Blogsam and Jetsam

Flotsam is the part of the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on the water. Jetsam is cargo or parts of a ship that are deliberately thrown overboard, as to lighten the ship in an emergency, and that subsequently either sinks or is washed ashore. This is my personal blog version of the above. Loot freely.

My Photo
Location: The Hinterlands, Upstate NY

I'm annoyed that the world is going crazier faster than it used to be. But it's interesting to watch.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


...If ya got text ya might as well have pix too, right?

This is the re-started now-singular front to Youngest Duckling's eventual new sweater. You'll notice the unchanged back still in the basket.

A better look. The center diamond panel is "framed basketweave" which she chose herself. Those adorable side panels are Barbara Walker's "Banana Tree" (first book, page 269) although I persist in thinking of it as "Beanstalk." It's an 18 stitch 12 row repeat:

Extreme close-up of cuteness:

And this is the Italian Heirloom tomato seedling which currently represents the sum of "Gardening 2008."

Friday, March 07, 2008

Yeah I Know...

...I never blog any more. These things happen.

In Very Brief:

Mother-in-law has moved out of our house and is back in the Jersey 'Burbs. I probably shouldn't add "and there was much rejoicing" but things do seem to be working out much better with her permanently 300 miles away.

Work is still far too busy of course. We are now at 75% staffing at the doctoral level which means I'm now only doing the Actual Patient-Care Work of one and a third people instead of two but the Boss-Lady part keeps growing...and all the new and shiny has definitely worn off. Which is fine.

Had a Major Knitting Setback: got two-thirds of the right front of an Aran cardigan done before realizing it was sized completely wrong. As I told HBF: "you know that sinking feeling you get when you're pretty sure it's hardware? And then you smell that burning epoxy smell? Yup, it's that one." Had to work through all my Kubler-Ross stages but eventually ripped it all out and started fresh...this time with a single-front pullover concept.

In the interim between "this isn't working out for some reason" and the Big Do-Over I made a whole slew (how many is a slew anyhow? I'm using it to mean maybe six or seven) of headbands. Discovered that they went faster using several strands of yarn held together, that they were a good medium for showing off a single cable design and that I really like the three-stitch I-cord edging.

Baby Duckling is eight today; I think I might be having a midlife crisis. Or would if there were time so I guess I'm glad there isn't.

In the Book World I've been working away at A Great Circle since early January and it's been well worth the effort. That man can write.

Also in the Book World it's our school's annual "PARP" time...that means "Parents As Reading Partners" and is a written agreement that you'll read either to or with your children for a minimum of fifteen minutes every single night for the next three weeks. Yes I have plenty of mixed feelings about that but the bottom line is that we found this book on the overflowing bookshelves which I've been reading aloud most's turned out to be surprisingly high-quality. Literary references and a plotline engaging enough that I got the "can we do more?" request a couple nights ago.

But now it's time to get back to the morning routine...

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Hey Ray, you'll appreciate this post...

I had lunch with a co-worker of mine who is equal in station but over a decade older, has been running a bigger department for longer and who has published the definitive textbook in his field.

I wanted to talk internal work politics; he wanted to talk religion.

Not just any religion but Christian religion. And not just any Christianity but his version of it which included a huge amount of time telling me how it was my duty as a Christian to make sure my children were raised in the faith. HUGE! I even said at one point "you're sure worried about my kids, aren't you?!?"

Then he told me "all the branches of faith are still looking at Jesus Christ, just different aspects of him." When I asked "what about all the other faiths? Aren't their gods also just as true? If they follow the rules of their religions won't they go to their heavens too?" I got some wordy bullshit that was covering up "if you're not a Christian it doesn't count."

He slid right past my "I start at 'human' and work up from there" rhetoric and started trying to get me to bring my kids to his church. Had some throwaway comment about Judaism to make which revealed way too much underlying anti-Semitism for my taste and insisted on showing me an Adrian Rogers website....whereupon I told him "you should be honored. I haven't let anyone proselytize me this much in years."

He doesn't even play by his own rules: when I expressed serious shock that he routinely takes Communion in Catholic churches (he's Protestant) he gave me a whole shuck-n-jive why that was okay. Then laughed out loud and said "all right! " when I told him the local Episcopalian church celebrated Communion with sherry but subsequently launched into how he thought sharing from a chalice was "so unsanitary" and how therefore he always went by tincture even when offered the chalice by a priest: he either takes just the Host and refuses the chalice or else dips it himself.

I don't consider myself really a Christian anymore but even I think that is 1) rude as a guest whether you believe or not 2) not consistent with the whole "community spirit and sharing" part of the faith and 3) evidence that you don't truly believe in your God even enough to trust that s/he/it/they will keep you from getting sick due to germs shared during worship of that selfsame God.

Icky. And PUSHY.

I sat there thinking "look, dude, just because I told you once in passing that I'd been raised in the Methodist church does not mean I agree with any of this."

The worst part of it is that now I'm going to have a hard if not impossible time not taking his work advice with a huge grain of salt.


The amaryllis bulb my mother sent me for Christmas is doing its thing:

Sunday, February 03, 2008


The knitting:

The basket is full of an Aran-style cardigan for Youngest Duckling; the perennial bed is full of sleet.

The large bit is the back and the smaller bit is the left front.

When contemplating far too many cable patterns in the book I had a flash of inspiration: let her choose the ones she liked. I think she did a good job.

The Not Knitting:

A vintage Springbok puzzle just after Christmas

And our traditional Christmas Cookie Adventure...sometime after the day itself but before Epiphany; can't remember which night exactly.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Book Blurb:

Remember how much I disliked Lisey's Story?

Yeah well, his new one more than makes up for it. Stayed up till past one two nights running to finish the thing and it was a helluva ride.

If some books are a tasty bag of potato chips then Duma is a loaf of chewy-dense freshly baked bread...or maybe a tin of really rich brownies. It's the good stuff, my friends. On lots of levels: it's all there.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oh Yeah, and in the Microcosm...

...Big change at House of Chaos.

MIL doesn't live here any more.

The phrase I've used with some of my office staff is "The experiment has proven unsuccessful."

The ones we use with Autisic Brother-in-Law are "Your brother kicked her out because she was too mean," and "She was too mean so your brother kicked her out."

Of course the complicating bit is that this all happened right before she left for yet another extended trip to Brazil. Imagine explaining that much uncertainty to ABIL. (Go ahead...imagine, dammit! That's what I've been doing these past twenty-five minutes!)

Oh and also....

Being The Boss is definitely both RHIR and RHIP (oddly enough I had to explain "RHIR" [but only "RHIR"] to my new boss, The CEO) especially in the face of our Budget Crisis.

This book is still a most excellent read (and quick too.)

I have one amaryllis that definitely will bloom, one that might (I've tried to convince last year's that it's had an entire winter) and three hyacinth bulbs in near-full bloom.

I'm falling into my low time...when the days are noticeably longer but there is still so very much winter left.

Eldest has become such a Teenager.
I'm torn between admiring how much better she does thirteen than I did and wanting to beat her senseless.

Post Scriptum: Special thanks to my one Faithful's noticed and appreciated.

Just Read...

....and tell me: Is anyone really SURPRISED?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Just When...

...I think it might be time for him to retire, he goes and gives us what we needed--a war anthem:

It's a little simplistic and I'll freely admit I have no idea who Cass Dillon is but it's still plenty powerful.

Props to my mother for mentioning it.