Actually, only one of them is mine, the brown one. That's Sebastian. The blue one is Bridget and belongs to my husband. Don't they make a cute couple? :-)

And this is what little Jerry looks like after a tough day at the groomer. And his last visit really was tough - we dropped him off at 9 am and didn't get him back until 5:30 pm.


Deja vu

This is a link to the article in San Francisco Magazine I already posted, but this version is so much easier to read than the previous one:

Gone San Francisco online

There are comments, but none like the vicious ones in the Chronicle, these are all sympathetic.

In a few more minutes I will light candles, one for Henry, the others for other young people who have died much too young.


The latest newsletter from the Bridge Rail Foundation

Rather than copying and pasting - which gets kind of messy looking - I went to look for the link to the latest newsletter:

It's not over, there's still more work to be done. Let's hope it'll work, the funds will be found and there'll be an end to the needless deaths in this particular location.
And something I'm quite excited about: I learned to apply a copyright symbol to my photos. Took quite a bit of trial and error and frustration, but I finally figured out how to do it not only once but again and again. I think there's hope for me (on the computer) yet. :-)


San Francisco Magazine

I've been debating for a few days whether I should link to this article or not and decided to do it after all.
We talked to a journalist this past summer about Henry. She wanted to write about teenage suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge and explains why in the beginning of her article. It's a long article, "amazingly awkward" to read, according to my friend Marilee (and I fully agree) but it's well written and get quite a few points across.
I can't get the direct link to work - and I don't think it's me - so here is a link to the cover of the magazine:
Modern Luxury - Digital Editions
Either page through to page 127 for the beginning of the article, or go to 138 for the bit about Henry, or go to contents and click on "Gone."


An evening with Michael Pritchard

Tuesday evening, we attended a presentation by Michael Pritchard. I had been under the impression that it would be a drug seminar. It wasn't, but I am still very glad we went.
Mr. Pritchard is a motivational speaker (and, yes, he throws in religion) and this talk was directed more at the teenagers in the audience but also at their parents. He's a comedian, very obviously, reminds me very much of John Goodman and Robin Williams (not on drugs). He can quote poetry (Kalil Gibran) and scripture, all at the drop of a hat and spoke without a script. He does voices and sound effects and mixes humor and funny stories with a very serious message: be kind to each other, don't talk trash, don't pick on others. You never know, the fat little girl you used to tease so mercilessly in 3rd grade may just turn out to be the ER doctor who sews up the big gash in your head 20 or 30 years later and she will remember you. Among the funny stories about his own kids and the kids he encounters were stories of working with Special Olympics and mentally disabled adults and how special these people really are (and how funny they can be and how loving). My favorite was the one about the adults he took to a Giants game and the usher who wouldn't show them to their seats until "a responsible adult showed up" and one of the guys turning to him and saying, "Hey, Mike. He thinks you're retarded, too." Very matter-of-fact.
We were able to talk to him afterwards and told him a little about Henry and he asked us to write to him and tell him the whole story and he told us he'd pray for us. Never having been much of a churchgoer until last year, I am always touched when somebody tells me that and I am working on a letter to him. I just discovered that brevity isn't my strong point anymore :-) so I need to keep editing.


Thanksgiving by the sea

Since it was just the two of us for Thanksgiving this year and neither one of us is a big turkey fan, we decided weeks ago to go the the ocean for a nice walk instead of overeating. The weather cooperated, mostly. Yesterday's rain had stopped but it was still overcast and the sun never did come out. Nice, angry waves (okay, I realize that's a contradiction). Didn't stop the surfers.

This is the first time I've ever taken the camera along and I'm quite pleased with my pictures (not surfing magazine quality, but good enough for me).
Didn't find a single piece of beach glass, only "beach plastic" and no shells. Maybe next time. I hope we'll be able to go more often again. We used to go very regularly but haven't been in almost 2 years. It really was time.


Gourmet squirrels

No, not squirrels that taste good in a stew or ragout but squirrels that like to enhance their diet with herbs. Italian parsley, in this case.

