Traffic problems - follow up

I wrote about the new Whole Foods Market opening here last month and the traffic problems that came with it.
Here's what I think is quite an amusing development:

Napa Valley Register Taking a whack at parking problem


Baby fish and other good things

The last couple of days have been a bit rough but things are looking up today.
When I went to feed the fish this morning (freshwater fish, kind of boring :-) ), I noticed small dark shapes darting around on the bottom. Baby fish! So, instead of going shopping first thing, I spent a good 30 minutes trying to scoop them up and putting them into the baby net before the big fish will eat them. Even though I only buy peaceful fish, they still eat their young. I managed to catch about 10 before giving up. And then realized that I have no idea what to do with them once they are fully grown (if they make it this time. Haven't had any luck the two previous times.), the aquarium is only big enough for about 12 - 15 fish and there's no way we'll set up another. I'm sure I'll think of something. There's time.
And I just noticed that the lilacs have big buds - I love lilacs and sweetpeas. The climate here is right for both of them. And since I've discovered that ornamental garlic keeps the aphids at bay, the sweetpeas have been thriving every summer.
And on top of that, the quail family that seems to live at the bottom of our yard was out.
There's just something about new life, isn't there?


The Bridge Rail Foundation

Yesterday, I wrote to the BridgeRail Foundation - http://www.bridgerail.org/ - just a short letter telling them about what happened to us and that we've been writing to various newspapers to raise a bit of awareness about the need for a suicide barrier and how there have been quite a few hurtful, callous and insensitive comments to our letters. Even the Golden Gate Bridge Authority sends out responses addressed to "Dear Interested Party." I just received a very nice email in response and it had me in tears. Finally somebody who cares!


Hidden treasure :-)

For the last week or so, I've been trying hard to clean out my bead room, partly for the contest (which will end tomorrow evening) and partly because it just simply is time. A nice benefit of all that work is that I have found things I had completely forgotten about.

I had my first set of classes in beadwork about 13 years ago when I learned traditional techniques from a Native American woman in Oklahoma. I can't find all that I made in those classes but I was quite happy to find these patches. I guess they count as bead embroidery. Some are traditional designs, some are in traditional colors and some are very obviously not at all traditional. There are some more works-in-progress in the box and I still have all the beads so if I ever feel the urge I can finish everything.

I have no idea what to do with these but I was very pleasantly surprised.


It's mustard season

It's mustard season again and I just had to take pictures. Supposedly, this year it's not quite as good as in other years - the mustard, that is - because of all the rain we had last month. But I still found plenty of yellow to photograph.

I'm also including a link to the Napa Valley Mustard Festival - Napa Valley Mustard Festival - A Sensational Season of Wine Country Events. I was hoping they'd have some information about the why's and how's but they don't :-(

I do know that mustard grows all over the valley and definitely in all the vineyards between the rows of vines. It is dug into the ground when the bloom is over and, if I remember correctly, is good for the soil. I noticed yesterday that it smells quite sweet and attracts vast amounts of gnats. I had to wave off huge clouds of them as I was taking pictures at the Yountville Crossroad.


Small oops with the contest

I've just realized that a) my email system wasn't working properly. I wasn't notified by email when comments were left on the blog. And b) now that I have fixed this problem, I realize that I cannot contact most of those people.
So, if you've left a comment here and haven't heard from me, please either comment again and include your email address or contact me through All About Beads. I've also added my email address here (for the duration of the contest), so you can contact me directly.
Several of you guessed right - not the infected toenails, Marilee :-) - and I'd like to get back to you.
Sorry about the mess-up. I'm learning as I go.


A Beady Contest

I am trying to clean out my house and have discovered that I have more beads than I will be able to use in this lifetime. So, I came up with the idea of a contest with beads as prizes. It's very easy, no beading involved. All you have to do is guess correctly what is shown in the above picture. You will have a week to either leave a comment here with your answer (I'm moderating comments, so it will not show up on the blog), e-mail me your answer or e-mail it to me through All About Beads (considering that most of you reading this will belong to that group, anyway) - All About Beads. I will post this in the contest section on All About Beads as well.

I am hoping that there will be more than one correct answer because I have plenty of beads to go around. The winner(s) will have to tell me her or his favorite colors, what kind of beads they use or do not use and I will try to accommodate. Please notice that I said "try" -- no promises.

Cheating is allowed -- you can ask other people for help, surf the Web or do whatever it takes to try and find the right answer.

Good luck and have fun guessing!

Added on 7 March 2008: The contest is over. I had 18 correct guesses: an artichoke flower. The beads have been sent. Thank you all for playing.


