Tuesday, April 25, 2006


This morning I helped an older Iranian woman who was mugged on Terrace Drive--just 20 feet up from the playground right outside my back door. She came to the playground staggering, clutching her chest (I thought she was having a heart attack). I ran to her to find out the problem. In limited English and desperate body language she conveyed that her bag and head scarf had been stolen by someone. At first I thought she meant by her son, but after I made the 9-1-1 call and got clearer with her, I figured out that by "son" she'd meant "boy" (which, of course, makes more sense). She was so upset, so shaken, pale with red around her eyes. I touched her shoulders, clumsily attempted to embrace her. As I spoke first on the phone with the state trooper response center and then with the Marin County sheriff, she sank to the ground holding her side. I still don't know if he'd hit her or knocked her over, or if this was just the natural response to fear and vulnerability.

The sheriff came five minutes later. He tried to phrase and re-phrase his questions patiently to get accurate answers. She hadn't seen the thief--she'd turned her head from him when he assaulted her. As she demonstrated this, I thought that seemed like a natural response: protect herself from physical harm and from knowing too much about her attacker.

In the end, another sheriff's car headed off in the direction that the thief had fled (a fruitless gesture I'm sure), and the assisting officer said I was free to go. He'd take her to her apartment--just a hundred yards up the hill to what we know of as the "projects"--to find a relative who might speak more English, to interpret her Farsi. But she had no keys, no ID, no money, no cell phone, etc. Yuck. This happened at 11 a.m. I wonder if it would be appropriate for me to call to find out if I can check up on her, even to ask her if she'd like me to walk with her on errands. She's got to feel vulnerable. We all like to think we're safe in broad daylight.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Dear Sketchy:
Surely everybody is feeling better now. On the east coast we keep seeing/reading about the 100 year Anniversary of the earthquake. What do the experts say about you in Sausalito with regard to a big one? Does your branch of the Reynolds Clan have any special get out of town plans in place? A "scoot" bag by the door?
-Uncle Rod, Bowie, Maryland

Dear Uncle Rod:
Yeah, I guess everybody's feeling better--at least we did for three days. Today Aubrey puked all morning, though, and Mick's got bronchitis complete with two inhalers and a bottle of pills. (Yes, you do detect a whine.)

I appreciate your nudge in the direction of earthquake preparedness. It's something I think about a lot, but haven't acted upon. I have the list of what to have around for "three days of supplies" but haven't actually purchased any of them. Other than that, here's what I supersleuthed through google tonight:
  • The Bay Model Center, which is down the street and on my list of cool stuff to check out, happens to be focusing on earthquakes this month, educating on how/why earthquakes will happen here and what the effects will be. They have earthquake prep pamphlets too.
  • A link at the San Francisco Chronicle reminded me to fasten our bookcases to the studs in the walls, which has definitely been on my list, but neglected.
Write me in a couple weeks and ask me what I've accomplished.
Thanks for your mail!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I'm about to hit the hay now with a healthy dose of Vicadin for my ruptured eardrum. G'night, Johnboy.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sick City!

Yup, no recent posts due to illness. Dane, Aubrey, Jan and I have had the flu-turned-brutal-colds this week. Dane was the first to come down with it last Saturday night; Aubs, Jan and I followed suit the next day. Sent Jan home on a plane Tuesday after her two week visit--perhaps a bad idea for fellow passengers...

Aubrey and Dane have had several days of 104 temps plus headaches and nausea and coughs--Dane said he couldn't move and felt "glued to the floor" one day. I have the headaches, nausea, coughs, lost voice, and fatigue. The doctor's given Dane antibiotics for his ear infection, but other than that we're just supposed to use cold medicine and Tylenol since this sucker's viral. The doctor even told us not to hope for improvement for a few days. Great.

My friend Margaret's kids have had this for a week too: in fact, her 4-year-old has visibly lost weight and her 20-month old is in the hospital with pnemonia as of yesterday. Perhaps we're lucky in the sense that at least ours hasn't escalated like that, and the weather's been awful enough, with major wind and rain, that Magic School Bus and Hello Kitty videos ad nauseum are almost tolerable.

And where is Mick in all this? We were hoping he'd remain unscathed, but he called today to tell me he had a headache and some nausea. He's staying late at school to infect his peers, I mean, work on a group project and do stuff in the lab. He's guessing he might be dealing with this tomorrow and Sunday if he's got what we have. Not good timing with major tests and assignments coming up.

Perk? Nice neighbor Susan got to be wonderful again. Brought up a big bag of fresh fruit and sparkling citrus juice on our worst day. Excellent timing.