Five days ago, I was admiring my nice, lush parsley plants and considering bringing at least some of them inside for the winter. Three days ago, I noticed that they had turned into stick plants - all the leaves are gone. Two days ago, I found one of our resident squirrels (they've been hanging out on my deck for weeks now and run to hide under the deck whenever I come outside) sitting among the many pots I keep outside. That would explain where all the parsley leaves have gone.

Now to figure out how to discourage those squirrels from eating all my herbs. Deterrants are called for, I think. That means a trip to the hardware store ................


Saturday's findings class

I was going to show pictures of what the squirrels did to my parsley plants but my pictures didn't work out so it'll have to be pictures of what I did in class last Saturday instead.

The class was custom wire findings taught by Lisa Claxton. Wire isn't necessarily my friend - just yet - but I really enjoyed this class. We made headpins, with and without balled ends (those were made from fine silver with a torch), earwires, with and without crystals, and I tried to duplicate the wires with balled ends on a favorite pair of (bought) earrings. It worked!
We also made several different styles of clasps and simple S-connectors. After struggling in previous wire classes, I did quite nicely in the one. I'm actually happy with my results. Maybe there's hope for me yet.


A busy week

I'm back after taking a few days off, not just from blogging but from hanging out online in general.
On Thursday I had a class at BABE with Lisa Niven Kelly. We worked on a stamped bracelet, using bezel wire, texturing hammers and design stamps. Lots of fun, as always and I'll post a picture as soon as I'm done.
The BABE website listed the class times as 1-5 pm, so I arrived just after noon, wanting to be sure I'd be on time and not get stuck in traffic. Something that can very easily happen around here. Wouldn't you know the class didn't start until 2 and lasted until 6? Somebody messed up. BUT, as luck would have it, I ran into my (until then online) friend Arline in the hallway (looking for the ring I'd left in the bathroom), recognized her from her picture on her blog and ended up having lunch with her. A very enjoyable lunch. We had been corresponding online for about a year, discussing beads and life in general and this time we got to do the same in person. I also got to admire one of her art pieces on her website in person.
Friday was "pick up the little dog from the vet" day and we spent quite a bit of time talking with the vet about Jerry's recent problems. I think I've mentioned before that I've been cleaning up much too much dog sick in the mornings lately. The vet thinks it may well be "billious vomiting syndrome" and I am to keep him on a fairly strict feeding schedule (strict times more than anything else) so that he has something in his stomach at night. Hopefully, that'll take care of it. If it doesn't improve things, we will have to try a hypoallergenic diet because that is the second possibility - food allergies. If that still doesn't put a stop to his vomiting, he may well have inflammatory bowel disease and that, too, is treatable.
In addition, he has allergies - that explains why he's forever licking his feet. Again, trial and error here - use a special shampoo and hope that will take care of it. Not sure if the groomer will work with me on that, it's more than a little inconvenient to leave the shampoo to soak in for 10 minutes. We'll see.
Other than that, he needs more exercise and less food because he's getting a little too chubby. Oops! I've been slacking off on the walks.
Friday evening was dinner with the bosses night, a nice dinner, good company, good conversation and I am now the proud owner of two very heavy glass candlesticks (Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick was the first thing that came to my mind - and that's where it stayed until now.).
This morning was shopping at BABE. Found oodles of beautiful clasps at Jess Imports. They also very kindly exchanged a clasp I bought earlier this year that didn't want to stay closed. I bought a few kits here and there - beadwork and chain maille - and picked up my lower-case letter stamp set from Beaducation. Lisa Niven Kelly designed every single one of these letters herself and is having the stamp sets made for her company. I noticed that the first 50 sets sold out on her website the first evening. I'd reserved mine during class.
So, I'm back, but a little tired and it'll take me a few days to get back to normal.
It's been exactly 18 months today since we lost Henry and on the way to Oakland this morning, we talked about him quite a bit. We're still trying to figure out the why's and what's but we also shared some good and funny memories. I miss his unexpected sense of humor and his dry and quick wit - among so many other things.


