Today in My History

2001:  A World Without Mirrors
2002:  A Mary Poppins Kind of Day
2003:  Eye Candy
2004:  Digital Delight
Can You Hear Me Now?
2006:  All's Right with the World
2007: Home Again, Home Again 
2008:  A New Decade
2009:  Off With Her Head
2010:  Food Motivated
2011:  Thin Mints

2012: Just a Plot of...Not a Lot of...
2013: Meme Time
2014: Chez Panisse
Uh...Happy Birthday, Walt
The Cone of Shame
Essential Technology
Sad Stories
2019: Saturday 9

2021: DISH

Books Read in 2022
 Updated 2/9
"Tell No One"
Harlan Coben

My family

Bev's 65 x 365

Books Read in 2022
Books Read in 2021

Books Read in 2020

Books Read in 2019
Books Read in 2018

Books Read in 2017
Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013

Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010

Cast (updated 7/16)

(you know how to fix it)

Some Background Links:
The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
The story of Delicate Pooh
The story of the Piņata Group
Pumpkin pies
Who IS this Gilbert person anyway?

Scavenger Hunt

mail to Walt / mail to Bev


2 March 2022

As so many people in the world are doing, I am spending a lot of time thinking about Ukraine and especially remembering when we were there in 2013.

We have had Ukraine in our life for many years.  David godparents were Ukrainian and we used to go to a Ukrainian Mass in San Francisco with David's godfather.  We learned how to sing the songs in Ukrainian.  We met Andrij when he was studying Slavic language and literature at UC Berkeley.  He taught Ukrainian in Canada for many years and is now retired

Ukraine was a very strange country to visit.  It had only been a country for 11 years when we were there.

What I wrote in my journal about a talk that we attended about the country:

It's fascinating to think what happens when you are suddenly on your own with no government backing you.  That's what happened in 1991 when the Soviet Union dissolved.  Ukraine had 19 prime ministers in 20 years and there are 35 political parties, which sometimes leads to fistfights.  Seems to me that if our Congress adopted the same business instead of all this "my esteemed colleague" nonsense, we might actually get some stuff done.

Alla talked about how there is no "tourism industry" per se in the country yet and they don't really know what to do with tourists, which is why there is such a paucity, for example, of places where you can buy postcards, and most cheap little tsa tskes seem to be sold by women setting up tables at places of interest, though since Viking has the only tour buses I have seen in most places where we've been, I don't know how much of a living that can make!

I remember when we took a tour and our guide was very proud to show us this in Sevastopol.

These are Russian nuclear submarines, which they pay rent to park here.  I wrote:

Sevastopol is the second largest port in Ukraine and under Soviet rule it was very hush hush...nobody could visit.  Now it is becoming a tourist town, and the home base of the Ukrainian Navy.  The Russians also rent space here, as it is a strategically important naval port.  There are, for example, two Russian submarines moored here.

Their lease is up in 2045 and they are expected to renew.

I guess Putin found a way to stop paying rent.

The strange thing about Ukraine was that it was not built for tourists.  Our guide found us a place to buy postcards, but it had no sign and was a little tiny shop down under the sidewalk.  Also nobody took credit cards, so it was cash only.  And if you wanted a touristy thing, you probably would find it being sold in a field or by your bus.

One of my favorite places to visit was a monastery, built in 1051.  I sat and listened to monks chanting and then watched as they rang this huge bell.  I watched people touching the bell and the guy who continued ringing it for at least half an hour. (A tour guide later told me that people feel that touching the bell, and feeling the vibration is very restorative and if they have health problems, they touch the bell when it is being rung.)   I'm wondering if this is a target for Russian bombs.

The saddest part of our days touring Kyiv was the time we spent at Babi Yar, the mile and a half long deep ravine in the middle of the city, where, over two days in September, 1941, the Germans shot and killed at least 30,771 Jews, men, women and children.  The victims were told they were going to be relocated and asked to bring all of their belongings. And they showed up, afraid that if they did not, they would be shot.  They were asked to remove their jewelry, deposit their valuables, and ultimately strip naked, stand at the edge of the ravine and be shot, their bodies falling into the ravine.  Very efficient. The massacre was the largest single mass killing of the Nazi regime and is considered to be the "largest single massacre in the history of the Holocaust."  Today there is a park on the site and mothers play with their children and dog walkers walk their dogs on the spot.

We saw 15 and 16 year old soldiers who remain on guard at Odessa's Tomb of the Unknown from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., in 15 minute segments.  These children are learning how to defend their country at a very young age.

The whole country is an amazing experience and it hurts to think of all the places where we were, now being bombed, with a threat of possible nuclear bombs.  I am so impressed at the Ukrainians' determination to keep Russia out and how hard they are battling, despite being overwhelmed.

May there be a road to peace, or may the Russians finally see what a terrible person Putin is and get rid of him.


This is the memorial to the children
who were killed in the holocaust in Ukraine
over 10,000

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