The Bridge of Death

This is supposed to be on ABC tonight, on 20/20:

ABC News: The Bridge of Death

The making of the film "The Bridge." I don't know if I can watch it, I held my breath the whole time I watched just the trailer for "The Bridge."

New bags

I really don't have multiple personalities - just plenty of different interests. Really!

And, right now, in addition to that barrier I talk about a lot, I'm chained to the sewing machine. It's kind of an occupational therapy.

So, here is the latest batch of box bags .............
I've included a couple of closeups of the tabs at the end. I found some nice printed ones - I think at Michael's - and really like those. Of course, I learned the hard way that I have to watch what I'm doing after sewing in tabs and zippers backwards a couple of times. Live and learn, eh?


I still can't believe it

There's been quite a flurry of activity today - lots of emails, notes, posts etc. on facebook - all about the barrier votes. A friend of Henry's started a group specifically to get people to vote for a barrier and I think that and all the pester emails made a big difference. It's so easy to do all this just sitting in front of the computer, isn't it. You send an email to a friend or relative or colleague, explain a bit about the background, pass along several links and ask them to vote and, if you're lucky, they do. And since we won by 11 votes (only), I think that in this case every vote really did count.

Of course, this does not mean it's over. We now have to wait until October (at the earliest) to see what happens next. The Bridge Authority is in no way obligated to listen to the "yes" votes but I think that those, the various petitions, the personal appearances by several survivors at their meetings and the letters written to them should have an impact. And if not, we are that much more organized the next time around.

I am surprised, though, that the total number of votes was only 4,174. Considering all the fuss and negative comments in the newspapers, I expected many more (no) votes.

Of course, all this doesn't do anything to fill the big hole in our lives. I still forget on occasion, I still think, "Oh, I have to tell Henry about this." We celebrated tonight by having "pasta night" - a Henry and I tradition. Larry never was much of a pasta fan, so whenever he was on a business trip, Henry and I would have pasta at least once during that week. :-)

There are so many things that have gone through my mind today: missing Henry, of course; realizing (yet again) that there won't be anymore of those phone calls, "Mom, I have a flat tire." (we got that taken care of.) "Mom, I accidentally set off the car alarm (honk, honk in the background) and I don't know how to turn it off." Neither did I, but we figured it out in the end. Of course, by that time, somebody in the school neighborhood had obviously called the police because by the time we drove off, we passed a police car coming towards us.

Nobody to show me interesting things on the computer, help me when I run (yet again) into problems, nobody sending me links to things I would never have looked for on my own, nobody wiping toothpaste into the towels and accidentally bleaching them, no grandchildren and so many, many other things that come to me in bits and pieces.

But, maybe, by helping to get votes in favor of that barrier we will have done something to help prevent what happened to us from happening to another family. I certainly hope so.
The picture is a bit of an afterthought. It's one of those I found on his memory stick a few months ago. I remember that day: summer 2006, he had just gotten a haircut after having his senior picture taken. He was playing around with a video game that he had hooked up to the TV, trying to line himself up in front of it and take pictures.
So many memories!


We won!!!!!

I finally heard about the votes on the suicide barrier - and we won by the slimmest of margins. And I really mean that: 50.13% in favor, 49.87 % against. A total of 4,147 votes.
Now we wait, though, because the Bridge Authority won't decide until October at the earliest how to proceed.
From what I have heard, this is the first time there's been such a concentrated effort to get that barrier built. Let's hope it works this time around.
Thank you to everybody I've pestered about voting. It really did make a difference.


Signs around town

After driving by these two signs many, many times, I finally remembered to bring along my camera.
The first sign is outside an aquarium shop and the second hangs on the fence of a landscaping supply company. I, personally, have never heard the rocks bark but I'll just take their word for it.


More bags

These bags are kind of addictive. But I do eat (thank you for the concern) and I do actually cook - quite often.


Box bags galore

I am probably going just a little overboard with the sewing right now but it's fun and I have the supplies. My daughter gave me a few of the bags she had made, sent me a link to a tutorial and I've been slaving away over a hot sewing machine ever since. It took me a couple of tries before I was really happy with what I was doing - that's where the second tutorial came in handy. I prefer assembly line sewing - several bags at the same time with the same color thread - something I learned a long time ago when I was still quilting.