Seen around the neighborhood ..........

The rains finally stopped and Jerry and I took a walk around the neighborhood again - we now own at least 10 yards up and down the street.

I took the camera along, for no reason really, and lucked out with a few things along the way ........

Roses, olives and political signs (I think somebody covered all the
bases here.).

30 minutes later - the McCain sign is gone and there now is a big Obama sign.


Switching gears - again

Yesterday - really bad day weatherwise - I learned to etch on copper and brass. Loved it! Would like it even more if it didn't involve dangerous chemicals.

My images aren't that terrific, but I think it gives an idea of what I've made. I'm still patina-ing a few pieces, finally managed to find green patina.

I hope to do more once I manage to track down ferric chloride locally, or as close to local I can find.

I probably should mention that all the ones shown in detail are done with rubber stamps.

And, no, the last one is not a self-portrait.


Second verse - same as the first .......

I was going to apologize to Peter Noone for borrowing his lyrics but then realized he hadn't actually written that song, so I won't :-)

But it is the same pattern and one of the same fabrics as the last bag I made. I wanted to find something to go with the center fabric, loved the dark brown with it and really, really liked the other fabric as well. Doesn't mean I'm done yet - I found yet another fabric that goes well with the center and outside one and I will try that one, too. But I really, really love this bag. It's mine! I think I'll testwear it later today.

I'm also uploading a new Jerry picture. He follows me wherever I go and always, always comes along when I take pictures outside. Got lucky with this one taken a couple of days ago. Today's didn't work out because he turned his head away. And who wants to see pictures of Jerry's backside? :-)

Those will be the last pictures I will be able to take outdoors for a while. We're expecting our first real rainstorm of the season tonight and it's expected to last off and on through Tuesday. Most of the rain should fall on Saturday. Not a big deal for me. I will be learning to etch on copper in Berkeley.


And another one ..............

Here's my latest bag - again from a Japanese magazine. All the fabrics are Kaffe Fassett and it's quite a big bag, wide at the bottom. A good size, though. I plan on making the same bag in slightly different fabrics again because I finally figured out what to pair with a rather odd fabric - it's browns and fuchsia and the outside fabric I used here will work well with it.

Bags finally mailed

The giveaway bags have finally gone out to the winners - all but two. I never heard from 2 of the winners and without addresses I can't mail the bags. So, unless I hear from them soon, those 2 bags will go back into the stash to be used in some other way.


Bags, bags and more bags

I seem to be spending a lot of time at the sewing machine - when I'm not standing over a kitchen counter measuring and drafting patterns and cutting out fabric. Yes, I decided to try my hand at making my own pattern. Haven't found the exact right and perfect one yet but I think I'm headed in the right direction.

The first bag is out of a Japanese magazine. It's cute and that's the problem. I don't do cute. It's also too small for my taste.

The next bag is my own pattern, the very first one. It is nice but a little boring, I think. Not the choice of fabric but the proportions. I like the width on the bottom but it needs to be narrower at the top (I'm working on it).

The last one is too narrow, I think. The top part is good, but the rest needs to be wider.

And that's what happens when I try to design. I don't know how other people do that, how many "wrong" versions they go through before they arrive at the perfect design/pattern, but in my case it's taking a little while.


A second unexpected gift

Today's mail brought another wonderful surprise: a necklace from my friend Marilee - Marilee J. Layman. The scan doesn't do it justice (but I scan better than I photograph close-ups), the colors are much richer in real life.

The necklace is absolutely perfect: the color suits me so well, the length is exactly right and the design is wonderful. I love the cab, it took me a while to realize that it is made from polymer clay. There is such a depth to it and the shine is amazing. Thank you very, very much, Marilee.

I don't know what I have done to deserve two such wonderful gifts in such a short time but I am certainly enjoying them.


I've been tagged

AJ - ErtheFae's Meandering Thoughts - very kindly tagged me.

I have to reveal 7 facts about myself and then tag 7 other people (that may be a bit of a problem).