China Town

We hadn't been to China Town (in San Francisco) for over a year and, with the weather as beautiful as it has been lately, we decided to go on Saturday. I brought my camera along hoping that in addition to finding some cool silk bags I'd find interesting things to photograph. It sort of worked. My street scenes didn't work out well but I found a few pictures I like.
The first picture is the gate at the entrance to China Town, the next is a street sign I found unexpectedly, the sign for a monastery on the second floor of the Bank of America building, the inside of a shop (and I haven't a clue what any of those bulk items are. I know there's ginseng in there but the rest is anybody's guess.) and last one of my favorite places there: the Fortune Cookie Factory. You really have to know where to look for it because it's in an alley, there are no signs to direct you to it but it's well worth the trip.
We'll be going back, there are more goodies and more cookies to be bought and, hopefully, better pictures to be taken.


Nine months today

This has been on my mind all week and I've decided to get it down on paper/into computer file before I forget even more details. Obviously, this is a short version of what happened. I do know how to edit .............

It’s been 9 months since Henry left us and I remember that day much too well (mostly, that is, there are a few bits missing.).
I remember it being a beautiful day (just like today, except without the morning fog and, of course, quite a bit warmer) - sunny, warm but not hot. I remember talking to Henry before he left for school - it was a normal morning, no different from any other morning.
I remember the phone calls – first the school telling me he was missing, then the calls I had to make to track down somebody to get a hold of Larry (who was in Pascagoula, Miss. that day), trying to call Henry many times (I didn’t figure out until many months later that he hung up on me every time), talking to Larry whenever he was not on a plane and to Kate. Talking to the police. Two phone calls from San Francisco General.
I remember spending some time at the school, later driving around town looking for Henry.
I remember the drive down to the hospital with my friend and a police chaplain and arriving at the hospital, talking first to one doctor who explained Henry's injuries to us and then another who told us that they hadn’t been able to save him.
I remember saying goodbye to him twice. He looked so peaceful.
And then driving home, sending both my friend and the police chaplain away and cleaning house and Larry finally arriving home around 11 p.m.
It didn’t seem real then and there still are times when it doesn’t.

We are already making plans for the 1-year anniversary. We will definitely be on the bridge at 11:45 a.m. at lamp post 47 but we don't quite know what do just yet .......

Morning fog

Did I mention already that I have a fascination with morning fog? We get a lot of it in winter and it always looks different. So, several pictures of it this morning.


Support group

My survivors of suicide support group met tonight - a good meeting. It's amazing how much one can share with and learn from (total) strangers. The only thing we have in common is that we've lost somebody in the same way. And, something that always amazes me: all the loved ones are males: brothers, sons, boyfriends. Men are obviously a lot more fragile than we think. Sad!

I got to do an impromptu drug education session in the parking lot afterwards. I'm really glad to be able to share some of what I've learned in the past year. Hopefully, it'll help prevent what happened to Henry from happening to somebody else.


Frustration ...... and success

Yesterday, I started a new chain. I found a weave I liked in a book on chain maille, ordered the rings - but never bothered to read the description or instructions. It's an advanced weave! Oops! I've only been mailling since late October.
It started out real easy - connect 2 rings to 2 other rings for a total of 10 rings (first picture). Easy, right? Part 2 was easy as well - fold back the outermost rings à la Byzantine (second picture). Then it got difficult - connect 2 units like that. While I understood the concept, I couldn't get the units to stay in place. They'd twist and turn, fall open and just absolutely refuse to cooperate.

Finally - after an hour of absolute frustration - it dawned on me that I needed paperclips - lots of paperclips. So, now the paperclips hold the rings in place while I connect the individual units. Picture 3 shows 2 units successfully connected. Yes!!!!!

Picture of finished chain/bracelet to follow eventually.


Such a difficult day

Today is the day for cleaning out Henry's room - at least partially. The bed has been dismantled and is now on the dump, the dressers are headed to a thrift store (somebody might as well get some use out of them) and I spent a couple of hours packing up his clothes, karate paraphernalia, his Pokemon cards, games etc. (I remember how he liked collecting those, he had such fun - we had such fun) etc.

It was one of the most difficult things I've done in a long time - much harder than talking at his memorial service or writing that letter to the newspaper (both very much out of character for somebody who's always been very private and quite shy and timid). But it was time.

I cannot think of anything sadder than to see the tangible evidence of somebody's life - Henry's life - reduced to a few boxes full of clothes, books, karate trophies and assorted bits and bobs.


Winter morning

I just took little Jerry out for his first bathroom break of the day and found that the lawn was very "crunchy" - all the rain we had yesterday lent itself to a heavy coat of ice.
The weather report this morning warned of black ice - they just didn't mention it was all over my deck as well.
And there was a nice fog bank at the bottom of the hills again - I have a strange fascination with fog banks :-) - so I went back for my camera. This one isn't as clearly defined as the ones I took a few weeks ago (before I started blogging) but it'll have to do.