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.

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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.

Monday, September 18, 2006

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.


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