Here are the "official" rules:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are the 7 facts about myself:

1. I like liquorice - to me, it's a basic food group.
2. My little dog is named after Jerry Garcia.
3. I have always "lusted" after an old pick up truck, preferrably in shiny red. Probably will never happen and I probably like the idea of it more than the reality.
4. Not only do I have too many beads (yes, there is such a thing) but I have too much fabric. At least, we'll never be cold.
5. Two of my favorite colors are and have always been blue and yellow. I remember telling the principal who "interviewed" me before I started school that.
6. I can bake bread, I just don't these days. And I don't mean with a bread machine, but really from scratch.
7. My favorite get away spot is the ocean, somewhere at a non-crowded beach. Just walking, counting the waves and collecting beach glass.

Here are the 7 people I am tagging:

1. Grace from GraceBeading
2. Katie from Coconutbead
3. Beki from Beki's
4. Katie Liz from KatieLiz Knits
5. Pat from Pat Winter Gatherings
6. Arline from SharedstuffbyArline
7. Kate from Kniterations

And the winners are ...................

Without further ado, here are the winners of the five bags:

No. 1 - abeadlady - you won bag No. 3, the polka dots

No. 2 - Katie Liz - you won bag No. 1, the yellow flowers

No. 3 - Pat Winter - you won bag No. 2, the blue circles

No. 4 - just jennifer - you won bag No, 4, the women

No. 5 - Rhonda P - you won bag No. 5, the red one.

Would the winners please contact me at summerfield89 at gmail dot com with their snail mail addresses so I can mail the bags to you.

And please know that the bags will be smooshed when they arrive. You'll have to manipulate them, punch them a bit to get them to look nice and straight.

Congratulations to all!


An unexpected gift

Today's mail brought a package, completely unexpected. I recognized the name but didn't expect what was inside - the most exquisite beaded doll I have ever seen made for me by a friend who is an amazine bead artist.
I haven't taken pictures yet but, luckily, Grace did.
Of course, there were tears at first at the unexpected kindness. I have been so blessed over the last year and a half, so many new people have come into my life, all good people, kind people, most of whom I probably would never have met or gotten close to if it hadn't been for Henry's death. I am so grateful to them all, grateful for the emails, the letters, cards, the visits, the flowers, the prayers, the opportunity to just talk and talk until I was all talked out, the advice, the unexpected gifts. I know I can ever repay them but I hope they all know how much they mean to me and how much I appreciate all they have done for me.
Grace, thank you! Your doll is beautiful, I love the colors, the design, the little ruffle on the back and especially the hair! It reminds me a bit of dreadlocks and makes me wish I hadn't just gotten a haircut :-)


Dr. Phil, Wednesday, about the bridge

Tomorrow, on Wednesday (and I'm having the hardest time typing that word), John Brooks, Casey's father (she took her life on that bridge in January of this year) will be on Dr. Phil along with Eric Steele, film maker ("The Bridge") and Thomas Joiner, psychologist and author. Obviously, it's going to be about that bridge.
I just finished a book by Thomas Joiner and I'm interested in what he has to say. I didn't agree with everything he wrote and I have mixed feelings about what he'll say tomorrow.
Yes, I know the board approved the net as a suicide barrier but until construction actually starts, I'm sort of holding my breath. Well, not really, more mentally than physically.

The giveaway - finally

After talking about this twice already, I thought it was time I got on with it. So, I finally picked out what I was actually going to give away and took pictures. Five bags, five winners.

So, anybody who leaves me a comment between now and midnight on Friday will be entered into the drawing. I will write the names onto little pieces of paper, throw them all into a bowl and have my husband draw the names sometime this coming weekend (don't know yet what our plans for the weekend are so I can't commit to Saturday or Sunday).

I haven't quite figured out yet how I'm going decide who gets which bag. I'm thinking the first name drawn gets first choice etc. but that might be a slow process and I'm open to suggestions.

So, leave me a comment to this post and we'll go from there.


