Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What I Did Instead of Watching The Debate

I decided just the other day that I would not watch the Presidential Candidates debate. I had to think about what to do while Roger and my mom watched it in the living room. So, I hid in the bedroom with my computer and did this:

I looked at all the photos I've taken in the past few weeks that didn't make it on to the blog, like this one.
Or this one, which I had posted on Facebook. Sheets drying in the morning sun with an iridescent cloud stretched across the sky.
I thought about how wonderful it is that the summer fog has finally left us. We've had such beautiful skies here the past few days. In fact, we've even had a California north coast heatwave, and the temps soared into the 70s for two days in a row. It was really sizzling HOT! for us.

I thought about the walks we've taken at the marsh recently. I had shot a little 30-second video of an American Avocet eating in the muddy flats of the bay. We hadn't seen such behavior before. It was pretty cool to watch.

I looked at the photos I took of Roger's finger injury. Did we tell you about that here? Oh yes, I just checked and see that we did. Well it's healing rather strangely. Even weirder than my finger did. I'm going to post a photo. I highly recommend that you scroll down quickly to avoid seeing his finger, if that kind of stuff makes you squeamish. I'll just wonder why his finger looks so creepy while the debate rages on.
Isn't that the weirdest way for a finger to "heal?" It made me seriously contemplate why it's healing like that. Roger says it doesn't hurt too much. It's still a bit sensitive to touch. Mmmm....Is it something in our diets or in our stars? (I'm kidding. I'm killing time here. Roger just came in to tell me that Trump keeps making faces.) But just typing that line about the stars reminded me of the quote:
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
Ah, the poetry of the old world. I'm not going to think about Julius Caesar at a time like this.

I thought about my mom's first visit with her new doctor last Friday and how well it went. We were so concerned that after the excellent care she had through UCLA medical, that she might find the medical care here (where the daily newspaper has articles so often about how there are 1300 patients per primary care physician here) not sufficient. But she truly liked the warmth and insight of her new PCP. And, we took her for an emergency dental appointment Monday morning, where she learned that she has an abscess. Ow ow ow. She came away from that appointment with upbeat enthusiasm, "I really like that dentist. He came in the room and talked to me like he was a friend." Isn't that a wonderful first visit!

I posted on Facebook that I was not going to watch the debate, and my dear friends there kept me posted with their wonderful funny observations and insights. I feel so lucky. I didn't have to subject myself to the horrors of our country's presidential debate, but I could still stay sanely and riotously informed.

And so, I did it. I managed to avoid the political shenanigans and media frenzy that is our country at the moment. I breathed a sigh of relief when it was finally over.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bayer, Monsanto, and Me

It's interesting to see what journey a single headline in the news can send me on. The other day I noticed that Bayer bought Monsanto for $66 billion. Ah, two companies that I particularly dislike. It's not a surprise that Bayer would buy a company that is genetically modifying crops all over the world. If you knew Bayer's history (and relationship to IG Farben) you would know that sometimes the interest of human lives doesn't rank up there with other pressing matters like money and expediency.
IG Farben Plant at Auschwtiz-Monowitz (borrowed without permission)

I would recommend that you google Bayer and take a look at their connection to IG Farben and Auschwitz during World War II. It's horrifying to know what companies were up to in the throes of Nazism and Hitler's regime. If you don't get a chance to read about it, here's an excerpt:
During World War II, IG Farben used slave labor in factories that it built adjacent to German concentration camps, notably Auschwitz,[27] and the sub-camps of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.[28] IG Farben purchased prisoners for human experimentation of a sleep-inducing drug and later reported that all test subjects died.[29][30] IG Farben held a large investment in Degesch which produced Zyclon B used to gas and kill prisoners during the Holocaust.[31]
After World War II, the Allies broke up IG Farben and Bayer reappeared as an individual business "inheriting" many of IG Farben's assets.[29] Fritz ter Meer, an IG Farben board member from 1926 to 1945 who directed operations at the IG Farben plant at Auschwitz, was sentenced to seven years in prison during the IG Farben Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. He was elected Bayer's supervisory board head in 1956.[32]
In 1995, Helge Wehmeier, the head of Bayer, publicly apologized to Elie Wiesel for the company's involvement in the Holocaust at a lecture in Pittsburgh
So the headline about Bayer sent me looking for information about the members of my mother's family who had perished in the Holocaust. I found myself looking at lists of names of the dead. There are so many, and I wasn't sure I had the exact spelling of the name. But it turns out I did, and I found this at the Yad Vashem website. I took a screen shot and then annotated it. My mother's mother's maiden name was Dienstfrei, three names here are her two brothers and her mother.

Finding the names Max and Jacob Dienstfrei, my mother's uncles, reminded that one of their sons, Micah, had survived and was found alive many years later by my my mother's family. He was living in Israel. I did a post about that more then ten years ago. Micah had a son who was living in California, someone my parents met, went to his wedding, and kept in touch with a for a while.

Well, I thought I should check Facebook to see if I could reconnect with these long lost relatives. And, of course, I did. Turns out that not only are they still in California, but their youngest son had just started his freshman year here at the university in Arcata. They were all here in August! What a crazy surprise. I wrote to say we hope they find some comfort in knowing that there is family here on the far north coast. Yes, family. This young boy's now-deceased grandfather was my mother's first cousin. And here we are practically neighbors. The history of our connection is almost beyond what I can convey.

So, Bayer and Monsanto, as much as I truly detest your presence on earth, I am glad you sent me on this journey.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016