Monday, December 14, 2009
While we were in Savannah, the terrible murder of SPD's Officer Timothy Brenton rocked the City and the region. As we landed back in Seattle, the memorial was just ending and the shooter was identified and hospitalized after his failed attempt to murder yet another officer as he was being taken into custody. There is no doubt in my mind that the detective who heard the gun click at his head will hear that click for the rest of his life, and will feel thankful with each memory. I saw that detective recently, and just felt grateful he is alive.
On Sunday, November 29th, Naomi and Melinda and I met for breakfast, and when I arrived, they gave me the news about the Lakewood police officers killed at the coffee shop. During the next days, George and I spent tense time awaiting the capture of the shooter. I hoped the shooter's wound from the dying officer would be fatal, and that the shooter would not have another opportunity to kill. Thankfully, the next officer the shooter encountered was vigilant and able to protect himself, and the terror of not knowing where the shooter was came to an end.
The preparations and finally the memorial for the officers on Tuesday was so moving that many I've spoken with chose to not watch because it was so painful. The overwhelming response from law enforcement throughout the continent was inspiring and humbling. Every single member of law enforcement has a new reminder - a new awareness - of the randomness of the criminal mind, and of mental illness. While it was clear that the shooter had mental health issues, the family and friends of the shooter who assisted him with the plan, his wound, and his escape have no such excuse, and I'm looking forward to their prosecutions to the full extent of the law.
My George is a 20 year veteran Seattle police officer. During this time, I've been thinking about him and his safety, and have been comforting myself with the fact that he is a good patrol officer with excellent skills. I've watched his shock and emotional turmoil over all five of these senseless deaths, and his incomprehension that anyone could plan and carry out such acts. He goes to work each day intending to uphold the law and believing that it is the right thing to do, so random murder because of the uniform he wears puts him beyond understanding. I asked him if it helps to see the outpouring of support from the public - the expression of appreciation for police officers and the work they do, and he gave an emphatic yes.
We are both touched by the blue lights on homes this season, and he's had and heard of heartwarming Starbucks experiences involving gift cards left at the counter for any police officer's beverage. He (and I too) truly appreciated his captain's choice to have no officer patroling alone while the Lakewood shooter was at large; he said that some departments, such as Los Angeles, have that rule at all times. I was horrified to learn that the shooter was ultimately confronted by a lone officer in the middle of the night.
George has worked other units at SPD and considered leaving patrol. He likes being a patrol officer, and is doing this work by choice. I am now hopeful that Seattle Police commanders will take this opportunity to learn from these tragedies to adjust some of their procedures permanently. The ones that give me chills are the afore mentioned one-officer patrol cars, and the policy of assigning laptop computers to each officer so they can be "on the streets" and "available to the community" while writing their long reports required by the latest reporting system. I know budgets are tight, especially this year. But our officers need to get as good as what they give every day.
Friday, November 27, 2009
We ate at the nearby Crab Shack - another Southern institution, apparently. Famous for the grotto of alligators that can be fed by customers as well as the "boil" dumped onto the tables for consumption with hands, I was conscious of the great waste in the form of styrofoam serving dishes and plastic utensils. Cindy noted the huge bags of garbage just outside the entrance, resulting in fairly small appetites.
We had a decadent breakfast at the hotel the following morning, then Stan & Susan met us for some shopping before saying goodbye to Cindy & Danny as they left for their six-hour drive home to Birmingham AL.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
I wanted to use the black&red colors (the green is for Aunt Louise and her love of frog designs), but found it limiting so didn't mind the variagation in the Peaches & Cream cotton yarns. I've added a ribbed cuff to the pattern from the paper label, and I increase the sizes according to the size of the hand. The result is 9 bath mitts, bath salts or handmade soap for each Doggette, and a Scottie dog luggage tag from local Linnea Designs for each cousin's future travels.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I also love my Gryffindor socks from Sunshine Yarn's Harry Potter collection. This yarn is also quite a fine gauge, so I increased the number of stitches and decided on a 4x2 rib. Ellen showed me a short row heel and it turned out so well, I'm thrilled! Or I was, right up until I tried to do the same heel on the second sock and forgot how. My learning style seems to be "show me," as reading instructions doesn't seem to be enough, and Ellen hasn't been available to lead me through it again. Well, Ellen will be back from Denmark before too long, and I'll be requesting her time to refresh my memory! There are other ways to do a short row heel, I know, but I thought the heels on this pair should match... I felt like a real beginner when I started the pink socks over several times, it affected my attitude and I was afraid I was not going to want to finish them. And the Gryffindor socks are like a beacon of failure at the moment - I'll be unhappy until they are finished, then I'll love them.
