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.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sporadic At Best...

...That's what this blog is going to become.

The whole pictures thing did irk me but I discovered I liked having the time back even more.

Do I still think blogging is totally fabulous? You bet. Do I think it's a great way to bring like minds together? Absolutely. But do I personally have to be keeping a blog? least not right now.

In a different universe I'd have lots more free time and be able to fully enjoy the medium and what it can uniquely offer an active participant...but in THIS universe I simply do not need another hobby. Cutting into the knitting time to blog about the knitting is rather absurd even when the pictures do turn out really well.

I'll still be reading of course, and I won't delete this blog outright...but it's going to slide quite a bit.

For now I'm still on "vacation" which is a week off work with no special plans...but walking back into an October that will be astoundingly busy. Every moment of pleasure, after all.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Limited Expression

Since Sunday I've been unable to upload photos to this blog on either my home computer or my work computer. The process seems to work just fine but when I click the magic "done" button the html code isn't there. Yeah, I spent a half a morning reading every bit of the help section that was even remotely relevant. Then I finally emailed the Blogger people and received an auto-response suggesting that I go read all the stuff I'd just read because that would most likely answer my problem and that I should reply only if I couldn't solve my problem with that very helpful information. I sent them a crisp reply telling them that I wouldn't have been reduced to writing them at all if I had found the information I needed in their FAQ and haven't heard back since.

Which is fine; the service is free.

Usually this is the sort of thing that would drive me crazy and in fact it DID annoy hell out of me all day Monday and most of Tuesday. After all, I started this whole blog experience so I could post pictures of my knitting to share with other fiber-crazed people and it doesn't work nearly as well if there are no pictures, right? Right. Also I could tell that OTHER Blogger subscribers could upload just fine which meant that there was something wrong with Just MY Account.

So I thought about all sorts of options like finding better ways to harass the Blogger support staff, creating a whole new blog or even switching to another blog-hosting service.

Then I had one of those lightbulb moments: maybe this is just the Universe's way of trying to tell me not to take up yet another new hobby.

I played with that thought for a while and realized it had a lot of merit. For no more readers than I have I was spending a LOT of mental and physical energy on much so that it was actually cutting into the knitting time which was pretty senseless since that was the reason to blog in the first place. I had even had a few "time to make the donuts"* moments about getting pictures onto the website and started worrying about things like good lighting and focus depth. All of which is well and good but in a life so fully packed it oozes do I really need to add One More Thing?

Of course I thought "yes" otherwise you wouldn't have been getting organic and inorganic photo-shoots. Fortunately the driving forces of nature knew better. For now I'll ride the wave and see how it goes. Sure I'll check every so often (like probably once a damned day if not more; I'm sorta obsessive that way) to see if I somehow magically can upload pikkies again, but I'm not going to stress if I can't.

It's not like I won't have plenty to say anyhow.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Text and Not Much of It

I am supremely annoyed that Blogger hasn't seen fit to accept any of my photo uploads for a couple of days now. Particularly when I see other Blogger-hosted blogs that do have new pix...but such is the way of the virtual world.

I'm still just tickled that the booties worked out; so much in life doesn't end nearly as happily. They got white ties last night and are already wrapped and ready to go.

Finally saw the finale of Project Runway Season ONE last night...much TV entertainment to be had and even a "smoking brings humans together in peace" moment. Can't wait to see how THIS season turns out and am all warmly happy that Season Two is waiting on DVD even as I type.

In followup to That Game and the word "Chevrolet"... 38 words of four or more letters plus 6 that aren't really standard English*.

In followup to my views on religion, another one I have is "But what if they were ALL true? Wouldn't that be cool?"

The purple hemp teatowel blocked out really well but still isn't dry yet...didn't forsee that at all.

This morning the air felt absolutely tropical, which is very strange for Upstate NY at this time of year. Felt like a little island breeze just for me when I went to the grocery first thing this morning.

*over, hover, cover, clover, lover, here, there, role, tole, vole, hole, veer, leer, cheer, cove, love, rove, trove, chore, chortle, vetch, retch, letch, leech, clot, cloth, clothe, colt, overt, covert, evert, revolt, volt, clever, lever, ever, torch, ochre, (chevre),(chere),(leche),(loch),(Holter),(Lethe)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Happy Outcome

It worked out: I DID have enough pink cotton to finish the booties!

