To me the palm trees really make the Los Angeles skyline,
To me the palms beautify everything about Los Angeles:
There's no palm, big or small, that doesn't fascinate me,
Last Friday, January, 5, I returned home after two weeks of holiday traveling with one day of break between.
On December 26 Tom, Tommy and I drove home to Columbus from Seaford, Delaware, after our Christmas visit with my mom (see posts from 12/26/2017 - 12/29/2017).
For us the high point of the trip home from Delaware is always dinner along the way in Cambridge, Ohio, at the Forum, an awesome Greek/Italian restaurant,
...that serves really good food,
However the true crave-inducing-must-have item on The Forum's menu is their Flowering Onion appetizer, a giant mutant onion covered in a seasoned batter, deep-fried, and served with a delicious mystery sauce.
By the following day, however, our Forum Flowering Onion high had long worn off, and with one day to unpack and re-pack, Tom and I took off again the next day, December 28, for the West Coast,
But our first stop was L.A.,
Arriving at our daughter and son-in-law's house, Tom and I spent the next few days helping with the household routine,
...with me cooking up favorites and comfort food requests,
...and a new version of an old favorite, Cherry Pecan Streusel Pie (formerly Cherry Almond Streusel Pie, see post from 12/27/2017), for which I had to make an old-school crust from scratch as I'd forgotten to pick up a Pillsbury pie-crust-in-a-can at the store,
...and indulging in that favorite grandparently past time, marveling at one's grand children,
...and we did what we could to give our hard-working daughter and son-in-law a little break, a few moments to themselves,
To be continued...
...Continued from yesterday:
Turned out he was busy. Very busy.
The previous day, New Year's Day, Claire had received an urgent email from one of the aid workers in the Rohingya refugee camp for which she'd be leaving in two days.
The aid worker was a clown.
And so along with the doctors, nurses, and other providers at the refugee camp at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, have come the clowns, who've taken on the herculean task of trying to spread some joy in what has got to be the saddest place in the world.
However the clown who emailed Claire on January first had apparently temporarily taken off his clown hat.
Knowing that Claire would be arriving at the camp and that she would be bringing along suitcases full of medical supplies (see post from 1/3/2018), he informed her that there was a great need for infant bulb nasal aspirators,
...and asked her if she could possibly round up and bring with her 50 of those little suckers.
Claire immediate pulled up her Amazon Prime account and tried to put in a rush order for fifty infant aspirators to be delivered the following day, January 2, the day before she was to leave.
But because it was New Year's Day Amazon Prime was taking the day off and wouldn't be able to deliver the aspirators by the following day.
And because Claire had to work the following day and would be leaving the next day she'd have no time to dash around town trying to buy 50 aspirators.
Up to the plate strode Miguel, who volunteered for the mission of acquiring the aspirators.
Now, Miguel is a production coordinator for TV commercials filmed in the Chicago area (turns out there are tons of commercials filmed in Chicago). Part of his job is to do whatever it takes to make sure that all the players involved in the making of the commercials - producers, directors, actors,
etc - have whatever material items they need or desire while on location in Chicago.
I've said on more than one occasion that I don't know whether Miguel is such an accommodating person who's so good at getting things done because he's a production coordinator or if he became a production coordinator because he's such an accommodating person who's so good at getting things done.
In any case, on January 2 Miguel was driving around Chicago in 5-degree weather, hitting the dollar stores in search of baby snot suckers. At the moment I called him he'd already been to seven stores, had rounded up twenty suckers, and had just entered his eighth dollar store.
We chatted for a few minutes while he perused the store, then he said, "I think I've just found the mother lode of nasal aspirators."
Indeed he had, and among the 100 pounds of medical supplies Claire brought with her on January 3 to Bangladesh were 50 infant bulb nasal aspirators.
Hopefully this will make the clown smile.
...Continued from yesterday:
Several months ago I received a phone call from Claire.