Occupational therapy

After the good news on Friday, I was feeling strangely deflated. I hadn't expected the vote just yet. It wasn't scheduled until 2 weeks from Friday. But I can understand why it was moved up. One of the reasons could well be the media circus that would have been on the 24th. Of course, it's not done yet, the money has to be found somehow and that could be a stumbling block. I guess that's where we - the BRF - come in. So, I still have a "job." :-)
Anyway, I set up the sewing machine and dug out a half-finished bag and worked on it this morning. I am very pleased with the result. My first time trying darts and pleats for shaping and I really like it. This is a pattern I bought on etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=67285 - it's not up right now, apparently, she sold out).

I'm used to bigger bags - most of my others are (quite a bit) bigger, so I'm going to play with it a big next - slightly longer and maybe a bit wider. But I really like the way this bag "wears."

Watch for the previously mentioned "giveaway" later this week. I have to decide exactly on what to give away :-) Drawing will be on the 17th - the 9 month anniversary of this blog.


More about the barrier

Yes, I know I already posted today and about the same subject, but ................

Here are links to 2 articles:

Both are from local TV stations. They obviously were present at the meeting. I was supposed to go and make a presentation but got sick :-( So, Larry went instead of me, addressed the board briefly and handed out the papers I had prepared. He was very optimistic when he came back - the majority of board members spoke out in favor of a barrier, but all seemed to favor the net. That isn't the option most of us favor - and with us I mean BRF people and law enforcement. There's maintenance cost involved, and there are other issues that haven't completely been resolved. Still, this is better than nothing. There have been far too many deaths already. And nets have been in use in Switzerland and they work there.

One thing that surprises me is the mention of Mayor Newsom. Typical politician - just a few weeks ago he was against any kind of barrier and now he says, ""I look forward to working with the district and the mental health community to help implement these life saving measures."


This just came from the Bridge Rail Foundation:

VICTORY—GGB votes to stop suicidesOctober 10, 2008

The directors of the Golden Gate Bridge district today voted 16-1 for a barrier to prevent suicides from the bridge. The vote came after bridge staff summarized the results of last summer's public review of the draft EIR and testimony from many supporters of suicide prevention on the bridge.

Today's vote comes 71 years and two months after the first suicide from the Golden Gate. It is also five years since Tad Friend published a long essay on the problem in the New Yorker magazine. That article inspired the production of Eric Steel's "The Bridge"—a film documenting a full year of GGB suicides. It also: stimulated local psychiatrists and suicide prevention groups to tackle the issue and moved the local press to examine the problem in great depth.

The GGB hearing room was packed with people supporting construction of a barrier, including retired UCSF psychiatrist Jerry Motto MD, who first pushed the district to act in the '60's.

The district action selects the net alternative as the Locally Preferred Option. Next up is completion of the EIR and development of a funding plan. These actions are likely in April of 2009. We will have more information as the issue progresses.


A walk on the wild side?

I seem to have a previously well hidden wild side - well, sort of. It only extends to my choice of fabric. But I surprised myself when I chose fabrics for a bag I just finished. Not at all my usual safe navy and other shades of blue.

Of course, I started out with safe choices first. That bag was made from a tutorial I found on the web.

The second one is the "Dolcetta" bag by "Melly & Me." Fabrics are all Kaffe Fassetts.


A very nice etsy seller

In early September, I ordered 2 pendants from an etsy seller. After almost 3 weeks had passed and I hadn't received them yet, I contacted her and was given a tracking number. According to the Post Office, my pendants had been processed on September 18 in Oakland and that's what it said day after day.
Last Friday, I called the Post Office for the second time and got the run around. By then, "processed" had been updated to "processed and left Oakland on September 18."
So, I wrote to the etsy seller and explained. She wrote back immediately and said she'd send replacements. I am still gobsmacked that she offered to do this without a second thought.
I will definitely check her offerings again because I am all in favor of supporting nice people.

Here's a link to her etsy shop:

Etsy :: AnnieHowes :: Etsy Customers Make Me Smile :o)


Friday morning rant

No, this will not be a regular feature.