Blogger still doesn't want to upload the old pix so I haven't taken new yet.

Weekend Wrapup

Lots of stuff this weekend, friends....

Local Events:

MIL came back from Brazil last night bearing the tastiest peanut butter candy on the planet:

image to be here if Blogger ever starts playing nicely with me again

The ingredients are ONLY "peanuts, sugar, salt" but those are amazing little cylinders of crumbly goodness.

Of course she brought a KinderOvo for everyone--MINE was a swell Frankenstein just in time for Halloween, complete with glow-in-the-dark head and hands:

image here once Blogger is back

In other news, Eldest Duckling was assigned a "leaf project" for her Life Sciences class so we spent part of Saturday walking the property looking for an oak tree. Had no luck of course. Why? Partly climate but largely because the entire region is covered by second growth. Before beer became the drink of the nation, this used to be cider country and in fact our part of the creek has an inlet where the cider mill formerly on our property was fed. With the exception of a few impressive trees next to old homesteads, all the trees around are less than two hundred years old. We have three kinds of maple, a ton of white hemlock pine, lots of some tree with eye-shaped leaves the Duckling is going to attempt to identify...but almost no oak. We do have a lovely stand of quaking aspen across the road which we call "the dancing trees."

Frustrating, since our cursed property in The Burbs has two big white oak trees on the lot and is surrounded by hundreds more. Since I didn't know the difference before reading her Life Science handout, I'll just tell you: white oak trees are the ones with the rounded leaf tips; red oak trees are the ones with the pointy leaf-tips.

Fortunately that new grocery I mentioned chose to landscape their parking lot with red oak trees. Even more fortunately, I noticed.

Not-so-Local Events:

Where is the country in which I was raised? Where?!

My ducklings will tell you that I just went off at the television yesterday because of this new attempt to "revisit" the Geneva Convention and the fact that representatives of my country have been using "waterboarding." I can't believe we're even HAVING this discussion. WHY?!? As I explained to the Ducklings, World War 1 was SO grisly and gruesome with its use of gas and trench warfare that after it was over we all agreed that even if we DO hate each other enough to have to go to war, here are some rules we will still follow just because we're all civilized human beings. Why is my country's administration trying to CHANGE that?!?!? I am quietly furious over this.

Moving on to religion...

I'm an atheist; have been all my life. Sure there are plenty of inexplicable things in the Universe and I have a complicated worldview involving the idea of positive and negative energy and I believe that Good does in fact matter...but I've definitely not ever bought into the idea of a Creator God in the monotheistic sense or a pantheon of gods in the polytheistic sense. (Yes I was confirmed into the United Methodist church and sang in the choir for over a decade; we'll tackle lip service another day.) HBF has similar views and we've taken a fair amount of shit over the years from various relatives for raising the children the same way. What we tell the Ducklings is "Because we don't believe in any of them it's important to respect ALL of them and learn the key facts about the bigger ones." Also "keep your mouth shut about not believing lest you be persecuted."

With that as background I must sound off on the other big news event this weekend, namely how angry some Muslims are at the Pope. I understand that the new Pope is not a repeat of the old Pope and I'm okay with that. I rather like that he's more scholarly (and I liked his dashing red hat the other day too.) I can understand why this new more intellectually-oriented Pope might wish to quote documents hundreds of years old in a speech and I can certainly understand why some people might be incensed by what those documents said. I think that if you are QUOTING someone you shouldn't be held personally accountable for what that person said (ie don't shoot the messenger) but I understand that is a distinction not necessarily shared. I can understand why people might be very upset and outraged at the Pope specifically and Christianity generally.

However....if you are angry because your religion has been accused of being violent, can't you see that setting fire to churches and shooting a nun is NOT HELPFUL!?!

Why does it seem like the entire event is being used by both sides to fan the flames of religious intolerance and polarize individuals still further?