So, here is most of what I've been working on the last week. Some of those are mine - the red sneaker fabric definitely is - some of them will be presents, some I can be talked out of. There will be more, I just ordered/bought plenty more fabric, and there will be a give away on the 9 month birthday of this blog in mid-October.
And, yes, I know I should have cropped the last picture a bit more but it shows the artichokes already growing, our backyard and a bit of the valley behind our yard. Today's a nice day!


We need more votes

Even though the votes are starting to go in the right direction, we need still more votes in favor of a barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge.

The deadline for voting is August 25 - coming up very soon.

It's the number one suicide magnet in the world with a total of 1,300 deaths so far (officially) but most likely closer to 2,00 deaths. On average, 20 - 40 people jump from that bridge annually and 98% do not survive. And every year, the police who patrol the bridge prevent 60 - 80 people from jumping. The original design for the bridge included a suicide barrier but, for some reason, it wasn't built. The first death occurred within days of the bridge's opening. There are been several studies about the feasibility of a suicide barrier and, everytime this came to a vote, the barrier was voted down.

Here is the link to viewing the various proposed alternatives for a barrier:

This is a PDF file and it takes a while to load. Please be patient.

Here is where you get to vote and comment:

Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Deterrent Barrier

I've noticed that in the last few days these links have been very slow to load. Again, please be patient.

If you have a few more minutes, please consider signing the petition by the Whitmer family. They, too, lost a child:
Raise the Rails - Save a Life - The Petition Site
It has signatures from all over the world, some pretty exotic places.

And, please, consider forwarding this post and/or the links to as many of your friends as you can. And if those friends have the usual Bay Area response: Let 'em jump! or Those who want to kill themselves will do it anyway! - point them to this article:

The Urge to End It - Understanding Suicide - NYTimes.com
It gives three compelling examples that suicides often are impulsive and, yes, they can be stopped when the easy means are taken away.

Thank you!


My weekend projects

I feel like I (finally) got something done.

Sunday morning, I spent about an hour making soap and for the last few days, I've been working on a house shaped doll. My husband calls it a rocket ship but I know better.

The pattern is out of an Australian book, "Softies." Getting a hold of it took quite a bit of effort (mostly surfing the internet), but it was well worth it. Lots of cute patterns - more finished products to come.

For now, just this little doll. I went a little crazy with beads and buttons but it was fun. And, yes, that's the soap in the background of the first picture - rain, oceania, lime margarita, cherub and tranquil sleep.


Trip to Healdsburg

Healdsburg is a nice place to visit, close enough for a short day trip. We've visited regularly since we moved to California but hadn't been in over a year. Today was a good day for a visit- sunny, but not too hot. We usually just enjoy the drive through the countryside - we always take backroads - and wander around the square in town. It's lined with nice little shops, getting more upscale every year. The small stores are disappearing to be replaced by art galleries and fancier restaurants. Our favorite Thai place was gone, it's now "Bistro Ralph." Thankfully, the quilt store (an amazing amount of good fabric in a smallish place) and the old-fashioned candy store are still there.

The first 3 pictures were taken on the drive up. Chateau Boswell is a winery just South of Calistoga. I've passed by many, many times and have always been amused by the name. Finally, I took a picture. The next 2 pictures are self-explanatory, that's where Calistoga water comes from. The last two pictures are of our haul in the candy store and the quilt shop.

I need to figure out a different lay-out. There's gotta be a way to have pictures throughout the text and not just at the top. Soon!


Cautiously optimistic

Last night, I had an email from Dave Hull, the president of the BridgeRail Foundation. Good news! The votes are starting to go our way. Last time I heard, 75% of people who voted on the poll were against a suicide barrier of any kind. Now it's down to 62%. Definitely a step in the right direction.
BUT, we still need more votes.
All those emails we've been sending out pestering people we know are obviously starting to bring results. Too bad I don't know more people.
Just in case, anybody reading this would like to help:

Here is a link to see the various proposed designs:

And here is where you get to vote:

And here's a link to the homepage:

And if you have another 5 minutes to spare, please sign the petition the Whitmer family started
Their son Matthew disappeared in November 2007 and is believed to have jumped but no body has ever been found. Not unusual, the current under that bridge is very strong.

If you have friends you could contact and ask to vote as well, I'd be very grateful.