"Guess what." she said, sounding so excited and happy that I guessed she must have snagged the work promotion she'd applied for.*
"No," she said, "I'm going to Bangladesh!"
I knew that going to Bangladesh to give medical care to the suffering Rohingya Muslim refugees (see yesterday's post) was something Claire had been talking about doing and that she had looked into working for a Bangladeshi medical aid organization called Hope for Bangladesh and also for the Canadian Red Cross.
She would be required to pay her own way, for all her food, lodgings, and expenses, and would receive no pay for her work. She'd leave for Bangladesh on January 3 and return on January 28. She'd have to use her vacation time from her work as an ICU nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
She'd fly to Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. When she arrived at Dhaka she'd have to deplane with her luggage then catch a shuttle plane to Cox's Bazar, the coastal town where the massive refugee camp set up by the Bangladeshi government is located (see yesterday's post).
"So, are you happy?" I asked Claire after she had told me the details.
"Oh, yeah!" she replied.
She learned that the field hospitals at Cox's Bazar were in dire need of many basic medical supplies, especially for babies and children and that MedGlobal had posted a wish list of items on Amazon.
"Do you think it would be obnoxious of me to tell my Facebook friends about the wish list and ask them to buy something?"
"Not at all," I told her, "people like to help out."
This proved to be true.
Claire sent out a request for items on Facebook, which I shared to my timeline as well.
...and was inundated with supplies. She received enough items to fill up two 50 lb. suitcases to take with her. As for her own personal luggage, everything she needed for herself for her 25-day stay she'd carry in a backpack.
Some people sent her money, for which Claire was grateful, as when she boarded the shuttle plane from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar she'd have to pay by the kilogram for the hundred pounds of medical supplies in her suitcases.
Also, MedGlobal had arranged for their personnel to stay in a hotel in Cox's Bazar, which was a popular seaside resort town before the refugee camp was moved there - maybe it still is, Claire didn't know - in any case, apparently the town has been thriving well with all the commerce from the foreign aid workers. Claire was glad to have a hotel room - she informed me that the Canadian Red Cross workers, hale, hearty and hardcore, stay in tents in the refugee camp - but, again, she'd be required to pay for her room, $30 a night.
Most aid workers stay for a week, but because Claire was staying for over three weeks, which would run up her hotel bill to over $750, her MedGlobal supervisor said he would try to scrape up some funds to help her pay for her lodgings.
However the donations she's received from friends and family will pay for a good part of her hotel bill and she can let MedGlobal keep the money they were going to give her to use for the refugees.
"What will you eat?" I asked Claire during a recent conversation about her upcoming trip.
"The hotel will provide breakfast and they tell me that for dinner there's a local restaurant where we can buy a meal for one dollar."
"What about lunch?" I asked her.
"There's no lunch break and no food will be provided, but I'm bringing along a supply of energy bars to eat for lunch."
"What about water?" I asked.
"They tell us there'll be sufficient water for us."
"Well," I said, "I guess you'll be seeing lots of...things."
"Lots of trauma, I expect. They told me there's epidemics of measles and diphtheria in the camp and outbreaks of cholera."
"Claire, what if you get cholera?' I asked.
She shrugged off my alarm. "I'll have clean water to drink. And I'm pretty healthy. The patients in the camp arrive already compromised. But if I do get cholera all I'll need to do is keep hydrated and I should recover fine."
"Will there be someone there to meet you when arrive in Bangladesh?" I asked, as she would be making the trip alone.
"Not in Dhaka, but someone from the hotel will be there to meet me when I arrive in Cox's Bazar."
Yesterday evening at 8 pm Claire boarded a plane flying from Chicago to Dubai, a thirteen-and-a-half hour trip. After an 8-hour layover in Dubai she will take her next flight from Dubai to Dhaka, which is another four-and-a-half hours. In Dhaka she will retrieve her suitcases and board the shuttle for the 1-hour flight to Cox's Bazar, where she should arrive around 10 am Bangladesh time, which is 11 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
*She ended up getting the work promotion.