Knitting Events

There's always the knitting. This weekend I was knitting to deadline because the woman with the girlbaby said on Friday "I have an invitation for you but I forgot to bring it today" in reference to a baby shower...and I hadn't even started the pink Speed-Cro-Sheen booties.

So I made booties over the weekend:

image here eventually...

I should say I made MOST of the booties over the weekend. Last night I realized the yarn situation was going to be VERY tight...within inches if it didn't run out. Speed-cro-sheen has been discontinued and that's the only ball I had so if the yarn ran out the only logical choice was to put a stripe of contrasting color down the sole of the foot (they're knit top-down). Which was fine but that would also mean putting a stripe of contrasting color down the sole of the other foot and I'd already sewn it up (yet another reason why I don't like making two alike of anything. Problems have to be fixed in duplicate.) So I tossed the whole thing in my knitting basket in hopes that the forces of the Universe will see that I've been living life well lately and stretch the yarn enough to make it all work out by the time I get home tonight.

I also finished my mother's fancy handtowel and got it run through a wash cycle with Downy last night--this is a horrible photo but that strange not-as-dark rectangle is indeed the purple hemp towel blocking on the bed.

really bad image here once Blogger is behaving again

I'm really hoping that washing will have fixed the "crispy" part since toward the end of the towel I got the feeling I was working with folded paper or thin strips of cardboard. Hemp is a nice strong fiber but soft it isn't.

And finally, a Somewhat Seventies center-outward baby blanket I started Friday night originally to be the wrapping paper for the booties:

Last image (five in total) to be here once Blogger sees fit to upload same

Now I'm thinking it might be "bootie insurance" in case the whole contrasting-stripe thing doesn't work out.

Runway Event:

Eldest Duckling and I are still trying to finish up Season One of Runway...we got as far as Tim Gunn paying on-site visits to the three designers before the new Sunday Night Fox lineup (Simpsons, American Dad, Family Guy and War at Home [we love War at Home]) started. I loved how Utterly Charming Tim was not just with the designers but with their families...he is one of the very few individuals who is just as good doing meet-n-greet with children as he is with adults largely because he seems to treat them AS adults who are just quite shy. Very heartwarming, particularly after the weekend's news. Eldest Duckling and I are both very fond of Mr. Gunn and wish we could adopt him as an honorary cousin or something.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Miscellany

Life's been entirely too hard for entirely too long lately. According to those stress quizzes, I should already have a major illness or accident, if that gives you perspective. Therefore today you get whatever random bits of non-wisdom that are left at the edges of my psyche.

I've always liked flags. I used to study the color plates in our World Book when I was a kid and now I have the world map with all the flags at the bottom on a prominent wall in my office. My very favorite is the flag of Lebanon because it has a TREE. My second favorite flag has always been that of Brazil because it has a globe with stars; funny how I married Brazilian. The Canadian flag is a close third to Brazil because that maple leaf is almost as good a symbol as the entire tree but it's so very hard to draw (as I learned when I was about seven.) Runner-up is Jamaica for visual aesthetics alone--I like the colors and the bold "X" design.

My review of Fellini's Satyricon: It wasn't in chronological order, there were a lot of dead people in it and they STOLE the hermaphrodite!

I can't stand to drink hot beverages.

The first "rock concert" to which I ever went was John Denver. Don't shoot me: I was seven. The first one I chose was Billy Joel ten years later. Followed by Chicago, Marillion/Rush, Pink Floyd twice, Roger Waters and Petty/Dylan. Arlo Guthrie too, but that was a much smaller venue.

I've met the Dalai Lama. God Incarnate had very warm hands.


since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
--the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

--e.e. cummings

One of my biggest peeves is that women's garments almost never have pockets. Howinthehell can you keep from having to carry a purse without decent pockets?!?

Windex takes semen stains out of sheets. Fast.

You can make piecrust in a food processor but you really don't wish to do so. Comes out tough.

Goya guava nectar mixed 50/50 with club soda is delightful but you have to drink it before it settles.

When I was eleven I literally wore out my first set of Lord of the Rings paperbacks.

You know that game where you take a word like "Chevrolet" and try to see how many other words you can make from it? I'll kick your ass. Unless you're my mother, that is.