1. Stop signs really are for everybody, not just the people who feel like stopping.

2. If you try on shoes in a store, put them back into the correct box. It's no fun having to go through every box trying to find a size 7. The same goes for clothes - put 'em back on the correct hanger.
And stop buying all the 7's before I have a chance to try them on.
Hint to store: buy more of the sizes that sell out first. Bigger profits, you know?

3. Even you, who are totally pc and environmentally concious, drive a Mercedes or other luxury car, drip with diamonds while wearing yoga pants and other fancy exercise gear, should really put the shopping cart into the cart corral and not leave it in the middle of the parking lot. The world doesn't owe you and we don't exist to serve you. And, besides, those extra steps count as exercise.

4. That law about not using cell phones while driving applies to everybody. Really. Those hands free devices do work and, besides, are you really that important that you have to be wired for sound 24/7?

5. If you're passive-aggressive, don't take it out on me. It's not funny following you down the road way below speed limit only to see you speed up at the light so that you can go through while I'm stuck through another cycle. Get therapy, pound sand, talk back to your spouse or whoever ticked you off.

6. Note to Post Office. If you promise to call me back about a lost/missing package, do so. Don't update your website from "processed in Oakland on 18 September" to "processed and left Oakland on 18 September." Oakland is an hour down the road. It should have gotten here by now. Bad Post Office!

7. Note to little dog: when your girlfriend comes over, don't wet your pants (or pee on the floor). Girls are not impressed by guys who can't hold their liquor or have bladder control problems.


The pictures are up!

There was a professional photographer at the walk on Saturday and she posted the pictures she took today:


Our team is on pages 4 (last 3 pictures) and 5 (first 2). I'm the one in the blue Tshirt in the front row, my husband is on my left. My facebook friend and her family are to my right - that's her mom right next to me. And in the front is Casey's dad with Igor, a very well-behaved dog.

Added 2 days later: the pictures of our team are now on page 15.


Chronicle article

The media was there yesterday. I've already watched a short blip on the local Fox station and found this article in today's Chronicle. It includes good pictures, one of them of one of our team members carrying one of 3 Casey and Henry posters.



More on the suicide awareness walk

This was in the local media:

KCBS - Rally Draws Support for Suicide Barrier for Bridge

The suicide walk

I'm having a hard time getting the right words together, so for now, it'll be mostly pictures and whatever comes to mind.

There are so many things that go through my mind: the people, the hugs, the speeches, the feeling of not being alone is all this.

It was such a beautiful day, sunny, warm, just enough of a breeze to keep all of us comfy while we walked. There were over 400 people there, possibly more than 500, all because they lost someone the same way: suicide, unexpectedly.

We arrived in plenty of time to register, find the other members of our team (most of whom I had never met before), get our raffle tickets, sign a petition here and there, pick up our beads (white for a lost child, blue for supporting the cause; there were other colors, too, red, green, purple for a lost spouse, relative, friend). There was an MC, two speakers, Senator Tom Torlakson and Ken Holmes, the Marin County Coroner, both of whom have lost somebody to suicide. The speeches were short and to the point (why can't we discuss suicide the same way as heart disease, cancer and bring it out of the darkness and into the light?), there was a brief warm-up and then we started our walk.

Our team consisted of 10 members, Rachel (my facebook friend), her mother (who started the team), her brother who provided the hockey sticks the posters were attached to; Casey's parents, Erika and John; several classmates and friends of Casey and Larry and I.

Rachel and her family had made 3 posters with pictures of Casey and Henry and several of us carried those throughout the whole 5 km. Those were a sure conversation starter. I carried one of them for the whole 5 km only handing it off to Larry when I wanted to take pictures.

The walk went off without a problem, there was a drawings for several prizes (2 trips to Mexico, dinners at various restaurants, golf at a nice course etc.) and Rachel's brother won tickets for Six Flags something we were all thrilled about.

There were team photos - it'll be a while before those are available - a moment of silence and then it was over.

My group, the Bridge Rail Foundation, had collected over 1,400 pairs of shoes (I need to update the number later when I get an exact count - the exact count is 1,560) to represent the people who have jumped from the bridge. The official count is at 1,300 but that is too low. There are plenty of people (including quite a few in our group) who are not included so it was important to many of us to have more than 1,300 pairs to remember the ones not counted.