Heart felt thanks to everyone who sent items or money. Some of the items from Amazon arrived at Claire's house without identification as to who sent them. Would anyone who sent something from Amazon but did not receive a thank-you not from Claire please let me know? Thanks!
In 2017 my daughter Claire, a nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago,
Today, January 3, 2018, Claire is leaving for Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh to work among the Rohingya refugees there.
The most persecuted and vulnerable population on the planet, the Rohingyas are Muslims whose ancestors have lived in Myanmar for almost a thousand years, but who have always been a harshly oppressed minority in that Buddhist Country. They are denied citizenship or any human rights or protection under the law. Thus they are a stateless people.
Over the past year the oppression of the Myanmar Rohingya Muslims has escalated to genocide.
Considered less than human by their persecutors, the Rohingyas, children as well as adults, have been beaten, shot, macheted, tortured, murdered, raped, starved, burned out of their homes and villages and subjected to the most brutal violence and degradation by Myanmar security forces and mobs of Buddhist civilians.
Subsequently in recent months the Rohihgyas have been fleeing Myanmar for their lives,
There are now between 600,000 - 800,000 Rohingya refugees in the camp in Cox's Bazar.
That's twenty times more than the number of people who live in my suburb of Gahanna, Ohio.
International medical aid organizations such as Doctors without Borders, the Canadian Red Cross, Hope Foundation for Bangladesh and MedGlobal have been setting up field hospitals in the camps.
To be continued...
One year ago from yesterday, New Year's Eve 2016, I was in Los Angeles,
At that time I was among the many in this country who were still feeling numb, devastated and terrified,
On the last day of 2016 many of us were still suffering from a widespread double-edged PTSD: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as we tried to cope with the shock, to somehow come to terms with the reality of what we believed couldn't happen here actually happening here, and Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the pervasive fear and gripping anxiety that a seemingly spoiled, capricious, impulsive, irresponsible, vengeful bigot now had in his hands the power to unravel the threads of the strength of this nation,
...and under his twitchy thumbs the control of our nuclear arsenal.
And yet, even in the most fearful of times hope springs eternal; and on New Year's Eve of last year I made a resolution to give Donald Trump a chance, take the coming year one day at a time, and in one year from then, on the last night of December, to look back over the events of 2017 and recall where the world had been at the beginning of the year and to see where it was at the end.
And so there I was, just before midnight on December 31, 2017, Pacific Time, reflecting that since he was sworn into office, Donald Trump has proven himself to be exactly what he appeared to be during his Presidential campaign: a foul, erratic, amoral, nasty-tempered, childishly narcissistic, dangerous,
And the world, though greatly the worse for wear from a year ago, is still here. Donald Trump, though he's alienated our allies, engendered ill-will and eroded our standing in the world, though he continues to antagonize North Korea, threatening to start a nuclear war over who knows what, he hasn't pulled us into Armageddon.
And though under Donald Trump our bad angels - ignorance, economic inequality, white supremacy, intolerance against minorities, immigrants and the LGBTQ community are in their ascendancy - resistance to these national evils is alive,
In the meantime the national PTSD that gripped us a year ago has devolved into more of an ongoing state of anxiety-tinged general malaise and disgust as Donald Trump dominates the news daily with his divisive and dangerous antics. We're on edge, but the edge has been dulled from over-use.
The headlines on December 31 read that United States and North Korea,
...are now closer than ever to nulcear war.
Does anybody know over what?
Still, here we are, and there's life there's hope.
So last night, during final hours of 2016, I once again made the same resolution as last year to take the coming year one day at a time, and on the last night of December one year from now to look back over the events of 2018 and recall where the world was at the beginning of the year and see where it is at the end, and in the meantime to do what I can, in my own little way, to make it a better place.
Happy New Year. May we all be fine.
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Kindle:
or in print:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library
I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.