"White Chocolate" is neither.

A big part of why I like Tucker Carlson is because he consistently uses "different FROM."

I love the smell of a new box of crayons.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

On A Lighter Note

My favorite of the man-made photo series. I call it "Tribute to Phone Phreaks Everywhere."

Also I knit a flower from Nicky Epstein's* book. It was inspiration for wool play with yarn I have in my stash...but I simply must finish the teatowel and the pink baby booties first. After that, no cotton for a while!



...Is not something I usually am in blogland. But today I must vent.

I had thought that the "five-year anniversary of nine-eleven" would be yet another overhyped media event that washed over me like so much seawater but it wasn't. Several things over the past couple of days have given me the need to scream "AMERICANS! What has happened to us?!"

First I read Kiki Sammis' beautiful and touching "Love" post on her blog She Just Walks Around With It (link on my sidebar.) Then I read the transcript of Keith Olbermann's brave and wonderful Tuesday night broadcast (link :
Yesterday I voted in the NY primary election specifically to express my anti-war sentiment. Last night I finally viewed an impressive bit of "previously unreleased" documentary 9/11 home video shot by one of two women in a 36th floor apartment. It was something HBF found and I'll edit in a link as soon as I get one (if you know what I'm talking about, email me please) because that quiet video was FAR better than anything else I've seen covering that fateful day.

Those things brought back all the sadness and all the loss and all the amassed potential of those days...but then they also brought back the one three-year old thought to which I keep returning because I STILL have no answer: "What HAPPENED? Why IRAQ?"

Sure I have a 9/11 story; everyone does. Mine is fortunately very removed from actual tragedy. I had taken my then-four-year-old son with me to a service-while-you-wait oil change at the dealership so we watched Peter Jennings narrate the horrible events as they developed. At first I knit but then I just sat holding my boy. Tightly. While surrounded by three retired men and two retired women, I was the one who said first "ohmigawd that's a jet plane" and then much later in tones of great sadness, "we're going to have to have a war over this."

In those strange crazy days immediately after the World Trade Center fell, I was just as caught in the fervor as everyone else. I wanted to FIND the parties who did it and GET them. Thought we should imprison them all for life and was happy that we knew the guy we needed was Osama Bin Laden. I spent a lot of hours at the office googling everything I could find, especially the CIA World Fact Book. I was perfectly fine with going into Afghanistan. The Taliban seemed to support OBL and it didn't hurt that I was still furious over those statues.

Yes, it was terrible that we were bombing people, yes it was terrible that we were ruining the infrastructure and I hated that term "daisy-cutter" just on principle. But I knew the nation had to find SOMEwhere to put all the frustration and grief and rage that those 19 men had triggered and Afghanistan seemed to be the place. Sure we were tearing it down but that was okay because then we'd build it back up even better than it had been before--with less killing and oppression! And with more freedom! And women's rights! And artwork! And probably Coca-Cola!

I was so naive. I thought the way it would work was that we would make Afghanistan essentially a US colony, pump a ton of money into it and make it our base of operations for the entire region. I thought the fighting would die down quickly but that we'd then hear about this secret mission or that covert op over in Tajikistan or Uzbekistan and eventually the banner headline would read "Osama Bin Laden Captured and Held for Questioning." I actually kept a map of the Mideast on my bulletin board for months so that I'd know exactly where all the secret activity might be. I trusted my government to use its impressive might to FIX that horrible mess and I think a lot of my countrymen felt the same way.

I truly thought that by the time my Ducklings were old enough, joining the Peace Corps to help rebuild Afghanistan would be a viable only mildly-dangerous option for them. (Yes, you may snicker at my optimism. )

Three years ago I said "Iraq?!? Why IRAQ?!" I'm still saying it. And much worse.

I see no connection between OBL and Saddam Hussein, we now know there is no connection between Saddam Hussein and WMD and Iraq and Iran used to hate each other. Therefore the only conclusion an average-Joe media viewer like me can draw is that this war must be about something else entirely. Something more important to the current administration than the thousands of lives and billions of dollars lost in that conflict.