I'm uploading as many pictures as blogger lets me. There may be more later.

I didn't mean to write quite so much and I'm sure there is more to be said, that'll have to wait.


Balloons, fall & new jewelry

Fall is definitely in the air. Nevermind that the days are still relatively hot - we need the A/C on occasion - the leaves are turning, the geese are flying overhead all the time, North for some strange reason (I think towards the reservoirs in the vineyards) and the balloons are back in full force. Depending on where the wind moves them, they either drift over the east or the west side of the valley. Right now, they end up on our side and we have multiple balloons landing in the field behind our yard every morning.

Three landed within minutes of each other yesterday (that would be picture 1). I caught three more this morning in various stages of deflation, but there were four baskets. Makes me think I was too late to catch the very first one.

Since I had no errands to run this morning, I was going to sew. Couldn't decide on what to work on, though, so I did something entirely different: stamping on metal. I took a class a couple of years ago and have been collecting shapes and stamps ever since. Beaducation (http://www.beaducation.com/) has a nice selection of supplies and they offer classes, some free, some not. That's where some of my ideas came from and just about all of my supplies.

Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out how to do good close-ups with a camera and the scanner refuses to do a decent scan of metal and Photoshop isn't much help with the adjustments. So, a less than perfect picture of slightly less than perfect pendants. I think the word is "organic."

I signed up for the 5 k walk this weekend in San Francisco and decided I needed some new jewelry for that event, hence the pendants with "Henry" on them. I still haven't gotten over the need for visual reminders.


Bridge Rail Foundation Newsletter

Here's a copy and paste (without pictures) of the latest newsletter. It should be available on the foundation's website (http://www.bridgerail.org/) in time with visuables and clickable links. I'll do my best for now.

Saturday Sept. 27—BRF Whose Shoes? Exhibit at AFSP Walk Out of Darkness

To dramatize the extent of death at the Golden Gate Bridge, this year's AFSP Walk Out of Darkness at Crissy Field will feature 1,300 shoes and boots stacked together symbolizing the confirmed suicides at the bridge. BRF volunteers are organizing the display and will be at the walk at the invitation of AFSP and local organizers.

The annual AFSP fundraiser is Saturday, September 27. Registration starts at 8:30 am while the walk starts at 10 am and concludes at noon. There will be several speakers—including Marin Coroner and BRF Board Member, Ken Holmes as the keynote speaker.

To sign up for the AFSP Walk and get all the details Click Here.

BRF volunteer Joanie Boyle is coordinating our participation—and collecting shoes for the display. If you can help, Click Here to sent her a note. And, yes, we need donations of shoes!

Action Item—Update GGB on the Suicide Count

Each meeting of the GGB board features a brief period of open public comment, and we plan to have something to say at most every future board meeting. A number of our supporters have been to the last several meetings with specifics on barrier proposals and the loss of friends or loved ones. At one meeting we noticed the board receives a regular operations report—stating the number of tolls paid, bus ridership and the like.

It's time they also got a regular update on the death count—so BRF volunteers will now tell them. We have a project coordinator and ask for volunteers join us to make reports to GGB. Click Here to join the volunteer corps or for more information.

At left--the most popular of the "build" alternatives-- an addition to the current railing to prevent suicides from the bridge. That's the second picture

The on line poll run by the bridge district is closed and we succeeded in beating back the "no build" option—but just barely. Final numbers indicate, "build something" squeaked ahead at the end and prevailed with 50.13% of the tally.

Many of our supporters are disappointed in this thin victory, but things started much worse and we owe all our supporters and friends a big thank you for their work turning this "vote" around.

When the poll first opened, 73% of the response was "no build". Complicating matters the SF Chronicle ran the engineering sketches as the story graphics, rather than the photo realistic images used by all other media. The engineering sketches present a stark image, lacking the detail and context the photo realistic graphics provide.