My second completed lace project (the first was the February Lady cardi) turned out beautifully - I used the gorgeous Merino-Qiviut from Naomi to knit a smoke-ring pattern recommended by Melinda. It was fun to knit the bottom band then pick up stitches for the neck/hood. I took it slow and loved knitting with this yarn. I'll welcome the cold weather just so I can feel the warmth of such a luxurious embrace. And it feels like quite an accomplishment to complete these details, including the blocking process.My third completed lace project was the Lace Shaped Tee (also known as Krista) from Knitting Lingerie Style by Joan McGowan-Michael. Since I chose Cascade's Pima-Tencel yarn, which gave a decidedly different gauge and drape from what the pattern indicated, I was uncertain whether I would like the finished product on me. I knitted in fits and starts instead of straight through. I even ran into a serious problem with gauge when I picked it up again and was knitting tighter than previously. I thought I had somehow switched needle sizes. I extended the length of the sleeves from the cap sleeves, and now like it very much. I'm starting to get how people have this fascination with knitted lace!This is a good way to gain perspective: already, I've been more productive than I thought, so maybe I don't actually have knitter's block. I'll catch up to now next time!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Mom is the eighth of nine siblings from a small town in Kansas. There is no photograph with all of them together. When they left home, they scattered across the country, and as I grew up, I knew my Dad's parents and of his sister and her children. I remember meeting my mom's mother and a cousin named Roxie when I was 5 or 6, but little about the meeting. At 16, I went with Mom to visit her older brother in Kansas, and became close friends with my cousin, Cindy for the few days we were there... we wrote for a while, but didn't see each other again. I remember the phone call Mom got when her mom died, and I remember asking Mom if she was an orphan now. I met her younger brother, and her oldest sister, but didn't really know any of her siblings as they began to pass away. I thought that contact among them was inconsistent as they pursued careers and raised families. Mom is now the only sister (of four), and there is one brother (of five) still living.
Meeting Roxie again was the open door for me - an e-mail to Cindy and to Debbie (a cousin I didn't remember since we met as toddlers) to indicate my interest in family roots was all it took. I began receiving e-mail pieces of their extensive research, Cindy and I renewed our friendship, and I learned that Mom, two of her sisters, and one of her brothers had baby girls the same year: Debbie, Roxie, Cindy... and me. These three, with Cindy's sister, Jeanne, and Debbie's sister, Judi, along with a younger cousin, Lisa, make up (to varying degrees, as their lives allow) the search party looking for family roots. They have fun at it, having organized a sort of girl gang and referring to themselves as the Black Doggettes after the "Black Dog" gang that Cindy's dad was in when he was a teen. They wear red and black, named a Scottie dog as their mascot, and it turns out all of us are more dog people than cat people. In June, I met all but Lisa at Cindy & Jeanne's mother's house in Oklahoma. We drove from there to the town in Missouri where our maternal Grandmother was born and raised. We bonded with laughter and shared memories of our parents' stories - I'm the only one with a living parent from their family. I knew the least of all, so my trip was filled with revelations, new understanding, new old friends, questions, and surprises. By sharing what our parents had told about family events and memories, we were filling in gaps and giving more perspective, so the search is more than academic. We feel like we are building a glimpse of personalities, and the best part is doing it together. The trip culminated in an unplanned visit on my way to the airport to the town where our parents grew up. It is on Route 66, and has diminished over the years as the freeways changed the travel patterns. Our interest was less about the town and more about meeting our sole living uncle, who purchased a house and moved back to this town earlier this year. At 83, Uncle Harold is spry, determined in the restoration of his house, and has a million stories to tell. For me, meeting another of my Mom's older brothers for the first time, and having three of my cousins to introduce me, was a thrill, like living our history. Lucky me!
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Joelle is a quietly "monogamous knitter" - committed to one project at a time. She decided on her first stranded project and ended up with a beautiful Selbu modern hat - it made me want to knit one too! Recently, she's had fun knitting this beautiful baby cardigan for a new granddaughter - she chooses beautiful, elegant colors, even for babies! Marguerite has been doing a lot of traveling and recently had foot surgery, and she comes to class when she can. She likes to knit gift projects - this scarf is from cashmere yarn - she has lucky family and friends!