Friends, there IS nothing that important. Therefore the current regime--excuse me, I mean administration--is at best criminally stupid and at worst deliberately and evilly using the entire country for its own selfish gain.

The 2004 election broke my spirit. You may think I jest but I do not: I haven't been the same American since. That was the election that was supposed to fix what the Supposed Fixers had done. That was the election that was going to restore my faith in my fellow countrymen. That was the election before which I spent an entire week exhorting people to "Be sure to go vote! I don't care HOW you vote; just go DO it!"

You all saw how it turned out.

It's two years later and we have another chance. Why do I feel like Linus in his pumpkin patch?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Inorganic Walk

To compliment the flower walk of last week I challenged myself to take only pictures of man-made items.

I started with the exceptionally obvious (that shadow in the lower right is me trying not to darken my photo)

This one is not only obvious but done to death--I'm sure I've seen it in college stationery stores.

I thought there would be a better selection of litter but it's a surprisingly clean village. (I liked getting to document the return of Tab though. )

Dunno what it means but it looked good...

This was on Main Street under less than ideal conditions--I was trying to make that piece of red chewing gum more prominent.

Also on Main Street and shot practically blind...I'm surprised it turned out as well as it did.

The Knitting

I decided the towel needed a washcloth to keep it company--same basic stitch pattern.

I'm also getting damned sick of that ripple stitch AND the hemp yarn with absolutely no "give." Find myself fantasizing about nice stretchy pliable wool. Maybe home-dyed wool, even...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Organic Walk

I only managed to take one walk all of last week but I did remember my camera.

Probably I looked silly sitting on the sidewalk to get close enough to the fungi.

This looked silly turned the other way which was actually how it was taken.

The black-eyed susans turned out REALLY well this year...

...and I really like black-eyed susans.

I liked how the light was shining on these flowers.

I liked it a lot better close up.

As always, there was also to follow eventually.

Friday, September 08, 2006

My Favorite Graffito Ever:

From the end stall of the third-floor women's room in Ballantine Hall on Indiana University's Bloomington campus, circa 1986:

I spent my last ten bucks on birth control and beer
I was so much happier when I was sober and queer
But the love of a strong hairy man has turned my head I fear
And made me spend my last ten bucks on birth control and beer.

Happy weekend everybody!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Middle Duckling

Shopping with the Eldest and the Youngest over the long weekend was pleasant and fun but I always particularly enjoy time with my quiet Middle Duckling. Yesterday was back-to-school physical day so I had more than usual.

Middle Duckling doesn't say much but of the three he's the easiest to just Be With. We walked from school to my office in near-silence but once there he calmly said "well I'll do my homework and then while you're at your meeting I'll draw." Such a pleasure! During the few minutes before his appointment, he worked quietly at his table and I worked quietly at mine and it was peacefully complete...unlike when the girls visit and the chaos lingers for days. I totally adore my girls but they cut a much wider swath.

We showed up at 3:05 for our 3:20 appointment and were ushered into a room by 3:25 but then had a long wait. We amused ourselves making gentle fun of the reading material in the exam room: little-kid books and a boating magazine. Laughed out loud several times, agreed that boating seemed like a dumb and expensive hobby (apologies to watercraft enthusiasts) and had fine bonding time...but started to get miffed when we hadn't seen the doctor by 3:50.

I am MUCH better with authority figures than I used to be. When Middle Duckling said "Mom, don't you have a meeting to go to?" in tones of concern, I didn't stress for even one minute before saying "yes, at four-thirty. If the doctor hasn't come by four-ten we'll just have to leave and reschedule." Sure the nurses would've been shocked and stunned and pleaded with me to stay but I didn't care in the slightest. Waiting fifty minutes for a ten-minute well-child exam was outrageous and I had no intention of tolerating same.

THAT, my friends, represents a major step forward for me. Even a year ago I would've worked myself into a state of hypertensive frenzy while accepting a possibly indefinite wait and thinking I'd have to find someone to fill in at my meeting. No more.