But our supporters responded—including readers of this newsletter, our Facebook friends, survivor family members—including families who have not been public and active before—mental health professionals and suicide prevention groups. New supporters joined as well—particularly from within the religious communities. In the end we succeeded in blunting the opposition—and squeaking by with a narrow victory.

At left--the second most popular of the "build" alternatives-- a net to prevent suicides from the bridge. That would be the last picture.

BRF board member Dayna Whitmer presented to the GGB Board the results of an on line petition her family sponsored. Over 460 signatures poured in from throughout the area plus 34 US states and 15 different nations.

International support from Canada and Switzerland might be expected, since both nations have had success in stopping bridge suicides with barriers or nets. And interest in the UK was high since their press carried the story of a British woman who jumped from the Golden Gate this spring. But we also saw support from Eastern Europe and the Balkans, Asia and Africa. The world is indeed watching.

The initial petition was so successful that Dayna has posted a new follow-up petition.

People who want suicides stopped on the Golden Gate Bridge had a strong showing this summer.

Two public meetings called by the bridge district to discuss the barrier and net alternatives featured many of our supporters at each event. Survivor families, mental health activists and other supporters showed up at each meeting. Suicide prevention organizations were well represented, including:
San Francisco Suicide Prevention
Suicide Prevention and Community Counseling of Marin
Crisis Support Services of Alameda County
Contra Costa Crisis Center
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center in Los Angeles

National support was evident as well. Ten organizations including The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and the American Psychiatric Association signed a letter pointing to the need for a suicide barrier.

Finally, by the close of the comment period, editorial support for a taller railing or net was expressed by the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner and the Marin Independent Journal.

Following the close of public comments, the bridge staff is reviewing the input. They will then make a recommendation to the GGB Board in late October. We expect that meeting will be crucial in the effort to finally stop the suicides at the Golden Gate. BRF will have more details as they become available--look for information on this meeting in our next newsletter or special bulletin.

The Mayor's Office Opposes Physical Barriers

During the EIR comment period SF Mayor Gavin Newson announced he would ask the SF Planning Department to look into the GGB suicide issue and make recommendations. Planning called together a committee of architects and engineers, met with bridge officials—and no one else—and issued a "no build" recommendation. They propose to stop the suicides with "more staff". Perhaps a good sound bite, but this recommendation is far beyond the realm of practicality.

Patrol staff simply cannot respond fast enough--unless the district were to station 30-40 officers on the bridge (twice that when both walkways are open). And additional patrol staff is just as likely as the current staff to find themselves distracted from suicide prevention with purse snatchings, bike accidents and Tibetan independence demonstrations.

As a recent Chronicle editorial said about increased walkway patrols as a substitute for a barrier "That won't cut it". Indeed.

The kindness of (almost) strangers

I received an email this morning informing me that I had been tagged in a note on facebook. Having no idea what that meant, I went onto facebook to check the note, clicked on a few links and found this:

DonorDrive™ - AFSP Community Walks

One of my facebook friends, a young girl I haven't met (yet), and her family very kindly did this for the Brooks family and us.

I am so touched, I am almost speechless.

Added later: I obviously was speechless because I meant to add this: I did not post the link because I want people to make donations. Please do not in any way feel obligated to do this. I really was touched, overwhelmed by yet another example of how kind people are/have been to us all along.


More hidden treasure

A couple of days ago, while I was looking for those reproduction fabrics, I came across a whole smallish storage box full of photographs. All pictures of quilts, mostly taken at quilt shows or guild meetings with a few of mine thrown in. I went through them all, one by one and threw most of them away - tastes have changed, fabrics have changed dramatically and I'm just not that driven to make quilts anymore.

I was really thrilled to find a couple of pictures of Henry, though. Back when he used to like having his picture taken. They both include quilts in progress, one something as yet unfinished and the other the "H" quilt. I have no idea what happened to it. It's not in his closet. That may well be another undiscovered treasure.

Disregard the really ugly floor, I'm sure whoever bought our house in Oklahoma has replaced it by now. We should have done that ourselves.