Fortunately the doctor arrived at 3:55 and we were back to my office by 4:15. True to his word, Middle Duckling set up shop with his markers and said "Don't worry Mom, I'll be fine" as I went off to my meeting. He was still happily drawing when I returned a half-hour later--Eldest would've been all over the office, had half the drawer contents out on the desktops and chatted up all the secretaries in that same time. (All of which is good and charming but also emotionally tiring.) We had a very fine walk through the hospital to the parking lot...hard to explain quiet bonding time but I'm sure you all know what I mean.

It made me all warm and fuzzy inside when he said "you know I really like this place. It's interesting and QUIET." I feel exactly the same way.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Well yeah, but...

...I'm not sure we should tell the children:

I took this last night at my local favorite grocery (not the one about which I posted yesterday.)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

And There Was Also Knitting

I nearly finished the baby blanket:

I like the way the rectangles turned out--very Piet Mondrian *

Stitch detail: every unit is some type of reversible knit/purl combination.

I stalled out at the border. My first plan was to do fat I-cord all the way around in one color then repeat with two others but that looked Way Bad when I tried. My second plan is garter stitch, but I want it to be a BORDER which means I want it all knit simultaneously to have the proper corners which means buying a handful of long circular shucky-darn!

It was just as well I stalled out though because I realized that baby isn't due till spring but my mother's birthday is in the middle of October. She's getting the Project Runway DVDs but of course I have to add a handknit too...

Is it ethically wrong to make your mother a hemp teatowel?

I sure hope not; it's coming along GREAT.

* I'm not really that well-versed in art history first thing on a Wednesday morning: I googled "modern art" and "rectangles" till I found the guy I remembered.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Weekend Shopping

Normally I'm a mail-order kind of person. This weekend, however, I did more in-the-stores shopping than I've done in months. The Mall on Saturday, the grocery on Sunday AND Wal-Hell on Monday.

Eldest Duckling and I went to The Mall so that she could buy shoes and we could both get new outfits for Tuesday. We had a great conversation about body image sparked by Project Runway controversy that showed she's way cooler about such things than I was at her age: "Mom, they're [the models] size zero or two which is the same size I am and I'm TWELVE! They are NOT normal!" was one memorable quote and the other was "you can be beautiful and fat or skinny and ugly; they're two separate things." I still struggle with that latter one myself and I'm forty next month.

Shoes were easy enough since she's now a half-size larger than I am and can therefore shop adult women's which is huge and always in the front of the store. She picked a nice blue pair; I didn't look at brand but I'm glad she did because the first words out of MIL's mouth were "Nike or Reebok?"*

Our mall is truly tiny and consists of maybe a dozen stores, a multiplex movie theater and a Penney's. Guess where we went for clothes? Yup, and it was crowded with other mom-kid pairs doing the same damned thing. I played runner to and from the dressing room (hidden in the baby department for some curious reason) and luckily all the stuff she REALLY liked was available in her size**. I also persuaded her to try a dress-up dress because I knew she currently didn't own ANY--that was a struggle. She finally decided to humor Mom and found out the hard way that bright cherry-red isn't nearly as flattering to a redhead as boring navy blue. She looked stunning, but after about a half-dozen choruses of "MOM I am just NOT a dress person" I gave up on actually buying the thing. Turned out I wasn't a dress person that day either; the one I tried on would've been hideous even if it had been available in the proper size. I settled for a purple sweater and can't decide how old I need to feel because it's Sag Harbor brand. Probably at least sixty.

We stopped at a new-to-us fast food joint on the way home: Quiznos. I know that doesn't sound like much to any of you, but the Hinterlands is far enough out in the boondocks to simply not HAVE fast food so we were excited. Quizno's is a sandwich (as opposed to burger) place with the gimmick of toasted bread and they've been really pushing a smokehouse barbecue sandwich on television lately so I had to try the New Thing. Elizabeth, always a Jersey Girl at heart, got their version of a cheesesteak. Both were HUGELY full of meat; we took the majority home to share. What they call a cheesesteak isn't even remotely close to the real thing and their barbecue sandwich was pretty much like everyone else's sweetly sticky barbecue sandwich...but the novelty value made it a worthwhile endeavor.

Sunday's shopping wasn't nearly as pleasant. It was "just" the grocery but that was enough. I've started shopping at a new place which is slightly farther away but bigger with better produce and a more rapid stock turnover. All of which is good but I still don't know the layout very well yet which was the first handicap. The second handicap was waiting till nearly eleven to go: usually I'm out the door by nine but I had to wait to discuss meal planning with MIL and she wanted to hang out in her room on the phone most of the morning. So the store was not only confusing but crowded. I hate that. Doesn't matter if it's the pre-yard-sale crowd or the after-church crowd or both.

I schlepped up and down all the aisles at least once and most of them twice while still remaining completely uninspired. Had to search to find the PAM; at my other store it was with baking things. Bought the same huge pile of replacement stuff I buy every damned week but couldn't work up any great enthusiasm for upcoming dinners or anything else food-related and thought everything there looked like dreck. You know the feeling. The first good moment came while waiting at the checkout: I had time to read Entertainiment Weekly and realize that the big cover story on Project Runway was all stuff I'd previously read online thereby saving me the $3 impulse purchase had I been first to put my stuff on the belt.

It got more interesting: the front-end manager herself started to bag my metric fuckload of groceries. While she did, an old fat man schlepped himself over to the register next to mine and asked "where's the olive oil?" in the same tone my ducklings use when fighting over the TV remote. The very young girl he asked didn't know but wanted to help so she asked the boy at my register. They neither one knew for sure but thought it would "be with the rest of the oil...where's that?" The part that was interesting was how well the front-end manager ignored this whole conversation. Surely SHE knew where the olive oil was, no? The old man interjected "I want my olive oil!" and both cashiers were taken aback; that was when I, the ever-helpful enabler, commented "It's on the far end of Aisle Twelve; I was just looking myself." When they told the old man he snapped back "I don't want THAT olive oil; I want the olive oil ON SALE. You said you had olive oil on sale so now where is it?!?" He truly seemed to expect that girl to stop what she was doing and present him with a bottle, preferably on a cushion.

You'd think the front-end manager would have interjected at this point, wouldn't you? Her cashiers were stumped, she had an irate customer and probably knew all about the big olive oil sale, right? Wrong. The woman continued to pretend deafness and bag my groceries. It was the most amazing moment for me because I wanted badly to say, "hey, I think that guy needs your help" but it was my groceries she was bagging instead of being the of course I kept mum. Strange trip.

Monday made up for Sunday though--I had a successful shopping experience at Wal-Hell! To clarify: by "successful" I mean "did not have to squelch the overwhelming urge to commit felonious assault upon fellow patrons or felonious vandalism upon the premises." The secret? Show up at just past eight in the morning of the last day of a holiday weekend. Youngest Duckling is an early riser like I am so we hit the road at 7:40 and parked closer to that giant building than I thought would ever be possible. Once inside it was so empty that I didn't even mind the fact that the store had been completely rearranged--there were actually employees available to ASK where to find the girls' department. More than one, and none of them were scowling yet!

I learned from that shopping trip that unlike her big sister, Youngest Duckling IS a dress person. So much so that she announced her favorite color was no longer purple but pink just so she could wear her new dress on the first day of school since the teacher said "be sure to wear something that has your favorite color in it" in the getting-to-know-you letter. I also learned that the key fashion accessory for first-grade girls is an umbrella--who knew? Youngest dashed past two racks of jeans to get to a Care Bears parasol with which she slept last night.

Me, I plan to buy everything mail-order for the next six months.


** Twelve slim.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Lousy Week for Pictures

You've already seen the best one, which was the fog. I took this one the same morning.

The night I took the moon pictures I also took a picture of Youngest Duckling's dragonfly since it won't be out for very much longer this season.

Some cornflowers by the employee lot at the hospital.

You know you've got problems when the camera takes a picture on its own as good as most of the stuff you shot...this happened when I put it back on the docking station. Yeah, that's my computer chair.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Realization:

For about the past week now I have had to do deep breathing excercises every time President Bush has been on television. It's starting to extend to his posse, too.

It's Harder Than You'd Think...

To take a picture of the moon.

So I tried a second time about fifteen minutes later.

Eldest Duckling watched...then kindly weeded our daffodil bed. Turns out she LIKES gardening. Glory be.